« PoprzedniaDalej »
than a cultivated spot; and the thistle and the nettle flourished as a shelter to the toad or the newt. By degrees this wilderness assumed a' new aspect'; and an excellent opportunity was thus given to the Princess Charlotte of exercising the benevolent disposition of her nature, by employing a number of indigent labourets, who had been for a long time out of work, and whose families thereby became a heavy burden upon the parish. A certain number of them were immediately employed in the grounds and gardens; and thus, whilst' her Royal Highness was adding to the beauty of her residence, she was providing for the exigencies
of the poor.
A few days after the arrival of her Royal Highness at Clareniont, an application was made to her on behalf of an individual, who, although holding one situation, considered himself competent to fill another, without 'relinquishing the duties of the former. The Princéss, at first, appeared to pay no attention to the application ; but, on its being renewed, she marked a particular passage in a book*, and desired that it might be given to the applicant to read. The passage was as follows:
“ To the late Queene of famous memorie (Queen Elizabeth), a courtier who had great place about her Majestie, made suite for an office belonging to the law. Shee told him he was unfit for the place. He confest as much, but promised to finde out a sufficient
• I am informed that this book was Scot's Philomythie or Philomythologie, 1616.
deputy. Do,' saith she, and then I may bestow upon one of my ladies, for they, by deputation, may execute the office of chancellor, chief justice, and others, as well as you.' This answered him, and I would it would answer all others, that fit men might be placed in every office, and none, bow great soever, suffered to keep two. They should take offices for the commonwealth’s benefit, but they take them like farme to enrich themselves. This discourageth all professions, both in the church and commonwealth ; one place is fit for one
With the change of situation, the character of the Princess Charlotte appeared to develop itself in a most extraordinary degree. The genius and intellectual ability which she had previously exhibited, appeared to expand in the most luxuriant manner; and the extent of her knowledge, which comprehended all that could adorn the human mind, was now brought forth to view, and reduced within the rules of the common practice of human concerns. peared to be thoroughly acquainted with the extent and boundary of her duties, and she always shewed an unwillingness to transgress them, even if that transgression leaned to the side of virtue. In many cases, her knowledge of things appeared to be intuitive, and the deductions which she made were construed as the result of deep mathematical reason; but she possessed a singular capacity for viewing an object at one glance in its most abstract relation, and the conclusion which she thence drew, was seldom known to be at variance with the actual truth. To preserve the mind 18
in its simplicity and abhorrence of vice, Providence has kindly indulged those tempers, which are impregnated with strong passions (and that the temper of the Princess Charlotte was impregnated with strong passions is not to be questioned,) with a proportionable share of quick and lively imagination, the pleasures of which, if rightly directed, will be an inexhaustible fund of innocent and rational amusement. The imitative arts more particularly afford this advantage; but it may be affirmed with truth, that there are none which are useful to society that do not partake, more or less, of the same. The Princess Charlotte lost no opportunity in applying her reason to the culture of her understanding; and it is the neglect of that application which is the source of the greater part of our calamities and misery; for, as an Italian sage has observed ; “ the mind of man is a hungry thing, and will, if it cannot be fed with good and wholesome food, prey upon garbage; and what is worse, acquire such a relish for the latter, as will, in time, poison its very temper and essence."
It was observed with no common feelings of satisfaction, that the health of the Princess Charlotte daily improved at Claremont; and certainly the change in her mode of life could not but be conducive to the re-establishment of her health. The open, salubrious air of Claremont proved a grateful contrast to the smoky atmosphere of the metropolis; and the emancipation from all
restraint and freedom of action, which her Royal Highness enjoyed at Claremont, gave an hilarity to her spirits, which was seldom apparent during her residence in town. When the weather was fine, she passed very little of her time within the house, but was either superintending the workmen in the gardens or the grounds, or attending Prince Leopold in his shooting excursions in the park. On the latter occasions, whenever his Serene Highness missed his aim, it was sure to excite the laughter of the Princess Charlotte, who sometimes jocosely declared that she could shoot as well herself.
The first visit which her Royal Highness received from her royal Father was on the 17th of September, when he rode from the stud-house at Hampton-Court to Claremont, on horseback.--Their Royal Highnesses spent above three hours in walking over the park and grounds together; and the Prince Regent was highly gratified in witnessing the happiness and comfort of his royal daughter, who afterwards accompanied Prince Leopold to the stud-house.
The banner, helmet, &c., of his Serene Highness Prince Leopold, knight companion of the order of the Garter, were in the course of this month placed, by a deputation from the college of heralds, in St. George's chapel, Windsor, on the Sovereign's side, between those of the King of the Netherlands, and the Duke of Northumberland, in the room of the helmet, &c., of the late Earl of Chesterfield.
The art of gardening has been an infinite source of study and entertainment to all civilized nations from the remotest ages, to the present period; and, perhaps, in no art has taste undergone greater variations than in this. To the Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, the garden was a constant and never-failing object of amusement; and, through the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks, a Mr. Fairbairn, a native of Scotland, and a very skilful botanist, was appointed to the management of Claremont gardens. The grounds of this now celebrated spot have been long an object of admiration, on account of their picturesque scenery, and the taste which has been displayed in their interior arrangement. The lawns, which are so beautifully interspersed amongst the pleasure grounds, were the favorite resorts of the Princess Charlotte ; and the improvements which her taste suggested, and which were rapidly carrying into execution, would, in time, have rendered it a perfect fairy scene. Nothing, certainly, can be more beautiful than a lawn in full verdure, with all its soft and gentle undulations; but it is that kind of beauty which may be compared to the effect of a piece of music, excellent merely for its melody; and which, unless enlivened by aptly disposed discords, sudden turns, and unexpected variations, would by repetition, become dull and monotonous. Mere beauty, unvaried and uncontrasted, must always degenerate into insipidity; and, consequently, to interest the attention and