By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Women of History - Selected from the Writings of Standard Authors
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Women of History - Selected from the Writings of Standard Authors" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's note:

Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

The illustrations of Queens Elizabeth, Mary, and Anne were accompanied
by a reproduction of the royal signature below the illustration and its
caption. This has been denoted in the text version by the annotation:
"(reproduction of signature of Queen ----)."

The following changes were made to repair apparently typographical

      p.41 "incantations to recal her spirit" recal changed to recall
      p.67 "seducing Althelwold into a" Althelwold changed to Athelwold
      p.195 "her, and did not like it." closing quotation mark added
      p.211 "discriminative in the extinct eulogies" extinct changed to
      p.227 "than two hundred Scotticisms." closing quotation mark added
      p.227 "compositions of Metastasio." closing quotation mark added
      p.233 "anyrate no common phenomenon" anyrate changed to any rate
      p.236 "BORN 1750. DIED 1728." 1728 changed to 1828
      p.240 "BORN 1758. DIED 1848." 1758 changed to 1750
      p.240 "ninty-seventh anniversary of her" ninty changed to ninety
      p.270 "in 1709, after a visit the poetess" 1709 changed to 1809
      p.303 "what she eat during these last six weeks" eat changed
             to ate

The biography of Jane Shore refers to Edward the Fifth. This should
probably be Edward the Fourth.

  [Illustration: From a Miniature by Holbein in the Collection of Samuel
   Rogers Esq.

   (reproduction of signature of Queen Elizabeth)]



      BY THE

      "_Biography is the most universally pleasant and universally
      profitable of all reading._"




Women of History is a further development of the idea which suggested
the companion volume, MEN OF HISTORY, viz.: "To exhibit views of the
world's great men and women, as set forth in the best words of the best
authors--to convey, as it were, at once impressions of History and
Literature, and lessons in Biography and Style."

In the present case, it has not been considered necessary to attempt a
classification of the subjects in the manner followed in the preceding
volume, from the fact that the feelings and motives which generally
influence the lives of celebrated women are of a nature different from
those of the opposite sex, and from the consequent want of a standard
sufficiently distinct to adhere to. A chronological arrangement,
however, has been adopted, which, it is hoped, will to a considerable
extent supply the want of classification.



      LUCRETIA,                               _Bayle_,                 9

      SAPPHO,                                 _Mure_,                 12

      ASPASIA OF PERICLES,                    _Grote_,                16

      XANTIPPE,                               _Brucker_,              20

      ASPASIA OF CYRUS,                       _Bayle_,                22

      CORNELIA, THE MOTHER OF THE GRACCHI,    _Plutarch_,             25

      PORTIA,                                 _Plutarch_,             28

      OCTAVIA,                                _Bayle_,                31

      CLEOPATRA,                              _Merivale_,             34

      MARIAMNE,                               _Merivale_,             39

      JULIA DOMNA,                            _Gibbon_,               41

      ZENOBIA,                                _Gibbon_,               43

      VALERIA,                                _Gibbon_,               47

      EUDOCIA,                                _Gibbon_,               50

      HYPATIA,                                _Brucker_,              54

      THE WIFE OF MAXIMUS,                    _Gibbon_,               57

      THE LADY ROWENA,                        _Verstegan_,            60

      OLGA,                                   _Gibbon_,               62

      THE LADY ELFRIDA,                       _Hume_,                 65

      THE COUNTESS OF TRIPOLI,                _Sismondi_,             68

      JANE, COUNTESS OF MOUNTFORT,            _Hume_,                 70

      LAURA DE SADE,                          _Sismondi_,             74

      THE COUNTESS OF RICHMOND,               _Tytler_,               77

      ELIZABETH WOODVILLE,                    _Hume_,                 79

      JOAN OF ARC,                            _De Quincey_,           81

      JANE SHORE,                             _Hume_,                 85

      CATHARINE OF ARRAGON,                   _Tytler_,               88

      ANNE BOLEYN,                            _Tytler_,               91

      MARGARET ROPER,                         _Ballard_,              94

      ELIZABETH LUCAS,                        _Ballard_,              97

      GASPARA STAMPA,                         _Hallam_,               99

      ANNE ASKEW,                             _Hume_,                102

      QUEEN ELIZABETH,                        _Hume--Macaulay_,      105

      LADY JANE GREY,                         _Hume_,                110

      TARQUINIA MOLZA,                        _Hilarion de Coste_,   114

      MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS,                   _Robertson_,           117

      GABRIELLE D'ESTREES,                    _Davenport Adams_,     120

      ANNE, DUCHESS OF PEMBROKE,              _Bishop Rainbow_,      125

      ESTHER INGLIS,                          _Ballard_,             128

      MARGARET, DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE,         _Ballard_,             131

      LADY PAKINGTON,                         _Ballard_,             133

      NOOR MAHAL,                             _James Mill_,          136

      POCAHONTAS,                             _Dr Hugh Murray_,      139

      LUCY HUTCHINSON,                        _Jeffrey_,             143

      LADY FANSHAWE,                          _Jeffrey_,             146

      DOROTHY OSBORNE,                        _Macaulay_,            148

      CATHERINE PHILIPS,                      _Ballard_,             151

      MADAME DE MAINTENON,                    _St Simon_,            154

      COUNTESS DE GRAMMONT,                   _Count A. Hamilton_,   157

      MADEMOISELLE DE LA VALLIERE,            _Davenport Adams_,     161

      MADAME DACIER,                          _Hallam_,              164

      LADY MASHAM,                            _Ballard_,             166

      ANNE KILLIGREW,                         _Ballard_,             169

      QUEEN ANNE,                             _Miss Strickland_,     172

      ESTHER JOHNSON,                         _Jeffrey_,             177

      ESTHER VANHOMRIGH,                      _Sir Walter Scott_,    181

      MARY ASTELL,                            _Ballard_,             185

      MADAME DES URSINS,                      _St Simon_,            188

      LADY GRIZEL JERVISWOODE,                _Anderson_,            192

      MADAME DE PONTCHARTRAIN,                _St Simon_,            196

      ELIZABETH HALKETT,                      _Conolly_,             198

      LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU,              _Jeffrey_,             200

      MADAME DU DEFFAND,                      _Jeffrey_,             204

      PHOEBE BENTLEY,                         _Cumberland_,          207

      MARQUISE DU CHATELET,                   _Professor Craik_,     208

      LADY HUNTINGDON,                        _Isaac Taylor_,        211

      MARIA THERESA,                          _Carlyle_,             214

      META MOLLER,                            _Letters_,             217

      ELIZABETH BLACKWELL,                    _James Bruce_,         221

      LÆTITIA BARBAULD,                       _Johnstone_,           224

      HANNAH MORE,                            _Professor Craik_,     226

      ANNA SEWARD,                            _Sir Walter Scott_,    229

      CATHERINE COCKBURN,                     _Professor Craik_,     232

      ELIZABETH BERKELEIGH,                   _Temple Bar_,          236

      CAROLINE HERSCHEL,                      _Professor Craik_,     240

      MADAME D'ARBLAY,                        _Macaulay_,            242

      MADAME ROLAND,                          _Carlyle_,             245

      MARIE ANTOINETTE,                       _Carlyle_,             248

      SARAH SIDDONS,                          _Cunningham_,          252

      MRS GRANT,                              _Professor Craik_,     256

      ELIZABETH INCHBALD,                     _Cunningham_,          260

      ELIZABETH HAMILTON,                     _Professor Craik_,     263

      COUNTESS DE VEMIEIRO,                   _Sismondi_,            267

      JOANNA BAILLIE,                         _Professor Spalding_   269

      JOSEPHINE,                              _Alison_,              271

      ANNE RADCLIFFE,                         _Edinburgh Review_,    273

      MISS EDGEWORTH,                         _Jeffrey_,             276

      CHARLOTTE CORDAY,                       _Carlyle_,             279

      MADAME DE STAEL,                        _Jeffrey_,             283

      MADAME DE LA ROCHEJAQUELEIN,            _Jeffrey_,             286

      MADAME RECAMIER,                        _Davenport Adams_,     290

      MARY BRUNTON,                           _Dr Brunton_,          293

      FELICIA HEMANS,                         _Jeffrey_,             297

      AUGUSTINA SARAGOZA,                     _Alison_,              299

      CHARLOTTE BRONTE,                       _Mrs Gaskell_,         301



[B.C. 500.]


A Roman dame, illustrious for her beauty and the nobleness of her birth,
and more for her virtue. She was married to one Collatinus, a relative
of Tarquin, king of Rome. Her tragic story runs thus: Tarquin, not
having been able to render himself master of the town of Ardea so
promptly as he had calculated, besieged it in form, and the languidness
of the operation comported very well with the inclination of the princes
to amuse themselves in the way princes are in the habit of doing. At one
of the suppers given by Sextus to his two brothers, and to Collatinus
their kinsman, a question was raised, not as to the beauty of their
mistresses, as is the custom in our day, but as to that of their
respective wives. Each maintained that his wife was fairer than those of
his companions; and the dispute rising high, Collatinus suggested a
means of terminating it. "What is the use of so many words," said he,
"we can in a very short time have the proof of the superiority of my
Lucretia. Let us mount our horses; let us surprise our wives; and the
decision of our question will be the more easy that they are not
prepared for us." Inflamed by wine, the princes accepted the proposal,
and they rode to Rome at the top of their horses' speed. They there
found sitting at table the fair daughters of Tarquin, who were engaged
in pleasure with companions of their own age. They next went to
Collatium; and though it was now late at night, they found Lucretia in
the midst of her servants, engaged in needlework. They all agreed that
she carried off the palm, and thereupon returned to the camp; but
Sextus, without uttering a word of his purpose, found his way secretly
back to Collatium, and was received by Lucretia with that attention and
civility that was due to the eldest son of the king, and without the
slightest suspicion that he entertained any purpose other than what was
honest and good.

After he had supped, he was conducted to the chamber intended for
him--not to sleep, for he had other intentions. As soon as he thought
that all had repaired to their beds, he stept, sword in hand, into the
private chamber of the unsuspecting Lucretia, and after having
threatened to kill her if she made any noise, he told her his
passion--bringing to serve his purpose prayers the most tender, and
menaces the most terrible; in short, employing all the arts by which an
impassioned man might attack the heart of a woman. All was in vain:
Lucretia was firm, and persisted in her firmness, altogether undismayed
by the fear of death; but she trembled at the threat which he made to
expose her to the last infamy of woman. He declared that, after
despatching her, he would kill a slave, put his dead body on her bed,
and make it be believed that the double murder had been the punishment
of the adultery in which they had been surprised. Having accomplished
his purpose, he retired, as pleased with himself and as proud of his
triumph as if it had been a feat of honest war, and all conformable to
the rules of gallantry.

Plunged in the deepest grief, Lucretia sent a message to her father, who
was at Rome, and her husband, who was at the siege, praying that they
might come to her immediately. They obeyed the message; she straightway
informed them of all the circumstances of her dishonour, and entreated
them to revenge her wrong. They promised that they would comply with her
request, and set about endeavouring to console her by what means that
were within their power; but she resisted all their efforts of
consolation, and, drawing forth a dagger which she had concealed in her
clothes, she plunged it into her heart. Brutus, who was present at this
spectacle, found in it an occasion for which he had longed to deliver
Rome from the tyranny of Tarquin, and he made such excellent use of it,
that the royalty was abolished.


[B.C. 568.]


According to established data, the more brilliant portion of Sappho's
career may be placed in the first half of the sixth century before
Christ, while her childhood and early youth belong to the close of the
seventh. Her birthplace, according to the more trustworthy authorities,
was Mitylene, the metropolis of the isle of Lesbos. Others make her a
native of the neighbouring town of Eresus. Whether Sappho was ever
married is doubtful; but the balance of evidence is strongly on the
negative side of the question. She is familiarly alluded to by Horace as
the "Lesbian maiden;" nor is there any notice of a husband, but on a
single recent and very questionable authority, where the broadly
indecent etymology of the names, both of the man on whom the honour is
conferred, and of his birthplace, sufficiently proves them to be
fictitious. How far the circumstance of her having had a daughter can be
considered as admissible evidence of her having been married, is a point
the settlement of which must depend on a closer inquiry into her moral
habits. That such was the fact, however, is stated on respectable
authority. The name assigned to the maiden is Cleis, the same as that of
Sappho's reputed mother.

Sappho is described, by the only authors who have transmitted any
distinct notices on the subject, as not distinguished for personal
beauty, but as short of stature, and of dark, it may be understood
swarthy, complexion. The laudatory commonplace of kalë, or "fair," which
Plato and others incidentally connect with her name, no way militates
against this account, as implying nothing more, perhaps less, than does
the English phrase by which the Greek epithet has above been rendered,
and which is as frequently bestowed in familiar usage on plain as on
handsome women. Alcæus describes her simply as "dark haired" and
"sweetly smiling." No notice is taken of her actual beauty, which an
admiring lover would hardly have passed over in silence had it offered
matter for warmer eulogy.

Of the extent to which Sappho was brought under the sway of the tender
passion which, in one shape or other, formed the theme, with little
exception, of her collective works, sufficient evidence exists in her
only remaining entire composition, the first ode in the published
collections. She there describes herself, in the most touching and
impassioned strains, as the victim of an unrequited love, and implores
the aid of Venus to ease her pangs by melting the heart of the obdurate
or inconstant object of her affection. The person to whom this ode is
supposed to refer, or who at least obtained, in the popular tradition,
the chief and longest sway over the affections of Sappho, was a Lesbian
youth called Phaon, distinguished for his personal attractions and
irresistible power over the female heart. For a time he is described as
having corresponded to her ardour; but, after cohabiting with her during
some years, he deserted her, leaving her in a state of despair, for
which the only remedy that suggested itself was that habitually resorted
to in such cases--a leap from the summit of the Leucadian promontory
into the sea. That she actually carried this purpose into effect was the
popular opinion of antiquity, from the age, at least, of Menander
downwards, and seems to have passed current as an authentic fact, even
with the more intelligent authorities.

Both these points in the history of the poetess, her love for Phaon, and
her leap from the Leucadian cliff, have been questioned with more or
less plausibility by distinguished critics of the present age. In
respect to the first, it has been denied not only that Phaon was the
name of the hero of this tragical drama, but that such a person ever
existed. The Leucadian leap of Sappho, though ranked by various modern
commentators, like the name of her lover, among the mythical elements of
her biography, will not perhaps be found, on a critical estimate of the
circumstances connected with it, to offer any serious ground of

Sappho, in the portrait of her character jointly exhibited in her own
works and in the notices of her more candid and intelligent countrymen,
appears as a woman of a generous disposition, affectionate heart, and
independent spirit, unless when brought under the sway of those tender
passions, which lorded over every other influence in her bosom. Of a
naturally ardent and excitable temperament, she seems from her earliest
years to have been habituated to the enjoyments rather than to the
duties, much less the restraints, of Greek female life. Her chief or
early occupations were the exercise and display of her brilliant
poetical talents and elegant accomplishments; and her voluptuous habits
are testified by almost every extant fragment of her poems. Her
susceptibility to the passion of love formed, above all, the dominant
feature of her life, her character, and her muse. Her indulgence,
however, of this, as of every other appetite, sensual or intellectual,
while setting at nought all moral restraints, was marked by her own
peculiar refinement of taste, exclusive of every approach to low excess
or profligacy.

In the portrait presented to us by the popular authorities of the
present day, all the less favourable features of the above sketch are
effaced; while the colouring of the remainder has been heightened to a
dazzling extreme of beauty and brilliancy, exhibiting a model of
perfection, physical and moral, such as was never probably exemplified
in woman, and least of all in the prioress of an association of votaries
of Venus and the Muses, in one of the most voluptuous states of Greece.
The following is the summary of her various excellences, given by one of
the popular organs of this amiable but fallacious theory: "In Sappho, a
warm and profound sensibility, virgin purity, feminine softness, and
delicacy of sentiment and feeling, were combined with the native probity
and simplicity of the Æolian character; and, although endued with a fine
perception of the beautiful and brilliant, she preferred genuine
conscious rectitude to every other source of human enjoyment."


[B.C. 470.]


Aspasia, daughter of Axiochus, was a native of Miletus, beautiful,
well-educated, and ambitious. She resided at Athens, and is affirmed,
though upon very doubtful evidence, to have kept slave-girls to be let
out as courtesans. Whatever may be the case with this report, which is
probably one of the scandals engendered by political animosity against
Pericles, it is certain that, so remarkable were her own fascinations,
her accomplishments, and her powers, not merely of conversation, but
even of oratory and criticism, that the most distinguished Athenians of
all ages and characters--Socrates among the number--visited her, and
several of them took their wives along with them to hear her also. The
free citizen-women of Athens lived in strict and almost Oriental
recluseness, as well after being married as when single: everything
which concerned their lives, their happiness, or their rights, was
determined or managed for them by male relatives; and they seem to have
been destitute of all mental culture and accomplishments. Their society
presented no charm nor interest, which men accordingly sought for in the
company of the class of women called Hetæræ, or courtesans, literally
female companions who lived a free life, managed their own affairs, and
supported themselves by their powers of pleasing. These women were
numerous, and were doubtless of every variety of personal character; but
the most distinguished and superior among them, such as Aspasia and
Theodote, appear to have been the only women in Greece, except the
Spartan, who either inspired strong passion or exercised mental

Pericles had been determined in his choice of a wife by those family
considerations which were held almost obligatory at Athens, and had
married a woman very nearly related to him, by whom he had two sons,
Xanthippus and Paralus. But the marriage, having never been comfortable,
was afterwards dissolved by mutual consent, according to that full
liberty of divorce which the Attic law permitted, and Pericles concurred
with his wife's male relations (who formed her legal guardians) in
giving her away to another husband. He then took Aspasia to live with
him; had a son by her, who bore his name; and continued ever afterwards
on terms of the greatest intimacy and affection with her. Without
adopting those exaggerations which represent Aspasia as having
communicated to Pericles his distinguished eloquence, or even as having
herself composed orations for public delivery, we may well believe her
to have been qualified to take interest and share in that literary and
philosophical society which frequented the house of Pericles, and which
his unprincipled son Xanthippus, disgusted with his father's regular
expenditure as withholding from him the means of supporting an
extravagant establishment, reported abroad with exaggerated calumnies,
and turned into derision. It was from that worthless young man, who died
of the Athenian epidemic during the lifetime of Pericles, that his
political enemies and the comic writers of the day were mainly furnished
with scandalous anecdotes to assail the private habits of this
distinguished man. The comic writers attacked him for alleged intrigues
with different women; but the name of Aspasia they treated as public
property, without any mercy or reserve: she was the Omphale, the
Dejanira, or the Here, to the great Heracles or Zeus of Athens. At
length one of these comic writers, Hermippus, not contented with scenic
attacks, indicted her before the dikastery for impiety, as participant
in the philosophical discussions held, and the opinions professed, in
the society of Pericles by Anaxagoras and others. Against Anaxagoras
himself, too, a similar indictment is said to have been preferred,
either by Cleon or by Thucydides, son of Milesias, under a general
resolution recently passed in the public assembly at the instance of
Diopeithes. And such was the sensitive antipathy of the Athenian public,
shown afterwards fatally in the case of Socrates, and embittered in this
instance by all the artifices of political faction, against philosophers
whose opinions conflicted with the received religious dogmas, that
Pericles did not dare to place Anaxagoras on his trial. The latter
retired from Athens, and a sentence of banishment was passed against him
in his absence. But Pericles himself defended Aspasia before the
dikastery: in fact, the indictment was as much against him as against
her. One thing alleged against her, and also against Pheidias, was the
reception of free women to facilitate the intrigues of Pericles.

He defended her successfully, and procured a verdict of acquittal; but
we are not surprised to hear that his speech was marked by the strongest
personal emotions, and even by tears. The dikasts were accustomed to
such appeals to their sympathies, sometimes even to extravagant excess,
from ordinary accused persons; but in Pericles, so manifest an outburst
of emotion stands out as something quite unparalleled, for constant
self-mastery was one of the most prominent features in his character.


[B.C. 390.]


The woman who could teach Socrates the virtue of patience deserves to be
remembered. Xantippe, concerning whom writers relate so many amusing
tales, was certainly a woman of a high and unmanageable spirit. But
Socrates, while he endeavoured to curb the violence of her temper,
improved his own. When Alcibiades expressed his surprise that his friend
could bear to live in the same house with so perverse and quarrelsome a
companion, Socrates replied, that being daily inured to ill-humour at
home, he was the better prepared to encounter perverseness and injury
abroad. After all, however, it is probable that the infirmities of this
good woman have been exaggerated, and that calumny has had some hand in
finishing her picture; for Socrates himself, in a dialogue with his son
Lamprocles, allows her many domestic virtues, and we find her afterwards
expressing great affection for her husband during his imprisonment. She
must, indeed, have been as deficient in understanding as she was froward
in disposition, if she had not profited by the daily lessons which for
twenty years she received from such a master.

News being at length brought of the return of the ship from Delos, the
officers to whose care Socrates was committed, delivered to him early
in the morning the final order for his execution, and immediately,
according to the law, set him at liberty from his bonds. His friends,
who came early to the prison that they might have an opportunity of
conversing with their master through the day, found his wife sitting by
him with a child in her arms. As soon as Xantippe saw them, she burst
into tears and said, "Oh, Socrates, this is the last time your friends
will ever speak to you, or you to them." Socrates, that the tranquillity
of his last moments might not be disturbed by her unavailing
lamentations, requested that she might be conducted home. With the most
frantic expressions of grief, she left the prison. An interesting
conversation then passed between Socrates and his friends, which chiefly
turned upon the immortality of the soul. After a short interval, during
which he gave some necessary instructions to his domestics, and took his
last leave of his children, the attendant of the prison informed him
that the time for drinking the poison was come. The executioner, though
accustomed to such scenes, shed tears as he presented the fatal cup.
Socrates received it without change of countenance, or the least
appearance of perturbation; then, offering up a prayer to the gods that
they would grant him a prosperous passage into the invisible world, with
perfect composure he swallowed the poisonous draught. His friends around
him burst into tears. Socrates alone remained unmoved. He upbraided
their pusillanimity, and entreated them to exercise a manly constancy
worthy of the friends of virtue. He continued walking till the chilling
operation of the hemlock obliged him to lie down upon his bed. Then,
covering himself with his cloak, he expired.


[B.C. 421.]


This celebrated woman was of Photia, and daughter of one Hermotomus.
According to the portrait left us by Ælian, she was very accomplished,
both in body and mind. Her name, before she went to Cyrus, was Milto,
for which the king substituted that of the famous mistress of Pericles.
Her rearing under her father, who lost her mother when the child was
born, was proportioned to his limited means; and, when very young, she
was the cause of a peculiar grief to him, insomuch as, while she was
extremely beautiful, she was rendered almost hideous by a tumour which
grew upon her chin. The doctor to whom her father had sent her to get
the tumour removed, returned the patient in the same condition in which
she went, for the reason that he had got no fee; and Milto was
consequently plunged in grief, every now and then examining her face in
the mirror. It was said that she discovered in a dream the means of her
cure; and when this was accomplished, her features were restored to
their natural proportions, so that she became the fairest maiden of her
time. She has been represented as having blonde hair, with a natural
curl; large eyes; a nose slightly aquiline; small ears; a delicate skin,
partaking of the rose and the lily; red lips; pearly teeth; her legs
and arms formed in perfection; and a voice so mellifluous as to rival
that of the sirens. These qualities, which were the gift of nature, were
unadorned by artifice, for neither the inclination nor the ability of
her father permitted of extraneous decoration.

It happened that some of those officers who commanded under Cyrus, son
of the king of Persia, had observed Milto, and, considering her charms,
sent her, against her own consent and that of her father, to their
master, along with some other beautiful girls of Greek descent. When
they presented her to Cyrus, he rose from the table and proceeded to
amuse her by endeavouring to get her to drink according to the custom of
the country. The three Greek girls who were with her were not of the
humour of Milto; for, retaining in remembrance the instructions of their
nurses, they played the _rôle_ allotted to them, allowing themselves to
be decked out for the occasion, and manifesting pleasure when Cyrus
approached them, caressed them, or kissed them. They even vied with each
other in the success of their powers of attraction; but Milto exhibited
so much repugnance to the usage to which she had been so strangely
destined, that it was not without force that she was made to submit to
the necessary decoration of her person. Nor when these others were
enjoying themselves with the mirth and laughter of their emulation to
please the prince, did Milto cease to weep, not daring even to lift her
eyes, in the shame of the situation in which she found herself placed.
When Cyrus would request any of the others to sit near him, the request
did not require to be repeated; but as for Aspasia, she paid no
attention to it. While they allowed him to fondle them, she resisted
even the touch of his finger, and used menaces in her defence, in the
way of offended women. At length Cyrus put his hand upon her, when,
rising indignantly from the table, she endeavoured to escape. But Cyrus
did justice to her virtue, declaring that of all the girls who had been
sent him, she alone had displayed the beauty of innocence and modesty;
and he thenceforth loved her more than he had done any other woman.

Nor was it only by the qualities of her person that Aspasia exercised an
influence over Cyrus: she ruled him also by her counsels. He consulted
her on all occasions, even on the most difficult subjects, and never had
cause to repent the advice which she offered him. It was indeed
difficult to say whether she excelled more in the gifts of her person or
those of her mind; and as influence such as hers goes a great way, she
might have swayed the sovereignty if she had had greater mind to such
kind of ambition. As for all that concerns rank and dignity, she was
treated by Cyrus as his legitimate queen; and so far as could be known,
he limited his affections to Aspasia, and her alone; so we might cease
to wonder if this grand elevation of a poor Greek girl should make a
noise at the court of the great king. Nor was this reputation of small
service to her; for after Cyrus was slain, Aspasia was diligently sought
after by Artaxerxes. She was found sorrowful and desolate, and it was
not without resistance that she allowed herself to be dressed in the
habit which he had sent her. At the first interview, Artaxerxes fell
deep in love with her; but it was long before she could be prevailed
upon to return his affection.


[B.C. 230.]


Tiberius Gracchus, though once honoured with the censorship, twice with
the consulate, and led up two triumphs, yet derived still greater
dignity from his virtues. Hence, after the death of that Scipio who
conquered Hannibal, he was thought worthy to marry Cornelia, the
daughter of that great man, though he had not been upon any terms of
friendship with him, but rather always at variance. It is said that he
once caught a pair of serpents upon his bed, and that the soothsayers,
after they had considered the prodigy, advised him neither to kill them
both, nor let them both go. If he killed the male serpent, they told him
his death would be the consequence; if the female, that of Cornelia.
Tiberius, who loved his wife, and thought it more suitable for him to
die first who was much older than she, killed the male, and set the
female at liberty. Not long after this he died, leaving Cornelia with no
fewer than twelve children.

The care of the house and the children now entirely devolved upon
Cornelia, and she behaved with such sobriety, so much parental affection
and greatness of mind, that Tiberius seemed not to have judged ill in
choosing to die for so valuable a woman. For though Ptolemy, king of
Egypt, paid his addresses to her, and offered her a share in his
throne, she refused him. During her widowhood she lost all her children
except three, one daughter, who was married to Scipio the younger, and
two sons, Tiberius and Caius. Cornelia brought them up with so much
care, that though they were without dispute of the noblest family, and
had the happiest genius and disposition of all the Roman youth, yet
education was allowed to have contributed more to their perfection than
nature. When her son Tiberius entered upon those public employments
which plunged the family into so many misfortunes, some blamed his
mother Cornelia, who used to reproach her sons, that she was still
called the mother-in-law of Scipio, not the mother of the Gracchi.

Cornelia is reported to have borne all her misfortunes, including the
murder of her two sons, with a noble magnanimity, and to have said of
the consecrated places, in particular where her sons lost their lives,
that "they were monuments worthy of them." She took up her residence at
Misenum, and made no alteration in her manner of living. As she had many
friends, her table was always open for the purposes of hospitality.
Greeks, and other men of letters, she had always with her; and all the
kings in alliance with Rome expressed their regard by sending her
presents, and receiving the like civilities in return. She made herself
very agreeable to her guests, by acquainting them with many particulars
of her father Africanus, and his manner of living. But what they most
admired in her was, that she could speak of her sons without a sigh or a
tear, and recount their actions and sufferings as if she had been giving
a narrative of some heroes. Some, therefore, imagined that age and the
greatness of her misfortunes had deprived her of her understanding and
sensibility. But those who are of that opinion seem rather to have
wanted understanding themselves, since they knew not how much a noble
mind may, by a liberal education, be enabled to support itself against
distress, and that though, in the pursuit of rectitude, fortune may
often defeat the purposes of virtue, yet virtue, in bearing affliction,
can never lose her prerogative.


[B.C. 42.]


Portia, the daughter of Cato of Utica, was learned in philosophy, had a
great and lofty spirit, joined to good sense and remarkable prudence.
She was much attached to her husband Brutus. Of this latter one
extraordinary instance is on record. She had reason to know that
something weighed heavily on the mind of her husband, but she did not
wish to interrogate him until she could prove by experience what she was
able to suffer in her own person. With this view she took a small
instrument with which the barbers of the time used to pare the nails;
and, having dismissed from her presence her woman and servants, she
inflicted a deep wound in her thigh, with the consequence of a great
effusion of blood. The severe pain threw her into a fever, and Brutus
having been thrown thereby into great grief, she addressed him
thus:--"I, the daughter of Cato, was given to you, Brutus, not to be a
partner of your bed and table only as a concubine, but to be the
personal sharer in your fortunes, whether good or bad. As to your part
of our contract of marriage, I have no cause to complain; but, on my
side, what proof have I to offer of my devotedness to you, and how I
could prove my love to you, if I did not know how to bear with constancy
a secret infliction or a misfortune, which there might be any reason
for keeping from the knowledge of others? I know that the feeble nature
of women unfits them for keeping a secret; but good training, Brutus,
and the conversation of good and virtuous people, exercise an influence
over women's minds; and, as for me, I have that advantage in being the
daughter of Cato and the wife of Brutus. Yet even to that I could not
trust myself, until I had satisfied myself by experience that I was
myself superior to pain and suffering." And having finished these words,
she showed him her wound, and told him how she had inflicted it to prove
herself. Brutus was astonished when he heard these words; and, lifting
up his hands, prayed heaven for success to his enterprise, that he might
be worthy of such a wife as Portia, whom he accordingly proceeded to
comfort according to his power.

Soon afterwards Cæsar was killed, and Brutus, despairing of a fortunate
issue to the affair, resolved to quit Italy, and so betook himself on
foot to Elia, situated on the sea-board. There Portia, being to part
from him and return to Rome, she tried to conceal the sorrow which
preyed upon her heart; nor would she have failed in this, had not a
picture which she saw proved too much for her resolution. The subject
was taken from the Greek history, where Andromache accompanied Hector to
that part of the city from which he was to issue for the war, and the
representation included the incident, that while Hector returned into
her hands their infant, the eyes of Andromache were fixed upon him. The
similarity of the position of the parties to her own forced her to weep,
and every time she returned to take another look, the tears burst again
from her eyes.

When she heard of her husband's death, Portia made up her mind to die,
and her intention by some means having become known to her friends,
they watched her that they might avert so fearful a catastrophe; but she
found means to elude their surveillance, and the device was strange. She
snatched from the fire a handful of red-hot charcoal, and forcing it
into her mouth, which, with wonderful resolution, she held firmly shut,
she was choked to death.


[B.C. 11.]


The grand-niece of Julius Cæsar and sister of Augustus, was one of the
most illustrious dames of ancient Rome. She was married first to
Claudius Marcellus, who was consul in the year of Rome 704; and very
soon after his death she married Marc Antony, a union very much desired
by the friends of both the parties, as likely to conciliate Antony and
Cæsar, and thereby promote peace. Octavia, herself a highly virtuous
woman, was well formed to promote this desirable object; but her husband
afterwards so completely abandoned himself to his passion for Cleopatra,
that he seemed to have lost all rational control over himself. Before he
fell under this slavery of an unholy love, Octavia by her counsels
exercised much power over him for good; but now matters were changed,
and he left her in Italy, when in 717 he sailed from Tarentum for the
East. Some time after, she went forth upon the world to try to find him;
but having learned from letters received from him that he desired she
should stop at Athens, she arrested her steps at that city, even while
she was aware that he was merely deceiving and laughing at her. She then
returned to Rome, but would not, though recommended by Augustus, remove
from the house of her husband; there she remained, taking upon her
domestic cares and managing all things as if she still had in the
faithless Antony an object of admiration. She evinced towards his
children by Fulvia, his former wife, the same affection she had hitherto
shown them, and reared and educated them with the same vigilance. She
was willing to suffer all, but that the injuries she received at the
hands of her husband should be the cause of a civil war, and in
subsequently obeying his command to leave his house, her only regret was
that she saw that it would be held to be the cause of political
commotion. By such conduct she injured the character of Antony, even
while she was not aware of the effects of her conduct; for the natural
consequence was an increase of the indignation and contempt for the man
who could leave such a woman for such another as Cleopatra.

The war which followed terminated, as every one knows, by the entire
ruin of Marc Antony. Subsequently fortune seemed to promise Octavia a
high measure of happiness. She had a son of great promise, who married
the daughter of Augustus, and was viewed as the heir of the Empire; but
he died in the flower of his age, and this was a shock to Octavia for
which she would receive no consolation. She plunged herself into
solitude and incurable melancholy. She could bear to see no image of
Marcellus her son, nor even to hear his name mentioned. Hating all
mothers, she raved principally against Livia, to whose son passed the
honours and glory that were promised to her own. Sunk in darkness and
solitude, she would not even see her brother Augustus, nor would she
hear the songs of praise which had been offered to the many virtues of
the son she had so dearly loved. Not even the glory of her brother had
any influence in ameliorating her melancholy, if it was not that she
viewed his success with aversion; and thus segregated from all human
sympathies, she lived only in the exercise of the solemn offices of


[BORN B.C. 68. DIED B.C. 29.]


Her personal talents were indeed of the most varied kind; she was an
admirable singer and musician; she was skilled in many languages, and
possessed intellectual accomplishments rarely found among the staidest
of her sex, combined with the archness and humour of the lightest. She
exerted herself to pamper her lover's [Antony's] sensual appetites, to
stimulate his flagging interests by ingenious surprises, nor less to
gratify the revival of his nobler propensities with paintings and
sculptures, and works of literature. She encouraged him to take his seat
as gymnasiarch, or director of the public amusements, and even to vary
his debauches with philosophy and criticism. She amused him by sending
divers to fasten salt-fish to the bait of his angling-rod; and when she
had pledged herself to consume the value of ten millions of sesterces at
a meal, amazed him by dissolving, in the humble cup of vinegar set
before her, a pearl of inestimable price.

Her lover attended upon her in the forum, at the theatre, and the
tribunals; he rode with her, or followed her chariot on foot, escorted
by a train of eunuchs; at night he strolled with her through the city,
in the garb of a slave, and encountered abuse and blows from the rabble
of the streets; by day he wore the loose Persian robe, and girded
himself with the Median dagger, and he designated as his palace the
prætorium or general's apartment. Painters and sculptors were charged to
group the illustrious pair together, and the coins of the kingdom bore
the heads and names of both conjointly. The Roman legionary, with the
name of Cleopatra inscribed upon his shield, found himself transformed
into a Macedonian body-guard. Masques were presented at the court, in
which the versatile Plancus sank into the character of a stage buffoon,
and enacted the part of the sea-god Glaucus in curt cerulean vestments,
crowned with the feathery heads of the papyrus, and deformed with the
tail of a fish.

But when Cleopatra arrayed herself in the garb and usurped the
attributes of Isis, and invited her paramour to ape the deity Osiris,
the portentous travesty assumed a deeper significance. It had been the
policy of the Macedonian sovereigns to form an alliance between the
popular superstitions of their Greek and Egyptian subjects. Ptolemæus
Soter had prevailed on the native priesthood to sanction the
consecration of a new divinity, Serapis, who, if not really of Grecian
origin, was confidently identified by the Greeks with their own Pluto,
or perhaps with Zeus. The Macedonians had admitted with little scruple
their great hero's claims to be the offspring of Ammon, the king of
gods, who was worshipped in the Oasis of the desert. The notion that a
mere man might become exalted into union with deity, favoured by the
rationalising explanations of their popular mythology already current
among the learned, had gradually settled into an indulgent admission of
the royal right of apotheosis. Antony had assumed the character of
Bacchus at Athens. In the metropolis of Grecian scepticism this could
only be regarded as a drunken whim; but when he came forward in
Alexandria as the Nile-God Osiris, the Bacchus or fructifying power of
the Coptic mythology, he claimed as a present deity the veneration of
the credulous Egyptians.

Another scene follows the death of Antony. When the ceremonies of
interment were finished, Cleopatra allowed herself to be led to the
palace of her ancestors. Exhausted with fever by the vehemence of her
passionate mourning, she refused the care of her physician, and declared
that she would perish by hunger. Octavius [the conqueror of Antony] was
alarmed at the avowal of this desperate resolution. He could only
prevail upon her to protract her existence by the barbarous threat of
murdering her children. He held out also the hope of a personal
interview, and again her vanity whispered to her not yet to despair. The
artless charms of youth which, as she at least deemed, had enchained the
great Julius at a single interview, had long since passed away; the more
mature attractions which experience had taught her to cultivate for the
conquest of her second lover, might fail under the disastrous ravages of
so many years of indulgence and dissipation; but time had not blighted
her genius; her distresses claimed compassion; and from pity, she well
knew, there is but one step to love. In the retirement of the women's
apartments she decked her chamber with sumptuous magnificence, and threw
herself on a silken couch in the negligent attire of sickness and woe.
She clasped to her bosom the letters of her earliest admirer, and
surrounded herself with his busts and portraits, to make an impression
on the filial piety of one who claimed to inherit his conquests and
sympathise with his dearest interests. When the expected visitor
entered, she sprang passionately to meet him, and threw herself at his
feet; her eyes were red with weeping, her whole countenance was
disordered, her bosom heaved, and her voice trembled with emotion. The
marks of blows inflicted on her breast were visible in the disorder of
her clothing. She addressed him as her lord, and sighed as she
transferred to a stranger the sovereign title she had so long borne
herself, and which she had first received from her conqueror's father.

The young Roman acknowledged the charms of female beauty, and had often
surrendered to them; but he knew also his own power of resisting them,
which he had already sternly practised, and he now guarded himself
against her seductions by fixing his eyes obdurately on the ground.
Despairing of conquest, she threw herself upon his mercy, handed to him
the list of her treasures, and pleaded piteously for bare life. A slave,
interrogated and threatened perhaps with torture, declaring that some of
her effects were still withheld, she flew at him and tore his face with
her nails. Cleopatra had tasked her powers of fascination, and she knew
that they had failed. She heard without surprise that even within three
days she was to be conveyed away with her children, to adorn the
conqueror's triumph. She formed her plan with secresy and decision. She
directed her attendants to make ready for the voyage, and repaired with
her female companions to Antony's mausoleum. She gave orders for a
banquet to be served, and in the meanwhile embraced the dead man's bier,
and mingled her tears with the wine she poured upon it. Soon after, she
commanded all her attendants to leave her except her two favourite
women, Iras and Charmion, and at the same time she sent a sealed packet
to be delivered to Octavius. It contained only a brief and passionate
request to be buried with her lover. His first impulse was to rush to
the spot and prevent the catastrophe it portended; but in the next
moment the suspicion of a trick to excite his sympathy flashed across
him, and he contented himself with sending persons to inquire. The
messengers made all haste; but they arrived too late; the tragedy had
been acted out, and the curtain was falling. Bursting into the tomb,
they beheld Cleopatra lying dead on a golden couch in royal attire. Of
her two women, Iras was dying at her feet, and Charmion, with failing
strength, was replacing the diadem on her mistress's brow. The manner of
Cleopatra's death was never certainly known.


[B.C. 28.]


History hardly presents a more tragic situation than that of the devoted
Mariamne, the miserable object of a furious attachment on the part of
the monster [Herod the Great] who had slain before her eyes her uncle,
her brother, and her grandfather. Herod doted upon her beauty, in which
she bore away the palm from every princess of her time; the blood which
flowed in her veins secured to him the throne which he had raised upon
the ruins of her father's house; but her personal and political claims
upon the royal regard made her doubly obnoxious to the sister [Salome]
of the usurper, who felt alike humiliated by either. Mariamne was
imperious: she despised the meaner parentage both of Herod and Salome,
and was disgusted with the endearments of her husband, stained with the
blood of her murdered kinsmen. She rebuked him impetuously for his
barbarities, repelled his caresses, and denied him his rights over her
person, while she maintained inviolate against all others the dignity of
her conjugal virtue.

Herod was apprehensive of her influence with the people, to the
detriment of his own upstart family, and her resentment was inflamed by
discovering that he had given orders on leaving Judea, that she should
be put to death in the event of his being sacrificed by Octavius. There
was little need of artifice to effect the destruction of one who laid
herself open so fearlessly to the wrath of a tyrant, however he might be
besotted by his love. The foes of Mariamne pretended that she had
plotted to poison her husband. She was seized, examined, and sentence of
death formally passed upon her. The sentence may have been intended only
to intimidate her; but its execution was urged by the jealous passions
of Salome, and Herod's fears were worked upon till he consented to let
the blow fall. Her misery was crowned by the craven reproaches of her
mother Alexandra, who sought to escape partaking her fate by basely
cringing to the murderer. But she, the last daughter of a noble race,
endured with constancy to the end, and the favour of her admiring
countrymen has not failed to accord to her a distinguished place in the
long line of Jewish heroines.

They recorded with grim delight the tyrant's unavailing remorse, his
fruitless yearnings for the victim he had sacrificed, the plaintive
exclamations he made to echo through his palace, and the passionate
upbraidings with which he assailed her judges. He strove, it was said,
by magical incantations to recall her spirit from the shades, and, as if
to drive from his mind the intolerable recollection of her loss,
commanded his attendants always to speak of her as one alive. Whether or
not the pestilence which ensued might justly be regarded as a divine
judgment, the sharp disease and deep settled melancholy which afflicted
the murderer formed a signal and merited retribution for his crime.




The second wife of the Emperor Severus deserved all that the stars could
promise her. She possessed, even in an advanced age, the attractions of
beauty; and united to a lively imagination a firmness of mind and
strength of judgment seldom bestowed on her sex. Her amiable qualities
never made any deep impression on the dark and jealous temper of her
husband; but in her son's [Caracalla's] reign she administered the
principal affairs of the empire with a prudence that supported his
authority, and with a moderation that sometimes corrected his wild
extravagances. Julia applied herself to letters and philosophy with some
success, and with the most splendid reputation. She was the patroness of
every art, and the friend of every man of genius. The grateful flattery
of the learned has celebrated her virtue; but, if we may credit the
scandal of ancient history, chastity was very far from being the most
conspicuous virtue of the Empress Julia.

She had experienced all the vicissitudes of fortune. From an humble
station she had been raised to greatness, only to taste the superior
bitterness of an exalted rank. She was doomed to weep over the death of
one of her sons, and over the life of the other. The cruel fate of
Caracalla, though her good sense must have long taught her to expect
it, awakened the feelings of a mother and of an empress. Notwithstanding
the respectful civility expressed by the usurper [Macrinus] towards the
widow of Severus, she descended with a painful struggle into the
condition of a subject, and soon withdrew herself, by a voluntary death,
from the anxious and humiliating dependence.

