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GEORGE THE FOURTH,
FROM THE LATE
VARIOUS OTHER DISTINGUISHED PERSONS.
Tot ou tard, tout se scait.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER,
GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
210. b. 5%
TIMES OF GEORGE THE FOURTH.
Courts are strange, mysterious places :—those who pretend most to despise them seek to gain admittance within their precincts; those who once obtain an entrance there generally lament their fate, and yet, somehow or other, cannot break their chains. I believe, also, that it makes little difference whether those circles of society, which stand apart from the rest of the world, exist under one form of government, or under another; whether under Emperors, Kings, Protectors or Consuls. They may vary as to modes and designations; but courts are courts still, and have been so from the earliest times. In
trigues, jealousies, heart-burnings, lies, dissimulation, thrive in them as mushrooms in a hot-bed. Nevertheless, they are necessary evils, and they afford a great school both for the heart and head. It is utterly impossible, so long as the world exists, that similar societies should not exist also ; and one may as well declaim against every other defect attendant upon human institutions, and endeavour to extirpate crime from the world, as pretend to put down courts and their concomitant evils.
December, 1810.—Lady M--C-- called upon me by appointment; and we went together to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of B--k. She thought more of me than she had ever done before, because I was on the road to royal favour; she herself being in her own estimation an engrafted sprig of royalty.* We rumbled in her old tub all the way to New-street, Spring
* If Lady M--- means Lady Mary Coke, it is well known she supposed herself to be the widow of the antecedent Duke of York; for, when her mother one day found the Duke in her apartment, and rated her for the impropriety of her conduct, she drew herself up with ineffable dignity, and replied,
Madam, do you know whom you are talking to? You are talking to the Duchess of York.”
Gardens, much to the discomfiture of
my for, if the vehicle ever had springs, time has stiffened their joints as completely as it has done those of its soi-disant royal mistress. Lady M M--C-- was grandly gracious, and gave me dissertations on etiquette, such as it existed in her young days, till we reached our destination. We were ushered into the dirtiest room I ever beheld, empty, and devoid of comfort. A few filthy lamps stood on a sideboard ; common chairs were placed around very dingy walls ; and, in the middle of this empty space, sat the old Duchess, a melancholy specimen of decayed royalty. There is much goodness in her countenance, and a candour and sincerity in her manner, and even in her abrupt and rough conversation, which are invaluable in a person of her rank, whose life must necessarily have been passed in the society of those whose very essence is deceit. Her former friendship for friends very dear to me, of whom she spoke in terms of respect and love, gave an interest to the visit which it could not otherwise have had. I sat, therefore, patiently listening to Lady M--C-and Her Royal Highness, who talked of lords and ladies of the last century, and wondered at those of the present, and passed trippingly over