Obrazy na stronie

where his son, Charles John, was born. In 1811, his Lordship took a house in Manchester Square, and there his daughter, Emilie Rosalie, was born. The following year he removed to Seymour Place, where he resided till the latter part of 1813.

In 1812, the long expected death of Major Browne having taken place, Lord Mountjoy married " Mary Campbell, widow of Major Browne,” as we are informed by the Peerage.

Lord Mountjoy had not long resided in Seymour Place, when he determined on going on the continent. The health of Lady Mountjoy must have been at that period seriously impaired. His Lordship’s friend and medical attendant, Mr. Tegart, of Pall Mall, recommended a young physician of high character to accompany the tourists; and accordingly, Dr. Richardson (an old and valued friend of the author's, and subsequently the travelling physician of Lord Belmore), proceeded to France with them.

The circumstances are to be kept in mind of this marriage, the impediment to it, the waiting for the removal of it, the accomplishment of an object ardently desired, without reference to future consequences, without any regard for public opinion, or care for the feelings of relatives ; the restlessness of his Lordship’s mind, manifested in his many changes of abode, the sudden abandonment of his residence in London for the Continent, soon after he had married, and had gone to considerable expense in fitting up that place of abode, all his acts and peculiarities not only on that occasion, but another similar one, are worthy of notice.

Lady Mountjoy did not long enjoy the honours of her elevated rank and new position. She died at St. Germains, in France, the 9th of September, 1814. The legitimate issue of this marriage, was, first, Lady Harriet Anne Frances Gardiner, born the 5th of August, 1812 (who married the Count Alfred D'Orsay, the 1st of December, 1829, and secondly, the Hon. Charles Spencer Cowper, third son of the late Earl Cowper, the 4th of January, 1853, the Count D'Orsay having died the 4th of August, 1852:* second, the Right Hon. Luke Wellington, Viscount Mountjoy, born in 1814, who died in 1823, at the age of nine years and six months.

The children by this marriage, of whom mention is not made in the Peerage, were

First, Charles John, born in Portman Square, London, the 3rd of February, 1810, now surviving, who retains a small portion of the Mountjoy Forest estate (the income from which is about £600 a year); all that remains, with a trifling exception, of the wreck of that once vast property of the Earl of Blessington.

Secondly, Emily Rosalie, commonly called Lady Mary Gardiner, born in Manchester Square, London, on the 24th of June, 1811 (who married C. White, Esq., and died in Paris, without issue, about 1848).

Lord Mountjoy’s grief at the loss of his lady was manifested in a funeral pageant of extraordinary magnificence, on the occasion of the removal of her remains to England, and from thence to Ireland. One of the principal rooms in his Lordship’s Dublin residence, in Henrietta Street, was fitted up for the mournful occasion at an enormous cost.

The body placed in a coffin, sumptuously decorated, had been conveyed to Dublin by a London undertaker of eminence in the performance of state funerals, attended by six professional female

* The Honourable Charles Spencer Cowper is the youngest son of the late Earl Cowper, who married in 1850 the Honourable Emily Mary Lamb, eldest daughter of Penniston, first Viscount Melbourne. Lord Cowper died at Putney, in June, 1837. His widow married secondly, Lord Palmerston, in 1839. The Honourable Charles Spencer Cowper, born in 1816, filled the office of Secretary of Legation in Florence.

mourners, suitably attired in mourning garments, and was laid out in a spacious room hung with black cloth, on an elevated catafalque covered with a velvet pall of the finest texture, embroidered in gold and silver, which had been purchased in France for the occasion, and had recently been used at a public funeral in Paris of great pomp and splendour, that of Marshal Duroc. A large number of wax tapers were ranged round the catafalque, and the six professional female mutes, during the time the body lay in state, remained in attendance in the chamber in becoming attitudes, admirably regulated ; while the London undertaker, attired in deep mourning, went through the dismal formality of conducting the friends of Lord Blessington who presented themselves, to the place where the body was laid out, and as each person walked round the catafalque, and then retired, this official, having performed the lugubrious duties of master of the funeral solemnities, in a low tone, expressed a hope that the arrangements were to the satisfaction of the visitor.