[So far Gibbon; to which Guizot adds:] This princess, as soon as she
heard of Caracalla's fate, entertained the idea of starving herself to
death. She was reconciled to life by the respect with which Macrinus
treated her, by whom she was permitted to retain her court and
establishment. But if we may draw any safe conclusion from the curtailed
text of Dion and Xiphilin's imperfect abridgment, she conceived new
ambitious projects, and aspired to empire. She wished to follow in the
steps of Semiramis and Netocris, whose ancient country bordered on her
own. Macrinus ordered her immediately to quit Antioch, and retire
wherever she would. Recurring to her original design, she died of




Modern Europe has produced several illustrious women, who have sustained
with glory the weight of empire; nor is our own age destitute of such
distinguished characters. But if we except the doubtful achievements of
Semiramis, Zenobia is perhaps the only female whose superior genius
broke through the servile indolence imposed on her sex by the climate
and manners of Asia. She claimed her descent from the Macedonian kings
of Egypt, equalled in beauty her ancestor Cleopatra, and far surpassed
that princess in chastity and valour. Zenobia was esteemed the most
lovely, as well as the most heroic of her sex. She was of a dark
complexion (for in speaking of a lady, these trifles become important).
Her teeth were of a pearly whiteness, and her large black eyes sparkled
with uncommon fire, tempered by the most attractive sweetness. Her voice
was strong and harmonious. Her manly understanding was strengthened and
adorned by study. She was not ignorant of the Latin tongue, but
possessed in equal perfection the Greek, the Syriac, and the Egyptian
languages. She had drawn up for her own use an epitome of Oriental
history, and familiarly compared the beauties of Homer and Plato under
the tuition of the sublime Longinus.

This accomplished woman gave her hand to Odenathus, who, from a private
station, raised himself to the dominion of the East. She soon became the
friend and companion of a hero. In the intervals of war, Odenathus
passionately delighted in the exercise of hunting; he pursued with
ardour the wild beasts of the desert,--lions, panthers, and bears,--and
the ardour of Zenobia, in that dangerous amusement, was not inferior to
his own. She had inured her constitution to fatigue, disdained the use
of a covered carriage, generally appeared on horseback in a military
habit, and sometimes marched several miles on foot at the head of the
troops. The success of Odenathus was in a great measure ascribed to her
incomparable prudence and fortitude. Their splendid victories over the
great king, whom they twice pursued as far as the gates of Ctesiphon,
laid the foundations of their united fame and power. The armies which
they commanded, and the provinces which they had saved, acknowledged not
any other sovereigns than their invincible chiefs. The senate and people
of Rome revered a stranger who had avenged the captive emperor; and even
the insensible son of Valerian accepted Odenathus for his legitimate

With the assistance of her most faithful friends, Zenobia [after the
death of her husband] immediately filled the vacant throne, and governed
with manly counsels Palmyra, Syria, and the East, above five years. By
the death of Odenathus, that authority was at an end which the senate
had granted him only as a personal distinction; but his martial widow,
disdaining both the senate and Gallienus, obliged one of the Roman
generals, who was sent against her, to retreat into Europe, with the
loss of his army and his reputation. Instead of the little passions
which so frequently perplex a female reign, the steady administration
of Zenobia was guided by the most judicious maxims of policy. If it was
expedient to pardon, she could calm her resentment; if it was necessary
to punish, she could impose silence on the voice of pity. Her strict
economy was accused of avarice; yet, on every proper occasion, she
appeared magnificent and liberal. The neighbouring states of Arabia,
Armenia, and Persia, dreaded her enmity, and solicited her alliance. To
the dominions of Odenathus, which extended from the Euphrates to the
frontiers of Bithynia, his widow added the inheritance of her ancestors,
the populous and fertile kingdom of Egypt. The Emperor Claudius
acknowledged her merit, and was content that, while he pursued the
Gothic war, she should assert the dignity of the empire in the East. The
conduct, however, of Zenobia was attended with some ambiguity; nor is it
unlikely that she had conceived the design of erecting an independent
and hostile monarchy. She blended, with the popular manners of Roman
princes, the stately pomp of the courts of Asia, and exacted from her
subjects the same adoration that was paid to the successes of Cyrus. She
bestowed on her three sons a Latin education, and often showed them to
the troops adorned with the imperial purple. For herself she reserved
the diadem, with the splendid but doubtful title of Queen of the East.

When Aurelian passed over into Asia, Zenobia would have ill deserved her
reputation had she indolently permitted the Emperor of the West to
approach within an hundred miles of her capital. The fate of the East
was decided in two great battles, so similar in almost every
circumstance, that we can scarcely distinguish them from each other,
except by observing that the first was fought near Antioch, and the
second near Emesa. In both, the Queen of Palmyra animated the armies by
her presence, and devolved the execution of her orders on Zabdas, who
had already signalised his military talents by the conquest of Egypt.
After the defeat of Emesa, Zenobia found it impossible to collect a
third army. Palmyra was the last resource of the widow of Odenathus. She
retired within the walls of her capital, made every preparation for a
vigorous resistance, and declared, with the intrepidity of a heroine,
that the last moment of her reign and of her life should be the same.

The firmness of Zenobia was supported by the hope, that in a very short
time famine would compel the Roman army to repass the desert; but
fortune, and the perseverance of Aurelian, overcame every obstacle. It
was then that Zenobia resolved to fly. She mounted the fleetest of her
dromedaries, and had already reached the banks of the Euphrates, about
sixty miles from Palmyra, when she was overtaken by the pursuit of
Aurelian's light horse, seized, and brought back a captive to the feet
of the emperor. Her capital soon afterwards surrendered, and was treated
with unexpected lenity. Subsequently, when provoked by the intelligence
that the Palmyrenians had massacred the governor, Palmyra felt the
irresistible weight of his resentment. But it is easier to destroy than
to restore. The seat of commerce, of arts, and of Zenobia, gradually
sunk into an obscure town, a trifling fortress, and at length a
miserable village.


[BORN 276. DIED 315.]


When Diocletian conferred on Galerius the title of Cæsar, he had given
him in marriage his daughter Valeria, whose melancholy adventures might
furnish a very singular subject for tragedy. She had fulfilled and even
surpassed the duties of a wife. As she had not any children herself, she
condescended to adopt the illegitimate son of her husband, and
invariably displayed towards the unhappy Candidianus the tenderness and
anxiety of a real mother. After the death of Galerius, her ample
possessions provoked the avarice, and her personal attractions excited
the desires, of his successor Maximin. He had a wife still alive, but
divorce was permitted by the Roman law, and the fierce passions of the
tyrant demanded an immediate gratification. The answer of Valeria was
such as became the daughter and widow of emperors, but it was tempered
by the prudence which her defenceless condition compelled her to
observe. She represented to the persons whom Maximin had employed on
this occasion, "that even if honour could permit a woman of her
character and dignity to entertain a thought of second nuptials, decency
at least must forbid her to listen to his addresses at a time when the
ashes of her husband and his benefactor were still warm, and while the
sorrows of her mind were still expressed by her mourning garments." She
ventured to declare, that she could place little confidence in the
professions of a man whose cruel inconstancy was capable of repudiating
a faithful and affectionate wife.

On this repulse, the love of Maximin was converted into fury; and as
witnesses and judges were always at his disposal, it was easy for him to
cover his fury with an appearance of legal proceedings, and to assault
the reputation as well as the happiness of Valeria. Her estates were
confiscated, her eunuchs and domestics devoted to the most inhuman
tortures, and several innocent and respectable matrons, who were
honoured with her friendship, suffered death on a false accusation of
adultery. The empress herself, together with her mother, was condemned
to exile; and as they were ignominiously hurried from place to place
before they were confined to a sequestered village in the deserts of
Syria, they exposed their shame and distress to the provinces of the
East, which, during thirty years, had respected their august dignity.

Diocletian made several ineffectual efforts to alleviate the misfortunes
of his daughter; and, as the last return that he expected for the
imperial purple which he had conferred on Maximin, he entreated that
Valeria might be permitted to share his retirement of Salona, and to
close the eyes of her afflicted father. He entreated; but as he could no
longer threaten, his prayers were received with coldness and disdain,
and the pride of Maximin was gratified in treating Diocletian as a
suppliant, and his daughter as a criminal. The death of Maximin seemed
to assure the empresses of a favourable alteration in their fortune. The
public disorders relaxed the vigilance of their guard, and they easily
found means to escape from the place of their exile, and to repair,
though with some precaution, and in disguise, to the court of Licinius.

The behaviour of Licinius in the first days of his reign, and the
honourable reception which he gave to the young Candidianus, inspired
Valeria with a secret satisfaction, both on her own account and on that
of her adopted son. But these grateful prospects were soon succeeded by
horror and astonishment, and the bloody executions which stained the
palace of Nicomedia sufficiently convinced her that the throne of
Maximin was filled by a tyrant more inhuman than himself. Valeria
consulted her safety by a hasty flight, and, still accompanied by her
mother Prisca, they wandered about fifteen months through the provinces,
concealed in the disguise of plebeian habits. They were at length
discovered at Thessalonica; and as the sentence of their death was
already pronounced, they were immediately beheaded, and their bodies
thrown into the sea. The people gazed on the melancholy spectacle, but
their grief and indignation were suppressed by the terrors of a military
guard. Such was the unworthy fate of the wife and daughter of
Diocletian. We lament their misfortunes; we cannot discover their
crimes; and whatever idea we may justly entertain of the cruelty of
Licinius, it remains a matter of surprise that he was not contented with
some more secret and decent method of revenge.


[BORN 393. DIED 460.]


The story of a fair and virtuous maiden, exalted from a private
condition to the imperial throne, might be deemed an incredible romance,
if such a romance had not been verified in the marriage of Theodosius.
The celebrated Athenais was educated by her father Leontius in the
religion and sciences of the Greeks; and so advantageous was the opinion
which the Athenian philosopher entertained of his contemporaries, that
he divided his patrimony between his two sons, bequeathing to his
daughter a small legacy of one hundred pieces of gold, in the lively
confidence that her beauty and merit would be a sufficient portion. The
jealousy and avarice of her brothers soon compelled Athenais to seek a
refuge at Constantinople, and, with some hopes, either of justice or
favour, to throw herself at the feet of Pulcheria [the sister of
Theodosius]. That sagacious princess listened to her eloquent complaint,
and secretly destined the daughter of the philosopher Leontius for the
future wife of the emperor of the East, who had now attained the
twentieth year of his age.

She easily excited the curiosity of her brother by an interesting
picture of the charms of Athenais--large eyes, a well-proportioned nose,
a fair complexion, golden locks, a slender person, a graceful
demeanour, an understanding improved by study, and a virtue tried by
distress. Theodosius, concealed behind a curtain in the apartment of his
sister, was permitted to behold the Athenian virgin. The modest youth
immediately declared his pure and honourable love, and the royal
nuptials were celebrated amid the acclamations of the capital and the
provinces. Athenais, who was easily persuaded to renounce the errors of
paganism, received at her baptism the Christian name of Eudocia; but the
cautious Pulcheria withheld the title of Augusta till the wife of
Theodosius had approved her fruitfulness by the birth of a daughter, who
espoused, fifteen years afterwards, the emperor of the West.

The brothers of Eudocia obeyed the imperial summons with some anxiety;
but as she could easily forgive their fortunate unkindness, she indulged
the tenderness, or perhaps the vanity, of a sister, by promoting them to
the rank of consuls and prefects. In the luxury of the palace, she still
cultivated those ingenious arts which had contributed to her greatness,
and wisely dedicated her talents to the honour of religion and of her
husband. Eudocia composed a poetical paraphrase of the first eight books
of the Old Testament, and of the prophecies of Daniel and Zechariah; a
cento of the verses of Homer, applied to the life and miracles of
Christ; the legend of St Cyprian, and a panegyric on the Persian
victories of Theodosius; and her writings, which were applauded by a
servile and superstitious age, have not been disdained by the candour of
impartial criticism.

The fondness of the emperor was not abated by time and possession; and
Eudocia, after the marriage of her daughter, was permitted to discharge
her grateful vows by a solemn pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her ostentatious
progress through the East may seem inconsistent with the spirit of
Christian humility. She pronounced, from a throne of gold and gems, an
eloquent oration to the senate of Antioch, declared her royal intention
of enlarging the walls of the city, bestowed a donation of two hundred
pounds of gold to restore the public baths, and accepted the statues
which were decreed by the gratitude of Antioch. In the Holy Land, her
alms and pious foundations exceeded the munificence of the great Helena;
and though the public treasure might be impoverished by this excessive
liberality, she enjoyed the conscious satisfaction of returning to
Constantinople with the chains of St Peter, the right arm of St Stephen,
and an undoubted picture of the Virgin, painted by St Luke. But this
pilgrimage was the fatal term of the glories of Eudocia. Satiated with
the empty pomp, and unmindful, perhaps, of her obligations to Pulcheria,
she ambitiously aspired to the government of the Eastern empire; the
palace was distracted by female discord; but the victory was at last
decided by the superior ascendant of the sister of Theodosius.

The execution of Paulinus, master of the offices, and the disgrace of
Cyrus, prætorian prefect of the East, convinced the public that the
favour of Eudocia was insufficient to protect her most faithful friends;
and the uncommon beauty of Paulinus encouraged the secret rumour, that
his guilt was that of a successful lover. As soon as Eudocia perceived
that the affection of Theodosius was irretrievably lost, she requested
the permission of retiring to the distant solitude of Jerusalem. She
obtained her request; but the jealousy of Theodosius pursued her in her
last retreat; and Saturninus, count of the domestics, was directed to
punish with death two ecclesiastics, her most favoured servants. Eudocia
instantly revenged them by the assassination of the count. The furious
passions which she indulged on this suspicious occasion seemed to
justify the severity of Theodosius; and the empress, ignominiously
stripped of the honours of her rank, was disgraced, perhaps unjustly, in
the eyes of the world. The remainder of the life of Eudocia, about
sixteen years, was spent in exile and devotion. The approach of age, the
death of Theodosius, the misfortunes of her only daughter, who was led a
captive from Rome to Carthage, and the society of the holy monks of
Palestine, insensibly confirmed the religious temper of her mind. After
a full experience of the vicissitudes of human life, the daughter of the
philosopher Leontius expired at Jerusalem in the sixty-seventh year of
her age, protesting, with her dying breath, that she had never
transgressed the bounds of innocence and friendship.




To the list of Alexandrian philosophers must be added the celebrated
Hypatia, whose extensive learning, elegant manners, and tragical end,
have rendered her name immortal. Hypatia was the daughter of Theon, a
celebrated mathematician of Alexandria. She possessed an acute and
penetrating judgment, and great sublimity and fertility of genius; and
her talents were cultivated with assiduity by her father and other
preceptors. After she had made herself mistress of polite learning, and
of the sciences of geometry and astronomy, as far as they were then
understood, she entered upon the study of philosophy. She prosecuted
this study with such uncommon success, that she was importuned to become
a public preceptress in the school where Plotinus and his successors had
taught; and her love of science enabled her so far to subdue the natural
diffidence of her sex, that she yielded to the public voice, and
exchanged her female decorations for the philosopher's cloak. In the
schools, and other places of public resort, she discoursed upon
philosophical topics, explaining, and endeavouring to reconcile, the
systems of Plato, Aristotle, and other masters. A ready elocution and
graceful address, united with rich erudition and sound judgment,
procured her numerous followers and admirers. But that which reflects
the highest honour upon her memory is, that although she excelled most
of the philosophers of her age in mathematical and philosophical
science, she discovered no pride of learning; and though she was in
person exceedingly beautiful, she never yielded to the impulse of female
vanity, or gave occasion to the slightest suspicion against her

The extraordinary combination of accomplishments and virtues which
adorned the character of Hypatia, rendered her house the general resort
of persons of learning and distinction. But it was impossible that so
much merit should not excite envy. The qualifications and attainments to
which she was indebted for her celebrity, proved in the issue the
occasion of her destruction. It happened that at this time the
patriarchal chair was occupied by Cyril, a bishop of great authority,
but of great haughtiness and violence of temper. In the vehemence of his
bigoted zeal, he had treated the Jews with severity, and at last
banished them out of Alexandria. Orestes, the prefect of the city, a man
of a liberal spirit, highly resented this expulsion, as an unpardonable
stretch of ecclesiastical power, and a cruel act of oppression and
injustice against a people who had inhabited Alexandria from the time of
its founder. He reported the affair to the emperor. The bishop, on his
part, complained to the prince of the seditious temper of the Jews, and
attempted to justify his proceedings. The emperor declined to interpose
his authority, and the affair rapidly advanced to the utmost extremity.
A body of about five hundred monks, who espoused the cause of Cyril,
came into the city with a determination to support him by force. Meeting
the prefect as he was passing through the street in his carriage, they
stopped him, and loaded him with reproaches, and one of them threw a
stone at his head and wounded him. The populace, who were by this time
assembled on the part of the prefect, routed the monks, and seized one
of their leaders. Orestes ordered him to be put to death. Cyril buried
his body in the church, and gave instructions that his name should be
registered among the sacred martyrs. Hypatia, who had always been highly
respected by the prefect, and who had at this time frequent conferences
with him, was supposed by the partisans of the bishop to have been
deeply engaged in the interest of Orestes. Their resentment at length
arose to such a height, that they formed a design against her life. As
she was one day returning home from the schools, the mob seized her,
forced her from her chair, and carried her to the Cæsarian church,
where, stripping off her garments, they put her to death with extreme
barbarity, and, having torn her body limb from limb, committed it to the
flames. Cyril himself has, by some writers, been suspected of secretly
prompting this horrid act of violence; and if the haughtiness and
severity of his temper, his persecution of the Jews, his oppressive and
iniquitous treatment of the Novatian sect of Christians and their
bishop, the vehemence of his present indignation against Orestes and his
party, and, above all, the protection which he is said to have afforded
to the immediate perpetrator of the murder of Hypatia, be duly
considered, it will perhaps appear that this suspicion is not wholly
without foundation. Hypatia was murdered under the reign of the Emperor
Theodosius II., in the year 415.




In the time of the emperor Valentinian [454], Petronius Maximus, a
wealthy senator of the Anician family, who had been twice consul, was
possessed of a beautiful wife; her obstinate resistance served only to
irritate the desires of Valentinian, and he resolved to accomplish them
either by stratagem or force. Deep gaming was one of the vices of the
court; the emperor, who by chance or contrivance had gained from Maximus
a considerable sum, uncourteously exacted his ring as a security for the
debt, and sent it by a trusty messenger to his wife, with an order, in
her husband's name, that she should immediately attend the empress
Eudoxia. The unsuspecting wife of Maximus was conveyed in her litter to
the imperial palace; the emissaries of her impatient lover conducted her
to a remote and private bed-chamber; and Valentinian violated without
remorse the laws of hospitality.

Her tears when she returned home, her deep affliction, and her bitter
reproaches against her husband, whom she considered as an accomplice of
his own shame, excited Maximus to a just revenge; the desire of revenge
was stimulated by ambition; and he might reasonably aspire, by the free
suffrage of the Roman senate, to the throne of a detested and
despicable rival. Valentinian, who supposed that every human breast was
devoid, like his own, of friendship and gratitude, had imprudently
admitted among his guards several domestics and followers of Ætius. Two
of these, of barbarian race, were persuaded to execute a sacred and
honourable duty by punishing with death the assassin of their patron;
and their intrepid courage did not long expect a favourable moment.
Whilst Valentinian amused himself in the Field of Mars, with the
spectacle of some military sports, they suddenly rushed upon him with
drawn weapons, despatched the guilty Heraclius, and stabbed the emperor
to the heart, without the least opposition from his numerous train, who
seemed to rejoice in the tyrant's death.

The injury which Maximus had received from the emperor Valentinian
appears to excuse the most bloody revenge. Yet a philosopher might have
reflected that, if the resistance of his wife had been sincere, her
chastity was still inviolate, and that it could never be restored if she
had consented to the will of the adulterer. A patriot would have
hesitated before he plunged himself and his country into the inevitable
calamities which must follow the extinction of the royal house of
Theodosius. The imprudent Maximus disregarded these salutary
considerations; he gratified his resentment and ambition; he saw the
bleeding corpse of Valentinian at his feet, and heard himself saluted
emperor by the unanimous voice of the senate and the people. But the day
of his inauguration was the last day of his happiness. He was imprisoned
in the palace; and after passing a sleepless night, he sighed that he
had attained the summit of his wishes, and aspired only to descend from
the dangerous elevation.

The reign of Maximus continued about three months. Meanwhile his wife,
the cause of these tragic events, had been seasonably removed by death;
and the widow of Valentinian was compelled to violate her decent
mourning, perhaps her real grief, and to submit to the embraces of a
presumptuous usurper, whom she suspected as the assassin of her deceased




With this troop of German people, there came over to England [400-500]
the most fair Lady Rowena, whom some Saxon authors call Ronixa, who, as
our chronicles say, was the daughter of Hengist; but I find in some of
that country-writers, from whence she came, that she was his niece,
which is the likelier of both, considering that Hengist is not likely at
that time to have been old enough to have had such a daughter, and that
he was as young, when he came into Britain, as before has been said, may
appear by the many years which he lived after his coming hither.

As this lady was very beautiful, so was she of a very comely deportment;
and Hengist, having invited King Vortiger to a supper at his new-builded
castle in Kent, caused that after supper she came forth of her chamber
in the king's presence with a cup of gold, filled with wine, in her
hand, and, making in very seemly manner a low reverence unto the king,
said, with a pleasing grace and countenance, in our ancient language,
"_Wacs heal hlaford kining_," which is, being rightly expounded,
according to our present speech, "Be of health, Lord King." For as _was_
is our verb of the preterimperfect tense or preterperfect tense,
signifying _have been_, so _wacs_, being the same verb in the imperative
mood, and now pronounced _wax_, is as much as to say _grow_, _be_ or
_become_, and _wacs-heal_, by corruption of pronunciation, afterwards
became to be _wassaile_. The king, not understanding what she said,
demanded it of his chamberlain, who was her interpreter; and when he
knew what it was, he asked him how he might again answer her in her own
language. Whereof being informed, he said unto her, _Drink heal_, that
is to say, _drink health_.

Of the beauty of this lady, the king took so great liking that he became
exceedingly enamoured with her, and desired to have her in marriage;
which Hengist agreed unto, upon condition that the king should give unto
him the whole county of Kent; whereunto he willingly condescended, and,
divorcing himself from his former married wife, he married with the
Saxon Lady Rowena. She was the first Saxon queen of England.




A female, perhaps of the basest origin, who could avenge the death and
assume the sceptre of her husband Igor, must have been endowed with
those active virtues which command the fear and obedience of barbarians.
In a moment of foreign and domestic peace, she sailed from Kiow to
Constantinople; and the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus has
described with minute diligence the ceremonial of her reception in his
capital and palace. The steps, the titles, the salutations, the banquet,
the presents, were exquisitely adjusted, to gratify the vanity of the
stranger, with due reverence to the superior majesty of the purple. In
the sacrament of baptism she received the venerable name of the empress
Helena, and her conversion might be preceded or followed by her uncle,
two interpreters, sixteen damsels of a higher, and eighteen of a lower
rank, twenty-two domestics or ministers, and forty-four Russian
merchants, who composed the retinue of the great princess Olga.

After her return to Kiow and Novogorod, she firmly persisted in her new
religion; but her labours in the propagation of the gospel were not
crowned with success, and both her family and nation adhered with
obstinacy or indifference to the gods of their fathers. Her son
Swatoslaus was apprehensive of the scorn and ridicule of his companions;
and her grandson Wolodomir devoted his youthful zeal to multiply and
decorate the monuments of ancient worship. The savage deities of the
north were still propitiated with human sacrifices: in the choice of the
victim, a citizen was preferred to a stranger, a Christian to an
idolater, and the father, who defended his son from the sacerdotal
knife, was involved in the same doom by the rage of a fanatic tumult.
Yet the lessons and example of the pious Olga had made a deep though
secret impression on the minds of the prince and people; the Greek
missionaries continued to preach, to dispute, and to baptise; and the
ambassadors or merchants of Russia compared the idolatry of the woods
with the elegant superstition of Constantinople. They had gazed with
admiration on the domes of St Sophia, the lively pictures of saints and
martyrs, the riches of the altar, the number and vestments of the
priests, the pomp and order of the ceremonies; they were edified by the
alternate succession of devout silence and harmonious song; nor was it
difficult to dissuade them that a choir of angels descended each day
from heaven to join in the devotion of the Christians.

But the conversion of Wolodomir was determined or hastened by his desire
of a Roman bride. At the same time, and in the city of Cherson, the
rites of baptism and marriage were celebrated by the Christian pontiff;
the city he restored to the emperor Basil, the brother of his spouse;
but the brazen gates were transported, as it is said, to Novogorod, and
erected before the first church as a trophy of his victory and faith. At
his despotic command, Peroun, the god of thunder, whom he had so long
adored, was dragged through the streets of Kiow; and twelve sturdy
barbarians battered with clubs the misshapen image, which was
indignantly cast into the waters of the Borysthenes. The edict of
Wolodomir had proclaimed that all who should refuse the rites of baptism
should be treated as the enemies of God and their prince; and the rivers
were instantly filled by many thousands of obedient Russians, who
acquiesced in the truth and excellence of a doctrine which had been
embraced by the great duke and his boyars. In the next generation, the
relics of paganism were finally extirpated [and all this resulted from
the baptism of Olga, which may be fixed as the era of Russian




Was the daughter and heir of Olgar, Earl of Devonshire; and though she
had been educated in the country, and had never appeared at court, she
had filled all England with the reputation of her beauty. King Edgar
himself, who was indifferent to no accounts of this nature, found his
curiosity excited by the frequent panegyrics which he heard of Elfrida;
and, reflecting on her noble birth, he resolved, if he found her charms
answerable to their fame, to obtain possession of her on honourable
terms. He communicated his intention to Earl Athelwold, his favourite;
but used the precaution, before he made any advances to her parents, to
order that nobleman, on some pretence, to pay them a visit, and to bring
him a certain account of the beauty of their daughter.

Athelwold, when introduced to the lady, found general report to have
fallen short of the truth; and being actuated by the most vehement love,
he determined to sacrifice to this new passion his fidelity to his
master, and to the trust reposed in him. He returned to Edgar, and told
him that the riches alone and the high quality of Elfrida had been the
ground of the admiration paid her, and that her charms far from being in
any way extraordinary, would have been overlooked in a woman of
inferior station. When he had by this deceit diverted the king from his
purpose, he took an opportunity, after some interval, of turning again
the conversation on Elfrida. He remarked that though the parentage and
fortune of the lady had not produced on him, as on others, any illusion
with regard to her beauty, he could not forbear reflecting that she
would, on the whole, be an advantageous match for him (Athelwold), and
might, by her birth and riches, make him sufficient compensation for the
homeliness of her person. If the king, therefore, gave him his
approbation, he was determined to make proposals in his own behalf to
the Earl of Devonshire, and doubted not to obtain his, as well as the
young lady's, consent to the marriage. Edgar, pleased with the expedient
for establishing his favourite's fortune, not only exhorted him to
execute his purpose, but forwarded his success by his recommendations to
the parents of Elfrida; and Athelwold was soon made happy in the
possession of his mistress. Dreading, however, the detection of the
artifice, he employed every pretence for detaining Elfrida in the
country, and for keeping her at a distance from Edgar.

The violent passion of Athelwold had rendered him blind to the necessary
consequences which must attend his conduct, and the advantages which the
numerous enemies that always pursue a royal favourite would, by its
means, be able to make against him. Edgar was soon informed of the
truth; but before he would execute vengeance on Athelwold's treachery,
he resolved to satisfy himself with his own eyes of the certainty and
full extent of his guilt. He told him that he intended to pay him a
visit in his castle, and be introduced to the acquaintance of his new
married wife; and Athelwold, as he could not refuse the honour, only
craved leave to go before him a few hours, that he might the better
prepare everything for his reception. He then discovered the whole
matter to Elfrida, and begged her, if she had any regard either to her
own honour or his life, to conceal from Edgar, by every circumstance of
dress and behaviour, that fatal beauty that had seduced him from
fidelity to his friend, and had betrayed him into so many falsehoods.

Elfrida promised compliance, though nothing was further from her
intentions. She deemed herself little beholden to Athelwold for a
passion which had deprived her of a crown; and, knowing the force of her
own charms, she did not despair even yet of reaching that dignity of
which her husband's artifice had bereaved her. She appeared before the
king with all the advantages which the richest attire and the most
engaging airs could bestow upon her, and she excited at once in his
bosom the highest love towards herself, and the most furious desire of
revenge against her husband. He, however, had to dissemble these
passions; and, seducing Athelwold into a forest on pretence of hunting,
he stabbed him with his own hand, and soon after publicly espoused




The knights who had returned from the Holy Land spoke with enthusiasm of
a countess of Tripoli, who had extended to them the most generous
hospitality, and whose grace and beauty equalled her virtue. Geoffrey
Rudel, a gentleman of Blieux, in Provence, and one of those who were
presented to Frederick Barbarossa in 1154, hearing this account, fell
deeply in love with her without having seen her, and prevailed upon one
of his friends, Bertrand d'Allaman, a troubadour like himself, to
accompany him to the Levant. In 1162 he quitted the court of England,
whither he had been conducted by Geoffrey, the brother of Richard I.,
and embarked for the Holy Land. On his voyage he was attacked by a
severe illness, and had lost the power of speech when he arrived at the
port of Tripoli. The countess, being informed that a celebrated poet was
dying of love for her on board a vessel which was entering the roads,
visited him on shipboard, took him by the hand, and attempted to cheer
his spirits. Rudel, we are assured, recovered his speech sufficiently to
thank the countess for her humanity, and to declare his passion, when
his expressions of gratitude were silenced by the convulsions of death.
He was buried at Tripoli, beneath a tomb of porphyry, which the
countess raised to his memory, with an Arabic inscription.

I have transcribed his verses, "On Distant Love," which he composed
previous to his voyage. They began thus:--

      "Angry and sad shall be my way,
      If I behold not her afar;
      And yet I know not when that day
      Shall rise, for still she dwells afar.
      God, who has formed this fair array
      Of worlds, and placed my love afar,
      Strengthen my heart with hope, I pray,
      Of seeing her I love afar."




In the time of Edward III. of England and Philip of France, a contest
arose for the principality of Brittany between the Count of Mountfort,
the half-brother of the last duke, and Charles of Blois, the husband of
his niece. Mountfort was besieged in Nantz. This event seemed to put an
end to the pretensions of Mountfort; but his affairs were immediately
retrieved by an unexpected incident, which inspired new life and vigour
into his party. Jane of Flanders, Countess of Mountfort, the most
extraordinary woman of the age, was roused, by the captivity of her
husband, from those domestic cares to which she had hitherto limited her
genius, and she courageously undertook to support the falling fortunes
of her family.

No sooner did she receive the fatal intelligence, than she assembled the
inhabitants of Rennes, where she then resided; and, carrying her infant
son in her arms, deplored to them the calamity of their sovereign. She
recommended to their care the illustrious orphan, the sole male
remaining of their ancient princes, who had governed them with such
indulgence and lenity, and to whom they had ever professed the most
zealous attachment. She declared herself willing to run all hazards with
them in so just a cause; discovered the resources which still remained
in the alliance of England; and entreated them to make one effort
against an usurper, who, being imposed on them by the arms of France,
would in return make a sacrifice to his protector of the ancient
liberties of Brittany. The audience, moved by the affecting appearance,
and inspirited by the noble conduct of the princess, vowed to live and
die with her in defending the rights of her family.

All the other fortresses in Brittany embraced the same resolution. The
countess went from place to place, encouraging the garrisons, providing
them with everything necessary for subsistence, and concerting the
proper plans of defence; and after she had put the whole province in a
good posture, she shut herself up in Hennebonne, where she waited with
impatience the arrival of those succours which Edward had promised her.
Meanwhile, she sent over her son to England, that she might both put him
in a place of safety, and engage the king more strongly, by such a
pledge, to embrace with zeal the interests of her family.

Charles of Blois, anxious to make himself master of so important a
fortress as Hennebonne, and still more to take the countess prisoner,
sat down before it. Frequent sallies were made with success by the
garrison; and the countess herself, being the most forward in all
military operations, every one was ashamed not to exert himself to the
utmost in this desperate situation. One day she perceived that the
besiegers, entirely occupied in an attack, had neglected a distant
quarter of their camp, and she immediately sallied forth at the head of
a body of two hundred cavalry, threw them into confusion, did great
execution upon them, and set fire to their tents, baggage, and
magazines; but when she was preparing to return, she found that she was
intercepted, and that a considerable body of the enemy had thrown
themselves between her and the gates. She instantly took her resolution.
She ordered her men to disband, and to make the best of their way, by
flight, to Brest. She met them at the appointed place of rendezvous,
collected another body of five hundred horse, returned to Hennebonne,
broke unexpectedly the enemy's camp, and was received with shouts and
acclamations by the garrison, who, encouraged by the reinforcement, and
by so rare an example of female valour, determined to defend themselves
to the last extremity.

It became necessary, however, to treat for a capitulation, and the
Bishop of Leon was already engaged for that purpose in a conference with
Charles of Blois, when the countess, who had mounted to a high tower,
and was looking towards the sea with great impatience, descried some
sails at a distance. She immediately exclaimed, "Behold the
succours--the English succours--no capitulation!" This fleet had on
board a body of heavy-armed cavalry, and six thousand archers, whom
Edward had prepared for the relief of Hennebonne, but who had been long
detained by contrary winds. They entered the harbour under the command
of Sir Walter Manny, one of the bravest captains of England; and, having
inspired fresh courage into the garrison, immediately sallied forth,
beat the besiegers from all their posts, and obliged them to decamp.

But notwithstanding this success, the Countess of Mountfort found that
her party, overpowered by numbers, was declining in every quarter, and
she went over to solicit more effectual succour from the king of
England. Edward granted her a considerable reinforcement, under Robert
of Artois, who embarked with a fleet of forty-five ships, and sailed to
Brittany. He was met in his passage by the enemy; an action ensued,
where the countess behaved with her wonted valour, and charged the enemy
sword in hand; but the hostile fleets, after a sharp action, were
separated by a storm, and the English arrived safely in Brittany. A long
and bloody war thenceforth ensued between England and France.


[BORN 1310. DIED 1348.]


Petrarch reproached himself with fostering a passion which had exerted
so powerful an influence over his life, which he had nourished with such
unsubdued constancy for one-and-twenty years, and which still remained
sacred to his heart so long after the loss of its object. This remorse
was groundless. Never did passion burn more purely than in the love of
Petrarch for Laura. Of all the erotic poets, he alone never expresses a
single hope offensive to the purity of a heart which had been pledged to
another. When Petrarch first beheld her, on the 6th of April 1327, Laura
was in the church of Avignon. She was the daughter of Audibert de Noves,
and wife of Hugues de Sade, both of Avignon. When she died of the
plague, on the 6th of April 1348, she had been the mother of eleven
children. Petrarch has celebrated, in upwards of three hundred sonnets,
all the little circumstances of their attachment; those precious favours
which, after an acquaintance of fifteen or twenty years, consisted at
most of a kind word, a glance not altogether severe, a momentary
expression of regret or tenderness at his departure, or a deeper
paleness at the idea of losing her beloved and constant friend.

Yet these marks of an attachment so pure and unobtrusive, and which he
had so often struggled to subdue, were repressed by the coldness of
Laura, who, to preserve her lover, cautiously abstained from giving the
least encouragement to his love. She avoided his presence, except at
church, in the brilliant levees of the papal court, or in the country,
where, surrounded by her friends, she is described by Petrarch as
exhibiting the semblance of a queen, prominent amongst them all in the
grace of her figure and the brilliancy of her beauty. It does not appear
that, in the whole course of these twenty years, the poet ever addressed
her unless in the presence of witnesses. An interview with her alone
would surely have been celebrated in a thousand verses; and as he has
left us four sonnets on the good fortune he enjoyed in having an
opportunity of picking up her glove, we may fairly presume that he would
not have passed over in silence so happy a circumstance as a private

There is no poet in any language so perfectly pure as Petrarch, so
completely above all reproach of levity and immorality; and this merit,
which is equally due to the poet and his Laura, is still more remarkable
when we consider that the models which he followed were by no means
entitled to the same praise. The verses of the troubadours and the
trouvères were very licentious. The court of Avignon, at which Laura
lived--the Babylon of the West, as the poet himself often terms it--was
filled with the most shameful corruption; and even the popes, more
especially Clement V. and Clement VI., had afforded examples of great
depravity. Indeed, Petrarch himself, in his intercourse with other
ladies, was by no means so reserved. For Laura he had conceived a sort
of religious and enthusiastic passion, such as mystics imagine they feel
towards the Deity, and such as Plato supposes to be the bond of union
between elevated minds. The poets who have succeeded Petrarch have
amused themselves with giving representations of a similar passion, of
which, in fact, they had little or no experience.

      "How jeering crowds have mocked my love-lorn woes;
      But folly's fruits are penitence and shame,
      With this just maxim, I've too dearly bought--
      That man's applause is but a transient dream."




Henry VII. is supposed to have been influenced by the advice of his
mother, the Countess of Richmond, to whose opinions he was accustomed to
listen with deference, and whose amiable qualities were likely to make
an impression on her grandchildren. She was, in truth, a remarkable
woman; and her dutiful and affectionate biographer, Bishop Fisher, who
was also her chaplain, has fortunately left us a fine portrait of her
character. Her piety and humility were great, though slightly tinged
with asceticism. She rose at five in the morning, and from that hour
till dinner, which in those primitive days was at ten, spent her time in
prayer and meditation. In her house she kept constantly twelve poor
persons, whom she provided with food and clothing; and, although the
mother of a king, such was her active benevolence that she was often
seen dressing the wounds of the lowest mendicants, and relieving them by
her skill in medicine. She also evinced her respect for learning, both
by her own works, and by munificent endowments for its encouragement.
She was a mother to the students of both universities, and a patroness
to all the learned men of England. Two public lectures in divinity were
instituted by her, one at Oxford, and another at Cambridge; but those
generous efforts were surpassed by her last and noblest foundations, the
colleges of Christ and St John in the latter university. It was right
that such a benefactress to knowledge should be embalmed in an epitaph
by Erasmus.

There can be little doubt that the advice and instructions of this
exemplary woman must have had a considerable influence in directing the
education of the royal progeny, and we may perhaps trace to the
influence of her example that early love of letters which was shown by
young Henry. Erasmus, who was then in England, has left us so pleasant a
picture of the royal school-room at this time, that I need make no
apology for introducing it. "Thomas More," says he, "who had paid me a
visit when I was Montjoy's guest, took me, for the sake of recreating
the mind, a walk to the next country-seat. It was there the king's
children were educated, with the exception of Arthur, who had then
attained majority. On entering the hall the whole of the family
assembled, and we found ourselves surrounded not only by the royal
household, but by the servants of Montjoy also. In the middle of the
circle stood Henry, at that time only nine years old, but bearing an
expression of royalty, a look of high birth, and, at the same time, full
of openness and courtesy; on the right stood the princess Margaret, a
girl of eleven years, afterwards married to James IV. of Scotland; on
the left was Mary, a child of four years of age, engaged in play; while
Edmund, an infant in arms, completed the group. More, with Arnold, our
companion, after paying his compliments to little Henry, presented a
piece of his own writing. I forget what it was. As for me, I was not
anticipating such a meeting; and, having nothing of the kind with me, I
could only promise that I would shortly show my respect for the prince
by some similar present."




Jacqueline of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford, had, after her husband's
death, so far sacrificed her ambition to love, that she espoused in
second marriage Sir Richard Woodville, a private gentleman, to whom she
bore several children, and among the rest Elizabeth, who was remarkable
for the grace and beauty of her person, as well as for other amiable
accomplishments. This young lady had married Sir John Gray of Grobie, by
whom she had children; and her husband being slain in the second battle
of St Alban's, fighting on the side of Lancaster, and his estate being
for that reason confiscated, his widow retired to live with her father
at his seat of Grafton, in Northamptonshire. The king [Edward IV.] came
to the house after a hunting-party in order to pay a visit to the
Duchess of Bedford; and as the occasion seemed favourable for obtaining
some grace from this gallant monarch, the young widow flung herself at
his feet, and with many tears entreated him to take pity on her
impoverished and distressed children.

The sight of so much beauty in affliction strongly affected the amorous
Edward. Love stole insensibly into his heart under the guise of
compassion, and her sorrow so becoming a virtuous matron, made his
esteem and regard quickly correspond to his affection. He raised her
from the ground with assurances of favour. He found his passion increase
every moment by the conversation of the amiable object, and he was soon
reduced in his turn to the posture and style of a supplicant at the feet
of Elizabeth. But the lady, either averse to dishonourable love from a
sense of duty, or perceiving that the impression which she had made was
so deep as to give her hopes of obtaining the highest elevation, refused
to gratify his passion; and all the endearments, caresses, and
importunities of the young and amiable Edward, proved fruitless against
her rigid and inflexible virtue.

His passion, irritated by opposition, and increased by his veneration
for such honourable sentiments, carried him at last beyond all bounds of
reason, and he offered to share his throne as well as his heart with the
woman whose beauty of person and dignity of character seemed so well to
entitle her to both. The marriage was privately celebrated at Grafton.
The secret was carefully kept for some time. No one suspected that so
libertine a prince could sacrifice so much to a romantic passion; and
there were in particular strong reasons which at that time rendered this
step to the highest degree dangerous and imprudent.


[BORN 1412. DIED 1431.]


What is to be thought of _her_? What is to be thought of the poor
shepherd girl from the hills and forests of Lorraine, that, like the
Hebrew shepherd boy from the hills and forests of Judea, rose suddenly
out of the quiet, out of the safety, out of the religious inspiration,
rooted in deep pastoral solitudes, to a station in the van of armies,
and to the more perilous station at the right-hand of kings? Daughter of
Domrémy, when the gratitude of thy king shall awaken, thou wilt be
sleeping the sleep of the dead. Call her, king of France, but she will
not hear thee. Cite her by thy apparitors to come and receive a robe of
honour, but she will be found _en contumace_. When the thunders of
universal France, as even yet may happen, shall proclaim the grandeur of
the poor shepherd girl that gave up all for her country, thy ear, young
shepherd girl, will have been deaf for five centuries. To suffer and to
do, that was thy portion in this life; that was thy destiny; and not for
a moment was it hidden from thyself. Life, thou saidst, is short; and
the sleep which is in the grave is long! This pure creature--pure from
every suspicion of even a visionary self-interest, even as she was pure
in senses more obvious--never once did this holy child, as regarded
herself, relax from the belief in the darkness that was travelling to
meet her.

Joanna, as we in England should call her, but, according to her own
statement, Jeanne (or, as M. Michelet asserts, Jean) D'Arc, was born at
Domrémy, a village on the marshes of Lorraine and Champagne, and
dependent upon the town of Vancouleurs. The situation, locally, of
Joanna was full of profound suggestions to a heart that listened for the
stealthy steps of change and fear that too surely were in motion. But,
if the place were grand, the time, the burden of the time, was far more
so. The air overhead, in its upper chambers, was hurtling with the
obscure sound; was dark with sullen fermenting of storms that had been
gathering for a hundred and thirty years. The battle of Agincourt, in
Joanna's childhood, had re-opened the wounds of France. The famines, the
extraordinary diseases, the insurrections of the peasantry up and down
Europe--these were chords struck from the mysterious harp of the time;
but these were transitory chords. By her own internal schisms, the
church was rehearsing, as in still earlier forms she had already
rehearsed, those vast rents in her foundations which no man should ever
heal. It was not wonderful that in such a haunted solitude, with such a
haunted heart, Joanna should see angelic visions, and hear angelic
voices. These voices whispered to her for ever the duty, self-imposed,
of delivering France. Five years she listened to these monitory voices
with internal struggles. At length she could resist no longer. Doubt
gave way, and she left her home for ever, in order to present herself at
the dauphin's court.

