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Title: Knole and the Sackvilles
Author: Sackville-West, V. (Victoria)
Language: English
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                       KNOLE _and the_ SACKVILLES


[Illustration:

  _John Frederick Sackville, 3^{rd}. Duke of Dorset K.G._

  _From the portrait at Knole by Gainsborough._
]



                                 KNOLE
                                 _and_
                             THE SACKVILLES


                                   by

                           V. SACKVILLE-WEST


                                 LONDON
                           WILLIAM HEINEMANN
                                  1922



                          CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE


  1456  KNOLE _bought by_ Archbishop BOURCHIER

  1486  _Death of Bourchier. Succeeded by_ Cardinal MORTON

  1500  _Death of Morton. Succeeded by_ HENRY DEAN

  1502  _Death of Dean. Succeeded by_ WAREHAM

  1532  _Death of Wareham. Succeeded by_ CRANMER

  1539  KNOLE _given by Cranmer to_ HENRY VIII

  1546  _Death of Henry VIII. Succeeded by_ EDWARD VI

  1550  KNOLE _granted by Edward VI to_ JOHN DUDLEY, Earl of Warwick

  1552  KNOLE _resold by Warwick to_ EDWARD VI

  1553  _Death of Edward VI. Succeeded by_ QUEEN MARY

        KNOLE _granted by the Queen to_ REGINALD POLE

  1558  _Death of Mary. Succeeded by_ QUEEN ELIZABETH

  1586  KNOLE _granted to_ THOMAS SACKVILLE _by Elizabeth_


    Thos. Sackville, _Lord Buckhurst_, 1st EARL _of_ DORSET 1536–1608

  1554  _Married_ CECILIE BAKER

  1557  _Member of Parliament_
  1563

  1563  _Travelling abroad_

  1566  _Death of his father_, Sir RICHARD

  1567  _Created_ Lord BUCKHURST

  1568  _Ambassador to France_

  1569  _Lord-Lieutenant of Sussex_

  1571  _Ambassador to France_

  1586  _Execution of_ MARY _Queen of_ SCOTS

  1586  _Given_ KNOLE _by_ QUEEN ELIZABETH

  1587  _Ambassador to the Low Countries_

  1589  _Ambassador to the Low Countries_

  1589  _Knight of the Garter_

  1591  _Chancellor of Oxford_

  1598  _Ambassador to the Low Countries_

  1599  _Lord High Treasurer_

  1601  _Lord High Steward_

  1603  _Death of Queen Elizabeth. Succeeded by_ JAMES I

  1603  _Lord Treasurer for life_

  1604  _Created_ Earl _of_ DORSET

  1608  _Death at the Council Table_


            Robert Sackville, 2nd EARL _of_ DORSET, 1561–1609

  1579  _Married_ MARGARET HOWARD, _dau. of_ Duke _of_ NORFOLK

  1585  _Member of Parliament_
  1608

  1592  _Married_ ANNE SPENCER

  1608  _Succeeded his father_, THOMAS

  1609  _Death_


           Richard Sackville, 3rd EARL _of_ DORSET, 1589–1624

  1609  _Married_ Lady ANNE CLIFFORD, _daughter of_ GEORGE, Earl of
          CUMBERLAND

  1609  _Succeeded his father_, ROBERT

  1624  _Death_


            Edward Sackville, 4th EARL _of_ DORSET, 1591–1652

  1605  _At Christ Church, Oxford_

  1612  _Married_ MARY, _daughter of_ Sir GEORGE CURZON

  1614  _His duel with_ Lord BRUCE

  1614  _Member of Parliament_

  1616  _Knight of the Bath_

  1621  _Ambassador to_ LOUIS XIII

  1623  _Travels in Italy_
  1624

  1623  _Again Ambassador to_ LOUIS XIII

  1624  _Succeeded his brother_, RICHARD

  1624  _Lord-Lieutenant of Sussex and Middlesex_

  1625  _Knight of the Garter_

  1625  _Death of James I. Succeeded by_ CHARLES I

  1628  _Lord Chamberlain_

  1630  Lady DORSET _appointed Governess to the King’s children_

  1631  _Commissioner for Planting Virginia_
  1634

  1638  _Granted the East Coast of America_

  1642  _Outbreak of civil war._ Ld. DORSET _joins the_ KING _at York_

  1644  _Lord Privy Seal_

  1649  _Execution of_ CHARLES I

  1652  _Death_


           Richard Sackville, 5th EARL _of_ DORSET, 1622–1677

 Before _Married_ Lady FRANCES CRANFIELD, _daughter of_ LIONEL Earl _of_
  1638    MIDDLESEX

  1662  _Succeeded his father_, EDWARD

  1660  _Lord-Lieutenant of Middlesex and Sussex_
  1670

                             1677   _Death_


   Charles Sackville, 6th EARL _of_ DORSET _and_ EARL _of_ MIDDLESEX,
                                1638–1706

  1660  _Member of Parliament_

  1660  _Restoration of_ CHARLES II

  1665  _Naval battle against the Dutch_

  1667  _Living with_ NELL GWYNN

  1668  _Ambassador to France_

  1674  _Death of his mother; he succeeds to the Cranfield estates_

  1675  _Created_ Earl _of_ MIDDLESEX

  1677  _Succeeded his father_, RICHARD, _as_ Earl _of_ DORSET

  1678  _Married_ MARY, Countess _of_ FALMOUTH

  1685  _Married_ Lady MARY COMPTON, _daughter of_ JAMES Earl _of_
          NORTHAMPTON

  1685  _Death of Charles II. Succeeded by_ JAMES II

  1688  _Accession of_ WILLIAM _of_ ORANGE

  1689  _Lord Chamberlain_
  1697

  1691  _Knight of the Garter_

  1701  _His poems published with_ SEDLEY’S

  1702  _Death of William III. Succeeded by_ QUEEN ANNE

  1704  _Married_ ANNE ROCHE

  1706  _Death_


    Lionel Sackville, 7th EARL _and_ 1st DUKE _of_ DORSET, 1688–1765

  1706  _Succeeded his father_, CHARLES, _as_ Earl _of_ DORSET _and_
          MIDDLESEX

  1709  _Married_ ELIZABETH COLYEAR

  1708  _Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, intermittently till 1728_

  1714  _Knight of the Garter_

  1714  _Death of Queen Anne. Succeeded by_ GEORGE I

  1720  _Created_ Duke _of_ DORSET

  1725  _Lord Steward_

  1727  _Death of George I. Succeeded by_ GEORGE II

  1730  _Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland till 1737_

  1746  _Lord-Lieutenant of Kent_

  1750  _Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland till 1755_

  1760  _Death of George II. Succeeded by_ GEORGE III

  1765  _Death_


           Charles Sackville, 2nd DUKE _of_ DORSET, 1711–1769

 Before _On the Grand Tour_
  1734

  1734  _Member of Parliament intermittently till 1754. Lord of the
          Treasury and Master of the Horse_

  1744  _Married_ GRACE BOYLE

  1765  _Succeeded his father_, LIONEL, _as_ Duke _of_ DORSET

  1769  _Death_


        John Frederick Sackville, 3rd DUKE _of_ DORSET, 1745–1799

  1769  _Succeeded his uncle_, CHARLES

  1783  _Ambassador to_ LOUIS XVI
  1789

  1788  _Knight of the Garter_

  1769  _Lord-Lieutenant of Kent_
  1797

  1789  _Lord Steward_
  1799

  1790  _Married_ ARABELLA DIANA, _daughter of_ Sir JOHN COPE, _of
          Bramshill_

  1799  _Death_


    George John Frederick Sackville, 4th DUKE _of_ DORSET, 1794–1815

  1799  _Succeeded his father_, JOHN FREDERICK

  1815  _Death_



                            TABLE OF DESCENT


[Illustration: TABLE OF DESCENT]

          _HERBRAND DE SACKVILLE_, _temp._ William the Conqueror
                                  |
               _SIR RICHARD SACKVILLE_, _temp._ Henry VIII
                                  |
 THOMAS SACKVILLE _m._ _Cecilie Baker_
 _b._ 1536  _d._ 1608             |
 LORD BUCKHURST _and_             |
 _1st_ EARL _of_ DORSET, K.G.     |
                                  |
 ROBERT SACKVILLE _m._ _Lady Margaret Howard_
 _b._ 1561  _d._ 1609             |
 _2nd_ EARL _of_ DORSET           |
                                  |
            +---------------------+------------------------+
            |                                              |
 RICHARD SACKVILLE _m._                       EDWARD SACKVILLE _m._
         _Lady Anne Clifford_                               _Mary Curzon_
 _b._ 1589  _d._ 1624                         _b._ 1589 _or_ ’90  _d._ 1652
 _3rd_ EARL _of_ DORSET, K.G.                 4_th_ EARL _of_ DORSET, K.G.
                                                           |
            +----------------------------------------------+
            |
 RICHARD SACKVILLE      _m._     _Lady Frances Cranfield_
 _b._ 1622  _d._ 1677, 5_th_ EARL _of_ DORSET |
                                              |
                CHARLES SACKVILLE   _m._   _Lady Mary Compton_
                _b._ 1637 _or_ ’36  _d._ 1706 |
                6_th_ EARL _of_ DORSET, K.G.  |
                                              |
                         LIONEL SACKVILLE _m._ _Elizabeth Colyear_
                         _b._ 1686  _d._ 1765          |
                         7_th_ EARL _and_ _1st_        |
                         DUKE _of_ DORSET, K.G.        |
          +-----------------------+--------------------+-------+
          |                       |                            |
 CHARLES SACKVILLE       LORD JOHN SACKVILLE       LORD GEORGE SACKVILLE
 _b._ 1711  _d._ 1769              _d._ 1765       _b._ 1716  _d._ 1785
 _2nd_ DUKE _of_ DORSET           |                _cr._ VISCOUNT SACKVILLE
                                  |                            |
                JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE                       |
                _m._ _Arabella Diana Cope_ of Bramshill   CHARLES SACKVILLE
                _b._ 1745  _d._ 1799                      _b._ 1767  _d._ 1843
                _3rd_ DUKE _of_ DORSET, K.G.              5_th_ DUKE _of_ DORSET, K.G.
                                  |
        +-------------------------+-----+---------------+
        |                               |               |
 LADY MARY SACKVILLE   GEORGE JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE  |
                       _b._ 1794  _d._ 1815             |
                       4_th_ DUKE _of_ DORSET           |
                                                        |
                                            LADY ELIZABETH SACKVILLE
                                            _m._ _John West, Earl de la Warr_
                                            _b._ 1796  _d._ 1870
                                                        |
    +-----------------+-------------------+-------------+--------+
    |                 |                   |                      |
 CHARLES          MORTIMER              LIONEL                WILLIAM
 EARL DE LA WARR  _1st_ LORD SACKVILLE  _2nd_ LORD SACKVILLE     |
 _d._ 1873        _b._ 1820             _b._ 1827                |
                  _d._ 1888             _d._ 1908                |
                                                    LIONEL, _3rd_ LORD SACKVILLE
                                                             _b._ 1867



                                CONTENTS


 _Chronological Table_                                             _vii_

 _Table of Descent_                                                _xii_

 _Ch._ I The House                                                  p. 1

      II The Garden and Park                                          20

     III Knole in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth                        28

      IV Knole in the Reign of James I                                48

       V Knole in the Reign of Charles I                              82

      VI Knole in the Reign of Charles II                            111

     VII Knole in the Early Eighteenth Century                       152

    VIII Knole at the End of the Eighteenth Century                  176

      IX Knole in the Nineteenth Century                             201

 _Appendix_                                                          221

 _Index_                                                             223



                _The dome of Knole, by fame enrolled,
                  The Church of Canterbury,
                The hops, the beer, the cherries there,
                  Would fill a noble story._



                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


 JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE, 3RD DUKE OF DORSET. _From the
   portrait at Knole by_ GAINSBOROUGH                     _Frontispiece_

 NORTH-EAST VIEW OF KNOLE. _From the drawing by_ T.
   BRIDGEMAN _To face page_                                            2

 THE GREEN COURT, BOURCHIER’S ORIEL                                    6

 THE STONE COURT, BOURCHIER’S GATEHOUSE                               10

 THE STONE COURT                                                      16

 KNOLE FROM AN AEROPLANE                                              20

 THE GARDEN SIDE                                                      22

 A GATEWAY INTO THE GARDEN                                            26

 A CONFERENCE OF ENGLISH AND SPANISH PLENIPOTENTIARIES AT
   SOMERSET HOUSE IN 1604. _From the painting by_ MARC
   GHEERHARDTS _in the National Portrait Gallery_                     32

 LEAD PIPE-HEADS. _Put Up by_ THOMAS SACKVILLE _in 1605_              38

 THE GREAT STAIRCASE (UPPER FLIGHT). _Built by_ THOMAS
   SACKVILLE 1604–8                                                   46

 RICHARD SACKVILLE, 3RD EARL OF DORSET, K.G. _From the
   miniature by_ ISAAC OLIVER _in the Victoria and Albert
   Museum_                                                            52

 LADY ANNE CLIFFORD, _wife of_ RICHARD SACKVILLE, _3rd
   Earl of Dorset. From the portrait at Knole by_ MYTENS              56

 LADY MARGARET SACKVILLE, _daughter to_ RICHARD
   SACKVILLE, _3rd Earl of Dorset, and_ LADY ANNE
   CLIFFORD: “The Child.” _From the portrait at Knole by_
   MYTENS                                                             68

 THE VENETIAN AMBASSADOR’S BEDROOM                                    72

 EDWARD SACKVILLE, 4TH EARL OF DORSET, K.G. _From the
   portrait at Knole by_ VANDYCK                                      84

 THE TWO SONS OF EDWARD, 4TH EARL OF DORSET: RICHARD,
   LORD BUCKHURST _and_ THE HON. EDWARD SACKVILLE. _From
   the portrait at Knole by_ CORNELIUS NUIE                          106

 CHARLES SACKVILLE, 6TH EARL OF DORSET, K.G. _From the
   portrait by Sir_ GODFREY KNELLER _in the Poets’
   Parlour at Knole_                                                 116

 THE BROWN GALLERY. _Built by_ ARCHBISHOP BOURCHIER _in
   1460_                                                             148

 LADY BETTY GERMAINE. _From the portrait at Knole by_ C.
   PHILLIPS                                        _To
   face page_                                                        168

 LADY BETTY GERMAINE’S BEDROOM AT KNOLE                              172

 HWANG-A-TUNG, A CHINESE BOY, page to the 3rd Duke of
   Dorset. _From the portrait at Knole by Sir_ JOSHUA
   REYNOLDS                                                          192

 JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE, 3RD EARL OF DORSET; ARABELLA
   DIANA, 3RD DUCHESS OF DORSET; THE EARL OF MIDDLESEX;
   LADY ELIZABETH SACKVILLE, _and_ LADY MARY SACKVILLE.
   _From a silhouette by_ A. T. TERSTAN 1797. _The
   property of_ LADY SACKVILLE                                       196

 GEORGE JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE, 4TH EARL OF DORSET;
   LADY MARY SACKVILLE, _and_ LADY ELIZABETH SACKVILLE.
   _From the portrait at Knole by_ HOPPNER                           204

 ROCKING-HORSE, once the property of the 4th Duke of
   Dorset: A RECEIPT _from_ GAINSBOROUGH                             208



                               CHAPTER I
                               The House


                                  § i

There are two sides from which you may first profitably look at the
house. One is from the park, the north side. From here the pile shows
best the vastness of its size; it looks like a mediaeval village. It is
heaped with no attempt at symmetry; it is sombre and frowning; the grey
towers rise; the battlements cut out their square regularity against the
sky; the buttresses of the old twelfth-century tithe-barn give a rough
impression of fortifications. There is a line of trees in one of the
inner courtyards, and their green heads show above the roofs of the old
breweries; but although they are actually trees of a considerable size
they are dwarfed and unnoticeable against the mass of the buildings
blocked behind them. The whole pile soars to a peak which is the
clocktower with its pointed roof: it might be the spire of the church on
the summit of the hill crowning the mediaeval village. At sunset I have
seen the silhouette of the great building stand dead black on a red sky;
on moonlight nights it stands black and silent, with glinting windows,
like an enchanted castle. On misty autumn nights I have seen it emerging
partially from the trails of vapour, and heard the lonely roar of the
red deer roaming under the walls.


                                  § ii

The other side is the garden side—the gay, princely side, with flowers
in the foreground; the grey walls rising straight up from the green
turf; the mullioned windows, and the Tudor gables with the heraldic
leopards sitting stiffly at each corner. The park side is the side for
winter; the garden side the side for summer. It has an indescribable
gaiety and courtliness. The grey of the Kentish rag is almost pearly in
the sun, the occasional coral festoon of a climbing rose dashed against
it; the long brown-red roofs are broken by the chimney-stacks with their
slim, peaceful threads of blue smoke mounting steadily upwards. One
looks down upon the house from a certain corner in the garden. Here is a
bench among a group of yews—dark, red-berried yews; and the house lies
below one in the hollow, lovely in its colour and its serenity. It has
all the quality of peace and permanence; of mellow age; of stateliness
and tradition. It is gentle and venerable. Yet it is, as I have said,
gay. It has the deep inward gaiety of some very old woman who has always
been beautiful, who has had many lovers and seen many generations come
and go, smiled wisely over their sorrows and their joys, and learnt an
imperishable secret of tolerance and humour. It is, above all, an
English house. It has the tone of England; it melts into the green of
the garden turf, into the tawnier green of the park beyond, into the
blue of the pale English sky; it settles down into its hollow amongst
the cushioned tops of the trees; the brown-red of those roofs is the
brown-red of the roofs of humble farms and pointed oast-houses, such as
stain over a wide landscape of England the quilt-like pattern of the
fields. I make bold to say that it stoops to nothing either pretentious
or meretricious. There is here no flourish of architecture, no ornament
but the leopards, rigid and vigilant. The stranger may even think, upon
arrival, that the front of the house is disappointing. It is, indeed,
extremely modest. There is a gate-house flanked by two square grey
towers, placed between two wings which provide only a monotony of
windows and gables. It is true that two or three fine sycamores,
symmetrical and circular as open umbrellas, redeem the severity of the
front, and that a herd of fallow deer, browsing in the dappled shade of
the trees, maintains the tradition of an English park. But, for the
rest, the front of the house is so severe as to be positively
uninteresting; it is quiet and monkish; “a beautiful decent simplicity,”
said Horace Walpole, “which charms one.” There is here to be found none
of the splendour of Elizabethan building. A different impression,
however, is in store when once the wicket-gate has been opened. You are
in a courtyard of a size the frontage had never led you to expect, and
the vista through a second gateway shows you the columns of a second
court; your eye is caught by an oriel window opposite, and by other
windows with heraldic bearings in their panes, promise of rooms and
galleries; by gables and the heraldic leopards; by the clock tower which
gives an oddly Chinese effect immediately above the Tudor oriel. Up till
a few years ago Virginia creeper blazed scarlet in autumn on the walls
of the Green Court, but it has now been torn away, and what may be lost
in colour is compensated by the gain in seeing the grey stone and the
slight moulding which runs, following the shape of the towers, across
the house.

[Illustration:

  NORTH-EAST VIEW OF KNOLE

  _From the drawing by_ T. BRIDGEMAN
]

On the whole, the quadrangle is reminiscent of Oxford, though more
palatial and less studious. The house is built round a system of these
courtyards: first this one, the Green Court, which is the largest and
most magnificent; then the second one, or Stone Court, which is not
turfed, like the Green Court, but wholly paved, and which has along one
side of it a Jacobean colonnade; the third court is the Water Court, and
has none of the display of the first two: it is smaller, and quite
demure, indeed rather like some old house in Nuremberg, with the
latticed window of one of the galleries running the whole length of it,
and the friendly unconcern of an immense bay-tree growing against one of
its walls. There are four other courts, making seven in all. This number
is supposed to correspond to the days in the week; and in pursuance of
this conceit there are in the house fifty-two staircases, corresponding
to the weeks in the year, and three hundred and sixty-five rooms,
corresponding to the days. I cannot truthfully pretend that I have ever
verified these counts, and it may be that their accuracy is accepted
solely on the strength of the legend; but, if this is so, then it has
been a very persistent legend, and I prefer to sympathise with the
amusement of the ultimate architect on making the discovery that by a
judicious juggling with his additions he could bring courts, stairs, and
rooms up to that satisfactory total.

A stone lobby under the oriel window divides the Green Court from the
Stone Court. In summer the great oak doors of this second gate-house are
left open, and it has sometimes happened that I have found a stag in the
banqueting hall, puzzled but still dignified, strayed in from the park
since no barrier checked him.

It becomes impossible, after passing through the formality of the two
first quadrangles, to follow the ramblings of the house geographically.
They are so involved that, after a lifetime of familiarity, I still
catch myself pausing to think out the shortest route from one room to
another. Four acres of building is no mean matter.


                                 § iii

Into the very early mediaeval history of the house I do not think that I
need enter. It is suggested that a Roman building once occupied the
site, and that some foundations which were recently unearthed beneath
the larder—evidently one of the oldest portions—once formed part of that
construction. The question of dating the existing buildings, however, is
quite sufficiently complicated without going back to a building which no
longer exists. Nor do I think that the early owners—the Pembrokes, or
the Say and Seles—offer the smallest interest; if we knew precisely what
parts of the house we owed to them severally it would be another matter,
but the mediaeval records are very scanty. It is safe to say, generally
speaking, that the north side is the oldest side; it is the most sombre,
the most massive, and the most irregular; there are buttresses,
battlements, and towers, but no gables and no embellishments—nothing but
solid masonry. Up in the north-east corner is the old kitchen, and the
old entrances through dark archways at the top of stairways. The
passages here, of thick stone, twist oddly, and their ceilings are
groined by semi-arches which have become lost and embedded in the
alterations to the stone-work. It is a dark, massive, little-visited
corner, this nucleus of Knole.

The house, or such portions of it as then existed, was bought from
William, Lord Say and Sele, by Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, on
June 30, 1456, and it is clear from the numerous bills among the
archives at Lambeth Palace that both he and his more notable successor,
Cardinal Morton, carried out extensive additions, alterations, and
repairs. It is, however, a very difficult task to determine what parts
of the building definitely belong to this period, for, what with the
additions of the archbishops and the alterations of the later
Sackvilles, all is confusion. It would appear, for instance, that upon a
foundation of Tudor masonry the Sackvilles constructed the Elizabethan
gables which are now so characteristic a feature of the house; but it is
less easy to say exactly how much the first Tudor archbishop found there
on his arrival of earlier workmanship. A further confusing factor is the
great fire which took place in 1623, and is reported to have destroyed a
large part of the building—but exactly where, and how much, we cannot
say. Nor are the accounts at Lambeth very illuminating:

  In divers costs and expenses made this year [1467] for repairing the
  manor of Knole, carriage for the two cart loads of lathes from Panters
  to the manor, 14_d._ For carriage of thirty loads of stone for the new
  tower, 7_d._ load = 16/9. Carriage of six loads of timber at 7_d._ =
  3/6. Carriage of one fother of lead from London to Knole, 3/4.

The next year, 1468:

  Repairs at Knole. One labourer for 6 days work in the great chamber
  and the new _seler_, 2/-. Making of 700 lathes to the new tower,
  14_d._ One labourer 4½ days in the old kitchen, 4_d._ Item, for 1 j
  M^1 of walle prygge (_sic_) to the stable and other places, 13_d._ One
  cowl to the masonry, 12_d._

[Illustration:

  THE GREEN COURT: BOURCHIER’S ORIEL
]

The “great chamber” referred to here was in all probability the present
Great Hall, which we know to have been built by Bourchier about 1460,
although it was altered by Thomas Sackville, who put in the present
ceiling, panelling, and oak screen. Thomas also built the Great
Staircase in 1604–8, leading to the Ball-room, which is of the time of
Bourchier. I expect this is the “seler” referred to, meaning solar and
not cellar, as might be thought; or did it mean the present colonnade,
which is also of Bourchier’s building, in 1468? The position of the “new
tower” is nowhere specified, but I wonder whether it is not the tower
beside the chapel, where there is a stone fireplace bearing Bourchier’s
cognisance—the double knot—and the same device in a small pane of
stained glass in the window. This tower, moreover, goes commonly by the
name of Bourchier’s Tower.

There are a few more items mentioned in the Lambeth papers, 1468–9:
“Repairs at Knole. Repairs at one house set aside for the slaughter of
sheep and other [animals?] for the use of the Lord’s great house at
Sevenoaks, 113_s._ 2_d._” This, I think, is certainly the old
slaughter-house which forms one side of the Queen’s Court. It is
obviously a very old building. But there is one point in this account
which is of interest, namely, that Knole should at this date have been
referred to as the “great house.” This would seem to prove that the
greater mass of the building was already in existence, since by the
latter half of the fifteenth century there were already many houses and
palaces in England whose bulk would argue that the current standard of
greatness might be high and the adjective not too readily applied. The
Primate owned, moreover, up to the time of the Reformation no less than
twelve palaces and houses of residence in the diocese of Canterbury
alone, namely, Bekesburn, Ford, Maidstone, Charing, Saltwood, Aldington,
Wingham, Wrotham, Tenterden, Knole, Otford, and Canterbury. It seems,
therefore, unlikely that Knole should be singled out as a “great house”
unless there were good justification for the expression.

Bourchier also built the Brown Gallery about 1460, and at or about the
same date he put up the machicolations over the gate-house between the
Green Court and the Stone Court. Towards the end of the same century,
Morton, his successor, “threw out an oriel window which rendered the
machicolations useless, and showed that all idea of such fortifications
was at an end.” It is not known precisely how much Morton built at
Knole. It is even uncertain whether he or Bourchier built the Chapel.
The Lambeth records cease with some small repairs in 1487–88, so we have
nothing to go upon—all the more pity, for Morton was a great prelate,
forgotten now in the greater fame of the Tudor dynasty, “his name
buried,” says his chronicler, “under his own creation.” This cardinal,
having succeeded Bourchier in 1486, held the Primacy for fourteen years,
and died at Knole in 1500. I pass over his successors, Dean and Wareham,
for I do not know how much they did at Knole. Cranmer, the next
archbishop, enjoyed the house for seven years only, when he was
compelled—quite amicably, but nevertheless compelled—to present it to
Henry VIII, whose fancy it had taken. Here the accounts begin again,[1]
although they give very little indication: £872 by Royal Warrant in
1543, £770 in 1548, £80 in 1546—three sums which would now be
equivalent, roughly, to £30,000.

After Henry VIII Knole continued as Crown property, passing now and then
temporarily into the hands of various favourites, until in 1586 it was
given by Queen Elizabeth to her cousin, Thomas Sackville, and has
remained in the possession of his family ever since.


                                  § iv

The main block, therefore, meanders from Henry VII through Henry VIII to
Elizabeth and James I: that is to say, roughly, from the end of the
fifteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth. There may be
earlier out-buildings and later excrescences, but it is safe to say that
the greater portion was built in the reigns of the Tudors. It is all of
the same Kentish rag, with the exception of a row of gables which have
been plastered over, and which were probably once of the
beam-and-plaster fashion so prevalent at that date in Kent. With this
exception the walls are of the grey stone, in many places ten and twelve
feet thick, cool in summer, and, for some reason, not particularly warm
in winter. The rooms are, for the most part, rather small and rather
low; they break out, of course, now into galleries, now into a
ball-room, now into a banqueting-hall, but the majority of them are
small, friendly rooms—not intimidating; some people might even think
them poky, relative to the size of the house. I do not think that they
are poky. They are eminently rooms intended to be lived in, and not
merely admired, though no doubt a practical consideration was present in
the problem of heating to determine their size. Yet from an old diary
preserved at Knole, and from which in its place I shall have the
opportunity to give extracts, it is clear that in the early seventeenth
century at all events the life of the house was carried on largely in
one or the other of the long galleries. Now, none of the galleries has
more than one fireplace. It must have been very cold. The old braziers
that could be carried about the room as occasion required still stand in
the rooms where they were used, and so do the copper warming-pans,
shining and perforated, which were thrust into the beds to warm them
before the arrival of the occupant. The principal beds, of course, must
have been magnificently stuffy. They are four-posters, so tall as to
reach from floor to ceiling, with stiff brocaded curtains that could
completely enclose the sleeper. But on winter days I cannot believe that
the group ever moved very far away from the fireplace or the brazier;
and indeed, judging from the same diary, they seemed always to be
“keeping their chamber” on account of coughs, colds, rheumatism, or ague
when they were not keeping it because they were “sullen” with one
another, or “brought to bed” of a son or a daughter.


                                  § v

The galleries are perhaps the most characteristic rooms in such a house.

[Illustration:

  THE STONE COURT: BOURCHIER’S GATEHOUSE
]

Long and narrow, with dark shining floors, armorial glass in the
windows, rich plaster-work ceilings, and portraits on the walls, they
are splendidly sombre and sumptuous. The colour of the Cartoon Gallery,
when I have come into it in the evening, with the sunset flaming through
the west window, has often taken my breath away. I have stood, stock
still and astonished, in the doorway. The gallery is ninety feet in
length, the floor formed of black oak planks irregularly laid, the charm
of which is that they are not planks at all, but solid tree-trunks,
split in half, with the rounded half downwards; and on this oak flooring
lie the blue and scarlet patches from the stained west window, more
subduedly echoed in the velvets of the chair coverings, the coloured
marbles of the great Renaissance fireplace, and the fruits and garlands
of the carved woodwork surrounding the windows. There is nothing garish:
all the colours have melted into an old harmony that is one of the
principal beauties of these rooms. The walls here in the Cartoon Gallery
are hung with rose-red Genoa velvet, so lovely that I almost regret
Mytens’ copies of the Raphael cartoons hiding most of it; but if, at
Knole, one were too nicely reluctant to sacrifice the walls, whether
panelled or velvet-hung, then all the pictures would have to be stacked
on the floor of the attics. The same regret applies to the ball-room,
where the Elizabethan panelling—oak, but originally painted white,
turned by age to ivory—is so covered up as to be unnoticeable behind the
Sackville portraits of ten generations. Fortunately, the frieze in the
ball-room cannot be hidden. It used to delight me as a child, with its
carved intricacies of mermaids and dolphins, mermen and mermaids with
scaly, twisting tails and salient anatomy, and I was invariably
contemptuous of those visitors to whom I pointed out the frieze but who
were more interested in the pictures. It always fell to my lot to “show
the house” to visitors when I was living there alone with my
grandfather, for he shared the family failing of unsociability, and
whenever a telegram arrived threatening invasion he used to take the
next train to London for the day, returning in the evening when the
coast was clear. It mattered nothing that I was every whit as bored by
the invasion as he could have been; in a divergence between the wishes
of eighty and the wishes of eight, the wishes of eight went to the wall.


