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Pope, who had often addressed the maid of honour in a style only less impudent than that of Voltaire's stanzas to the married woman, either retained a kindness for her, or fancied that her praise would annoy her husband for in most of his attacks on Hervey he was careful to introduce her as a contrast. We need not add, that the whole strain of his invective was expressly designed to represent Lord Hervey as one who must be to every woman an object of contempt and disgust.
Whatever the original offence had been, it was Pope who threw the first stone in the eye of the world. The acquaintance appears to have dropped about 1725. In the Miscellanies of 1727, and again in the first Dunciad of 1728, Hervey was sneered at as a poetaster. In 1732 came out the satire with the contemptuous lines on Lord Fanny, and the unquotable couplet on Sappho. Upon this, Hervey and Lady Mary laid their heads together in the Lines to the Imitator of Horace' (Lady M. Wortley's Works, vol. iii.), and Hervey penned the prose philippic against Pope, entitled Letter from a Nobleman at Hampton Court to a Doctor of Divinity;' both these appeared in 1733. To the Letter Pope replied in prose--and that production, which Johnson treats very slightingly, was estimated far differently by Warburton and by Warton, in whose opinion Mr. Croker concurs as to the brilliant execution of the piece, though he adds that its substance was borrowed from a preceding libel by Pulteney, and repeats Dallaway's just animadversion on the baseness of Pope's denying that by Lord Fanny and Sappho he had meant Hervey and Lady Mary. Whether Warburton is right in saying that this, certainly the best specimen of Pope's prose, was printed as well as written in 1733— or Mr. Croker in deciding that it was never printed till after Pope's death-is a question that will not greatly interest our readers; though probably most of them will incline to think that Pope's own friend, executor, and first editor could hardly have been deceived as to such a matter, and that when Johnson says “the letter was never sent,' the Doctor means merely that it never reached Hervey except in the shape of a pamphlet—that it was a letter, not for the post, but for the press. However, in the following year Pope administered a finishing flagellation. We doubt if in the whole literature of modern Europe there is anything to match ihat awful infliction-on which all the malignity and all the wit of a dozen demons might seem to have been concentrated—the character of Sporus in the Epistle to Arbuthnot (1734).
Every syllable, no doubt, did its work at the time; but the reader of the Memoirs now before us, and of Mr. Croker's very piquant preface, will understand it far better than has been possible for those who had no clue to its minuter allusions, except what they
might find in the notes of Pope's successive commentators. Pope remains the worst-edited of our first-rate authors. Lord Hervey, in 1734, was still only Vice-Chamberlain; but he was, in fact, of more importance to the government than any member of the cabinet, except the Premier, and an attack like this upon him was calculated to give more deadly offence to the real moving power of the State than any possible castigation of any other British subject whomsoever. Sir Robert Walpole only governed George II. by governing Queen Caroline, and he mainly governed her through the influence of our Vice-Chamberlain--the only gentleman of the household whose duties fixed him from January to December under the same roof with the Queen. A favourite before she was Queen, he had not occupied this post long before he had no rival in her confidence. There was not the least scandal; but, as her Majesty pleasantly remarked, she owed that escape only to her years. When he received his key in 1730 she was fortyseven-he but thirty-four; and so youthful was his appearance years later, that she still used to call him this boy. He, to be sure, was made for a carpet-knight: he abhorred all rough out-of-doors work — seldom even mounted a horse — but, the Queen always following the King when he hunted at Richmond, in her open chaise, the Vice-Chamberlain attended her Majesty in that vehicle—to which opportunities of confidential talk we owe much. In 1734 he says:
• Lord Hervey was this summer in greater favour with the Queen, and consequently with the King, than ever; they told him everything, and talked of everything before him. The Queen sent for him every morning as soon as the King went from her, and kept him, while she breakfasted, till the King returned, which was generally an hour and a half at least. She called him always her“ child, her pupil, and her charge;" used to tell him perpetually that his being so impertinent and daring to contradict her so continually, was owing to his knowing she could
not live without him ; and often said, “ It is well I am so old, or I should be talked of for this creature.” Lord Hervey made prodigious court to her, and really loved and admired her.'-vol. i.