It is not requisite for the honour of Joan, nor is there, in this place,
room to pursue her brief career of action. That, though wonderful, forms
the earthly part of her story; the spiritual part is the saintly
passion of her imprisonment, trial, and execution. The noble girl had
achieved, as by a rapture of motion, the capital end of clearing out a
free space around her sovereign, giving him the power to move his arms
with effect; and, secondly, the inappreciable end of winning for that
sovereign what seemed to all France the heavenly ratification of his
rights, by crowning him with the ancient solemnities.

But she, the child that at nineteen had wrought wonders so great for
France, was she not elated? Did she not lose, as men so often have lost,
all sobriety of mind, when standing on the pinnacle of success so giddy?
Let her enemies declare. During the progress of her movement, and in the
centre of ferocious struggles, she had manifested the temper of her
feelings, by the pity which she had everywhere expressed for the
suffering enemy. She forwarded to the English leaders a touching
invitation to unite with the French, as brothers, in a common crusade
against infidels, thus opening the road for a soldierly retreat. She
interposed to protect the captive or the wounded; she mourned over the
excesses of her countrymen; she threw herself off her horse to kneel by
the dying English soldier, and to comfort him with such ministrations,
physical or spiritual, as his situation allowed. She sheltered the
English that invoked her aid in her own quarters. She wept as she
beheld, stretched on the field of battle, so many brave enemies that had
died without confession. And, as regarded herself, her elation expressed
itself thus:--On the day when she had finished her work, she wept; for
she knew that, when her triumphal task was done, her end must be

Next came her trial. Never from the foundations of the earth was there
such a trial as this, if it were laid open in all its beauty of
defence, and all its hellishness of attack. Oh, child of France,
shepherdess, peasant girl! trodden under foot by all around thee, how I
honour thy flashing intellect, quick as God's lightning, and true as
God's lightning to its mark, that ran before France and laggard Europe
by many a century, confounding the malice of the ensnarer, and making
dumb the oracles of falsehood! Woman, sister, there are some things
which you do not execute as well as your brother, man; no, nor ever
will; but I acknowledge you can do one thing as well as the best of us
men--a greater thing than even Milton is known to have done, or Michael
Angelo--you can die grandly, and as goddesses would die, were goddesses
mortal. The executioner had been directed to apply his torch from below.
He did so. The fiery smoke rose upwards in billowing volumes. A
Dominican monk was then standing almost at her side. Wrapped up in his
sublime office, he saw not the danger, but still persisted in his
prayers. Even then, when the last enemy was racing up the fiery stairs
to seize her, even at that moment did this noblest of girls think only
for him, the one friend that would not forsake her, and not for herself;
bidding him, with her last breath, to care for his own preservation, but
to leave _her_ to God.




This lady was born of reputable parents in London, was well educated,
and married to a substantial citizen; but, unhappily, views of interest
more than the maid's inclinations had been consulted in the match, and
her mind, though framed for virtue, had proved unable to resist the
allurements of Edward [the Fifth], who solicited her favours. But while
seduced from her duty by this gay and amorous monarch, she still made
herself respectable by her other virtues; and the ascendant which her
charms and vivacity long maintained over him, was all employed in acts
of beneficence and humanity. She was still forward to oppose calumny, to
protect the oppressed, to relieve the indigent; and her good offices,
the genuine dictates of her heart, never waited the solicitations of
presents or the hopes of reciprocal services.

But she lived not only to feel the bitterness of shame imposed on her by
this tyrant, but to experience in old age and poverty the ingratitude of
those courtiers who had long solicited her friendship, and been
protected by her credit. No one among the great multitudes whom she had
obliged had the humanity to bring her consolation or relief; she
languished out her life in solitude and indigence; and, amidst a court
inured to the most atrocious crimes, the frailties of this woman
justified all violations of friendship towards her, and all neglect of
former obligations.

[Such is the picture of Jane Shore. Her misfortunes were partly due to
the cruelty of the protector Gloster. The same author says:] The
protector asked the council what punishment those deserved that had
plotted against his life, who was so nearly related to the king, and was
entrusted with the administration of government. Hastings replied, that
they merited the punishment of traitors. These traitors, cried the
protector, are the sorceress, my brother's wife, and Jane Shore, his
mistress, with others, their associates. See to what a condition they
have reduced me by their incantations and witchcraft; upon which he laid
bare his arm all shrivelled and decayed. But the councillors, who knew
that this infirmity had attended him from his birth, looked on each
other with amazement; and, above all, Lord Hastings, who, as he had
since Edward's death engaged in an intrigue with Jane Shore, was
naturally anxious concerning the issue of these extraordinary
proceedings. Certainly, my Lord, said he, if they be guilty of their
crimes they deserve the severest punishment. And do you reply to me,
exclaimed the protector, with your if's and your and's? You are the
chief abettor of that witch Shore. You are yourself a traitor, and I
swear by St Paul that I will not die before your head be brought me. He
struck the table with his hand. Armed men rushed in. The councillors
were thrown into the utmost confusion. Hastings was seized, was hurried
away, and hastily beheaded on a timber-log which lay in the court of the
Tower. Two hours after a proclamation, well penned and fairly written,
was read to the citizens of London, enumerating his offences and
apologising to them, from the suddenness of the discovery, for the
sudden execution of that nobleman, who was very popular among them. But
the saying of a merchant was much talked of on the occasion, who
remarked that the proclamation was certainly drawn from the spirit of
prophecy. And the protector, in order to carry on the farce of his
accusation, ordered the goods of Jane Shore to be seized, and he
summoned her to answer before the council for sorcery and witchcraft.
But as no proofs that could be received even in that ignorant age were
produced against her, he directed her to be tried in the spiritual court
for her adulteries and lewdness, and she did penance in a white sheet at
St Paul's before the whole people.


[BORN 1483. DIED 1536.]


Was first married to Henry VIII.'s elder brother, Arthur, who died
before he concluded his sixteenth year. Henry VII., divided between his
policy and his conscience, first contracted her to his son Henry; and
afterwards, when the latter reached his fourteenth year, becoming
alarmed, insisted on his formally renouncing the engagement. Yet,
strange as it may appear, this renunciation was not communicated to her
father, nor to the princess, for whose marriage with Henry a papal
dispensation had been procured. Meanwhile, Henry's heart became touched
by the amiable qualities of Catharine, who showed no disinclination to
the match; and on the 3d of June, about six weeks after his father's
death, the marriage took place, which was afterwards the cause of such
important changes. It was followed by the ceremony of the coronation,
performed at an excessive cost, and with great magnificence. The age was
one of feudal splendour; and the pageant, as it has been abridged by an
amiable modern historian, presents us with a lively and peculiar picture
of the times.

On the day preceding the solemnity, the king and queen went from the
Tower to Westminster, through the tapestried streets, lined with the
city companies in their best display. Beneath a robe of crimson velvet,
furred with ermine, the king wore a coat of raised gold, with a tabard
shining with rubies, emeralds, great pearls, and diamonds. Nine children
of honour, on great coursers, and dressed in blue velvet, powdered with
_fleur-de-lis_ in gold, represented the nine kingdoms which he governed
or claimed,--England, France, Gascony, Guienne, Normandy, Anjou,
Cornwall, Wales, and Ireland. Following her richly-dressed retinue, the
queen was seen seated on a magnificent litter or chariot, borne by two
milk-white palfreys. Her person was clothed in embroidered satin, with
her hair hanging down her back at great length, beautiful and goodly to
behold, and on her head a coronal, set with many rich and orient stones.
After the procession and coronation had terminated, the jousts and
tournaments succeeded, and were peculiarly magnificent. The king and
queen were stationed on a rich edifice made within the palace of
Westminster, where, from a fountain and its cascades, at many places
red, white, and claret wine poured out of the mouths of various animals.
The trumpets sounded to the field; and the young gallants and noblemen,
gorgeously apparelled, entered it, taking up their ground, checking
their horses, and throwing them on their haunches; and they afterwards
tourneyed together.

Time passed. It was now five years since Henry had separated himself
from the society of his queen, and solicited a divorce; and for three
years he had lived in such familiar intercourse with Anne Boleyn, that
no doubt could be entertained regarding the nature of the connection
between them. The situation of the Marchioness of Pembroke at length
confirmed this in the most unequivocal manner; and the king, becoming
alarmed for the legitimacy of his expected offspring, determined to make
her his wife. The marriage was performed, the parties separated as
quietly as they had assembled; and Viscount Rochfort was despatched to
communicate the event to the king of France, and request him to send a
confidential minister to England.

The divorce from Catharine was accomplished for the king by the
ingenuity of his councillors. Intimation was now sent to Catharine that
she must in future be contented with the style of dowager Princess of
Wales; all persons were prohibited from giving her the title of queen,
and her income was reduced to the sum settled upon her by Prince Arthur,
her first husband. The ungrateful intelligence was conveyed to her
personally by the Duke of Suffolk; and, considering the general mildness
of her deportment, was received with unwonted indignation. She declared
that she was, and ever would remain, the queen; and that before she
would renounce that title, she would be hewn in pieces. As to her
removal to any other residence, where she was to have a new household,
and commence a new life as princess dowager, she peremptorily refused to
give her consent. "They might bind her with ropes, but willingly she
would never go."


[BORN 1507. DIED 1536.]


Mistress Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn. She returned
from France in 1527, under circumstances which were favourable not only
to the acquisition of all elegant accomplishments, but to the
strengthening of her understanding, and the improvement of her mind. As
early as 1515, she had been sent over to that kingdom to be attendant on
the Princess Mary, the wife of Louis XII. On the death of this monarch,
and the return of his widow to England, Anne entered the household of
Queen Claude, in whose palace she remained till she was seventeen. At
this time Margaret, Duchess of Alençon, the sister of Francis, became
deeply attached to her, and on the demise of the queen she was taken
into her family. Here she probably remained till the marriage of that
princess with the King of Navarre in 1527, an event which, as it took
her protectress from Paris, seems to have occasioned her recall to
England, where she immediately became one of the maids of honour to

It has been the fashion of many writers of the Roman Church to represent
Anne Boleyn as having led a singularly profligate life in her early
youth, but there appears no ground for so slanderous an attack. That the
education of a youthful and beautiful female in one of the most
corrupted courts of Europe should produce austere or reserved manners
was not to be suspected, but no evidence deserving of a moment's credit
has been adduced to prove the slightest impurity of life; the tales
against her being evidently the after-coinage of those misguided zealots
who, by destroying her reputation, imagined they were performing a
service to religion.

When she first appeared in court she was a lovely young woman in her
twentieth year. She is described as possessing a rare and admirable
beauty, clear and fresh, with a noble presence and most perfect shape.
Her personal graces were enhanced by a cheerfulness and sweetness of
temper which never forsook her, and her education had secured to her all
those female accomplishments which were fitted to dazzle and delight a
court. She danced with uncommon grace, sung sweetly, and, by the
remarkable vivacity and wit of her conversation, retained the admiration
of those who had at first been only attracted by her beauty. On her
arrival at court, Anne was welcomed by the homage and adulation which
her youth, her loveliness, and accomplishments inspired; and there seems
some ground for believing that Henry became enamoured of her almost
immediately. But he concealed, it is even said he struggled with, his
incipient passion.

Dissimulation, however, with his majesty was now at an end. Henry had
never been taught to restrain his passions; his past life, though
outwardly decent, had not been remarkable for constancy; his love of
pleasure, and his frequent opportunities of meeting the beautiful Anne
at court, exposed him to perpetual temptation; and he at length declared
himself, with the confidence of a monarch who felt that he had only to
make known his predilection, to be accepted as a lover. But in this he
was mistaken; for, although compelled to listen to his solicitations,
the lady fell upon her knees and made the following answer: "I deem,
most noble king, that your majesty speaks these words in mirth to prove
me; if not, I beseech your highness earnestly to take this answer in
good part, and I speak it from the bottom of my soul. Believe me, I
would rather lose my life than give encouragement to your addresses."
Henry, however, in the common jargon of the libertine, declared that he
would live in hope; when his perseverance in insult drew forth this
spirited reply: "I understand not, mighty king, how you should entertain
any such hope. Your wife I cannot be, both in respect of my own
unworthiness, and also because you have a queen already. Your mistress,
be assured, I will never be."

[The subsequent history of this unfortunate lady, her marriage with
Henry after the divorce of Catharine, the false charges brought against
her, her unhappy death under the axe, the reader will remember, along
with the legend yet preserved in Epping Forest.] On the morning of the
day which was to be her last, Henry went to hunt in that district, and
as he breakfasted surrounded by his train and his hounds under a
spreading oak which is yet shown, he listened from time to time with a
look of intense anxiety; at length the sound of a distant gun boomed
through the wood. It was a preconcerted signal, and marked the moment
when the execution was completed. "Ah ha, it is done!" said he, starting
up; "the business is done; uncouple the dogs, and let us follow the
sport." On the succeeding morning he was married to Jane Seymour.


[DIED 1544.]


The learned, ingenious, and virtuous daughter of the famous Sir Thomas
More, who intended his daughters to be such invaluable wives as he has
described: "May you meet with a wife who is not always stupidly silent,
nor always prattling nonsense; may she be learned, if possible, or at
least capable of being made so. A woman thus accomplished will be always
drawing sentences and maxims of virtue out of the best maxims of
antiquity. She will be herself in all changes of fortune, neither blown
up in prosperity, nor broken with adversity. You will find in her an
ever-cheerful, good-humoured friend, and an agreeable companion for
life. She will infuse knowledge into your children with their milk, and,
from their infancy, train them up to wisdom. Whatever company you may be
engaged in, you will long to be at home, and retire with delight from
the society of men into the bosom of one who is so dear, so knowing, and
so amiable. If she touches her lute, or sings to it any of her own
compositions, her voice will soothe you in your solitudes, and sound
more sweetly in your ear than that of the nightingale. You will spend
with pleasure whole days and nights in her conversation, and be ever
finding out new beauties in her discourse. She will keep your mind in
perpetual serenity, restrain its mirth from being dissolute, and prevent
its melancholy from being painful."

As Margaret had, in the early part of her life, by an unwearied
application and industry, made herself well acquainted with the learned
languages, so she seems afterwards to have been as eagerly bent on the
prosecution of the studies of philosophy, astronomy, physic, and the
Holy Scriptures, the two last of which were recommended by her father as
the employments of the remaining part of her life; so that one might
imagine from hence that the chief of her learned and most admired
compositions were wrote at that time when her thoughts were free from
all uneasiness and perplexities of temporal affairs. But soon after this
the scene was changed, when her principal delights and enjoyments seemed
to have their period in the untimely loss of her invaluable father. Upon
the oath of supremacy being tendered to Sir Thomas, and his refusal to
take it, he was sent to the Tower, to the inexpressible affliction of
Margaret [Mrs Roper], who, by her incessant entreaties, at last got
leave to pay him a visit there, where she made use of all the arguments,
reason, and eloquence she was mistress of, to have brought him to a
compliance with the oath; but all proved ineffectual, his conscience
being dearer to him than all worldly considerations whatsoever, even
that of his favourite daughter's peace and happiness. I shall add, from
Dr Knight's "Life of Erasmus," that "after sentence was passed upon Sir
Thomas, as he was going back to the Tower, she rushed through the guards
and crowds of the people, and came pressing towards him. At such a
sight, as courageous as he was, he could hardly bear up under the
surprise his passionate affection for her raised in him; for she fell
upon his neck, and held him fast in the most endearing embraces, but
could not speak one word to him; great griefs having that stupifying
quality of making the most eloquent dumb. The guards, though justly
reputed an unrelenting crew, were much moved at this sight, and were,
therefore, more willing to give Sir Thomas leave to speak to her, which
he did in these few words: 'My dear Margaret, hear with patience, nor do
not any longer grieve for me. It is the will of God, and therefore must
be submitted to.' And he then gave her a parting kiss. But after she was
withdrawn ten or a dozen feet off, she comes running to him again, and
falls upon his neck; but grief again stopped her mouth. Her father
looked wistfully upon her, but said nothing, the tears trickling down
his cheeks--a language too well understood by his distressed daughter,
though he bore all this without the least change of countenance. But
just when he was to take his final leave of her, he begged her prayers
to God for him, and took his farewell of her. The officers and soldiers,
as rocky as they were, melted at this sight; and no wonder, when even
the very beasts are under the power of natural affections, and often
show them." "Good God," adds the same elegant writer, "what a shocking
trial must this be to the poor man! How could he be attacked in a more
tender part?"

After Sir Thomas was beheaded, she took care for the burial of his body,
and afterwards bought his head, when it was to have been thrown into the
river. She likewise felt the fury of the king's displeasure upon her
father's score, being herself confined to prison; but after a short
confinement, and after they had in vain endeavoured to terrify her with
menaces she was released, and sent to her husband.


[BORN 1510. DIED 1537.]


The daughter of Mr Paul Withypoll, was born in London in the year 1510.
She had a very polite and liberal education given her by her father;
and, having an excellent genius, she became exquisitely skilful in all
kinds of needlework; was a curious caligrapher; very knowing in
arithmetic; an adept in several sorts of music; and she was a complete
mistress in the Latin, Italian, and Spanish tongues; all which
attainments were acquired at the age of twenty-six.

I can say nothing more concerning her than what her monument-inscription
informs me, which, though a rude composition, I will here exhibit, as it
was engraved on a plate of brass in the south aisle of the parish church
of St Michael in Crooked Lane, London, being unwilling to omit anything
that may preserve the memory of so ingenious a person.

      "She wrought all needle-works that women exercise
      With pin, frame, or stool; all pictures artificial;
      Curious knots, or trailes, what fancy could devise;
      Beasts, birds, or flowers, even as things natural;
      Three manner of hands could she write them fair all;
      To speak of algorism or accounts in every fashion,
      Of women, few like (I think) in all this nation.

      "Dame Cunning her gave a gift right excellent,
      The goodly practice of her science musical,
      In diverse tongues to sing and play with instrument,
      Both viol, and lute, and also virginall,
      Not only upon one, but excellent in all;
      For all other virtues belonging to nature,
      God her appointed a very perfect creeture.

      "Latin, and Spanish, and also Italian
      She spake, writ, and read with perfect utterance;
      And for the English she the garland won
      In Dame Prudence' school by grace's purveyance,
      Which clothed her with virtues from naked ignorance
      Reading the Scriptures to judge light from dark,
      Directing her faith to Christ, the only marke."




She was a lady of the Paduan territory, living near the small river
Anaso, from which she adopted the poetical name of Anasilla. This stream
bathes the foot of certain lofty hills, from which a distinguished
family, the counts of Collalto, took their appellation. The
representative of this house, himself a poet as well as soldier--and, if
we believe his fond admirer, endowed with every virtue except
constancy--was loved by Gaspara with enthusiastic passion. Unhappily she
learned, only by sad experience, the want of generosity too common to
man; and sacrificing, not the honour, but the pride of her sex, by
submissive affection, and finally by querulous importunity, she
estranged a heart never so susceptible as her own. Her sonnets, which
seem arranged nearly in order, begin with the delirium of sanguine love.
They are extravagant effusions of admiration, mingled with joy and hope;
but soon the sense of Collalto's coldness glides in and overpowers her
bliss. After three years of expectation of seeing his promise fulfilled,
and when he had already caused alarm by his indifference, she was
compelled to endure the pangs of absence, by his entering the service of
France. This does not seem to have been of long continuance; but his
letters were infrequent, and her complaints, always vented in a sonnet,
become more fretful. He returns, and Anasilla exults with tenderness,
but still timid in the midst of her joy.

But jealousy, not groundless, soon intruded, and we find her doubly
miserable. Collalto became more harsh, avowed his indifference, forbade
her to importune him with her complaints, and in a few months espoused
another woman. It is said by the historian of Italian literature, that
the broken heart of Gaspara sunk very soon under these accumulated
sorrows into the grave; and such, no doubt, is what my readers expect,
and, at least the gentler of them, wish to find. But inexorable truth,
to whom I am the sworn vassal, compels me to say that the poems of the
lady herself contain unequivocal proofs that she avenged herself better
on Collalto by falling in love again. We find the acknowledgment of
another incipient passion, which speedily comes to maturity; and while
declaring that her present flame is much stronger than the last, she
dismisses her faithless lover with the handsome compliment, that it was
her destiny always to fix her affections on a noble object. The name of
her second choice does not appear in her poems, nor has any one
hitherto, it would seem, made the very easy discovery of his existence.
It is true that she died young, but not of love.

The style of Gaspara Stampa is clear, simple, graceful. The Italian
critics find something to censure in the versification. In purity of
taste I should incline to set her above Bernardino Rota, though she has
less vigour of imagination. Corniano has applied to her the well-known
lines of Horace upon Sappho. But the fires of guilt and shame that glow
along the strings of the Æolian lyre ill resemble the pure sorrows of
the tender Anasilla. Her passion for Collalto, ardent and undisguised,
was ever virtuous; the sense of gentle birth, though so inferior to his
as perhaps to make a proud man fear disparagement, sustained her against
dishonourable submission. But, not less in elevation of genius than in
dignity of character, she is very inferior to Vittoria Colonna, or even
to Veronica Gambara, a poetess who, without equalling Vittoria, had much
of her nobleness and purity. We pity the Gasparas. We should worship, if
we could find them the Vittorias.


[BORN 1529. DIED 1546.]


Anne Askew, a young woman of merit as well as beauty, who had great
connections with the chief ladies at court, and with the queen herself,
was accused of dogmatising on that delicate article [the presence of the
body of Christ in the sacrament]; and Henry (the Eight), in place of
showing indulgence to the weakness of her sex and age, was but the more
provoked that a woman should dare to oppose his theological sentiments.
She was prevailed upon by Bonner's menaces to make a seeming
recantation; but she qualified it with some reserves which did not
satisfy that zealous prelate. She was thrown into prison; and she,
therefore, employed herself in composing prayers and discourses, by
which she fortified her resolution to endure the utmost extremity,
rather than relinquish her religious principles. She even wrote to the
king, and told him that, as to the Lord's Supper, she believed as much
as Christ Himself had said of it, and as much of His divine doctrine as
the Catholic Church had required. But, while she could not be brought to
acknowledge an assent to the king's explications, this declaration
availed her nothing, and was rather regarded as a fresh insult.

The chancellor Wriothesley, who had succeeded Audley, and who was much
attached to the Catholic party, was sent to examine her, with regard to
her patrons at court, and the great ladies who were in correspondence
with her; but she maintained a laudable fidelity to her friends, and
would confess nothing. She was put to the torture in the most barbarous
manner, and continued still resolute in preserving secrecy. Some authors
[Fox, Speed, Baker] add a most extraordinary circumstance: That the
chancellor, who stood by, ordered the lieutenant of the Tower to stretch
the rack still further, but that officer refused compliance. The
chancellor menaced him, but met with a new refusal. Upon which, that
magistrate, who was otherwise a person of merit, but intoxicated with
religious zeal, put his own hand to the rack, and drew it so violently,
that he almost tore her body asunder. Her constancy still surpassed the
barbarity of her persecutors, and they found all their efforts to be
baffled. She was then condemned to be burned alive; and, being so
dislocated by the rack that she could not stand, she was carried to the
stake in a chair.

Together with her were conducted Nicholas Belenian, a priest; John
Lassels, of the king's household; and John Adams, a tailor, who had been
condemned for the same crime to the same punishment. They were all tied
to the stake; and, in that dreadful situation, the chancellor sent to
inform them that their pardon was ready drawn and signed, and should
instantly be given them, if they would merit it by a recantation. They
only regarded this offer as a new ornament to their crown of martyrdom;
and they saw with tranquillity the executioner kindle the flames which
consumed them. Wriothesley did not consider that this public and noted
situation interested their honour the more to maintain a steady

[While Anne Askew was in Newgate, she made what she called a ballad,
which began thus:--

      "Like as the armed knight
        Appointed to the field,
      With this world will I fight.
        And Faith shall be my shield."

And having recounted her bitter conflicts, and firm trust in God, the
only comfort she had in her affliction, she concludes with these
charitable and truly Christian lines--

      "Yet, Lord, I Thee desire,
        For that they do to me;
      Let them not taste the hire
        Of their iniquity."

The whole ballad is published by Bale.]


[BORN 1533. DIED 1603.]


There are few great persons in history who have been more exposed to the
calumny of enemies and the adulation of friends than Queen Elizabeth,
and yet there scarcely is any whose reputation has been more certainly
determined by the unanimous consent of posterity. The unusual length of
her administration, and the strong features of her character, were able
to overcome all prejudices; and, obliging her detractors to abate much
of their invectives, and her admirers somewhat of their panegyrics, have
at last, in spite of political factions, and, what is more, of religious
animosities, produced a uniform judgment in regard to her conduct.

Her vigour, her constancy, her magnanimity, her penetration, vigilance,
and address, are allowed to merit the highest praises, and appear not to
have been surpassed by any person that ever filled a throne. A conduct
less rigorous, less imperious, more sincere, more indulgent to her
people, would have been requisite to form a perfect character. By the
force of her mind she controlled all her more active and stronger
qualities, and prevented them from running into excess. Her heroism was
exempt from temerity, her frugality from avarice, her friendship from
partiality, her enterprise from turbulency and a vain ambition: she
guarded not herself with equal care or equal success from lesser
infirmities--the rivalship of beauty, the desire of admiration, the
jealousy of love, and the sallies of anger.

Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her temper
and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she soon
obtained an uncontrolled ascendant over her people; and while she
merited all their esteem by her real virtues, she also engaged their
affection by her pretended ones. Few sovereigns of England succeeded to
the throne in more difficult circumstances, and none ever conducted the
government with such uniform success and felicity. Though unacquainted
with the practice of toleration, the true secret for managing religious
factions, she preserved her people, by her superior prudence, from those
confusions in which religious controversy had involved all the
neighbouring nations; and though her enemies were the most powerful
princes of Europe,--the most active, the most enterprising, the least
scrupulous,--she was able, by her vigour, to make deep impressions on
their states. Her own greatness remained, meanwhile, untouched and

The wise ministers and brave warriors who flourished under her reign,
share the praise of her success; but instead of lessening the applause
due to her, they make a great addition to it. They owed, all of them,
their advancement to her choice; they were supported by her constancy;
and, with all their abilities, they were never able to acquire any undue
ascendant over her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she
remained equally mistress: the force of the tender passions was great
over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; and the combat
which the victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the firmness
of her resolution and the loftiness of her ambitious sentiments.

The fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices both
of faction and of bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice,
which is more durable, because more natural, and which, according to the
different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exalting
beyond measure, or diminishing the lustre of her character. This
prejudice is founded on the consideration of her sex. When we
contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest
admiration of her great qualities and extensive capacity; but we are
also apt to require some more softness of disposition, some greater
lenity of temper, some of those amiable weaknesses by which her sex is
distinguished. But the true method of estimating her merit is to lay
aside all these considerations, and to consider her merely as a rational
being placed in authority, and entrusted with the government of mankind.
We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her as a wife or a
mistress; but her qualities as a sovereign, though with some
considerable exceptions, are the object of undisputed applause and


Of all the sovereigns who exercised a power which was seemingly
absolute, but which, in fact, depended for support on the love and
confidence of their subjects, Elizabeth was by far the most illustrious.
It has often been alleged as an excuse for the misgovernment of her
successors, that they only followed her example; that precedents might
be found in the transactions of her reign for persecuting the Puritans;
for levying money without the sanction of the House of Commons, for
confining men without bringing them to trial, for interfering with the
liberty of Parliamentary debate. All this may be true. But it is no good
plea for her successors, and for this plain reason, that they were her
successors. She governed one generation--they governed another. It was
not by looking at the particular measures which Elizabeth had adopted,
but by looking at the great general principles of her government, that
those who followed her were likely to learn the art of managing
untractable subjects. If, instead of searching the records of her reign
for precedents which might seem to vindicate the mutilation of Prynne
and the imprisonment of Eliot, the Stuarts had attempted to discover the
fundamental rules which guided her conduct in all her dealings with her
people, they would have perceived that their policy was then most unlike
to hers, when, to a superficial observer, it would have seemed most to
resemble hers. Firm, haughty, sometimes unjust and cruel in her
proceedings towards individuals, or towards small parties, she avoided
with care, or retracted with speed, every measure which seemed likely to
alienate the great mass of the people. She gained more honour and more
love by the manner in which she repaired her errors than she would have
gained by never committing errors.

If such a man as Charles I. had been in her place when the whole nation
was crying out against the monopolies, he would have refused all
redress. He would have dissolved the Parliament and imprisoned the most
popular members. He would have called another Parliament. He would have
given some vague and delusive promises of relief in return for
subsidies. When entreated to fulfil his promises, he would have again
dissolved the Parliament, and again imprisoned his leading opponents.
The country would have become more agitated than before. The next House
of Commons would have been more unmanageable than that which preceded
it. The tyrant would have agreed to all that the nation demanded. He
would have solemnly ratified an act abolishing monopolies for ever. He
would have received a large supply in return for this concession, and,
within half a year, new patents, more oppressive than those which had
been cancelled, would have been issued by scores. Such was the policy
which brought the heir of a long line of kings, in early youth the
darling of his country, to a prison and a scaffold.

Elizabeth, before the House of Commons could address her, took out of
their mouths the words they were about to utter in the name of the
nation. Her promises went beyond their desires, and their performance
followed close upon her promises. She did not treat the nation as an
adverse party, as a party who had an interest opposed to hers, as a
party to which she was to grant as few advantages as possible. Her
benefits were given, not sold, and when once given, they were never
withdrawn. She gave them, too, with a frankness, an effusion of heart, a
princely dignity, a motherly tenderness, which enhanced their value.
They were received by the sturdy country gentlemen, who had come up to
Westminster full of resentment, with tears of joy, and shouts of God
save the Queen.


[BORN 1537. DIED 1554.]


The grand-daughter of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII., and of Charles
Branden, Duke of Suffolk, and daughter of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset,
was a lady of an amiable person, an engaging disposition, and
accomplished parts; and being of an equal age with the late king [Edward
VI.], she had received all her education with him, and seemed to possess
greater facility in acquiring every part of manly and polite literature.
She had attained a similar knowledge of the Roman and Greek languages,
besides modern tongues; had passed most of her time in an application to
learning, and expressed a great indifference for other occupations and
amusements usual with her sex and station. Roger Ascham, tutor to the
Lady Elizabeth, having one day paid her a visit, found her employed in
reading Plato, while the rest of the party were engaged hunting in the
park; and on his admiring the singularity of her choice, she told him
that she received more pleasure from that author than the others could
reap from all their sport and gaiety.

Her heart, full of this passion for literature and the elegant arts, and
of tenderness towards her husband [Lord Guildford], who was deserving of
her affections, had never opened itself to the flattering allurements
of ambition, and the intelligence of her elevation to the throne was
nowise agreeable to her. She even refused to accept of the present;
pleaded the preferable title of the two princesses; expressed her dread
of the consequences attending an enterprise so dangerous, not to say
criminal; and desired to remain in the private station in which she was
born. Overcome at length by the entreaties rather than the reasons of
her father and father-in-law, and above all of her husband, she
submitted to their will, and was prevailed on to relinquish her own

It was then usual for the kings of England, after their accession, to
pass their first days in the Tower, and Northumberland thither conveyed
the new sovereign. All the councillors were obliged to attend her to
that fortress, and by this means became in reality prisoners in the
hands of Northumberland, whose will they were necessitated to obey.
Orders were given by the council to proclaim Jane throughout the
kingdom, but their orders were executed only in London and the
neighbourhood. No applause ensued. The people heard the proclamation
with silence and concern; some even expressed their scorn and contempt;
and one Pot, a vintner's apprentice, was severely punished for this
offence. The Protestant teachers themselves, who were employed to
convince the people of Jane's title, found their eloquence fruitless;
and Ridley, Bishop of London, preached a sermon to that purpose, which
wrought no effect upon his audience.

After the defeat of Northumberland's and another rebellion, warning was
given the Lady Jane to prepare for death--a doom which she had long
expected, and which the innocence of her life, as well as the
misfortunes to which she had been exposed, rendered nowise unwelcome to
her. The queen's zeal, under colour of tender mercy to the prisoner's
soul, induced her to send divines, who harassed her with perpetual
disputations; and even a reprieve for three days was granted, in hopes
that she should be persuaded during that time to pay, by a timely
conversion, some regard to her eternal welfare. The Lady Jane had
presence of mind in those melancholy circumstances not only to defend
her religion by all the topics then in use, but also to write a letter
to her sister in the Greek language, in which, besides sending her a
copy of the Scriptures in that tongue, she exhorted her to maintain in
every feature a like steady perseverance.

It had been intended to execute the Lady Jane and Lord Guildford
together on the same scaffold at Tower Hill; but the council, dreading
the compassion of the people for their youth, beauty, innocence, and
noble birth, changed their orders, and gave directions that she should
be beheaded within the verge of the Tower. She saw her husband led to
execution, and, having given him from the window some token of
remembrance, she waited with tranquillity till her own appointed hour
should bring her to a like fate. She even saw his headless body carried
back in a cart, and found herself more confirmed by the reports which
she heard of the constancy of his end, than shaken by so tender and
melancholy a spectacle. Sir John Gage, constable of the Tower, when he
led her to execution, desired her to bestow on him some small present
which he might keep as a perpetual memorial of her. She gave him her
table-book, on which she had just written three sentences on seeing her
husband's dead body--one in Greek, another in Latin, a third in English.
On the scaffold she made a speech to the bystanders, in which the
mildness of her disposition led her to take the blame wholly on herself,
without uttering one complaint against the severity with which she had
been treated; that she justly deserved this punishment for being made
the instrument, though the unwilling instrument, of the ambition of
others; and that the story of her life, she hoped, might at least be
useful, by proving that innocence excuses not great misdeeds, if they
tend anywise to the destruction of the commonwealth. After uttering
these words, she caused herself to be disrobed by her women, and, with a
steady serene countenance, submitted herself to the executioner.




Camillas Molza, Knight of the Order of St James in Spain, who was son of
the great Frances Maria Molza of Modena, orator and excellent poet,
having remarked from her early years the bounty and excellence of her
spirit, sent her with her brothers to learn the principles of grammar.
John Politian, a native of Modena, very learned in all the sciences,
very virtuous, and of holy life, became her master. She apprehended also
the humane letters, learned to write well, and to compose correctly,
under the care of Lazarus Labadini, a celebrated grammarian of the time,
reducing his instruction to practice in elegant compositions in prose
and verse. She became well versed in the rhetoric of Aristotle under
Camillus Corcapini. The mathematician Antonio Guarini taught her the
knowledge of the sphere. She became intimately acquainted with poetry
under the famous philosopher Patricio, with logic and general philosophy
under P. Latoni, and also attained to an entire and perfect knowledge of
the Greek tongue. Rabi Abraham taught her the principles of the Hebrew
language, as her uncle had taught her before; the consequence of all
which was that, with her inclination to study so well observed by these
great men, she made such notable progress, that it became easy for her
to solve the most subtle questions in theology.

Nor did she stop here. John Maria Barbier, a man of great knowledge and
judgment, introduced her to the refinements of the Tuscan language, in
which she not only composed many elegant verses, but also many letters
and other works, much esteemed by the most accomplished and learned men
of Italy. With her more peculiar inventions, she mixed up a quantity of
translations of Greek and Latin works, in which she expressed so happily
and properly the thoughts of the authors, that she reduced the reader to
doubt whether she had not a better knowledge of these languages than of
her own. She afterwards applied herself to music, to entertain her and
divert her from more serious studies, and soon surpassed all the dames
who had been in use to sing with great applause, and to ravish the ears
with admiration. She acquired the conduct of her voice by the true rules
of books of the best authors, of whom many had the ambition to show her
something rare; and, while playing on instruments, she could join her
voice with such address and science as could not be equalled. And so
much did she excel in this, that Alfonso, the second Duke of Ferrara, a
judicious prince, and who had an extreme passion for all fair and good
things, was ravished with admiration, having found more of the
marvellous in this dame than he had looked for. A little afterwards she
instituted the celebrated concert of dames, who did her so much honour,
that they always called her into their company, that, by her presence,
she might perfect the choir she had formed.

[Having lost her husband, says Bayle, this admirable woman, though left
without children and still young, wished to remain unmarried; while her
grief was so remarkable, that she might have been compared to
Artemisia. She was by the senate and Roman people honoured with the
title of Incomparable, and invested by patent with the right of a Roman
citizen,--a privilege extended to the whole house of Molza.]

  [Illustration: From a Painting at St. James's. 1580.
   (reproduction of signature of Queen Mary)]


[BORN 1542. DIED 1587.]


To all the charms of beauty and the utmost elegance of external form,
Mary added those accomplishments which render their impression
irresistible. Polite, affable, insinuating, sprightly, and capable of
speaking and writing with equal ease and dignity. Sudden, however, and
violent in all her attachments, because her heart was warm and
unsuspicious. Impatient of contradiction, because she had been
accustomed from her infancy to be treated as a queen. No stranger, on
some occasions, to dissimulation, which in that perfidious court where
she received her education was reckoned among the necessary arts of
government. Not insensible to flattery, or unconscious of that pleasure
with which almost every woman beholds the influence of her own beauty.
Formed with the qualities which we love, not with the talents that we
admire, she was an agreeable woman rather than an illustrious queen. The
vivacity of her spirit, not sufficiently tempered with sound judgment,
and the warmth of her heart, which was not at all times under the
restraint of discretion, betrayed her both into errors and into crimes.
To say that she was always unfortunate will not account for that long
and almost uninterrupted succession of calamities which befell her; we
must likewise add, that she was often imprudent. Her passion for Darnley
was rash, youthful, and excessive; and though the sudden transition to
the opposite extreme was the natural effect of her ill-requited love,
and of his ingratitude, insolence, and brutality, yet neither these nor
Bothwell's artful address and important services can justify her
attachments to that nobleman. Even the manners of the age, licentious as
they were, are no apology for this unhappy passion; nor can they induce
us to look on that tragical and infamous scene which followed upon it
with less abhorrence.

Humanity will draw a veil over this part of her character which it
cannot approve, and may perhaps prompt some to impute her actions to her
situation more than to her dispositions; and to lament the unhappiness
of the former, rather than accuse the perverseness of the latter. Mary's
sufferings exceed, both in degree and duration, those tragical
distresses which fancy has feigned to excite sorrow and commiseration;
and while we survey them, we are apt altogether to forget her frailties:
we think of her faults with less indignation, and approve of our tears,
as if they were shed for a person who had attained much nearer to pure

With regard to the queen's person, a circumstance not to be omitted in
writing the history of a female reign, all contemporary authors agree in
ascribing to Mary the utmost beauty of countenance and elegance of shape
of which the human form is capable. Her hair was black, although,
according to the fashion of that age, she frequently wore borrowed
locks, and of different colours. Her eyes were a dark grey, her
complexion was exquisitely fine, and her hands and arms remarkably
delicate, both as to shape and colour. Her stature was of an height that
rose to the majestic. She danced, walked, and rode with equal grace.
Her taste for music was just; and she both sung and played upon the lute
with uncommon skill. Towards the end of her life, long confinement, and
the coldness of the houses in which she had been imprisoned, brought on
a rheumatism which often deprived her of the use of her limbs. No man,
says Brantome, ever beheld her person without admiration and love, or
will read her history without sorrow.




The most famous of the beauties of France, and whose renown is
inseparably associated with the glory of the most popular of the French
monarchs, was born at the Château de Coeuvres, near Soissons, in the
year 1576. Her father was a gallant soldier, who had deserved well of
his country, Antoine D'Estrees, Marquis de Coeuvres. At an early age
Gabrielle gave promise of a remarkable beauty, when time should have
developed the fair proportions, rounded the slender figure, and lent
expression to the radiant face. Though her mother was notorious for the
looseness of her life, the daughter showed a high sense of purity, and
her reserve was the despair of all the young nobles in her
neighbourhood. She reached the age of seventeen without knowing what it
was to love, and her heart was as innocent as her loveliness was without

Shortly after the accession of Henri Quatre to his precarious throne, he
despatched on a mission to Monsieur D'Estrees the first gentleman of his
chamber, the handsome and accomplished Duke de Bellegarde. This
brilliant courtier gazed with wonder on the beauty so long concealed in
the obscurity of a feudal castle. Her tresses glowed with burnished
gold; her blue eyes sparkled with a dazzling fire, her complexion was
radiantly fair, her nose well shaped and aquiline, her mouth was well
fitted with pearly teeth, and her lips resembled the all-compelling bow
of the god of love. A stately throat, a gently swelling bust, a rounded
arm and slender hand--these completed the charms which a fascinating
address and natural elegance of movement rendered still more

Bellegarde saw and loved; nor was his evident devotion unpleasing to
Mademoiselle D'Estrees, who had never before encountered a cavalier so
handsome, so gallant, and so chivalrous. The course of true love seemed
with this fortunate twain to run most smoothly; for though Gabrielle had
been betrothed from her childhood to Andre de Brancas Sieur de Villars,
brother of the Marquis de Villars, who had married her elder sister
Juliette, the Marquis de Coeuvres could not resist his daughter's
entreaties, and consented to affiance her to the Duke de Bellegarde. He
was not, indeed, insensible to the advantages of an alliance with a
noble so powerful and wealthy, and who stood so high in the favour of
King Henry. The lovers exchanged rings in his presence; the duke
presented his lady-love with his portrait, and then returned to his
duties at court, where his engagement to an unknown beauty excited great

At this time Henri Quatre was holding his court at Mantes, and relieving
the sterner toils of empire by sharing in the banquet and the song. The
dames and demoiselles of Mantes were often the themes of the merry talk
of the jocund monarch and his courtiers, and much surprise was expressed
at the indifference with which the Duke de Bellegarde conducted himself
among them. They could not conceive that a country maiden could be any
worthy rival of the dazzling _dames de la cour_. The duke replied that
not one of them could hope to equal _la dame des ses pensees_, the
beautiful Gabrielle D'Estrees. Henry laughed at the lover's infatuation.
Bellegarde, piqued at his incredulity, invited him to accompany him to
the Château de Coeuvres. The king promised; and thus, as Mademoiselle
de Guise sagely observes, "the hopeful lover became the artificer of his
own misfortunes," for it was due to that ill-omened visit that he
perilled his happiness, and lost the favour of the king.

As the château was at no great distance from Senlis, where Henry
afterwards was, he and the courtiers rode hastily forward. Henry was
received with the welcome due to so brave a king; and the beautiful
Gabrielle did homage to him by kissing his hand, and proffered the
winecup for his refreshment. Her loveliness burst upon the astonished
monarch, as the glories of the new world broke on the dazzled eyes of
Columbus. Fresh, and pure, and unsophisticated, it took captive the
royal heart, and the memories of all former loves paled before the
fervency of this new passion. When he retired to Senlis, he summoned
thither the Marquis de Coeuvres and his daughter, under pretext that
the marquis might take his oaths as a member of the royal council. The
summons was most unacceptable to Gabrielle, who complained bitterly that
Henry's attentions sullied her maiden fame, while she grieved at the
popular rumour that her lover Bellegarde had been ensnared by the charms
of Mademoiselle de Guise. On her arrival at Senlis, she offered
Bellegarde to consent to a private marriage as the only means of evading
the "evil designs" of his majesty; but the duke was not chivalrous
enough to dare the royal wrath. The king persisted in demanding
Bellegarde's submission. He visited the beauty in the hope of soothing
her disappointment and moderating her anger; but she wept continually,
and, flinging herself on her knees, implored him to restore to her her
affianced husband. When she found him immovable, she rose and abruptly
left the apartment, and during the night quitted Senlis, and returned to
her father's castle.