                                  § vi

There are other galleries, older and more austere than the Cartoon
Gallery. They are not quite so long, they are narrower, lower, and
darker, and not so exuberant in decoration; indeed, they are simply and
soberly panelled in oak. They have the old, musty smell which, to me,
whenever I met it, would bring back Knole. I suppose it is really the
smell of all old houses—a mixture of woodwork, pot-pourri, leather,
tapestry, and the little camphor bags which keep away the moth; the
smell engendered by the shut windows of winter and the open windows of
summer, with the breeze of summer blowing in from across the park. Bowls
of lavender and dried rose-leaves stand on the window-sills; and if you
stir them up you get the quintessence of the smell, a sort of dusty
fragrance, sweeter in the under layers where it has held the damp of the
spices. The pot-pourri at Knole is always made from the recipe of a
prim-looking little old lady who lived there for many years as a guest
in the reigns of George I and George II. Her two rooms open out of one
of the galleries, two of the smallest rooms in the house, the bedroom
hung with a pale landscape of blue-green tapestry, the sitting-room
panelled in oak; and in the bedroom stands her small but pompous bed,
with bunches of ostrich-plumes nodding at each of the four corners.
Strangers usually seem to like these two little rooms best, coming to
them as they do, rather overawed by the splendour of the galleries; they
are amused by the smallness of the four-poster, square as a box, its
creamy lining so beautifully quilted; by the spinning-wheel, with the
shuttle still full of old flax; and by the ring-box, containing a number
of plain-cut stones, which could be exchanged at will into the single
gold setting provided. The windows of these rooms, furthermore, look out
on to the garden; they are human, habitable little rooms, reassuring
after the pomp of the Ball-room and the galleries. In the sitting-room
there is a small portrait of the prim lady, Lady Betty Germaine, sitting
very stiff in a blue brocaded dress; she looks as though she had been a
martinet in a tight, narrow way.

The gallery leading to these rooms is called the Brown Gallery. It is
well named—oak floor, oak walls, and barrelled ceiling, criss-crossed
with oak slats in a pattern something like cat’s cradle. Some of the
best pieces of the English furniture are ranged down each side of this
gallery: portentously important chairs, Jacobean cross-legged or later
love-seats in their original coverings, whether of plum and silver, or
red brocade with heavy fringes, or green with silver fringes, or yellow
silk sprigged in black, or powder-blue; and all have their attendant
stool squatting beside them. They are lovely, silent rows, for ever
holding out their arms, and for ever disappointed. At the end of this
gallery is a tiny oratory, down two steps, for the use of the devout:
this little, almost secret, place glows with colour like a jewel, but
nobody ever notices it, and on the whole it probably prefers to hide
itself away unobserved.

There is also the Leicester Gallery, which preserves in its name the
sole trace of Lord Leicester’s brief ownership of Knole. The Leicester
Gallery is very dark and mysterious, furnished with red velvet
Cromwellian farthingale chairs and sofas, dark as wine; there are
illuminated scrolls of two family pedigrees—Sackville and Curzon—richly
emblazoned with coats of arms, drawn out in 1589 and 1623 respectively;
and in the end window there is a small stained-glass portrait of
“Herbrand de Sackville, a Norman notable, came into England with William
the Conqueror, A.D. 1066.” (_Herbrandus de Sackville, Praepotens
Normanus, intravit Angliam cum Gulielmo Conquestore, Anno Domini
MLXVI._) There is also a curious portrait hanging on one of the doors,
of Catherine Fitzgerald Countess of Desmond, the portrait of a very old
lady, in a black dress and a white ruff, with that strange far-away look
in her dead blue eyes that comes with extreme age. For tradition says of
her that she was born in the reign of Edward the Fourth and died in the
reign of Charles the First, breaking her leg incidentally at the age of
ninety by falling off a cherry tree; that is to say, she was a child
when the princes were smothered in the Tower, a girl when Henry the
Seventh came to the throne, and watched the pageant of all the Tudors
and the accession of the Stuarts—the whole of English history enclosed
between the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War. She must have been a
truly legendary figure in the country by the time she had reached the
age of a hundred and forty or thereabouts.

It is rather a frightening portrait, that portrait of Lady Desmond. If
you go into the gallery after nightfall with a candle the pale, far-away
eyes stare past you into the dark corners of the wainscot, eyes either
over-charged or empty—which? The house is not haunted, but you require
either an unimaginative nerve or else a complete certainty of the
house’s benevolence before you can wander through the state-rooms after
nightfall with a candle. The light gleams on the dull gilding of
furniture and into the misty depths of mirrors, and startles up a sudden
face out of the gloom; something creaks and sighs; the tapestry sways,
and the figures on it undulate and seem to come alive. The recesses of
the great beds, deep in shadow, might be inhabited, and you would not
know it; eyes might watch you, unseen. The man with the candle is under
a terrible disadvantage to the man in the dark.


                                 § vii

As there are three galleries among the state-rooms, so are there three
principal bedrooms: the King’s, the Venetian Ambassador’s, and the
Spangled Room. The King’s bedroom is the only vulgar room in the house.
Not that the furniture put there for the reception of James the First is
vulgar: it is excessively magnificent, the canopy of the immense bed
reaching almost to the ceiling, decked with ostrich feathers, the
hangings stiff with gold and silver thread, the coverlet and the
interior of the curtains heavily embroidered with a design of
pomegranates and tiger-lilies worked in silver on a coral satin ground,
the royal cipher embossed over the pillows—all this is very magnificent,
but not vulgar. What is vulgar is the set of furniture made entirely in
silver: table, hanging mirror, and tripods—the florid and ostentatious
product of the florid Restoration. There is a surprising amount of
silver in the room: sconces, ginger-jars, mirrors, fire-dogs,
toilet-set, rose-water sprinklers, even to a little eye-bath, all of
silver, but these smaller objects have not the blatancy of the set of
furniture. Charles Sackville, for whom it was made, cannot have known
when he had had enough of a good thing.

It is almost a relief to go from here to the Venetian Ambassador’s
Bedroom. Green and gold; Burgundian tapestry, mediaeval figures walking
in a garden; a rosy Persian rug—of all rooms I never saw a room that so
had over it a bloom like the bloom on a bowl of grapes and figs. I
cannot keep the simile, which may convey nothing to those who have not
seen the room, out of my mind. Greens and pinks originally bright, now
dusted and tarnished over. It is a very grave, stately room, rather
melancholy in spite of its stateliness. It seems to miss its inhabitants
more than do any of the other rooms. Perhaps this is because the bed
appears to be designed for three: it is of enormous breadth, and there
are three pillows in a row. Presumably this is what the Italians call a
_letto matrimoniale_.


                                 § viii

In a remote corner of the house is the Chapel of the Archbishops, small,
and very much bejewelled. Tapestry, oak, and stained-glass—the chapel
smoulders with colour. It is greatly improved since the oak has been
pickled and the mustard-yellow paint removed, also the painted
myrtle-wreaths, tied with a gilt ribbon, in the centre of each panel,
with which the nineteenth century adorned it, when it was considered
“very simple, plain, and neat in its appearance, and well adapted for
family worship.” The hand of the nineteenth century fell rather heavily
on the chapel: besides painting the oak yellow and the ceiling blue with
gold stars, it erected a Gothic screen and a yellow organ; but
fortunately these are both at the entrance, and you can turn your back
on them and look down the little nave to the altar where Mary Queen of
Scots’ gifts stand under the Perpendicular east window. All along the
left-hand wall hangs the Gothic tapestry—scenes from the life of Christ,
the figures, ungainly enough, trampling on an edging of tall irises and
lilies exquisitely designed; and “Saint Luke in his first profession,”
wrote Horace Walpole irreverently, “holding a urinal.” There used to be
other tapestries in the house; there was one of the Seven Deadly Sins
set, woven with gold threads, and there was another series, very early,
representing the Flood and the two-by-two procession of the animals
going into a weather-boarded Ark; but these, alas, had to be sold, and
are now in America.

[Illustration:

  THE STONE COURT
]

The chapel looks strange and lovely during a midnight thunderstorm: the
lightning flashes through the stone ogives of the east window, and one
gets a queer effect, unreal like colour photography, of the colours lit
up by that unfamiliar means. A flight of little private steps leads out
of my bedroom straight into the Family Pew; so I dare to say that there
are few aspects under which I have not seen the chapel; and as a child I
used to “take sanctuary” there when I had been naughty: that is to say,
fairly often. They never found me, sulking inside the pulpit.


                                  § ix

There would, of course, be many other aspects from which I might
consider Knole; indeed, if I allowed myself full licence I might ramble
out over Kent and down into Sussex, to Lewes, Buckhurst, and Withyham,
out into the fruit country and the hop country, across the Weald, over
Saxonbury, and to Lewes among the Downs, and still I should not feel
guilty of irrelevance. Of whatever English county I spoke, I still
should be aware of the relationship between the English soil and that
most English house. But more especially do I feel this concerning Kent
and Sussex, and concerning the roads over which the Sackvilles travelled
so constantly between estate and estate. The place-names in their
letters recur through the centuries; the paper is a little yellower as
the age increases, the ink a little more faded, the handwriting a little
less easily decipherable, but still the gist is always the same: “I go
to-morrow into Kent,” “I quit Buckhurst for Knole,” “my Lord rode to
Lewes with a great company,” “we came to Knole by coach at midnight.”
The whole district is littered with their associations, whether a
village whose living lay in their gift, or a town where they endowed a
college, or a wood where they hunted, or the village church where they
had themselves buried. Sussex, in fact, was their cradle long before
they came into Kent. Buckhurst, which they had owned since the twelfth
century, was at one time an even larger house than Knole, and to their
own vault in its parish church of Withyham they were invariably brought
to rest. Their trace is scattered over the two counties. But this was
not my only meaning; I had in mind that Knole was no mere excrescence,
no alien fabrication, no startling stranger seen between the beeches and
the oaks. No other country but England could have produced it, and into
no other country would it settle with such harmony and such quiet. The
very trees have not been banished from the courtyards, but spread their
green against the stone. From the top of a tower one looks down upon the
acreage of roofs, and the effect is less that of a palace than of a
jumbled village upon the hillside. It is not an incongruity like
Blenheim or Chatsworth, foreign to the spirit of England. It is, rather,
the greater relation of those small manor-houses which hide themselves
away so innumerably among the counties, whether built of the grey stone
of south-western England, or the brick of East Anglia, or merely
tile-hung or plastered like the cottages. It is not utterly different
from any of these. The great Palladian houses of the eighteenth century
are _in_ England, they are not _of_ England, as are these irregular
roofs, this easy straying up the contours of the hill, these cool
coloured walls, these calm gables, and dark windows mirroring the sun.



                               CHAPTER II
                          The Garden and Park


                                  § i

You come out of the cool shadowy house on to the warm garden, in the
summer, and there is a scared flutter of white pigeons up to the roof as
you open the door. You have to look twice before you are sure whether
they are pigeons or magnolias. The turf is of the most brilliant green;
there is a sound of bees in the limes; the heat quivers like watered
gauze above the ridge of the lawn. The garden is entirely enclosed by a
high wall of rag, very massively built, and which perhaps dates back to
the time of the archbishops; its presence, I think, gives a curious
sense of seclusion and quiet. Inside the walls are herbaceous borders on
either side of long green walks, and little square orchards planted with
very old apple-trees, under which grow iris, snapdragon, larkspur,
pansies, and such-like humble flowers. There are also interior walls,
with rounded archways through which one catches a sight of the house, so
that the garden is conveniently divided up into sections without any
loss of the homogeneity of the whole. Half of the garden, roughly
speaking, is formal; the other half is woodland, called the Wilderness,
mostly of beech and chestnut, threaded by mossy paths which in spring
are thick with bluebells and daffodils.

[Illustration:

  _Airco Aerials Ltd._

  KNOLE FROM AN AEROPLANE
]

The old engravings show the gardens to have been, from the seventeenth
century onwards, very much the same as they are at present. There are a
few minor variations, but as the early engravers were not very
particular as to accuracy their evidence cannot be accepted as wholly
reliable. We have, besides these engravings, a fairly large number of
records relating to both the park and gardens. The earliest of these
that I have been able to trace is dated 1456, to the effect that
Archbishop Bourchier in that year enclosed the park—a smaller area then
than is covered by it now; and in 1468 there is a bill, “Paid for making
1000 palings for the enclosure of the Knole land, 6_s._ 8_d._” But the
first accounts for the garden proper appear to date from the reign of
Henry VIII (State papers of Henry VIII), when, in 1543, Sir Richard
Longe was paid “for making the King’s garden at Knole.” Then there is a
gap of nearly a century, save for the references to the garden in Lady
Anne Clifford’s Diary, such as “_25th October, 1617_. My Lady Lisle and
my Coz: Barbara Sidney [came?] and I walked with them all the Wilderness
over. They saw the Child and much commended her. I gave them some
marmalade of quince, for about this time I made much of it”; and her
constant notes of how she took her prayer-book “up to the standing”
[which I take to be what we now call the Duchess’ Seat], or of how she
picked cherries in the garden with the French page, and he told her how
he thought that all the men in the house loved her. For the year 1692,
however, there are some bills among the Knole papers, such as “Mr.
Olloynes, gardener, wages £12 per annum,” and some bills for seeds and
roots, “Sweet yerbs, pawsley, sorrill, spinnig, spruts, leeks, sallet,
horse-rydish, jerusalem hawty-chorks,” and another bill for seeds for
£2. 0_s._ 5_d._ Coming to the eighteenth century, there are more
detailed accounts, amongst others an agreement of what was expected in
those days of a head gardener and the remuneration he might hope to
receive:

  _14th Aug., 1706._ Ric. Baker, Gardener with Lionel Earl of Dorset and
  Middlesex. To serve his Lordship as Gardener at Knole for the term of
  one year ½ to begin in March 1706. That he will reserve all the fruit
  which shall be growing in the garden for his Lordship’s use. That he
  will at his own charge during the said term preserve all Trees and
  Greens now in the garden, and will maintain the trees in good
  husbandlike manner by pruning and trimming, dunging and marling the
  same in seasonable times, and likewise at his own charge will provide
  all herbs and other things convenient for my Lord’s kitchen there when
  in season. He undertakes to maintain at his own charge all such walks
  as are now in ye said Garden, by mowing, cleaning, and rolling the
  same, and will preserve all such flowers and plants as are now in the
  gardens, and that he will be at all the charges of repairing all the
  glass frames, etc. belonging to the Garden Trade, and will provide for
  the present use of the Gardens 50 loads of dung.

In return for this service he was to be allowed £30 per annum, and

  rooms and conveniences in the house for his business, and to hand all
  such dung, etc. as shall be made about the house for the use of ye
  gardens, and that he may have the privilege of disposing [for his own
  use] all such beans, peas, cabbages, and other kitchen herbs as shall
  be spared, over and above that what is used in my Lord’s kitchen.

[Illustration:

  THE GARDEN SIDE (SOUTH FRONT)
]

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
                            _April 28, 1718._
 Planting trees in new Oak Walk, 5 men, 8 to 18 days
   each                                                      3   12    4
 Planting walnut trees round the Keeper’s lodge, 3 men,
   5 days each at 1/2 each per day                           0   17    6
 Cutting Bows in the yew at end of new Oak Walk              0    2    4

                          _November 11, 1723._
 Cutting and levelling new walk in ye Wilderness and
   making ye mount round ye Oak tree, 8 men, 5 to 11
   days each                                                 3   10    0
 Alterations made in the Fruit Walks, 16 men, from 14 to
   43 days each                                             23   19   10
 Cutting 10,600 turfs at 8_d._ per 100                       3   10    8
 Planting ye quarry in the Park                              6    7    0
 10 May Duke Cherries in ye garden                           0    6    8
 6 peach and nectarine trees in ye garden                    0   12    0
 2400 quick-set for ye kitchen garden                        0   12    0
 1000 holly for ye kitchen garden                            0   10    0
 Planting 2000 small beeches in ye park                      0   18    6
 200 Pear stocks                                             0    6    0
 300 Crab stocks                                             0    3    0
 200 Cherry stocks                                           0    6    0
 500 Holly stocks                                            0    5    0
 700 Hazel stocks                                            1   15    0
 For new making the Mulberry garden and sowing ye front
   walk with seed                                           14   12    9
 20 Gascon Cherry trees                                      0   10    0
 50 bushels sweet apples for cyder                           2   10    0
 1 bushel Buckwheat for ye Pheasants                         0    3    6
 10,000 seedling beeches for my Lady Germaine                0   10    0

                          _December 24, 1726._
 Getting 80 load of ice and putting it in ye Ice House       1   15    3

                            _June 15, 1728._
 Planting 160 Elms in field which was Dr. Lambarde’s
   next Tonbridge road and sowing the field with furze
   seed                                                      7    9    3

                             _April, 1730._
 1000 Asparagus plants from Gravesend                        1    0    0
 2 doz. Apricots                                             0    2    0
 300 beeches 8ft. high                                       1   15    0
 250 large beeches planted in ye Park                        3   10    0

It is not very clear where such a large number of fruit trees were to be
used, but on an engraving of about 1720 I find a wall extending right
across the garden to the two stone pillars which, surmounted by carved
stone urns, still remain, this wall being planted with fruit trees, so I
should think it very probable that this would account for it.

In 1777 new hot-houses and “Pineries” were built, and £175 paid for “two
hot-houses full stocked with pine apples and plants.”


                                  § ii

Surrounding the house and gardens lies the park, with its valleys,
hills, and woods, and its short brown turf closely bitten by deer and
rabbits. Its beeches and bracken, its glades and valleys, greatly
excited the admiration of Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, who visited it in the
beginning of the nineteenth century, and she wrote with enthusiasm of
shade rising above shade with _amazing_ and _magnificent_ grandeur, and
of one beech in particular spreading “its light yet umbrageous fan” over
a seat placed round the bole. With all its grandeur and luxuriance, she
said, there was nothing about this beech heavy or formal; it was airy,
though vast and majestic, and suggested an idea at once of the
_strength_ and _fire_ of a _hero_. She would call a beech tree, she
added, and this beech above every other, the hero of the forest, as the
oak was called the king.

As I have said, the park was first enclosed by Bourchier in 1456, the
year in which he bought Knole on the 30th of June. In the muniments at
Lambeth are a number of papers relating to the expenses of this great
builder, and there is the interesting fact that glass-making was carried
on in the park, and I only wish that more detailed accounts existed of
this industry, which, thanks to the Huguenots, had been pretty widely
introduced into the South of England. I should like to know exactly
where their glass-foundry was, and whether they made use of the sand on
the portion known as the Furze-field, now a rabbit warren; and I should
also very much like to know whether—as seems probable—they supplied any
of the glass for the windows in the house.

It would appear that the park, now entirely under grass, was once
ploughland, for there is at Knole a deed of the time of Richard
Sackville, fifth Earl of Dorset—that is to say, the middle of the
seventeenth century—which accords to four farmers “the liberty to plough
anywhere in the Park except in the plain set out by my Lord and the
ground in front of the house, and to take three crops, and it is agreed
that one-third of each crop after it is severed from the ground shall be
taken and carried away by my Lord for his own use. The third year, the
farmers to sow the ground with grass seed if my Lord desires it, and
they are to be at the charge of the seed, the tillage, and the harvest.”
Later on, in the time of Charles I, hops were grown, not only around the
park, but also in it. Women employed in picking the hops were paid 5_d._
a day, but for cleaning and weeding the ground they only received 3_d._
At this time also cattle were fed in the park during the summer, and
belonging to the same date (about 1628) are the bills for “Moles caught,
1½_d._ each”; “Mowing the meadows,” at the rate of 1_s._ 6_d._ per acre;
“Making hay,” also at 1_s._ 6_d._ per acre; “Carriage of hay from the
meadows to Knole barn,” 1_s._ 4_d._ per load; “one hay fork and 2 hay
forks together,” 1_s._ 8_d._ For “hunting conies by night and ferret by
day” 4_s._ was paid; the expenses involved by the “conies” for one year
were exactly £10, which included £5 5_s._, a year’s wages for the
“wariner”; but, on the other hand, this was money well expended, for the
revenue from “conies sold” covers no less than a fifth part of the
year’s total income. The “wariner,” although his £5 5_s._ a year hardly
seems excessive, did better than the “wood-looker,” who, for his
woodreeveship for a year, was paid only £2.

The accounts of how and when the various outlying portions of the park
were taken in can only be of local interest, and I do not therefore
propose to go into them. They were mostly bought by John Frederick, the
third duke, and by Lord Whitworth, who had married John Frederick’s
widow. The ruins round the queer little sham Gothic house called the
Bird House—which always frightened me as a child because I thought it
looked like the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel, tucked away in its
hollow, with its pointed gables—were built for John Frederick’s
grandfather about 1761, by one Captain Robert Smith, who had fought at
Minden under Lord George Sackville, of disastrous notoriety, and who
lived for some time at Knole, a parasite upon the house; they apparently
purport to be the remains of some vast house, in defiance of the fact
that no upper storey or roof of proportionate dimensions could ever
possibly have rested upon the flimsy structure of flint and rubble which
constitute the ruins. They, together with the Bird House, form an
amusing group of the whims and vanities of two different ages. But, to
go back to the park, I conclude with the following letter, which is
among the papers at Knole:

[Illustration:

  A GATEWAY INTO THE GARDEN
]

                    _To his Grace the_ DUKE of DORSET.

  My Lord,

  I Elizabeth Hills sister and executor of Mrs. Anne Hills deceased of
  Under River in the Parish of Seal and whose corpse is to be interred
  in the Parish Church of Seal: but the High Road leading thereto by
  Godden Green being very bad and unsafe for carriages: I beg leave of
  yr Grace to permit the proper attendants to pass with the corpse, in a
  hearse with the coaches in attendance through Knole Park: entering the
  same at Faulke [_sic_] Common Gate and going out at the gate at Lock’s
  Bottom: and you’ll oblige

                                    Your Grace’s most obedient serv^t
                                                            ELIZA HILLS.

  UNDER RIVER,
        _18 Oct., 1781_.


                                 § iii

So much, then, for the setting; but it is no mere empty scene. The
house, with its exits and entrances, its properties of furniture and
necessities, its dressing-tables, its warming-pans, and its tiny silver
eye-bath still standing between the hair-brushes—the house demands its
population. Whose were the hands that have, by the constant light
running of their fingers, polished the paint from the banisters? Whose
were the feet that have worn down the flags of the hall and the stone
passages? What child rode upon the ungainly rocking-horse? What young
men exercised their muscles on the ropes of the great dumb-bell? Who
were the men and women that, after a day’s riding or stitching, lay
awake in the deep beds, idly watching between the curtains the play of
the firelight, and the little round yellow discs cast upon walls and
ceiling through the perforations of the tin canisters standing on the
floor, containing the rush-lights?

Thus the house wakes into a whispering life, and we resurrect the
Sackvilles.



                              CHAPTER III
                 Knole in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth
                            THOMAS SACKVILLE
                                  1st
                            Earl _of_ Dorset


                                  § i

Such interest as the Sackvilles have lies, I think, in their being so
representative. From generation to generation they might stand, fully
equipped, as portraits from English history. Unless they are to be
considered in this light they lose their purport; they merely share, as
Byron wrote to one of their number:

         ... _with titled crowds the common lot,
         In life just gazed at, in the grave forgot ...
         The mouldering ’scutcheon, or the herald’s roll,
         That well-emblazoned but neglected scroll,
         Where lords, unhonoured, in the tomb may find
         One spot, to leave a worthless name behind:
         There sleep, unnoticed as the gloomy vaults
         That veil their dust, their follies, and their faults:
         A race with old armorial lists o’erspread
         In records destined never to be read_.

But let them stand each as the prototype of his age, and at the same
time as a link to carry on, not only the tradition but also the heredity
of his race, and they immediately acquire a significance, a unity. You
have first the grave Elizabethan, with the long, rather melancholy face,
emerging from the oval frame above the black clothes and the white wand
of office; you perceive all his severe integrity; you understand the
intimidating austerity of the contribution he made to English letters.
Undoubtedly a fine old man. You come down to his grandson: he is the
Cavalier by Vandyck hanging in the hall, hand on hip, his flame-coloured
doublet slashed across by the blue of the Garter; this is the man who
raised a troop of horse off his own estates and vowed never to cross the
threshold of his house into an England governed by the murderers of the
King. You have next the florid, magnificent Charles, the fruit of the
Restoration, poet, and patron of poets, prodigal, jovial, and
licentious; you have him full-length, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, in his
Garter robes and his enormous wig, his foot and fine calf well thrust
forward; you have him less pompous and more intimate, wrapped in a
dressing-gown of figured silk, the wig replaced by an Hogarthian turban;
but it is still the same coarse face, with the heavy jowl and the
twinkling eyes, the crony of Rochester and Sedley, the patron and host
of Pope and Dryden, Prior and Killigrew. You come down to the eighteenth
century. You have on Gainsborough’s canvas the beautiful, sensitive face
of the gay and fickle duke, spoilt, feared, and propitiated by the women
of London and Paris, the reputed lover of Marie Antoinette. You have his
son, too fair and pretty a boy, the friend of Byron, killed in the
hunting-field at the age of twenty-one, the last direct male of a race
too prodigal, too amorous, too weak, too indolent, and too melancholy.


                                  § ii

The Sackvilles are supposed to have gone into Normandy in the ninth
century with Rollo the Dane, and to have settled in the neighbourhood of
Dieppe, in a small town called Salcavilla, from which, obviously, they
derived their name. Much as I relish the suggestion of this Norse
origin, I am bound to add that the first of whom there is any authentic
record is Herbrand de Sackville, contemporary with William the
Conqueror, whom he accompanied to England. Descending from him is a long
monotonous list of Sir Jordans, Sir Andrews, Sir Edwards, Sir Richards,
carrying us through the Crusades, the French wars, and the wars of the
Roses, but none of whom has the slightest interest until we get to Sir
Richard Sackville, temp. Henry VIII-Elizabeth—from his wealth called
Sackfill or Fillsack, though not, it appears, “either griping or
penurious,” a man of some note, and thus qualified by Roger Ascham:
“That worthy gentleman, that earnest favourer and furtherer of God’s
true religion; that faithful servitor to his prince and country; a lover
of learning and all learned men; wise in all doings; courteous to all
persons, showing spite to none, doing good to many; and, as I well
found, to me so fast a friend as I never lost the like before”; and in
this same connection I may quote further from Ascham’s preface to _The
Scholemaster_, in which he records a conversation which took place in
1593 between himself and Sir Richard Sackville, when dining with Sir
William Cecil: Sir Richard, after complaining of his own education by a
bad schoolmaster, said, “But seeing it is but in vain to lament things
past, and also wisdom to look to things to come, surely, God willing (if
God lend me life), I will make this my mishap some occasion of good hap
to little Robert Sackville, my son’s son; for whose bringing up I would
gladly, if so please you, use specially your good advice.”... “I wish
also,” says Ascham, “with all my heart, that young Mr. Robert Sackville
may take that fruit of this labour that his worthy grandfather purposed
he should have done. And if any other do take profit or pleasure hereby,
they have cause to thank Mr. Robert Sackville, for whom specially this
my Scholemaster was provided.”

This Sir Richard was the founder of the family fortune, which was to be
increased by his son and squandered after that by nearly all his
descendants in succession. It was he who bought, in 1564, for the sum of
£641 5_s._ 10½_d._, “the whole of the land lying between Bridewell and
Water Lane from Fleet Street to the Thames.” This property, now of
course of almost fabulous value, included the house then known as
Salisbury House, having belonged to the see of Salisbury, which
presently became Dorset House in 1603, and presently again was divided
into Great Dorset House and Little Dorset House, as the London house of
the Sackvilles. A wall enclosed house and gardens from the existing line
of Salisbury Court south to the river, and shops and tenements in and
near Fleet Street from St. Bride’s to Water Lane (Whitefriars Street).
These were not the only London possessions of the Sackvilles. Later on
they overflowed into the Strand, and another Dorset House sprang up, on
the site of the present Treasury in Whitehall, to take the place of the
older house in Salisbury Court, which had been destroyed in the Great
Fire. It is idle and exasperating to speculate on the modern value of
these City estates.