They ought to have been satisfactory—the cost of them (on the authority of the late Lady Blessington) was between £3000 and £ 1000.

The remains of the deceased lady were conveyed with great pomp to St. Thomas's Church, Marlborough Street, Dublin, and were deposited in the family vault of Lord Blessington, and are now mingled with the dust of the latest descendants of the illustrious Lord President Mountjoy.

One of the friends of Lord Blessington, who witnessed the gorgeous funeral spectacle, well acquainted with such pageants, informs me the magnificence of it was greater than that of any similar performance of private obsequies he ever saw.

But this great exhibition of extravagant grief, and the enormous outlay made for its manifestation, was in the bright and palmy days of Irish landlordism, when potatoes flourished, and people who had land in Ireland lived like princes. The Scotch haberdasher who now lords it over a portion of the broad lands of the Mountjoys, will live, however, and bury his dead after a very different fashion.

The once gorgeous coffin, covered with rich silk velvet and adorned with gilt mounting, in which the remains of the Right Honourable Mary Campbell, Viscountess Mountjoy,” were deposited, is still recognizable, by its foreign shape, from the other surrounding receptacles of noble remains, above it and beneath it. But the fine silk velvet of France, and the gilt mountings of the coffin of the Viscountess Mountjoy, have lost their lustre. Forty years of sepulchral damp and darkness have proved too much for the costly efforts of the noble Earl of Blessington, to distinguish the remains of his much-loved lady from those of the adjacent dead.

About the latter part of 1815, Lord Blessington was in Ireland. He gave a dinner party at his house in Henrietta Street, which was attended by several gentlemen, amongst whom were the Knight of Kerry, A. Hume, Esq., Thomas Moore, Sir P. C., Bart., James Corry, Esq., * Captain Thomas Jenkins, of the 11th Light Dragoons, and one or two ladies. His Lordship on that occasion seemed to have entirely recovered his spirits; and to one of the guests, who had not been in the house or the room, then the scene of great festivity, since the funeral solemnities, which have been referred to, had been witnessed by him there, less than two years previously, the change seemed a very remarkable one. Captain Jenkins left the company at an early hour, to proceed that evening to England, and parted with his friends not without very apparent feelings of emotion.

* James Corry, Esq., who figures a good deal in Moore's Journals, was a barrister, whose bag had never been encumbered with many, I believe I might say with any, briefs. He was admitted to the bar in 1796. For many years he filled the office of Secretary to the Trustees of the Linen Manufacture, in their offices in Lurgan Street. He was a man of wit and humour, assisted in all the private theatricals of his time, not only in Dublin but in the provinces, and particularly those at the abode of Lord Mountjoy at Rash, near Omagh.

Lord Mountjoy did not long remain a widower. His lady died in September, 1814, and on the 16th of February, 1818, his Lordship was united to a lady of the name of Farmer, who had become a widow four months previously-in 1817.

The marriage of Lord and Lady Blessington took place by special license, at the church in Bryanston Square. There were present Sir W. P. Campbell, Baronet, of Marchmont, William Purves, Esq., Robert Power, Esq., and F. S. Pole, Esq.

This work is not intended to be a biography of Lady Blessington, but to present a faithful account of her literary life and correspondence.

From the period of her marriage with the Earl of Blessington, that intercourse with eminent men and distinguished persons of various pursuits may be said to date; and from that period I profess to deal with it, so far as the information I have obtained, and the original letters and manuscripts of her Ladyship, in my hands, will enable me to do.

Mrs. Farmer had been separated from her husband, Captain Maurice St. Leger Farmer, of Poplar Hall, County Kildare, for upwards of twelve years, resided much in England, at Sidmanton, in Hampshire, for several years previously to the termination of the war, and in the latter part of 1815 had made London her place of residence, and had a house taken for her in Manchester Square in 1816.*

* There, in 1816, I am informed by one of the most eminent medical men in London, he had met Lord Blessington at dinner. I have likewise been informed by the late Mr. Arthur Tegart, of Pall Mall, then intimately acquainted with the parties, that he also had frequently met Lord Blessington at Mrs. Farmer's, but never unaccompanied by some mutual friend or acquaintance. Mr. Tegart, the intimate

« PoprzedniaDalej »