Meanwhile, engaged in war, Henry joined his principal officers at La
Fêre. It was at this epoch that he resolved on the most romantic and
adventurous passage of his romantic and adventurous life. He set out
from La Fêre early in the dim, misty morning of the 18th November,
accompanied by twelve cavaliers. At a village about nine miles from
Coeuvres he quitted his attendants, and prosecuted his journey on
foot, in the disguise of a peasant. To complete the transformation he
carried a sack of straw on his head. It was difficult for even the
invincible Gabrielle to resist so surprising a proof of her royal
lover's devotion. She did not allow herself, however, to succumb too
quickly. The reception was cold and ungracious. Mademoiselle professed
to be disgusted with the coarse, rude garb assumed by the royal
adventurer; but a brief conversation having followed, a visible
relenting on the part of the flattered beauty so cheered the enamoured
Henry, that, on taking leave, he said to Madame Villars, "I have now a
good heart that nothing will go wrong with me, but all things prosper. I
am going to pursue the enemy, and in a day or two _ma belle_ will hear
what gallant exploits I have accomplished for love of her."

The king's visit to the château was not attended by any disastrous
consequences. He returned to La Fêre in safety, and his devotion to the
lady became well known all over France; but her father was determined
to save her honour by a method not unusual in those days. He chose a
husband for his daughter, and intimated that no option would be allowed
her. This was Monsieur de Liancourt, who was many years her senior, and
a widower, with nine children,--wealthy, ignorant, weak in mind, and
disagreeable in person. In vain Gabrielle appealed to the king against a
marriage which was little better than "a living death." Henry was well
pleased with an event which he foresaw would vanquish the beauty's last
lingering reluctance. He said "he would cause her to be carried away
within one hour of the celebration of her espousals." Her marriage took
place at Coeuvres in January 1591, and she made her preparations to
escape immediately from the bridegroom she loathed to the gallant Henry.
The following day a royal order exiled Monsieur de Liancourt.
Thenceforth Gabrielle reigned supreme in the heart of Henri Quatre.




This lady was daughter of George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, and born
in 1589. She was first married to the Earl of Dorset, and secondly to
the Earl of Pembroke. She had a clear soul shining through a vivid body;
her body was durable and healthful, her soul sprightful, of great
understanding and judgment, faithful memory, and ready wit. She had
early gained knowledge as of the best things; so an ability to discourse
in all commendable arts and sciences, as well as in those things which
belong to persons of her birth and sex to know. For she could discourse
with virtuosos, travellers, scholars, merchants, divines, statesmen, and
with good housewives, in any kind; in so much that a prime and elegant
wit, Dr Donne, well seen in all human learning, and afterwards devoted
to the study of divinity, is reported to have said of this lady in her
younger years, "that she knew well how to discourse of all things, from
predestination to slea-silk." Although she knew wool and flax, fine
linen and silk, things appertaining to the spindle and distaff, yet "she
could open her mouth with wisdom," knowledge of the best and highest
things. If she had sought fame rather than wisdom, possibly she might
have been ranked among those wits and learned of that sex of whom
Pythagoras, or Plutarch, or any of the ancients, have made such
honourable mention.

Authors of several kinds of learning, some of controversies very
abstruse, were not unknown to her. She much commended one book, William
Barclay's dispute with Bellarmine, both, as she knew, of the Popish
persuasion; but the former less papal, and, she said, had well stated a
main point, and opposed that learned cardinal for giving too much power
even in temporals to the pope over kings and secular princes, which she
seemed to think the main thing aimed at by the followers of that court;
to pretend to claim only to govern directly in spirituals, but to intend
chiefly, though indirectly, to hook in temporals, and in them to gain
power, dominion, and tribute; money and rule being gods to which the
Roman courtiers and their partisans chiefly sacrifice.

As she had been a most critical searcher into her own life, so she had
been a diligent inquirer into the lives, fortunes, and characters of
many of her ancestors for many years. Some of them she has left
particularly described, and the exact annals of diverse passages, which
were most remarkable in her own life ever since it was wholly at her own
disposal, that is, since the death of her last lord and husband, Philip,
Earl of Pembroke, which was for the space of twenty-six or twenty-seven

From this her great diligence, as her posterity may find in reading
those abstracts of occurrences in her own life, being added to her
heroic fathers' and pious mothers' lives, dictated by herself, so they
may reap greater fruits of her diligence in finding the honours,
descents, pedigrees, estates, and the titles and claims of their
progenitors to them, comprised historically and methodically in three
volumes of the larger size, and each of them three or four times fairly
written over; which, although they were said to have been collected and
digested in some parts by one or more learned heads, yet were they
wholly directed by herself, and attested in the most parts by her own




Remarkable for her caligraphy, the chief thing I have to mention
concerning her. All that see her writing are astonished at it, upon the
account of its exactness, its fineness, and variety; and many are of
opinion that nothing can be more exquisite. Gazius, Ascham, Davies,
Gething, Lyte, and many others, have been celebrated for their
extraordinary talents this way; but this lady has excelled them all,
what she has done being almost incredible. One of the many delicate
pieces she wrote was in the custody of Mr Samuel Kello, her
great-grandson, in 1711. Others are remaining at the Castle of
Edinburgh. Mr Hearne saw one in the hands of Philip Harcourt, Esq.,
entitled, "Historiæ Memorabiles Genesis, per Estheram Inglis, Edinburgi.
Anno 1600."

In the archives of Christ's Church, in Oxford, are the Psalms of David,
written in French with her own hand, and presented to Queen Elizabeth by
Mrs Inglis herself; and were by that princess given to this library. In
the archives in Bodley's Library are two more of her manuscripts,
preserved with great care. One of them is entitled "Les Six Vingts et
Six Quartains de Guy de Faur Sieur de Pybrae, escrits Esther Inglis,
pour sin dernier adieu ce 21 jour de June 1617." In the second leaf this
in capital letters: "To the Right Worshipfull my very singular friende,
Joseph Hall, Doctor of Divinity and Dean of Worchester, Esther Inglis
wisheth all increase of true happiness, Junii 21, 1616." In third leaf,
her head, painted on a card, and pasted upon the leaf.

The title of the other book is "Les Proverbes de Solomon, escrites in
diverses sortes des Lettres, par Esther Anglois, Francoise. A
Lislebourge en Escosse, 1599." This delicate performance gains the
admiration of all who see it; every chapter is wrote in a different
hand, as is the dedication, and some other things at the beginning of
the book, which makes near forty several sorts of hands. The beginnings
and endings of the chapters are adorned with most beautiful head and
tail pieces, and the margins are elegantly decorated with the pen, in
imitation, I suppose, of the elegant old manuscripts. The book is
dedicated to the Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth's great favourite. At
the beginning are his arms, neatly drawn, with all its quarterings, in
number fifty-six. In the fifth leaf is her own picture, done with the
pen, in the habit of that time. In her right hand a pen, the left
resting upon a book opened, in one of the leaves of which is written,
"Del eternal le bien. De moi le mal, ou rien." On the table before her
there is likewise a music-book lying open, which perhaps intimates that
she had some skill in that art. Under the picture is an epigram in
Latin, written by Andrew Melvin, and, in the next page, another composed
by the same author in Latin, of which the following is a translation:--

      "One hand Dame Nature's mimic does express
      Her larger figures, to the life in less;
      In the rich border of her work do stand
      Afresh, created by her curious hand,
      The various signs and planets of the sky,
      Which seem to move and twinkle in our eye;
      Much we the work, much more the hand admire,
      Her fancy guiding this does raise our wonder higher."

It appears that she lived unmarried till she was about forty; and then,
I find by a memorandum made by my late friend Mr Hearne, in a spare leaf
at the beginning of her manuscript of the Proverbs of Solomon, that she
was married to Mr Bartholomew Kello [Kelly?], a Scotchman, by whom she
had a son, named Samuel Kello, who was educated in Christ Church
College, Oxon.




The youngest daughter of Sir Charles Lucas, and the wife of the Marquis
of Newcastle, had, from her infancy, a natural inclination to learning,
and spent so much of her time in study and writing, that it is much to
be lamented she had not the advantage of an acquaintance with the
learned languages, which would have extended her knowledge, refined her
genius, and have been of infinite service to her in the many
compositions and productions of her pen.

In 1643, she obtained leave of her mother to go to Oxford, where the
court then resided, and was made one of the maids of honour to Henrietta
Maria, the royal consort of King Charles I.; and when the queen, by her
rebellious subjects, was unhappily forced to leave England and go to her
native country, she attended her thither. At Paris she met with the
Marquis of Newcastle, then a widower, who, admiring her person,
disposition, and ingenuity, was married to her in that place in the year
1645. She was said to be the most voluminous dramatic writer of our
female poets, that she had a great deal of wit, and a more than ordinary
propensity to dramatic poetry. Mr Langbaine tells us that all the
language and plots of her plays were her own, which is a commendation
preferable to fame built on other people's foundation, and will very
well atone for some faults in her numerous productions. [A catalogue of
this lady's works, "tragicomical, poetical, romancical, philosophical,
and historical," both in prose and verse, would occupy pages.]

Her person was very graceful, her temper naturally reserved, and she
seldom said much in company, especially among strangers. She was most
indefatigable in her studies and contemplations; truly pious,
charitable, and generous; an excellent economist; very kind to her
servants, and a perfect pattern of conjugal love and duty.




Daughter of Thomas, Lord Coventry, Keeper of the Great Seal, and wife of
Sir John Pakington, was well known to, and celebrated by, the best and
most learned divines of her time. Yet hardly my pen will be thought
capable of adding to the reputation her own has procured to her, if it
shall appear that she was the author of a work which is not more an
honour to the writer than a universal benefit to mankind.

The work I mean is, "The Whole Duty of Man;" her title to which has been
so well ascertained, that the general concealment it has lain under will
only reflect a lustre upon all her other excellences by showing that she
had no honour in view but that of her Creator, which, I suppose, she
might think best promoted by this concealment. [The claims of other
authors are not difficult to be disposed of.] If I were a Roman
Catholic, I would summon tradition as an evidence for me upon this
occasion, which has constantly attributed this performance to a lady.
And a late celebrated writer observes, that "there are many probable
arguments in 'The Whole Duty of Man' to back a current report that it
was written by a lady." And any one who reads "The Lady's Calling," may
observe a great number of passages which clearly indicate a female

That vulgar prejudice of the supposed incapacity of the female sex, is
what these memoirs in general may possibly remove. And as I have had
frequent occasion to take notice of it, I should not now enter again
upon that subject, had not this been made use of as an argument to
invalidate Lady Pakington's title to those performances. It may not be
amiss, therefore, to transcribe two or three passages from the treatise
I have just now mentioned. "But waiving these reflections, I shall fix
only on the personal accomplishments of the sex, and peculiarly that
which is the most principal endowment of the rational nature--I mean the
understanding--where it will be a little hard to pronounce that they are
naturally inferior to men, when it is considered how much of intrinsic
weight is put in the balance to turn it to the men's side. Men have
their parts cultivated and improved by education, refined and subtilised
by learning and arts; are like a piece of a common, which, by industry
and husbandry, becomes a different thing from the rest, though the
natural turf owned no such inequality. We may therefore conclude, that
whatever vicious impotence women are under, it is acquired, not natural;
nor derived from any illiberality of God's, but from the ill managery of
His bounty. Let them not charge God foolishly, or think that by making
them women He necessitated them to be proud or wanton, vain or peevish;
since it is manifest He made them to better purpose, was not partial to
the other sex; but that having, as the prophet speaks, 'abundance of
spirit,' He equally dispensed it, and gave the feeblest woman as large
and capacious a soul as that of the greatest hero. Nay, give me leave to
say farther, that, as to an eternal well-being, He seems to have placed
them in more advantageous circumstances than He has done men. He has
implanted in them some native propensions which do much facilitate the
operations of grace upon them."

And having made good this assertion, she interrogates thus: "How many
women do we read of in the gospel, who in all the duties of assiduous
attendance on Christ, liberalities of love and respect, nay, even in
zeal and courage, surpassed even the apostles themselves? We find His
cross surrounded, His passion celebrated by the avowed tears and
lamentations of devout women, when the most sanguine of His disciples
had denied, yea, forswore, and all had forsaken Him. Nay, even death
itself could not extinguish their love. We find the devout Maries
designing a laborious, chargeable, and perhaps hazardous respect to His
corpse, and, accordingly, it is a memorable attestation Christ gives to
their piety by making them the first witnesses of His resurrection, the
prime evangelists to proclaim those glad tidings, and, as a learned man
speaks, apostles to the apostles."

There are many works of this lady, besides "The Whole Duty of Man,"
enumerated in her biographies.




One of the circumstances which had the greatest influence on the events
and character of the reign of Jehangire, was his marriage with the wife
of one of the omrahs of his empire, whose assassination, like that of
Uriah, cleared the way for the gratification of the monarch. The history
of this female is dressed in romantic colours by the writers of the
East. Khaja Aiass, her father, was a Tartar, who left poverty and his
native country to seek the gifts of fortune in Hindustan. The inadequate
provision he could make for so great a journey failed him before its
conclusion. To add to his trials, his wife, advanced in pregnancy, was
seized with the pains of labour in the desert, and delivered of a
daughter. All hope of conducting the child alive to any place of relief
forsook the exhausted parents, and they agreed to leave her. So long as
the tree, at the foot of which the infant had been deposited, remained
in view, the mother supported her resolution; but when the tree vanished
from sight, she sank upon the ground, and refused to proceed without
her. The father returned, but what he beheld was a huge black snake
convolved about the body of the infant, and extending his dreadful jaws
to devour her. A shriek of anguish burst from the father's breast; and
the snake, being alarmed, hastily unwound himself from the body of the
infant, and glided away to his retreat. The miracle animated the parents
to maintain the struggle; and before their strength entirely failed,
they were joined by other travellers, who relieved their necessities.

Aiass, having arrived in Hindustan, was taken into the service of an
omrah of the court; attracted after a time the notice of Akbar himself;
and, by his abilities and prudence, rose to be treasurer of the empire.
The infant who had been so nearly lost in the desert was now grown a
woman of exquisite beauty; and, by the attention of Aiass to her
education, was accomplished beyond the measure of female attainments in
the East. She was seen by Sultan Selim, and kindled in his bosom the
fire of love. But she was betrothed to a Turkman omrah, and Akbar
forbade the contract to be infringed. When Selim mounted the throne,
justice and shame were a slight protection to the man whose life was a
bar to the enjoyments of the king. By some caprice, however, not
unnatural to minds pampered and trained up like his, he abstained from
seeing her for some years after she was placed in his seraglio, and even
refused an adequate appointment for her maintenance. She turned her
faculties to account; employed herself in the exquisite works of the
needle and painting, in which she excelled; and her productions were
disposed of in the shops and markets, and thence procured the means of
adorning her apartments with all the elegancies which suited her
condition and taste. The fame of her productions reached the ear and
excited the curiosity of the emperor. A visit was all that was wanting
to rekindle the flame in his heart; and Noor Mahal (such was the name
she assumed) exercised from that moment an unbounded sway over the
prince and his empire. Through the influence of the favourite sultana,
the vizirit was bestowed on her father; her two brothers were raised to
the first rank of omrahs, by the titles of Aetibad Khan and Asopha Jah;
but their modesty and virtues reconciled all men to their sudden
elevation. And though the emperor, naturally voluptuous, was now
withdrawn from business by the charms of his wife, the affairs of the
empire were conducted with vigilance, prudence, and success; and the
administration of Khaja Aiass was long remembered in India as a period
of justice and prosperity.


[BORN 1594. DIED 1617.]


On a signal from their leader, they, the natives of Virginia, laid down
their bows and arrows, and led Captain Smith [of the Expedition, 1607]
under strict guard to their capital. He was there exhibited to the women
and children, and a wild war-dance was performed round him in fantastic
measures, and with frightful yells and contortions. He was then shut up
in a long house, and supplied at every meal with as much bread and
venison as would have dined twenty men; but receiving no other sign of
kindness, he began to dread that they were fattening in order to eat
him. At last he was led to Pamunkey, the residence of Powhatan, the
king. It was here his doom was sealed. The chief received him in pomp,
wrapped in a spacious robe of racoon skins, with all the tails hanging
down. Behind appeared two long lines of men and women, with faces
painted red, heads decked with white down, and necks quite encircled
with chains of beads. A lady of rank presented water to wash his hands,
another a bunch of feathers to dry them. A long deliberation was then
held, and the result proved fatal. Two large stones were placed before
Powhatan, and, by the united efforts of the attendants, Smith was
dragged to the spot, his head laid on one of them, and the mighty club
was raised, a few blows of which were to terminate his life. In this
last extremity, when every hope seemed past, a very unexpected
interposition took place. Pocahontas, the youthful and favourite
daughter of this savage chief, was seized with those tender emotions
which form the ornament of her sex. Advancing to her father, she in the
most earnest terms supplicated mercy for the stranger; and though all
her entreaties were lost on that savage heart, her zeal only redoubled.
She ran to Smith, took his head in her arms, laid her own upon it, and
declared that the first death-blow must fall upon her. The barbarian's
breast was at length softened, and the life of the Englishman was

Smith was afterwards liberated and sent to Jamestown, where he was
installed as president. As Powhatan's favour was to be courted, there
had been sent handsome presents, with materials to crown him with
splendour, in the European style. With only four companions he
courageously repaired to the residence of the monarch, inviting him to
come and be crowned at Jamestown. The party were extremely well
received, though once they heard in the adjoining wood outcries so
hideous as made them flee to their arms; but Pocahontas assured them
they had nothing to fear. Subsequently, Smith was repeatedly in danger;
and again, on one occasion, was saved by a second interposition of
Pocahontas, who, at the risk of her father's displeasure, ran through
the woods on a dark night to give him warning. But the kindness of this
princess was ill repaid by the English, to whom she was so much
attached; for Argall, an enterprising naval commander, afterwards
contrived, through an Indian who had become his sworn friend, to
inveigle on board his vessel the fair Pocahontas. Regardless of her
tears and entreaties he conveyed her to Jamestown, where she was well
treated; but in a negotiation for her ransom, exorbitant terms were
demanded, which her father indignantly rejected, and the breach seemed
only widened. Happily, the chains of the princess's captivity were
lightened by others of a more pleasing nature. Mr John Rolfe, a
respectable young man, was smitten with her dignified demeanour, and
found no difficulty in gaining her affections. They were afterwards
married, and she was converted and baptised under the name of Rebecca,
to which the English prefixed the title of Lady, and her subsequent
conduct is said to have adorned her profession.

Soon after, in company with her husband, she visited England; and
Captain Smith wrote a letter to his majesty, recounting her good deeds,
declaring that she had a great spirit though a low stature, and
beseeching for her a reception corresponding to her rank and merits. She
was accordingly introduced at court, and into the circles of fashion,
where, as a novelty, she was for some time the leading object, and is
said to have deported herself with suitable grace and dignity. Purchas
mentions his meeting with her at the table of his patron, Dr King,
Bishop of London, where she was entertained with "festival and pomp."
The king took an absurd apprehension that Rolfe, on the ground of his
wife's birth, might advance a claim to the crown of Virginia. This idea
being at length driven out of his mind, he appointed him secretary and
recorder-general of the colony. The princess, early in 1617, went to
embark at Gravesend, but Providence had not destined that she would
revisit her native shore. She was there seized with an illness which
carried her off in a few days, and her last hours are said to have
extremely edified the spectators, being full of Christian resignation
and hope. She had left a son in the colony, whose offspring, carefully
traced, is now numerous; and this descent is the boast of many Virginian


[BORN 1620. DIED 1659.]


The daughter of Sir Allan Apsley, Lieutenant of the Tower of London, and
wife of Colonel Hutchinson, so well known in the Civil War, was in all
respects a remarkable woman. If it were allowable to take the portrait
she has given of herself as a just representation of her fair
contemporaries, we should form a most exalted notion of the Republican
matrons of England. Making a slight deduction for a few traits of
austerity borrowed from the bigotry of the age, we do not know where to
look for a more noble and engaging character than that under which this
lady presents herself to her readers; nor do we believe that any age of
the world has produced so worthy a counterpart to the Valerias and
Portias of antiquity. With a highminded feeling of patriotism and public
honour, she seems to have been possessed by the most beautiful and
devoted attachment to her husband, and to have combined a taste for
learning and the arts with the most active kindness and munificent
hospitality to all who came within the sphere of her bounty.

To a quick perception of character, she appears to have united a
masculine force of understanding and a singular capacity for affairs,
and to have possessed and exercised all those talents without affecting
any superiority over the rest of her sex, or abandoning for a single
instant the delicacy and reserve which were then its most indispensable
ornaments. Education is certainly far more diffused in our days, and
accomplishments infinitely more common; but the perusal of this lady's
Memoirs has taught us to doubt whether the better sort of women were not
fashioned of old by a better and more exalted standard, and whether the
most eminent female of the present day would not appear to disadvantage
by the side of Mrs Hutchinson. There is for the most part something
intriguing, and profligate, and theatrical in the clever women of this
generation; and if men are dazzled by their brilliancy and delighted
with their talent, we can scarcely even guard against some distrust of
their judgment, or some suspicion of their purity. There is something,
in short, in the domestic virtue, and the calm and commanding mind of
our English matron, that makes the Corinnas and Heloises appear small
and insignificant.

The admirers of modern talent will not accuse us of choosing an ignoble
competitor if we desire them to weigh the merits of Mrs Hutchinson
against those of Madame Roland. The English revolutionist did not,
indeed, compose weekly pamphlets and addresses to the municipalities,
because it was not the fashion of her day to print every thing that
entered into the heads of politicians. But she shut herself up with her
husband in the garrison with which he was entrusted, and shared his
counsels as well as his hazards. She encouraged the troops by her
cheerfulness and heroism, ministered to the sick, and dressed with her
own hands the wounds of the captives as well as of the victors. When her
husband was imprisoned on groundless suspicions, she laboured without
ceasing for his deliverance, confounded his oppressors by her eloquence
and arguments, tended him with unshaken fortitude in sickness and in
solitude, and after his decease dedicated herself to form his children
to the example of his virtues, and drew up the memorial, which is now
before us, of his worth and her own genius and affection. All this, too,
she did without stepping beyond the province of a private woman, without
hunting after compliments to her own genius or beauty, without sneering
at the dulness or murmuring at the coldness of her husband, without
hazarding the fate of her country on the dictates of her own enthusiasm,
or fancying for a moment that she was born with talents to enchant and
regenerate the world. With equal power of discriminating character, with
equal candour, and eloquence, and zeal for the general good, she is
elevated beyond her French competitor by superior prudence and modesty,
and by a certain simplicity and purity of character, of which it appears
to us that the other was unable to form a conception.

England, we should think, should be proud of having given birth to Mrs
Hutchinson and her husband; and chiefly because their characters are
truly and peculiarly English, according to the standard of their times,
in which national characters were most distinguishable. Not exempt,
certainly, from errors and defects, they yet seem to us to hold out a
lofty example of substantial dignity and virtue, and to possess most of
those talents and principles by which public life is made honourable,
and privacy delightful. Bigotry must at all times debase, and civil
dissension embitter our existence; but, in the ordinary course of
events, we may safely venture to assert, that a nation which produces
many such wives and mothers as Mrs Lucy Hutchinson, must be both great
and happy.


[BORN 1625. DIED 1680.]


Lady Fanshawe was, as is generally known, the wife of a distinguished
cavalier, in the heroic age of the Civil Wars and the Protectorate, and
survived till long after the Restoration. Her husband was a person of no
mean figure in those great transactions; and she, who adhered to him
with the most devoted attachment, and participated not unworthily in all
his fortunes and designs, was consequently in continual contact with the
movements that then agitated society. Since it may be said with some
show of reason that Lady Hutchinson and her husband had too many elegant
tastes and accomplishments to be taken as fair specimens of the austere
and godly republicans, it certainly may be retorted, with at least equal
justice, that the chaste and decorous Lady Fanshawe, and her sober,
diplomatic lord, shadow out rather too favourably the general manners
and morals of the cavaliers.

Lady Fanshawe seems to have followed, like a good wife and daughter,
where her parents or her husband led her, and to have adopted their
opinions with a dutiful and implicit confidence, but without being very
deeply moved by the principles or passions which actuated those from
whom they were derived; while Lady Hutchinson not only threw her whole
heart and soul into the cause of her party, but, like Lady Macbeth or
Madame Roland, imparted her own fire to her own phlegmatic helpmate;
"chastened him," when necessary, "with the valour of her tongue," and
cheered him on, by the encouragement of her high example, to all the
ventures and sacrifices, the triumphs or the martyrdoms, that lay
visibly across their daring and lofty course. The Lady Fanshawe, we take
it, was of a less passionate temperament. She begins in her Memoirs, no
doubt, with a good deal of love and domestic devotion, and even echoes
from that sanctuary certain notes of loyalty; but, in very truth, is
chiefly occupied, for the best part of her life, with the sage and
serious business of some nineteen or twenty _accouchements_, which are
happily accomplished in different parts of Europe, and seems at last to
be wholly engrossed in the ceremonial of diplomatic presentations, the
description of court dresses, state coaches, liveries, and jewellery,
the solemnity of processions and receptions by sovereign princes, and
the due interchange of presents and compliments with persons of worship
and dignity. But in her Memoirs there is enough, both of heart and sense
and observation, at once to repay gentle and intelligent readers for the
trouble of perusing them, and to stamp a character of amiableness and
respectability on the memory of their author.




One who, for constancy in love against temptations to change, deserves
commemoration. Dorothy Osborne was twenty-one. She is said to have been
handsome, and there remains abundant proof that she possessed an ample
share of the dexterity, the vivacity, and the tenderness of her sex. Sir
William Temple soon became, in the phrase of that time, her servant, and
she returned his regard. But difficulties as great as ever expanded a
novel to the fifth volume opposed their wishes. When the courtship
commenced, the father of the hero was sitting in the Long Parliament;
the father of the heroine was commanding in Guernsey for King Charles.
Even when the war ended, and Sir Peter Osborne returned to his seat at
Chicksands, the prospects of the lovers were scarcely less gloomy. Sir
John Temple had a more advantageous alliance in view for his son.
Dorothy Osborne was in the meantime besieged by as many suitors as were
drawn to Belmont by the fame of Portia. The most distinguished on the
list was Henry Cromwell. Destitute of the capacity, the energy, the
magnanimity of his illustrious father, destitute also of the meek and
placid virtues of his elder brother, this young man was perhaps a more
formidable rival than either of them would have been. Mrs Hutchinson,
speaking the sentiments of the grave and aged, calls him an "insolent
foole," and "a debauched ungodly cavalier." These expressions probably
mean that he was one who, among young and dissipated people, would pass
for a fine gentleman. Dorothy was fond of dogs of larger and more
formidable breed than those which lie on modern hearthrugs, and Henry
Cromwell promised that the highest functionaries in Dublin should be set
to work to procure for her a fine Irish greyhound. She seems to have
felt his attentions as very flattering, though his father was then only
Lord General, and not yet Protector. Love, however, triumphed over
ambition, and the young lady appears never to have regretted her
decision; though in a letter written just at the time when all England
was ringing with the news of the violent dissolution of the Long
Parliament, she could not refrain from reminding Temple, with pardonable
vanity, "how great she might have been if she had been so wise as to
have taken hold of the offer of Henry Cromwell."

Near seven years did this arduous wooing continue. Temple appears to
have kept up a very active correspondence with his mistress. We would
willingly learn more of the loves of these two. In the seventeenth
century, to be sure, Louis XIV. was a much more important person than
Temple's sweetheart. But death and time equalise all things. Neither the
great king nor the beauty of Bedfordshire, neither the gorgeous paradise
of Marli nor Mrs Osborne's favourite walk "in the common that lay hard
by the house, where a great many young wenches used to keep sheep and
cows, and sit in the shade singing of ballads," is anything to us. Louis
and Dorothy are alike dust. A cotton-mill stands on the ruins of Marli,
and the Osbornes have ceased to dwell under the ancient roof of

When at last the constancy of the lovers triumphed over all the
obstacles which kinsmen and rivals could oppose to their union, a yet
more serious calamity befell them. Poor Mrs Osborne fell ill of the
small-pox, and though she escaped with life, lost all her beauty. To
this most severe trial, the affection and honour of the lovers of that
age was not unfrequently subjected. Our readers will probably remember
what Mrs Hutchinson tells us of herself. The lofty Cornelia-like spirit
of the aged matron seems to melt into a long forgotten softness when she
relates how her beloved Colonel "married her as soon as she was able to
quit the chamber, when the priest and all that saw her were affrighted
to look on her. But God," she adds, with a not ungraceful vanity,
"recompensed his justice and constancy by restoring her as well as
before." Temple showed on this occasion the same justice and constancy
which did so much honour to Colonel Hutchinson. The date of the marriage
is not exactly known. But Mr Courtenay supposes it to have taken place
about the year 1654. From this time we lose Dorothy, and are reduced to
form our opinion of the terms on which she and her husband were, from
very slight indications, which may easily mislead us.

  [Illustration: Drawn by J. Thurston. Engraved by W. Finden.

   From an original Picture in the Collection of her Grace the Dutchess
   of Dorset.]


[BORN 1631. DIED 1664.]


The celebrated Orinda was the daughter of John Fowler of Bucklersbury.
Her improvement was so early, that whoever reads the account given of
her by M. Aubrey, will look upon all her succeeding progress in learning
to be no more than what might justly be expected. He tells us that she
was very apt to learn, and made verses when she was at school; that she
devoted herself to religious duties when she was very young; that she
would then pray by herself an hour together; that she had read the Bible
through before she was full four years old; that she could say by heart
many chapters and passages of Scripture, was a frequent hearer of
sermons, which she would bring away entire in her memory, and would take
sermons verbatim when she was but ten years old.

She became afterwards a perfect mistress of the French tongue, and
learned the Italian under the tuition of her ingenious and worthy friend
Sir Charles Cottrell. Born with a genius for poetry, she began to
improve it early in life, and composed many poems, upon various
occasions, for her own amusement, in her recess at Cardigan and
retirement elsewhere. These being dispersed among her friends and
acquaintances, were by an unknown hand collected together and published
in 1663, without her knowledge and consent,--an ungenteel and ungenerous
treatment, which proved so oppressive to her great modesty, that it gave
her a severe fit of illness. She poured forth her complaints in a long
letter to Sir Charles Cottrell, in which she laments, in a most
affecting manner, the misfortune and injury which had been done to her
by this surreptitious edition of her poems.

Her remarkable humility, good nature, and agreeable conversation,
greatly endeared her to all her acquaintances, and her ingenious and
elegant writings procured her the friendship and correspondence of many
learned and eminent men, and of persons of the first rank in England.
Upon her going to Ireland with the Viscountess of Dungannon, to transact
her husband's affairs there, her great merit soon made her known to, and
esteemed by, those illustrious persons,--Ormond, Orrery, Roscommon, and
many other persons of distinction,--who paid a great deference to her
worth and abilities, and showed her singular marks of their esteem.

While in Ireland, she was very happy in carrying on a former intimacy
with the famous Dr Jeremy Taylor, the worthy Bishop of Down and Conner,
who addressed to her "A Discourse of the Nature, Offices, and Measures
of Friendship." It is possible that his acquaintance with Mrs Philips
might contribute much towards the good opinion he entertained of the
female sex. It is certain that he was a great admirer of them. "But, by
the way, madam," he says, "you may see how much I differ from the
morosity of those cynics who would not admit your sex into the
communities of a noble friendship. I believe some wives have been the
best friends in the world, and few stories can outdo the nobleness and
piety of that lady that sucked the poisoned purulent matter from the
wound of our brave prince in the holy land, when an assassin had pierced
him with a venomed arrow. And if it be told that women cannot return
counsel, and therefore can be no brave friends, I can best confute them
by the story of Portia. I cannot say that women are capable of all those
excellences by which men can oblige the world; and therefore a female
friend, in some cases, is not so good a counsellor as a wise man, and
cannot so well defend my honour, nor dispose of reliefs and assistances,
if she be under the power of another; but a woman can love as
passionately, and converse as pleasantly, and retain a secret as
faithfully, and be useful in her proper ministries, and she can die for
her friend as well as the bravest Roman knight. A man is the best friend
in trouble, but a woman may be equal to him in the days of joy; a woman
can as well increase our comforts, but cannot so well lessen our
sorrows, and therefore we do not carry women with us when we go to
fight; but, in peaceful cities and times, virtuous women are the
beauties of society and the prettinesses of friendship."

Mrs Philips went for a time into a sort of melancholy retirement,
occasioned, perhaps, by the bad success of her husband's affairs; and,
going to London in order to relieve her oppressed spirits with the
conversation of her friends there, she was seized by the small-pox, and
died in her thirty-third year. Mr Aubrey observes that her person was of
a middle stature, pretty fat, and ruddy complexion.


[BORN 1635. DIED 1719.]


Born in a prison of America, whither her father had gone as a needy
adventurer, and where he died, Francis d'Aubigné returned to France a
poor orphan. At Rochelle, where she landed, she was taken pity upon by
Madame de Nuillant, an old miser, who degraded the friendless girl by
making her keep the key of the granary, and deal out the corn to the
horses. Going afterwards to Paris, her beauty, wit, and propriety of
conduct procured her friends, and subsequently she married the famous
poet Scarron, then a deformed old man. It was the custom for people who
loved letters, among whom were many courtiers, to repair to Scarron's
house, where they tasted of that wit and fancy which may be discovered
in his works. In all this Madame Scarron participated, making many
acquaintances, whose friendship, after Scarron's death, did not save her
from being a burden on the parish. She afterwards found her way into the
Hotel d'Albret, and that of Richelieu, where she acted as a kind of
upper servant, calling the other domestics, and reporting when such a
one's carriage had arrived. From one thing to another she changed, till
she succeeded in so charming King Louis the Fourteenth's mistress,
Madame de Montespan, that she engaged her to take the charge of her
children. In this office she was in the habit of often meeting the king,
who soon saw how much she excelled, in learning and good sense the other
women who had been devoted to his pleasure. Finally she was privately
married to him.

A woman of strong understanding, Madame Maintenon had learnt, from the
various conditions in which she had been, the art of pleasing,
insinuation, complaisance, and the use of intrigue; an incomparable
grace, an air of perfect ease and self-possession, accompanied by a
reservation and show of respect, which was the consequence of her humble
birth, and so far natural to her, wrought in unison with a soft speech,
the choice of appropriate words, and a species of eloquence kept within
bounds. The prior times in which she had lived were those of precision
and affectation, qualities which she retained, and in some degree
elevated, by an air of dignity and importance, and which, being
favourable to devotion, first inspired in her that feeling, and were
latterly submerged in it.

Yet, withal, the real character of her mind was that of ambition. She
aspired continually after new acquaintances and friends, as well as new
modes of amusement, excepting only some old confidantes whom time had
rendered necessary to her. This inequality in her temper produced many
evils. Easily elevated, she rose to an excess of feeling; as easily
depressed, she relapsed into satiety and even disgust, without being
able to render a reason for the change even to herself. After overcoming
the difficulty of getting into her presence, one had to experience a
volubility resulting from something which happened to please her, and
presently a relapse into indifference, or something worse, so that it
was a task for the visitor to know whether he was in grace or disgrace.
She possessed also the weakness to be regulated by confidences and
confessions, and to submit to be made the dupe of religious societies.
The time absorbed by her visits to convents was incredible. She believed
herself to be a kind of universal abbess, and concerned herself with the
endless details of numerous convents. She even figured herself to be the
mother of the Church, weighing and estimating the merits or demerits of
ecclesiastical officials, not less than those of the female heads of
convents. She was thus plunged in a sea of occupations, frivolous,
deceitful, and painful; of letters and answers to letters, directions to
choice friends, and all sorts of puerilities, which resulted ordinarily
in nothing. [Yet, for thirty years of her life, she played her part so
well that she was the king's most confidential adviser, and shared in
the obloquy of some of his worst acts, such as the revocation of the
edict of Nantes. She was a virtuous woman, a devout and bigoted
Catholic, ambitious and resolute, yet disinterested and charitable. Her
published letters demand for her a creditable place in French




Miss Hamilton, the eldest daughter of Sir George Hamilton, and born in
1641, was at the happy age when the charms of the fair sex begin to
bloom; she had the finest shape, the loveliest neck, and most beautiful
arms in the world; she was majestic and graceful in her movements, and
she was the original after which all the ladies copied in their taste
and air of dress. Her forehead was open, white, and smooth; her hair was
well set, and fell with ease into that natural order which it is so
difficult to imitate. Her complexion was possessed of a certain
freshness not to be equalled by borrowed colours; her eyes were not
large, but they were lively, and capable of expressing whatever she
pleased; her mouth was full of graces, and her contour uncommonly
perfect; nor was her nose, which was small, delicate, and _retroussé_,
the least ornament of so lovely a face.

Her mind was a proper companion for such a form. She did not endeavour
to shine in conversation by those sprightly sallies which only puzzle,
and, with still greater care, she avoided that affected solemnity in her
discourse which produces stupidity; but, without any eagerness to talk,
she just said what she ought and no more. She had an admirable
discernment in distinguishing between solid and false wit; and, far from
making an ostentatious display of her abilities, she was reserved,
though very just, in her decisions. Her sentiments were always noble,
and even lofty to the highest extent, when there was occasion;
nevertheless, she was less prepossessed with her own merit than is
usually the case with those who have so much. Formed as we have
described, she could not fail of commanding love; but so far was she
from courting it, that she was scrupulously nice with respect to those
whose merit might enable them to cherish any pretensions to her.

[Such a portrait (says Mr Davenport Adams) makes one in love with the
woman it professes to represent, and envy might be tempted to conclude
that it was rather the ideal of some poetic Diana, than a transcript of
a veritable flesh and blood beauty. Undoubtedly, the natural partiality
of the brother and the pride of the husband (Count de Grammont), whose
united skill has been exerted to produce so agreeable an _ensemble_,
have filled in the outline with too flattering colours, and heightened
the charms of nature by the graces of art. But when, for this fond
exaggeration, due allowance shall have been made, there will still
remain enough to justify us in regarding Elizabeth Hamilton as one of
the most fascinating women of her age or nation.

The highest in rank, and the most important of her lovers, was the Duke
of York, who had been captivated by a glance at her portrait in Lely's
studio. His proposals, however, being neither flattering nor honourable,
were haughtily rejected. The Duke of Richmond, a gamester and a
drunkard; the heir of Norfolk, a wealthy simpleton; the brave and
handsome Falmouth, who afterwards died a hero's death in one of the
great sea-fights with the Dutch; the two Russels, uncle and nephew; and
the invincible Henry Jermyn, in succession acknowledged the power of her
charms, and offered her their hands. They were refused. The Count de
Grammont next presented himself, and was more successful, though in
moral character he was not superior to his predecessors, and in fortune
was their inferior.

This celebrated wit, who has become so celebrated to us through the
graphic pages of Count Hamilton's Memoirs, was born in 1621. Having been
banished from France by Louis XIV., for entering himself against that
monarch in the lists of love with Mademoiselle La Motte Howdencourt, he
repaired to the court of Charles II., where he immediately became "the
observed of all observers." He was handsome, graceful, and accomplished;
his manners possessed an indescribable fascination; his address was
polished and easy, his conversation light and amusing. But his enemies
accused him of being treacherous in his friendships, cruel in his
jealousies, and trifling in his loves. He was assuredly a man of
unprincipled character, and as false towards a friend as he was fickle
to a mistress; but an undefinable brilliancy of manners, which dazzled
every eye, imposed on the judgment of all whom he came in contact with;
and it was only those whom he had defrauded or betrayed that could
distinguish the _clinquant_ from the pure metal.

After several years of wooing, the fickle Count de Grammont became the
husband of the beautiful Hamilton. But, notwithstanding the apparent
warmth and duration of his addresses, it is doubtful whether he really
intended them seriously; and his marriage is said to have been forced
upon him. Having made his peace with Louis XIV., he had received
permission to return to France. In all haste he set out on his journey,
and, it is said, without bringing matters to a proper conclusion with
Miss Hamilton. Her brothers immediately pursued him, and came up with
him near Dover, resolved to extort from him an explanation, or to obtain
satisfaction with their swords. "Chevalier de Grammont," they exclaimed,
"have you forgotten nothing in London?" "Excuse me," he rejoined, with
his accustomed self-possession, "I forgot to marry your sister." He
returned with them to London, and espoused the fair lady, Charles II.
honouring the nuptials with his presence.... Grammont died at the age of
eighty-six, and his wife survived him but one year.]


[BORN 1644. DIED 1710.]


It must be acknowledged that Louis XIV., in his amours more refined than
his contemporary Charles II. of England, sought for mental gifts no less
than personal charms, and, if caught at first by the eye and the lip,
the bloom of the cheek and the lustre of the hair, could only be held by
the surer and more exquisite fascination of a clear judgment and a
lively wit. He was not content with a dumb Venus. Beauty was required to
wear the robe of Pallas, and to borrow some, at least, of the magical
spells of the Graces. Criminal as were his attachments, and fatal to the
heart and soul of his people by the general levity of manners and morals
which they necessarily seemed to justify, they were clothed with a pomp
and refinement that concealed their most hideous features.

The most romantic of Louis' attachments was that which he professed for
Mademoiselle de la Valliere, born in 1664 of a noble family, which had
been long established in Touraine. While yet a child, she lost her
father, and was brought up at Blois, in the household of Gaston of
Orleans. "Her features," as we learn from Elizabeth of Bavaria, Duchess
of Orleans, "had an inexpressible attraction; her figure was beautiful,
her appearance modest; she limped a little, but this did not ill become
her." Her forehead was smooth and white, and on each side of it
clustered abundant curls of a glossy auburn. The soft languishing eyes,
the straight nose, the exquisite mouth and the dimpled chin, with a
certain eloquent air of love and gentleness, made up a most fascinating
countenance. All the figure was firm and plump--not one of your angular
forms, that bristle with sharp points, but the shape of a Venus, rich in
graceful curves, and softly rounded. There was a peculiar charm in her
conversation; it so sparkled with that light, effervescing humour, which
in the mouth of a pretty woman is accounted wit, while it breathed an
air of refinement that indicated a graceful and accomplished mind. A
sweet temper and a gentle disposition won the affection of all her
companions. She was capable of a passionate love, a deep and unalterable
love, devoted to its object, and utterly regardless of itself. She was
not ambitious, except of being loved; and that is an ambition which a
man willingly forgives to beauty. Envy and jealousy shrunk afar from her
generous soul. Finally, La Valliere had all the softness if she lacked
the purity of Imogen, the self-abandonment of Juliet, the passionate
fidelity of Ophelia; but nature had rendered it impossible for her to
play the part of a Cleopatra. She was formed to yield, to obey, to
suffer in silence; and the secret of her power lay in the simplicity of
her devotion.

The beautiful La Valliere is still the heroine of the people. Her story
is a tale of passion, of guilt, sorrow, and penitence; it has had
peculiar attractions for the popular mind; and, while it has contributed
poem, romance, and history to French literature, it has not been
neglected by the English writer. It certainly possesses the most
striking features of romance. Consider the quality of the actors--a
powerful sovereign in the flush of youthful pride, contrasted with a
young and simple maid of honour. Consider the startling variety of the
passions--ardent and aspiring love, triumphant possession; satiety on
the one side, and sorrow on the other, remorse, and a long repentance.
Consider the picturesque character of the scenes--the glittering pomp of
a palace, the austere simplicity of a convent. And then there is thrown
over the whole the bewildering atmosphere of splendour; nobles and
pages, statesmen and beauties, priests and councillors,--music and
flowers, and the glow of a thousand lights,--the fall of powerful
ministers, the intrigues of subtle courtiers,--all blend in the exciting
movement of this passionate and fantastic drama. And yet it is an old,
old story,--the brief madness of love, the prolonged penitence of
remorse. It is a fine commentary on the exultant sin,--this dreary old
age of shattered hopes that closes all.