Sir Richard Sackville died in 1566, when his son Thomas was already
thirty years of age. Very little is known about Thomas’ early life; we
only know that he went for a short time to Oxford (Hertford), and
subsequently to the Inner Temple. While at Oxford he attracted some
attention as a poet and writer of sonnets, but I have only been able to
find one of these early sonnets, written for Hoby’s translation of the
_Courtier of Count Baldessar Castilio_ (published in 1561), and which I
quote, not so much for its worth as for its interest as a little-known
work from the pen of one who, as the author of our earliest tragedy, has
a certain renown:

           _These royal Kings, that rear up to the sky
             Their palace tops, and deck them all with gold:
           With rare and curious works they feed the eye,
             And show what riches here great princes hold.
           A rarer work, and richer far in worth,
             Castilio’s hand presenteth here to thee:
           No proud nor golden court doth he set forth
             But what in court a courtier ought to be.
           The prince he raiseth huge and mighty walls,
             Castilio frames a wight of noble fame:
           The King with gorgeous tissue clads his halls,
             The court with golden virtue decks the same
           Whose passing skill, lo, Hoby’s pen displays
             To Britain folk a work of worthy praise._

But for the rest concerning these early poems one must take his
contemporary Jasper Heywood’s eulogy on trust:

               _There Sackville’s sonnets sweetly sauced
               And featly finèd be._

[Illustration:

  A CONFERENCE OF ENGLISH AND SPANISH PLENIPOTENTIARIES AT SOMERSET
    HOUSE IN 1604

  _From the painting by_ MARC GHEERHARDTS _at the National Portrait
    Gallery_

  At the top right-hand corner, nearest the window, Thomas Sackville,
    1st Earl of Dorset, K.G., Lord High Treasurer of England
]

It seems that Sackville’s works were all written in the first half of
his life, and that later on, as honours came to him, he altogether
abandoned what might have been a first-rate literary career for a
second-rate political one—more’s the pity. “A born poet,” says Mr.
Gosse, “diverted from poetry by the pursuits of statesmanship.” He is a
very good instance of the disadvantage of fine birth to a poet. But for
the fact that he was born the Queen’s cousin, through the Boleyns, and
the son of a father holding various distinguished offices, he might
never have entered a political arena where he was destined to have as
competitors such statesmen as Burleigh, and such favourites as Leicester
and Essex. Amongst his contemporary poets, Surrey and Wyatt both died
while Sackville was still a child; when Spenser was born, Sackville was
already sixteen; when Sidney was born, he was eighteen; when Shakespeare
was born, he was a full-grown man of twenty-eight. He had thus the good
fortune to be born at a time when English poets of much standing were
rare, an opportunity of which he might have taken greater advantage had
not the accident of his birth persuaded him to abandon poetry for more
serious things as the dilettantism of his youth. For he was
comparatively young when he wrote both _Gorboduc_ and the _Induction_ to
the _Mirror for Magistrates_. _Gorboduc_ was first performed by the
gentlemen of the Inner Temple before the Queen in 1561, when Sackville
was twenty-five, and the _Induction_ was first published in 1563, when
he was twenty-seven; but already in or about 1557, when he was only just
over twenty, he had composed the plan for the whole of the _Mirror for
Magistrates_, intending to write it himself, although subsequently from
want of leisure he left the composition of all but the induction or
introduction, and the _Complaint of Henry, Duke of Buckingham_, to
others.

By the age of twenty-one, however, responsibilities were already upon
him. He was married; and he was a member of Parliament, not merely once
but twice over, as appears from the journals of the House of Commons:
“For that Thomas Sackville, Esq., is returned for the County of
Westmoreland, and also for the Borough of East Grinstead in Sussex, and
doth personally appear for Westmoreland, it is required by this House
that another person be returned for the said borough.” How this double
election can have come about I cannot explain. It seems to have done him
no harm in his parliamentary career; not only was he returned member for
Aylesbury in 1563, but he took an active part in introducing bills, etc.
About this time he went to travel in France and Italy, where for some
mysterious reason he got himself thrown into prison; the reason was
probably pecuniary, for we are told that he was “of the height of spirit
inherent in his house,” and lived too magnificently for his means; so I
think the assumption is in favour of his having got temporarily into
debt. If, indeed, he shared in any measure the tastes of his
descendants, nothing is more likely. Back in England again, the
successes of his career rushed upon him. His father was just dead; he
was the head of his family; he inherited its wealth and estates; he was
at the propitious age of thirty; he was related to the Queen; he was
marked out to prosper. Within the next thirty years or so he was,
successively, knighted and created Lord Buckhurst of Buckhurst, in the
county of Sussex; given the house and lands of Knole by the Queen, that
she might have him near her court and councils; sent to France and the
Netherlands as special ambassador from Elizabeth; made a Knight of the
Garter; Chancellor of Oxford, where he sumptuously entertained the
Queen; made Lord High Treasurer of England in 1599; High Steward of
England at the trial of Essex, where he sat in state under a canopy and
pronounced sentence and an exhortation, says Bacon, “with gravity and
solemnity.” By this time, I imagine, he had in very truth become the
grave and solemn personage one sees in all his portraits—not that his
mind, even in early youth, can have been otherwise than grave and solemn
if at the age of twenty he had been capable of imagining a vast poem on
so dreary and Dantesque a plan as the _Mirror for Magistrates_, devised,
says Morley in his _English Literature_, “to moralise those incidents of
English history which warn the powerful of the unsteadiness of fortune
by showing them, as in a mirror, that ‘who reckless rules, right soon
may hap to rue.’” Also, from a letter written by Lord Buckhurst to Lord
Walsingham, it is clear that he had no sympathy with ostentation, but
only with honest worth: “And, Sir, I beseech you send over as few Court
captains as may be; but that they may rather be furnished with captains
here [in the Low Countries], such as by their worthiness and long
service do merit it, and do further seek to shine in the field with
virtue and valiance against the enemy than with gold lace and gay
garments in Court at home.” In 1586 Lord Buckhurst was one of the forty
appointed on the commission for the trial of Mary Stuart, and although
his name is not amongst those who proceeded to Fotheringay, nor later in
the Star Chamber at Westminster when she was condemned to death, yet he
was sent to announce the sentence to death, and received from her in
recognition of his tact and gentleness in conveying this news the
triptych and carved group of the Procession to Calvary now on the altar
in the chapel at Knole.

He was, in fact, absent from none of the councils of the nation, and I
have no doubt that he discharged his duties with all seriousness and
honesty. Poetry—a frivolous pursuit—had long since been left behind. The
poet had become the statesman. Nevertheless there were times when his
very integrity was the cause of bringing him into disfavour with the
intolerant mistress he served, notably on one occasion when he refused
to take the part of Leicester and was indignantly confined to his house
for nine or ten months by Royal mandate. And there was another occasion,
amusing as showing the extreme simplicity in which even a man like Lord
Buckhurst, who had the reputation of lavish living in his own day,
conducted his daily life. Buckhurst, then being at the royal palace of
Shene, was desired by the Queen to entertain Odet de Coligny, Cardinal
of Chatillon, and did so, but with the result made clear in the
following letter, of which I give extracts:

  _To the Right Honourable the Lords of her Majesty’s Privy Council be
  this delivered._

  My duty to your Lordships most humbly remembered.

  Returning yesterday to Shene, I received as from your Lordships how
  her highness stood greatly displeased with me, for that I had not in
  better sort entertained the Cardinal.

He goes on to speak of his “great grief” and his “sorrowful heart,”
especially, he says, “being to her Majesty as I am,” and proceeds with
the attempt to justify himself for his supposed niggardliness:

  I brought them in to every part of the house that I possessed, and
  showed them all such stuff and furniture as I had. And where they
  required plate of me, I told them as troth is, that I had no plate at
  all. Such glass vessel as I had I offered them, which they thought too
  base; for napery I could not satisfy their turn, for they desired
  damask work for a long table, and I had none other but plain linen for
  a square table. The table whereon I dine myself I offered them, and
  for that it was a square table they refused it. One only tester and
  bedstead not occupied I had, and those I delivered for the Cardinal
  himself, and when we could not by any means in so short a time procure
  another bedstead for the bishop, I assigned them the bedstead on which
  my wife’s waiting women did lie, and laid them on the ground. Mine own
  basin and ewer I lent to the Cardinal and wanted myself. So did I the
  candlesticks for mine own table, with divers drinking glasses, small
  cushions, small pots for the kitchen, and sundry other such like
  trifles, although indeed I had no greater store of them than I
  presently occupied; and albeit this be not worthy the writing, yet
  mistrusting lest the misorder of some others in denying of such like
  kind of stuff not occupied by themselves, have been percase informed
  as towards me, I have thought good not to omit it. Long tables, forms,
  brass for the kitchen, and all such necessaries as could not be
  furnished by me, we took order to provide in the town; hangings and
  beds we received from the yeoman of the wardrobe at Richmond, and when
  we saw that napery and sheets could nowhere here be had, I sent word
  thereof to the officers at the Court, by which means we received from
  my lord of Leicester 2 pair of fine sheets for the Cardinal, and from
  my lord Chamberlain one pair of fine for the bishop, with 2 other
  coarser pair, and order beside for 10 pair more from London.

  At which time also because I would be sure your Lordships should be
  ascertained of the simpleness and scarcity of such stuff as I had
  here, I sent a man of mine to the Court, specially to declare to your
  Lordships that for plate, damask, napery and fine sheets, I had none
  at all and for the rest of my stuff neither was it such as with honour
  might furnish such a personage, nor yet had I any greater store
  thereof than I presently occupied, and he brought me this answer again
  from your Lordships that if I had it not I could not lend it. And yet
  all things being thus provided for, and the diet for his Lordship
  being also prepared, I sent word thereof to Mr. Kingesmele and
  thereupon the next day in the morning about nine of the clock the
  Cardinal came to Shene where I met and received him almost a quarter
  of a mile from the house, and when I had first brought the Cardinal to
  his lodging, and after the bishop to his, I thought good there to
  leave them to their repose. Thus having accommodated his Lordship as
  well as might be with so short a warning, I thought myself to have
  fully performed the meaning of your Lordships’ letters unto me, and
  because I had tidings the day before that a house of mine in the
  country by sudden chance was burned ... I took horse and rode the same
  night towards those places, where I found so much of my house burned
  as 200 marks will not repair....

This is not at all in accordance with his reputation for hospitality:

  He kept house for forty and two years in an honourable proportion. For
  thirty years of these his family consisted of little less, in one
  place or another, than two hundred persons. But for more than twenty
  years, besides workmen and other hired, his number at the least hath
  been two hundred and twenty daily, as appeared upon check-role. A very
  rare example in this present age of ours, when housekeeping is so
  decayed.

I think that this reputation, and the enormous sums which he spent upon
the enlargement and beautifying of Knole, make all the more remarkable
the statements in the foregoing letter: that he had neither napery,
plate, nor sheets, and that in order to provide his guest with a basin
and ewer he was obliged to do without them himself. It is apparent also
from his will that he indulged himself in the luxury of various
musicians, “some for the voice and some for the instrument, whom I have
found to be honest in their behaviour and skilful in their profession,
and who had often given me after the labour and painful travels of the
day much recreation and contatation with their delightful harmony.”
“Musicians,” it was said, “the most curious he could have,” so that in
these extravagances he was not parsimonious, although he disregarded the
common comforts of life.

[Illustration:

  LEAD PIPE-HEADS

  _Put up by_ THOMAS SACKVILLE _in 1605_

  Figs. 1 to 4, Stone Court. Fig. 5, Over King’s Bedroom Window. Figs. 6
    and 7, South Front. Fig. 8, Stone Court. Fig. 9, Water Court.
]

In June 1566 Queen Elizabeth had presented him with Knole, but, because
the house was then both let and sub-let, it was not until 1603 that he
was able to take possession. Tradition says that the Queen bestowed
Knole upon him because she wished to have him nearer to her court and
councils, and to spare him the constant journey between London and
Buckhurst, over the rough, clay-sodden roads of the Weald, at that date
still an uncultivated and almost uninhabited district, where droves of
wild swine rootled for acorns under the oaks. He does not appear to have
spent very much time at Knole during the first years of his ownership,
for in a letter written in September 1605, to Lord Salisbury, he says:
“I go now to Horsley, and thence to Knole, where I was not but once in
the first beginnings all the year, whence for three or four days to
Buckhurst, where I was not these seven years.” This did not prevent him
from spending a great deal of money on the house; unfortunately there is
no record of what he spent between 1603 and 1607, but for the last ten
months of his life alone there is a total, spent on buildings, material,
and stock, for four thousand one hundred and seven pounds, eleven
shillings, and ninepence—an equivalent, in round figures, to forty
thousand of modern money. To account for these sums, it is known that he
built the Great Staircase, transformed the Great Hall to its present
state, and put in the plaster-work ceilings and marble chimney-pieces.
He also put up the very lovely lead water-spouts in the courtyards.

The good fortune of Lord Buckhurst did not come to an end with the death
of Queen Elizabeth. He was one of those who travelled to meet the new
King on his journey down from the North, was confirmed by him in his
tenure of the office of Lord Treasurer, and early in the following year
was created Earl of Dorset. The illuminated patents of creation are at
Knole, showing portraits of both Elizabeth and James I, not very
flattering to either; and the Lord Treasurer’s chest is at Knole
likewise, a huge coffer covered in leather and thickly studded with
large round-headed brass nails. There is a warrant, signed by him as
Lord Treasurer, for increasing the duty on tobacco, “That tobacco, being
a drug brought into England of late years in small quantities, was used
and taken by the better sort only as physic to preserve health; but
through evil custom and the toleration thereof that riotous and
disorderly persons spent most of their time in that idle vanity.” This
warrant, which is dated 1605, shows how little time had elapsed since
its introduction before tobacco established its popularity.

He was now advancing in years, and his own letters prove that his health
was not very good. In one letter, written to Cecil, he complains that he
cannot rest more than two or three hours in the night at most, also that
he is constantly subject to rheums and cold and coughs, forced to defend
himself with warmth, and to fly the air in cold or moist weathers. In
another letter, also written to Cecil, he again complains of a cough,
and says that he cannot come abroad for three or four days at least. But
his devotion to his public affairs was greater than his attention to his
health, for he says, “I have by the space of this month and more
foreborne to take physic by reason of her Majesty’s business, and now
having this only week left for physic I am resolved to prevent sickness,
feeling myself altogether distempered and filled with humours, so as if
her Majesty should miss me I beseech you in respect hereof to excuse
me.” In 1607, when the old man was seventy-one, there was a report
current in London that he was dead, but on the King sending him a
diamond, and wishing that he might live so long as that ring would
continue, “My Lord Treasurer,” says a letter dated June 1607, “revived
again.” In the following year, however, he died dramatically in harness,
of apoplexy while sitting at the Council table in Whitehall. His funeral
service took place in Westminster Abbey, but his body was taken to
Withyham, where it now lies buried in the vault of his ancestors.


                                 § iii

I have dealt as briefly as possible with the Lord Treasurer’s life,
because no one could pretend that the history of his embassies or his
occupations of office could have any interest save to a student of the
age of Elizabeth. But as a too-much-neglected poet I should like
presently to quote the opinions of those well qualified to judge,
showing that he was, at least, something of a pioneer in English
literature—crude, of course, and uniformly gloomy; too gloomy to read,
save as a labour of love or conscience; but nevertheless the author—or
part-author—of the earliest English tragedy, and, in some passages, a
poet of a certain sombre splendour. That he was a true poet, I think, is
unquestionable, unlike his descendant Charles, who by virtue of one song
in particular continues to survive in anthologies, but who was probably
driven into verse by the fashion of his age rather than by any genuine
urgency of creation.

The tragedy of _Gorboduc_, whose title was afterwards altered to _Ferrex
and Porrex_, was written in collaboration with Thomas Norton, although
the exact share of each author is not precisely known and has been much
argued.

  To the modern reader [says Professor Saintsbury] _Gorboduc_ is
  scarcely inviting, but that is not a condition of its attractiveness
  to its own contemporaries. [It] is of the most painful regularity; and
  the scrupulosity with which each of the rival princes is provided with
  a counsellor and a parasite to himself, and the other parts are
  allotted with similar fairness, reaches such a point that it is rather
  surprising that _Gorboduc_ was not provided with two queens—a good and
  a bad. But even these faults are perhaps less trying to the modern
  reader than the inchoate and unpolished condition of the metre in the
  choruses, and indeed in the blank verse dialogue. Here and there there
  are signs of the stateliness and poetical imagery of the _Induction_,
  but for the most part the decasyllables stop dead at their close and
  begin afresh at their beginning with a staccato movement and a dull
  monotony of cadence which is inexpressibly tedious.

Professor Saintsbury rightly points out that the dullness of _Gorboduc_
to our ideas is not a criterion of the effect it produced on readers of
its own day. Sir Philip Sidney, for example, while excepting it from the
particular charges he brings against all other English tragedies and
comedies, and granting that “it is full of stately speeches and
well-sounding phrases, climbing to the height of Seneca his style, and
as full of notable morality, which it doth most delightfully teach, and
so obtain the very end of poesy,” finds fault with it in an unexpected
quarter, namely, that it fails in two unities, of time and place, so
that the modern criticism of its “painful regularity” was far from
occurring to a mind intent upon a yet more rigorous form.

  In spite of its manifest imperfections [says the Cambridge Modern
  History], the tragedy of _Gorboduc_ has two supreme claims to
  honourable commemoration. It introduced Englishmen who knew no
  language but their own to an artistic conception of tragedy, and it
  revealed to them the true mode of tragic expression.

I might also quote here the sonnet of a greater poet, who owed much, if
not to _Gorboduc_, at least to the _Induction_—Edmund Spenser.

             _In vain I think, right honourable lord,
             By this rude rhyme to memorize thy name,
             Whose learnèd muse hath writ her own record
             In golden verse worthy immortal fame.
             Thou much more fit (were leisure to the same)
             Thy gracious sovereign’s praises to compile,
             And her imperial majesty to frame
             In lofty numbers and heroic style.
             But sith thou may’st not so, give leave awhile
             To baser wit his power therein to spend,
             Whose gross defaults thy dainty pen may file,
             And unadvisèd oversights amend.
             But evermore vouchsafe it to maintain
             Against vile Zoylus’ backbitings vain._

There is also a sonnet by Joshua Sylvester, of which I will only quote
the anagram prefixed to it:

                Sackvilus             Comes Dorsetius
                _Vas Lucis_           _Esto decor Musis_

                        Sacris Musis celo devotus

But although there can scarcely be two opinions about _Gorboduc_—that it
is sometimes noble, and always dull—Sackville’s two other poems, the
_Induction_ to the _Mirror for Magistrates_ and the _Complaint of Henry
Duke of Buckingham_, have never met with the recognition they deserve,
save for the discriminating applause of men of letters. I do not say
that they are works which can be read through with an unvarying degree
of pleasure; there are stagnant passages which have to be waded through
in between the more admirable portions. But such portions, when they are
reached, do contain much of the genuine stuff of poetry, impressive
imagery, a surprising absence of cumbersome expression—especially when
the reader bears in mind that Sackville was writing before Spenser, and
long before Marlowe—and a diction which is consistently dignified and
suitable to the gravity of the theme. Take these stanzas for instance:

           _And first within the porch and jaws of hell
           Sat deep_ Remorse of Conscience, _all besprent
           With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
           Her wretchedness, and cursing never stent
           To sob and sigh; but ever thus lament,
             With thoughtful care, as she that, all in vain,
             Would wear and waste continually in pain_.

           _Next saw we_ Dread, _all trembling: how he shook
           With foot uncertain, proffered here and there,
           Benumbed of speech, and, with a ghastly look,
           Searched every place, all pale and dead for fear,
           His cap borne up with staring of his hair,
             ’Stoin’d and amazed at his own shade for dread
             And fearing greater dangers than he need_.

           _And next, in order sad_, Old Age _we found,
           His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind,
           With drooping cheer still poring on the ground,
           As on the place where Nature him assigned
           To rest, when that the sisters had untwined
             His vital thread, and ended with their knife
             The fleeting course of fast-declining life_.

These stanzas are from the _Induction_. Or take the following from the
_Complaint of the Duke of Buckingham_:

       _Midnight was come, and every vital thing
       With sweet sound sleep their weary limbs did rest;
       The beasts were still, the little birds that sing
       Now sweetly slept beside their mother’s breast,
       The old and all well shrouded in their nest;
         The waters calm, the cruel seas did cease,
         The woods, the fields, and all things held their peace._

       _The golden stars were whirled amid their race,
       And on the earth did with their twinkling light,
       When each thing nestled in his resting place,
       Forget day’s pain with pleasure of the night;
         The fearful deer of death stood not in doubt,
         The partridge dreamt not of the falcon’s foot._

These quotations will give some kind of idea of Sackville’s matter and
manner, and of the _Mirror_, which survives among the classic monuments
of English poetry, says Courthope, only by virtue of the genius of
Sackville. For the rest, not wishing to be thought prejudiced, I should
like to quote copiously from Professor Saintsbury’s _Elizabethan
Literature_, since therein is expressed, a great deal better than I
could express it, my own view of Sackville’s poetry, and by calling in
the testimony of so excellent, scholarly, and delightful an authority I
may be freed from the charge of partiality which I should not at all
like to incur.

  The next remarkable piece of work done in English poetry after
  Tottel’s _Miscellany_—a piece of work of greater actual poetic merit
  than anything in the _Miscellany_ itself—was ... the famous _Mirror
  for Magistrates_, or rather that part of it contributed by Thomas
  Sackville, Lord Buckhurst.... The _Induction_ and the _Complaint of
  Buckingham_, which Sackville furnished to it in 1559, though they were
  not published till four years later, completely outweigh all the rest
  in value. His contributions to the _Mirror for Magistrates_ contain
  the best poetry written in the English language between Chaucer and
  Spenser, and are most certainly the originals or at least the models
  of some of Spenser’s finest work. He has had but faint praise of late
  years.... I have little hesitation in saying that no more astonishing
  contribution to English poetry, when the due reservations of that
  historical criticism which is the life of all criticism are made, is
  to be found anywhere. The bulk is not great: twelve or fifteen hundred
  lines must cover the whole of it. The form is not new, being merely
  the 7–line stanza already familiar in Chaucer. The arrangement is in
  no way novel, combining as it does the allegorical presentment of
  embodied virtues, vices, and qualities with the melancholy narrative
  common in poets for many years before. But the poetical value of the
  whole is extraordinary. The two constituents of that value, the formal
  and the material, are represented here with a singular equality of
  development. There is nothing here of Wyatt’s floundering prosody,
  nothing of the well-intentioned doggerel in which Surrey himself
  indulges and in which his pupils simply revel. The cadences of the
  verse perfect, the imagery fresh and sharp, the presentation of nature
  singularly original, when it is compared with the battered copies of
  the poets with whom Sackville must have been most familiar, the
  followers of Chaucer from Occleeve to Hawes. Even the general plan of
  the poem—the weakest part of nearly all poems of this time—is
  extraordinarily effective and makes one sincerely sorry that
  Sackville’s taste or his other occupations did not permit him to carry
  out the whole scheme on his own account. The _Induction_, in which the
  author is brought face to face with Sorrow, and the central passages
  of the _Complaint of Buckingham_, have a depth and fullness of
  poetical sound and sense for which we must look backwards a hundred
  and fifty years, or forwards nearly five and twenty....

  He has not indeed the manifold music of Spenser—it would be
  unreasonable to expect that he should have it. But his stanzas are of
  remarkable melody, and they have about them a command, a completeness
  of accomplishment within the writer’s intentions, which is very
  noteworthy in so young a man. The extraordinary richness and
  stateliness of the measure has escaped no critic. There is indeed a
  certain one-sidedness about it, and a devil’s advocate might urge that
  a long poem couched in verse (let alone the subject) of such unbroken
  gloom would be intolerable. But Sackville did not write a long poem,
  and his complete command within his limits of the effect at which he
  evidently aimed is most remarkable.

[Illustration:

  THE GREAT STAIRCASE (UPPER FLIGHT)

  _Built by_ THOMAS SACKVILLE, _1604–8_
]

  The second thing to note about the poem is the extraordinary freshness
  and truth of its imagery. From a young poet we always expect
  second-hand presentations of nature, and in Sackville’s day
  second-hand presentation of nature had been elevated to the rank of a
  science.... It is perfectly clear that Thomas Sackville had, in the
  first place, a poetical eye to see, within as well as without, the
  objects of poetical presentment; in the second place, a poetical
  vocabulary in which to clothe the results of his seeing; and in the
  third place, a poetical ear by aid of which to arrange his language in
  the musical co-ordination necessary to poetry. Wyatt had been
  notoriously wanting in the last; Surrey had not been very obviously
  furnished with the first; and all three were not to be possessed by
  anyone else till Edmund Spenser arose to put Sackville’s lessons in
  practice on a wider scale and with a less monotonous lyre. It is
  possible that Sackville’s claims in drama may have been
  exaggerated—they have of late years rather been undervalued; but his
  claims in poetry proper can only be overlooked by those who decline to
  consider the most important part of poetry. In the subject of even his
  part of the _Mirror_ there is nothing new; there is only a following
  of Chaucer, and Gower, and Occleeve, and Lydgate, and Hawes, and many
  others. But in the handling there is one novelty which makes all
  others of no effect or interest: it is the novelty of a new poetry.



                               CHAPTER IV
                     Knole in the Reign of James I
                           RICHARD SACKVILLE
                                  3rd
                            Earl _of_ Dorset
                                 _and_
                           LADY ANNE CLIFFORD


                                  § i

It so happens that a remarkably complete record has been left of
existence at Knole in the early seventeenth century—an existence
compounded of extreme prodigality of living, tedium, and perpetual
domestic quarrels. We have a private diary, in which every squabble and
reconciliation between Lord and Lady Dorset is chronicled; every gown
she wore; every wager he won or lost (and he made many); every book she
read; every game she played at Knole with the steward or with the
neighbours; every time she wept; every day she “sat still, thinking the
time to be very tedious.” We have even a complete list of the servants
and their functions, from Mr. Matthew Caldicott, my Lord’s favourite,
down to John Morockoe, a Blackamoor. It would, out of this quantity of
information, be possible to reconstruct a play of singular accuracy.

The author of the diary was a lady of some fame and a great deal of
character: Lady Anne Clifford, the daughter and sole heiress of George,
Earl of Cumberland, and wife to Richard, Earl of Dorset. Cumberland was
himself a picturesque figure. He was Elizabeth’s official champion at
all jousts and tilting, a nobleman of great splendour, and in addition
to this display of truly Elizabethan glitter and parade he had the other
facet of Elizabethan _virtù_: the love of adventure, which carried him
eleven times to sea, to the Indies and elsewhere, “for the service of
Queen Elizabeth,” says his daughter in the life she wrote of him, “for
the good of England, and of his own person.” She gives an account of her
own appearance:

  I was very happy in my first constitution both in mind and body, both
  for internal and external endowments, for never was there child more
  equally resembling both father and mother than myself. The colour of
  mine eyes were black, like my father, and the form and aspect of them
  was quick and lively, like my mother’s; the hair of my head was brown
  and very thick, and so long that it reached to the calf of my legs
  when I stood upright, with a peak of hair on my forehead and a dimple
  in my chin like my father, full cheeks and round face like my mother,
  and an exquisite shape of body resembling my father.

After this description, more remarkable for exactness perhaps than for
modesty, she adds:

  But now time and age hath long since ended all these beauties, which
  are to be compared to the grass of the field (_Isaiah_ xl., 6, 7, 8;
  _1 Peter_ i., 24). For now when I caused these memorables of my self
  to be written I have passed the 63rd year of my age.

Having put this in by way of a saving clause, she proceeds again
complacently:

  And though I say it, the perfections of my mind were much above those
  of my body; I had a strong and copious memory, a sound judgement, and
  a discerning spirit, and so much of a strong imagination in me as that
  many times even my dreams and apprehensions beforehand proved to be
  true; so as old Mr. John Denham, a great astronomer, that sometime
  lived in my father’s house, would often say that I had much in me in
  nature to show that the sweet influences of the Pleiades and the bands
  of Orion were powerful both at my conception and my nativity.

She was innocent of unnecessary diffidence. Yet she was not without
gratitude:

  I must not forget to acknowledge that in my infancy and youth, and a
  great part of my life, I have escaped many dangers, both by fire and
  water, by passage in coaches and falls from horses, by burning fevers,
  and excessive extremity of bleeding many times to the great hazard of
  my life, all which, and many cunning and wicked devices of my enemies,
  I have escaped and passed through miraculously, and much the better by
  the help and prayers of my devout mother, who incessantly begged of
  God for my safety and preservation (_Jas._ v., 16).

To her mother she seems to have been excessively devoted; and indeed, in
the midst of this stubborn and peremptory character, the most vulnerable
spot is her tenderness for her relations; those of her relations, that
is to say, with whom she was not at mortal enmity.

The death of Queen Elizabeth, which occurred when Anne Clifford was a
girl of thirteen, was a disappointment to her in more ways than one, for
“if Queen Elizabeth had lived she intended to prefer me to be of the
Privy Chamber, for at that time there was as much hope and expectation
of me as of any other young lady whatsoever,” and moreover “my Mother
and Aunt of Warwick being mourners, I was not allowed to be one, because
I was not high enough, which did much trouble me then.” She was not even
allowed the privilege of watching by the great Queen’s body after it had
come “by night in a Barge from Richmond to Whitehall, my Mother and a
great Company of Ladies attending it, where it continued a great while
standing in the Drawing Chamber, where it was watched all night by
several Lords and Ladies, my Mother sitting up with it two or three
nights, but my Lady would not give me leave to watch, by reason I was
held too young.” It is to be regretted that the writer, who possessed so
vivid and unself-conscious a pen, should have been thus defrauded of
setting upon record the scene in which the old Queen, stiff as an
effigy, and blazing with the jewels of England, lay for the last time in
state, by the light of candles, among the great nobles whom in her
lifetime she had bullied and governed, and whom even in death the
rigidity of that bejezabelled presence could still overawe.

Although she had not been allowed to see the dead Queen, Lady Anne was
taken to see the new King, but did not find the court to her liking:

  We all went to Tibbalds to see the King, who used my Mother and Aunt
  very graciously, but we all saw a great change between the fashion of
  the Court as it is now and of that in the Queen’s time, for we were
  all lousy by sitting in the chamber of Sir Thomas Erskine.

