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sure most of the Letters were composed by men. Her Ladyship, having heard this remark, upon her introduction to me said, that she had always had a high opinion of my sense, and what I had observed

had observed respecting her mother's Letters confirmed it. She then told me,

that Mr. Walpole and two other wits, friends of his, joined in a a trio to divert themselves at the expense of the credulity of the English public, by composing those Letters.”

Of course this is arrant nonsense, and it is inconceivable that Lady Bute could have said anything of the kind; but it is impossible now to see how the misunderstanding arose. Some other remarks the Margravine made about Lady Mary brought down on her a stern rebuke from Horace Walpole, in spite of the fact that he never had a great liking for the famous letter-writer. “I am sorry to hear, madam, that by your account Lady Mary Wortley was not so accurate as modern travellers,” he addressed her. “The invaluable art of inoculation which she brought from Constantinople, so dear to all admirers of beauty, and to which we owe, perhaps, the preservation of yours, stamps her an universal benefactress; and as you rival her in poetic talents I had rather you would employ them to celebrate her for her nostrum, than detect her for romancing.”

The Margrave died at Benham Valence in 1806, and his widow gave full rein to her imagination in arranging a

a most tremendous ceremonial for his burial. She, however, soon emerged from retirement, and continued to entertain at Bradenburgh House on a very considerable scale. English society, however, continued to hold aloof, and after the first abdication of Napoleon she went abroad, and remained away, mostly in Italy, for the rest of her life. She died at Naples in 1828, in her seventy-eighth year, and was buried in the old British cemetery in that city. CHAPTER XIII


Her parentage-Her appearance—The fast life-Her sisters, Amy, Fanny,

Sophia—Lord Dewhurst-Another sister, Charlotte-Harriette Wilson, the mistress of Lord Craven-Other lovers—Her popularityHer distinguished visitors—Her affected demureness-Byron attracts her fancy-but declines the acquaintance—She goes to ParisThe Marquis of Worcester-Her Memoirs—Blackmail—Tom RaikesBeau Brummell—Harriette marries one Rochfort-Later years Death.

HARRIETTE WILSON was an outstanding figure in the fast world of the first two decades of the nineteenth century. In the Dictionary of National Biography the late Thomas Seccombe described her as a “woman of fashion," which was very generous of him. She might have been described as a demirep, but for the fact that this means a person of suspected character. There was no doubt whatever about the morals of Harriette, or of her sisters, as they themselves would have been quick to admit.

Harriette Wilson was the daughter of a small shopkeeper in Mayfair, by name John James Dubouchet. Her mother was a most attractive person, who, it would appear, had, like her daughters after her, some amorous adventures. Beyond this, nothing is known of the lady; but Harriette has written a few words about her father.

· My father was a proud Swiss, rather unpopular, and a deep mathematician. We were never, in our youth, either allowed to address him, or speak in his presence, except in low whispers, for fear of driving a problem out of his head. He valued his sons, according to the progress they made in that science. For the girls he felt all the


contempt due to those who voted ' x plus minus g’a dead bore. He was remarkably handsome, with white teeth, expressive eyes and eyebrows, which used to frighten us half out of our senses.”

Harriette, who spoke English and French indifferent well, had some slight smattering of education, and picked up more as she lived. Her appearance has been described by Sir Walter Scott, who met her in 1825 at Mat. Lewis's in Argyle Street, London, “where the company chanced to be fairer than honest.” “Far from beautiful,” he described her, “but a smart, saucy girl, with good eyes, and dark hair, and the manners of a wild schoolboy."

According to Harriette, who spared no one, and least of all her sisters, it was her eldest sister, Amy, who was the first to set the bad example : “her virtue was

' something like the nine lives of a cat." Her first lover sent her to school again ; from that she eloped with the soldier who presently became General Sir George Allan Madden. Later she set up her establishment in York Place, Baker Street, and there entertained on a fairly extensive scale at the expense of her several lovers. For a while she associated with Count Palmella ; later she lived with the musician Bochsa.

Whether Fanny, the beauty of the family, was the next in age, is not clear. She followed in Amy's footsteps, but, falling in love with one Woodcock, by whom she had three children, she lived for some years a retired life. They were devoted to each other, and might have marriedbut for the fact that there was already a Mrs. Woodcock. After her lover's death she became as gay as her sisters. Then she had an affaire with a Colonel Parker, and for some time was known as Mrs. Parker. Her last hours were soothed by the kindness of Lord Yarmouth (afterwards third Marquis of Hertford).


Sophia, a third sister, was no whit behind the other in morals. “I was soon visited by my dear mother,' Harriette wrote, whether to show herself as an affectionate sister or to annoy Lord Deerhurst cannot, of course, be said.

" She wished to consult me about what was best to be done to put my young sister out of the way of that most profligate nobleman, Lord Deerhurst, who was, she said, continually watching her in the Park and streets, whenever she went out. I could hardly believe that any thing wrong could be meant towards a child scarcely thirteen years of age, but my mother assured

, me that he had been clandestinely writing to her, and sending her little paltry presents of gilt chains, such as are sold by Jews in the streets; these said trumpery articles being presented to my sister Sophia in old jewel-boxes of Love and Wirgman, in order to make it appear to the poor child that they were valuable.

I see no remedy,' said my dear mother, 'but sending Sophia to some school at a distance; and I hope to obtain her father's consent for that purpose, as soon as possible. No time is to be lost, Sophia being so sly, about receiving these things, that I only found it out by the greatest accident. The last were delivered by a young friend of her's, quite a child, to whom Lord Deerhurst addressed himself, not having been able to meet with Sophia lately.'

“I was very much disgusted with this account, and quite agreed with my mother that it would be the safest plan to send the child away.

" Before she took her leave she assured me that, if possible, Sophia should depart immediately."

Eventually, however, the Viscount had his way with Sophia--to the great disgust of her mother and Harriette, running away with him immediately after we had represented the shocking profligacy and disgusting meanness of Lord Deerhurst in passing off trumpery chains and rings for valuable jewellery.” However, when Lord Deerhurst offered to settle three hundred a year on Sophia as long as no proof of inconstancy to him should be established against her,” her family advised her to accept this. Years afterwards, but while still in her teens, she married Thomas Noel Hall, second Baron Berwick, and survived until 1875, when she passed away at the age of eighty-one.

There was yet another sister, Charlotte, who was very much younger.

She was a sweet, lovely, little thing, and promised to be one of the finest dancers of the age. It was not the profession my mother would have preferred, but Charlotte promised to do wonders in it; and, with her striking beauty, there could have been little doubt of her marrying well from the stage ; and a mother who has fifteen children to provide for cannot do as she pleases,” Harriette wrote in her Memoirs. “Charlotte had, already,


, made her debut as Cupid and delighted every body who saw her, when Lord and Lady Berwick, seized with a fit of pride, which they nicknamed virtue, begged leave to snatch the child from such a shocking profession, and they undertook to bring up and provide for her, under their own eyes. My poor mother joyfully closed with this, apparently kind, offer, and immediately made Charlotte forsake, the profession, which, with her talents, must have made her fortune, with or without marriage, to go and live with Sophia.

“The child, when at her country seat, became a great favourite with the wife of Lord Berwick's brother, Mrs. Hill, and all went on charmingly, till Charlotte began to look like a woman, and one of such uncommon loveliness as to attract the attention of all the elegant young men in

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