[BORN 1654. DIED 1720.]


One whom Bentley calls the most learned of women, Tanaquil Faber, thus
better known than by his real name, Tanneguy le Fevre, a man learned,
animated, acquired a considerable name among French critics by several
editions, as well as by other writings in philology. But none of his
literary productions were so celebrated as those of his daughter, Anne
le Fevre, afterwards Madame Dacier.

The knowledge of Greek, though once not very uncommon in a woman, had
become prodigious in the days of Louis XIV.; and when this distinguished
lady taught Homer and Sappho to speak French prose, she appeared a
phoenix in the eyes of her countrymen. She was undoubtedly a person of
very rare talents and estimable character; her translations are
numerous, and reputed to be correct, though Niceron has observed that
she did not raise Homer in the eyes of those who were not prejudiced in
his favour. Her husband was a scholar of kindred mind and the same
pursuits. Their union was facetiously called the wedding of Latin and
Greek. But each of this learned couple was skilled in both languages.
Dacier was a great translator: his Horace is perhaps the best known of
his versions; but the Poetics of Aristotle have done him most honour.

The Daciers had to fight the battle of antiquity against a generation
both ignorant and vainglorious, yet keen-sighted in the detection of
blemishes, and disposed to avenge the wrongs of their fathers, who had
been trampled upon by pedants, with the help of a new pedantry, that of
the court and the mode. With great learning, they had a competent share
of good sense, but not, perhaps, a sufficiently discerning taste or
liveliness enough of style to maintain a cause that had so many
prejudices of the world now enlisted against it.




Damaris, Lady Masham, the daughter of the famous Dr Cudworth, and second
wife of Sir Thomas Masham of Oates, in Essex, was born in 1658. Her
father, who soon perceived the bent of her genius, took particular care
in her tuition, and she applied herself with great diligence to the
study of divinity and philosophy, under the direction of the celebrated
Mr Locke, who was a domestic in her family for many years, and at length
died in her house at Oates.

Soon after she was married, the fame of her learning, piety, and
ingenuity, induced the celebrated Mr Norris to address and inscribe to
her, by way of letter, his "Reflections upon the Conduct of Human Life."
This began a friendship between them, which, having its foundation in
religion, seemed very likely to be firm and lasting; but it seems to
have been in a great measure dissolved before it had been of any long
continuance, occasioned by this lady's contracting an indissoluble
friendship with Mr Locke, whose divinity and philosophy is well known to
have differed from that of Mr Norris. Not long after, the latter, in
certain published letters, maintained the proposition, that "mankind are
obliged strictly, as their duty, to love with desire nothing but God
only;" and Lady Masham published, without her name, her "Discourse
concerning the Love of God," wherein she applied herself to the
examination of Mr Norris's scheme, which included the proposition, that
every degree of love of any creature is sinful; a proposition defended
by him on the ground (borrowed from Father Malebranche) that God, not
the creature, is the efficient cause of our sensations. Mrs Masham
examined this hypothesis with great accuracy and ingenuity, and
represented in a strong light the evil consequences resulting from it.
About the year 1700, Lady Masham also wrote a treatise, "Occasional
Thoughts in reference to a Virtuous and Christian Life," the principal
design of which was to improve religion and virtue; and, indeed, it is
so full of excellent instruction, that, if carefully perused by both
sexes, it could not fail of obtaining much of its desired end. She
complains much of the too great neglect of religious duties, occasioned,
as she believed, by the want of being better acquainted with the
fundamentals of religion; and very justly reprehends and reproaches
persons of quality for so scandalously permitting their daughters to
pass that part of their youth, in which the mind is most ductile and
susceptible of good impressions, in a ridiculous circle of diversions,
which is generally thought the proper business of young ladies, and
which so generally engrosses them that they can find no spare hours
wherein to make any improvement in their understandings.

As Mrs Masham owed much to the care of Mr Locke for her acquired
endowments and skill in arithmetic, geography, chronology, history,
philosophy, and divinity, so, as he was a domestic in her family, she
returned the obligation with singular benevolence and gratitude, always
treating him with the utmost generosity--her friendship for him being
inviolable. It is recorded that, as she sat by Mr Locke's side the night
before he died, he exhorted her to regard this world only as a state of
preparation for a better; that she desired to sit up with him that
night, but he would not permit her. The next day, as she was reading the
Psalms in a low tone by him in his room, he desired her to read aloud.
She did so, and he appeared very attentive till the approach of death
prevented him. He then desired her ladyship to break off, and in a few
minutes afterwards expired. As a testimony of her gratitude to Mr
Locke's memory, she drew up that account of him which is printed in the
great Historical Dictionary.

  [Illustration: Drawn by J. Thurston. Engraved by F. Engleheart.

   From a Miniature by Sir Peter Lely in the possession of Mr.


[BORN 1660. DIED 1685.]


The daughter of Dr Henry Killigrew, prebendary of Westminster, became
eminent in the arts of poetry and painting; and had it pleased
Providence to protract her life, she might probably have excelled most
of the professors in both. She was the Orinda of Mr Dryden, who seems
quite lavish in her commendation; but as we are assured by a writer of
great probity [Wood's "Athenæ"] that she was equal to, if not superior
to that praise, let him be my voucher for her skill in poetry.

      "Art she had none, yet wanted none,
        For Nature did that want supply;
      So rich in treasures of her own,
        She might our boasted stores defy;
      Such noble vigour did her verse adorn,
      That it seemed borrowed where 'twas only born."

The great poet is pleased to attribute to her every excellence in that
science; but if she has failed of some of its excellences, still should
we have great reason to commend her for having avoided those faults by
which some have derived a reflection on the science itself, as well as
on themselves. Speaking of the purity and charity of her compositions,
he bestows on them this commendation,--

      "Her Arethusian stream remains unsoiled,
      Unmixed with foreign filth, and undefiled;
      Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child."

She was also a great proficient in the art of painting, and drew King
James II. and his queen, which pieces are highly applauded by Mr Dryden.
These engaging and polite accomplishments were the least of her
perfections, for she crowned all with an exemplary piety towards God in
a due observance of the duties of religion, which she began to practise
in the early part of her life. But as her uncommon virtues are
enumerated on her monument-inscription, I shall only observe that she
was one of the maids of honour to the Duchess of York, and that she died
of the small-pox in the flower of her age, to the unspeakable grief of
her relations and all others who were acquainted with her excellences,
in her father's lodgings, within the cloister of Westminster Abbey, on
the 16th day of June 1685, in her twenty-fifth year.

Mr Dryden's muse put on the mourning habit on this sad occasion, and
lamented the death of our ingenious poetess in very moving strains, in a
long ode, from whence I shall take the liberty of transcribing the
eighth stanza; and the rather as it does honour to another female

      "Now all those charms that blooming grace
      The well-proportioned shape and beauteous face,
      Shall never more be seen by mortal eyes;
      In earth the much-lamented virgin lies!
      Not wit nor poetry could fate prevent,
      Nor was the cruel destiny content
      To finish all the murder at a blow,
      To sweep at once her life and beauty too;
      But, like a hardened felon, took a pride,
      To work more mischievously slow,
      And plundered first, and then destroyed.
      O, double sacrifice, as things divine,
      To rob the relique and deface the shrine!
      But thus Orinda died:
      Heaven by the same disease did both translate;
      As equal were their souls, so equal was their fate."

  [Illustration: Painted by Gole
   (reproduction of signature of Queen Anne)]


[BORN 1664. DIED 1714.]


Queen Anne "had a person and appearance not at all ungraceful, till she
grew exceeding gross and corpulent. There was something of majesty in
her look, but mixed with a sullen and constant frown, that plainly
betrayed a gloominess of soul and cloudiness of disposition within. She
seemed to inherit a good deal of her father's moroseness, which
naturally produced in her the same sort of stubborn positiveness in many
cases, both ordinary and extraordinary, and the same sort of bigotry in
religion." This passage, being written for insertion in a party work,
appeals to vulgar opinion. The slight contraction in the queen's eyes,
the writer perfectly well knew, had been occasioned by violent
inflammation in her childhood, and was not connected with temper. The
Duchess of Marlborough likewise well knew, and had experienced, that
excessive indulgence, and not moroseness, in his family circle, was the
fault of the unhappy James II., her own early benefactor. However, this
libel was to have been published under Bishop Burnet's mask. Thus does
the creature of the bounty of those she maligns pursue her theme: "Queen
Anne's memory was exceeding great, almost to a wonder, and had these two
peculiarities very remarkable,--that she could, when she pleased,
forget what others would have thought themselves bound by truth and
honour to remember, while she remembered all such things as others would
have thought it a happiness to forget. Indeed, she chose to exercise it
in very little besides ceremonies and customs of courts, and such-like
insignificant trifles. So that her conversation, which otherwise might
have been enlivened by so great a memory, was only made more empty and
trifling by its chiefly turning upon fashions and rules of precedence,
or some such poor topics. Upon which account, it was a sort of
misfortune to her that she loved to have a great crowd come to her,
having little to say to them, but 'that the weather was either hot or
cold;' and little to inquire of them, but 'how long they had been in
town?' or the like weighty matters. She never discovered any readiness
of parts, either in asking questions or in giving answers. In matters of
ordinary moment, her discourse had nothing of brightness or wit; in
weightier matters, she never spoke but in a hurry, and had a certain
knack of sticking to what had been dictated to her to a degree often
very disagreeable, and without the least sign of understanding or
judgment." As the duchess was considered the queen's "dictator" for
thirty years, she had ample opportunity of speaking on this trait of her
character; but it only became apparent to her when the dictatorship was
transferred for a few years to another person. "The queen's letters,"
she continues, "were very indifferent, both in sense and spelling,
unless they were generally enlivened with a few passionate expressions,
sometimes pretty enough, but repeated over and over again, without the
mixture either of diversion or instruction."

Now turn the medal, and read the reverse:--"Queen Anne had a person and
appearance very graceful; something of majesty in her look. She was
religious without affectation, and certainly meant to do everything that
was just. She had no ambition, which appeared by her being so easy in
letting King William come before her to the crown, after the king, her
father, had followed such counsels as made the nation see they could not
be safe in their liberty and lives without coming to the extremities
they did; and she thought it more for her honour to be easy in it, than
to make a dispute who should have the crown first that was taken from
her father. And it was a great trouble to her to be forced to act such a
part against him, even for security, which was truly the case; and she
thought those that showed the least ambition had the best character. Her
journey to Nottingham was purely accidental, never concerted, but
occasioned by the great fright she was in when King James returned from
Salisbury; upon which she said she would rather jump out of the window
than stay and see her father."

Those who have read the previous character drawn of Queen Anne by the
same person must think the contradictions between the two truly
monstrous, and the emanation of a bewildered brain. Some candid persons,
disposed to sentimentalise on the fierce duchess, have supposed that,
after a lapse of time, her mind had softened towards her benefactress,
and that she wrote the last character as a reparation for the first. But
such inferences vanish before the fact that the duchess herself favours
the world with her motives, in raising a statue at Blenheim to her
former royal mistress, and adorning it with the laudatory inscription,
the whole being avowedly not to do justice to Queen Anne, but to vex and
spite Queen Caroline, the consort of George II. Here are her words:
"This character of Queen Anne is so much the reverse of Queen Caroline,
that I think it will not be liked at court." In the middle of the last
century, the Duchess of Marlborough hated Queen Caroline more than she
did Queen Anne. Such is the real explanation of these discrepancies.

Other contemporary authors have mentioned traits of Queen Anne,
according to their knowledge. When all are collected and examined,
certain contradictions occur; for they do not enough distinguish between
the actions of Anne in her youth, as an uneducated and self-indulgent
woman, and the undeniable improvement in her character. Even the awful
responsibility of a reigning sovereign, whose practical duties were at
that era by no means clearly defined, awoke her conscience to trembling
anxiety for the welfare of her people. Much permanent good she assuredly
did, and no evil, as queen-regent, notwithstanding the ill-natured
sarcasms of a Whig politician, who, when mentioning her demise at an
opportune juncture for the Hanoverian succession, declared that "Queen
Anne died like a Roman, for the good of her country." But no sovereign
was ever more deeply regretted by the people. The office of regality
was, there is no doubt, a painful occupation to her; for her constant
complaint was, observes Tindal, "that she was only a crowned slave," the
originality of which expression savours not of the dulness generally
attributed to this queen.

Her person is represented differently by those who saw her daily. "Her
complexion was ruddy and sanguine; the luxuriance of her chestnut hair
has already been mentioned. Her face was round and comely, her features
strong and regular; and the only blemish in it was that defluxion which
had fallen on her eyes in her childhood, had contracted the lids, and
given a cloudiness to her countenance." Thus the frown that the Duchess
of Marlborough dwells on malevolently did not arise from ill-nature,
but from defect of vision. The duchess has likewise given a malignant
turn to a trifling incident arising from Anne's near-sightedness, quoted
in her early life. "Queen Anne was of a middle stature," observes
another contemporary; "not so personable and majestic as her sister,
Queen Mary. Her face was rather comely than handsome; it seemed to have
a tincture of sourness in it, and, for some years before she died, was
rubicund and bloated. Her bones were small, her hands extremely
beautiful, her voice most melodious, and her ear for music exquisite.
She was brought up in High Church principles, but changed her parties
according to her interest. She was a scrupulous observer of the outward
and visible forms of godliness and humility in public service; as, for
instance, she reproved once the minister of Windsor Castle for offering
her the Sacrament before the clergy present had communicated;" thus
forgetting her position and dignity as head of the church.


[BORN 1684. DIED 1728.]


Esther Johnson, better known to the reader of Swift's works by the name
of Stella, was the child of a London merchant, who died in her infancy,
when she went with her mother, who was a friend of Sir William Temple's
sister, to reside at Moorpark, where Swift was then domesticated. Some
part of the charge of her education devolved upon him, and, though he
was twenty years her senior, the interest with which he regarded her
appears to have ripened into something as much like affection as could
find a place in his selfish bosom. Soon after Sir William Temple's death
he got his Irish livings, besides a considerable legacy; and as she had
a small independence of her own, it is obvious that there was nothing to
prevent their honourable and immediate union. Some cold-blooded vanity
or ambition, however, or some politic anticipation of his own possible
inconstancy, deterred him from this outward and open course, and led him
to an arrangement which was dishonourable and absurd in the beginning,
and in the end productive of the most accumulated misery.

He prevailed upon her to remove her residence from the bosom of her own
family in England to his immediate neighbourhood in Ireland, where she
took lodgings with an elderly companion of the name of Mrs
Dingley--avowedly for the sake of his society and protection, and on a
footing of intimacy so very strange and unprecedented, that, whenever he
left his parsonage-house for England or Dublin, these ladies immediately
took possession and occupied it till he came back. A situation so
extraordinary and undefined was liable, of course, to a thousand
misconstructions, and must have been felt as degrading by any woman of
spirit and delicacy; and, accordingly, though the master of this
Platonic seraglio seems to have used all manner of paltry and insulting
practices to protect a reputation which he had no right to bring into
question,--by never seeing her except in the presence of Mrs Dingley,
and never sleeping under the same roof with her,--it is certain both
that the connection was regarded as indecorous by persons of her own
sex, and that she herself felt it to be humiliating and improper.

Accordingly, within two years after her settlement in Ireland, it
appears that she encouraged the addresses of a clergyman of the name of
Tisdal, between whom and Swift there was a considerable intimacy, and
that she would have married him, and thus sacrificed her earliest
attachment to her freedom and her honour, had she not been prevented by
the private dissuasions of that false friend who did not choose to give
up his own claims to her, although he had not the heart or the honour to
make her lawfully his own. She was then a blooming beauty of little more
than twenty, with fine black hair, delicate features, and a playful and
affectionate character. It seems doubtful to us whether she originally
felt for Swift anything that could properly be called love; and her
willingness to marry another in the first days of their connection,
seems almost decisive on the subject; but the ascendancy he had
acquired over her mind, and her long habit of submitting her own
judgment and inclinations to his, gave him at last an equal power over
her, and moulded her pliant affections into too deep and exclusive a

Even before his appointment to the deanery of St Patrick's, it is
utterly impossible to devise any apology for his not marrying her, or
allowing her to marry another; the only one he ever appears to have
stated himself, viz., the want of a sufficient fortune to sustain the
expenses of matrimony, being palpably absurd in the mouth of a man born
to nothing, and already more wealthy than nine-tenths of his order; but
after he obtained that additional preferment, and was thus ranked among
the well-beneficed dignitaries of the Establishment, it was plainly an
insult upon common sense to pretend that it was the want of money that
prevented him from fulfilling his engagement. Stella was then
twenty-six, and he near forty-five, and both had hitherto lived very far
within an income that was now more than doubled. That she now expected
to be made his wife appears from the care he took in the Journal
indirectly to destroy that expectation; and though the awe in which he
continually kept her probably prevented her either from complaining or
inquiring into the cause, it is now certain that a new attachment, as
heartless, as unprincipled, and as fatal in its consequences as either
of the others, was at the bottom of this cruel and unpardonable

During his residence in London, from 1710 to 1712, regardless of the
ties that bound him to Stella, he allowed himself to be engaged by the
amiable qualities of Miss Esther Vanhomrigh; and, without explaining the
nature of those ties to his new idol, strove by his assiduities to
obtain a return of affection, while he studiously concealed from the
unhappy Stella the wrong he was consciously doing her. [The consequences
of this double connection form one of the most tragic stories in our
language--the formal ceremony by which he made Stella his wife, under
the cloud of secrecy, and still keeping her from the enjoyment of her
rights; the death of Miss Vanhomrigh of a broken heart, and the
miserable fate of Stella.] Vanessa (so he called Miss Vanhomrigh) was
now dead. The grave had heaped its tranquillising mould on her agitated
heart, and given her tormentor assurance that he should no more suffer
from her reproaches on earth; and yet, though with her the last pretext
was extinguished for refusing to acknowledge the wife he had so
infamously abused, we find him, with this dreadful example before his
eyes, persisting to withhold from his remaining victim that late and
imperfect justice to which her claim was so apparent, and from the
denial of which she was sinking before his eyes in sickness and sorrow
to the grave. For the sake of avoiding some small awkwardness or
inconvenience to himself,--to be secured from the idle talking of those
who might wonder why, since they were to marry, they did not marry
before, or perhaps merely to retain the object of his regard in more
complete subjection and dependence,--he could bear to see her pining
year after year in solitude and degradation, and sinking at last to an
untimely grave, prepared by his hard and unrelenting refusal to clear
her honour to the world even at her dying hour.




This unfortunate lady, when she first became acquainted with Swift, was
in her twentieth year, and joined to all the attractions of youth,
fashion, and elegance, the still more dangerous gifts of a lively
imagination, a confiding temper, and a capacity of strong and permanent
affection. Conscious of the pleasure which Swift received from her
society, and of the advantages of youth and fortune which she possessed,
and ignorant of the peculiar circumstances in which he stood with
respect to another, naturally (and surely without offence either to
reason or virtue) Miss Vanhomrigh gave way to the hope of forming a
union with a man whose talents had first attracted her admiration, and
whose attentions, in the course of their mutual studies, had by degrees
gained her affections, and seemed to warrant his own. The friends
continued to use the language of friendship, but with the assiduity and
earnestness of a warmer passion, until Vanessa (the poetical name
bestowed upon her by him) rent asunder the veil, by intimating to Swift
the state of her affections; and in this, as she conceived, she was
justified by her favourite, though dangerous maxim, of doing that which
seems in itself right, without respect to the common opinion of the
world. We cannot doubt that he actually felt the "shame,
disappointment, guilt, surprise," expressed in his celebrated poem,
though he had not courage to take the open and manly course of avowing
those engagements with Stella, or other impediments which prevented him
from accepting the hand and fortune of her rival. Without therefore
making this painful but just confession, he answered the avowal of
Vanessa's passion in raillery, and afterwards by an offer of devoted and
everlasting friendship, founded on the basis of virtuous esteem. Vanessa
seems neither to have been contented nor silenced by the result of her
declaration, but to the very close of her life persisted in
endeavouring, by entreaties and arguments, to extort a more lively
return to her passion than this cold proffer was calculated to afford.

Upon Swift's return to Ireland, we may guess at the disturbed state of
his feelings, wounded at once by ungratified ambition, and harrassed by
his affection being divided between two objects, each worthy of his
attachment, and each having great claims upon him, while neither was
likely to remain contented with the limited return of friendship in
exchange for love, and that friendship, too, divided by a rival. Time
wore on. Mrs Vanhomrigh was now dead. Her two sons survived her but a
short time; and the circumstances of the young ladies were so
embarrassed by inconsiderate expenses, as gave them a handsome excuse
for retiring to Ireland, where their father had left a small property
near Celbridge. The arrival of Vanessa in Dublin excited the
apprehensions of Swift and the jealousy of Stella. She importuned him
with complaints of neglect and cruelty; and it was obvious that any
decisive measure to break their correspondence would be attended with
some such tragic consequence as, though late, at length concluded their

About the year 1717, she retired from Dublin to her house and property
near Celbridge, to nurse her hopeless passion in seclusion from the
world. Swift seems to have foreseen and warned her against the
consequences of this step. His letters uniformly exhort her to seek
general society, to take exercise, and divert as much as possible the
current of her thoughts from the unfortunate subject which was preying
upon her spirits. Until the year 1720, he never appears to have visited
her at Celbridge; they only met when she was occasionally in Dublin. But
in that year, and down to the time of her death, Swift came repeatedly
to Celbridge.

But Miss Vanhomrigh, irritated at the situation in which she found
herself, determined on bringing to a crisis those expectations of an
union with the object of her affections, to the hope of which she had
clung amid every vicissitude of his conduct towards her. The most
probable bar was his undefined connection with Mrs Johnson, which, as it
must have been perfectly known to her, had doubtless long excited her
secret jealousy; although only a single hint to that purpose is to be
found in their correspondence, and that so early as 1713, when she
writes to him, then in Ireland, "If you are very happy, it is
ill-natured of you not to tell me so, _except 'tis what is inconsistent
with mine_." Her silence and patience under this state of uncertainty
for no less than eight years, must have been partly owing to her awe for
Swift, and partly perhaps to the weak state of her rival's health, which
from year to year seemed to announce speedy dissolution. At length,
however, Vanessa's impatience prevailed, and she ventured on the
decisive step of writing to Mrs Johnson herself, requesting to know the
nature of that connection. Stella, in reply, informed her of her
marriage with the dean; and, full of the highest resentment against
Swift for having given another female such a right on him as Miss
Vanhomrigh's inquiries implied, she sent to him her rival's letter of
interrogation, and, without seeing him or awaiting his reply, retired to
the house of Mr Ford, near Dublin. Every reader knows the consequence.
Swift, in one of those paroxysms of fury to which he was liable, both
from temper and disease, rode instantly to Marley Abbey. As he entered
the apartment, the sternness of his countenance, which was peculiarly
formed to express the fiercer passions, struck the unfortunate Vanessa
with such terror that she could scarce ask whether he would not sit
down. He answered by flinging a letter upon the table, and, instantly
leaving the house, mounted his horse and returned to Dublin. When
Vanessa opened the packet, she only found her own letter to Stella. It
was her death-warrant; she sunk at once under the disappointment of the
delayed yet cherished hopes which had so long sickened her heart, and
beneath the unrestrained wrath of him for whose sake she had indulged
them. How long she survived this last interview is uncertain, but the
time does not seem to have exceeded a few weeks.


[BORN 1668. DIED 1731.]


This great ornament of her sex, the daughter of a merchant in Newcastle,
and born about the year 1668, was taught all the accomplishments which
were usually learned by young women of her station; and although she
proceeded no further in the languages at that time than the learning of
the French tongue, yet she afterwards gained some knowledge of the
Latin. And having a piercing wit, a solid judgment, and tenacious
memory, she made herself a complete mistress of everything she attempted
to learn with the greatest ease imaginable. At about twenty years of age
she left Newcastle and went to London, where, and at Chelsea, she spent
the remaining part of her life, and where she prosecuted her studies
very assiduously, and in a little time made great acquisitions in the

The learning and knowledge which she had gained, together with her great
benevolence and generosity of temper, taught her to observe and lament
the loss of it in those of her own sex, the want of which, as she justly
observed, was the principal cause of their plunging themselves into so
many follies and inconveniences. To redress this evil as much as lay in
her power, she wrote and published the two parts of her ingenious
treatise, entitled, "A Serious Proposal to the Ladies." Afterwards came
her "Letters, concerning the Love of God, between the author of the
Proposal to the Ladies and Mr John Norris." Notwithstanding her great
care to conceal herself, her name was soon discovered and made known to
several learned persons, whose restless curiosity would hardly otherwise
have been satisfied. These letters have been much applauded for their
good sense, sublime thoughts, and fine language.

Afterwards she acquired a more complete knowledge of many classic
authors,--Xenophon, Plato, Hierocles, Tully, Seneca, Epictetus, and
Antoninus. In 1700 she published her "Reflections on Marriage," which
was followed by her book against the sectaries, "Moderation truly
Stated,"--a work of which, notwithstanding all the arts she used to
conceal herself, she was soon discovered to be the author. Afterwards
came her "Religion of a Church of England Woman;" and her "Enquiry into
the Causes of Rebellion and Civil War."

As her notions and sentiments of religion, piety, charity, humility,
friendship, and all the other graces which adorn the good Christian,
were most refined and sublime, so she possessed these rare and excellent
virtues in a degree which would have made her admired and distinguished
in an age less degenerate and profane; and though from the very flower
of her age she lived and conversed with the fashionable world, amidst
all the gaiety, pomp, and pageantry of the great city, yet she well knew
how to resist and shun those infatuating snares. To know God, and to be
like Him, was her first and great endeavour. Though easy and affable to
others, to herself she was often over-severe. In abstinence, few or none
ever surpassed her; for she would live like a hermit a considerable time
together, with a crust of bread and water, with a little small beer.
And at the time of her highest living, she very rarely eat any dinner
till night, and then it was by the strictest rules of temperance.

She seemed to enjoy an uninterrupted state of health till a few years
before her death, when, having one of her breasts cut off, it so much
impaired her constitution that she did not long survive it. This was
occasioned by a cancer, which she had concealed from the world in such a
manner that even few of her most intimate acquaintances knew anything at
all of the matter. She dressed and managed it herself, till she plainly
perceived there was an absolute necessity for its being cut off; and
then, with the most intrepid resolution and courage, she went to the
Rev. Mr Johnson, a gentleman very eminent for his skill in surgery (with
only one person to attend her), entreating him to take it off in the
most private manner imaginable, and would hardly allow him to have
persons whom necessity required to be at the operation. She seemed so
regardless of the sufferings or pain she was to undergo, that she
refused to have her hands held, and did not discover the least timidity
or impatience, but went through the operation without the least
struggling or resistance, or even so much as giving a groan or a sigh.
Soon after this her health and strength declined apace; and at length,
by a gradual decay of nature, being confined to bed, and finding the
time of her dissolution drawing nigh, she ordered her coffin and shroud
to be made and brought to her bedside, and there to remain in her view
as a constant memento to her of her approaching fate, and that her mind
might not deviate or stray one moment from God, its proper object.


[BORN 1640. DIED 1722.]


When this extraordinary woman was appointed camarera-mayor to the queen
of Philip V. of Spain, she was a widow without children. No one could
have been better suited for the post. A lady of the French court would
not have done: a Spanish lady was not to be depended on, and might have
easily disgusted the queen. The Princess des Ursins appeared to be a
middle term. She was French, had been in Spain, and she passed a great
part of her life at Rome and in Italy. She was of the house of
Tremoille,--Anne Maria de la Tremoille. She first married M. Talleyrand,
who called himself Prince de Chalais. She followed her husband to Spain,
where he died. Her second husband was chief of the house of Ursins, a
grandee of Spain, and Prince of the Soglio.

Age and health were also appropriate, and likewise her appearance. She
was rather tall than otherwise; a brunette, with blue eyes of the most
varied expression; in figure perfect, with a most exquisite bosom; her
face, without being beautiful, was charming. She was extremely noble in
air, very majestic in demeanour, full of graces so natural and continual
in everything, that I have never seen any one approach her either in
form or mind. Her wit was copious, and of all kinds; she was
flattering, caressing, insinuating, moderate, wishing to please for
pleasing' sake, with charms irresistible when she strove to persuade and
win over; accompanying all this, she had a grandeur that encouraged
instead of frightening; a delicious conversation, inexhaustible and very
amusing, for she had seen many countries and persons; a voice and way of
speaking extremely agreeable, and full of sweetness. She knew how to
choose the best society, how to receive them, and could even have held a
court; was polite, _distingué_, and, above all, was careful never to
take a step in advance without dignity and discretion. She was eminently
fitted for intrigue, in which, from taste, she had passed her life in
Rome; with much ambition, but of that vast kind far above her sex and
the common run of men--a desire to occupy a great position, and to
govern. A love for gallantry and personal vanity were her foibles, and
these clung to her until her latest day; consequently, she dressed in a
way that no longer became her, and, as she advanced in life, removed
further from propriety in this particular. She was an ardent and
excellent friend--of a friendship that time and absence never enfeebled,
and, consequently, an implacable enemy, pursuing her hatred to the
infernal regions. While caring little for the means by which she gained
her ends, she tried as much as possible to reach them by honest means.
Secret not only for herself but for her friends, she was yet of a
decorous gaiety, and so governed her humours, that at all times and in
every thing she was mistress of herself.

From the first moment on which she entered the service of the Queen of
Spain, it became her desire to govern not only the queen but the king,
and by this means the realm itself. Such a grand project had need of
support from our king [Louis XIV.], who, at the commencement, ruled the
court of Spain as much as his own court, with entire influence over all
other matters.

The young Queen of Spain had been not less carefully educated than her
sister, the Duchesse de Bourgogne. She had even, when so young, much
intelligence and firmness, without being incapable of restraint. Indeed,
she became a divinity among the Spaniards, and, to their affection for
her, Philip V. was more than once indebted for his crown. Madame des
Ursins soon managed to obtain the entire confidence of this queen, and,
during the absence of Philip V. in Italy, assisted her in the
administration of all public offices. She even accompanied her to the
junta, it not being thought proper that the queen should be alone amidst
such an assemblage of men. In this way she became acquainted with
everything that was passing, and knew all the affairs of the government.

This step gained, it will be imagined that the Princess des Ursins did
not forget to pay her court most assiduously to our king and Madame de
Maintenon. Little by little she introduced into her letters details
respecting public affairs, without, however, conveying a suspicion of
her own ambition. She next began to flatter Madame de Maintenon, and to
hint that she might rule over Spain even more firmly than she ruled over
France, if she would entrust her commands to Madame des Ursins. Madame
de Maintenon was enchanted by the siren, and embraced the proposition
with avidity. It was next necessary to draw the King of Spain into the
same net--not a very arduous task. Soon the junta became a mere show.
Everything was brought before the king in private, and he gave no
decision until the queen and Madame des Ursins passed theirs.

[This rule Madame des Ursins continued for many years. Ultimately, a
quarrel with Madame de Maintenon, the death of the Queen of Spain, and
the second marriage of the king, with the cabals of enemies, forced her
in her old age into a retreat at Rome.] She was not long there before
she attached herself to the King and Queen of England (the Pretender and
his wife), and soon governed them openly. What a poor resource! But it
was courtly, and had a flavour of occupation for a woman who could not
exist without movement. She finished her life there, remarkably healthy
in mind and body, and in a prodigious opulence, which was not without
its use in that deplorable court. She had the pleasure of seeing Madame
de Maintenon forgotten and annihilated at St Cyr, of surviving her, of
seeing at Rome her two enemies, Guidice and Alberoni, as profoundly
disgraced as she. Her death, which a few years before would have
resounded through all Europe, made not the least sensation.




Grizel Hume, born in 1665, was daughter of Patrick Hume, Baron of
Polwarth, and became the wife of George Baillie of Jerviswoode. She
began her life during the troubles of the Scottish persecution. At the
time of her father's liberation from prison, she was little more than
ten years of age; and, soon after, those romantic incidents occur in her
life which have given her a historical celebrity. From the tact and
activity with which, far beyond one of her years, she accomplished
whatever she was entrusted with, her parents sent her on confidential
missions, which she executed with singular fidelity and success. In the
summer of that same year, when Robert Baillie of Jerviswoode, the early
and intimate friend of her father, was imprisoned for rescuing his
brother-in-law, Mr James Kirkton, from a wicked persecutor, Captain
William Carstairs, she was sent by her father from his country-house to
Edinburgh, a long road, to try if from her age she could get admittance
into the prison unsuspected, and slip a letter of information and advice
into his hand, and bring back from him what intelligence she could.
Proceeding on her journey, she succeeded in getting access to Baillie,
though we are not informed in what way. But in whatever way young
Grizel got access to Baillie, and whatever were the circumstances of
their interview, she successfully accomplished the purpose of her
mission. It is also to be observed, that it was in the prison on this
occasion that she first saw Mr Baillie's son, and that then and there
originated that intimacy and attachment between him and her which
afterwards issued in their happy marriage.

When, in October 1683, Robert Baillie was apprehended in London and sent
down a prisoner to Scotland, her father, who was implicated in the same
patriotic measures for preventing a popish successor to the British
throne, for which Baillie was arrested, had too good ground to be
alarmed for his own personal safety. But he was allowed, it would
appear, to remain undisturbed in his own house till the month of
September next year, when orders were issued by the government for his
apprehension; and a party of troops had come to his house on two
different occasions for that purpose, though they failed in getting hold
of him. Upon this he found it necessary to withdraw from home, and to
keep himself in concealment till he got an opportunity of going over to
the Continent. The spot to which he betook himself for shelter was the
family burying-place, a vault under ground at Polwarth Church, at the
distance of a mile from the house. Where he was no person knew but Lady
Grizel Hume, and one man, James Winter, a carpenter, who used to work in
the house, and of whose fidelity they were not disappointed. The
frequent examinations to which servants were at that time subjected, and
the oaths by which it was attempted to extort discoveries from them,
made Grizel and her mother afraid to commit the secret to any of these.
By the assistance of James Winter, they got a bed and bed-clothes
carried during the night to his hiding-place; and there he was
concealed for a month, during which time the only light he had was that
admitted by means of a chink at one end, through which nobody on the
outside could see who or what was in the interior. While he abode in
this receptacle of the dead, Grizel, with the most exemplary filial
tenderness, and with the most vigilant precaution, ministered to his
temporal wants and comforts. Regularly at midnight, when men were sunk
in sleep, she went alone to this dreary vault, carrying to him a supply
of food and drink, and to bear him company. She stayed as long as she
could, taking care to get home before day, to prevent discovery. She had
a great deal of humour in telling a story; and during her stay she took
a delight in telling him, nor was he less delighted in hearing her tell
him, such incidents at home as had amused herself and the rest of the
family, and these were often the cause of much mirth and laughter to
them both.

[Grizel's adventures were continued into Holland, whither her father
retired, and where she showed her natural traits of sagacity, those
marks of genius for which she has been celebrated. She wrote many pieces
of poetry, and one in particular, "Werna my heart licht I would dee,"
which has been praised as simple, lively, and tender. Her personal
appearance is thus described by her daughter, Lady Murray: "She was
middle-sized, well made, clever, in her person very handsome, with a
life and sweetness in her eyes very uncommon, and great delicacy in all
her features; her hair was chestnut; and to her last she had the finest
complexion, with the clearest red in her cheeks and lips that could be
seen in any one of fifteen, which, added to her natural constitution,
might be owing to the great moderation she had in her diet throughout
her whole life.... Pottage and milk were her greatest feast, and by
choice she preferred them to everything, though nothing came wrong to
her that others could eat. Water she preferred to any liquor; and though
often obliged to take a glass of wine, she always did it unwillingly,
thinking it hurt her, and did not like it."]




Was the daughter of Maupeon, president of one of the Chambers of
Inquest, and, though far from being rich, was an acquisition to
Pontchartrain, who was farther. One could scarcely be more _plain_ in
appearance than Madame; but then, to make up, she was a big woman, with
something of a grand air, which was not only imposing, but had a certain
refinement about it. No wife of a minister, or any other, possessed more
of the art of managing an establishment, of combining order with ease
and magnificence, of adroitly warding off inconveniences by looking
forward without showing solicitude, of making dignity harmonise with
politeness--a politeness so measured and advised as put all the world at
ease. She had a great deal of spirit, without any ambition to show it,
and a complaisance which was devoid of hollowness or duplicity. If she
happened to make a mistake, it was surprising with what quietness she
could repair the error; but she possessed also great good sense, which
enabled her to make a just estimate of people, and a general sagacity as
regards things and conduct, which few men of the time could boast of.
Every one wondered that a woman _de la robe_, who had never seen the
world but in Brittany, could in so short a time accommodate herself to
the manners, spirit, and language of the court, becoming one of the best
counsellors which one could find in cases of difficulty. True, she had
too long imbibed the manners of the people not to show some small
evidence of the contagion; but then it was all but unnoticed amidst the
gallantry of a refined and charming spirit, which seemed always welling
naturally from its source, accompanied by such grace of action that
every one was delighted.

No person understood so well as Madame Pontchartrain the art of giving
fêtes. She had all the taste required, and all the invention, with a
sumptuosity, too, on all sides; yet she never gave without reason and a
good purpose, and she did all with an air perfectly simple and tranquil,
without forgetting her age, her place, her state, her modesty. She was
helpful to her relations; a trustworthy friend, effective, useful, true
in all points, and pure at heart; delicious in the freedom of the
country, dangerous at table in fixing you there, often very amusing
without saying a word out of joint; always gay, though sometimes not
exempt from humour. The virtue and the piety which she had exhibited
throughout all her life increased as her fortune increased. What she
gave in pensions well merited, what marriages she procured for poor
girls, what she did for poor nuns when well assured of their vocation,
what she deprived herself of to enable her to enable others to live,
will never be known.




Born in 1677, the authoress of the celebrated ballad of "Hardyknute" was
the second daughter of Sir Charles Halkett of Pitferrane. At the age of
nineteen she married Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitreavie in Fife, to whom she
bore four daughters and a son.

She at first attempted to pass off the ballad of "Hardyknute" as a
genuine fragment of an ancient poem, and caused her brother-in-law, Sir
John Bruce of Kinross, to communicate the manuscript to Lord Binning,
himself a poet, as a copy of a manuscript found in an old vault of

The poem of "Hardyknute" was first published in 1719, and it was
afterwards admitted by Ramsay into the "Evergreen," and for many years
was received as an old ballad [a circumstance which has been founded on
by some modern writers as sufficient to invalidate the claims of many of
our "old ballads" to an origin beyond that of the date of Lady Halkett's
successful literary fraud. Nay, several of these have been ascribed to
this lady chiefly upon the internal evidence of identical words; but it
seems to have been overlooked by these inquirers that Lady Halkett would
naturally imitate the old ballads; and no doubt she did; so that the
supposed proof may be successfully turned against the new theory.] The
real authorship of "Hardyknute" was first disclosed by Bishop Percy in
his "Reliques," published in 1755, and has since been established beyond
a doubt [but there is no evidence beyond what has been mentioned that
she wrote "Sir Patrick Spens," or any other of our so-called old Scotch

  [Illustration: Drawn by J. Thurston. Engraved by W. Finden.

   From an enamel Miniature by Zink in the possession of Charles Colville


[BORN 1690. DIED 1762.]


Lady Mary Pierrepoint, eldest daughter of the Duke of Kingston, was born
in 1690, and gave, in her early youth, such indications of a studious
disposition, that she was initiated into the rudiments of the learned
languages along with her brother. Her first years appear to have been
spent in retirement, and yet her first letters indicate a great relish
for that talent and power of observation, by which she afterwards became
so famous and so formidable. These letters were addressed to Mrs
Wortley, the mother of her future husband, and, along with a good deal
of girlish flattery and affectation, display such a degree of easy
humour and sound penetration, as is not often to be met with in a damsel
of nineteen, even in this age of precocity. "My knight-errantry," she
says, "is at an end, and I believe I shall henceforth think freeing of
galley-slaves and knocking down windmills more laudable undertakings
than the defence of any woman's reputation whatever. To say truth, I
have never had any great esteem for the generality of the fair sex, and
my only consolation for being of that gender has been the assurance it
gave me of never being married to any one among them." But, in the
course of this correspondence with the mother, she appears to have
conceived a very favourable opinion of the son. Her ladyship, though
endowed with a very lively imagination, seems not to have been very
susceptible of violent or tender emotions, and to have imbibed a very
decided contempt for sentimental and romantic nonsense, at an age which
is commonly more indulgent.

Married to Mr Wortley in 1712, she entered upon a gay life; but she does
not appear to have been happy. We have no desire to revive forgotten
scandals, but it is a fact which cannot be omitted, that her ladyship
went abroad without her husband, on account of bad health, in 1739, and
did not return to England till she heard of his death in 1761. Whatever
was the cause of their separation, there was no open rupture, and she
seems to have corresponded with him very regularly for the first ten
years of her absence; but her letters were cold without being formal,
and were gloomy and constrained when compared with those that were
spontaneously written to show her wit or her affection to her

A little spoiled by flattery, and not altogether "undebauched by the
world," Lady Mary seems to have possessed a masculine solidity of
understanding, great liveliness of fancy, and such powers of observation
and discrimination of character, as to give her opinions great authority
on all the ordinary subjects of practical manners and conduct. After her
marriage, she seems to have abandoned all idea of laborious or regular
study, and to have been raised to the station of a literary character
merely by her vivacity and love of amusement and anecdote. The great
charm of her letters is certainly the extreme ease and facility with
which everything is expressed, the brevity and rapidity of her
representations, and the elegant simplicity of her diction. While they
unite almost all the qualities of a good style, there is nothing of the
professed author in them; nothing that seems to have been composed, or
to have engaged the admiration of the writer. She appears to be quite
unconscious either of merit or of exertion in what she is doing, and
never stops to bring out a thought, or to turn an expression, with the
cunning of a practised rhetorician. Her letters from Turkey will
probably continue to be more universally read than any of the others,
because the subject commands a wider and more permanent interest than
the personalities and unconnected remarks with which the rest of her
correspondence is filled. At the same time, the love of scandal and
private history is so great, that these letters will be highly relished
as long as the names they contain are remembered, and then they will
become curious and interesting, as exhibiting a truer picture of the
manners and fashions of the time, than is to be found in most other

Poetry, at least the polite and witty sort which Lady Mary has
attempted, is much more of an art than prose writing. We are trained to
the latter by the conversation of good society, but the former seems
always to require a good deal of patient labour and application. This
her ladyship appears to have disdained; and, accordingly, her poetry,
though abounding in lively conceptions, is already consigned to that
oblivion in which mediocrity is destined by an irrevocable sentence to
slumber till the end of the world. Her essays are extremely
insignificant, and have no other merit that we can discover, but that
they are very few and very short.

Of Lady Mary's friendship and subsequent rupture with Pope, we have not
thought it necessary to say anything, both because we are of opinion
that no new light has been latterly thrown upon it, and because we have
no desire to awaken forgotten scandals by so idle a controversy. Pope
was undoubtedly a flatterer, and was undoubtedly sufficiently irritable
and vindictive; but whether his rancour was stimulated upon this
occasion by anything but caprice or jealousy, and whether he was the
inventor or the echo of the imputations to which he has given notoriety,
we do not pretend to determine. Lady Mary's character was certainly
deficient in that cautious delicacy which is the best guardian of female
reputation; and there seems to have been in her conduct something of
that intrepidity which naturally gives rise to misconstruction, by
setting at defiance the maxims of ordinary discretion.


[BORN 1697. DIED 1780.]


A lady who was left a widow, with a moderate fortune and a great
reputation for wit, about 1750, and soon after gave up her hotel and
retired to apartments in the Convent de St Joseph, where she continued
to receive almost every evening whoever was most distinguished in Paris
for rank, talent, or accomplishment. Having become almost blind in a few
years, she found she required the attendance of some intelligent young
woman who might read and write for her, and assist in doing the honours
of her _conversazione_. For this purpose she cast her eyes on
Mademoiselle Lespinasse, the illegitimate daughter of a man of rank who
had been boarded in the same convent, and was for some time delighted
with her selection. By-and-by, however, she found that her young
companion began to engross more of the notice of her visitors than she
thought suitable, and parted from her with violent, ungenerous, and
implacable displeasure. Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, however, carried
with her the admiration of the greater part of her patroness's circle;
and having obtained a small pension from government, opened her own
doors to a society no less brilliant than that into which she had been
initiated by Madame du Deffand. The fatigue however, which she had
undergone in reading the old marchioness asleep had irreparably injured
her health, which was still more impaired by the agitations of her own
inflammable and ambitious spirit; and she died before she had attained
middle age, about 1776, leaving on the minds of all the most eminent men
of France, an impression of talent, and of ardour of imagination, which
seems to have been considered as without example. Madame du Deffand
continued to preside in her circle till a period of extreme old age, and
died in 1780, in full possession of her faculties.

Madame du Deffand was the wittiest, the most selfish, and the most
_ennuyé_ of the whole party. Her wit, to be sure, is very enviable and
very entertaining; but it is really consolatory to common mortals to
find how little it could amuse its possessor. This did not proceed in
her, however, from the fastidiousness which is sometimes supposed to
arise from a long familiarity with excellence, so much as from a long
habit of selfishness, or rather from a radical want of heart or
affection. La Harpe says of her, that it was "difficult for any one to
have less sensibility and more egotism." With all this, she was greatly
given to gallantry in her youth, though her attachments, it would seem,
were of a kind not very likely to interfere with her peace of mind. The
very evening her first lover died, after an intimacy of twenty years, La
Harpe assures us "that she came to supper at a grand company at Madame
de Marchius's, where I was; and that, speaking of the loss she had
sustained, she said, 'Alas, he died at six o'clock, otherwise you would
not have seen me here.'" She is also recorded to have frequently
declared that she could never bring herself to love anything, though, in
order to take every possible chance, she had several times attempted to
become _devote_ with no great success. This, we have no doubt, is the
secret of her _ennui_; and a fine example it is of the utter
worthlessness of all talent, accomplishment, and glory, when
disconnected with those feelings of kindness and generosity which are of
themselves sufficient for happiness. Madame du Deffand, however, must
have been delightful to those who sought only for amusement. Her tone is
admirable, her wit flowing and natural; and though a little given to
detraction, and not a little importunate and _exigeante_ towards those
on whose complaisance she had claims, there is always an air of
politeness in her raillery, and of knowledge of the world in her
murmurs, that prevents them from being either wearisome or offensive.




The youngest daughter of the illustrious Dr Bentley was the Phoebe of
Byron's Pastoral. She was a woman of extraordinary accomplishments, and
was the mother of the well-known Richard Cumberland, the most valuable
part of whose early education was due to the taste and intelligence of
this excellent woman. "It was," according to his account, "in these
intervals from school that she began to form both my taste and my ear
for poetry, by employing me every evening to read to her, of which art
she was a very able mistress. Our readings were, with very few
exceptions, confined to the chosen plays of Shakespeare, whom she both
admired and understood in the true spirit and sense of the author. With
all her father's (Dr Bentley's) critical acumen, she could trace and
teach me to unravel all the meanders of Shakespeare's metaphors, and
point out where it illuminated or where it only loaded or obscured the

These were happy hours and interesting lectures to Richard Cumberland;
and the effect was a sort of drama produced at twelve years, called
"Shakespeare in the Shades," and composed almost entirely of passages
from that great writer, strung together and assorted with no despicable


[BORN 1706. DIED 1749.]


At the head of the list of scientific ladies stands Gabrielle Emilie le
Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet, the French translator of
Newton's "Principia." She was the daughter of the Baron de Breteuil, was
born in 1706, and was married to the Marquis de Chastelet, or Châtelet,
when very young. Voltaire became acquainted with her in 1733, and he has
described what he found her to be in the memoir which he has left us of
a part of her life. Her father, he says, had caused her to be taught
Latin, and she knew that language as well as Madame Dacier. She had by
heart the finest passages of Horace, Virgil, and Lucretius; all the
philosophical writings of Cicero were familiar to her. But her
predominating taste was for the mathematics and metaphysics. There had
rarely been united in any one more correctness of judgment, with more
taste and ardour for the acquisition of knowledge; nor was she for all
this the less attached to the world, and to all the amusements proper to
her age and sex.

Yet she had given up everything to go and bury herself in an old
dilapidated château, situated in a barren and wretched country, on the
borders of Champagne and Lorraine. She had, however, made this country
house at Cirey an agreeable retreat for study and philosophical
intercourse. Pleasant gardens, with which the marchioness had
embellished it, a good collection of philosophical instruments which
Voltaire formed, and an extensive library, enabled Maupertius, John
Bernouilli, and other distinguished literary and scientific visitors,
who sometimes came to spend a few weeks or months, both to enjoy
themselves and to pass their time not unprofitably. Voltaire resided
here for about six years. He taught the marchioness English, and, he
says, at the end of three months she knew the language as well as
himself, and was equally able to read Locke, Newton, and Pope. Italian
she acquired with the same facility; Voltaire and she read several of
the Italian poets together; and when Francesco Algarotti came to Cirey
to finish his work, entitled "Newtonianismo par le Dame"--"Newtonianism
for the Ladies"--she was able to converse with him in his own tongue,
and to give him many valuable suggestions.

"We sought for nothing," continues Voltaire, "in this delicious retreat,
except to cultivate our understandings, without taking any trouble to
inform ourselves about what was passing in the rest of the world. Our
chief attention for a long time was given to Leibnitz and Newton. Madame
du Châtelet at first attached herself to Leibnitz, and gave an
explanation of a part of his system in a work written with great
ability, which she called 'Institutions de Physique.' She did not seek
to decorate this philosophy with ornaments foreign to its nature; no
such affectation belonged to the character of her mind, which was
masculine and true. Clearness, precision, and elegance were the
constituents of her style. If it has ever been found possible to give
any plausibility to the notions of Leibnitz, it is in that book that it
has been done." The "Institutions de Physique" has received high
commendation from the most competent authorities as well as from
Voltaire. It is described as "a series of letters, in which the systems
of Leibnitz and Newton are explained in a familiar style, and with a
degree of knowledge of the history of the several opinions, and of sound
language and ideas in their discussion, which we read with surprise,
remembering that they were the production of a Frenchwoman, thirty years
of age, written very few years after the introduction of the Newtonian
philosophy into France. She takes that intermediate view between the
refusal to admit the hypothesis of attraction and the assertion of it as
a primary quality of matter, from which very few who consider the
subject would now dissent. At the end of the work is an epistolary
discussion with M. de Mairan, on the principle of _vis viva_--the vital
energy, the metaphysical part of which then created much controversy."
Her translation of Newton's "Principia" was published at Paris in 1759.
It stands so high that it has been used by Delambre in his "History of
Astronomy," whenever he has to make a quotation from Newton. Madame du
Châtelet had been dead for ten years when the work appeared. Her life is
supposed to have been shortened by her close application in preparing
it, and she died at the age of forty-three.


[BORN 1707. DIED 1791.]


The broad facts of this noble lady's history afford ground enough for
the repute she has enjoyed as a woman of much tact and ability, of great
energy, and of a munificent temper; while the use she made of her
influence and fortune for the promotion of the Methodistic movement,
that is to say, of Christianity itself, sufficiently attests her piety
and zeal. It must also be inferred, from the circumstance of her having
retained the friendship and regard of many among the leading persons of
her time through a long period of years, that she possessed qualities of
mind and attractions of manner that were of no ordinary sort; for it is
certain that those who ridiculed, or even hated her Methodism, still
yielded themselves, in frequent instances, to her personal influence. So
far, an idea of Lady Huntingdon may be gathered from facts that are
beyond doubt. There is, however, so little that is discriminative in the
extant eulogies of her friends and correspondents, or of her
biographers, and there is so little that bears a clearly-marked
individuality in her own letters, that a distinct image of her mind and
temper is not easy to obtain.

As to the position assigned to her among the founders of Methodism, it
is due to her rather on the ground of what she did for it as its
patroness, which was almost immeasurable, than because she imprinted
upon it any characteristics of her own mind. Calvinistic Methodism was
not her creation. In the centre of the brilliant company of her pious
relatives and noble friends, and with a numerous attendance of educated
and Episcopally-ordained ministers, and, beyond this inner circle, a
broad _penumbra_ of lay preachers chosen by herself, and educated,
maintained, and employed at her cost, and acting under her immediate
direction, she seems to sit as a queen. Something of the regal style,
something of the air of the autocrat, was natural to one who, with the
consciousness of rank, and with the habitude of one accustomed to the
highest society, was gifted with a peculiar governing ability, and was
actually wielding an extensive influence over men and things. It would
have been wonderful indeed if nothing of the sort had been perceptible
in her manner and style; yet, that her main intention was pure and
beneficent, and that ambition was not her passion, will be felt and
confessed by every candid reader of her letters.

Her letters indicate much business-like ability, and they show always a
pertinent adherence to the matter in hand. They are, therefore, more
determinate by far than Whitefield's, and indeed are little less so than
Wesley's, whose letters are eminent examples of succinct
determinativeness; they bespeak an unvarying and genuine fervour, and a
simple-hearted onward tendency toward the one purpose of her life--the
spread of the gospel, and the honour of her Saviour. Lady Huntingdon's
are, moreover, marked by often-repeated, but not to be questioned,
professions of the deep sense she had of her own unworthiness and
unprofitableness. Such are the ingredients, few and perpetually
recurrent, of these compositions: a severe monotony--not severe in the
sense of harshness--is their characteristic. Yet Lady Huntingdon was
always the object of a warm personal affection with those who were
nearest to her. With them it is always "Our dear Lady Huntingdon;" and
putting out of view formal eulogies, it is unquestionable that, if she
governed her connection as having a right to rule it, her style and
behaviour, like Wesley's, indicated the purest motives and the most
entire simplicity of purpose. This, in truth, may be said to have been
the common characteristic of the founders of Methodism, especially of
the two Wesleys--a devotedness to the service and glory of the Saviour
Christ, which none who saw and conversed with them could question.


[BORN 1717. DIED 1780.]


Maria Theresa, in high spirits about her English subsidy and the bright
aspects, left Vienna for Presburg, and is celebrating her coronation
there as Queen of Hungary in a very sublime manner. Sunday, 25th June,
1741, that is the day of putting on your crown--iron crown of St
Stephen, as readers know. The chivalry of Hungary, from Palfy and
Esterhazy downward, and all the world, are there shining in loyalty and
barbaric gold and pearl. A truly beautiful young woman, beautiful to
soul and eye,--devout, too, and noble, though ill formed in political or
other science,--is in the middle of it, and makes the scene still more
noticeable to us. "See, at the finish of the ceremonies, she has mounted
a high swift horse, sword girt to her side,--a great rider always this
young queen,--and gallops, Hungary following like a comet's tail, to the
Konigsberg, to the top of the Konigsberg; there draws sword, and cuts
grandly, flourishing to the four quarters of the heavens: 'Let any
mortal, from whatever quarter coming, meddle with Hungary if he dare!'
Chivalrous Hungary bursts into passionate acclaim; old Palfy, I could
fancy, into tears; and all the world murmurs to itself, with moist
gleaming eyes, _Rex Noster_."

As for this brave young Queen of Hungary, my admiration goes with all
the world--not in the language of flattery, but of evident fact: the
royal qualities abound in that high young lady; had they left the world
and grown to mere costume elsewhere, you might find certain of them
again here. Most brave, high, and pious-minded; beautiful, too, as I
have said, and radiant with good nature, though of temper that will
easily catch fire; there is perhaps no nobler woman there living; and
she fronts the roaring elements in a truly grand feminine manner, as if
heaven itself, and the voice of duty, called her. "The inheritances
which my father left me, we will not part with these. Death, if it so
must be, but not dishonour; listen not to that thief in the night."
Maria Theresa has not studied at all the history of the Silesian
Duchies. She knows only that her father and grandfather peaceably held
them; it was not she that sent out Seckendorf to ride two thousand five
hundred miles, or broke the heart of Frederick-William and his
household. Pity she had not complied with Frederick, and saved such
rivers of bitterness to herself and mankind!

Her husband, the Grand Duke, an inert but good-tempered and
well-conditioned duke after his sort, goes with her. Him we shall see
trying various things, and at length take to banking and merchandise,
and even meal-dealing on the great scale. "Our armies had most part of
their meal circuitously from him," says Frederick of times long
subsequent. Now, as always, he follows loyally his wife's lead, never
she his. Wife being intrinsically, as well as extrinsically, the better
man, what other can he do?

At one time she seriously thought of taking "the command of her armies,"
says a good witness. "Her husband has been with the armies once, twice,
but never to much purpose; and this is about the last time, or last but
one, this in winter 1742. She loves her husband thoroughly all along,
but gives him no share in business, finding he understands nothing
except banking. It is certain she chiefly was the reformer of her army"
in years coming; "she athwart many impediments. An ardent rider, often
on horseback at paces furiously swift, her beautiful face tanned by the
weather. Honest to the bone, athwart all her prejudices. Since our own
Elizabeth, no woman, and hardly one man, is worth being named beside her
as a sovereign ruler. 'She is a living contradiction of the Salic law,'
say her admirers."




Klopstock first beheld Meta Möller in passing through Hamburg in April
1751. In a letter to one of his friends, written soon after this, he
describes her as mistress of the French, English, and Italian languages,
and even conversant with Greek and Latin literature. She was then in her
twenty-fourth year, he in his twenty-seventh. Their marriage took place
about three years afterwards. Here is Meta's own narrative of the rise
and course of their true love, given in one of her letters to
Richardson, a narrative which will bear a hundred readings, and a
hundred more after that, and still be as fresh and as touching as

"You will know all what concerns me. Love, dear sir, is all what me
concerns. And love shall be all what I will tell you in this letter. In
one happy night I read my husband's poem, 'The Messiah.' I was extremely
touched with it. The next day I asked one of his friends who was the
author of this poem, and this was the first time I heard Klopstock's
name. I believe I fell immediately in love with him. At the least, my
thoughts were ever with him filled, especially because his friend told
me very much of his character. But I had no hopes ever to see him, when
quite unexpectedly I heard that he should pass through Hamburg. I wrote
immediately to the same friend, for procuring, by his means, that I
might see the author of the 'Messiah' when in Hamburg. He told him that
a certain girl in Hamburg wished to see him, and for all recommendation
showed him some letters in which I made bold to criticise Klopstock's
verses. Klopstock came, and came to me. I must confess that, though
greatly prepossessed of his qualities, I never thought him the amiable
youth whom I found him. This made its effect. After having seen him for
two hours I was obliged to pass the evening in a company which never had
been so wearisome to me. I could not speak. I could not play. I thought
I saw nothing but Klopstock.

"I saw him the next day, and the following, and we were very seriously
friends. But the fourth day he departed! He wrote soon after, and from
that time our correspondence began to be a very diligent one. I
sincerely believed my love to be friendship. I spoke to my friends of
nothing but Klopstock, and showed his letters. They rallied me, and said
I was in love. I rallied them again, and said that they must have a very
friendshipless heart if they had no idea of friendship to a man as well
as to a woman. Thus it continued eight months, in which time my friends
found as much love in Klopstock's letters as in mine. I perceived it
likewise, but I would not believe it. At the last, Klopstock said
plainly that he loved; and I startled as for a wrong thing. I answered
that it was no love, but friendship, as it was what I felt for him; we
had not seen one another enough to love (as if love must have more time
than friendship). This was sincerely my meaning, and I had this meaning
till Klopstock came again to Hamburg. This he did a year after we had
seen one another for the first time. We saw; we were friends; we loved;
and we believed that we loved; and a short time after I could even tell
Klopstock that I loved. But we were obliged to part again, and wait two
years for our wedding. My mother would not let marry me a stranger. I
could marry then without her consentment, as by the death of my father
my fortune depended not upon her; but this was an horrible idea for me,
and thank heaven I have prevailed by prayers. At this time, knowing
Klopstock, she loves him as her lifely son, and thanks God that she has
not persisted. We married, and I am the happiest wife in the world."

This was written in March 1758, after they had been about four years
married. Writing again in the beginning of May, she thus sketches the
life they led together: "It will be a delightful occupation for me to
make you more acquainted with my husband's poem. Nobody can do it better
than I, being the person who knows the most of that which is not yet
published, being always present at the birth of the young verses, which
begin always by fragments here and there of a subject of which his soul
is just then filled. He has many great fragments of the whole work
ready. You may think that persons who love as we do have no need of two
chambers; we are always in the same. I, with my little work, still only
regarding sometimes my husband's sweet face, which is so venerable at
that time with tears of devotion and all the sublimity of the subject,
my husband reading me the young verses and suffering my criticism."

With this we may compare what Klopstock says, writing of her: "How
perfect was her taste! how exquisitely fine her feelings! she observed
everything even to the slightest turn of the thought. I had only to look
at her, and could see in her face when even a syllable pleased or
displeased her; and when I led her to explain the reason of her
remarks, no demonstration could be more true, more accurate, or more
appropriate to the subject. But, in general, this gave us very little
trouble, for we understood each other when we had scarcely began to
explain our ideas."

But all this happiness, too bright for earth, or for long endurance, was
about to be suddenly extinguished. There is another letter from Meta to
Richardson, dated 26th August, in which she informs him that she has a
prospect of being a mother in the month of November, and of thus
attaining what has been her only wish ungratified for these four years.
She writes from Hamburg, where she was on a visit to her family, while
her husband had been obliged to make a journey to Copenhagen. It was the
first time that they had been separated. It is remarkable that she seems
to have had more than a mere apprehension, almost an assured foreboding,
of what awaited her. Klopstock rejoined her at last about the end of
September; her last lines, written to him before his return, are dated
the 26th of that month. The two following months they spent together at
Hamburg. From that place poor Meta was never to return. There, where she
had first drawn breath, she died in childbed on the 28th of November.
[Klopstock lived till 1803, and was then buried under a lime tree in the
churchyard of Ottenson, near Altona, by the side of his Meta and the
child that slept in her arms.]




The piety and domestic virtues of Elizabeth Blackwell entitle her to
rank among the best women whose names have found their way into public
history; a fortune which has happened to her and Lady Rachel Russel, and
two or three other virtuous women; but which has, in the instance of
most of their sex who have attained to celebrity, been a calamity upon
their memory, being a rank at which it is not easy for a woman to arrive
by the practice of those private and retiring virtues and graces which
are the real solid ornaments of the female character. Elizabeth
Blackwell was the daughter of a stocking merchant in Aberdeen, where she
was born about the beginning of last century. The first event of her
life which is now known, was her secret marriage with Alexander
Blackwell, and her elopement with him to London. He had received a
finished education, and was an accurate Greek and Latin scholar. He had
studied medicine under the famous Boerhaave, and, in travelling over the
Continent, had lived in the best society, and had acquired an extensive
knowledge of the modern languages. He was, however, unsuccessful in his
endeavours to secure a comfortable livelihood. After having in vain
attempted to get into practice as a physician, and having now a wife
also to provide for, he applied for the situation of corrector of the
press to a printer of the name of Wilkins, and for some time continued
in that employment. He then set up a printing establishment in the
Strand, but became involved in debt, and was thrown into prison.

It was this circumstance that brought into practice the talents and
virtues of Mrs Blackwell. She resolved, by an unexampled labour for a
woman, to effect the delivery of her husband. She had in her girlish
days practised the drawing and colouring of flowers, a suitable and
amiable accomplishment of her sex. Engravings of flowers were then very
scarce, and Mrs Blackwell thought that the publication of a Herbal might
attract the notice of the world, and yield her such a remuneration as
would enable her to discharge her husband's debts. She now engaged in a
labour which is at once a noble and marvellous monument of her
enthusiastic and untiring conjugal affection, and interesting evidence
of the elegant and truly womanly nature of her own mind. Having
submitted her first drawings to Sir Hans Sloane and Dr Mead, these
eminent physicians encouraged her to proceed with the work. She also
received the kindest countenance from Mr Philip Miller, a well-known
writer on horticulture. Amongst those who were honoured in patronising
her labour of piety was Mr Rand of the Botanical Garden at Chelsea. By
his advice Mrs Blackwell took lodgings in the neighbourhood of this
garden, from which she was furnished with all the flowers and plants
which she required for her work. Of these she made drawings, which she
engraved on copper, and coloured with her own hands. Her husband
supplied the Latin names and the descriptions of the plants, which were
taken principally from Miller's "Botanicum Officinale," with the
author's permission.

In 1737, the first volume, a large folio, came out under the following
title, "A Curious Herbal, containing 500 Cuts of the most useful Plants
which are now used in the Practice of Physic. Engraved in Folio
Copperplates, after Drawings by Eliz. Blackwell." The profits which Mrs
Blackwell received from this work enabled her to relieve her husband
from prison. The adventures of Blackwell after his release are well
known. Having devoted much of his attention to agricultural science, he
obtained for some time a lucrative employment from the Duke of Chandos.
He was subsequently invited to Sweden on account of a work he had
published on agriculture. He went there, leaving his wife in England. He
was received with honour at the court of Stockholm, where he lived with
the prime minister, in the enjoyment of a salary from the government.
During this period of prosperity he had continued to send large sums of
money to his wife, who was now making arrangements to leave England with
her only child and join her husband. But heaven, which often brings
human histories to a very different conclusion from what readers of
romances are disposed to acquiesce in, for the wise end of impressing
men with the most solemn conviction of the reality of another world,
which is the appointed place of rest and reward for goodness, saw fit to
remove from this noble woman the husband whom she had loved so ardently,
and for whom she had wrought a work of such singular piety, and to take
him from the world by a melancholy and frightful death. A conspiracy
against the constitution of Sweden was formed by Count Tessin; and
Blackwell, it is believed innocently, was suspected of being concerned
in the plot. He was seized and put to the torture. He was beheaded in
July 1747.


[BORN 1743. DIED 1825.]


The only daughter of Dr John Aikin, a Dissenting minister. Her youth was
spent in entire seclusion, and her education was entirely domestic. At
two years of age, it is stated on the authority of her mother, she could
read with tolerable ease, and, at two years and a half, as well "as most
women." It is at least certain that, from the instructions of her
father, Miss Aikin acquired a competent knowledge of Latin; and that she
was not indebted, for even a single lesson, either to professional
female tuition, or to the teachers of the fashionable accomplishments,
considered so important in forming the minds and manners of young
ladies. Dr Aikin became a teacher at the Dissenting academy in
Warrington, in Lancashire, when his daughter was about fifteen. This
seminary enjoyed high celebrity. The teachers were all men of
distinguished talents. Dr Priestley and Dr Enfield were of their number.
In such a society the genius of Miss Aikin was fostered and animated;
and her poems, published in 1773, rose into immediate popularity. Verse
had the quality of comparative rarity in those days, and a female poet
had a clear and unoccupied field.

In 1744, Miss Aikin married Rochemont Barbauld, a young gentleman who,
having been sent to Warrington for instruction previous to entering the
church, imbibed, with a passion for her, the tenets of the sect to which
her family belonged. Mr Barbauld obtained the charge of a congregation
in Suffolk, and at Palgrave opened a seminary for the instruction of
youth. The acquirements and habits of Mrs Barbauld eminently qualified
her to be the coadjutor of her husband in this undertaking, and she
afterwards received pupils of a very tender age as her peculiar charge.
Of this number were Mr Denman the barrister, and Sir William Gell.
Having no child of her own, she adopted the infant of her brother, Dr
Aikin; and for his use, and that of her infant class, were composed
those early lessons and hymns in prose which confirmed her literary

After a long interval, Mrs Barbauld resumed her pen, and published a
selection of papers from the classic essayists, with a Life of
Richardson, and a selection from his correspondence. In 1808 she lost
her husband, who had for a long time suffered under that mental
affliction which makes death a welcome release. After this event, she
published a selection of the British novelists, and then her poem,
"Eighteen Hundred and Eleven,"--a production far more ambitious, though
much less successful, than her early and quieter performances. Its tone
is that of gloomy prediction, its spirit desponding and altogether
infelicitous. That was no palliation for the virulence of party feeling
by which this useful and elegant author, now venerable even for years,
was assailed by certain periodical writers. She never again appeared
before the public. She died at the age of eighty-two, entitled to the
veneration and gratitude of every one who has a child to train for this
life, and for a higher state of existence.


[BORN 1745. DIED 1833.]


The greatest name in the list of female writers on moral and religious
subjects in the last century was born in Gloucestershire in 1744. In
1762 she is said to have written her pastoral drama in rhymed verse,
entitled "The Search after Happiness," which was immediately performed
by the young ladies of the school of which she, with her sister, was the
mistress. If it was not much improved before its publication eleven
years afterwards, this was certainly a remarkable production for a girl
of seventeen. Shortly after the production of this poem, the sisters had
prospered sufficiently to enable them to build a house, the first
erected in Park Street, Bristol. The order and management of the
establishment, together with the superior quality of the education
afforded, rendered this school the most celebrated of the kind in the
kingdom. It comprised upwards of sixty pupils, and twice the number
might have been easily entered had the accommodation admitted.

The person to whom Hannah was indebted for her advancement in critical
knowledge and the principles of correct taste was, we are informed, a
Bristol linen-draper named Peach. "He had," says Mr Roberts, "been the
friend of Hume, who had shown his confidence in his judgment by
entrusting to him the correction of his "History," in which, he used to
say, he had discovered more than two hundred Scotticisms." "At the age
of twenty," says Mr Roberts, "having access to the best libraries in her
neighbourhood, she cultivated with assiduity the Italian, Latin, and
Spanish languages, exercising her genius and polishing her style in
translations and imitations, especially of the Odes of Horace, and of
some of the dramatic compositions of Metastasio."

One of the most important events in Hannah More's history was her first
visit to London. "The theatre," it is said in her Life, "on her arrival
in town, was the great point of attraction, and Garrick the great object
of curiosity." Garrick "was delighted with his new acquaintance, and
took pride and pleasure in introducing her in the splendid circle of
genius in which he moved. To the royal family, who inquired of him
concerning her, he spoke in terms of the most ardent commendation. Mrs
Montagu, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr Johnson, rapidly succeeded in her
acquaintance; and in the course of six weeks (for such was the limit of
this visit) she had become intimate with the greatest names in intellect
and taste."

In 1774 she published her tragedy of the "Inflexible Captive," altered
from Metastasio. The following year it was acted, first in Exeter and
then in Bath, with the greatest applause; Garrick on the latter occasion
being behind the scenes, and a host of distinguished persons filling the
house. Her first publication, "The Search after Happiness," had by this
time reached a sixth edition, besides having been reprinted in America.
In November 1777 her tragedy of "Percy" was produced at Covent Garden
theatre; Garrick, who had also contributed both the prologue and
epilogue, sustaining the principal character. The success of the play
was complete, perhaps at that time unsurpassed. It was translated by the
prime minister of France into French, and in a German dress "Percy"
appeared on the stage of Vienna. Miss More received on the occasion the
most flattering honours and distinctions; the whole blood of the Percys
did honour to their minstrel. The Duke of Northumberland, Earl Percy,
and the editor of the "Reliques," all came forward, complimented, and
thanked her. An edition of nearly four thousand copies of the play was
sold in a fortnight, and the authoress realised on the whole nearly
£600. The tragedy of "Percy," nevertheless, has now ceased to be acted,
and has, it may be apprehended, been read by very few living men.

But Hannah More's exertions in the cause of religion, morality, and
civilisation, were not confined to the writing of books, of which she
produced a great number, realising to her ultimately £30,000. One of her
most meritorious services to the best interests of her country was her
establishment of schools for the young throughout the district around
her place of residence, the mining region of the Mendip hills, where,
till she came among them, the people, taught scarcely anything either by
schoolmaster or clergyman, were almost universally in a state of
barbarism. Schools upon the same system were established in neighbouring
parishes, and in a short time five hundred children were in training in
ten schools. Her habitual cheerfulness never forsook her, and in some
other respects she was, at near the age of ninety, what many have ceased
to be at seventy.


[BORN 1747. DIED 1809.]


This poetical lady was born in 1747. Her father, the Rev. Thomas Seward,
rector of Hyam, in Derbyshire, prebendary of Salisbury, and canon
residentiary of Litchfield, was himself a poet; and a manuscript
collection of his fugitive pieces is now lying before me, the bequest of
my honoured friend, when she entrusted me with the task which I am now
endeavouring to discharge. Several of these effusions were printed in
Dodsley's collection. Thus accomplished himself, the talents of his
eldest daughter did not long escape his complacent observation.

[In 1754, Mr Seward removed with his family to Litchfield.] The
classical pretensions of this city were exalted by its being the
residence of Dr Darwin, who soon distinguished and appreciated the
talents of our young poetess. At this time, however, literature was
deemed an undesirable pursuit for a young lady in Miss Seward's
situation--the heiress of an independent fortune, and destined to occupy
a considerable rank in society. Her mother, although an excellent woman,
possessed no taste for her daughter's favourite amusements; and even Mr
Seward withdrew his countenance from them, probably under the
apprehension that his continued encouragement might produce in his
daughter that dreaded phenomenon--a learned lady.

After the death of Miss Sarah Seward, her sister's society became
indispensable to her parents, and she was never separated from them.
Offers of matrimonial establishments occurred, and were rejected in one
instance entirely, and in others chiefly from a sense of filial duty. As
she was now of an age to select her own society and studies, Miss
Seward's love for literature was indulged; and the sphere in which she
moved was such as to increase her tastes for its pursuits. Dr Darwin, Mr
Day (whose opinions formed singular specimens of English philosophy), Mr
Edgeworth, Sir Brooke Boothby, and other names well known in the
literary world, then formed part of the Litchfield society. The
celebrated Dr Johnson was an occasional visitor of their circles; but he
seems, in some respects, to have shared the fate of a prophet in his own
country--neither Dr Darwin nor Miss Seward were partial to the great
moralist. There was perhaps some aristocratic prejudice in their
dislike; for the despotic manners of Dr Johnson were least likely to be
tolerated where the lowness of his origin was in fresh recollection. At
the same time, Miss Seward was always willing to do justice to his
native benevolence, and to the powerful grasp of his intellectual
powers, and she possessed many anecdotes of his conversation which had
escaped his most vigilant recorders. These she used to tell with great
humour, and with a very striking imitation of the sage's peculiar voice,
gesture, and manner of delivery.

Miss Seward, when young, must have been exquisitely beautiful; for, in
advanced age, the regularity of her features, the fire and expression of
her countenance, gave her the appearance of beauty, and almost of youth.
Her eyes were auburn, of the precise shade and hue of her hair, and
possessed great expression. In reciting, or speaking with animation,
they appeared to become darker, and, as it were, to flash fire. I should
have hesitated to state the impression which the peculiarity made upon
me at the time, had not my observation been confirmed by that of the
first actress of this or any other age, with whom I lately happened to
converse on our deceased friend's expressive powers of countenance. Miss
Seward's tone of voice was melodious, guided by excellent taste, and
well suited to reading and recitation, in which she willingly exercised.
She did not sing, nor was she a great proficient in music, though very
fond of it, having studied it later in life than is now usual. Her
stature was tall, and her form was originally elegant; but having broken
the patella of her knee by a fall in the year 1768, she walked with pain
and difficulty, which increased with the pressure of years.

[In 1784, Miss Seward produced a poetical novel, entitled "Louisa,"
which became popular, and passed through several editions. Her memoirs
of the life of Dr Darwin was her last composition. In this she lays
claim to the lines at the commencement of "The Botanic Garden," though
unacknowledged by the author. Her other poems are "Langollen Vale," a
volume of sonnets, and some paraphrases of Horace. She died in March
1809, leaving Sir Walter Scott her literary executor. Mr Polwhele, in
his "Unsexed Females," speaks thus: "Miss Seward's poems are thoughts
that breathe, and words that burn."]


[BORN 1679. DIED 1749.]


Mrs Cockburn, whose maiden name was Trotter, the daughter of a commander
in the navy, was in youth said to have been distinguished by personal
attractions. Her father died when she was very young; and her mother,
who was nearly related to more than one Scotch noble family, was left in
very narrow circumstances. Catherine began to show remarkable talent or
vivacity of mind at a very early age. It is told that, while she was
still a mere child, she one day surprised a company of her friends by
some extemporaneous verses on an incident which had just happened in the
street. Her first literary attempts were in verse. One poem, which she
is stated to have written when she was only fourteen, is printed among
her works. It is certain that in 1695, when she was only in her
seventeenth year, she appeared as a dramatic writer,--a tragedy written
by her, entitled "Agnes de Castro," having been brought out with success
at the Theatre Royal in that year, and printed the following. This was
followed by a second tragedy, entitled "Fatal Friendship," which was
performed in the new theatre, Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1698, and printed
the same year; and then came another tragedy and a comedy.

These juvenile productions had, probably all of them, great defects; but
the authoress of three tragedies and a comedy, all both printed and
acted before she had reached the age of twenty-two, was at any rate no
common phenomenon. And she had also, it seems, already been long a
diligent student of metaphysics, besides having, while as we gather only
in her teens, ventured so far into the maze of theological speculation
and controversy, as to have been induced to leave the Church of England
in which she had been educated, and to profess herself a Roman Catholic.
The first fruit of her philosophical studies appeared in May 1702, when
she published anonymously a defence of "Locke's Essay on the Human
Understanding," in reply to an attack upon it, which was afterwards
known to have proceeded from the learned and eloquent Dr Thomas Burnet
of the Charter House.

About the beginning of 1707 she returned to the Church of England,
having previously changed her name for another. Mr Cockburn is said to
have been a man of learning and talent, but he never was fortunate in
obtaining much preferment; and throughout the remainder of his life she
had both the cares of a family to occupy her time and thoughts, and very
straitened circumstances to struggle with. In 1726 he became minister of
an episcopal congregation at Aberdeen. Her return to England seems to
have been like the recommencement of existence to her, or the awakening
from a state of torpor. In the last stage of her life, notwithstanding
broken health and some sharp sorrow, her intellectual and literary
activity emulated what she had displayed at the outset of her career. In
1739 she boldly set out upon what we may call a voyage round the world
of metaphysics, in "Remarks upon some Writers in the Controversy
concerning the Foundation of Moral Duty and Moral Obligation;
particularly the Translator of Archbishop King's Origin of Moral Evil
[Dr Edmund Law, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle], and the Author of Divine
Legation of Moses [Warburton]; to which are prefixed some Cursory
Thoughts on the Controversies concerning Necessary Existence, the
Reality and Infinity of Space, the Extension and Place of Spirits, and
on Dr Watt's Notion of Substance." It was not printed till the year
1743, when it was given to the world, without the name of the author, in
"The History of the Works of the Learned."

Mrs Cockburn here adopted Dr Clarke's theory of the foundations of
morality, namely, that the distinctions between virtue and vice are not
created by the declarations or even by the will of the Deity, but arise
out of eternal and immutable relations and essential differences of
things. Not long after, her strength was much worn down by frequent
attacks of asthma, to which she had been subject for many years. "I
have," she says, "very little prospect of tolerable health for any
continuance. My cough returned at the beginning of September, and held
me about two months, but is now succeeded by such a difficulty of
breathing that I do not know which is most grievous; but between them I
am reduced to great weakness." Yet she was at this time engaged upon a
new metaphysical work, which proved to be the most elaborate and able of
all her literary performances, her "Remarks upon the Principles and
Reasonings of Dr Rutherford's Essay on the Nature and Obligations of
Virtue, in Vindication of the Contrary Principles and Reasonings
Enforced in the Writings of Dr Samuel Clarke." The Rev. Dr Thomas
Rutherford, whose essay appeared in 1744, had therein maintained the
doctrine that the test and essence of virtue was its tendency to
promote the good properly understood, whether of the agent or others; in
other words, was utility in the largest sense. When her tract was
finished, Mrs Cockburn sent it to Warburton, whose theory on the subject
of it was different both from Rutherford's and her own, and against
whose views one of her previous works, as we have seen, had been in part
directed. Warburton held that the distinction between virtue and vice
was constituted by the arbitrary will of the Deity. Notwithstanding this
difference of opinion, however, he not only admitted the merit of the
present work in the frankest and most cordial terms, styling it, in a
letter to the authoress, _the strongest and clearest piece of
metaphysics that ever was written_, but took upon himself the charge of
finding a publisher for it; and when it appeared in 1747, it was
introduced by a preface from the pen of Warburton, in which he almost
reiterated those strong expressions, declaring it to contain "all the
clearness of expression, the strength of reason, the precision of logic
and attachment to truth which makes books of this nature really useful
to the common cause of virtue and religion."

This work appears to have attracted much more notice than anything that
Mrs Cockburn had previously done. She was subsequently induced by the
advice of her friends to set about the preparation of a complete
collection of her writings, with the view of publishing it by
subscription. But this task she did not live to see accomplished. At
last, in January 1749, she lost her husband, who appears to have been
about a year older than herself; and this stroke probably shortened her
own existence, which terminated on the 11th of May of the same year.


[BORN 1750. DIED 1828.]


The youngest daughter of Augustus, fourth Earl of Berkeleigh, born in
1750, came into the world two months ere by the laws of nature she was
to be looked for; and this circumstance, which was a fit prelude to an
eccentric life, had nearly led to an abrupt termination of the infant's
earthly career ere its sands of life had run through the boiling of an
egg. A certain ceremonial was observed in those days when ladies of a
certain rank swelled the rolls of the aristocracy; and the first person
who approached the bed of the noble _accouchée_ was the Countess of
Albemarle, her aunt. The infant which had so unexpectedly claimed its
share of the world had doubly disappointed its mother; first, by being a
girl, when a boy had been predicted with assurance, for Lady Berkeleigh
had previously had four girls in succession, three of them, singularly
enough, at one birth; next, the little being, so far from exhibiting any
signs of the future beauty, presented the most miserable half-alive
aspect imaginable; and there being nothing ready to receive it, a piece
of flannel was huddled round it, and it was left on an arm-chair in a
kind of despair, and for some minutes altogether unheeded, till the
visitor already named was on the point of sitting down on foresaid
arm-chair, and, but for the screams of the attendants, would have
driven out, once and for ever, the small instalment of life-breath the
forlorn babe had been strenuously endeavouring to suck in.

Thereupon Lady Albemarle snatched up the child, took it to the light to
examine it, and observing that it there managed to open a pair of very
bright eyes, pronounced its chances of vitality to be far from
desperate. A wet nurse was therefore immediately procured; and, by dint
of great care, the puny little being was preserved to become eventually
the lovely, accomplished, and vivacious subject of this article
[afterwards to become first Lady Craven, and subsequently the Margravine
of Anspach]. Lady Berkeleigh, who is described by the margravine in her
own memoirs as having but little maternal affection, treated her
youngest daughter with even worse than indifference, and reserved all
the indulgence and attention she was disposed to show to her offspring
for her eldest sister, Lady Georgiana, who was regarded as the beauty.
The neglect and severity of the mother stamped a peculiar air of shyness
and modesty on Lady Elizabeth; and as her natural character was
vivacious, and disposed to gaiety and enjoyment, a contrast was thus
created, which, as she herself very unreservedly confesses, greatly
contributed to her fascination.

Lady Elizabeth had already shot up into a tall, lithe figure; and her
countenance developed the budding signs of that lively beauty which
afterwards distinguished her. At this time, however, though she observes
that many opportunities offered themselves of discovering her own
personal charms, she protests herself to have been entirely ignorant of
them; the exclusive admiration that was bestowed by her mother on her
elder sister leading her to imagine herself rather ill-favoured than
otherwise. There was no such blindness to the fascination of her person
in after years, and her memoirs teem with amusing evidences of the high
sense she entertained of her outward attractions. Among others is a
passage in which she criticises the various portraits that have been
painted of her; and though Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose portrait of her at
Petworth seems charming enough, and Romney and Madame Lebrun exerted in
turns, and more than once, their skill to transfer her graces to canvas,
she declares they, none of them, have done justice either to her face or
figure. The same candour, in exposing her thorough self-appreciation as
regards her mental and moral excellences, is observable through the
entertaining sketch of her career, and gives at first the impression
that one is listening to the weakest and vainest woman that ever
breathed. A little further acquaintance, however, removes this notion
almost altogether. When a woman has been sought and admired all her life
for her beauty, grace, sense, wit, and good nature by the highest and
most distinguished personages of her age, it would seem more shocking
than the grossest display of vanity to affect a mincing reserve and
humility in speaking of her own merits.

[Lady Elizabeth was afterwards married to Mr Craven, who came to be Lord
Craven. The marriage, at its outset, seems to have been in its most
essential respects a happy one. The margravine acknowledges that Lord
Craven possessed the highest admiration for the refined character and
many graces and accomplishments of his young wife; and the contests
between them were the amiable ones arising from his unbounded generosity
towards her, and the refusals his offered presents met with from her
discretion and modesty. At length a discovery was made by Lady Craven,
which led to that eventful change in her life and fortunes, but for
which, in all probability, the subject of this sketch would have
attracted as little attention as many other brilliant noblewomen of her
day. Lord Craven had for some time absented himself for long periods
from home, under pretexts which his wife discovered to be false; but all
doubts were removed when Lord Macartney came to the injured wife and
entreated her to prevent Lord Craven from travelling in one of his
coaches with a woman calling herself Lady Craven. This led to the
explosion of a mine of intrigue. Lady Craven then went to France, and
subsequently travelled over all Europe, at the various courts of which
she was honoured and fêted. During her stay in Paris she had received
the visits of the Margrave of Anspach, who had known her from childhood,
and had formed a strong attachment to her. He had now invited her to
pass some time at Anspach with himself and the margravine as his adopted
sister. To this she agreed; and, subsequently, by a strange coincidence,
the Margravine and Lord Craven having died about the same time, she
became the wife of the margrave. In 1816 the margrave died, and from
that time the margravine chiefly resided at Naples, where she died in
the seventy-eighth year of her age.]


[BORN 1750. DIED 1848.]


Another distinguished name can scarcely be forgotten or omitted here,
although its honoured and venerable possessor still lives [in 1847],
connecting the present with the past age. Caroline Herschel, the sister
of the illustrious Sir William Herschel, was, as is well known, the
associate of her brother, both in the business of observation and in
that of calculation, throughout the whole of his splendid career. Four
comets are enumerated as discovered by her--one on the 1st of August
1786, another on the 21st of December 1788, another on the 7th of
January 1790, another on the 8th of October 1793.

After the death of her brother, on the 23d of August 1822, Miss Herschel
returned to his and her own native country, Hanover, and there proceeded
to employ herself in drawing up a catalogue of twenty-five thousand
nebulæ discovered by her brother, which she completed in 1828, and for
which the Astronomical Society of London that year voted her a gold
medal. The newspapers announced that she celebrated the ninety-seventh
anniversary of her birth-day on the 16th of March 1847. "On that
occasion, the king, it is stated on the authority of a letter from
Hanover, sent to compliment her; the prince and princess-royal paid her
a visit, and the latter presented her with a magnificent arm-chair, the
back of which had been embroidered by her royal highness; and the
minister of Prussia, in the name of his sovereign, remitted to her the
gold medal awarded for the extension of the sciences." Notwithstanding
her advanced age and bodily infirmities, Miss Herschel, it has since
been stated by her distinguished nephew, Sir John F. W. Herschel, in a
letter to the _Athenæum_, is still [1847] in possession of her


[BORN 1752. DIED 1840.]


The daughter of Dr Burney deserves to have the progress of her mind
recorded from her ninth to her twenty-fifth year. When her education had
proceeded no further than her hornbook she lost her mother, and
thenceforward educated herself. Her father appears to have been as bad a
father as a very honest, affectionate, and sweet-tempered man can well
be. He loved his daughter dearly; but it never seems to have occurred to
him that a parent has other duties to perform to children than that of
fondling them. No governess, no teacher of any art or of any language,
was provided for her. But one of her sisters showed her how to write,
and before she was fourteen she began to find pleasure in reading. It
was not, however, by reading that her intellect was formed. Indeed, when
her best novels were produced, her knowledge of books was very small.
When at the height of her fame, she was unacquainted with the most
celebrated writings of Voltaire and Molière, and, what seems still more
extraordinary, had never heard or seen a line of Churchill, who, when
she was a girl, was the most popular of living poets. It is particularly
deserving of observation, that she appears to have been by no means a
novel-reader. Her father's library was large, and he had admitted into
it so many books which rigid moralists generally exclude, that he felt
uneasy, as he afterwards owned, when Johnson began to examine the
shelves. But in the whole collection there was only a single
novel--Fielding's "Amelia."

But the great book of human nature was turned over before Fanny Burney.
A society, various and brilliant, was sometimes to be found in Dr
Burney's cabin. Johnson and he met frequently, and agreed most
harmoniously. One tie, indeed, was awanting to their mutual attachment.
Burney loved his own art, music, passionately, and Johnson just knew the
bell of St Clement's Church from the organ. They had, however, many
topics in common; and in winter nights their conversations were
sometimes prolonged till the fire had gone out, and the candles had
burned away to the wicks. Burney's admiration of the powers which had
produced "Rasselas" and the "Rambler" bordered on idolatry. Johnson, on
the other hand, condescended to growl out that Burney was an honest
fellow, a man whom it was impossible not to like. Garrick, too, was a
frequent visitor in Poland Street. That wonderful actor loved the
society of children, partly from good nature, and partly from vanity.
The ecstasies of mirth and terror which his gestures and play of
countenance never failed to produce in a nursery, flattered him quite as
much as the applause of pure critics. He often exhibited all his powers
of memory for the amusement of the little Burneys, awed them by
shuddering and crouching as if he saw a ghost, scared them by raving
like a maniac in Saint Luke's, and then at once became an auctioneer, a
chimney-sweeper, or an old woman, and made them laugh till the tears ran
down their cheeks.

Fanny's propensity to novel-writing could not be kept down. She told
her father she had written a novel ["Evelina"]. On so grave an occasion
it was surely his duty to give his best counsel to his daughter, to win
her confidence, to prevent her exposing herself if her book was a bad
one, and if it were a good one to see that the terms which she made with
the publisher were likely to be beneficial to her. Instead of this he
only stared, burst out a-laughing, kissed her, gave her leave to do as
she liked, and never even asked the name of the work. The contract with
Lowndes was speedily concluded. Twenty pounds were given for the
copyright, and were accepted by Fanny with delight. Her father's
inexcusable neglect of his duty happily caused her no worse evil than
the loss of £1200 or £1500. After many delays, "Evelina" appeared in
1778. Poor Fanny was sick with terror, and durst hardly stir out of
doors. Some days passed before anything was heard of the book. Soon,
however, the first accents of praise begin to be heard. The keepers of
the circulating libraries reported that everybody was asking for
"Evelina," and that some person had guessed Anstey to be the author.
Scholars and statesmen, who contemptuously abandoned the crowd of
romances to Miss Lydia Languish and Miss Sukey Saunter, were not ashamed
to own that they could not tear themselves away from "Evelina." After
producing other novels, for one of which, "Camilla," she is said to have
received three thousand guineas, and encountering many strange
vicissitudes, Madame D'Arblay died at the age of eighty-eight.


[BORN 1754. DIED 1793.]


A far nobler victim follows, one who will claim remembrance from several
centuries--Jeanne-Marie Phlipon, the wife of Roland. Queenly, sublime in
her uncomplaining sorrow, seemed she to Riouffe in her prison.
"Something more than is usually found in the looks of women painted
itself," says he, "in those large black eyes of hers, full of expression
and sweetness. She spoke to me often at the grate; we were all attentive
round her, in a sort of admiration and astonishment. She expressed
herself with a purity, with a harmony and prosody, that made her
language like music, of which the ear could never have enough. Her
conversation was serious, not cold. Coming from the mouth of a beautiful
woman, it was frank and courageous as that of a great man." "And yet her
maid said, 'Before you she collects her strength; but, in her own room,
she will sit three hours sometimes leaning on the window and weeping.'"
She has been in prison,--liberated once, but recaptured the same
hour,--ever since the 1st of June, in agitation and uncertainty, which
has gradually settled down into the last stern certainty--that of death.
In the Abbaye Prison, she occupied Charlotte Corday's apartment. Here,
in the Conciergerie, she speaks with Riouffe; with ex-minister Clavière
calls the beheaded twenty-two "_nos amis_, our friends," whom all are so
soon to follow. During these five months, those Memoirs of hers were
written which all the world still reads.

But now, on the 8th of November, "clad in white," says Riouffe, "with
her long black hair hanging down to her girdle," she is gone to the
judgment-bar. She returned with a quick step; lifted her finger, to
signify to us that she was doomed; her eyes seemed to have been wet.
Fouquier-Tinville's questions had been "brutal;" offended female honour
flung them back on him with scorn, not without tears. And now, short
preparation soon done, she too shall go her last road. There went with
her a certain Lamarche, "director of assignat-printing," whose dejection
she endeavoured to cheer. Arrived at the foot of the scaffold, she asked
for pen and paper, "to write the strange thoughts that were rising in
her"--a remarkable request--which was refused. Looking at the statue of
Liberty which stands there, she says, "O Liberty, what things are done
in thy name!" For Lamarche's sake she will die first, to show him how
easy it is to die. "Contrary to the order," says Samson. "Pshaw, you
cannot refuse the last request of a lady;" and Samson yielded.

Noble white vision, with its high queenly face, its soft proud eyes,
long black hair flowing down to the girdle, and as brave a heart as ever
beat in woman's bosom! Like a white Grecian statue, serenely complete,
she shines in that black wreck of things, long memorable. Honour to
great Nature who, in Paris city, in the era of Noble-sentiment and
Pompadourism, can make a Jeanne Phlipon, and nourish her clear perennial
womanhood, though but on Logics, Encyclopédies, and the Gospel according
to Jean-Jacques! Biography will long remember that trait of asking for a
pen "to write the strange thoughts that were rising in her." It is as a
little light-beam, shedding softness and a kind of sacredness over all
that preceded; so in her, too, there was an unnameable; she, too, was a
daughter of the Infinite; there were mysteries which Philosophism had
not dreamt of! She left long written counsels to her little girl. She
said her husband would not survive her.

Some days afterwards, Roland, hearing the news of what happened on the
8th, embraces his kind friends at Rouen; leaves their kind house which
had given him refuge; goes forth, with farewell too sad for tears. On
the morrow morning, 16th of the month, "some four leagues from Rouen,
Paris-ward, near Bourg-Baudoin, in M. Normand's avenue," there is seen,
sitting leant against a tree, the figure of a rigorous wrinkled man,
stiff now in the rigour of death, a cane-sword run through his heart,
and at his feet this writing: "Whoever thou art that findest me lying,
respect my remains; they are those of a man who consecrated all his life
to being useful, and who has died, as he lived, virtuous and honest. Not
fear, but indignation, made me quit my retreat, on learning that my wife
had been murdered. I wished not to remain longer on an earth polluted
with crimes."


[BORN 1755. DIED 1793.]


On Monday, 14th October 1793, a cause is pending in the Palais de
Justice, in the new Revolutionary Court, such as these stone walls never
witnessed--the trial of Marie Antoinette. The once brightest of queens,
now tarnished, defaced, forsaken, stands here at Fouquier-Tinville's
judgment-bar, answering for her life. The indictment was delivered her
last night. To such changes of human fortune, what words are adequate?
Silence alone is adequate.

There are few printed things one meets with of such tragic, almost
ghastly significance, as those bald pages of the _Bulletin du Tribunal
Révolutionnaire_, which bear title, "Trial of the Widow Capet." Dim,
dim, as if in disastrous eclipse, like the pale kingdoms of Dis!
Plutonic judges, Plutonic Tinville; encircled nine times with Styx and
Lethe, with Fire-Phlegethon and Cocytus, named of Lamentation! The very
witnesses summoned are like ghosts; exculpatory, inculpatory, they
themselves are all hovering over death and doom; they are known in our
imagination as the prey of the guillotine. Tall _ci-devant_ Count
d'Estaing, anxious to show himself patriot, cannot escape; nor Bailly,
who, when asked if he knows the accused, answers with a reverent
inclination towards her, "Ah, yes, I know Madame." Ex-patriots are
here, sharply dealt with as Procureur Manuel; ex-ministers, shorn of
their splendour. We have cold aristocratic impassivity, faithful to
itself even in Tartarus; rabid stupidity of patriot corporals, patriot
washerwomen, who have much to say of plots, treasons, August tenth, old
insurrection of women. For all now has become a crime in her who has

Marie Antoinette, in this her utter abandonment and hour of extreme
need, is not wanting to herself, the imperial woman. Her look, they say,
as that hideous indictment was reading, continued calm. "She was
sometimes observed moving her fingers, as when one plays on the piano."
You discern not without interest across that dim Revolutionary Bulletin
itself, how she bears herself queen-like. Her answers are prompt, clear,
often of laconic brevity; resolution, which has grown contemptuous
without ceasing to be dignified, veils itself in calm words. "You
persist, then, in denial?" "My plan is not denial; it is the truth I
have said, and I persist in that." Scandalous Hébert has borne his
testimony as to many things; as to one thing concerning Marie Antoinette
and her little son, wherewith human speech had better not further be
soiled. She has answered Hébert; a juryman begs to observe that she has
not answered to this. "I have not answered," she exclaims with noble
emotion, "because nature refuses to answer such a charge brought against
a mother. I appeal to all the mothers that are here." Robespierre, when
he heard of it, broke out into something almost like swearing at the
brutish blockheadism of this Hébert, on whose foul head his foul lie has
recoiled. At four o'clock on Wednesday morning, after two days and two
nights of interrogating, jury charging, and other darkening of counsel,
the result comes out--sentence of death. "Have you anything to say?" The
accused shook her head, without speech. Night's candles are burning out;
and with her, too, Time is finishing, and it will be eternity and day.
This hall of Tinville's is dark, ill-lighted, except where she stands.
Silently she withdraws from it to die.

There was once a procession before, "on the morrow," says Weber, "the
Dauphiness left Vienna. The whole city crowded out, at first with a
sorrow which was silent. She appeared. You saw her sunk back into her
carriage, her face bathed in tears; hiding her eyes now with her
handkerchief, now with her hands; several times putting out her head to
see yet again this palace of her fathers, whither she was to return no
more. She motioned her regret, her gratitude, to the good nation which
was crowding here to bid her farewell. Then arose not only tears, but
piercing cries on all sides. Men and women alike abandoned themselves to
such expression of their sorrow. It was an audible sound of wail in the
streets and avenues of Vienna. The last courier that followed her
disappeared, and the crowd melted away."

The young imperial maiden of fifteen has now become a worn, discrowned
widow of thirty-eight, grey before her time. This is the last
procession. "Few minutes after the trial ended, the drums were beating
to arms in all sections; at sunrise the armed force was on foot, cannons
getting placed at the extremities of the bridges, in the squares,
crossways, all along from the Palais de Justice to the Place de la
Révolution. By ten o'clock, numerous patrols were circulating in the
streets; thirty thousand foot and horse drawn up under arms. At eleven,
Marie Antoinette was brought out. She had on an undress of _piqué
blanc_; she was led to the place of execution in the same manner as an
ordinary criminal, bound in a cart, accompanied by a Constitutional
Priest in lay dress, escorted by numerous detachments of infantry and
cavalry. These, and the double row of troops all along her road, she
appeared to regard with indifference. On her countenance there was
visible neither abashment nor pride. To the cries of _Vive la
République_, and Down with Tyranny, which attended her all the way, she
seemed to pay no heed. She spoke little to her confessor. The tricolour
streamers on the house-tops occupied her attention in the Streets du
Roule and Saint-Honoré; she also noticed the inscriptions on the
house-fronts. On reaching the Place de la Révolution, her looks towards
the _Jardin National_, whilom Tuileries; her face at that moment gave
signs of lively emotion. She ascended the scaffold with courage enough;
at a quarter past twelve her head fell. The executioner showed it to the
people amid universal long-continued cries of _Vive la République_."


[BORN 1755. DIED 1831.]


This unrivalled actress, born in 1755, was, like her brother John
Kemble, led upon the boards at a very early age; so young indeed was
she, that the rustic audience, offended at her infantile appearance,
began to hoot and hiss her off, when her mother Mrs Kemble, herself an
actress, led her to the front of the stage, and made her repeat the
fable of the boys and the frogs, which she did in such a manner as
appeased the critics, and insured a favourable reception for her ever
after. In her eighteenth year, she married Mr Siddons, an actor in her
father's company; and the young couple soon after took an engagement to
act at Cheltenham. "At that time," says Mr Campbell, "the Hon. Miss
Boyle, the daughter of Lord Dungarvon, a most accomplished woman, and
authoress of several pleasing poems, one of which, an "Ode to the
Poppy," was published by Charlotte Smith, happened to be at Cheltenham.
She had come accompanied by her mother and her mother's second husband,
the Earl of Aylesbury. One morning that she and some other fashionables
went to the box-keeper's office, they were told that the tragedy to be
performed that evening was "Venice Preserved." They all laughed
heartily, and promised themselves a treat of the ludicrous in the
misrepresentation of the piece. Some one who overheard their mirth,
kindly reported it to Mrs Siddons. She had the part of _Belvidera_
allotted to her, and prepared for the performance of it with no very
enviable feelings. It may be doubted whether Otway had imagined in
_Belvidera_ a personage more to be pitied than her representative now
thought herself. The rabble in "Venice Preserved" showed compassion for
the heroine; and when they saw her feather-bed put up to auction,
"governed their roaring throats, and grumbled pity." But our actress
anticipated refined scorners more pitiless than the rabble, and the
prospect was certainly calculated to prepare her more for the madness
than the dignity of her part. In spite of much agitation, however, she
got through it. About the middle of the piece, she heard some unusual
and apparently suppressed noises, and therefore concluded that the
fashionables were in the full enjoyment of their anticipated amusement,
tittering and laughing, as she thought, with unmerciful derision.

She went home, after the play, grievously mortified. Next day, however,
Mr Siddons met in the street Lord Aylesbury, who inquired after Mrs
Siddons' health, and expressed not only his own admiration of her last
night's exquisite acting, but related its effects on the ladies of his
party. They had wept, he said, so excessively, that they were
unpresentable in the morning, and were confined to their rooms with
headaches. Mr Siddons hastened home to gladden his fair spouse with this
intelligence. Miss Boyle soon afterwards visited Mrs Siddons at her
lodgings, took the deepest interest in her fortunes, and continued her
ardent friend till her death. She married Lord O'Neil of Shanes Castle,
in Ireland. It is no wonder that Mrs Siddons dwells with tenderness, in
her memoranda, on the name of this earliest encourager of her genius.
Miss Boyle was a beauty of the first order, and gifted with a similar
mind, as her poetry and patronage of the hitherto unnoticed actress
evince." A rumour of the newly-discovered genius having reached Garrick,
Mrs Siddons began, through his patronage, that career of success which
is so well known.

Mrs Siddons undoubtedly possessed the highest order of poetical
conception for the purposes of stage delivery; yet, like her brother,
not a little of the impression she produced was owing to her great
physical powers, and the commanding dignity of her person. In her most
violent scenes, the majesty of her mien was pre-eminent; and even when
prostrate on the stage, she still lay graceful and sublime. As Madame de
Staël says of her in her "Corrine," "_L'actrice la plus noble dans ses
manières, Madame Siddons, ne perd rien de sa dignité quand elle se
prosterne contre terre._" Of her _Lady Macbeth_, which all critics now
allow to be her _chef d'oeuvre_, Lord Byron said: "It was something
above nature. It seemed almost as if a being of a superior order had
dropped from a higher sphere to awe the world with the majesty of her
appearance. Power was seated on her brow; passion emanated from her
breast as from a shrine. In coming on in the sleeping scene, her eyes
were open, but their sense was shut; she was like a person
bewildered--her lips moved involuntarily, all her gestures seemed
mechanical; she glided off and on the stage like an apparition. To have
seen her in that character was an event in every one's life never to be

"It was impossible," says an able critic, "for those who beheld Mrs
Siddons in _Lady Macbeth_, to imagine the embodied in any other shape.
That tall, commanding, and majestic figure; that face, so sternly
beautiful, with its firm lips and large dark eyes; that brow, capacious
of a wild world of thought, overshadowed by a still gloom of coal-black
hair; that low, clear-measured, deep voice, audible in whispers, so
portentously expressive of strength of will, and a will to evil; the
stately tread of those feet, the motions of those arms and hands,
seeming moulded for empiry--all those distinguished the Thane's wife
from other women, to our senses, our soul, and our imagination, as if
nature had made Siddons for Shakspeare's sake, that she might
impersonate to the height his sublimest and most dreadful creation.
Charles Lamb may smile--and his smile is ever pleasant--but we are
neither afraid nor ashamed to say that we never read the tragedy--and we
have read it a thousand and one nights--without seeing and hearing _that
Lady Macbeth_--our study becoming the stage--and 'out damned spot,' a
shuddering sigh, terrifying us in the imagined presence of a breathless
crowd of sympathising spirits. That sleep-walker, in the power of her
guilt, would not suffer us to be alone in our closet. Noiseless her
gliding steps, and all alone in her haunted unrest, we saw her wringing
her hands before a gazing multitude; their eyes, how unlike to hers! and
we drew dread from the quaking all around us, not unmingled with a sense
of the magnificent, breathed from the passion that held the great
assemblage mute and motionless--yet not quite--that sea of heads all
lulled; but the lull darkened as by the shadow of a cloud surcharged
with thunder."


[BORN 1755. DIED 1838.]


The late excellent Mrs Grant of Laggan, as she used to be designated to
the end of her long life, from the parish of Inverness-shire, of which
her husband had been clergyman, and with which her first publications
were connected, affords another remarkable example both of the
successful cultivation of literature by a woman in trying or unusual
circumstances, and of the attainment thereby of many worldly in addition
to higher advantages. She has herself told us the story of her early
life and her first struggles, in an unfinished Memoir which has been
published since her death. In the mere acquisition of knowledge she had
no peculiar difficulties to encounter either from circumstances or any
deficiency in herself. On the contrary, her faculties were quick and
early developed, and her opportunities, though not affording her a
regular education, were well suited to nourish and strengthen those
tendencies and powers which chiefly gave her mind its distinctive

"I began to live," she observes, "to the purposes of feeling,
observation, and recollection much earlier than children usually do. I
was not acute, I was not sagacious, but I had an active imagination and
uncommon powers of memory. I had no companion; no one fondled or
caressed me, far less did any one take the trouble of amusing me. I did
not, till I was six years of age, possess a single toy. A child with
less activity of mind would have become torpid under the same
circumstances. Yet, whatever of purity of thought, originality of
character, and premature thirst for knowledge, distinguished me from
other children of my age, was, I am persuaded, very much owing to these
privations. Never was a human being less improved in the sense in which
that expression is generally understood, but never was one less spoilt
by indulgence, or more carefully preserved from every species of mental
contagion. The result of the peculiar circumstances in which I was
placed had the effect of making me a kind of anomaly very different from
other people, and very little influenced by the motives, as well as very
ignorant of the modes of thinking and acting prevalent in the world at

It was this anomalous character in her case, happily free from any kind
of grotesqueness or absurdity, and allied to everything virtuous and
noble, that both directed her to literature and authorship in the first
instance, and gave much of its interest to what she wrote.

[Annie Macvicar, Mrs Grant's maiden name, the daughter of Duncan
Macvicar, "a plain, brave, pious man," having been taken by her parents
to America, returned to Scotland, and married in 1779 Mr Grant, a
chaplain at Fort-Augustus in Inverness-shire. She acquired a taste for
farming, led a life of fervid activity, and had a large family of
children, all promising, and the greater number of them beautiful. It
would have been strange indeed if her literary aspirations had sprung
out of the domestic habits of the mother of a large family, and the
manager of a farm; but we are told by herself that she had begun to
scrawl a kind of Miltonic verse when she was little more than nine years
old. She had early written off many scraps of poetry, and distributed
them among her friends, who had taken care to preserve them, while Mrs
Grant had retained no copies. It was by a kind of amicable conspiracy
that these friends set about the good work of collecting and publishing
these pieces in such a way as would secure pecuniary relief to the
author. The subscriptions amounted to three thousand names, and the
"Original Poems, with some Translations from the Gaelic," appeared in
1803. Some years afterwards came her "Letters from the Mountains," which
not only claimed the attention of the reading world, but inspired so
much love and respect for the quiet virtues and literary abilities of
the author, that many who knew her, and some who did not, contributed to
help her in her hard struggle with the world. But Mrs Grant's life was
destined to be a passage through storm and sunshine. Her husband died,
and her children, inheriting his tendency to decline, fell off one by
one, so that every year brought her fresh trouble, yet still with a
noble spirit that enabled her to surmount her afflictions by something
like philosophy. In 1811 she published her "Essays on the Superstitions
of the Highlands of Scotland, with Translations from the Gaelic," in two
volumes, and subsequently a poem, entitled "Eighteen Hundred and
Thirteen," which excited little attention.]

Mrs Grant's life for some years after she gave up writing for the public
had been in part devoted to an intellectual employment of another kind,
the superintendence of the education of a succession of young persons of
her own sex who were sent to reside with her. From the year 1826 also,
her means had been further increased by a pension of £100, which was
granted to her by George IV., on a representation drawn up by Sir Walter
Scott, and supported by Henry Mackenzie, Lord Jeffrey, and other
distinguished persons among her friends in Edinburgh. During the period
of nearly thirty years that she resided there, she was a principal
figure in the best and most intellectual society of the Scottish
metropolis, and to the last her literary celebrity made her an object of
curiosity and attraction to strangers from all parts of the world. Even
after the loss of the last of her daughters, her correspondence
testifies that she still took a lively interest in everything that went
on around her. "With all its increasing infirmities," she says, "and
even with the accumulated sorrows of my peculiar lot, I do not find age
so dark and unlovely as the Celtic bard seems to consider it. However
imperfectly my labour has been performed, we may consider it nearly
concluded; and even though my cup of sorrow has been brimful, the bitter
ingredient of shame has not mingled with it. On all those who were near
and dear to me, I can look back with approbation, and may tenderly
cherish unspotted memories, fond recollections, and the hopes that
terminate not here. I feel myself certainly not landed, but in a harbour
from whence I am not likely to be blown out by new tempests." Even after
this, she was destined to receive another severe shock from the death,
in April 1837, in her twenty-eighth year, of her daughter-in-law, who
had been married only three years, and to whom she was strongly
attached. Still her courageous heart bore her up, and the zest with
which she enjoyed intellectual pleasures continued almost as keen as


[BORN 1756. DIED 1821.]


The daughter of a small farmer in Suffolk, of the name of Simpson.
Having lost her father in her infancy, she was left under the care of
her mother, who continued to manage the farm; and in the pleasant
seclusion of this cottage home, Miss Simpson was presented with abundant
opportunities of gratifying her literary propensities. So sensibly had
her imagination been wrought upon by the tales of fictitious grief and
happiness she had met with in the course of her desultory reading, that
she formed the romantic resolution of visiting the metropolis, the scene
of many of the stories which had so powerfully excited her sympathies.
This intention did not, as may be supposed, meet with the approbation of
her friends; but so fixed was her determination to accomplish, _à tout
prix_, the object she had in view, that she seized an opportunity of
eloping from her home entirely without the knowledge of her family.
Early one morning in February 1772, she left Staningfield for London,
and with a few necessary articles of apparel packed in a band-box,
walked, or rather ran, a distance of two miles to the place from which
the coach set out for the metropolis.

This step, in a girl of sixteen years of age, did not augur very
favourably of her future conduct or respectability; but the subsequent
tenor of her life affords additional proof that very admirable results
will often arise out of indifferent and even reprehensible beginnings.
On her arrival at London, she sought a distant relation who lived in the
Strand; but on reaching the house, was, to her great mortification,
informed that she had retired from business, and was settled in North
Wales. It was near ten o'clock at night, and her distress at this
disappointment moved the compassion of the people of whom she had made
her inquiries, who kindly accommodated her with a lodging. This
civility, however, awakened her suspicions. She had read in "Clarissa
Harlowe," of various modes of seduction practised in London, and feared
that similar intentions were being meditated against her. A short time
after her arrival, therefore, observing that she had awakened their
curiosity, our young heroine seized her band-box, and, without uttering
a single word, rushed out of the house, and left them to their
conjectures that she was either a maniac or an impostor.

Her necessities drove her to the stage, where she met with considerable
success, and performed principal characters when she was only eighteen
years of age. After a residence of four years in Edinburgh with her
husband, Mr Inchbald, also an actor of some celebrity, she returned to
London, where she acted for several years at Covent Garden. Soon after
she became an authoress. Her first piece, the comedy entitled "I'll Tell
you What," was at first rejected by Colman of Haymarket, but finally
approved and brought out with considerable success in 1785. In 1789 she
retired from the stage, and devoted herself from that time entirely to
literature. She wrote a number of popular dramatic pieces, and edited a
new edition of "The British Theatre," and other dramatic collections;
but it is to her two novels, "Nature and Art," and "The Simple Story,"
that she chiefly owes her reputation. She died at Kensington in 1821.

The mind of this authoress had an original cast, and her literary style
was peculiar, terse, pointed, and impressive. By exemplary industry and
prudence, she had raised herself into a state of comfortable
independence; but she had a liberal heart, and deprived herself of many
enjoyments in order to provide for relations who stood in need of her
assistance. She was animated, cheerful, and intelligent in conversation,
and her remarks were not taken on trust, but were the effects of acute
penetration. She was very handsome in youth, and retained much of her
beauty and elegance till her death.


[BORN 1758. DIED 1816.]


Miss, or as she latterly chose to style herself, Mrs Elizabeth Hamilton,
is one of the female writers of what may now be called the last age,
whose eruption into literature was about as spontaneous and irregular as
well as could be; for there was nothing either in the education she
received, or in the circumstances of her position, to give her any
peculiar impulse towards such a career; yet she may be said to have
registered her name there among the classics of our language. If
everything else she produced be forgotten, as may almost be said to be
already the case, her "Cottagers of Glenburnie" at least will live, and
continue to be read, so long as the Scottish dialect remains
intelligible. It is the only work written in that dialect, between the
era of the poetry of Burns and that of the prose of Scott, which is now
remembered. Of Scottish prose writing, there is no earlier subsisting
example, until we go back to the sixteenth century. Here it claims the
honour of having been the only modern predecessor of the Waverley
Novels, if not that of having been, in some degree, their model. In so
far as its interest and humour lie in the use of the popular dialect, it
is probably to be accounted the offspring of Miss Edgeworth's "Castle
Rackrent," which is the earliest work still surviving, in which the
comedy and expressiveness to be found in the peculiarities of the Irish
provincial speech were highly taken advantage of.

[Born in Ireland about the middle of the last century, yet of Scotch
descent, Miss Hamilton while yet young came to Scotland, where, residing
with relations, she went through many changes of life. She wrote a great
many books, both on religious and political subjects, some of which
challenged without retaining attention; but it was otherwise with the
"Cottagers of Glenburnie."] This work was begun, we are told, merely as
the amusement of an idle hour; she was encouraged to proceed with it,
and to extend the plan, by the mirth which the first sheets of it
excited, when she read them to a few friends collected at her own
fireside. It was not, her biographer further informs us, without
considerable distrust on the part of the publisher that it was committed
to the press. Is it indeed the unhappy instinct of publishers to be thus
always blindest to the value, before they come out, of the books that
succeed the best? or is it thought expedient, for the sake of making the
better story, that every instance of remarkably successful publication
should be set off by being made to fall out contrary to expectation?

However that may be, the success of the present work was immediate and
decided. It was universally read in Scotland, and very generally even in
England, where its humour could less be appreciated. The great demand
soon induced the publishers to print a cheap edition; and, in the native
country of the writer, it was to be seen in the hands of all classes.
Miss Benger relates, that in Stirlingshire a person named Isabel Irvine,
who had been Miss Hamilton's attendant when she was at school there some
thirty or forty years before, and to whom, we suppose, a copy had been
sent by the authoress, made money by lending it out among her
neighbours. It is believed, too, not to have been without effect in
making the peasantry ashamed of the indolence and slovenliness which it
exposed and ridiculed. "Perhaps few books," observes a friend and
countryman of Miss Hamilton's, in a sketch of her character and her
literary and other services to her country, which Miss Benger has
printed, "have been more extensively useful. The peculiar humour of this
work, by irritating our national pride, has produced a wonderful spirit
of improvement. The cheap edition is to be found in every village
library; and Mrs M'Clarty's example has provoked many a Scotch housewife
into cleanliness and good order."

Miss Benger thus describes Miss Hamilton's ordinary mode of life after
she took up her residence in Edinburgh: "The morning, whenever her
infirmities admitted, was devoted to study. At two o'clock she descended
to the drawing-room, where she commonly found some intimate friend ready
to receive her. If no engagement intervened, the interval from seven
till ten was occupied with some interesting book, which, according to
her good Aunt Marshall's rule, was read aloud for the benefit of the
whole party. On Monday, she deviated from the general system, by
admitting visitors all the morning; and such was the esteem for her
character, and such the relish for her society, that this private levee
was attended by the most brilliant persons in Edinburgh, and commonly
protracted till a late hour. But it was in _the heartsome ingle-nook_ by
her _ain fireside_, when the world was shut out, and its cares, and
conflicts, and pretensions consigned to temporary oblivion, that Mrs
Hamilton was most truly known and most perfectly enjoyed. Of anecdote
she was inexhaustible, and in narrative she dramatised with such effect
that she almost personated those whom she described."

"All who had the happiness to know this amiable woman," said Miss
Edgeworth, in a tribute to her memory, which she contributed to an Irish
paper soon after Mrs Hamilton's death, "will with one accord bear
testimony to the truth of that feeling of affection which her
benevolence, kindness, and cheerfulness of temper inspired. She thought
so little of herself, so much of others, that it was impossible she
could--superior as she was--excite envy. She put everybody at ease in
her company, and in good humour and good spirits with themselves. So far
from being a restraint on the young and lively, she encouraged by her
sympathy their openness and gaiety. She never flattered, but she always
formed the most favourable opinion, that truth and good sense would
permit, of every individual who came near her. Instead, therefore, of
fearing and shunning her reputation, all loved and courted her society."
She died on the 23d July 1816, in the sixtieth year of her age.




The Academy of Sciences in Portugal having proposed a prize for the best
Portuguese tragedy, on the 13th of May 1788 conferred the laurel-crown
on "Osmia," a tragedy which proved to be the production of a lady, the
Countess de Vemieiro. On opening the sealed envelope accompanying the
piece, which usually conveys the name of the author, there was found
only a direction, in case "Osmia" should prove successful, to devote the
proceeds to the cultivation of olives, a species of fruit from which
Portugal might derive great advantages. It was with some difficulty that
the name of the modest writer of this work, published in 1795, in
quarto, was made known to the world. Bouterwek has erroneously
attributed it to another lady, very justly celebrated in Portugal,
Catharina de Sousa, the same who singly ventured to oppose the violence
of the Marquis de Pombal, whose son she refused in marriage. From the
family of this illustrious lady I learned that the tragedy of "Osmia"
was not really the production of her pen.

In this line of composition, so rarely attempted by female genius, the
Countess de Vemieiro displays a singular purity of taste, an exquisite
delicacy of feeling, and an interest derived rather from passion than
from circumstances,--qualities, indeed, which more particularly
distinguish her sex. In the catastrophe, as well as in the rest of the
piece, the Countess de Vemieiro appears to have studied the laws of the
French theatre; and, in the vivacity of her dialogue, Voltaire, rather
than Corneille or Racine, would seem to have been kept in view. The
whole is composed in iambic verse, free from rhyme; and we are, perhaps,
justified in asserting that this tragedy is the only one which the
Portuguese theatre can properly be said to possess.


[BORN 1762. DIED 1851.]


The daughter of a parish minister in Bothwell in Lanarkshire. Her mother
was sister of John and William Hunter, the famous anatomists. Her life
was spent in domestic privacy, and marked by no events more important
than the appearance of her successive works. Her brother, who became Sir
Matthew Baillie, having settled as physician in London, Miss Baillie
removed thither at an early age. She resided in the metropolis or its
neighbourhood almost constantly, and died at Hampstead in February 1851.

Her first volume of dramas was published in 1798. Their design, as to
which it is not too much to say that the works were good in spite of it,
not by means of it, was indicated in the title, "A Series of Plays, in
which it is Attempted to Delineate the Stronger Passions of the Mind,
each Passion being the Subject of a Tragedy and a Comedy." A second
volume of the "Plays of the Passions" appeared in 1802, and a third in
1812. The tragedies are fine poems, noble in sentiment, and classical
and vigorous in language; but they were not fit for the stage, and "De
Montfort" itself was with difficulty supported for a while by the acting
of John Kemble and Mrs Siddons. The tragedy of "The Family Legend," not
contained in the series, was acted in Edinburgh in 1809, after a visit
the poetess had paid to Sir Walter Scott. In 1836 she published another
series of "Plays of the Passions," of which "Henriquez" and "The
Separation," the former a very striking piece, were attempted on the
stage. Some of Miss Baillie's small pieces were exceedingly good.


[BORN 1763. DIED 1814.]


Few persons in that elevated rank have undergone such varieties of
fortune as Josephine [first wife of Napoleon], and fewer still have
borne so well the ordeal both of prosperity and adversity. Born in the
middle class of society, she was the wife of a respectable but obscure
officer. The Revolution afterwards threw her into a dungeon, where she
was saved from a scaffold only by the fall of Robespierre. The hand of
Napoleon made her successively the partner of every rank, from the
general's staff to the emperor's throne; and the same connection
consigned her, at the very highest point of her elevation, to
degradation and seclusion--the loss of her consequence, separation from
her husband, the sacrifice of her affections. Stripped of her influence,
cast down from her rank, wounded in her feelings, the divorced empress
found the calamity, felt in any rank, of being childless, the envenomed
dart which pierced her to the heart.

It was no common character which could pass through such marvellous
changes of fortune unmarked by any decided stain, unsullied by any tears
of suffering. If, during the confusion of all moral ideas, consequent on
the first triumphs of the Revolution, her reputation did not escape the
breath of scandal; and if the favourite of Barras occasioned, even when
the wife of Napoleon, some frightful fits of jealousy in her husband;
she maintained an exemplary decorum when seated on the consular and
imperial throne, and communicated a degree of elegance to the court of
the Tuileries which could hardly have been expected after the confusion
of ranks and ruin of the old nobility which had preceded her elevation.

Passionately fond of dress, and often blameably extravagant in that
particular, she occasioned no small embarrassment to the treasury by her
expenditure; but this weakness was forgiven in the recollection of its
necessity to compensate the inequality of their years, in the amiable
use which she made of her possessions, the grace of her manner, and the
alacrity with which she was ever ready to exert her influence with her
husband to plead the cause of suffering, or avert the punishment of
innocence. Though little inclined to yield in general to female
persuasion, Napoleon both loved and felt the sway of this amiable
character, and often in his sternest fits he was weaned from violent
measures by her influence. Her influence over him was evinced in the
most conclusive manner by the ascendant which she maintained after their
separation from each other. The divorce, and marriage of Marie Louise,
produced no estrangement between them; in her retirement at Malmaison
she was frequently visited and consulted by the emperor; they
corresponded to the last moment of her life; and the fidelity by which
she adhered to him in his misfortunes won the esteem of his conquerors,
as it must command the respect of all succeeding ages of the world.


[BORN 1764. DIED 1823.]


Born in 1764, died in 1823, this lady was as truly an inventor, a great
and original writer in the department she had struck out for
herself--whether that department was of the highest kind or not--as the
Richardsons, Fieldings, or Smolletts whom she succeeded, and for a time
threw into the shade; or the Ariosto of the North, before whom her own
star has paled its ineffectual fires. The passion of fear, "the latent
sense of supernatural awe and curiosity concerning whatever is hidden
and mysterious"--these were themes and sources of interest which, prior
to the appearance of her tales, could scarcely be said to have been
touched upon. The "Castle of Otranto" was too obviously a mere caprice
of imagination; its gigantic helmets, its pictures descending from their
frames, its spectral figures dilating themselves in the moonlight to the
height of the castle battlements,--if they did not border on the
ludicrous, no more impressed the mind with any feeling of awe than the
enchantments and talismans, the genii and peris, of the "Arabian

A nearer approach to the proper tone of feeling was made in the "Old
English Baron;" but while it must be admitted that Mrs Radcliffe's
principle of composition was to a certain degree anticipated in that
clever production, nothing can illustrate more strongly the superiority
of her powers, the more poetical character of her mind, than a
comparison of the way in which in her different works the principle is
wrought out; the comparative boldness and rudeness of Clara Reeves' mode
of exciting superstitious emotions as contrasted with the profound art,
the multiplied resources, the dexterous display and concealment, the
careful study of that class of emotions on which she was to operate,
which Mrs Radcliffe displays in her supernatural machinery. Certainly
never before or since did any one more accurately perceive the point to
which imagination might be wrought up by a series of hints, glimpses, or
half-heard sounds, consistently at the same time with pleasurable
emotion, and with the continuance of that very state of curiosity and
awe which had been thus excited. The clang of a distant door, a footfall
on the stair, a half-effaced stain of blood, a stream of music floating
over a wood or round some decaying château--nay, a very "rat behind the
arras,"--become, in her hands, invested with a mysterious dignity; so
finely has the mind been attuned to sympathise with the terrors of the
sufferer by a train of minute details and artful contrasts, in which all
sights and sounds combine to awaken and render the feeling more intense.
Yet her art is more visible in what she conceals than in what she
displays. "One shade the more, one ray the less," would have left the
picture in darkness; but to have let in any farther the garish light of
day upon her mysteries, would have shown at once the hollowness and
meanness of the puppet which alarmed us, and have broken the spell
beyond the power of reclasping it. Hence, up to the moment when she
chooses to do so herself by those fatal explanations, for which no
reader will ever forgive her, she never loses her hold on the mind. The
very economy with which she avails herself of the talisman of terror
preserves its power to the last undiminished, if not increased. She
merely hints at some fearful thought, and leaves the excited fancy
surrounded by night and silence to give it colour and form.

Of all the passions, that of fear is the only one which Mrs Radcliffe
can be properly said to have painted. More wearisome beings than her
heroines, and anything "more tolerable and not to be endured" than her
love tales, Calprenede or Scuderi never invented. As little have the
sterner passions of jealousy or hatred, or the dark shades of envious
and malignant feeling, formed the subjects of her analysis. Within the
circle of these passions, indeed, she did not feel that she could walk
with security; but her quick perception showed where there was still an
opening in a region of obscurity and twilight as yet all but untrodden.
To that, as to the sphere pointed out to her by nature, she at once
addressed herself; from that, as from a central point, she surveyed the
provinces of passion and imagination, and was content if, without
venturing into their labyrinths, she could render their leading and more
palpable features available to set off and to brighten, by their
variety, the solemnity and gloom of the department which she had chosen.


[BORN 1767. DIED 1849.]


Miss Edgeworth is the great modern mistress in the useful school of true
philosophy, and has eclipsed, we think, the fame of all her
predecessors. By her many excellent tracts on education, she has
conferred a benefit on the whole mass of the population, and discharged,
with exemplary patience as well as extraordinary judgment, a task which
superficial spirits may perhaps mistake for an humble and easy one. By
her popular tales, she has rendered an invaluable service to the
middling and lower classes of the people; and, by her novels, has made a
great and meritorious effort to promote the happiness and respectability
of the higher classes.

There are two great sources of unhappiness to those whom fortune and
nature seem to have placed above the reach of ordinary miseries. The one
is _ennui_, that stagnation of life and feeling which results from the
absence of all motives to exertion, and by which the justice of
Providence has so fully compensated the partiality of fortune, that it
may be fairly doubted whether upon the whole the race of beggars is not
happier than the race of lords, and whether those vulgar wants that are
sometimes so importunate are not in this world the chief ministers of
enjoyment. This is a plague that infects all indolent persons that can
live on in the rank in which they were born, without the necessity of
working; but in a free country it rarely occurs in any great degree of
virulence, except among those who are already at the summit of human
felicity. Below this there is room for ambition, and envy, and
emulation, and all the feverish movements of aspiring vanity and
unresisting selfishness, which act as prophylactics against this more
dark and deadly distemper. It is the canker which corrodes the
full-blown flower of human felicity--the pestilence which smites at the
bright hour of noon.

The other curse of the happy has a range more wide and indiscriminate.
It, too, tortures only the comparatively rich and fortunate, but is most
active among the least distinguished, and abates in malignity as we
ascend to the lofty regions of pure _ennui_. This is the desire of being
fashionable, the restless and insatiable passion to pass for creatures a
little more distinguished than we really are, with the mortification of
frequent failure, and the humiliating consciousness of being perpetually
exposed to it. Among those who are secure of "meat, clothes, and fire,"
and are thus above the chief evils of existence, we do believe that this
is a more prolific source of unhappiness than guilt, disease, or wounded
affection; and that more positive misery is created, and more true
enjoyment excluded, by the eternal fretting and straining of this
pitiful ambition, than by all the ravages of passion, the desolations of
war, or the accidents of mortality. This may appear a strong statement,
but we make it deliberately, and are deeply convinced of its truth. The
wretchedness which it produces may not be so intense, but it is of much
longer duration, and spreads over a far wider circle. It is quite
dreadful indeed to think what a sweep this pest has taken among the
comforts of our prosperous population. To be thought fashionable--that
is, to be thought more opulent and tasteful, and on a footing of
intimacy with a greater number of distinguished persons than they really
are,--is the great and laborious pursuit of four families out of five,
the members of which are exempted from the necessity of daily industry.

These are the giant curses of fashionable life; and Miss Edgeworth has
accordingly dedicated her two best tales to the delineation of their
symptoms. The history of Lord Glenthorn is a fine picture of _ennui_;
that of Almeria, an instructive representation of the miseries of
aspirations after fashion. The moral use of these narratives, therefore,
must consist in warning us against the first approaches of evils which
can never afterwards be resisted. To some readers her tales may seem to
want the fairy colouring of high fancy and romantic tenderness; and it
is very true that they are not poetical love tales, any more than they
are anecdotes of scandal. We have great respect for the admirers of
Rousseau and Petrarca, and we have no doubt that Miss Edgeworth has
great respect for them; but _the world_, both high and low, which she is
labouring to mend, have no sympathy with this respect. They laugh at
these things, and do not understand them; and, therefore, the solid
sense which she possesses presses perhaps rather too closely upon them,
and, though it permits of relief from wit and direct pathos, really
could not be combined with the more luxuriant ornaments of an ardent and
tender imagination.


[BORN 1768. DIED 1793.]