This unpropitious introduction was the first she had to James I, but it
was by no means her last meeting with him, for she relates several later
on which might more properly be called encounters.

About two years after Elizabeth’s death Lord Cumberland died, “very
patiently and willingly of a bloody flux,” leaving Anne Clifford his
only surviving child and heiress, then being aged about fifteen years.
Her father cannot have been much more than a name to her, for although
“endowed with many perfections of nature befitting so noble a personage,
as an excellent quickness of wit and apprehension, an active and strong
body, and an affable disposition and behaviour,” he “fell to love a lady
of quality,” which created a breach between himself and his wife, and
“when my Mother and he did meet, their countenance did show the dislike
they had one of another, yet he would speak to me in a slight fashion
and give me his blessing.... My Father used to come to us sometimes at
Clerkenwell, but not often, for he had at this time as it were wholly
left my Mother, yet the house was kept still at his charge.” All this
early part of her life, I ought to explain, is related by her in the
Lives of her parents and herself, which she compiled in her old age; and
partly from a diary of reminiscences, a transcript of which is at Knole,
and which she appears to have written at the same time as the more
detailed Diary which she was then (1616–1619) keeping from day to day.
She had a happy childhood with her mother, and cousins of her own
age—“All this time we were merry at North Hall. My Coz. Frances Bouchier
and my Coz. Francis Russell and I did use to walk much in the garden,
and were great with one another. I used to wear my Hair-coloured Velvet
every day, and learned to sing and play on the Bass-Viol of Jack
Jenkins, my Aunt’s boy.”

The Diary at Knole jumps without any warning or transition from the
reminiscences of youth to 1616. It begins with a sad little hint of the
weariness that was to follow: “All the time I stayed in the country I
was sometimes merry and sometimes sad, as I had news from London.” She
had then been married for seven years to Richard Sackville, third Earl
of Dorset, grandson to Queen Elizabeth’s old Treasurer, who was himself
anxious for the match, writing to Sir George Moore about “that virtuous
young lady, the Lady Anne Clifford,” and soliciting Moore’s good offices
with Lady Cumberland.

[Illustration:

  RICHARD SACKVILLE, 3RD EARL OF DORSET, K.G.

  _From the miniature by_ ISAAC OLIVER _in the Victoria and Albert
    Museum_
]

There were, in all, five children of the marriage: three little boys,
who all “died young at Knole where they were born,” and two little
girls, of whom Margaret, born in 1614, figures largely in the Diary and
is the only one to concern us, since Isabel was not born till some years
after Lady Anne had ceased to keep the Diary. Lady Anne’s mother
travelled to London from the North in order to be present at the birth
of Margaret, the first child; but by a strange mischance the journey was
rendered vain, for, having gone “into the Tower of London to see some
friends there, where, the gates being shut up by an accident that
happened, she was kept there till after her daughter was delivered of
her first child, though she had made a journey purposely from Appleby
Castle, in Westmoreland, to London.” Not only does the Diary contain
constant references to this little girl, but Lady Anne’s letters to her
mother, now at Appleby, are rarely without some comment—

  she begins to break out very much upon her head, which I hope will
  make her very healthful [a curious theory]. She hath yet no teeth come
  out, but they are most of them swelled in the flesh, so that now and
  then they make her very froward. I have found your Ladyship’s words
  true about the nurse had for her, for she hath been one of the most
  unhealthfullest women that I think ever was, and so extremely troubled
  with the toothache and rheums and swelling in her face as could be,
  and one night she fell very ill, and was taken like an ague so as she
  had but little milk left, and so I was enforced to send for the next
  woman that was by to give my child suck, whom hath continued with her
  ever since, and I thank God the child agrees so well with her milk as
  may be, so I mean not to change her any more. It is a miracle to me
  that the child should prosper so well. She is but a little one, I
  confess, but a livelier and merrier thing was there never yet seen.

Dorset also was fond of the little girl, for in other letters to her
mother Anne says, after apologising for her bad writing, which she terms
“scribbling,” “my Lord is as fond of her as can be, and calls her his
mistress”; and again, “My Lord to her is a very kind, loving, and dear
father, and in everything will I commend him, saving only in this
business of my land, wherein I think some evil spirit works, for in this
he is as violent as possible, so I must either do it next term or else
break friendship and love with him”; and Dorset was, on his side, of the
same opinion, for in a letter written to her at Knole, which begins
“Sweet Heart,” and sends messages to the child, he adds to his wife,
“whom in all things I love and hold a sober woman, your land only
excepted, which transports you beyond yourself, and makes you devoid of
all reason.” It would appear that but for this unfortunate question of
the lands and money they might have lived happily together, affection
not lacking, and on Anne’s part at any rate good will not lacking
either, as witness her constant defence of him, even to her mother:

  It is true that they have brought their matters so about that I am in
  the greatest strait that ever poor creature was, but whatsoever you
  may think of my Lord, I have found him, do find him, and think I shall
  find him, the best and most worthy man that ever breathed, therefore,
  if it be possible, I beseech you, have a better opinion of him, if you
  know all I do, I am sure you would believe this that I write, but I
  durst not impart my mind about when I was with you, because I found
  you so bitter against him, or else I could have told you so many
  arguments of his goodness and worth that you should have seen it
  plainly yourself.

They were married when she was nineteen and he was twenty, and two days
after their marriage he succeeded to his father’s titles and estates:
“We have no other news here but of weddings and burials, the Earl of
Dorset died on Monday night leaving a heaire [?] widow God wot, and his
son seeing him past hope the Saturday before married the Lady Anne
Clifford.” In spite, however, of all they had to make life
pleasant—their youth, their wealth, and the privileges of their
position—they spent the succeeding years in making it as unpleasant as
they possibly could for one another.

I hardly think that it is necessary or even interesting to go into the
legal details of the long dispute over Lord Cumberland’s will. The
interest of Anne and Richard Dorset is human, not litigious. It may
therefore be sufficient to say that by the terms of his will Lord
Cumberland bequeathed the vast Clifford estates in Westmoreland to his
brother Sir Francis Clifford, with the proviso that they should revert
to Anne, his daughter, in the event of the failure of heirs male, a
reversion which eventually took place, thirty-eight years after his
death. What he does not appear to have realized was that the estates
were already entailed upon Lady Anne; and that he was, by his will,
illegally breaking an entail which dated back to the reign of Edward II.

It is easy to judge, from this broad indication, the infinite
possibilities for litigation amongst persons contentiously minded. Such
persons were not lacking. There was Lady Cumberland, Anne’s mother, bent
upon safeguarding the rights of her daughter. There was Francis, the new
Earl of Cumberland, equally bent upon preserving what had been left to
him by will. There was Richard Dorset, whose own fortune was not
adequate to his extravagance, and who, having married an heiress, was
determined for his own sake that that heiress should not be defrauded of
her inheritance, or that, if she was to be defrauded, he at least should
receive ample compensation. And finally there was Anne herself, who was
more resolved than any of them that she and the North of England should
not be parted. Dorset’s part, of the four, was the most elaborate and
the most discreditable. He would have been willing for his wife to
renounce some of her claims in return for the compromise of ready cash.
Anne, however, remained single-hearted throughout: she was the legal
heiress of the North, and the North she would have; and in the midst of
the otherwise sordid and mercenary dispute, in which Dorset used every
means of coercion, she remains fixed in her perfectly definite attitude
of obstinacy, unswayed by her husband, his relations, her own relations,
their friends, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the King himself, their
remonstrances, their threats, their vindictiveness, and the actual
injuries she had to endure over a long stretch of years. In the end she
got the better of them all, and the last picture of her left by the
“Lives” is that of a triumphant and imperious old lady, retired to the
stronghold of her northern castles, where her authority could stand
“against sectaries, almost against Parliaments and armies themselves”;
refusing to go to court “unless she might wear blinkers”; moving with
feudal, with almost royal, state between her many castles, from Appleby
to Pendragon, from Pendragon to Brougham, from Brougham to Brough, from
Brough to Skipton; building brew-houses, wash-houses, bake-houses,
kitchens, stables; sending word to Cromwell that as fast as he should
knock her castles about her ears she would surely put them up again;
endowing almshouses; ruling over her almswomen and her tenants;
receiving, like the patriarchal old despot that she was, the generations
of her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.

[Illustration:

  LADY ANNE CLIFFORD

  WIFE TO RICHARD SACKVILLE, 3RD EARL OF DORSET

  _From the portrait at Knole by_ _Mytens_
]

Before she could reach these serene waters, however, she had many storms
to weather, and to bear the “crosses and contradictions” which caused
her to write “the marble pillars of Knole in Kent and Wilton in
Wiltshire were to me oftentimes but the gay arbours of anguish.” Richard
Sackville in his own day was a byword for extravagance, and was bent on
extorting from his wife for the purposes of his own pleasure the utmost
resources of her inheritance. His portrait is at Knole, a full-length by
Van Somer; he has a pale, pointed face, dark hair growing in a peak, and
small mean eyes, and is dressed entirely in black with enormous silver
rosettes on his shoes. There is also the very beautiful miniature of him
by Isaac Oliver in the Victoria and Albert Museum, showing the richness
of his clothes, his embroidered stockings, and his hand resting upon the
extravagantly-plumed helmet on the table beside him.

His life is an empty record of gambling, cock-fighting, tilting; of
balls and masques, women and fine clothes. “Above all they speak of the
Earl of Dorset,” says a contemporary letter, after describing the
lavishness of some of the costumes worn in a Court masque in which he
was taking part, “but their extreme cost and riches make us all poor,”
and Clarendon says of him, “his excess of expenditure, in all the ways
to which money could be applied, was such that he so entirely consumed
almost the whole great fortune which descended to him, that when he was
forced to leave the title to his younger brother he left, in a manner,
nothing to him to support it.” The enormous estates which he inherited,
the careful accumulation of the old Lord Treasurer, he sold in great
part, in order to squander the proceeds upon his amusements; before he
had been in possession for three years he had sold the manor of
Sevenoaks, and had “conveyed” Knole itself to one Henry Smith
(retaining, however, the house at a rent of £100 a year for his own
use), and in the course of rather less than ten years he had sold
estates, including much of Fleet Street and the Manor of Holborn, to the
value of £80,616, or nearly a million of modern money.

In Aubrey’s _Bodleian Letters_ there is an anecdote concerning him, not
devoid of humour:

  He [Sir Kenelm Digby] married that celebrated beauty and courtesan,
  Mrs. Venetia Stanley, whom Richard, Earl of Dorset, kept as his
  concubine, had children by her, and settled on her an annuity of £500
  per annum; which after Sir Kenelm Digby married her was unpaid by the
  Earl: Sir Kenelm Digby sued the Earl, after marriage, and recovered
  it. Venetia Stanley was a most beautiful and desirable creature ...
  sanguine and tractable, and of much suavity.

  In those days Richard, Earl of Dorset, lived in the greatest splendour
  of any nobleman of England.

  After her marriage she [Venetia Stanley] redeemed her honour by her
  strict living. Once a year the Earl of Dorset invited her and Sir
  Kenelm to dinner, where the Earl would behold her with much passion,
  yet only kiss her hand.

Later on in his life a certain Lady Peneystone appears, who considerably
complicated the already difficult relations between Anne and himself.

Anne Clifford herself, in spite of all that she had to endure at his
hands, gives a charitable account of him.

  This first lord of mine was in his own nature of a just mind, of a
  sweet disposition, and very valiant in his own person.

  He was ... so great a lover of scholars and soldiers, as that with an
  excessive bounty towards them, or indeed any of worth that were in
  distress, he did much to diminish his estate, as also with excessive
  prodigality in housekeeping, and other noble ways at court, as
  tilting, masqueing, and the like, Prince Henry being then alive, who
  was much addicted to these exercises, and of whom he was much beloved.

What his wife says of his being a great lover of scholars is borne out
by his friendship with and patronage of Beaumont, Ben Jonson, Fletcher,
and Drayton. Nothing else remains to his credit. He is utterly
eclipsed—weak, vain, and prodigal—by the interest of that woman of
character, his wife, knowing so well to “discourse of all things, from
predestination to slea[2] silk,” and by the faithful picture that is her
Diary.


                                  § ii

She is living (1616) principally at Knole, sometimes in London,
sometimes making an expedition into the North to join her mother, who in
all her difficulties was her counsellor and ally. The perpetual topic of
the diary is the dispute with her husband:

  “My Coz: Russell came to me the same day, and chid me, and told me of
  all my faults and errors, he made me weep bitterly, then I spoke a
  prayer of Owens, and came home by water where I took an extreme Cold.”

  The Archbishop [of Canterbury] my Lord William Howard, my Lord Rous,
  my Coz: Russell, my brother Sackville, and a great company of men were
  all in the gallery at Dorset House, where the Archbishop took me aside
  and talked with me privately one hour and half, and persuaded me both
  by Divine and human means to set my hand to their arguments. But my
  answer to his Lordship was that I would do nothing until my Lady [her
  mother] and I had conferred together. Much persuasion was used by him
  and all the company, sometimes terrifying me and sometimes flattering
  me.

  Next day was a marvellous day to me, for it was generally thought that
  I must either have sealed the argument or else have parted from my
  Lord.

She then starts for the North—a hazardous journey—to confer with her
mother.

  We had two coaches in our company with four horses apiece and about
  twenty-six horsemen. I came to my lodgings [at Derby] with a heavy
  heart considering how many things stood between my Lord and I.

  We went from the Parsons’ House near the Dangerous Moors, being eight
  miles and afterwards the ways so dangerous the horses were fain to be
  taken out of the coach to be lifted down the hills. This day Rivers’
  horse fell from a bridge into the river. We came to Manchester about
  ten at night.

Dorset was not above subjecting her to petty annoyances and
humiliations, for he sends messengers after her with “letters to show it
was my Lord’s pleasure that the men and horses should come away without
me, so after much falling out betwixt my Lady [her mother] and them, all
the folks went away, there being a paper drawn to show that they went
away by my Lord’s direction and contrary to my will.[3] At night I sent
two messengers to my folks to entreat them to stay. For some two nights
my mother and I lay together, and had much talk about this business.”

In order to get back to London she has to borrow a coach from her
mother, from whom she takes a “grievous and heavy parting.” Arrived at
Knole, “I had a cold welcome from my Lord,” and a day or two later he
takes his departure for London, sending constant messengers and letters,
to know whether she will give way to his demands. “About this time,” she
sadly writes—it is April, spring at Knole, and she then aged
twenty-six—“about this time I used to rise early in the morning and go
to the Standing in the garden, and taking my prayer book with me beseech
God to be merciful to me and to help me as He always hath done.”

Meanwhile Dorset’s threats increase in virulence: on the first of May he
sends Mr. Rivers to tell her she shall live neither at Knole nor at
Bolbrook; on the second he sends Mr. Legg to tell the servants he will
come down once more to see her, which shall be the last time; and on the
third he sends Peter Basket, his gentleman of the horse, with a letter
to say “it was his pleasure that the Child should go the next day to
London ... when I considered that it would both make my Lord more angry
with me and be worse for the Child I resolved to let her go; after I had
sent for Mr. Legg and talked with him about that and other matters I
wept bitterly.”

On the fourth “... the Child went into the litter to go to London.”
There is no comment. It must have been a pathetic little departure.

On the ninth she received, besides the news that her mother was
dangerously ill, “a letter from my Lord to let me know his determination
was the Child should go to live at Horsley, and not come hither any
more, so as this was a very grievous and sorrowful day to me.” An
unusual bitterness escapes from her pen:

  All this time my Lord was in London where he had all and infinite
  great resort coming to him. He went much abroad to Cocking and Bowling
  Alleys, to plays and horse races, and commended by all the world. I
  stayed in the country, having many times a sorrowful and heavy heart,
  and being condemned by most folks because I would not consent to the
  agreement, so as I may truly say I am like an owl in the desert.

And a few days later:

  My Lord came down from London, my Lord lying in Leslie Chamber and I
  in my own. My Lord and I after supper had some talk, we fell out and
  parted for that night.

There was worse to come, for at the end of the month her mother died,
“which I held as the greatest and most lamentable cross that could have
befallen me,” and, mixed up with this sorrow, which is evidently
genuine, is the fear that she may be definitely dispossessed of the
inheritance of her forefathers. She found, however, that she had the
disposal of the body, “which was some contentment to my aggrieved soul.”
Her sorrows begin to lighten. Dorset, probably perceiving his bullying
to be worse than useless against a woman of her mettle, tries a
different tack: “My Lord assured me how kind and good a husband he would
be to me”; they patch up a reconciliation, and she makes over to him
certain of her Cumberland estates in default of heirs; they agree that
Mrs. Bathurst, apparently a bone of contention, should “go away from the
Child ... so that my Lord and I were never greater friends than at this
time ... and my Lord brought me down to the coach side where we had a
loving and kind parting.” He even joined her in the North, and she
records how at Appleby Castle she set up the “green velvet bed where the
same night we went to lie there,” and how “in the afternoon I wrought
stitchwork and my Lord sat and read by me.”

She gives many particulars of how she spent her days in the North. I
fancy she was a good deal happier there, and more at home, and
consequently more lighthearted, than at Knole. At the same time she was
anxious to go back to London to rejoin Dorset, but this for some reason
he was not disposed to allow. She consoled herself with innocuous
occupations:

  This month I spent in working and reading. Mr. Dunbell read a great
  part of the _History of the Netherlands_.... Upon the 1st I rose by
  times in the morning and went up to the Pagan Tower to my prayers, and
  saw the sun rise.... Upon the 4th I sat in the Drawing Chamber all the
  day at my work.... Upon the 9th I sat at my work and heard Rivers and
  Marsh read Montaigne’s _Essays_, which book they have read almost this
  fortnight.... Upon the 12th I made an end of my cushion of Irish
  stitch, it being my chief help to pass away the time at work.... Upon
  the 21st was the first day I put on my black silk grogram gown....
  Upon the 20th I spent most of the day in playing at Tables. All this
  time since my Lord went away I wore my black Taffety night-gown[4] and
  a yellow Taffety waistcoat and used to rise betimes in the morning and
  walk upon the leads and afterwards to hear reading. Upon the 23rd I
  did string the pearls and diamonds left me by my mother into a
  necklace.

At last the summons came, and “upon the 24th Basket set out from London
to Brougham Castle to fetch me up. I bought of Mr. Cleborn who came to
see me a clock and a save-Guard [= cloak] of cloth laced with black lace
to keep me warm on my journey.” Dorset sent in the retinue to fetch her,
moreover, a cook, a baker, and a Tom Fool.

Her arrival in London was auspicious: Dorset and a company of relatives
came out to meet her at Islington, so that there were in all ten or
eleven coaches, and when she arrived at Dorset House she found the house
“well dressed up against I came,” and the Child met her in the gallery.
Moreover, “all this time of my being at London I was much sent to and
visited by many” (the young heiress, whose matrimonial disputes had
raised so much dust at Court, was an object of interest and curiosity),
and she made friends: “My Lady Manners came in the morning to dress my
head. I had a new black wrought Taffety gown which my Lady St. John’s
tailor made. She used often to come to me, and I to her, and was very
kind one to another.” Such troubles as she had were but slight: “I dined
above in my chamber and wore my night-gown because I was not very well,
which day and yesterday I forgot that it was fish day and ate flesh at
both dinners. In the afternoon I played at Glecko[5] with my Lady Gray
and lost £27 odd money.” So far, so good. She gave a sweet-bag to the
Queen for a New Year’s gift, and was kissed by the King. She went to see
the play of the Mad Lover; she went to the Tower to see Lord and Lady
Somerset, lying there since their arraignment; she went to the Court to
see Lord Villiers created Earl of Buckingham; she ate a “scrambling
supper” and went to see the Masque on Twelfth Night. She betrays with an
unsophisticated and rather charming ingenuity her delight in these
things. But the storm scowled at her over the rim of the horizon, and
presently it broke. The first entries are like the splash of the first
big rain-drops: “We came from London to Knole; this night my Lord and I
had a falling out about the land.” Next day she has Mr. Sandy’s book
about the government of the Turks read aloud to her, but “my Lord sat
the most part of the day reading in his closet.” Next day his sulks
materialized, and he “went up to London upon the sudden, we not knowing
it till the afternoon.”

Six days later—there are no entries in the diary to record the suspense
of these six days—she is sent for to London to see the King, a higher
test for her strength of mind, even, than the former persuasions of the
Archbishop of Canterbury. Will she capitulate at last? or will she come
out with her flag still flying? the tongues of London wagged. The
interview is best given in her own words:

  Upon the 17th when I came up, my Lord told me I must resolve to go to
  the King next day. Upon the 18th being Saturday, I went presently
  after dinner to the Queen to the Drawing Chamber where my Lady Derby
  told the Queen how my business stood, and that I was to go to the
  King, so she promised me she would do all the good in it she could.
  When I had stayed but a little while there I was sent for out, my Lord
  and I going through my Lord Buckingham’s chamber, who brought us into
  the King, being in the Drawing Chamber. He put out all those that were
  there, and my Lord and I kneeled by his chair side, when he persuaded
  us both to peace and to put the whole matter wholly into his hands,
  which my Lord consented to, but I beseeched His Majesty to pardon me
  _for that I would never part from Westmoreland while I lived upon any
  condition whatsoever_, sometimes he used fair means and persuasions
  and sometimes foul means, but I was resolved before, so, as nothing
  would move me, from the King we went to the Queen’s side, and brought
  my Lady St. John to her lodging and so we went home.

There is a little note at the side of this entry: “The Queen gave me
warning not to trust my matters absolutely to the King lest he should
deceive me.”

The affair was not allowed to rest there. Two days later she was again
summoned before the King, and a sour, unedifying spectacle the majesty
of James I must have presented, thus confronted with the young obstinacy
of the heiress of Westmoreland:

  I was sent for up to the King into his Drawing Chamber, where the door
  was locked and nobody suffered to stay here but my Lord and I, my
  Uncle Cumberland, my Coz: Clifford, my Lords Arundel, Pembroke and
  Montgomery, Sir John Digby. For lawyers there were my Lord Chief
  Justice Montague, and Hobart Yelverton the King’s Solicitor, Sir
  Randal Crewe that was to speak for my Lord and I. The King asked us
  all if we would submit to his judgement in this case, my uncle
  Cumberland, my Coz: Clifford, and my Lord answered they would, but I
  would never agree to it without Westmoreland, at which the King grew
  in a great chaff. My Lord of Pembroke and the King’s solicitor
  speaking much against me, at last when they saw there was no remedy,
  my Lord, fearing the King would do me some public disgrace, desired
  Sir John Digby would open the door, who went out with me and persuaded
  me much to yield to the King. Presently after my Lord came from the
  King, when it was resolved that if I would not come to an agreement
  there should be an agreement made without me.

After these encounters she retired to Knole, while Dorset remained in
London, “being in extraordinary grace and favour with the King.” She,
poor thing, resumed at Knole the pitiful monotony of her country
existence, which to a mind so vigorous must have been irksome in the
extreme, and the Diary becomes again the record of her small occupations
threaded with the worry and sorrow of her dissensions with her husband.
It is illuminating that she never criticizes him; there are references
to his “worth and nobleness of disposition”; her spirit, although high
and emancipated enough to stand out against the King in the defence of
Westmoreland, could not conceive revolt against the subjection of
matrimony. It is an idea which never once enters her head. She even
writes him a letter to give him “humble thanks for his noble usage
toward me in London”; but a very little while after this “Thomas
Woodgate came from London and brought a squirrel to the Child, and my
Lord wrote me a letter by which I perceived my Lord was clean out with
me, and how much my enemies have wrought against me.”

Conscientious as she is, she no longer finds enough events to justify a
daily entry. Perhaps—who knows? for my part I strongly suspect it—her
fighting spirit preferred even the ordeals and excitements of London to
the tedium of Knole. She has very little to tell: only the gowns she
wore, the books she read, the games she played with the steward, and the
ailments of the Child.

  At this time I wore a plain green flannel gown that William Pinn made
  me and my yellow taffety waistcoat. Rivers used to read to me in
  Montaigne’s _Essays_, and Moll Neville in the _Fairy Queen_. The Child
  had a bitter fit of her ague again insomuch I was fearful of her that
  I could hardly sleep all night and I beseeched God Almighty to be
  merciful and spare her life.

This ague of the Child’s is a constant preoccupation. I suppose that it
was a kind of convulsion, for which the cure was a “salt powder to put
in her beer.” On certain days a return of it appears to have been
confidently expected, for I find: “upon the 4th should have been the
Child’s fit, but she missed it,” and two days later she has “a grudging
of her ague.” There is a good deal about the Child—never referred to
under any other designation until she attains her 5th birthday, after
which she is promoted to “my Lady Margaret.” The portrait of her which
is here reproduced hangs over the fireplace in Lady Betty Germaine’s
sitting-room; her ring dangles on a ribbon round her neck, and her hair
is done in an elaborate manner which defied all my efforts, when I was
the same age, to do my own in the same way.

She was an amusement and a consolation, as well as a source of anxiety,
to her mother. Her garments are carefully noted:

  The 28th was the first time the Child put on a pair of whalebone
  bodice.... The Child put on her red bays coat.... I cut the Child’s
  strings from off her coats and made her use togs alone, so as she had
  two or three falls at first but had no hurt with them.... The Child
  put on her first coats that were laced, with lace being of red
  bays.... I began to dress my head with a roll without a wire. I wrote
  not to my Lord because he wrote not to me since he went away. After
  supper I went out with the child who rode a pie-bald nag. The 14th,
  the Child came to lie with me which was the first time that ever she
  lay all night in a bed with me since she was born;

and another time she speaks of “the time being very tedious with me, as
having neither comfort nor company, only the Child.”

For the rest, she was thrown back upon her own resources. Dorset came
and went, and in between whiles there are small, vivid pictures of
existence at Knole:

[Illustration:

  LADY MARGARET SACKVILLE

  DAUGHTER OF RICHARD SACKVILLE, 3RD EARL OF DORSET, AND LADY ANNE
    CLIFFORD

  “THE CHILD”

  _From the portrait at Knole by_ MYTENS
]

  After supper I walked in the garden and gathered cherries, and talked
  with Josiah [the French page] who told me he thought all the men in
  the house loved me.

And again:

  About this time [April 1617] my Lord made the steward alter most of
  the rooms in the house and dress them up as fine as he could and
  determined to make all his old clothes in purple stuff for the Gallery
  and Drawing Chamber.

  _March 1617. 5th._ Couch puppied in the morning.

  _8th._ I made an end of reading _Exodus_. After supper I played at
  Glecko with the steward as I often do after dinner and supper.

  _9th._ I went abroad in the garden and said my prayers in the
  standing.

  _10th._ I was not well at night, so I ate a posset and went to bed.

  _11th._ The time grew tedious, so as I used to go to bed about 8
  o’clock I did lie a-bed till 8 the next morning.

  _14th._ I made an end of my Irish stitch cushion.

  _15th._ My Lord came down to Buckhurst. This day I put on my mourning
  grogram gown and intend to wear it till my mourning time is out,
  because I was found fault with for wearing such ill clothes.

  _22nd._ I began a new Irish stitch cushion.

  _24th._ We made Rosemary cakes.

Two days later Dorset arrived from Buckhurst, and they walked together
in the park and the garden. “I wrought much within doors and strived to
sit as merry a face as I could upon a discontented heart”; but in spite
of this entry they seem to have remained on fairly friendly terms until
Easter.

  _30th._ I spent in walking and sitting in the park, having my mind
  more contented than it was before my Lord came from Buckhurst.

  _5th April._ My Lord went up to my closet and said how little money I
  had left contrary to all they had told him, sometimes I had fair words
  from him and sometimes foul, but I took all patiently, and did strive
  to give him as much content and assurance of my love as I could
  possibly, yet _I told him I would never part with Westmoreland_. After
  supper, because my Lord was sullen and not willing to go into the
  nursery, I had Mary bring the Child to him in my chamber.

  _7th._ My Lord lay in my chamber.

  _13th._ My Lord supped privately with me in the Drawing Chamber, and
  had much discourse of the manners of the folks at court.

  By the _17th_, My Lord told me he was resolved never to move me more
  in these business because he saw how fully I was bent;

but evidently he did not stick to this good resolution, because, on
April 20th, Easter-day, “My Lord and I had a great falling-out,” and a
few days later, “This night my Lord should have lain with me, but he and
I fell out about matters.”

By the next day, however, they were friends again; they played at Burley
Break upon the lawn; and “this night my Lord came to lie in my chamber.”
The next day, too, was spent in peace, and she “spent the evening in
working and going down to my Lord’s closet, where I sat and read much in
the Turkish history, and Chaucer.”

