Зображення сторінки

was very unpromising. The King came from the lodge during our absence; but soon after we were in the levee three Royal coaches arrived from Frogmore: in the tirst was the Queen, the Princesses Royal and Augusta, and some lady in waiting. M. d'Arblay stood by me at a window to see them ; her Majesty looked up and bowed to me, and, upon her alighting, she looked up again. This, I am sure, was to see M. d'Arblay, who could not be doubted, as he wore his croix the whole time he was at Windsor. The Princesses bowed also, and the four younger, who followed, all severally kissed their hands to me, and fixed their eyes on my companion with an equal expression of kindness and curiosity; he therefore saw them perfectly.

In a few minutes a page came to say “ The Princesses desire to see Madame d'Arblay." and he conducted me to the apartment of the Princess Elizabeth, which is the most elegantly and fancifully ornamented of any in the Lodge, as she has most delight and most taste in pro. ducing good effects.

Here the fair owner of the chamber received me, encircled with the Princesses Mary and Amelia, and no attendant. They were exactly as I had left them-kind, condescending, open, and delightful, and the goodness of the Queen, in sparing them all to me thus, without any allay of ceremony, or gêne of listening mutes, I felt most deeply.

They were all very gay, and I not very sad, so we enjoyed a perfectly easy and even merry half-hour in divers discourses, in which they recounted to me who had been most anxious about “ the book," and doubted not its great success, as everybody was so eager about it. “And I must tell you one thing,” cried the Princess Elizabeth; “the King is very much pleased with the dedication."

This was, you will be sure, a very touching hearing to


me; and Princess Mary exclaimed, “ And he is very difficult!"

O, yes, he's hardly ever pleased with a dedication,” cried one of the Princesses. “He almost always thinks them so fulsome.”

“I was resolved I would tell it you,” cried Princess Elizabeth.

Can you imagine anything more amiable than this pleasure in giving pleasure ?

I now explained that politics were always left out; that once I had had an idea of bringing in such as suited me, but that, upon second thoughts, I returned to my more native opinion they were not a feminine subject for discussion, and that I even believed, should the little work sufficiently succeed to be at all generally read, it would be a better office to general readers to carry them wide of all politics to their domestic fire-sides, than to open new matter of endless debate.

Soon after the Princess Augusta came in, smiling and lovely. Princess Royal next appeared ; Princess Augusta sat down and charged me to take a chair next her. Princess Royal did not stay long, and soon returned to summon her sister Augusta downstairs, as the concert was begun; but she replied she could not come yet; and the Princess Royal went alone. We had really a most delicious chat then.

They made a thousand inquiries about my book, and when and where it was written, &c., and how I stood as to fright and fidget. I answered all with openness, and frankly related my motives for the publication. Everything of housekeeping, I told them, was nearly doubled in price at the end of the first year and half of our maro

[ocr errors]

riage, and we found it impossible to continue so near our friends and the capital with our limited income, though M. d'A. had accommodated himself completely, and even happily, to every species of economy, and though my dearest father had capitally assisted us; I then, therefore, determined upon adopting a plan I had formerly rejected, of publishing by subscription. I told them the former history of that plan, as Mr. Burke's, and many particulars that seemed extremely to interest them. My garden, our way of life, our house, our Bambino,—all were inquired after and related. I repeatedly told them the strong desire M. d'Arblay had to be regaled with a sight of all their House-a House to which I stood so every way indebted,--and they looked kindly concerned that the weather admitted no prospect of the Terrace.

I mentioned to the Princess Augusta my recent new obligation to their Majesties, and my amaze and even shame at their goodness. “0, I am sure," cried she, "they were very happy to have it in their

Yes, and we were so glad !"
“So glad !" echoed each of the others.

“How enchanted should I have been," cried I, “to have presented my little book to each of your Royal Highnesses if I had dared ! or if, after her Majesty has looked it over, I might hope for such a permission, how proud and how happy it would make me !"

“O, I dare say you may," cried the Princess Augusta, eagerly.

I then intimated how deeply I should feel such an honour, if it might be asked, after her Majesty had read it; and the Princess Elizabeth gracefully undertook the office.

She related to me, in a most pleasant manner, the whole of her own transaction, its rise and cause and pro.

gress, in • The Birth of Love:'* but I must here abridge, or never have done. I told them all my scheme for coming again next July, which they sweetly seconded. Princess Amelia assured me she had not forgotten me; and when another summons came for the concert, Princess Augusta, comically sitting still and holding me by her side, called out, “ Do you little ones go!"

But they loitered also; and we went on, on, on, with our chat,—they as unwilling as myself to break it up,—till staying longer was impossible; and then, in parting, they all expressed the kindest pleasure in our newlyadopted plan of a yearly visit.

“And pray," cried Princess Elizabeth, “write again immediately!”

“O, no," cried Princess Augusta, "wait half a yearto rest; and then-increase your familyall ways !"

“ The Queen," said Princess Elizabeth, “consulted me which way she should read Camilla ;' whether quick, at once, or comfortably at Weymouth : so I answered, Why, mamma, I think, as you will be so much interested in the book, Madame d’Arblay would be most pleased you should read it now at once, quick, that nobody may be mentioning the events before you come to them; and then again at Weymouth, slow and comfortably.'

In going, the sweet Princess Augusta loitered last but her youngest sister, Amelia, who came to take my hand when the rest were departed, and assure me she should never forget me.

We spent the remnant of Wednesday evening with my old friends, determining to quit Windsor the next day, if the weather did not promise a view of the Royal Family upon the Terrace for M. d'Arblay. * The Birth of Love;' a Poem: with engravings, from designs .by Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth.

Thursday morning was lowering, and we determined upon departing, after only visiting some of my former acquaintances. We met Miss Planta in our way to the Lodge, and took leave; but when we arrived at Mlle. Jacobi's we found that the Queen expected we should stay for the chance of the Terrace, and had told Mlle. Jacobi to again invite us to dinner.

We left the friendly Miss Goldsworthy for other visits ;first. to good old Mrs. Planta; next to the very respectable Dr. Fisher and his wife. The former insisted upon doing the honours himself of St. George's Cathedral to M. d’Arblay, which occasioned his seeing that beautiful antique building to the utmost advantage. Dr. Fisher then accompanied us to a spot to show M. d'Arblay Eton in the best view.

Dinner passed as before, but the evening lowered, and all hopes of the Terrace were weak, when the Duke and Duchess of York arrived. This seemed to determine against us, as they told us the Duchess never went upon the Terrace but in the finest weather, and the Royal Family did not choose to leave her. We were hesitating therefore whether to set off for Rose Dale, when Mlle. Jacobi gave an intimation to me that the King, herself, and the Princess Amelia, would walk on the Terrace.

Thither instantly we hastened, and were joined by Dr. and Mrs. Fisher. The evening was so raw and cold that there was very little company, and scarce any expectation of the Royal Family; and when we had been there about half an hour the musicians retreated, and everybody was preparing to follow, when a messenger suddenly came forward, helter skelter, running after the horns and cla

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »