Зображення сторінки


rionets, and hallooing to them to return. This brought back the straggling parties, and the King, Duke of York, and six Princesses soon appeared.

I have never yet seen M. d'Arblay agitated as at this moment; he could scarce keep his steadiness, or even his ground. The recollections, he has since told me, that rushed upon his mind of his own King and Royal House

so violent and so painful as almost to disorder him.

His Majesty was accompanied by the Duke, and Lord Beaulieu, Lord Walsingham, and General Manners; the Princesses were attended by Lady Charlotte Bruce, some other lady, and Miss Goldsworthy. The King stopped to speak to the Bishop of Norwich and some others at the entrance, and then walked on towards us, who were at the further end. As he approached, the Princess Royal said, loud enough to be heard by Mrs. Fisher, “Madame d'Arblay, Sir;" and instantly he came on a step, and then stopped and addressed me, and, after a word or two of the weather, he said, “Is that M. d'Arblay?” and most graciously bowed to him, and entered into a little conversation ; demanding how long he had been in England, how long in the country, &c. &c., and with a sweetness, an air of wishing us well, that will never, never be erased from our hearts.

M. d’Arblay recovered himself immediately upon this address, and answered with as much firmness respect.

Upon the King's bowing and leaving us, the Commander-in-Chief most courteously bowed also to M. d'Arblay, and the Princesses all came up to speak to me, and to curtsy to him; and the Princess Elizabeth cried, “ I've got leave! and mamma says she won't wait to read it first!


After this the King and Duke never passed without taking off their hats, and the Princesses gave me a smile and a curtsy at every turn: Lord Walsingham came to speak to me, and Mr. Fairly, and General Manners, who regretted that more of our old tea-party were not there to meet me once more.

As soon as they all re-entered the Lodge we followed to take leave of Mlle. Jacobi; but, upon moving towards the passage, the Princess Royal appeared, saying, “Madame d’Arblay, I come to waylay you!” and made me follow her to the dressing-room, whence the voice of the Queen, as the door opened, called out, in mild accents, “Come in, Madame d'Arblay!"

Her Majesty was seated at the upper end of the room, with the Duchess of York on her right, and the Princesses Sophia and Amelia on her left. She made me advance, and said, "I have just been telling the Duchess of York that I find her Royal Highness's name the first upon this list,”-producing · Camilla.'

“Indeed," said the Duchess, bowing to me, “I was so very impatient to read it, I could not but try to get it as early as possible. I am very eager for it, indeed!"

“I have read,” said the Queen, “but fifty pages yet; but I am in great uneasiness for that poor little girl, that I am afraid will get the small-pox! and I am sadly afraid that sweet little other girl will not keep her fortune ! but I won't peep! I read quite fair. But I must tell Madame d'Arblay I know a country gentleman, in Mecklenburg, exactly the very character of that good old man the uncle !"

She seemed to speak as if delighted to meet him upon paper.

The King now came in, and I could not forbear making up to him, to pour forth some part of my full heart for his

goodness! He tried to turn away, but it was smilingly; and I had courage to pursue him, for I could not help it.

He then slightly bowed it off, and asked the Queen to repeat what she had said upon the book.

“O, your Majesty," she cried, “I must not anticipate !" yet told him of her pleasure in finding an old acquaintance.

“Well!” cried the King archly, “ and what other characters have you seized ?".

None, I protested, from life.

O!” cried he, shaking his head, “you must have some!”

“Indeed your Majesty will find none !” I cried.

“ But they may be a little better, or a little worse," he answered, “but still, if they are not like somebody, how can they play their parts?"

“O, yes, Sir,” I cried, “as far as general nature goes, or as characters belong to classes, I have certainly tried to take them. But no individuals !”

My account must be endless if I do not now curtail. The Duke of York, the other Princesses, General Manners, and all the rest of the group, made way to the room soon after, upon hearing the cheerfulness of the voice of the King, whose graciousness raised me into spirits that set me quite at my ease. He talked much upon the book, and then of Mrs. Delany, and then of various others that my sight brought to his recollection, and all with a freedom and goodness that enabled me to answer without difficulty or embarrassment, and that produced two or three hearty laughs from the Duke of York.

After various other topics, the Queen said, “ Duchess, Madame d’Arblay is aunt of the pretty little boy you were so good to."

The Duchess understood her so immediately, that I fancy this was not new to her. She bowed to me again, very smilingly, upon the acknowledgments this encouraged me to offer; and the King asked an explanation.

Sir,” said the Duchess, “ I was upon the road near Dorking, and I saw a little gig overturned, and a little boy was taken out, and sat down upon the road. I told them to stop and ask if the little boy was hurt, and they said yes; and I asked where he was to go, and they said to a village just a few miles off; so I took him into my coach, Sir, and carried him home.”

“And the benedictions, Madam,” cried I, “ of all his family have followed you ever since !"

“And he said your Royal Highness called him a very pretty boy,” cried the Queen, laughing, to whom I had related it.

• Indeed, what he said is very true," answered she, nodding.

“Yes; he said," quoth I, again to the Queen, “that he saw the Duchess liked him."

This again the Queen repeated, and the Duchess again nodded, and pointedly repeated, “It is very true.”

He was a very fine boy-a very fine boy indeed!" cried the King; "what is become of him ?”

I was a little distressed in answering, “He is—in Ireland, Sir."

In Ireland! What does he do in Ireland ? what does he


there for ?His father took him, Sir,” I was forced to answer. « And what does his father take him to Ireland for?"

“Because—he is an Irishman, Sir," I answered, half laughing.

When at length, every one deigning me a bow of

[ocr errors]

leave-taking, their Majesties, and sons and daughters, retired to the adjoining room, the Princess Amelia loitered to shake hands, and the Princess Augusta returned for the same condescension, reminding me of my purpose for next year.

While this was passing, the Princess Royal had repaired to the apartment of Mlle. Jacobi, where she had held a little conversation with M. d'Arblay.

We finished the evening very cheerfully with Mlle. Jacobi and Mlle. Montmollin, whom she invited to meet us, and the next morning left Windsor and visited Rose Dale.*

Mrs. Boscawen received us very sweetly, and the little offering as if not at all her due. Mrs. Levison Gower was with her, and showed us Thomson's temple. Mrs. Boscawen spoke of my dearest father with her usual true sense of how to speak of him. She invited us to dinner, but we were anxious to return to Bambino, and M. d'Arblay had, all this time, only fought off being ill with his remnant cold. Nevertheless, when we came to Twickenham, my good old friend Mr. Cambridge was so cordial and so earnest that we could not resist him, and were pressed in to staying dinner.

At a little before eleven we arrived at our dear cottage, and to our sleeping Bambino.

F. D’A.

* Rose Dale, Richmond, Surrey. This place was formerly the residence of the poet Thomson, and afterwards became the property of the Honourable Mrs. Boscawen.

« НазадПродовжити »