So it goes on. It becomes, perhaps, a little monotonous, save that it is
always so human, and so modern. One sympathizes with her in her
weaknesses even more than in her defiance; when, for instance, she
writes amicable letters to all her relations-in-law, sending them locks
of the Child’s hair, being “desirous to win the love of my Lord’s
kindred by all the fair means I could,” in reality stealing a march upon
Dorset in order to get them on her side. One day she chronicles, “This
night I went into a bath,” but whether this event was of such rarity as
to deserve special mention is not explained. At Whitsuntide they all
went to church, but “my eyes were so blubbered with weeping that I could
scarce look up,” and in the afternoon of the same day they again “fell
out.” But she consoles herself with new clothes—or was that an
additional penance? for she was never given to personal vanity—“I
essayed on my sea-water green satin gown and my damask embroidered with
gold, both which gowns the tailor which was sent from London made fit
for me to wear with open ruffs after the French fashion.” Little
peace-offerings came from time to time from Dorset; on one occasion he
sends “half a buck, with an indifferent kind letter,” and on another
occasion “My Lord sent Adam to trim the Child’s hair, and sent me the
dewselts of two deer and wrote me a letter between kindness and
unkindness.” “Still working and being extremely melancholy” is the entry
of one summer day, and a day later, “Still working and sad.” A little
after this she “rode on horseback to Withyham to see my Lord Treasurer’s
tomb, and went down into the vault, and came home again [to Knole]
weeping the most part of the day.” This is perhaps not very surprising.
I have been down into that vault myself, and it is not a cheerful
expedition. In a small, dark cave underground, beneath the church, among
grey veils of cobwebs, the coffins of the Sackvilles are stacked on
shelves; they go back to the fourteenth century, and are of all sizes,
from full-grown men down to the tiny ones lapped in lead. But, of
course, when Anne Clifford went there there were not so many as there
are now; the pompous ones were not yet in their places, with their rusty
coronets, save those of the old Treasurer and his son; and their blood
did not run in the veins of Lady Anne, so on the whole she had less
reason to be impressed than I.

The Diary continues in very much the same strain until it comes to an
end with December 1619, the year 1618 being entirely missed out. By that
time both Dorset and Anne were in bad health; but whereas he was to die
five years later, at the age of thirty-five, she, made of tougher stuff,
was to survive him by fifty-two years. His last letter to her, written
to her on the very day of his death, shows all the affection which was
so undermined by that question of her lands:

                                                     _26th March, 1624._

  Sweet Heart,

  I thank you for your letter. I had resolved to come down to Knole, and
  to have received the Blessed Sacrament, but God hath prevented it with
  sickness, for on Wednesday night I fell into a fit of casting, which
  held me long, then last night I had a fit of fever. I have for my
  physician Dr. Baskerville and Dr. Fox. I thank God I am now at good
  ease, having rested well this morning. I would not have you trouble
  yourself till I have occasion to send for you. You shall in the
  meantime hear daily from me. So, with my love to you, and God’s
  blessing and mine to both my children, I commend you to God’s
  protection.

                                     Your assured loving husband
                                                         RICHARD DORSET.

“His debts,” says one Chamberlain, writing to Sir Dudley Carleton, “are
£60,000, so that he does not leave much.” In his will he bequeaths to
his “dearly beloved wife all her wearing apparel and such rings and
jewels as were hers on her marriage, and the rock ruby ring which I have
given her,” also “my carriage made by Mefflyn, lined with green cloth
and laced with green and black silk lace, and my six bay coach
geldings.”

[Illustration:

  THE VENETIAN AMBASSADOR’S BEDROOM
]


                                 § iii

Her portraits change as her years advance, and the lines of
determination harden about her mouth. Her true life—the life for which
she was most truly fitted—only began after she had passed her fiftieth
year, when with the death of her kinsman Lord Cumberland the northern
estates passed calmly and naturally into her hands at last. All the
quarrels and litigation and anxiety of her youth were left behind her;
she had buried Lord Dorset; she had buried Lord Pembroke after a second
marriage as disastrous and as contentious as the first; she had borne
Sackville children and Herbert children; she had been long-suffering
though adamant, submissive though immovable; she had moped in the
sumptuous prisons that were Knole and Wilton; now she was free to turn
tyrant herself over her own undisputed realm. She wasted nothing of the
opportunity. Away from London, away from the influence of the Court,
entrenched in her numerous castles in the North, she ruled
autocratically over her servants, her tenants, her neighbours, and the
generations and ramifications of her family. No detail of comings and
goings, no penny of expenditure escaped her vigilant eye or her
recording pen; and her diary, that document of intimacy, autocracy,
piety, and exactitude, carries its entries down to the very day before
her death. With public or political events she scarcely ever concerned
herself, but on the other hand no detail of her own private life or of
the existence of those around her was too small to excite her comment.
Whether her laundry-maids went to church, whether she pared her finger
and toe nails, whether her dog puppied, whether she received letters,
whether she washed her feet and legs (this is on the 22nd of February,
the last occasion being on the 13th of December preceding), whether she
kissed the sempstress—all is noted with the same precision and gravity.
No anniversary or coincidence is allowed to pass unobserved. That
amazing memory extended back over threescore years; and, moreover, she
had the immense volumes of her notebooks for reference, date for date.
Her past was ever present to her, the agreeable and the disagreeable
merged into one landscape of consonant tone, and whether she observes
that this day sixty years ago she travelled with her blessed mother, or
fell out with Dorset, it is with the same complacency and satisfaction
at having the tiny anniversary to record. This vigorous mind was not,
perhaps, planned on a very broad scale. It was self-centred and
self-sufficient; severe but not reckless; no fine carelessness endears
her to us, or surprises; even her acts of generosity, and they were
numerous, are recorded with the same scrupulous accuracy. She could not
give two shillings to a child without setting it down. Her generosity,
like all her other acts, was methodical; she rewarded her servants for
definite services with extra wages; she kept ready to hand a supply of
little presents, because it was contrary to her ideas of hospitality
that any visitor, however humble, should go away empty-handed, and was
careful to consider what particular gift would be most acceptable to the
recipient, frequently choosing something of practical utility, such as
gloves or lengths of cloth for women, money or ruffles for men; and
these idiosyncracies run true all through her character, for,
conversely, although she was prepared to be generous in her treatment of
others, she was equally determined that she herself should be fairly
treated by them, and frequent are the entries in her diary to this
effect: “In the morning did I see Mr. Robert Willison of Penrith paid
for a rundlet of sack, but I was very angry with him because I thought
it too dear, and told him I would have no more of him, and then he
slipped away from me in a good hurry.” She would always pay cash too,
and bullied her special almswomen, whom she would not allow to ask for
credit with the tradesmen of Appleby.

Her rights were her rights, and she had always had a great idea of them.
One recognizes the spirit that told the King she “_would never be parted
from Westmoreland_,” in the old litigant that went unhesitatingly and
repeatedly to law over niceties connected with small portions of her
estates, content to spend large sums of money in lawyers’ fees if only
she could succeed—as she invariably did—in proving her point. There is
one story which illustrates both her tenacity and her humour—the story
of a certain tenant whose rent included a hen due yearly to the lady of
the manor. This tribute he neglected to hand over. Lady Anne instantly
had the law on him, spent £400 in enforcing her claim, won her case,
received the hen, invited her defeated opponent to dinner with her, and
caused the bird to be cooked for them both as the staple dish of the
meal.

So the tranquil and crowded years spun themselves out for her, and she
grew to be an old woman and a contented one, for she had attained at
last the existence and occupations best suited to her. Her life was
full: the things which filled it were small things, perhaps, but if they
satisfied her who should cavil? Her journeyings alone occupied much of
her time: those extraordinary progresses from castle to castle, she
herself travelling in her horse-litter, her ladies in the coach-and-six,
her menservants on horseback, her women in other coaches, and a rabble
of small fry following, so that the miniature army which accompanied her
amounted sometimes to as many as three hundred. Often this retinue would
include members of her family, or some of her neighbours; they travelled
over the moors of the North, by rough roads, “uncouth and untrodden,
those mountainous and almost impassable ways,” stopping on the way in
those highland villages which had not yet been honoured by a visit from
the great old lady or received her bounty, and, coming at the end of the
journey to Brougham, to Brough, to Barden, to Skipton, to Pendragon, or
to Appleby, Lady Anne would receive her dependants one by one in her own
chamber, give her hand to the men, kiss the women, and dismiss them
again to their own homes. Her health was no longer very good, but that
was never allowed to deter her from her plans: her courage and vigour
triumphed always over the treacherous flesh, greatly to the concern of
those about her. On one occasion, travelling from Appleby to Brougham,
she was delayed at the start by a “swounding fit,” when she had to be
carried to a bed and laid there near a “great fire”; much persuasion was
used that she “would not travel on so sharp and cold a day, but she,
having before fixed on that day, and so much company being come
purposely to wait on her, she would go.” As she reached her litter,
however, she fainted again, “Yet as soon as that fit was over she went.”
Arrived at Brougham she fainted for the third time, but on being
upbraided by her friends and servants for her stubbornness in making the
journey, she replied that she knew she must die, and it was the same
thing to her to die on the way as in her house, in her litter or in her
bed, and furthermore would not acknowledge any necessity why she should
live, but saw every necessity for keeping to her resolution. “If she
will, she will, you may depend on’t,” they said of her, “if she won’t,
she won’t, and there’s an end on’t.”

Now that there was no one to reproach her, as Dorset had been accustomed
to reproach her, for her lack of finery and absence of proper vanity,
she dressed always in rough black serge, she shaved her head, her fare
was of the plainest, and her personal economy was pushed to the length
of such small eccentricities as using up every stray scrap of paper for
her correspondence. One luxury, indeed, she permitted herself: she
smoked a pipe. Into all the details of her household she looked with a
careful eye; already in the days when she was living at Knole she had
used up Richard Dorset’s old shirts to make clouts, now at Appleby she
saw to the preserving of fruit, she had her cheeses made at Brougham,
sixteen at a time, she got her coal from her own pits, she had all
delinquents into her own room and scolded them till they were probably
thankful to be dismissed. At the same time she never forgot those that
had served her faithfully; she would send her own coach to bring some
old retainer to visit her; the marriages, morals, and vicissitudes of
her meanest servant were a matter of interest to her; their marriage
portions she made her own affair. Besides her servants, her own family
gave her much food for thought and preoccupation: it is true that of her
seven children only two—her two Sackville daughters—had lived to grow
up, but they by now had produced a cohort of grandchildren, whose visits
to Lady Anne were a source of infinite pleasure to the old lady. It is,
altogether, a pleasant and seemly end to such a life. She had attained
the great age of eighty-six; her diary was filled with religious
references; she never dwelt upon her death, but it is clear that she can
never for one moment have dreaded it. She had lived up consistently to
her principles and to her motto: “Preserve your loyalty, defend your
rights,” and was ready to go whenever the call should come. “I went not
out all this day,” is the last entry in her diary, and the next day
(22nd of March 1676), there is an entry in another hand, “The 22nd day
the Countess died.”


                              A Catalogue

_of the Household, and Family of the Right Honourable_ RICHARD, EARL
_of_ DORSET, _in the year of our Lord 1613; and so continued until the
year 1624, at Knole, in Kent_.


                          _At_ MY LORD’S TABLE

 My Lord
 My Lady
 My Lady Margaret
 My Lady Isabella
 Mr. Sackville
 Mr. Frost
 John Musgrave
 Thomas Garret


                         _At_ THE PARLOUR TABLE

 Mrs. Field
 Mrs. Willoughby
 Mrs. Grimsditch
 Mrs. Stewkly
 Mrs. Fletcher
 Mrs. Wood
 Mr. Dupper, _Chaplain_
 Mr. Matthew Caldicott, _my Lord’s favourite_
 Mr. Edward Legge, _Steward_
 Mr. Peter Basket, _Gentleman of the Horse_
 Mr. Marsh, _Attendant on my Lady_
 Mr. Wooldridge
 Mr. Cheyney
 Mr. Duck, _Page_
 Mr. Josiah Cooper, _a Frenchman, Page_
 Mr. John Belgrave, _Page_
 Mr. Billingsley
 Mr. Graverner, _Gentleman Usher_
 Mr. Marshall, _Auditor_
 Mr. Edwards, _Secretary_
 Mr. Drake, _Attendant_


                   _At_ THE CLERKS’ TABLE IN THE HALL

 Edward Fulks and John Edwards, _Clerks of the Kitchen_
 Edward Care, _Master Cook_
 William Smith, _Yeoman of the Buttery_
 Henry Keble, _Yeoman of the Pantry_
 John Mitchell, _Pastryman_
 Thomas Vinson, _Cook_
 John Elnor, _Cook_
 Ralph Hussie, _Cook_
 John Avery, _Usher of the Hall_
 Robert Elnor, _Slaughterman_
 Benjamin Staples, _Groom of the Great Chamber_
 Thomas Petley, _Brewer_
 William Turner, _Baker_
 Francis Steeling, _Gardener_
 Richard Wicking, Gardener
 Thomas Clements, _Under Brewer_
 Samuel Vans, _Caterer_
 Edward Small, _Groom of the Wardrobe_
 Samuel Southern, _Under Baker_
 Lowry, _a French boy_


                              THE NURSERY

 Nurse Carpenter
 Widow Ben
 Jane Sisley
 Dorothy Pickenden


                    _At_ THE LONG TABLE IN THE HALL

 Robert Care, _Attendant on my Lord_
 Mr. Gray, _Attendant likewise_
 Mr. Roger Cook, _Attendant on my Lady Margaret_
 Mr. Adam Bradford, _Barber_
 Mr. John Guy, _Groom of my Lord’s Bedchamber_
 Walter Comestone, _Attendant on my Lady_
 Edward Lane, _Scrivener_
 Mr. Thomas Poor, _Yeoman of the Wardrobe_
 Mr. Thomas Leonard, _Master Huntsman_
 Mr. Woodgate, _Yeoman of the Great Chamber_
 John Hall, _Falconer_
 James Flennel, _Yeoman of the Granary_
 Rawlinson, _Armourer_
 Moses Shonk, _Coachman_
 Anthony Ashly, _Groom of the Great Horse_
 Griffin Edwards, _Groom of my Lady’s Horse_
 Francis Turner, _Groom of the Great Horse_
 William Grynes, _Groom of the Great Horse_
 Acton Curvett, _Chief Footman_
 James Loveall, _Footman_
 Sampson Ashley, _Footman_
 William Petley, _Footman_
 Nicholas James, _Footman_
 Paschal Beard, _Footman_
 Elias Thomas, _Footman_
 Henry Spencer, _Farrier_
 Edward Goodsall
 John Sant, _the Steward’s Man_
 Ralph Wise, _Groom of the Stables_
 Thomas Petley, _Under Farrier_
 John Stephens, _the Chaplain’s Man_
 John Haite, _Groom for the Stranger’s Horse_
 Thomas Giles, _Groom of the Stables_
 Richard Thomas, _Groom of the Hall_
 Christopher Wood, _Groom of the Pantry_
 George Owen, _Huntsman_
 George Vigeon, _Huntsman_
 Thomas Grittan, _Groom of the Buttery_
 Solomon, _the Bird-Catcher_
 Richard Thornton, _the Coachman’s Man_
 Richard Pickenden, _Postillion_
 William Roberts, _Groom_
 The Armourer’s Man
 Ralph Wise, _his Servant_
 John Swift, _the Porter’s Man_
 John Atkins, _Men to carry wood_
 Clement Doory, _Men to carry wood_


                        THE LAUNDRY-MAIDS’ TABLE

 Mrs. Judith Simpton
 Mrs. Grace Simpton
 Penelope Tutty, _the Lady Margaret’s Maid_
 Anne Mills, _Dairy-Maid_
 Prudence Bucher
 Anne Howse
 Faith Husband
 Elinor Thompson
 Goodwife Burton
 Grace Robinson, _a Blackamoor_
 Goodwife Small
 William Lewis, _Porter_


                          KITCHEN AND SCULLERY

 Diggory Dyer
 Marfidy Snipt
 John Watson
 Thomas Harman
 Thomas Johnson
 John Morockoe, _a Blackamoor_



                               CHAPTER V
                    Knole in the Reign of Charles I
                            EDWARD SACKVILLE
                                  4th
                            Earl _of_ Dorset


                                  § i

The wreckage of Richard’s estates devolved at his death upon his brother
Edward, who at that time was travelling in Italy. This Edward Sackville
was once to me the embodiment of Cavalier romance. At the age of
thirteen I wrote an enormous novel about him and his two sons. He had
the advantage of starting with Vandyck’s portrait in the hall, the
flame-coloured doublet, the blue Garter, the characteristic swaggering
attitude, the sword, the lovelocks, the key of office painted dangling
from his hip and the actual key dangling on a ribbon from the frame of
the picture—and then the account of his duel with Lord Bruce, his
devotion to Charles I, the plundering raid of Cromwell’s soldiers into
Knole, the murder of his younger son by the Roundheads, the picture of
the two boys throwing dice—all this was a source of rich romance to a
youthful imagination nourished on _Cyrano_ and _The Three Musketeers_. I
used to steal up to the attics to examine the old nail-studded trunks
from which the Roundheads had broken off the locks. There they were—the
visible evidence of the old paper in the Muniment Room, which said,
“They have broken open six trunks; in one of them was money; what is
lost of it we know not, in regard the keeper of it is from home.” There
they were, carelessly stacked: on one of them was stabbed the date in
big nails, 1623; and there were others, curved to fit the roof of a
barouche; of later date these, but all intimate and palpitating to a
very ignorant child to whom the centuries meant Thomas or Richard or
Edward Sackville; Holbein, Vandyck or Reynolds; farthingale chairs or
love-seats. What were dates when the centuries went by generations? The
battered trunks were stacked near the entrance to the hiding-place,
which, without the smallest justification save an old candlestick and a
rope-ladder found therein, I peopled with the fugitive figures of
priests and Royalists. I peeped into the trunks: they contained only a
dusty jumble of broken ironwork, some old books, some bits of hairy
plaster fallen from the ceiling, some numbers of _Punch_ for 1850.
Nevertheless, there were the gaping holes where the locks had been
prised off the trunks, and the lid forced back upon the hinges by an
impatient hand. Down in the Poets’ Parlour, where I lunched with my
grandfather, taciturn unless he happened to crack one of his little
stock-in-trade of jokes, Cromwell’s soldiers had held their Court of
Sequestration. The Guard Room was empty of arms or armour, save for a
few pikes and halberds, because Cromwell’s soldiers had taken all the
armour away. The past mingled with the present in constant reminder; and
out in the summer-house, after luncheon, with the bees blundering among
the flowers of the Sunk Garden and the dragon-flies flashing over the
pond, I returned to the immense ledger in which I was writing my novel,
while Grandpapa retired to his little sitting-room and whittled
paper-knives from the lids of cigar-boxes, and thought about—Heaven
knows what _he_ thought about.

Edward Sackville in the big Vandyck was indeed a handsome, rubicund
figure, “beautiful, graceful, and vigorous ... the vices he had were of
the age, which he was not stubborn enough to resist or to condemn.” What
these vices were I do not know; the records of his life make no allusion
to them. It is true that the cause of his duel remains a mystery; Lord
Clarendon knew it, but beyond mentioning that it was fought on account
of a lady, kept his own counsel. It is true also that his sister-in-law,
Lady Anne Clifford, disliked him greatly and spoke of the malice he had
always shown towards her; but then amicable relationship with Lady Anne
was not easily sustained. On the face of it, his life seems to have been
loyal and honourable: he suffered considerably for the sake of the cause
he had at heart, and his few speeches and letters are full of reserve
and dignity, supported by the facts of his own misfortunes; I do not see
what more he could have done to deserve the adjective staunch. To me at
thirteen he was very staunch and doughty, and one does not willingly go
back on one’s first impressions. His wife, too, in the pointed
stomacher, and the shoes with huge rosettes, governess to the royal
children, voted a public funeral in Westminster Abbey, was another
staunch figure: severe, uncompromising, but impeccable.

The duel with Lord Bruce was fought when Edward Sackville was
twenty-three years old, at Bergen-op-Zoom in Holland, which so late as
1814 still went by the name of Bruceland. In the Knole Muniment room a
paper cover was found upon which was written “The relation of my Lord’s
duel with the Lord Bruce,” and the following are in all probability the
papers originally contained therein. The “Worthy sir” to whom the letter
is addressed remains anonymous, but was evidently some friend in
England:

[Illustration:

  EDWARD SACKVILLE, 4TH EARL OF DORSET, K.G.

  _From the portrait at Knole by_ VANDYCK
]

  WORTHY SIR,

  As I am not ignorant, so I ought to be sensible of the false
  aspersions some authorless tongues have laid upon me in the reports of
  the unfortunate passage lately happened between the Lord Bruce and
  myself, which, as they are spread here, so I may justly fear they
  reign also where you are. There are but two ways to resolve doubts of
  this nature, by oath and by sword.

  The first is due to magistrates, and communicable to friends; the
  other to such as maliciously slander, and impudently defend their
  assertions. Your love, not my merit, assures me you hold me your
  friend; which esteem I am much desirous to retain. Do me, therefore,
  the right to understand the truth of that; and, in my behalf, inform
  others, who either are or may be infected with sinister rumours, much
  prejudicial to that fair opinion I desire to hold amongst all worthy
  persons; and, on the faith of a gentleman, the relation I shall give
  is neither more nor less than the bare truth. The enclosed contains
  the first citation sent me from Paris by a Scottish gentleman, who
  delivered it me in Derbyshire, at my father-in-law’s house. After it
  follows my then answer, returned him by the same bearer. The next is
  my accomplishment of my first promise, being a particular assignation
  of place and weapon, which I sent by a servant of mine, by post, from
  Rotterdam, as soon as I landed there, the receipt of which, joined
  with an acknowledgement of my fair carriage to the deceased Lord, is
  testified by the last, which periods the business till we met at
  Tergose, in Zealand, it being the place allotted for rendezvous; where
  he [accompanied with one Mr. Crawford, an English gentleman, for his
  second, a surgeon, and his man] arrived with all the speed he could.
  And there having rendered himself, I addressed my second, Sir John
  Heydon, to let him understand that now all following should be done by
  consent, as concerning the terms whereon we should fight, as also the
  place. To our seconds we gave power for their appointments, who agreed
  that we should go to Antwerp, from thence to Bergen-op-Zoom, where in
  the midway a village divides the States’ territories from the
  Archduke’s; and there was the destined stage, to the end, that, having
  ended, he that could might presently exempt himself from the justice
  of the country, by retiring into the dominion not offended. It was
  further concluded, that in case any should fall or slip, that then the
  combat should cease; and he, whose ill fortune had so subjected him,
  was to acknowledge his life to have been in the other’s hands. But in
  case one party’s sword should break, because that could only chance by
  hazard, it was agreed that the other should take no advantage, but
  either then be made friends, or else, upon even terms, go to it again.
  Thus these conclusions, being by each of them related to his party,
  were, by us, both approved and assented to. Accordingly we embarked
  for Antwerp; and by reason my Lord [as I conceive, because he could
  not handsomely without danger of discovery] had not paired the sword I
  sent him to Paris, bringing one of the same length, but twice as
  broad, my second excepted against it, and advised me to match my own,
  and send him the choice; which I obeyed, it being, you know, the
  challenger’s privilege to elect his weapon. At the delivery of the
  swords, which was performed by Sir John Heydon, it pleased the Lord
  Bruce to choose my own; and then, past expectation, he told him that
  he found himself so far behind-hand, as a little of my blood would not
  serve his turn; and therefore he was now resolved to have me alone,
  because he knew [for I will use his own words] that so worthy a
  gentleman, and my friend, could not endure to stand by, and see him do
  that which he must, to satisfy himself and his honour. Thereunto Sir
  John Heydon replied, that such intentions were bloody and butcherly,
  far unfitting so noble a personage, who should desire to bleed for
  reputation, not for life; withal adding, he thought himself injured,
  being come thus far, now to be prohibited from executing those
  honourable offices he came for. The Lord Bruce, for answer, only
  reiterated his former resolution; the which, not for matter, but for
  manner, so moved me, as though to my remembrance I had not for a long
  while eaten more liberally than at dinner; and therefore, unfit for
  such an action [seeing the surgeons hold a wound upon a full stomach
  much more dangerous than otherwise], I requested my second to certify
  him I would presently decide the difference, and should therefore meet
  him, on horseback, only waited on by our surgeons, they being unarmed.
  Together we rode [but one before the other some twelve score] about
  two English miles; and then Passion, having so weak an enemy to assail
  as my direction, easily became victor; and, using his power, made me
  obedient to his commands. I being very mad with anger the Lord Bruce
  should thirst after my life with a kind of assuredness, seeing I had
  come so far and needlessly to give him leave to regain his lost
  reputation, I bade him alight, which with all willingness he quickly
  granted; and there, in a meadow [ankle-deep in the water at least],
  bidding farewell to our doublets, in our shirts we began to charge
  each other, having afore commanded our surgeons to withdraw themselves
  a pretty distance from us; conjuring them besides, as they respected
  our favour or their own safeties, not to stir, but suffer us to
  execute our pleasure; we being fully resolved [God forgive us] to
  despatch each other by what means we could. I made a thrust at my
  enemy, but was short; and, in drawing back my arm, I received a great
  wound thereon, which I interpreted as a reward for my short shooting;
  but, in revenge, I pressed in to him, though I then missed him also;
  and then received a wound in my right pap, which passed level through
  my body, and almost to my back; and there we wrestled for the two
  greatest and dearest prizes we could ever expect, trial for honour and
  life; in which struggling, my hand, having but an ordinary glove on
  it, lost one of her servants, though the meanest, which hung by a
  skin, and, to sight, yet remaineth as before, and I am put in hope one
  day to recover the use of it again. But at last breathless, yet
  keeping our holds, there passed on both sides propositions for
  quitting each other’s sword. But, when Amity was dead, Confidence
  could not live, and who should quit first was the question, which on
  neither part either would perform; and, re-striving again afresh, with
  a kick and a wrench together I freed my long-captive weapon, which
  incontinently levying at his throat, being master still of his, I
  demanded if he would ask his life or yield his sword? Both which,
  though in that imminent danger, he bravely denied to do. Myself being
  wounded, and feeling loss of blood, having three conduits running on
  me, began to make me faint; and he courageously persisting not to
  accord to either of my propositions, remembrance of his former bloody
  desire, and feeling of my present estate, I struck at his heart; but,
  with his avoiding, missed my aim, yet passed through his body, and,
  drawing back my sword, repassed it through again through another
  place, when he cried, “Oh, I am slain!” seconding his speech with all
  the force he had to cast me. But being too weak, after I had defended
  his assault, I easily became master of him, laying him on his back;
  when being upon him, I redemanded if he would request his life? But it
  seems he prized it not at so dear a rate to be beholden for it,
  bravely replying “He scorned it!” which answer of his was so noble and
  worthy, as I protest I could not find in my heart to offer him any
  more violence, only keeping him down, till, at length, his surgeon
  afar off cried out, “He would immediately die if his wounds were not
  stopped!” whereupon I asked, “if he desired his surgeon should come?”
  which he accepted of; and so being drawn away, I never offered to take
  his sword, accounting it inhumane to rob a dead man, for so I held him
  to be. This thus ended, I retired to my surgeon, in whose arms, after
  I had remained awhile for want of blood, I lost my sight, and withal,
  as I then thought, my life also. But strong water and his diligence
  quickly recovered me; when I escaped a great danger, for my Lord’s
  surgeon, when nobody dreamt of it, came full at me with his Lord’s
  sword; and had not mine with my sword interposed himself, I had been
  slain by those base hands, although my Lord Bruce, weltering in his
  blood, and past all expectation of life, conformable to all his former
  carriage, which was undoubtedly noble, cried out “Rascal, hold thy
  hand!” So may I prosper, as I have dealt sincerely with you in this
  relation, which I pray you, with the enclosed letter, deliver to my
  Lord Chamberlain. And so, etc.,

                                                     Yours,
                                                       EDWARD SACKVILLE.

  LOVAIN, the _8th September, 1613_

The citations or letters mentioned above to be enclosed in this account
of Mr. Sackville are as follows:

                     _A Monsieur, Monsieur_ SACKVILLE

  I, that am in France, hear how much you attribute to yourself in this
  time, that I have given the world to ring your praises; and for me the
  truest almanach to tell you how much I suffer. If you call to memory
  when, as I gave you my hand last, I told you I reserved the heart for
  a truer reconciliation, now be that noble gentleman my love once
  spoke, and come do him right that would recite the trials you owe your
  birth and country, where I am confident your honour gives you the same
  courage to do me right that it did to do me wrong. Be master of your
  weapons and time; the place wheresoever I wait on you. By doing this
  you shall shorten revenge, and clear the idle opinion the world hath
  of both our worths.

                                                              ED. BRUCE.

                 _A Monsieur, Monsieur Baron de_ KINLOSS

  As it shall be far from me to seek a quarrel, so will I also be ready
  to meet with any that is desirous to make trial of my valour, by so
  fair a course as you require; a witness whereof yourself shall be,
  who, within a month, shall receive a strict account of time, place and
  weapon, where you shall find me ready disposed to give honourable
  satisfaction by him that shall conduct you thither. In the meantime be
  as secret of the appointment as it seems you are desirous of it.

                                                          ED. SACKVILLE.

                 _A Monsieur, Monsieur Baron de_ KINLOSS

  I am at Torgose, a town in Zealand, to give what satisfaction your
  sword can render you, accompanied with a worthy gentleman for my
  second, in degree a Knight; and for your coming I will not limit you a
  peremptory day, but desire you to make a definite and speedy repair,
  for your own honour and fear of prevention, at which time you shall
  find me there.

                                                          ED. SACKVILLE.

  TORGOSE, _10th August, 1613_

                     _A Monsieur, Monsieur_ SACKVILLE

  I have received your letter by your man, and acknowledge you have
  dealt nobly with me, and I come with all possible haste to meet you.

                                                               E. BRUCE.


                                  § ii

Between this affair and the date of his succession to his brother
Richard, Edward Sackville was employed on various missions: he sat in
the House of Commons, he was twice sent as ambassador to Louis XIII, and
he travelled in France and Italy. He was thus, when he succeeded, an
experienced man of thirty-four, and he pursued, uninterruptedly, the
sober path of office, now Lord Chamberlain, now Lord Privy Seal, now a
Commissioner for planting Virginia, always in the confidence of the
King, and his name affixed to State documents of the day in noble
company. The disgraces and follies of his predecessors and of his
descendants were not his lot, if that murderous duel is to be excepted.
My flaming Cavalier, _flamberge au vent_, was in reality a sober and
consistent gentleman; loyal, but not impetuous; prejudiced, but not
blinded; devoted, but not afraid to speak his mind in criticism; and in
support of this claim I shall presently quote from one of his speeches
in which he argues against a continuance of the Civil War and pleads for
a prompt reconciliation between the King and his Parliament. His
judgment is acute, and his attitude remarkably sound and broad-minded.
Yet at the same time his devotion to the King was such, that after
Charles’ execution Lord Dorset never passed beyond the threshold of his
own door.