382. However flattering her favour, and sincerely and affectionately attached to her as Hervey really seems to have been from the beginning, full of admiration as he certainly was for her talents, partaking most of her opinions, and very heartily sympathizing in all her dislikes it is easy to understand, nevertheless, that he should have by and by considered his fixture in the Vice-Chamberlainship as a legitimate grievance. His generous father, it is evident, continually made such suggestions to him, and we must infer, from conversations reported and letters inserted in his Memoirs, that he himself laid his complaints before Sir Robert Walpole, who evaded them as well as he could by strong expres
sions of his own personal anxiety for his friend's advancement, coupled with significant hints that the difficulty lay with the King ;—a stroke of art on which Walpole must have hugged himself, for the bellicose and uxorious monarch had, in the earlier period, a considerable distaste for the slim chaise-hunter and his Italian cosmetics—and his Majesty was not addicted to conceal his prejudices and no one knew so well as Hervey that a prejudice of his could never be assailed with the least chance of success except through the Queen-and Walpole felt quite sure that Hervey would never attempt to bring that engine to bear upon that particular prejudice, because to tell the Queen that it was hard the King stood between him and promotion would bave been telling her that there were things in the world which seemed to her child and charge’ more desirable than the hourly enjoyment of her society. The tone of the Memoirs leaves little doubt that Hervey was never quite satisfied with Walpole's apologies—but it must have puzzled him to answer them. We have no repetition of the complaints after an early chapter — and thenceforth, though Walpole is occasionally criticised pretty smartly, the King is kept before the reader, page after page, present or absent, as the one great object of spleen and abuse, The narrative stops with the Queen's death in 1737; but Lord Hervey must have understood the dessous des cartes of his own case in the sequel. Queen Caroline once gone, Walpole soon proposed him for a Cabinet oflice--and the King made no sort of objection. It must have been evident then, that Walpole had kept him in the Household for so many years, merely because he was the most convenient instrument he could have had for the most delicate task of his administration, the best sentinel for the ruelle-the adroitest of lay-confessors for the true sovereign.
But there is a subject of still greater delicacy connected with Hervey's continued toleration of the Vice-Chamberlainship. Horace Walpole, both in his Reminiscences and in his Memoires, mentions as a fact of perfect notoriety that George II.'s youngest daughter, the Princess Caroline,* her mother's favourite child, who was at the date of the appointment a pretty girl of seventeen, 'conceived an unconquerable passion for Lord Hervey'--that his death was the cause and the signal for her retirement from the world
* Under the Stuart, as all preceding reigns, the daughters of Royalty were styled the Lady Mary, tbe Lady Anne, and so ou; nor was the German innovation of Princess quite fixed in the usage of the time of George II. That King and Queen Caroline were themselves strenuous for the German fashion; their son, the Prince of Wales, on the contrary, among other attempts at popularity, declared himself for the old Euglish Lady, and, if he had lived to be King, it would no doubt have been re-established, Horace Walpole, perhaps in part from his antiquarian feelings—though he hated all Germanisms except Albert Durer and Dresden china-adheres usually to the Lady Emily, the Lady Caroline, &c. Lord Hervey, of course, takes his cue from Queen Caroline-- with him it is always Princess,
