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quick feeling. She told me she had wished to see two persons—myself, of course, being one, the other George Canning. This was really a compliment to be pleased with-a nice little pat of butter made up by a neat-handed Phillis of a dairy-maid, instead of the grease fit only for cart-wheels which one is dosed with by the pound. I trust I shall see this lady again.”

Madame d’Arblay's last literary work was to edit in 1832 the Memoirs of her father, who is still well remembered by his History of Music. Her own Diary was published posthumously, and has taken its place as one of the most interesting works of its kind. It has had the high distinction of being edited by Austin Dobson.


MRS. FITZHERBERT (1756-1837)

The Prince of Wales as amorist_His early love-affairs-Lady Sarah

Campbell—The beautiful Harriet Vernon-His intrigue with Mary Robinson-Mrs. Robinson's early life_She plays Perdita at Drury Lane-Attracts the attention of the Prince-He falls in love with her-She becomes his mistress—He tires of her—A final meetingShe threatens to publish the Prince's letters—The King buys the correspondence—Mrs. Fitzherbert-Her two marriages—The Prince fascinated by her-She falls in love with him-But will not enter into a liaison-A conspiracy against her honour fails—She goes abroadThe Prince in despair—He marries her secretly—The marriage denied in Parliament—Her indignation-A favourite with society–At Brighton-Maria Anne Crouch-Mrs. Fitzherbert entertains in Pall Mall—The Regency Bill—Lady Jersey a successful rival-Mrs. Fitzherbert goes abroad.

THE Prince of Wales was, beyond question, an ardent amorist all the days of his life, and his happiest hours were those spent in the company of women. The story of his early amours need not be given in detail. They were merely of passing interest, but, of course, they attracted a good deal of attention at the time. Much do I lament to add that some of those about the young Princes swerved from principle, and introduced improper company when their Majesties supposed them to be at rest, and after the divines had closed their day with prayer.' Thus wrote Mrs. Papendieck, a lady in the Household of Queen Charlotte, who added that General Lake and Colonel Hulse, who were in attendance on the Prince of Wales and his brother, having an eye to the future, overlooked the irregularities of their charges.

It is said that the Prince of Wales had an intrigue with the wife of one of General Lake's grooms, who has been described as "a tall, slim person, with rather a pretty face and dark eyes, but a great slattern, and more low and vulgar than that class of person usually are.” When he was nineteen he lost his heart to Lady Sarah Campbell, but she just laughed at him ; whereupon he transferred his affections to the beautiful Harriet Vernon, who in 1782 was appointed a Maid of Honour to his mother.

His first grande passion of which there is any record was for Mary Robinson, the actress. Mrs. Robinson was born in 1758, and so was four years older than his Royal Highness, who was seventeen when he first saw her. Mrs. Robinson, née Darby, was the daughter of the captain of a Bristol whaler, and she received a decent education. She was able to write poems, and later to compose her own Recollections. She was a very pretty girl, and when it became necessary for her to earn her own living her thoughts turned to the stage. At Oxford House, Marylebone, which was her “finishing school,” the dancing

, master was Hussey, who was also ballet-master at Covent Garden Theatre. He interested himself in the girl, and made her known to Arthur Murphy, the actor and dramatist, and to others likely to further her desire to go on the stage. Her gift for recitation so much impressed Thomas Hall, one of the managers of Covent Garden, that he introduced her to David Garrick. He even, at least, so the lady says, offered to let her make her first appearance as Cordelia to his Lear.

Her début, however, was postponed—it looked as if it might be indefinitely-for when she was in her sixteenth year she married Thomas Robinson, who had been at Harrow at the same time as Sheridan, and was then serving as clerk to an attorney. Robinson, who had a passion for genteel society, soon ran through what small means he had, and presently found himself, with his wife and daughter, in a debtor's prison. Mrs. Robinson now collected her poems, and in 1775, through the good offices of the Duchess of Devonshire, contrived to find a publisher for the little volume of verses. But not even in the eighteenth century would a couple of volumes of verses keep a mother and child, and so her thoughts reverted to the stage. Garrick, though on the eve of his retirement, again interested himself in her, and soon after he left the stage she, through the help of Sheridan, secured a lucrative engagement at Drury Lane.

She made her first appearance in December 1776 as Juliet, and during the next few years played many leading parts. Her beauty attracted many men-about-town, and, as an actress in those days was regarded as fair game, she received much attention. “I was addressed with proposals of a libertine nature by a royal duke, a lofty marquis, and a city merchant of considerable fortune, conveyed through the medium of milliners, mantua makers, etc., etc.,” she has recorded. Robinson apparently was entirely unconcerned as to her mode of life, so long as she kept him in funds. There is her own authority for the fact that she rejected scornfully all overtures, even those of the “ royal duke.” It remained for the Heir-Apparent to overcome her scruples.

On December 3, 1779, Mrs. Robinson played Perdita in Garrick's version of A Winter's Tale, at Drury Lane. “I hurried through the first scene, not without embarrassment, owing to the fixed attention with which the Prince of Wales honoured me. Indeed, some flattering remarks which were made by His Royal Highness met my ear as I stood near his box, and I was overwhelmed with confusion," so runs the lady's account of this memorable evening. “The Prince's particular attention was observed by everyone. . . . On the last courtsey, the royal family condescendingly returned a bow to the

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performers, but just as the curtain was falling my eyes met those of the Prince of Wales, and with a look I shall never forget, he gently inclined his head a second time. I felt the compliment, and blushed my gratitude. On my return home, I had a party to supper, and the whole conversation centred in encomiums on the person, graces, amiable manners of the illustrious Heir-Apparent.”

This was only the beginning. The Prince followed up the advantage which the favourable impression he had made gave him. Lord Malden (afterwards fifth Earl of Essex) called on Mrs. Robinson, and presented her with a note, containing “only a few words, but these expressive of more than common civility.” The billet was addressed to “ Perdita,” and signed “Florizel.”

This was the beginning of a correspondence, but it was some months before a meeting was arranged. It was not easy to fix a rendezvous, but at last they forgathered one evening in the moonlight on the banks of the Thames opposite Kew Palace. For a little the lady was obdurate -but not for too long. “The graces of his person, the irresistible sweetness of his smile, the tenderness of his melodious yet manly voice, will be remembered by me till every vision of this changing scene shall be forgotten," wrote Mrs. Robinson. For some time the lovers met clandestinely; but when, in 1781, the Prince was given an establishment at Buckingham House they went about publicly. Then“ Florizel "grew tired of “ Perdita," and she was given her congé by letter. “Only two days previous to this letter being written I had seen the Prince at Kew," moaned the lady in her Memoirs, " and his affection appeared to be as boundless as it was undiminished.”

Perdita " Robinson did not take her dismissal without



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