There are a few papers at Knole relating to the years before the war
began, and from them one may gather some idea of the then manner of
life, always remembering that Lord Dorset was much impoverished by the
extravagance of his brother. The total income for the year 1628 from
Knole and Sevenoaks was £100 18_s._ 6_d._—a fifth part of which was
derived from the sale of rabbits. Some details of expenses are given in
the account-books, besides those which I have already given in
connection with the park in the second chapter:

  _Money spent on the pale in Knole Park for one year_ (£8 9_s._ 6_d._)
  _as follows_:

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 For filling, cleaning, and making six loads of pale
   rails, posts, and shores, two men                         0    8    0

 Setting up panels of pales, blown down by the wind
   against Riverhill, 10_d._ day each man                    0    5    0

 Paid a labourer for spreading the mole hills in the
   meads and for killing moles                               0    4    3

The steward of Sevenoaks was paid ten shillings a year, the bailiff of
Sevenoaks £10, the steward of Seal £2 10_s._, the bailiff of Seal £4.

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 Four hundred nails for the pales                            0    2    0

 Paid for setting up pales at mock-beech gate                0    0    8

                Paid toward repairing the market cross in
 Sevenoaks                                                   6    8    4

Portions of the park, such as were not already under cultivation of
hops, were leased out to farmers for grazing:

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 _The joistment[6] of Knole Park, May 1629._

 Of William Bloom for 3 yearlings                            1    0    0

 Of George Dennis for keeping 20 runts[7]                    0   13    4

 Of Richard Wicking for his kines’ pasture                   0   13    0

 Of Richard Fletcher for summering 2 colts                   0   16    0

There were other sources of revenue. Letters patent granted an
imposition of 4_s._ per chaldron on all coal exported, to be divided
among the Earl of Dorset, the Earl of Holland, and Sir Job Harby:

                            COAL IMPOSITIONS

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 6th May, 1634                                            4312   13    0
 Deduction for expenses                                    507   11    4
 Rest to be divided into thirds                           3805    1    8

That is to say, Dorset’s share would be £1268 7_s._ 8_d._, or more than
£10,000 of modern money.

He obtained also £100 a year by devising to Richard Gunnel and William
Blagrave for four and a half years a piece of land at the lower end of
Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, 140 feet in length and 42 feet in
breadth, on condition that they should at their own expense put up a
play-house. What would be the rent of such a piece of land now in Fleet
Street? Certainly not £100.

In spite of the fact that he complained constantly of his reduced
income, Lord Dorset added considerably to the park. He obtained a long
lease of Seal Chart, and “all woods and under-woods of the waste or
common of the Manors of Seal and Kemsing, viz., upon Rumshott Common,
Riverhill Common, Hubbard Hill Common, and Westwood Common ... in all at
least 500 acres.”

More entertaining is the acquisition of an overseas estate—no less than
that part of the east coast of America which to-day includes New York,
Boston, and Philadelphia. Those little manors in the neighbourhood of
Sevenoaks, those 500 acres of common land, dwindle suddenly beside this
formidable tenure. “An island called Sandy [Hook]” the petition casually
begins:

  An island called Sandy, lying near the continent of America, in the
  height of 44 degrees, was lately discovered by one Rose, late master
  of a ship, who suffered shipwreck, and, finding no inhabitants, took
  possession. The Earl of Dorset prays a grant of the said island for
  thirty-one years, and that none may adventure thither but such as
  petitioner shall license.

A second petition takes one’s breath away with its magnificent
insolence:

  The Earl of Dorset to the King. Certain islands on the south of New
  England, viz: Long Island, Cole Island, Sandy Point, Hell Gates,
  Martin’s [? Martha’s] Vineyard, Elizabeth Islands, Block Island, with
  other islands near thereunto, were lately discovered by some of your
  Majesty’s subjects and are not yet inhabited by Christians. Prays a
  grant thereof with like powers of government as have been granted for
  other plantations in America.

Underneath this is scribbled:

  Reference to the Attorney-General to prepare a grant. Whitehall, 20th
  Dec., 1637.

One would wish to evoke for a brief hour the spectres of those of his
Majesty’s subjects who found these localities uninhabited by Christians.

Returning to Knole after this seems paltry; yet even there Lord Dorset
was conducting his affairs on a proportionately large scale. He said
himself that he spent £40,000 after his son’s marriage, and one can
believe it when one reads a sample of the bill of fare provided for a
banquet. At the top is written:

  To perfume the room often in the meal with orange flower water upon a
  hot pan. To have fresh bowls in every corner and flowers tied upon
  them, and sweet briar, stock, gilly-flowers, pinks, wallflowers and
  any other sweet flowers in glasses and pots in every window and
  chimney.

                   BANQUET _at_ KNOLE _3rd July 1636_

   1 Rice Pottage

   2 Barley broth

   3 Buttered pickrell

   4 Butter and burned eggs

   5 Boiled teats

   6 Roast tongues

   7 Bream

   8 Perches

   9 Chine of Veal roast

  10 Hash of mutton with Anchovies

  11 Gr. Pike

  12 Fish chuits [_sic_]

  13 Roast venison, in blood

  14 Capons (2)

  15 Wild ducks (3)

  16 Salmon whole, hot

  17 Tenches, boiled

  18 Crabs

  19 Tench pie

  20 Venison pasty of a Doe

  21 Swans (2)

  22 Herons (3)

  23 Cold lamb

  24 Custard

  25 Venison, boiled

  26 Potatoes, stewed

  27 Gr. salad

  28 Redeeve [_sic_] pie, hot

  29 Almond pudding

  30 Made dishes

  31 Boiled salad

  32 Pig, whole

  33 Rabbits

                             _Another Menu_

   1 Jelly of Tench, Jelly of Hartshorn

   2 White Gingerbread

   3 Puits [peewits]

   4 Curlew

   5 Ruffes [_sic_]

   6 Fried perches

   7 Fried Eels

   8 Skirret Pie

   9 Larks (3 doz.)

  10 Plovers (12)

  11 Teals (12)

  12 Fried Pickrell

  13 Fried tench

  14 Salmon soused

  15 Soused eel

  16 Escanechia [_sic_]

  17 Seagulls (6)

  18 Ham of bacon

  19 Sturgeon

  20 Lark pie

  21 Lobster pie

  22 Crayfishes (3 doz.)

  23 Dried tongues

  24 Anchovies

  25 Hartechocks [artichokes]

  26 Peas

  27 Fool

  28 Second porridge

  29 Reddeeve pie [_sic_]

  30 Cherry tart

  31 Laid tart

  32 Carps (2)

  33 Polony sasag [_sic_]

There is also a list of “household stuff” dated the year of Lord
Dorset’s succession.

                                 “A Note
  of household stuff sent by SYMONDES to KNOLE the 28th of July 1624.”

 _Packed up  IMPRIMIS. A fustian down bed, bolster and a pair of
 in a        pillows, a pair of Spanish blankets, 5 curtains of crimson
 fardel,     and white taffeta, the valance to it of white satin
 viz.: in ye embroidered with crimson and white silk and a deep fringe
 black bed   suitable; a test and tester of white satin suitable to the
 chamber_    valance. A white rug. All these first packed up in 2 sheets
             and then packed in a white and black rug and an old
             blanket.

 _Packed in  IT: A feather bed and bolster, a pair of down pillows, 2
 another     mattrasses, 5 curtains and valances of yellow cotton
 fardel,     trimmed with blue and yellow silk fringes and lace
 viz.: next  suitable, a tester to it suitable, a cushion case of yellow
 ye chapel   satin, a pair of blankets to wrap these things in, there is
 chamber_    also in the fardel a yellow rug, and a white and black rug.

 _In ye      IT: Two bedsteads whereof one of them is gilt, which with
 black       the posts, tests, curtains, etc., are in all 11 parcels
 bedchamber_ whereof 4 are matted.

 _In ye      IT: Packed up in mats 2 high stools, 2 low stools, and a
 black       footstool of cloth of tissue and chair suitable.
 bedchamber_

 _Next ye    IT: There goes a yellow satin chair and 3 stools, suitable
 Chaplain’s  with their buckram covers to them. All the above written
 chamber_    came from Croxall.

             IT: Packed in mats my lady’s coach of cloth of silver, and
             2 low stools that came from Croxall, and a said bag,
             wherein are 9 cups of crimson damask laid with silver
             parchment lace, and 6 gilt cups for my lord’s couch bed and
             canopy, and 8 gilt cups for the bed that came from Croxall.

             IT: In a wicker trunk, 2 brass branches for a dozen lights
             apiece; and 2 single branches with bosses and bucks heads
             to them, also a wooden box with screws for the said 2
             bedsteads, a dozen of spiggots to draw wine and beer, a
             bundle of marsh mallow roots, and 2 papers of almonds.

             IT: A round wicker basket, wherein are 9 dozen of pewter
             vessels of 9 sorts or sizes.

             IT: 4 back stools of crimson and yellow stuff with silk
             fringe suitable, covered with yellow baize.

             IT: 6 pairs of mats to mat chambers with gt 30 yards
             apiece.

             IT: 2 walnut tree tables to draw out at both ends with
             their frames of the same.

             IT: A round table and its frame.

             IT: 2 green broad cloth chairs, covered all over, laced,
             and set with green silk fringe and a back stool suitable,
             covered with green buckram.

             IT: A box containing 3 dozen of Venice glasses.

             IT: A basket wherein are 20 dozen of maple trenchers.

And finally, for I fear lest the detailing of these old papers should
grow wearisome, there is a letter which so well illustrates the humour,
the coarseness, and the difficulties of life at that time, that I make
no apology for including it:

                                  Letter

           from ELIZA COPE to her sister the COUNTESS _of_ BATH

                                              _19th Jan. 1639._ BREWERNE

  DEAR SISTER,

  I am glad to hear of your jollity. I could wish myself with you a
  little while sometimes. I have played at cards 4 or 5 times this
  Christmas myself, after supper, which makes me think I begin to turn
  gallant now. Some of my neighbours put a compliment upon me this
  Christmas, and told me the old Lady Cope would never be dead so long
  as I was alive, they liked their entertainment so well, when my gilt
  bowl went round amongst them, which saying pleased me very well, for
  she was a discreet woman and worthy the imitating. I am as well
  pleased to see my little man make legs and dance a galliard, as if I
  had seen the mask at Court. I am glad you got well home for we have
  had extreme ill weather almost ever since you went, but now I will
  take the benefit of this frost to go visit some of my neighbours on
  foot to-morrow about seven miles off, but I will have a coach and 6
  horses within a call, against I am weary. You know the old saying, it
  is good going on foot with a horse in the hand.

  Commend my service to your lord, and wishing to hear you were puking
  a-mornings I bid ye good-night in haste.

                                             Your faithful sister,
                                                             ELIZA COPE.


                                 § iii

On the approach of civil war there could be, of course, no doubt on
which side the Earl of Dorset would range himself. He had been for many
years closely connected with both the King and Henrietta Maria, and Lady
Dorset stood in a yet more intimate relationship to the King and Queen
as governess to their children. Since 1630, the date of the birth of
Charles II, she had held this position, and from this little anecdote it
may be judged that she was not so severe a preceptress as her portrait
might lead one to suppose:

  Charles II, when a child, was weak in the legs, and ordered to wear
  steel boots. Their weight so annoyed him that he pined till recreation
  became labour—an old Rocker took off the steel boots and concealed
  them: promising the Countess of Dorset, who was Charles’ governess,
  that he would take any blame for the act on himself. Soon afterwards,
  the King, Charles I, coming into the nursery, and seeing the boy’s
  legs without the boots, angrily demanded who had done it. “It was I,
  Sir,” said the Rocker, “who had the honour some thirty years since to
  attend on your Highness in your infancy, when you had the same
  infirmity wherewith now the Prince, your very own son, is troubled—and
  then the Lady Cary, afterwards Countess of Monmouth, commanded your
  steel boots to be taken off, who, blessed be God, since have gathered
  strength and arrived at a good stature.”

It is no small tribute to Lady Dorset’s integrity that after the
outbreak of war she should have been continued in her office by
Parliament.

I have in my own possession a receipt signed by her for £125 for salary
and expenses, 1641.

War became imminent:

  “the citizens grow very tumultous and flock by troops daily to the
  Parliament ... they never cease yawling and crying “No Bishops, no
  Bishops!” My lord of Dorset is appointed to command the train-bands,
  but the citizens slight muskets charged with powder. I myself saw the
  Guard attempt to drive the citizens forth, but the citizens blustered
  at them and would not stir. I saw and heard my Lord of Dorset entreat
  them with his hat in his hand and yet the scoundrels would not move.”

It is clear from contemporary documents that Lord Dorset was preparing
to take an active part. He did, in fact, raise a troop which he equipped
at his own expense, and with which he joined the King at York. But the
old inventories give a list of residue arms and armour indicating a
quantity originally more numerous than would be necessary to equip a
small troop; the whole house must have been rifled to produce these
weapons, all carefully listed, whether complete or incomplete,
serviceable or not serviceable, old-fashioned or up to date. One can
read between the lines of the list the anxiety that nothing should be
omitted which could possibly be pressed into the service of the King.
Among the armour at Knole at this date must have been the fine suit of
tilting armour, formerly the property of the old Lord Treasurer, and now
in the Wallace Collection, described as “a complete suit of armour ...
richly decorated by bands and bordering, deeply etched and partly gilt
with a scroll design ... the plain surfaces oxidised to a rich
russet-brown known in inventories of the period as purple armour.” This
suit, which is one of the gems of the Wallace Collection, had been made
in 1575 by Jacob Topp or Jacobi for Sir Thomas Sackville.

                              “An Inventory
 of such arms as are now remaining in the armoury at Knole belonging to
                 the Rt. Hon. _EDWARD EARL_ of _DORSET_,
      _first the horsemen’s arms & necessaries belonging to them_:”

 Cornets for Horses                                                    2

 Curasiers arms gilt                                                   2

 Curasiers arms plain                                                 31

 White tilting armour                                                  3

 A baryears Armour gorget and gauntlet wanting                         1

 Sham front for tilting Run plates for barryers                        1

 Plated saddles suitable to the gilt arms and furniture rotten         2

 Old russet saddles trimmed with red leather and furniture
   defaulting                                                         12

 Old russet and black saddles                                         12

 Black leather saddles with all furniture bits excepted                2

 Old French pistols, whereof four have locks the other 9 have none
   and double moulds to them                                          13

 Swords                                                               14

 Horn flasks                                                          49

 Whereof an old damask one cornered with velvet and many not
   serviceable Slight arms, back and breast 2 gorgets only to them    13


                _Arms and other necessaries for foot men_

 One engraven target                                                   1

 Partisan rolled with red velvet and nailed with gilt nails and
   damasked with gold                                                  1

 Partisans Damasked with Silver and the Cat on them [the Cat, _i.e._
   the leopard]                                                        4

 Corslets with back breast cases and headpieces                      138

 Spanish picks and English picks with Spanish heads whereof 4 are
   broken                                                            151

 Comb head pieces                                                     70

 Old Spanish morions                                                  50

 Halberts                                                              7

 Bits                                                                  6

 Full muskets complete                                                76

 Bastard muskets                                                      56

 Muskets imperfect                                                     4

 Noulds to the muskets                                                 2

 New Rests                                                            64

 Old Rests                                                             7

 Bandeliers                                                           36

 Barrels of match wanting 16 bundles                                   2

                                            (Signed) DORSET. _Jan. 1641_

It was not very long before the Parliamentarians got wind of this hoard,
and in August 1642 three troops of horse under the command of one
Cornell Sandys rode into Kent, invaded Knole, took prisoner a Sir John
Sackville whom they found in charge there, did a certain amount of rough
damage, and carried off the contents of the armoury to London. The
proceedings were thus officially reported:


                  _Some_ SPECIAL & REMARKABLE PASSAGES

_from both houses of_ PARLIAMENT _since Monday 15th of Aug. till Friday
the 19th 1642_.

  Upon Saturday night last, the Lord General having information of a
  great quantity of Arms of the Earl of Dorset’s at his house at
  Sevenoaks, in Kent, in the custody of Sir John Sackville, which were
  to be disposed of by him to arm a great number of the malignant party
  of that County, to go to York to assist his Majesty; called a Council
  of War, to consider of the same, and about 12 of the clock at night
  sent out 3 troops of Horse into Kent to seize upon the said Arms;
  which they did accordingly on the Sunday following; and on the Monday
  brought the same to London and Sir John Sackville prisoner, there
  being complete arms for 500 or 600 men.

Despite the outcry of plaintive indignation which went up from Knole,
the House of Lords report proves that their conduct towards Lord Dorset
over the incident was fair, lenient, and even generous:

  That the Arms of the Earl of Dorset which were at Knole House, are
  brought to Town, to be kept from being made use of against the
  Parliament,

and therefore this House ordered,

  That such as are rich Arms shall not be made use of, but kept safely
  for the Earl of Dorset; but such as are fit to be made use of for the
  service of the Kingdom are to be employed; an Inventory to be taken,
  and money to be given to the Earl of Dorset in satisfaction thereof.

Thus ran the official reports; but Knole, astonished, aggrieved, and
outraged, drew up a fuller list of injuries. It was the first time rude
voices had ever echoed within those venerable walls or rude hands
rummaged among the sacred possessions, the first time that orders had
been issued there by another than the master. The Parliament men had
entered with arrogance, spoken with authority, gone beyond their
warrant, and ransacked wantonly—for from what motive but wantonness
could they have taken the plumes from the bed-tester or the cushions
from his Lordship’s own room? or spoilt the oil in the Painter’s
Chamber? or, indeed, broken forty locks, unless to overcome such slight
resistance in an unnecessarily high-handed manner? No doubt the novelty
of the experience turned their heads. Rhetorically they were the
representatives of the English Parliament, that sober and tenacious
senate, as stubborn now as at Runnymede, but in private life they were
men, however insignificant hitherto to Lord Dorset, men who, when he
passed with a swagger, murmured dully beneath their reluctant deference.
The moment when, cantering up over the crest of the hill, they first saw
the grey forbidding walls and drew rein before the massive door, their
horses’ bits jingling and the restive hoofs pawing at the gravel, must
indeed have been an experience. Likewise, to ring their spurs on the
paving-stones of the courtyards, to pass from room to room followed by a
protesting and impotent steward, to stare at the pictures, to lounge on
the velvet chairs, to set out their ink and paper on the solid table of
the parlour and to draw up their indictment. It was August; the rose
planted beneath the window of a Stuart King to commemorate his visit was
covered with its little white blossoms; the turf was smooth and green;
the flowers were bright under the young apple-trees in the orchard; the
beeches and chestnuts were deep and heavy with the fullness of summer.
The austerity of the Roundheads surely stiffened in the soft summer
spaciousness of Knole. The owner was absent: they had only his new
portrait to gaze at, with scorn of his brilliant doublet and his curling
hair.

All things considered, I think that they showed commendable restraint in
their behaviour:


   _The hurt done at_ KNOLE HOUSE _the 14 Day of August 1642 by the_
            COMPANY OF HORSEMEN _brought by_ CORNELL SANDYS:

  There are above forty stock locks and plated locks broken, which to
  make good will cost £10.

  There is of gold branches belonging to the couch in the rich gallery
  as much cut away as will not be made good for £40.

  And in my Lord’s chamber 12 long cushion-cases embroidered with satin
  and gold, and the plumes upon the bed-tester, to ye value of £30.

  They have broken open six trunks; in one of them was money; what is
  lost of it we know not, in regard the keeper of it is from home. They
  have spoiled in the Painter’s Chamber his oil, and other wrongs there
  to the value of £40.

  They have broke into Sir John his Granary and have taken of his oats
  and peas, to the quantity of three or four quarters £4.

  The arms they have wholly taken away, there being five waggon-loads of
  them.

Nor was this the last time that the Parliamentarians came to Knole.
Three years after these events Cromwell’s commissioners were installed
there as the headquarters of the Court of Sequestration for Kent, and
held their sessions in the Poets’ Parlour, when the Sackvilles were, for
a short time, deprived of the property. On this occasion there is no
record of any definite damage to the contents of the house, although a
House of Commons notice for January 1645 ordered that “two-thirds of the
goods and estates of the Earl of Dorset not exceeding the sum of £500
now at Knole in the county of Kent, and lately discovered there, shall
be employed for the use of the garrison at Dover Castle, towards the pay
of their arrears.”

Among the papers in the Muniment Room I find a letter of a later date
from Sir Kenelm Digby to Lord Dorset, referring to some stolen pictures
which he has been endeavouring to trace in Paris, and recommending to
Lord Dorset a certain M. La Fontaine for “the much pains and running
about he hath used,” suggesting that he should be rewarded with 20_s._
and recommended to good customers to sell his “powders and cigeours.” I
wonder inevitably whether the loss of these pictures had been due to any
action of Cromwell or his commissioners? Sir Kenelm’s letter, which is
long, rambling, and rather illegible, does not make any mention of the
cause or date of the disappearance. Sir Kenelm is himself of greater
interest, perhaps, than his letter or the pictures. An intimate friend
of Lord Dorset’s, the author of several housewifely little treatises,
such as _The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby_ and _Choice and Experimental
Receipts_, he was incidentally the husband of that Venetia Stanley whose
lover Richard Sackville had been. (It has, I may mention, been suggested
that Edward Sackville, not Richard, was the lover of Lady Digby; and
having regard to what I know of Sir Kenelm’s character I should think it
not inconsistent, even if this were so, that he should remain on most
friendly terms with the former lover of his wife. He had, after all, not
scrupled to sue Lord Dorset, whether Richard or Edward, for the
continuance after marriage of Lady Digby’s pension of £500 a year.) Sir
Kenelm’s portrait by Vandyck is at Knole in the Poets’ Parlour; he is a
chubby little man, with a fat outspread hand, and dimples in the place
of knuckles. At one period of the Civil War he suffered imprisonment,
when Lord Dorset, wishing to beguile his friend’s tedium, advised him to
read the recently published _Religio Medici_ of Sir Thomas Browne: Sir
Kenelm took his advice, and was so much impressed as to embody his
observations in a long letter to Lord Dorset, which was subsequently
printed (1643) by “R. C. for Daniel Frere, to be sold at his shop at the
Red Bull in Little Britain.” I happen to have the first editions of the
_Religio Medici_ and the little companion volume of Sir Kenelm’s
_Observations_: the former is heavily scored or commented by some
appreciative reader, and attention is called in the margin to favourite
passages by the drawing of a tiny hand with pointing finger, the wrist
encircled by a cuff of _point de Venise_. Sir Kenelm esteemed his
friend’s taste, and the “spirit and smartness” of the author, who set
out upon his task so excellently poised with a happy temper. Towards the
end of his discourse Sir Kenelm quite loses his sense of proportion in
his enthusiasm over Lord Dorset’s discernment, and exclaims:

           _Tu regere imperio populos_ [Sackville] _memento_,

and concludes by dating his letter “the 22nd [I think I may say the
23rd, for I am sure it is morning, and I think it is day] of December
1642,” thus proving that he has sat up all night in prison with Sir
Thomas Browne—and who in this generation could with truth make such a
boast?


                                  § iv

More tragical events than the desecration of his house or the
imprisonment of his chubby friend marked for Lord Dorset the progress of
the Civil War. His eldest son, Lord Buckhurst, was early taken prisoner
at Miles End Green with Lord Middlesex and that same Sir Kenelm Digby,
and his younger son, Edward, was also taken prisoner at Kidlington, near
Oxford, and murdered in cold blood by a Roundhead soldier shortly after,
at Abingdon. I know nothing of this Edward Sackville except that he was
knighted at an early age, was reported to be “a good chymist,” and was
deplored in an obituary poem as being

           .... _a lamp that had consumed
           Scarce half its oil, yet the whole place perfumed
           Wherein he lived, or did in kindness come,
           As if composed of precious Balsamum_,

and as being to his friends

                                _that lost in losing him,
            An eye, a tongue, a hand, or some choice limb_.

The author of this poem, A. Townsend, contributed also to the Knole
papers a set of verses on the death of Charles I. “It is a shame,” he
exclaims,

                         _those that can write in verse,
               Quite cover not with elegies his hearse_,

and asks:

           _Where are the learned sisters, whose full breast
           Was wont to yield such store of milk, unpressed?_

[Illustration:

  THE TWO SONS OF EDWARD, 4TH EARL OF DORSET:

  RICHARD, LORD BUCKHURST; THE HON. EDWARD SACKVILLE

  _From the portrait at Knole by_ CORNELIUS NUIE
]

The King, he says, was

             .... _pious, temperate, and grave,
             Just, gentle, constant, merciful, brave.
             All this, and more, he was not pleased to be,
             Without the woman’s virtue, Chastity_,

most unlike Solomon, who was wise, yet

                  .... _did incline
                  To worship idols, for a concubine_.

Lord Dorset himself took an active part in the fighting. At Edgehill he
recaptured the Royal Standard which had been lost to the enemy, and to
his answer during the same battle James II later testified:

  The old Earl of Dorset, at Edgehill [_he wrote_], being commanded by
  the King my father to carry the Prince [Charles II] and myself up a
  hill out of the battle, refused to do it, and said he would not be
  thought a coward for ever a King’s son in Christendom.

I think also that one of his speeches is worth printing, made at the
Council table in reply to one of Lord Bristol’s which urged the
continuance of the war. It is honest, enlightened, bold, and,
considering his personal grievances, very dignified:

  The Earl of Bristol has delivered his opinion; and, my turn being next
  to speak, I shall, with the like integrity, give your Lordships an
  account of my sentiments in this great and important business. I shall
  not, as young students do in the schools, _argumentandi gratia_,
  repugn my Lord of Bristol’s tenets; but because my conscience tells me
  they are not orthodox, nor consonant to the disposition of the
  Commonwealth, which, languishing with a tedious sickness, must be
  recovered by gentle and easy medicines in consideration of its
  weakness rather than by violent vomits, or any other kind of
  compelling physic. Not that I shall absolutely labour to refute my
  Lord’s opinion, but justly deliver my own, which, being contrary to
  his, may appear an express contradiction of it, which indeed it is
  not; peace, and that a sudden one, being as necessary betwixt his
  Majesty and his Parliament as light is requisite for the production of
  the day, or heat to cherish from above all inferior bodies; this
  division betwixt his Majesty and his Parliament being as if [by
  miracle] the sun should be separated from his beams, and divided from
  his proper essence. I would not, my Lords, be ready to embrace a peace
  that would be more disadvantageous to us than the present war, which,
  as the Earl of Bristol says, “would destroy our estates and families.”
  The Parliament declares only against delinquents; such as they
  conjecture have miscounselled his Majesty, and be the authors of these
  tumults in the Commonwealth. But these declarations of theirs, except
  such crimes can be proved against them, are of no validity. The
  Parliament will do nothing unjustly, nor condemn the innocent; and
  certainly innocent men had not need to fear to appear before any
  judges whatsoever. And he, who shall for any cause prefer his own
  private good before the public utility, is but an ill son of the
  Commonwealth. _For my particular, in these wars I have suffered as
  much as any; my house hath been searched, my arms taken thence, and my
  son-and-heir committed to prison. Yet I shall wave these
  discourtesies, because I know there was a necessity it should be so;
  and as the darling business of the kingdom, the honour and prosperity
  of the King, study to reconcile all these differences betwixt his
  Majesty and his Parliament; and so to reconcile them, that they shall
  no way prejudice his royal prerogative; of which I believe the
  Parliament being a loyal defender_ [knowing the subject’s property
  depends on it; for, if sovereigns cannot enjoy their rights, their
  subjects cannot] will never endeavour to be infringed; so that, if
  doubts and jealousies were taken away by a fair treaty between his
  Majesty and the Parliament, no doubt a means might be devised to
  rectify these differences—the honour of the King, the estate of us his
  followers and counsellors, the privileges of Parliament, and property
  of the subject, be infallibly preserved in safety: and neither the
  King stoop in this to his subjects, nor the subjects be deprived of
  their just liberties by the King. And whereas my Lord of Bristol
  observes, “that in Spain very few civil dissensions arise, because the
  subjects are truly subjects, and the Sovereign truly a Sovereign”;
  that is, as I understand, the subjects are scarcely removed a degree
  from slaves, nor the Sovereign from a tyrant; here in England the
  subjects have, by long-received liberties granted to our ancestors by
  their Kings, made their freedom resolve into a second nature; and
  neither is it safe for our Kings to strive to introduce the Spanish
  Government upon these free-born nations, nor just for the people to
  suffer that Government to be imposed upon them, which I am certain his
  Majesty’s goodness never intended. And whereas my Lord of Bristol
  intimates the strength and bravery of our army as an inducement to the
  continuation of these wars, which he promises himself will produce a
  fair and happy peace; in this I am utterly repugnant to his opinion;
  for, grant that we have an army of gallant and able men, which,
  indeed, cannot be denied, yet we have infinite disadvantages on our
  side, the Parliament having double our number, and surely [though our
  enemies] persons of as much bravery, nay, and sure to be daily
  supported, when any of their number fails; a benefit which we cannot
  bestow, they having the most populous part of the kingdom at their
  devotion; all, or most, of the cities, considerable towns and ports,
  together with the mainest pillar of the kingdom’s safety, the sea, at
  their command, and the navy; and, which is most material of all, an
  inexhaustible Indies of money to pay their soldiers, out of the
  liberal contributions of coin and plate sent in by people of all
  conditions, who account the Parliament’s cause their cause, and so
  think themselves engaged to part with the uttermost penny of their
  estates in their defence, whom they esteem the patriots of their
  liberties. These strengths of theirs and the defects of ours
  considered, I conclude it necessary for all our safeties, and the good
  of the whole Commonwealth, to beseech his Majesty to take some present
  order for a treaty of peace betwixt himself and his high court of
  Parliament, who, I believe, are so loyal and obedient to his sacred
  Majesty, that they will propound nothing that shall be prejudicial to
  his royal prerogative, or repugnant to their fidelity and duty.