that after that to her fatal event she never appeared at Court or in society, devoting her time to pious meditation, and most of her income to offices of charity, which were never traced until her own death suspended them. Hervey's Memoirs have many passages which imply not only his perfect cognizance of the Princess's partiality—but, strange to say, a clear cognizance of it on the part of the Queen. But Horace Walpole, no friend to Hervey, and not over squeamish on the subject of unmarried Princesses (for he very distinctly intimates that another of the sisters gave ample indulgence to her passion for the Duke of Grafton—which story is also told by Hervey in this book)- Walpole always guards the reputation of the Lady Caroline-he carefully distinguishes her case from that of her elder sister (who by the way was a friend of his own in after days), styling her carefully the virtuous, Princess Caroline;' and perhaps there is nothing in Hervey's Memoirs, as given to the world, that may not be reconciled with Walpole's epithet as he meant it. The question, at best a painful one, is treated very briefly by Mr. Croker—who is no great admirer of romance. He observes that the Princess's retirement from the world was to be accounted for sufficiently by her grief at the death of her mother and her notorious dislike of her father ; that she outlived Hervey by fourteen years; and that Hervey's widow, in her Letters to the Reverend Mr. Morris, alludes in terms of special kindness to the Princess Caroline, who is known to have, during her retirement, interfered on various occasions for the advancement of her Ladyship's sons. It is not those that have had the best opportunities for observation of the world, and used them with the best skill, who are the readiest to come to a decision on problems of this order. Mr. Croker, when he published the Suffolk Papers in 1824, used charitable or at least ambiguous language respecting the nature of the connexion between Lady Suffolk and George II. This, we own, appeared to us at the time rather odd—but we felt rebuked when, in the Character of Lady Suffolk written by Lord Chesterfield, and first published by Lord Mahon in 1845, we found the same subject treated much in the same manner. Although Hervey's Memoirs extinguish all doubts about Lady Suffolk, the caution of Chesterfield is a lesson of value; and we may add that in his Character of the mother of George III., included in the same publication, there occurs a parallel but fuller passage concerning That Princess and Lord Bute, which for its thorough good sense deserves to be well weighed by every reader of Court gossip :
'I will not nor cannot decide (says Lord Chesterfield). It is certain that there were many very strong indications of the tenderest connexion between them; but when one considers how deceitful appearances often are in those affairs-the capriciousness and inconsistency of women,
which makes them often be unjustly suspected-and the impossibility of knowing exactly what passes in tête-à-têtes—one is reduced to mere conjecture. Those who have been conversant in that sort of business will be sensible of the truth of this reflection.'--Mahon's Chesterfield, vol. ii. p. 471.
We suspect that, if Lady Mary Wortley's poems were properly clucidated, several odd passages would turn out to have reference to Hervey and Princess Caroline. Whether Pope had the Princess in his eye as well as the Queen when he elaborated his Epistle to Arbuthnot, we cannot tell; but if he had, the venom was the more demoniacally brewed.
Hervey was subject to fits of epilepsy; and the ascetic regimen which the shrub-sipper of Twickenham holds up to such contempt, had been adopted and steadily persevered in by one fond of most pleasant things in this world, for the mitigation of that afflicting malady. The ass's milk' was his strongest beverage : and Lady Louisa Stuart reports a story, that when some stranger one day at dinner asked Lord Hervey, with a look of surprise, if he never ate beef, the answer was— - No, Sir-neither beef, nor horse, nor anything of that kind:' a story probably as authentic as that of Beau Brummell and a pea.' Even in the works of Lady Mary there occur some Eclogues on Hervey which indicate a sort of dandy not likely, one should have thought, ever to obtain much tolerance with such a critic as her ladyship. Old Sarah of Marlborough describes him as 'certainly having parts and wit, but the most wretched profligate man that ever lived-besides ridiculous a painted face ;' and Lord Hailes, in his note on the Duchess's page, remarks, that Pope's allusion to these cosmetics in the painted child of dirt' was ungenerous, because Pope must have known that art was resorted to only to soften the ghastly appearance produced by either the disease or the abstemious diet. We do not see that Lord Hailes's explanation removes the ridiculethe far worse than ridiculousness of what Mr. Croker mildly calls
one of Lord Hervey's fopperies. But let us now look at Pope's portrait with our editor's framing :
P. Let Sporus tremble
A. What! that thing of silk ?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,