Amid which dim ferment of Caen and the world, history specially notices
one thing. In the lobby of the Mansion de l'Intendance, where busy
deputies are coming and going, a young lady, with an aged valet, taking
grave, graceful leave of Deputy Barbaroux. She is of stately Norman
figure, in her twenty-fifth year, of beautiful still countenance; her
name is Charlotte Corday, heretofore styled D'Armans, while nobility
still was. Barbaroux has given her a note to Deputy Duperret, him who
once drew his sword in the effervescence. Apparently, she will to Paris
on some errand. "She was a republican before the Revolution, and never
wanted energy." A completeness, a decision is in this fair figure: "by
energy she means the spirit that will prompt one to sacrifice himself
for his country." What if she, this fair young Charlotte, had emerged
from her secluded stillness suddenly like a star; to gleam for a moment,
and in a moment to be extinguished; to be held in memory, so bright
complete was she, through long centuries! Quitting Cimmerian coalitions
without, and the dim-simmering twenty-five millions within, history will
look fixedly at this one fair apparition of a Charlotte Corday; will
note whither Charlotte moves, how the little life burns forth so
radiant, then vanishes, swallowed of the night.

With Barbaroux's note of introduction, and slight stock of luggage, we
see Charlotte on Tuesday, the 9th of July, seated in the Caen diligence,
with a place for Paris. None takes farewell of her, wishes her good
journey; her father will find a line left, signifying that she is gone
to England, that he must pardon her and forget her. The drowsy diligence
lumbers along, amid drowsy talk of politics and praise of the Mountain,
in which she mingles not; all night, all day, and again all night. On
Thursday, not long before noon, we are at the bridge of Neuilly. Here is
Paris, with her thousand black domes--the goal and purpose of thy
journey! Arrived at the Inn de la Providence, in the Rue des Vieux
Augustins, Charlotte demands a room, hastens to bed, sleeps all
afternoon and night, till the morrow morning.

On the morrow morning she delivers her note to Duperret. It relates to
certain family papers which are in the Minister of the Interior's hands,
which a nun at Caen, an old convent-friend of Charlotte's, has need of,
which Duperret shall assist her in getting: this, then, was Charlotte's
errand to Paris? She has finished this in the course of Friday, yet says
nothing of returning. She has seen and silently investigated several
things. The Convention, in bodily reality, she has seen; what the
Mountain is like. The living physiognomy of Marat she could not see; he
is sick at present, and confined to home.

About eight o'clock on the Saturday morning she purchases a large
sheath-knife in the Palais-Royal; then straightway, in the Place de
Victoires, takes a hackney-coach. "To the Rue de l'Ecole de Médicine,
No. 44." It is the residence of the Citoyen Marat! The Citoyen Marat is
ill, and cannot be seen, which seems to disappoint her much. Her
business is with Marat, then? Hapless, beautiful Charlotte--hapless,
squalid Marat! From Caen in the utmost west, from Neuchâtel in the
utmost east, they two are drawing nigh each other; they two have, very
strangely, business together. Charlotte returning to her inn, despatches
a short note to Marat, signifying that she is from Caen; that she
desires earnestly to see him, and "will put it in his power to do France
a great service." No answer. Charlotte writes another note, still more
pressing; sets out with it by coach, about seven in the evening,

It is yellow July evening, we say, the 13th of the month. Marat sits,
about half-past seven of the clock, stewing in slipper-bath, sore,
afflicted, ill of Revolution fever--of what other malady this history
had rather not name. Excessively sick and worn, poor man; with precisely
elevenpence-half-penny in paper; with slipper-bath, strong three-footed
stool for writing on the while, and a squalid--washerwoman, one may call
her; that is his civic establishment in Medical-School Street; thither
and not elsewhither has his road led him. Not to the reign of
brotherhood and perfect felicity; yet surely on the way towards that.
Hark! a rap again! A musical woman's voice, refusing to be rejected: it
is the citoyenne who would do France a service. Marat, recognising from
within, cries--Admit her. Charlotte Corday is admitted.

"Citoyen Marat, I am from Caen, the seat of rebellion, and wished to
speak with you." "Be seated, _mon enfant_. Now what are the traitors
doing at Caen--what deputies are at Caen?" Charlotte names some
deputies. "Their heads shall fall within a fortnight," croaks the eager
people's friend, clutching his tablets to write: _Barbaroux, Pétion_,
writes he, with bare, shrunk arm, turning aside in the bath; _Pétion_
and _Louvet_, and--Charlotte has drawn her knife from the sheath;
plunges it, with one sure stroke, into the writer's heart. "_A moi,
chère amie_--Help, dear!" no more could the death-choked say or shriek.
The helpful washerwoman running in--there is no friend of the people or
friend of the washerwoman left; but his life with a groan gushes out,
indignant, to the shades below.

On Wednesday evening, about half-past seven o'clock, from the gate of
the Conciergerie, to a city all on tiptoe, the fatal cart issues; seated
on it a fair young creature, sheeted in red smock of murderess; so
beautiful, serene, so full of life; journeying towards death--alone amid
the world. The executioners proceed to bind her feet; she resists,
thinking it meant as an insult; on a word of explanation, she submits
with cheerful apology. As the last act, all being now ready, they take
the neckerchief from her neck; a blush of maidenly shame overspreads
that fair face and neck; the cheeks were still tinged with it when the
executioner lifted the severed head, to show it to the people. "It is
most true," says Forster, "that he struck the cheek insultingly, for I
saw it with my eyes."


[BORN 1766. DIED 1817.]


The most powerful writer that her country has produced since the time of
Voltaire and Rousseau, and the greatest writer, of a woman, that any
time or any country has produced. Her taste perhaps is not quite pure,
and her style is too irregular and ambitious. These faults may even go
deeper. Her passion for effect, and the tone of exaggeration which it
naturally produces, have probably interfered occasionally with the
soundness of her judgment, and given a suspicious colouring to some of
her representations of fact. At all events, they have rendered her
impatient of the humbler task of completing her explanatory details, or
stating in their order all the premises of her reasonings. She gives her
history in abstracts, and her theories in aphorisms; and the greater
part of her works, in place of presenting that systematic unity, from
which the highest degrees of strength and beauty and clearness must ever
be derived, may be fairly described as a collection of striking
fragments, in which a great deal of repetition does by no means diminish
the effect of a good deal of inconsistency. In those same works,
however, whether we consider them as fragments or as systems, we do not
hesitate to say that there are more of original and profound
observations, more new images, greater sagacity, combined with higher
imagination, and more of the true philosophy of the passions, the
politics, and the literature of her contemporaries, than in any other
author we can now remember.

She has great eloquence on all subjects, and a singular pathos in
representing those bitterest agonies of the spirit in which wretchedness
is aggravated by remorse, or by regrets that partake of its character.
Though it is difficult to resist her when she is in earnest, we cannot
say that we agree in all her opinions, or approve of all her sentiments.
She overrates the importance of literature, either in determining the
character, or affecting the happiness of mankind; and she theorises too
confidently on its past and its future history. On subjects like this,
we have not yet facts enough for so much philosophy, and must be
contented, we fear for a long time to come, to call many things
accidental which it would be more satisfactory to refer to determinate
causes. In her estimate of the happiness and her notions of the wisdom
of private life, we think her both unfortunate and erroneous. She makes
passions and high sensibilities a great deal too indispensable, and
varnishes over all pictures too uniformly with the glue of an
extravagant or affected enthusiasm. She represents men, in short, as a
great deal more unhappy, more depraved, and more energetic than they
are, and seems to respect them the more for it. In her politics, she is
far more unexceptionable. She is everywhere the warm friend and animated
advocate of liberty, and of liberal, practical, and philanthropic
principles. On these subjects we cannot blame her enthusiasm, which has
nothing in it vindictive or provoking, and are far more inclined to envy
than to reprove that sanguine and buoyant temper of mind which, after
all she has seen and suffered, still leads her to overrate, in our
apprehension, both the merits of past attempts at political
amelioration, and the chances of their success hereafter. It is in that
futurity, we fear, and in the hopes that make it present, that the
lovers of mankind must yet for a while console themselves for the
disappointments which still seem to beset them. If Madame de Staël,
however, predicts with too much confidence, it must be admitted that her
labours have a powerful tendency to realise her predictions. Her
writings are all full of the most animating views of the improvement of
our social condition and the means by which it may be effected, the most
striking refutations of prevailing errors on these great subjects, and
the most persuasive expostulations with those who may think their
interest or their honour concerned in maintaining them. Even they who
are the least inclined to agree with her must admit that there is much
to be learned from her writings; and we can give them no higher praise
than to say that their tendency is not only to promote the interests of
philanthropy and independence, but to soften rather than exasperate the
prejudices to which they are opposed.

With our manners in society she is not quite well pleased, though she is
kind enough to ascribe our deficiencies to the most honourable causes.
In commiserating the comparative dulness of our social talk, however,
has not this philosophic observer a little overlooked the effects of
national tastes and habits? and is it not conceivable at least that we
who are used to it may really have as much satisfaction in our own
hum-drum way of seeing each other, as our more sprightly neighbours in
their exquisite assemblies?


[BORN 1772. DIED 1857.]


This hard-fated woman was very young and newly married when she was
thrown, by the adverse circumstances of the time, into the very heart of
those deplorable contests [the war in La Vendée, during the first and
maddest years of the French Republic]; and without pretending to any
other information than she could draw from her own experience, and
scarcely presuming to pass any judgment upon the merits or demerits of
the cause, she has made up her memoirs of a clear and dramatic
description of acts in which she was a sharer, or scenes of which she
was an eye-witness, and of the characters and histories of the many
distinguished individuals who partook with her of their glories and
sufferings. The irregular and undisciplined wars which it was her
business to describe were naturally far more prolific of extraordinary
incidents, unexpected turns of fortune, and striking displays of
individual talent, and vice and virtue, than the more solemn movements
of national hostility, where everything is in a great measure provided
and foreseen, and where the inflexible subordination of rank, and the
severe exactions of a limited duty, not only take away the inducement,
but the opportunity, for those exaltations of personal feeling and
adventure which produce the most lively interest, and lead to the most
animating results.

This lady had some right, in truth, to be delicate and royalist beyond
the ordinary standard. Her father, the Marquis de Donnison, had an
employment about the person of the king, in virtue of which he had
apartments in the Palace of Versailles, in which splendid abode Madame
de la Rochejaquelein was born, and continued constantly to reside in the
very focus of royal influence and glory till the whole of its
unfortunate inhabitants were compelled to leave it by the fury of that
mob which escorted them to Paris in 1789. She had, like most French
ladies of distinction, been destined from her infancy to be the wife of
M. de Lescure, a near relation of her mother, and the representative of
the ancient and noble family of Salgues in Poitou.

The picture of the war [in which Madame de la Rochejaquelein figured so
prominently, and in which she lost her young husband] is shaded with
deep horrors. The convention issued the barbarous decree that the
country [La Vendée], which still continued its resistance, should be
desolated, that the whole inhabitants should be exterminated without
distinction of age or sex, the habitations consumed with fire, and the
trees cut down by the axe. A multitude of sanguinary conflicts ensued,
and the insurgents succeeded in resisting this desolating invasion.
Among the slain in one of those engagements the republicans found the
body of a young woman, which, Madame de la Rochejaquelein informs us,
gave occasion to a number of idle reports, many giving it out that it
was she herself, or a sister of M. de la Rochejaquelein, who had no
sister, or a new Joan of Arc, who had kept up the spirit of the
peasantry by her enthusiastic predictions. The truth was, that it was
the body of an innocent peasant who had always lived a remarkably quiet
and pious life till recently before this action, when she had been
seized with an irresistible desire to take a part in the conflict. [She
deserved to be "a woman of history," but her name has not been
preserved.] She had discovered herself some time before to Madame de la
Rochejaquelein, and begged of her a shift of a peculiar fabric. The
night before the battle, she also revealed herself to M. de la
Rochejaquelein, asking him to give her a pair of shoes, and promising to
behave in such a manner in the morrow's fight that he would never think
of parting with her. Accordingly, she kept near his person through the
whole of the battle, and conducted herself with the most heroic bravery.
Two or three times, in the very heat of the fight, she said to him: "No,
mon general, you shall not get before me; I shall always be closer up to
the enemy even than you." Early in the day she was hurt pretty severely
in the hand, but held it up, laughing, to her general, and said, "It is
nothing at all." In the end of the battle, she was surrounded in a
charge, and fell fighting like a desperado. There were about ten other
women who took up arms, Madame de la Rochejaquelein says, in this cause:
two sisters under fifteen, and a tall beauty who wore the dress of an

At the end, after the loss of her husband, Madame de la Rochejaquelein
was told that it was impossible to resist the attack that was to be made
next day, and was advised to seek her safety in flight and disguise,
without the loss of an instant. She set out accordingly with her mother,
on a gloomy day in December, under the conduct of a drunken peasant;
and, after being out most of the night, at length obtained shelter in a
dirty farm-house, from which, in the course of the day, she had the
misery of seeing her unfortunate countrymen scattered over the whole
open country, chased and butchered without mercy by the republicans, who
now took a final vengeance for all the losses they had sustained. She
had long been clothed in shreds and patches, and needed no disguise to
conceal her quality. She was sometimes hidden in the mill when the
troopers came to search for fugitives in her lonely retreat, and often
sent in the midst of winter to herd the sheep or cattle of her faithful
and compassionate host, along with his raw-boned daughter.

While skulking about in this state of peril and desolation, they had
glimpses and occasional rencounters with some of their former
companions, whom similar misfortunes had driven upon similar schemes of
concealment. In this wretched condition, the time of Madame de la
Rochejaquelein's confinement drew on; and after a thousand frights and
disasters, she was delivered of two daughters, one of whom died within a
fortnight. The result at length was, that Madame de la Rochejaquelein,
after several struggles with pride and principle, was prevailed to
repair to Nantes, to avail herself of an amnesty.


[BORN 1777. DIED 1849.]


The daughter of Monsieur Bernard, a notary of Lyons, born in 1777, and
married at fifteen to Monsieur Récamier, a wealthy banker of
forty-three. She was a beauty, and she knew it; the idol of that gay,
irresistible French society which knows so well how to repay the
devotion of its votaries; the theme of song, the goddess of _la beau
monde_; very capable of love, but denied its natural exercise as wife
and mother. If her path then ran among the flowers, not the less did she
skirt the brink of the precipice; and her friends' advice and counsel
were often needed and always welcome. She did not disdain the flatteries
of her admirers; often she encouraged them to an extent that in England
would have been considered criminal; but from the testimony of impartial
witnesses, it seems clear that she never overstepped the bounds of
virtue. She was the only woman, said Charles James Fox, "who united the
attractions of pleasure to those of modesty;" but a woman who is always
travelling on the verge of danger needs such a friend as Matthieu de
Montmorency to counsel her in time.

Fox was in Paris in 1802 when Madame Récamier was at the zenith of her
reputation. He almost divided with her the allegiance of the gay world.
The Parisian beaux imitated his costume, and the Parisian shop-windows
were crowded with his portraits. Between the statesman and the beauty so
close an intimacy was established that scandal made busy with it. She
called upon him one day to accompany her in a drive along the
Boulevards. "Before you came," said she, "I was the fashion; it is a
point of honour, therefore, that I should not seem jealous of you." When
sitting with her in her box at the opera, a copy of an ode was placed in
the hands of each, in which Fox was panegyrised as Jupiter, and Madame
Récamier as Venus.

The failure of Monsieur Récamier in 1806 affected her health, and she
went to spend the summer months of 1807 with Madame de Staël at Coppet.
Among the illustrious residents at Geneva at the time was Prince
Augustus of Prussia, a nephew of Frederick the Great, and a handsome
young man of twenty-four. He fell violently in love with the Parisian
beauty, who was by no means indifferent to the passion he openly
displayed. He offered her his hand if she could obtain a divorce from
her husband, whom half Paris [according to an old scandal] declared to
be her father. Madame was not unwilling to be a princess, and she wrote
to her husband proposing a divorce. Monsieur Récamier, in reply,
expressed his willingness, but at the same time appealed to her better
feelings. Years afterwards the love-suit dropped, and the prince,
instead of a wife, received her portrait. Other lovers followed, and her
career came near its close. In 1849 the cholera broke out in Paris.
Madame Récamier was not afraid of dying, but she shrunk from death in so
terrible a form. To avoid its ravages she removed to the Bibliothèque
Nationale, but she could not escape from fate. On the 10th of May she
was seized with the premonitory symptoms; on the 11th she was a corpse.
She had completed nearly two-and-seventy years when she was removed from
life by a death which of all others she most dreaded.

In her time she played a conspicuous part; was constantly upon the gay
and glittering stage; the audience applauded her loudly, and illustrious
hands flung at her garlands and bouquets. Now that the applause has died
out, now that the lamps burn dimly, now that the silent stage is given
up to shadows, we wonder what there was in her acting to secure her so
wide a fame. We look in vain for a flash of genius, for a burst of noble
emotion. Vain, greedy of admiration, an errant coquette, a somewhat
frivolous intruder on the threshold of criminal passion,--what was she
more? A beauty? Yes, but could beauty alone have secured her so wide a
repute among her contemporaries? She did not even converse brilliantly,
like a Du Deffand or a De Staël. She did not write charming epistles,
like a De Sévigné, and yet she was assiduously courted by famous wits
and accomplished men of letters. Partly we may suppose her celebrity to
have arisen from her profession of liberal principles under the stern
_régime_ of a Bonaparte; partly it was owing to the tact with which she
drew out the best qualities, and flattered the _amour propre_ of her


[BORN 1778. DIED 1818.]


Mary Brunton, [authoress of the novels "Self-Control" and "Discipline,"
was the only daughter of Colonel Thomas Balfour of Elwick, and of
Frances Ligonier, only daughter of Colonel Francis Ligonier, the brother
of Field-Marshal the Earl of Ligonier. From her sixteenth year (although
her mother is spoken of as still alive at a much later date), it is
stated that the entire charge of her father's household devolved upon
her, and left her very little time for anything else. Thus matters
continued till she was nearly twenty. Meanwhile her future husband, Dr
Brunton, and she had met, when or where we are not informed.] Dr Brunton
merely says: "About this time, Viscountess Wentworth, who had formerly
been the wife of Mrs Balfour's brother, the second Earl Ligonier,
proposed that Mary, her god-daughter, should reside with her in London.
What influence this alteration might have had on her after-life is left
to be matter of conjecture. She preferred the quiet and privacy of a
Scotch parsonage. We were married in her twentieth year, and went to
reside at Bolton, near Haddington."

[A love of reading had been an early passion with her, but in her
childhood it had spent itself mostly in poetry and fiction; and her
want of leisure afterwards had withdrawn her to a great extent even from
literature of that description.] "Her time," Dr Brunton continues, "was
now much more at her own command. Her taste for reading returned in all
its strength, and received rather a more methodical direction. Some
hours of every forenoon were devoted by her to this employment; and in
the evenings I was in the habit of reading aloud to her books chiefly of
criticism and _belles lettres_. Among other subjects of her attention,
the philosophy of the human mind became a favourite study with her, and
she read Dr Reid's works with uncommon pleasure." After their removal to
Edinburgh, their circle increased. "She mingled more with those whose
talents and acquirements she had respected at a distance.... She had
often urged me to undertake some literary work, and once she appealed to
an intimate friend who was present whether he would not be my publisher.
He consented readily, but added that he would at least as willingly
publish a book of her own writing. This seemed at the time to strike her
as something the possibility of which had never occurred to her before,
and she asked more than once whether he was in earnest. A considerable
part of the first volume of 'Self Control' was written before I knew
anything of its existence. When she brought it to me, my pleasure was
mingled with surprise. The beauty and correctness of the style, the
acuteness of observation, and the loftiness of sentiment, were, each of
them in its way, beyond what even I was prepared to expect from her."

[The work was published in two large volumes, which were afterwards
distributed into three post octavos in January or early in February 1811
anonymously, and after considerable precautions had been taken to
preserve the secret of the authorship, which actually was, we are told,
for a little time so well kept that she had frequent opportunities of
hearing her work commented on.

Mrs Brunton commenced a new novel, "Discipline;" but before it was
completed "Waverley" appeared. It came into her hands, her husband says,
while she was in the country, and when she had heard nothing of its
reputation; but she at once discerned its high merit, and was so
fascinated by it, that she could not go to bed till she had read it
through. It happened that a scene of a part of her own work too was laid
in the Highlands, about which a universal interest had been for some
years before this awakened by Scott's "Lady of the Lake," and other
poems; and her first impulse was to cancel the Highland portion of her
story altogether; but to this sacrifice her husband strongly objected.
Writing to one of her female friends in December, a few days before her
new work was to appear, she says: "It is very unfortunate in coming
after 'Waverley,' by far the most splendid exhibition of talent in
novel-writing which has appeared since the days of Fielding and
Smollett. There seems little doubt that it comes from the pen of Scott.
What a competitor for poor little me!" When "Discipline" at length came
out, however, its success was far greater than she anticipated. "But she
was by no means gratified by it," we are told, "to the same extent she
had been by the reception of 'Self-Control.' She was now well known to
be the author, and therefore she was not so sure that the applause which
reached her was all sincere." The silence of the _Edinburgh_ and
_Quarterly Reviews_, too, annoyed and discouraged her.

All this indisposed her to attempt a third novel. Yet she commenced some
other works, in which she proceeded slowly. But the end of all was at
hand. After being married for twenty years, she had at last the
prospect of becoming a mother. Her husband's interesting narrative
proceeds:] "She was strongly impressed, indeed, with the belief that her
confinement was to prove fatal, not in vague presentiment, but on
grounds of which I could not entirely remove the force, though I
obstinately refused to join in the inference which she drew from them.
Under this belief, she completed every, the most minute, preparation for
her great change, with the same tranquillity as if she had been making
arrangements for one of those short absences which only endeared her
home the more to her. The clothes with which she was laid in her grave
had been selected by herself; she herself had chosen and labelled some
tokens of remembrance for her more intimate friends; and the intimations
of her death were sent round from a list in her own handwriting. But
these anticipations, though so deeply fixed, neither shook her fortitude
nor diminished her cheerfulness. They neither altered her wish to live,
nor the ardour with which she prepared to meet the duties of returning
health, if returning health were to be her portion. After giving birth
to a still-born son on the 7th December, and recovering for a few days
with a rapidity beyond the hopes of her medical friends, she was
attacked with fever. It advanced with fatal violence, till it closed her
earthly life on the morning of Saturday, December 19, 1818."


[BORN 1794. DIED 1835.]


The business of women being with actual or social life, and the colours
it receives from the conduct and dispositions of individuals, they
unconsciously acquire, at a very early age, the finest perception of
characters and manners, and are almost as soon instinctively schooled in
the deep and dangerous learning of feeling and emotion; while the very
minuteness with which they make and meditate on these interesting
observations, and the finer shades and variations of sentiment which are
thus treasured and recorded, trains their whole faculties to a nicety
and precision of operation which often discloses itself to advantage in
their application to studies of a different character. When women
accordingly have turned their minds, as they have done but too seldom,
to the exposition or arrangement of any branch of knowledge, they have
commonly exhibited, we think, a more beautiful accuracy, and a more
uniform and complete justness of thinking, than their less
discriminating brethren. There is a finish and completeness, in short,
about everything they put out of their hands, which indicates not only
an inherent taste for elegance and neatness, but a habit of nice
observation, and singular exactness of judgment.

We have not as yet much female poetry. That of Mrs Hemans is a fine
exemplification. It may not be the best imaginable poetry, and may not
indicate the very highest or most commanding genius; but it embraces a
great deal of that which gives the very best poetry its chief power of
pleasing, and would strike us perhaps as more impassioned and exalted,
if it were not regulated and harmonised by the most beautiful taste. It
is singularly sweet, elegant, and tender; touching, perhaps, and
contemplative, rather than vehement and overpowering; and not only
finished throughout with an exquisite delicacy and even severity of
execution, but informed with a purity and loftiness of feeling, and a
certain sober and humble tone of indulgence and piety, which must
satisfy all judgments, and allay the apprehensions of those who are most
afraid of the passionate exaggerations of poetry. Almost all her poems
are rich with fine descriptions, and studded over with images of visible
beauty. But these are never idle ornaments; all her pomps have a
meaning, and her flowers and her gems are arranged, as they are said to
be among Eastern lovers, so as to speak the language of truth or of
passion. This is peculiarly remarkable in some little pieces, which seem
at first sight to be purely descriptive, but are soon found to tell upon
the heart with a deep, moral, and pathetic impression. But it is in
truth nearly as conspicuous in the greater part of her productions,
where we scarcely meet with any striking sentiment that is not ushered
in by some such symphony of external nature, and scarcely a lovely
picture that does not serve as an appropriate foreground to some deep or
lofty emotion.


[BORN 1786. DIED 1826.]


They were happy who [in the siege of Saragossa] expired amidst that
scene of unutterable woe. Yet even they bequeathed with their last
breath to the survivors the most solemn injunctions to continue to the
last the unparalleled struggle; and from the dens of the living and the
dead issued daily crowds of warriors, attenuated indeed and livid, but
who maintained with unconquerable resolution a desperate resistance. But
human nature, even in its most exalted mood, cannot go beyond a certain
point. Saragossa was about to fall; but, like Numantia and Saguntum, she
was to leave a name immortal in the annals of mankind.

Such was the heroic spirit which animated the inhabitants, that it
inspired even the softer sex to deeds of valour. Amongst these,
Augustina Zaragoza was peculiarly distinguished. She had served with
unshaken courage a cannon near the gate of Portillo, at the former
siege, and she again took her station there when the enemy returned.
"See, General," said she to Palafox, when he visited that quarter, "I am
again with my old friend." Her husband being struck with a cannon-ball
as he served the battery, she calmly stepped into his place, and pointed
the gun as he lay bleeding at her side. Frequently she was to be seen
at the head of an assaulting party, wrapped in her cloak, sword in hand,
cheering on the soldiers to the discharge of their duty. She was at
length taken prisoner; but being taken dangerously ill, and carried to
the French hospital, she contrived to escape. A female corps was formed
to carry provisions and water to the combatants, and remove the wounded,
at the head of which was Donna Benita, a lady of rank. Several hundred
women and children perished during the siege, not by bombs or
cannon-shot, but in actual combat.


[BORN 1816. DIED 1855.]


The authoress of "Jane Eyre" and other works is, as she calls herself
[August 1850], undeveloped then, and more than half a head shorter than
I am. Soft brown hair, not very dark; eyes very good and expressive,
looking straight and open at you, of the same colour as her hair; a
large mouth; the forehead square, broad, and rather overhanging. She has
a very sweet voice; rather hesitates in choosing her expressions, but
when chosen they seem without an effort admirable, and just befitting
the occasion; there is nothing overstrained, but perfectly simple. Her
nerves were severely taxed by the effort of going among strangers. On
one occasion, though the number of the party could not exceed twelve,
she suffered the whole day from acute headache, brought on by
apprehension of the evening.

It was now [1853] two or three years since I had witnessed a similar
effect produced on her, in anticipation of a quiet evening at a friend's
home; and since then she had seen many and various people in London; but
the physical sensations produced by shyness were still the same, and on
the following day she laboured under severe headache. I had several
opportunities of perceiving how this nervousness was ingrained in her
constitution, and how acutely she suffered in trying to overcome it. One
evening we had, among other guests, two sisters who sung Scotch ballads
exquisitely. Miss Brontë had been sitting quiet and constrained, till
they began "The Bonnie House of Airlie;" but the effect of that, and
"Carlyle Yetts" which followed, was as irresistible as the playing of
the piper of Hamelin. The beautiful clear light came into her eyes; her
lips quivered with emotion; she forgot herself, rose and crossed the
room to the piano, where she asked eagerly for song after song. The
sisters begged her to come and see them next morning, when they would
sing as long as ever she liked, and she promised gladly and thankfully.
But on reaching the house her courage failed. We walked some time up and
down the street, she upbraiding herself all the while for her folly, and
trying to dwell on the sweet echoes in her memory, rather than on the
thought of a third sister who would have to be faced if we went in. But
it was of no use; and dreading lest this struggle with herself might
bring on one of her trying headaches, I entered at last, and made the
best apology I could for her non-appearance.

Much of this nervous dread of encountering strangers I ascribed to the
idea of her personal ugliness, which had been strongly impressed upon
her imagination early in life, and which she exaggerated to herself in a
remarkable manner. "I notice," said she, "that after a stranger has once
looked at my face, he is careful not to let his eyes wander to that part
of the room again." A more untrue idea never entered into any one's
head. Two gentlemen who saw her during this visit, without knowing at
the time who she was, were singularly attracted by her appearance; and
this feeling of attraction towards a pleasant countenance, sweet voice,
and gentle, timid manners, was so strong in one as to conquer a dislike
he had previously entertained to her works.

There was another circumstance that came to my knowledge at this period,
which told secrets about the finely-strung frame. One night I was on the
point of narrating some dismal ghost-story, just before bed-time. She
shrank from hearing it, and confessed she was superstitious, and prone
at all times to the involuntary recurrence of any thoughts of ominous
gloom which might have been suggested to her. She said that in first
coming to us, she had found a letter on her dressing-table from a friend
in Yorkshire, containing a story which had impressed her vividly ever
since; that it mingled with her dreams at night, and made her sleep
restless and unrefreshing.

[There was a peculiarity about Charlotte Brontë's death.] Not long after
her marriage with the Rev. Mr Nicholls, she was attacked by new
sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness. "A wren
would have starved on what she ate during these last six weeks." Long
days and long nights went by; still the same relentless nausea and
faintness, and still borne on in patient trust. About the third week in
March [1856], there was a change; a low wandering delirium came on, and
in it she begged constantly for food, and even for stimulants; she
swallowed eagerly now, but it was too late. Wakening for an instant from
this stupor of intelligence, she saw her husband's woe-worn face, and
caught the sound of some murmured words of prayer that God would spare
her. "Oh," she whispered forth, "I am not going to die, am I? He will
not separate us, we have been so happy." Early on Saturday morning,
March 31, the solemn tolling of Haworth Church bell spoke forth the
fact of her death to the villagers who had known her from a child, and
whose hearts shivered within them as they thought of the two sitting
together [the father and husband] in the old grey house.

      FROM THE
      Catalogue of Books


Selections from


(_New Bindings, in Colours._)

In crown 8vo, with Steel Frontispiece and Vignette, handsomely bound,
cloth extra, price 5s. each; also in full gilt side, back, and edges,
price 6s. each.

      1. The English Circumnavigators: The most remarkable
      Voyages round the World by English Sailors. (Drake,
      Dampier, Anson, and Cook's Voyages.) With a Preliminary
      Sketch of their Lives and Discoveries. Edited, with Notes,
      Maps, etc., by DAVID LAING PURVES and R. COCHRANE.

      2. The Book of Adventure and Peril: A Record of Heroism and
      Endurance on Sea and Land. Compiled and Edited by CHARLES
      BRUCE, Editor of 'Sea Songs and Ballads.' Illustrated.

      3. The Great Triumphs of Great Men. Edited by JAMES MASON.

      4. Great Historical Mutinies, comprising the Story of the
      Mutiny of the 'Bounty,' the Mutiny at Spithead, the Mutiny
      at the Nore, Mutinies in Highland Regiments, and the Indian
      Mutiny. By DAVID HERBERT, M.A.

      5. Famous Historical Scenes from Three Centuries. Pictures
      of Celebrated Events from the Reformation to the end of the
      French Revolution. Selected from the works of Standard
      Authors by A. R. HOPE MONCRIEFF.

      6. The English Explorers; comprising details of the more
      famous Travels by Mandeville, Bruce, Park, and Livingstone.
      With Map, and Chapter on Arctic Exploration.

      7. The Book for Every Day; containing an Inexhaustible
      Store of Amusing and Instructive Articles. Edited by JAMES

      8. The Book of Noble Englishwomen: Lives made Illustrious
      by Heroism, Goodness, and Great Attainments. Edited by

      9. A Hundred Wonders of the World in Nature and Art,
      described according to the latest Authorities, and
      profusely Illustrated. Edited by JOHN SMALL, M.A.

      10. A Book about Travelling, Past and Present. Profusely
      Illustrated. Edited by THOMAS A. CROAL.

      11. Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative of his Shipwreck and
      Discovery of certain Islands in the Caribbean Sea. With a
      detail of many extraordinary and highly interesting events
      in his life, from the year 1733 to 1749. By JANE PORTER,
      Author of the 'Scottish Chiefs,' etc.

      12. The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties. By GEORGE

      13. The Mothers of Great Men. By Mrs. Ellis, Author of 'The
      Women of England,' etc. Illustrated by VALENTINE W.

W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell's Catalogue.


New and Enlarged Editions in Coloured Inks.

_Full crown 8vo, gilt edges, Illustrated._

      1. Wallace, the Hero of Scotland: A Biography. By JAMES

      2. Life of the Duke of Wellington. By W. H. MAXWELL, Author
      of 'Stories of Waterloo,' etc. Revised and abridged from
      the larger work.

      3. Life of Napoleon Buonaparte. By JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART,
      Author of 'Life of Sir Walter Scott,' etc. Revised and
      abridged from the larger work.

      4. The Life of Nelson. By ROBERT SOUTHEY, LL.D. With
      Biography of the Author.

      5. The Life of Peter the Great. By Sir JOHN BARROW, F.R.S.,
      etc.; Author of 'The Mutiny of the Bounty,' etc.

      6. Mungo Park's Life and Travels. With a Supplementary
      Chapter, detailing the results of recent Discovery in

      7. Men of History. By Eminent Writers. Views of the world's
      great men, in the best words of the best authors.

      8. Benjamin Franklin: A Biography. From the celebrated
      'Life' by JARED SPARKS, and the more recent and extensive
      'Life and Times' by JAMES PARTON.

      9. Stories about Boys. By ASCOTT R. HOPE, Author of
      'Stories of School Life,' 'My Schoolboy Friends,' etc.

      10. Stories of Whitminster. By ASCOTT R. HOPE.

      11. Wild Animals and Birds: Curious and Instructive Stories
      about their Habits and Sagacity.

      12. Almost Faultless: A Story of the Present Day. By the
      Author of 'A Book for Governesses.'

      13. Violet Rivers; or, Loyal to Duty. A Tale for Girls. By
      WINIFRED TAYLOR, Author of 'Story of Two Lives,' etc.

      14. Women of History. By Eminent Writers.

      15. Christian Osborne's Friends. By Mrs. HARRIET MILLER
      DAVIDSON, Author of 'Isobel Jardine's History.'

      16. Silverton Court. A Tale. By Winifred Taylor.

      17. Naomi; or, The Last Day of Jerusalem. By Mrs. J. B.
      WEBB, Author of 'The Child's Commentary on St. Luke,' etc.

      18. Severn-side. The Story of a Friendship. By EDITH E.

Selections from


_New Half-Crown Series of Stories_


_In full crown 8vo, Illustrated, bound in cloth extra, gold and colours,
gilt edges._

      1. Schoolboy Stories. By ASCOTT R. HOPE, Author of 'Stories
      out of Schooltime,' 'Stories of Whitminster,' 'A Handful of
      Stories,' etc.

      2. Stirring Adventure in African Travel. Great Explorers--Hunting
      Exploits--Shipwreck--Captivity--Bombardment. By CHARLES
      BRUCE, Author of 'The Book of Adventure and Peril,' etc.

      3. Graphic Scenes in African Story. Settlers--Slavery--Missions
      and Missionaries--Battlefields. By CHARLES BRUCE, Author of 'How
      Frank began to Climb the Ladder,' etc.

      4. John Lawrence: 'Saviour of India.' The Story of his
      Life. By CHARLES BRUCE, Author of 'Stirring Adventure in
      African Travel,' etc.

      5. The Highways of Literature; or, What to Read and How to
      Read. By DAVID PRYDE, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S.E., F.S.A. Scot.

_In full crown 8vo, cloth extra, Illustrated, 2s. 6d._

      1. Naomi; or, The Last Days of Jerusalem. By Mrs. J. B.
      WEBB, Author of 'The Child's Commentary on St. Luke,' 'The
      Woods of Durand,' etc.

      2. Ulric Zwingle; or, Zurich and its Reformer. The Story of
      a Noble Life. By the Author of 'The Spanish Inquisition.'

      3. The Spanish Inquisition: Its Heroes and Martyrs. By
      JANET GORDON, Author of 'Champions of the Reformation.'

      4. Heroes of Ancient Greece: A Story of the days of
      Socrates the Athenian. By HELEN PALMER, Author of
      'Fishermen of Galilee,' 'The Standard-Bearer,' etc.

W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell's Catalogue.


_In crown 8vo, cloth extra, price 2s. each; gilt edges, 2s. 6d._

      1. Travels and Discoveries in Abyssinia by JAMES BRUCE.

      2. The Life and Travels of Mungo Park. With Supplementary
      Details of the Results of Recent Discovery in Africa.

      3. A Voyage Round the World by SIR FRANCIS DRAKE and
      WILLIAM DAMPIER, according to the Text of the Original
      Narratives. Edited, with Notes, by D. LAING PURVES.

      4. A Voyage Round the World in the Years 1740-44 by GEORGE
      ANSON. Edited, from the Original Narrative, with Notes, by

      5. Voyages Round the World by CAPTAIN JAMES COOK. Edited,
      with Notes, etc., by D. LAING PURVES.

      6. The Story of the Good Ship 'Bounty' and her Mutineers.
      Mutinies in Highland Regiments.

      7. The Story of the Indian Mutiny (1857-58).

      8. Feats on the Fiord. A Tale of Norway. By HARRIET


_Uniform in size and price with above. Each Volume having a suitable
Portrait as Frontispiece._

      1. Risen by Perseverance: Lives of Self-Made Men.

      2. Heroes of Invention and Discovery.

      3. Lives and Discoveries of Famous Travellers.

      4. Great Achievements of Military Men, Statesmen, and others.

      5. Eminent Philanthropists, Patriots, and Reformers.

      6. Gallery of Notable Men and Women.

      7. Earnest Lives: Biographies of Remarkable Men and Women.

      8. Teachers and Preachers of Recent Times.

      9. Great Orators, Statesmen, and Divines.

      10. Kings without Crowns; or, Lives of American Presidents.
      With a Sketch of the American Constitution. By CHARLES H.

      11. Lessons from Women's Lives. By SARAH J. HALE.

The above Series of Books have been specially prepared in order to meet
the rapidly increasing demand for instructive and wholesome literature
of permanent value. They are admirably adapted for School Prizes, Gift
Books, etc. etc.

Selections from




_Crown 8vo, Illustrated, elegantly bound in cloth extra, bevelled
boards, price 2s. each._

      1. The Blade and the Ear. A Book for Young Men.

      2. The Young Men of the Bible. A Series of Papers,
      Biographical and Suggestive. By Rev. JOSEPH A. COLLIER.

      3. The King's Highway; or, Illustrations of the
      Commandments. By the Rev. RICHARD NEWTON, D.D., Author of
      'The Best Things,' etc.

      4. Nature's Wonders. By the Rev. RICHARD NEWTON, D.D.,
      Author of 'The King's Highway,' etc.

      5. Guiding Lights: Lives of the Great and Good. By F. E.
      COOKE, Author of 'Footprints.'

      6. Heroes of Charity: Records from the Lives of Merciful
      Men whose Righteousness has not been Forgotten. By JAMES F.
      COBB, F.R.G.S., Author of 'Stories of Success,' etc.

      7. Mountain Patriots. A Tale of the Reformation in Savoy.
      By Mrs. A. S. ORR.

      8. Village Tales and Sketches. By MARY RUSSELL MITFORD,
      Author of 'Our Village,' etc. etc.

      9. The Standard-Bearer. A Tale of the Times of Constantine
      the Great. By ELLEN PALMER.

      10. Stories told in a Fisherman's Cottage. By ELLEN PALMER,
      Author of 'The Standard-Bearer,' etc. etc.

      11. Diversions of Hollycot; or, The Mother's Art of
      Thinking. By Mrs. JOHNSTONE, Author of 'Nights of the Round
      Table,' 'Clan Albin,' etc.

      12. Philip Walton; or, Light at Last. By the Author of
      'Meta Franz,' etc.

      13. Picture Lessons by the Divine Teacher; or,
      Illustrations of the Parables of our Lord. By PETER GRANT,

      14. Taken Up. A Tale for Boys and Girls. By Alfred WHYMPER.

      15. Champions of the Reformation. Stories of their Lives.

W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell's Catalogue.



_Crown 8vo, Illustrated, elegantly bound in cloth extra, gold and
colours, bevelled boards, price 2s. each._

      1. The Hermit's Apprentice. By ASCOTT R. HOPE.

      2. The Far North: Explorations in the Arctic Regions. By

      3. Monarchs of Ocean: Columbus and Cook.

      4. Noble Mottoes of Great Families. By CHARLES BRUCE,
      Author of 'Lame Felix,' etc.

      5. The Castaway's Home; or, The Story of the Sailing and
      Sinking of the Good Ship 'Rose.' By Mrs. HARDY.

      6. Great Men of European History, from the Christian Era
      till the Present Time. By DAVID PRYDE, LL.D.

      7. Afloat and Ashore with Sir Walter Raleigh. By Mrs.
      HARDY, Author of 'Champions of the Reformation,' etc.

      8. Lame Felix. A Book for Boys. By CHARLES BRUCE.

      9. Life at Hartwell; or, Frank and his Friends. By
      KATHARINE E. MAY, Author of 'Alfred and his Mother,' etc.

      10. Max Wild, the Merchant's Son; and other Stories for the

      11. Up North; or, Lost and Found in Russia and the Arctic
      Wastes. By Mrs. HARDY.

      12. Angelo and Stella. A Story of Italian Fisher Life. By
      the Rev. GERALD S. DAVIES.

      13. Seeing the World. A Young Sailor's own Story. By

      14. The Miner's Son and Margaret Vernon. By M. M. POLLARD,
      Author of 'The Minister's Daughter.'

      15. How Frank began to Climb the Ladder. By CHARLES BRUCE,
      Author of 'Lame Felix,' etc.

      16. The History of Two Wanderers; or, Cast Adrift.

      17. Memorable Wars of Scotland. By PATRICK FRASER TYTLER,

W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell's Catalogue.


_Two Shilling Library for Girls_.

_Small crown 8vo, Illustrated, elegantly bound in new style, cloth
extra, price 2s. each._

      1. Life's Crosses, and How to Meet Them. Tales for Girls.
      By T. S. ARTHUR.

      2. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters, etc. A Book for
      Young Women. By Dr. GREGORY.

      3. Labours of Love: A Tale for the Young. By WINIFRED

      4. Mossdale: A Tale for the Young. By ANNA M. DE IONGH.

      5. Jacqueline. A Story of the Reformation in Holland. By

      6. The Minister's Daughter, and Old Anthony's Will. Tales
      for the Young. By M. M. POLLARD.

      7. The Two Sisters. By M. M. POLLARD.

      8. A Needle and Thread: A Tale for Girls. By EMMA J.
      BARNES, Author of 'Faithful and True; or, The Mother's

      9. Nonna: A Story of the Days of Julian the Apostate. By

      10. An Earl's Daughter. A Story for the Young. By M. M.
      POLLARD, Author of 'The Two Sisters,' etc. etc.

      11. Doing and Dreaming. A Tale for the Young. By EDWARD

      12. Vain Ambition; or, Only a Girl. By EMMA DAVENPORT,
      Author of 'Our Birthdays,' etc.

      13. The Cottagers of Glenburnie. A Scottish Tale. By

      14. My New Home: A Woman's Diary.

      15. Home Heroines. Tales for Girls. By T. S. ARTHUR.

      16. The Roseville Family. By Mrs. A. S. ORR.

      17. Leah. A Tale of Ancient Palestine. By Mrs. A. S. ORR.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Women of History - Selected from the Writings of Standard Authors" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.