It is, of course, not at all to my purpose to follow the course of the
Civil War, but only to say that after the execution of the King Lord
Dorset made a vow, which he is believed to have kept, that he would
never again stir out of his house until he should be carried out of it
in his coffin. He did not, in point of fact, survive the King by very
many years, but died in 1652 and was buried at Withyham.



                               CHAPTER VI
                    Knole in the Reign of Charles II
                                CHARLES
                                  6th
                            Earl _of_ Dorset


                                  § i

Edward Sackville was succeeded by his son Richard, married to Lady
Frances Cranfield, a considerable heiress, who, on the death of her
brother, inherited the fortune and property of their father, Lionel
Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, sometime Treasurer to James I. I mention
this marriage especially, because it brought to the Sackvilles the house
called Copt Hall in Essex and its contents, which included much of the
finest furniture now at Knole, some of the tapestry, the many portraits
of the Cranfields by Mytens and Dobson, the series of historical
portraits in the Brown Gallery, and the Mytens copies of Raphael’s
cartoons. There are a number of receipts at Knole to no less than six
different carriers, for wagon-loads of effects removed from Copt Hall to
Knole at the cost of £2. 5_s._ per load. From Copt Hall also came the
carved stone shield now in the Stone Court on the roof of the Great
Hall. The Copt Hall estate was sold in 1701 for the approximate sum of
twenty thousand pounds. The draft of the marriage settlement is at
Knole:

  _January 25th, 1640_

  The Earl of Middlesex is to assure ten thousand pounds to the Earl of
  Dorset in marriage with the Lady Frances Cranfield to the Lord
  Buckhurst to be paid in times and manner following:

  He is to retain the money in his hands, paying yearly to the young
  couple towards their maintenance by equal portions at Michaelmas and
  our Lady Day £800 per annum until a jointure be made of £1500 per
  annum, by the Lord Buckhurst joining with the Earl of Dorset when he
  shall come to full age.

  And if the Lord Buckhurst [which God forbid] shall decease before the
  said lady, or a jointure so made, then the ten thousand pound shall be
  the sole use of the said lady. But if the said lady [which God forbid]
  should die before the Lord Buckhurst without children, the said
  portion or so much shall remain not laid out by consent of the Earl of
  Dorset in purchasing in lands or leases, shall be paid to the said
  Earl of Dorset.

And in the same connection there are some notes from Edward, Lord Dorset
to Lord Middlesex, one written “this Thursday morning at 5 of the
clock,” apologising for the “bad character” which Lord Middlesex must
decipher—and indeed the writing is all but illegible—but he is obliged
to write as he must go presently into Kent to dispose some bargains and
sales.

No particular interest attaches to Richard Sackville, save that he
translated _Le Cid_ into English verse and wrote a poem on Ben Jonson,
but there are at Knole some memorandum books in his handwriting (between
1660 and 1670) which are worth quoting, I think, for the following
illuminating extracts:

                _From the_ DIARY _of_ SERVANTS’ _faults_

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 Henry Mattock, for scolding to extremity on Sunday
   without cause                                             0    0    3
 William Loe, for running out of doors from Morning till
   Midnight without leave                                    0    2    0
 Richard Meadowes, for being absent when my Lord came
   home late, and making a headless excuse                   0    0    6
 Henry Mattock, for not doing what he is bidden              0    1    0
 And 3_d._ a day till he does from this day.
 Henry Mattock, for disposing of my cast linen without
   my order                                                  0    0    3
 Robert Verrell, for giving away my money                    0    0    6
 Henry Mattock, for speaking against going to Knole          0    0    6
 Verrell to pay for not burning the brakes out of the
   Wilderness, 3_d._ per week out of his week’s wages of
   5_s._ for forty-two weeks.

There are various other notes in the same books: Thomas Porter, going to
Knole, was to have five shillings a week board-wages; and, judging from
the following, Lord Dorset evidently could not wholly trust his memory
unaided: “My French shot-bag; an hammer, and some playthings for Tom, a
bone knife, etc. A great Iron chafing-dish, or a fire-pan to set it
upon.” And again, “A silver porringer for little Tom.”

Another day he notes:

  Old lead cast at Knole for the two turrets weighing 1500 lbs. Old lead
  cast for the cistern weighing 1200 lbs. Sold 13th Aug. 1662 to Edmund
  Giles and Edward Bourne the Advowson of the Rectory and Parsonage of
  Tooting in Surrey for an £100 and paid my wife.

There is also a receipt:

  _Nov. 14, 1671._ =Rec^d= of the Right Hon. RICHARD Earl of DORSET, in
  full of all wages bills and accounts whatsoever _from ye beginning of
  ye World to this day_ ye full sum of five pounds seven shillings and
  sixpence I say rec’d by _JOHN WALL GROVE_.


                                  § ii

This Richard Sackville and Frances Cranfield had seven sons and six
daughters. There are some delightful portraits of the little girls at
Knole, one in particular of Lady Anne and Lady Frances, painted in a
garden, leading a squirrel on a blue ribbon, and in the chapel at
Withyham there is an elaborate monument to commemorate the youngest son,
Thomas, no doubt the “little Tom” for whom the playthings and the silver
porringer were to be remembered. The monument bears the following
inscription:

        _Stand not amaz’d [Reader] to see us shed
        From drowned eyes vain offerings to ye dead
        For he whose sacred ashes here doth lie
        Was the great hopes of all our family.
        To blaze whose virtues is but to detract
        From them, for in them none can be exact.
        So grave and hopeful was his youth,
        So dear a friend to piety and truth,
        He scarce knew sin, but what curst nature gave,
        And yet grim death hath snatch’d him to his grave.
        He never to his Parents was unkind
        But in his early leaving them behind,
        And since hath left us and for e’er is gone
        What Mother would not weep for such a Son—
        May this fair Monument then never fade,
        Or be by blasting time or age decay’d.
        That the succeeding times to all may tell
        Here lieth one that liv’d and died well—
        Here lies the thirteenth child and seventh son
        Who in his thirteenth year his race had run._
                                              THOMAS SACKVILLE.

Of the other children, save of the eldest, there is no record, or none
worth quoting: many of them died, as happened with such pitiable
frequency, at a very early age: Lionel, aged three; Catherine, aged one;
Cranfield, aged fourteen days; Elizabeth, aged two years; Anne, aged
three. The eldest son, however, is one of the most jovial and debonair
figures in the Knole portrait-gallery, Charles, the sixth Earl—let us
call him the Restoration Earl—the jolly, loose-living, magnificent
Mæcenas, “during the whole of his life the patron of men of genius and
the dupe of women, and bountiful beyond measure to both.” He furnished
Knole with silver, and peopled it with poets and courtesans; he left us
the Poets’ Parlour, rich with memories of Pope and Dryden, Prior and
Shadwell, D’Urfey and Killigrew; he left us the silver and ebony stands
on which he was in the habit in hours of relaxation of placing his
cumbersome periwig; he left us his portraits, both as the bewigged and
be-ribboned courtier, and as the host, wrapped in a loose robe, a turban
twisted round his head; he left us his gay and artificial stanzas to
Chloris and Dorinda, and his rousing little song written on the eve of a
naval engagement. He is not, perhaps, a very admirable figure. He was
not above trafficking in court appointments; he disturbed London by a
rowdy youth; he was reported to have passed on his mistresses to the
King; he ended his life in mental and moral decay with a squalid woman
at Bath. He followed the fashions of his age, and the most that can be
claimed for him is that he should stand, along with his inseparables
Rochester and Sedley, as the prototype of that age. But for all that,
there is about such geniality, such generosity, and such munificence, a
certain coarse lovableness which holds an indestructible charm for the
English race. It is that which makes Charles the Second a more popular
monarch than William the Third: Herrick a more popular poet than Milton.
Last but not least, Charles Sackville is connected with that most
attractive figure of the English stage—Nell Gwyn.

[Illustration:

  CHARLES SACKVILLE, 6TH EARL OF DORSET, K.G.

  _From the portrait by_ SIR GODFREY KNELLER _in the Poets’ Parlour at
    Knole_
]

It is not known precisely in what year he was born, but it was either
1639, 1640, or 1642, so that he must have been a young man somewhere in
the neighbourhood of twenty when Charles II came to the throne. He had
been educated by a tutor, one Jennings, and sent abroad with him: as
Jennings wrote home of him in measured terms surprising in that age of
sycophancy, saying “I doubt not he will attain to some perfection,” he
probably held but a low opinion of the abilities of his pupil. I do not
know at what age Lord Buckhurst, as he then was, returned to England,
but he must have been quite young, for in 1660 he becomes Colonel of a
regiment of foot, commands 104 men, and receives a yearly allowance of
£70 from his father, and the references to him in Pepys begin in 1661
when he was not more than twenty-one or twenty-two. He was, says Dr.
Johnson with characteristic disapproval and severity, “eager of the
riotous and licentious pleasures which young men of high rank, who
aspired to be thought wits, at that time imagined themselves entitled to
indulge.” Many of his pranks have been placed on record. They are
neither very funny nor very edifying. On one occasion he and his brother
Edward, with three friends, were committed to Newgate for killing an
innocent man in a brawl, and should no doubt have been tried for murder,
but as those contretemps could be arranged with very little difficulty
the charge was modified to manslaughter.[8] On another occasion, the
full details of which are not allowed to remain in the expurgated
edition of Pepys, Lord Buckhurst, Sir Charles Sedley, and Sir Thomas
Ogle got drunk at the Cock Tavern in Bow Street, where they went out on
to a balcony, and Sedley took off all his clothes and harangued the
crowd which collected below: the crowd, in indignation, drove them in
with stones, and broke the windows of the house; for this offence all
three gentlemen were indicted and Sedley was fined £500. On yet another
occasion Buckhurst and Sedley spent the night in prison for brawling
with the watch, and were delivered only on the King’s intervention. On
yet another, Pepys records that “the King was drunk at Saxam with Sedley
and Buckhurst, the night that my Lord Arlington came thither, and would
not give him audience, or could not.” These and similar exploits recall
the more celebrated escapade of Rochester as an astrologer, which at
least had in it a humorous element entirely lacking in the mere rioting
of drunken young men like Buckhurst and Sedley. It is not very
surprising to learn that although he “inherited not only the paternal
estate of the Sackvilles but likewise that of the Cranfields, Earls of
Middlesex in right of his mother, yet at his decease his son, then only
eighteen years of age, possessed so slender a fortune that his guardians
when they sent him to travel on the Continent allowed him only eight
hundred pounds a year for his provision,” nor that “extenuated by
pleasures and indulgences, he sank into a premature old age.” Before
sinking into this old age, however, he lived through the full enjoyment
of a splendid youth. It is difficult to imagine an era in English
history more favourable to a young man of his type and fortune than the
early years of Charles II, when the King himself was the ringleader in
the outburst of revolt against that iron-grey period of Puritanism
through which the country had just passed. Dresses became extravagant,
silver ornate, speech licentious; the theatres, which had been closed
for over twenty years, reopened, the costumes and scenery being now on
an elaborate scale never contemplated before; women—a daring
innovation—appeared in the women’s rôles; the King and his brother
patronised the play-houses with all the young bloods of the court;
coaches clattered through the streets of London, yes, even on a Sunday.
There is, of course, another side to the picture—the sullen disapproval
of the serious-minded, the squalor of a London shortly to be rotted by
plague and terribly purified by fire—but with this side we have in the
present connection no concern. We are in the gay upper stratum of
prosperity and fashion, fortunate in the extraordinary vividness of our
visualisation; we know not only the principal characters, but also the
crowd of “supers” pressing behind them; we know their comings and
goings, their intrigues, their rivalries, their amusements, the names of
their mistresses. We are now at Whitehall, now at Epsom, now at
Tunbridge Wells, now at Richmond. We are, indeed, very deeply in Pepys’
debt.

In this world, therefore, so intimately familiar to any reader of the
great diarist, Lord Buckhurst moves noisily with Rochester and
Buckingham, Etherege and Sedley, “the first gentleman,” says Horace
Walpole, “of the voluptuous court of Charles II.” We are told that he
refused the King’s offers of employment in order to enjoy his pleasures
with the greater freedom, or, as he himself wrote with much frankness:

               _May knaves and fools grow rich and great,
                 And the world think them wise,
               While I lie dying at her feet
                 And all the world despise._

               _Let conquering Kings new triumphs raise,
                 And melt in court delights:
               Her eyes can give much brighter days,
                 Her arms much softer nights._

This did not prevent him from enrolling as a volunteer in the Dutch war
of 1665, when he was present at a naval battle, and when the song which
he was reported to have written on the eve of the engagement was brought
to London and bandied from mouth to mouth about the town. Dr. Johnson
shows himself sceptical as to this picturesque legend of the origin of
the verses. “Seldom is any splendid story wholly true,” he observes; and
continues, “I have heard from the Earl of Orrery, that Lord Buckhurst
had been a week employed upon it, and only re-touched, or finished it,
on the memorable evening.” However this may be, both song and story
remain: I have told the story, and quote the song:

             _To all you ladies now at land
               We men at sea indite;
             But first would have you understand
               How hard it is to write:
             The Muses now, and Neptune too,
             We must implore to write to you,
                 With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _For though the Muses should prove kind
               And fill our empty brain,
             Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind
               To wave the azure main,
             Our paper, pen and ink, and we,
             Roll up and down our ships at sea,
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _Then if we write not by each post,
               Think not we are unkind;
             Nor yet conclude our ships are lost
               By Dutchman or the wind:
             Our tears we’ll send a speedier way,
             The tide shall bring them twice a day,
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _The King with wonder and surprise
               Will swear the seas grow bold,
             Because the tides will higher rise
               Than e’er they did of old:
             But let him know it is our tears
             Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs,[9]
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _Should foggy Opdam chance to know
               Our sad and dismal story,
             The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe
               And quit their fort at Goree;
             For what resistance can they find
             From men who’ve left their hearts behind?—
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _Let wind and weather do its worst,
               Be you to us but kind,
             Let Dutchmen vapour, Spaniards curse,
               No sorrow we shall find:
             ’Tis then no matter how things go,
             Or who’s our friend, or who’s our foe,
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _To pass our tedious hours away
               We throw a merry main,
             Or else at serious ombre play;
               But why should we in vain
             Each other’s ruin thus pursue?
             We were undone when we left you,
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _But now our fears tempestuous grow
               And cast our hopes away;
             Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
               Sit careless at a play;
             Perhaps permit some happier man
             To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan,
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _When any mournful tune you hear
               That dies in every note
             As if it sighed with each man’s care
               For being so remote,
             Think then how often love we’ve made
             To you, when all those tunes were played,
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _In justice you cannot refuse
               To think of our distress,
             When we for hopes of honour lose
               Our certain happiness:
             All those designs are but to prove
             Ourselves more worthy of your love,
                   With a fa, la, la, la, la._

             _And now we’ve told you all our loves,
               And likewise all our fears.
             In hopes this declaration moves
               Some pity for our tears:
             Let’s hear of no inconstancy,
             We have too much of that at sea—
                 With a fa, la, la, la, la._

With this song—which is really very good of its kind, and, I think,
deserves its fame—Pepys says that he “occasioned much mirth,” although
at the time of repeating it he was under the impression that it was
written by three authors in collaboration. It seems to have achieved
popularity, and was set to music, also a parody was written of it by
Lord Halifax under the title “The New Court: Being an Excellent New Song
to an old Tune of ‘To all you Ladies now at hand’ by the Earl of
Dorset,” and of which the following is the opening verse:

                _To all you Tories far from Court
                  We Courtiers now in play
                Do write, to tell you how we sport
                  And laugh the hours away.
                The King, the Turks, the Prince, and all
                Attend with us each Feast and Ball.
                      With a fa_, etc.

It is shortly after this battle that Nell Gwyn first appears in Lord
Buckhurst’s life. London’s two theatres—the Duke’s Theatre, near
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and the King’s Theatre, or, more familiarly, The
Theatre, in Drury Lane—were then the great new resort and amusement,
from the King and his brother in their boxes down to the rabble in the
pit. Until the reign of Charles II the presence of the King in a common
play-house was an unknown thing: such plays or masques as they had
witnessed were always specially performed for them either in the halls
or cock-pits of their palaces, but it now became the fashion for not
only the King and the Duke of York, but also for the Queen to patronise
the theatres. There were other innovations. The public was no longer
satisfied with the makeshift scenery of pre-Commonwealth days, which had
too often consisted of a placard hung upon a nail, “_A wood_,” or “_A
throne-room_,” or whatever it might be. Nor were the dresses of the
actors as careless as they had formerly been, but patrons of the stage
would give their old clothes, which, if shabby, were no doubt still
sufficiently magnificent to produce their effect at a distance. Even a
step further in progress was the appearance of women on the stage, “foul
and undecent women now, and never till now, permitted to appear and
act,” says Evelyn, full of indignation, “who, inflaming several young
noblemen and gallants, became their misses and to some their wives,
witness the Earl of Oxford, Sir R. Howard, Prince Rupert, the Earl of
Dorset, and another greater person than any of them.” A theatre of that
day must have been a noisy, ruffling, ill-lighted place. The ceiling
immediately above the pit was either open to the sky or else
inadequately covered over, so that in the event of rain the whole of the
pit was apt to surge into the dry parts of the theatre. The ladies in
the audience, especially if the performance happened to be a comedy, sat
for the most part in masks. The sallow face of the King, framed by the
heavy curls, leered down over the edge of a box. In the body of the
theatre lounged the bucks of the town, exchanging pleasantry and
impudence with the orange-girls who were so indispensable a feature.

These orange-girls stood in the pit, crying “Oranges! will you have any
oranges?” and were under the control of a superior known as Orange Moll,
a famous figure of London theatre life. One may quote, to give some
further idea of the relations between the young dandies and the
orange-sellers, some of the stage directions in Shadwell’s _True Widow_,
in the fourth act, laid in the Playhouse, “Several young coxcombs fool
with the orange-women,” or “He sits down and lolls in the orange-wench’s
lap,” or, “Raps people on the back and twirls their hats, and then looks
demurely, as if he did not do it.” Amongst these girls, at the beginning
of her career, was Nell Gwyn, of whom Rochester wrote:

         ... _the basket her fair arm did suit,
         Laden with pippins and Hesperian fruit;
         This first step raised, to the wondering pit she sold
         The lovely fruit smiling with streaks of gold_,

and who has come down to us as a figure full of disreputable charm,
witty Nelly, pretty Nelly, Nelly whose foot was least of any woman’s in
England, Nelly who paid the debts of those whom she saw being haled off
to prison, Nelly the pert, the apt, the kind-hearted, Nelly who
“continued to hang on her clothes with her usual negligence when she was
the King’s mistress, but whatever she did became her.” This merry
creature said of herself that she was brought up in a brothel and served
strong waters to gentlemen: it is probable that she was born in the Coal
Yard at Drury Lane (now Goldsmith Street), and, wherever she may have
been brought up, at a very early age she joined the orange-girls at the
King’s Theatre. In due time her looks and her wit attracted attention
and she went on the stage. Pepys, who was evidently much taken with the
“bold merry slut,” leaves a particularly charming record of her one May
day:

  _May 1st._ To Westminster, in the way meeting many milkmaids with
  their garlands upon their pails, dancing with a fiddler before them;
  and saw pretty Nelly standing at her lodgings door in Drury Lane in
  her smock sleeves and bodice, looking upon one; she seemed a mighty
  pretty creature.

This being in May (1657), when Nell was sixteen, and had already been
acting for at least two years, in July of the same year the diarist was
told, which troubled him, that “my Lord Buckhurst hath got Nell away
from the King’s House, and gives her £100 a year, so as she hath sent
her parts to the house and will act no more.”

                    _None ever had so strange an art
                      His passion to convey
                    Into a listening virgin’s heart
                      And steal her soul away_

was sung of Buckhurst. He was then twenty-seven or so, Nell Gwyn
sixteen, and together they kept “merry house” at Epsom. Pepys went down
to Epsom one day and heard reports of their merriments: he pitied Nelly,
exclaiming, “Poor girl!” and pitied still more her loss to the King’s
Theatre; but he does not expressly state whether he saw the pair or not.
In any case, the housekeeping at Epsom did not continue for very long,
for by August she was again acting in London, and Pepys had “a great
deal of discourse with Orange Moll, who tells us that Nell is already
left by my Lord Buckhurst, and that he makes sport of her, and swears
she hath had all she could get of him.” It would appear from this that
Buckhurst, contrary to what has been said of him, did not sell Nell Gwyn
to the King, for even Pepys, who would surely have been among the first
and best informed, does not mention the King having “sent for Nelly”
until January of the following year. I hope, therefore, that the charges
of his having accepted bribes in exchange for Nelly may be exploded. A
great many things were whispered—that he had been promised the peerage
of Middlesex, that he had been given a thousand pounds a year, that he
had been sent on “a sleeveless errand” into France to leave the coast
clear for the King, that he refused to give her up until he had been
repaid for all the expenses she had entailed upon him. I do not think
that such a Jewish spirit is at all in keeping with the rest of his
character as we know it, with his generosity and general lavishness, nor
does it seem probable that he would so have bargained with a king whose
favour he was anxious to retain. By 1669 it is certain that Nell was
definitely the King’s mistress and all connection with Buckhurst over.
But we find that years afterwards the house called Burford House, at
Windsor, is granted by Charles II to Charles, Earl of Dorset and
Middlesex, W. Chaffinch, Esq., and others, in trust for Ellen Gwyn for
life, with remainder to the Earl of Burford, the King’s natural son, in
tail male; further, among the Knole papers is the original deed of 1683
appointing Lord Dorset her trustee and trustee to her son by Charles II;
and, dated 1678, there is an allusion to her former lover in one of
Nell’s infrequent and ill-spelt letters: “My lord Dorseit apiers worze
in thre months, for he drinks aile with Shadwell and Mr. Haris at the
Duke’s house all day long.”

Nell Gwyn thus passed out of Lord Buckhurst’s life, which she had so
briefly entered, a well-assorted pair, I think, in every respect—he,
idle, spoilt, heavy and magnificent; she, coarse, witty, feminine. There
is a portrait of her at Knole, which I suppose was acquired by him, and
I once happened to see a set of spoons in a loan exhibition which were
catalogued as bearing the arms of Sackville with those of Nell Gwyn. The
Sackville shield was correct enough, but whether the other quarterings
were the arms of Gwyn, or whether indeed the orange-girl was entitled to
any heraldic device, I am, of course, unable to say.


                                 § iii

Pomp, wealth, and infirmities now began to take the place of brilliant
youth and comparative irresponsibility. The frivolous Lord Buckhurst
became Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, he succeeded to the estates of the
Cranfields, he married, he was made Lord Chamberlain, he was given the
Garter, and he had a fit of apoplexy in the King’s bedroom. In order to
recover his health he went abroad; his passport is at Knole, on yellow
parchment, with the King’s signature at the top:

  Charles the _Second_ by the Grace of God, etc., to all admirals,
  vice-admirals, captains of our ships at sea, governors, commanders,
  soldiers, mayors, sheriffs, justices of the peace, bailiffs,
  constables, customers, controllers, searchers, and all other our
  loving subjects whom it may concern, greeting:

  _Whereas_ our right trusty and right well-beloved cousin CHARLES Earl
  _of_ Dorset _and_ Middlesex hath desired our licence to go beyond the
  seas for recovery of his health, we are graciously pleased to
  condescend thereunto, and accordingly our will and pleasure is, and we
  do hereby require, that you permit and suffer the said Charles Earl of
  Dorset and Middlesex with six servants by name Richard Raphael, Robert
  Pennock, Thomas Bridges, —— Solomon, John Carter, and Christopher
  Garner, also forty pounds in money, and all baggage, utensils,
  carriages, and necessaries to the said Earl belonging, freely to
  embark in any of our ports and from thence to pass beyond the seas
  without any let, hindrance, or molestation whatsoever. And you are
  likewise to permit the said Earl and his servants at their return back
  into this Kingdom to pass with like freedom, into the same, affording
  them [as there may be occasion] all requisite aid and furtherance as
  well going as returning. And for so doing this shall be your warrant.

  Given at our court at Windsor, the 23rd day of _August_ 1681, in the
  three and thirtieth year of our reign.

                                           By his Ma^{ty’s} Command,
                                                             L. JENKINS.

There is also a letter from one of the servants mentioned in the
passport, saying that they had had a good passage to Dieppe, “except Mr.
Raphael, who was kind to ye fishes.”

There is another letter, from the Mr. Raphael in question, written home
to Robert Pennock from Paris while on the same journey, saying that his
Lordship wants the pond finished against the spring, orders the gardener
to manure all the trees, and wishes Pennock to obtain a sure-footed nag,
as his Lordship intends for the future only to make use of a
saddle-horse between Copt Hall and London to prevent the pain of the
gravel, of which infirmity his Lordship has lately been much troubled.

About this time he married. I have in my hands one of his love-letters,
in faded ink; there is no date, no beginning, and no signature: it is
superscribed “for the Countess of Falmouth,” and enclosed is a lock of
reddish-brown hair—most dead and poignant token—of surprising length
when one considers the heavy wig which was to be worn over it.

  I must beg leave that we may be a little earlier than ordinary at
  Hick’s hall to-day, for to-morrow, i may be so miserable as not to see
  you; besides i am in pain till i can clear some doubts that have kept
  me waking all night; something i observed in your looks which shewed
  you had been displeased, at what i dare not ask; but till i know i
  must suffer the torment of uncertain guessing; though i am pretty well
  assured i could not be concerned in it [more than in the trouble it
  gave you]; being so perfectly yours, that it will of necessity be
  counted your own fault if ever i offend you, since ’tis you alone have
  the government not only of all my actions but of my very thoughts, to
  confirm you in the belief of this truth i do from this moment give up
  to you all my pretences to freedom or any power over myself, and
  though you may justly think it below you to be owned the sovereign of
  so mean a dominion as my heart, i have yet confidence upon my knees to
  offer it you; since never any prince could boast of so clear a title,
  and so absolute power, as you shall ever possess in it.

We know a good deal about Lord Dorset’s expenses and finances. We know
that on the death of his mother he obtained an additional income of
£1744 14_s._ 11_d._ a year from her estates. We know that thirty-four
houses in the Strand were granted to him, and let as follows:

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 23 houses at from £6 to £65 each                          950    7    1
 3 houses built by him and let at £90 each                 270    0    0
                                                         —————    —    —
                          Total                          £1220    7    1

We know that twenty-four tenements east of Somerset House were granted
to him for ninety-nine years at a yearly rent of £24 10_s._ 4_d._—and
that out of them he should have made £1768 a year, as witness the list I
reproduce, taken from a manuscript at Knole, but either he or his
bailiff must disgracefully have neglected his business, for on Lord
Dorset’s death many rents were found to be in arrear, one tenant’s
yearly rent of £30 having accumulated to the sum of £235 5_s._ 6_d._, or
nearly eight years’ owing, and another rent of £17 18_s._ 4_d._ had
accumulated to arrears of £111 19_s._ 10½_d._ His servants’ accounts,
too, were in a state of confusion, and some of the wages unpaid up to
three years.

                         _Signs_                             _Rent_
                                                           £   _s._ _d._
 The Rising Sun                                             64    0    0
 7 Stars and King’s Arms                                    60    0    0
                                                            60    0    0
                                                           110    0    0
 Surgeon’s Arms                                             60    0    0
 The Golden Ball                                            60    0    0
 The Golden Key                                             60    0    0
                                                            60    0    0
 Mitre                                                      90    0    0
 3 Golden [?]                                               90    0    0
 Black Lion                                                 90    0    0
 Golden Fleece                                              40    0    0
                                                            60    0    0
 Golden [?]                                                 48    0    0
 Two Cats                                                   60    0    0
                                                            60    0    0
                                                            70    0    0
 Hen and Chicken                                            60    0    0
 Spread Eagle, a Bath house                                 40    0    0
                                                            13    0    0
 3 Black Lions                                              60    0    0
 The Angel                                                  70    0    0
                                                            55    0    0
 The Dorset Arms Tavern                                    140    0    0
 Swan                                                       33    0    0
                                                            55    0    0
 Bull Head Tavern                                           24    0    0
 The Dial                                                   34    0    0
 Ship and Bale                                              34    0    0
 The Peacock                                                 8    0    0
                                                          ————    —    —
                                                          1768    0    0

His total income for the year 1698–99 was £7650 4_s._ 3½_d._—the curious
accuracy of these sums does not seem to tally with the confusion to
which I have referred—that is to say, about £40,000 of modern money. It
may be interesting, while on this subject, to show some of the means
common among the great nobles for filling their pockets. In 1697, for
instance, we read that “My Lord Chamberlain Dorset has sold the
keepership of Greenwich Park to the Earl of Romney” [James Vernon to
Matthew Prior], and in the same year—this is when he was getting on in
years and entirely withdrawing from politics—“Lord Dorset hath resigned
his office of Lord Chamberlain to the Earl of Sunderland for the sum of
ten thousand pounds,” but where was this sum to come from? not out of
Lord Sunderland’s pocket; no, but “_which his Majesty pays_.” There was
yet another method by which money might conveniently be raised: it is
well illustrated by Dorset’s petition regarding the dues on tobacco:

  _To the King’s most Ex^t Ma^{ty}_

  The humble Petition of CHARLES Earl _of_ Middlesex.

      Humbly Sheweth

      That by the act [for preventing planting of tobacco in England and
      for regulating the Plantation Trade] all ships that shall return
      from any of yr Maj^{ties} foreign plantations and not return to yr
      Maj^{ties} Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales or Town of
      Berwick upon Tweed, and there pay the customs and duties ... shall
      be confisable and their bonds forfeited. That the _Phenix_ of
      London, Richard Pidgeon Commander and several other ships have ...
      discharged merchandizes of the growth of yr Maj^{ties}
      Plantations, in yr Kingdom of Ireland, so that by law they are
      forfeited as by the said Act produceable may appear.

      May it therefore please yr Sacred Maj^{ty} to grant yr Petitioner
      all forfeitures as well past as to come on accompt of the said
      Act, with power to depute such persons as he shall think fitting,
      to look upon and take care that no such abuses shall be in ye
      future.

                                                    [_Knole MSS._ 1671.]

To this petition I should like to add another, representing the other
point of view, that of the unfortunate people who had the King’s
soldiers quartered upon them in intolerable numbers, and were, as it
appears, not refunded for the expenses to which they had been put. I add
this the more willingly, as Dorset was commonly reputed the friend of
the poor, and it is said of him that “crowds of poor daily thronged his
gates, expecting thence their bread. The lazy and the sick, as he
accidentally saw them, were removed from the street to the physician,
and not only cured but supplied with what might enable them to resume
their former calling. The prisoner has often been released by my Lord’s
paying the debt, and the condemned been pardoned, through his
intercession with the sovereign.”

    _To_ the Right Hon^{ble} CHARLES Earl _of_ Dorset _and_ Middlesex.

            The humble petition of the Innholders and Alehouse Keepers
            in the parish of Sevenoaks in the county of Kent, Humbly
            Sheweth,

            That your said petitioners have every year since ye coming
            of his present Majesty had either foot or horse quartered on
            them, even much beyond their neighbours ... The said
            innkeepers are willing to serve their King and Country, but
            beyond their ability cannot, they therefore humbly pray that
            care may be taken for procuring their arrears due, or at
            least to prevent more soldiers coming on them, which they
            understand are, unless your Honour will stand in the gap ...

                                                          [_Knole MSS._]

Some of the foregoing papers, then, account for his income; we have also
some notes as to his expenses. To his servants he paid £8 to £10 a year
for “ordinary men and maids.” For beef he paid 2_s._ a stone; for
mutton, 3_d._ a pound; pullets were 6_d._ each; a goose was 1_s._ 8_d._;
a pheasant, 1_s._; a hare, 8_d._; a tongue, 1_s._; a partridge, 9_d._; a
pigeon, 3_d._; a turkey, 2_s._ 6_d._; a calf’s head, 1_s._ 6_d._ A
bushel of oysters cost him 4_s._ 6_d._; a peck of damsons, 1_s._ Wheat
cost him 7_s._ a bushel; salt, 5_s._ a bushel. For 130 walnuts he paid
1_s._ 6_d._, and for a dozen candles 5_s._ 6_d._—a surprising price. We
have also a detailed account of his cellar. For strong beer he paid
35_s._ a hogshead, and for small beer 10_s._ a hogshead. From July 1690
to November 1691 his total wine bill amounted to £598 19_s._ 4_d._, an
alarming sum when we reflect that he was paying only 5_s._ 1_d._ for a
gallon of red port, 6_s._ 8_d._ for a gallon of sherry, and 8_s._ for a
gallon of canary. We are given the details entered in the cellar from
August 1690 to January 1691; they are sufficiently formidable: 425
gallons of red port, 85 gallons of sherry, 72 gallons of canary, 63
gallons of white port, and a quart of hock. One wonders whether Lord
Dorset was “laying down,” or whether this quantity was adequate only to
the six months shown on the account book.

Lord Dorset seems to have carried large sums of money about on his
person, for the steward’s account book at Knole shows a regular daily
entry of 10_s._ for loose change to his Lordship, and when he was set
upon by footpads near Tyburn they robbed him not only of his gold
George, but also of forty or fifty pounds. This does not perhaps seem a
very enormous sum for a wealthy man to carry, but it must always be
remembered that in order to obtain the modern equivalent it is necessary
to multiply by at least five.

Before leaving the Knole papers of this date—and there is much that I
have regretfully discarded, many letters, for instance, regarding the
election of Lord Buckhurst to the House of Commons, which throw
interesting sidelights upon the methods of electioneering in the early
days of Charles II—I should like to quote one letter of unknown
authorship, relating to the Rye House Plot. The letter is addressed to
Lord Dorset: it is unsigned and undated, but the date must be placed, by
virtue of internal evidence, in July 1683, by reason of the reference to
Captain Walcot who was tried on July 12th in connection with the plot.

  The party that went for my Lord Essex found him in his garden
  gathering of nut-meg peaches, he was lodged in my Lord Feversham’s
  lodgings, in Whitehall, and the next day, having not made use of the
  favour of pen and ink, so well as my Lord Howard hath, he was sent to
  the Tower.

  My Lord Howard runs like a spout, fresh, and fresh he hath writ enough
  to hang himself, and 1 hundred more, and cried enough to drown
  himself, he hath cast his lodgings in Whitehall.

  Sir John Burlace was brought before the Council yesterday, upon
  sending intelligence to my Lord Lovelace that there was a warrant
  against him. He stayed one night in the messenger’s hands and was this
  morning bail for my Lord Lovelace, and both of them dismissed.

  The enclosed is an account how far the Grand Jury hath proceeded, that
  little note hath the names of some of the Grand Jury.

  None were tried this afternoon but Capt. Walcot who was cast by a most
  clear evidence being at several consults, the places all named, his
  raising of arms, his own letter to the King, and one of the consults
  was at the Vulture, Ludgate Hill, and Sheppard’s House, he had very
  little to say for himself, but that the witnesses swore away his life
  to secure their own, he excepted against all Jury men that were of the
  lieutenancy and behaved himself with a great deal of decency and
  resolution. They had a declaration ready drawn by Goodenough so soon
  as ever the King was killed, and particular men appointed to murder
  the most considerable persons. Borne by name was to kill this Lord
  Keeper, and refused it because it looked like an unneighbourly thing,
  my Lord pulled off his hat and said Thank you, neighbour.

I find also, dated 1690, this curious vocabulary of thieves’ slang
scribbled on the back of some particulars relating to the appointment of
a new incumbent for Sevenoaks. Unfortunately half the alphabet is
missing:

         Autem mort             a marryed woman

         Abram                  naked

         abram-cour             a tatterdemalion

         autem                  a church

         boughar                a cur

         bouse                  drink

         bousing-ken            an ale-house

         borde                  a shilling

         boung                  a purse

         bing                   to goe

         bing a wast            to goe away

         bube                   ye pox

         buge                   a dog

         bleating-cheat         a sheep

         billy-cheat            an apron

         bite ye peter or Roger steal ye portmantle

         budge                  one that steals cloaks

         bulk and file          a pickpocket and his mate

         cokir                  a lyar

         cuffin quire           a justice

         crampings              bolts and shackles

         chats                  ye gallows

         crackmans              hedges

         calle
         togeman                a cloak
         Joseph

         couch                  to lye asleep

         couch a hogshead       to goe to sleep

         commission             a shirt
         mish

         cackling-cheat         a chicken

         cassan                 cheese

         crash                  to kill

         crashing-cheat         teeth

         cloy                   to steal

         cut                    to speak

         cut bien whydds        to speak well

         cut quire whydds       to speak evill

         confeck                counterfeit

         cly ye jerk            to be whipt

         dimber                 pretty

         damber                 rascall

         drawers                stockings

         duds                   goods

         deusea vile            ye country

         dommerer               a madman

         darkmans               night or even

         dup                    to enter

         tip me my earnest      give me my part

         filch                  a staffe

         ferme                  a hole

         fambles                hands

         fambles cheats         rings and gloves

         fib                    to beat

         flag                   a groat

         fogus                  tobacco

         fencing cully          one that receives stolne goods

         glimmer                fire

         glaziers               eyes

         granna                 corne

         gentry more            a gallant wench

         gun                    lip

         gage                   a pot or pipe

         grunting-cheat         a sucking pig

         giger                  a dore

         gybe                   a passe

         glasier                one that goes in at windows

         gilt                   a picklock

         harmanbeck             a constable

         heave a book           to rob a house

         half berd              sixpence

         heartsease             20 shillings

         knapper of knappers    a sheep stealer

         lightmans              morning or day

         lib                    to tumble

         libben                 an house

         lage                   water

         libedge                a bed

         lullabye-cheat         a child

         lap                    pottage

         lucries                all manner of clothes

         maunder                to beg

         magery prater          an hen

         muffling-cheat         a napkin

         mumpers                gentile beggars[10]


                                  § iv

In 1685 Charles II died, and with him departed that devil-may-care
existence into which Lord Dorset had fitted so readily and so well. He
was no favourite with the new King; for one thing he had addressed
verses in this vein to Lady Dorchester, mistress of James II:

                _Tell me, Dorinda, why so gay,
                  Why such embroidery, fringe, and lace?
                Can any dresses find a way
                To stop th’ approaches of decay,
                  And mend a ruined face?_

                _Wilt thou still sparkle in the box,
                  Still ogle in the ring?
                Canst thou forget thy age and pox?
                Can all that shines on shells and rocks
                  Make thee a fine young thing?_

He appears also at this time to have grown more serious in his outlook,
for he disapproved of the new King so strongly as to have taken an
active part in the accession of William III to the English throne. He
was instrumental, indeed, in arranging the escape of Princess
(afterwards Queen) Anne:

  That evening [_says Macaulay_] Anne retired to her chamber as usual.
  At dead of night she rose, and, accompanied by her friend Sarah
  [Churchill] and two other female attendants, stole down the back
  stairs in a dressing-gown and slippers. The fugitives gained the open
  street unchallenged. A hackney coach was in waiting for them there.
  Two men guarded the humble vehicle. One of them was Compton, Bishop of
  London, the princess’ old tutor; the other was the magnificent and
  accomplished Dorset, whom the extremity of the public danger had
  roused from his luxurious repose. The coach drove instantly to
  Aldersgate Street ... there the princess passed the night. On the
  following morning she set out for Epping Forest. In that wild tract
  [it is amusing to think of Epping as a wild tract]—in that wild tract
  Dorset possessed a venerable mansion [Copt Hall], the favourite
  resort, during many years, of wits and poets ...

but Macaulay was evidently not in possession of, or else ignored
(although it is difficult to believe that the incident would not have
tempted his picturesque and vivid pen), the detail related by Dorset’s
grandson, Lord George Sackville, that

  one of her Royal Highness’ shoes sticking fast in the mud, the
  accident threatened to impede her escape; but Lord Dorset, immediately
  drawing off his white glove, put it on the Princess’ foot, and placed
  her safely in the carriage.

That Lord Dorset had no sympathy with popery is proved by this letter,
which is among the Duke of Rutland’s papers:

  Lord Dorset last night [27th January 1688] while at supper at Lady
  Northampton’s, received the following letter with cross on top:

                                     +

    ’Twere pity that one of the best of men should be lost for the worst
    of causes. Do not sacrifice a life everybody values for a religion
    yourself despise. Make your peace with your lawful sovereign, or
    know that after this 27th of January you have not long to live. Take
    this warning from a friend before repentance is in vain;

and it is apparent that he had not lost touch with his old friends of
the Court of Charles II, for we find, in 1688, that he placed Knole at
the disposal of the Queen Dowager (Catherine of Braganza),

  without any consideration of rent, besides the sole use of his park,
  and if she makes any alterations to have timber out of his woods for
  that purpose. The Queen Dowager will consider the repairs of the Lord
  Dorset’s house, which will amount to £20,000.

But whether she availed herself of the offer, for however short a
period, I cannot say.

Lord Dorset was in favour with William III, and continued to hold his
office of Lord Chamberlain until he resigned it in 1697. This was the
date when he withdrew from all public life. His second wife had died six
years before; Dorset himself was approaching sixty, and the excesses of
his youth had long since begun to tell. The end of a life which opened
with such gaiety and _éclat_ offers a very sordid picture. From his
portraits it is easy to see that he has grown heavy and apoplectic: his
features are coarsened and swollen; his double chins hang in folds over
his voluminous robes, his ruffles, and his ribbons. He could not hope to
enjoy his life at both ends. Those must have been good days when he got
drunk with Sedley, or kept house with Nelly at Epsom, or exchanged
witticisms with the King in the passages at Whitehall, or sat after
supper round the dining-room table at Knole with Dryden and Killigrew
and Rochester; but after running up the account the debt had to be paid
at last. It was all very well for Prior, who owed him everything, to get
gracefully out of a difficulty by saying that he drivelled better sense
than most men could talk: the remainder of the account is not pretty to
contemplate. “A few years before he died,” is the story told by his
grandson, Lord George Sackville, “he married a woman named Roche of very
obscure connections, who held him in a sort of captivity down at Bath,
where he expired at about sixty-nine.” There is a contemporary letter,
which says, “My Lord Dorset owns his marriage with one of his
acquaintances, one of the Roches. Do you think anyone will pity him?”
“She suffered few persons to approach him during his last illness, or
rather, decay,” Lord George’s account continues, “and was supposed to
have converted his weakness of mind to her own objects of personal
acquisition. He was indeed considered to be fallen into a state of such
imbecility as would render it necessary to appoint guardians, with a
view to prevent his injuring the family estate, but the intention was
nevertheless abandoned. You have no doubt heard, and it is a fact, that
with a view of ascertaining whether Lord Dorset continued to be of a
sane mind, Prior, whom he had patronised and always regarded with
predilection, was sent down to Bath by the family.” Having obtained
access to the Earl, and conversed with him, Prior made his report in
these words, “Lord Dorset is certainly greatly declined in his
understanding, but he _drivels_ so much better sense even now than any
other man can _talk_, that you must not call me into court as a witness
to prove him an idiot.” Congreve, appropriating the gist of the remark,
observed after visiting Dorset on his deathbed, “Faith, he slabbers more
wit dying than other people do in their best health.” Swift also, who
was an intimate friend of Lady Betty Germaine and the Dorsets in the
succeeding generation, remarks that Charles grew dull in his old age.
Ann Roche, who guarded so jealously her ancient and mouldy bird of
Paradise, managed to provide handsomely for herself under his will. He
left her not only the house in Stable Yard, St. James, which was hers
before her marriage, but also lands and messuages in Sussex, two beds
with the furniture thereunto belonging in his house at Knole, the
furniture of two rooms there, all the household linen there, and £500 to
be increased to £20,000 if his son should die without issue. The
marriage only lasted a short time, for in 1705 Lord Dorset died—old,
enfeebled, and semi-imbecile.

It is not surprising to learn that he left a number of illegitimate
children: we know of at least four for certain, and there was probably a
fifth, a son, as it is difficult to account otherwise for the William
Sackville who writes, signing a remarkably ungrammatical letter with a
remarkably beautiful signature, to ask for money, as he has lately
“gained the affection of a young lady,” and this, he promises, will be
“the last trouble that ever I shall give your Lordship; it would come
very seasonable to my present circumstances who has been harassed and
ruined by the fate of war this four years past and have done the
government good service, and never rewarded as those that deserved it
less has.” The other four were daughters. There is a petition at Knole
from one of them:

  _To_ the Right Hon. CHARLES Earl _of_ Dorset _and_ Middlesex, Lord
  Chamberlain of Their Majesties’ Household, the humble petition of MARY
  SACKVILLE:

  That it having pleased ye Almighty to lay his afflicting hand on your
  petitioner’s husband and her two small children for a long time
  together, having nothing to live upon but his own hands’ labour, which
  failing him during his sickness all his family have suffered thereby
  and been put to great straights and having received much of your
  Honour’s charity, is now ... [_illegible_] but hopes that your
  Lordship will consider it is the hand of accident that is hard upon
  her.

  Your petitioner therefore humbly prays that your Honour will be
  pleased to bestow something on her this time that she may undergo her
  calamity with a little more cheerfulness and alacrity.

According to the will of this Mary Sackville, her circumstances must
have improved, for she leaves £1000 “for the benefit of Katherine
Sackville my sister or reputed sister who was born of the body of Mrs.
Phillipa Waldgrave, deceased, my late mother or reputed mother.” This
will is dated 1684, so I should think the Katherine Sackville referred
to is probably the “K. S.” who was buried at Withyham, aged fourteen, in
1690—humble little initials among the Lady Annes and Lady Elizabeths who
surround her. She had been provided for in Lord Dorset’s will also:

  To my natural daughter Katherine Sackville, _alias_ Walgrave, £1000.

  To my natural daughter Mary Sackville, _alias_ Walgrave, £200, and
  £2000 before settled on her.

  To my natural daughter An [_sic_] Lee, _alias_ Sackville, the sum of
  £500.

It thus seems probable that these daughters were the children of two
different mothers, Lee and Walgrave, Waldgrave, Waldegrave, as it was
variously spelt. An agreement at Knole, dated 1674, provides for
Phillipa Walgrave to receive interest on £1000 placed in Mr. Guy’s hands
by Lord Dorset, the interest on it to be paid to her yearly, and after
her death to Mary Sackville until her marriage or until the age of 21,
but if Mrs. Walgrave marries, the £1000 is to be paid to her. Another
natural daughter, also named Mary, married Lord Orrery, but I do not
know who was her mother.


                                  § v

  He had been one of the most notorious libertines of the wild time
  which followed the Restoration. He had been the terror of the city
  watch, had passed many nights in the round house, and had at least
  once occupied a cell in Newgate. His passion for Nell Gwyn, who always
  called him her Charles the First, had given no small amusement and
  scandal to the town. Yet, in the midst of follies and vices, his
  courageous spirit, his fine understanding, and his natural goodness of
  heart, had been conspicuous. Men said that the excesses in which he
  indulged were common between him and the whole race of gay young
  Cavaliers, but that his sympathy with human suffering and the
  generosity with which he made reparation to those whom his freaks had
  injured were all his own. His associates were astonished by the
  distinction which the public made between him and them. “He may do
  what he chooses,” said Wilmot, “he is never in the wrong.” The
  judgment of the world became still more favourable to Dorset when he
  had been sobered by time and marriage. His graceful manners, his
  brilliant conversation, his soft heart, his open hand, were
  universally praised. No day passed, it was said, in which some
  distressed family had not reason to bless his name. And yet, with all
  his good nature, such was the keenness of his wit that scoffers whose
  sarcasm all the town feared stood in craven fear of the sarcasm of
  Dorset. All political parties esteemed and caressed him, but politics
  were not much to his taste. Had he been driven by necessity to exert
  himself, he would probably have risen to the highest posts in the
  state; but he was born to rank so high and to wealth so ample that
  many of the motives which impel men to engage in public affairs were
  wanting to him.... Like many other men who, with great natural
  abilities, are constitutionally and habitually indolent, he became an
  intellectual voluptuary, and a master of all those pleasing branches
  of knowledge which can be acquired without severe application. He was
  allowed to be the best judge of painting, of sculpture, of
  architecture, of acting, that the court could show. On questions of
  polite learning his decisions were regarded at all the coffee houses
  as without appeal. More than one clever play which had failed on the
  first representation was supported by his single authority against the
  whole clamour of the pit and came forth successful at the second
  trial....

Macaulay thus summarises his career and character, and I am led quite
naturally to the consideration of one aspect of his life on which I have
scarcely touched, and that is his connection with the men of letters of
his day. The often-quoted saying, that Butler owed to him that the court
tasted his _Hudibras_, Wycherley that the town liked his _Plain Dealer_,
and that the Duke of Buckingham deferred the publication of his
_Rehearsal_ until he was sure that Lord Buckhurst would not rehearse it
upon him again—this saying had much truth in it. It is better, I think,
to quote the disinterested opinion of Macaulay rather than the
panegyrics of Prior or Dryden, or any of the contemporary authors who
stood too greatly in Dorset’s debt for complete impartiality:

  Such a patron of letters England had never seen [_says Macaulay_]. His
  bounty was bestowed with equal judgment and liberality, and was
  confined to no sect or faction. Men of genius, estranged from each
  other by literary jealousy or difference of political opinion, joined
  in acknowledging his impartial kindness. Dryden owned that he had been
  saved from ruin by Dorset’s princely generosity. Yet Montague and
  Prior, who had keenly satirised Dryden, were introduced by Dorset into
  public life; and the best comedy of Dryden’s mortal enemy, Shadwell,
  was written at Dorset’s country seat. The munificent earl might, if
  such had been his wish, have been the rival of those of whom he was
  content to be the benefactor. For the verses which he occasionally
  composed, unstudied as they are, exhibit the traces of a genius which,
  assiduously cultivated, would have produced something great. In the
  small volume of his works may be found songs which have the easy
  vigour of Suckling, and little satires which sparkle with wit as
  splendid as those of Butler.

One can, perhaps, scarcely agree with Macaulay in this estimate of
Dorset’s literary gifts. The songs he wrote are little more than easy
specimens of conventional Restoration verse, and, for my part, I fail to
find in them, with the exception of “To all you ladies now at land,” any
merit which was not shared by all the numerous song-writers of the day.
It certainly cannot be claimed for him that he had any of the vigour,
originality, or true poetic impulse of his great-great-grandfather, the
old Lord Treasurer, and although it may be argued that the age of
Elizabeth and the age of the Restoration differed totally in poetic
conception and spontaneity, I still do not admit that Dorset possessed
those qualities which might have made up in one direction for those
which were lacking in another, I have already quoted his sea-song,
unquestionably the best thing he ever wrote, and, to give point to my
argument, will quote two further songs, which may stand as typical
examples, the first of his graceful but entirely artificial talent, the
second of his satire which caused Rochester to say of him:

            _For pointed satire I would Buckhurst choose,
            The best good man with the worst natured muse._

                                    SONG

                _Phyllis, for shame, let us improve
                  A thousand different ways
                Those few short moments snatched by love
                  From many tedious days._

                _If you want courage to despise
                  The censure of the grave,
                Though Love’s a tyrant in your eyes,
                  Your heart is but a slave._

                _My love is full of noble pride
                  Nor can it e’er submit
                To let that fop, Discretion, ride
                  In triumph over it._

                _False friends I have, as well as you,
                  Who daily counsel me
                Fame and ambition to pursue
                  And leave off loving thee._

                _But when the least regard I show
                  To fools who thus advise,
                May I be dull enough to grow
                  Most miserably wise._

           _To_ CATHERINE SEDLEY [married Sir David Colyear]

               _Proud with the spoils of royal cully,
                 With false pretence to wit and parts,
               She swaggers like a battered bully
                 To try the tempers of men’s hearts._

               _Though she appear as glittering fine
                 As gems, and jets, and paints can make her,
               She ne’er can win a breast like mine:
                 The Devil and Sir David take her._

The fugitive character of his own verses does not, however, in any way
detract from his splendour as a patron. It is well known that Matthew
Prior as a boy was found by him reading Horace in a tavern in
Westminster, when, struck by his intelligence, Dorset sent the boy at
his own expense to school until his election as King’s Scholar. Prior in
after years did not forget this kindness. His poems are dedicated to the
son of his earliest patron, and there are, as students of Prior will
remember, several amongst them especially written to members of Dorset’s
family, notably the “Lines to Lord Buckhurst [Dorset’s son] when playing
with a cat.” The many letters from Prior to Lord Dorset, now in Lord
Bath’s possession, testify to the endurance of their friendship: one of
these letters ends with a poem, which I quote, as I am under the
impression that it is not included in any edition of Prior’s works:

        _Spare Dorset’s sacred life, discerning Fate,
        And Death shall march through camps and courts in state,
        Emptying his quiver on the vulgar great:
        Round Dorset’s board let Peace and Plenty dance,
        Far off let Famine her sad reign advance,
        And War walk deep in blood through conquered France.
        Apollo thus began the mystic strain,
        The Muses’ sons all bowed and said Amen._

It is perhaps less commonly known that Dryden also owed, in another way,
much to Dorset. The account is thus given by Macaulay:

  Dorset became Lord Chamberlain, and employed his influence and
  patronage annexed to his functions, as he had long employed his
  private means, in encouraging genius and alleviating misfortune. One
  of the first acts which he was under the necessity of performing must
  have been painful to a man of so generous a nature, and of so keen a
  relish for whatever was excellent in arts and letters. Dryden could no
  longer remain Poet Laureate. The public would not have borne to see
  any papist among the servants of their Majesties; and Dryden was not
  only a papist, but an apostate. He had, moreover, aggravated the guilt
  of his apostacy by calumniating and ridiculing the Church which he had
  deserted. He had, it was facetiously said, treated her as the pagan
  persecutors of old treated her children. He had dressed her up in the
  skin of a wild beast, and then baited her for the public amusement. He
  was removed; but he received from the private bounty of the
  magnificent Chamberlain a pension equal to the salary which had been
  withdrawn.

Dryden, apparently, despite this generosity, continued to lament his
ill-fortune, and his contemporary Blackmore, in a poem called _Prince
Arthur_, satirises him in the character of _Laurus_ for his assiduity at
Dorset’s doors—Dorset being the _Sakil_ of the poem, Sackville in
transparent disguise:

      _The poets’ nation did obsequious wait
      For the kind dole divided at his gate.
      Laurus among the meagre crowd appeared,
      An old, revolted, unbelieving bard,
      Who thronged, and shoved, and pressed, and would be heard._

      _Sakil’s high roof, the Muses’ palace, rung
      With endless cries, and endless songs he sung.
      To bless good Sakil Laurus would be first;
      But Sakil’s prince and Sakil’s God he cursed.
      Sakil without distinction threw his bread,
      Despised the flatterer, but the poet fed._

It is true that in his _Essay on Satire_, which, like his _Essay on
Dramatic Poetry_, is dedicated in terms of the most outrageous flattery
to Dorset, Dryden makes full acknowledgement of the obligation:

  I must ever acknowledge, to the honour of your Lordship and the
  eternal memory of your charity, that, since this revolution, wherein I
  have patiently suffered the ruin of my small fortune, and the loss of
  that poor subsistence which I had from two kings, whom I had served
  more faithfully than profitably to myself; then your Lordship was
  pleased, out of no other motive but your own nobleness, without any
  desert of mine, or the least solicitation from me, to make me a most
  bountiful present, which at that time, when I was most in want of it,
  came most seasonably and unexpectedly to my relief.

[Illustration:

  THE BROWN GALLERY

  _Built by_ ARCHBISHOP BOURCHIER _in 1460_
]

But I think there may be detected, even in this acknowledgment, the note
of whining to which Macaulay, in the continuation of the passage I have
quoted, draws attention. It is also related that Dryden, when dining
with Dorset, found a hundred-pound note hidden under his plate. In a
letter preserved at Knole, in Dryden’s beautiful handwriting, he makes
further acknowledgement, after proffering a petition on behalf of a
friend who wished to obtain rooms in Somerset House:

  ... if I had confidence enough, my Lord, I would presume to mind you
  of a favour which your Lordship formerly gave me some hopes of from
  the Queen; but if it be not proper or convenient for you to ask, I
  dare give your Lordship no further trouble in it, being on so many
  other accounts already your Lordship’s most obliged obedient servant,

                                                            JOHN DRYDEN.

We know that Dryden was a constant visitor at Knole; we have even an
anecdote of one of his visits. It is related that someone proposed that
each member of the party should write an impromptu, and that Dryden,
when the allotted time had expired, should judge between them. Silence
ensued while each guest wrote busily, or laboriously, upon the sheet of
paper provided: Dorset scribbled a couple of lines and threw it down on
the table. At the end of the time the umpire rose, and said that after
careful consideration he awarded the prize to their host; he would read
out what his Lordship had written; it was: “I promise to pay Mr. John
Dryden or order five hundred pounds on demand. DORSET.”

It would be interesting to know who were the other members of the party;
perhaps Tom Durfey, perhaps Lady Dorset, who is described as “jeune,
belle, riche, et sage,” perhaps Rochester, whose portrait hangs in the
Poets’ Parlour—and I imagine the Poets’ Parlour to have been the scene
of this little incident, “a chamber of parts and players,” says Horace
Walpole, “which is proper enough in that house”—a portrait of a young
man in a heavy wig, labelled “died repentant after a profligate life,”
as I, not understanding the long words, used to gabble off to strangers
along with other piteous little shibboleths when showing the house.
Certainly Shadwell was not there, for he and Dryden were at mortal
enmity; Shadwell, his successor in the Laureateship, another friend and
protégé of Dorset’s, described by Dryden as being

             _Round as a globe, and liquored every chink,
             Goodly and great, he sails behind his link.
             For all this bulk there’s nothing lost in Og,
             For every inch that is not fool is rogue_,

and who writes of Dorset that he was received by him as a member of his
family, and furthermore, rather plaintively, in a letter at Knole,
beseeching Lord Dorset’s intervention, as “they have put Durfey’s play
before ours, and this day a play of Dryden’s is read to them and that is
to be acted before ours too.”

Tom Durfey, whose portrait is upstairs in Lady Betty’s room, painted in
profile, with surely the most formidable of all hooked noses, was almost
a pensioner at Knole, having his own rooms over the dairy, and is guilty
of these execrable verses in praise of his second home:

                        THE GLORY OF KNOLE

        _Knole most famous in Kent still appears,
        Where mansions surveyed for a thousand long years,
        In whose domes mighty monarchs might dwell,
        Where five hundred rooms are, as Boswell[11] can tell!_

I do not think that Durfey can have been very greatly esteemed by his
patron, nor yet on very intimate terms with him, but kept rather,
contemptuously, as permanent rhymester to Dorset’s little court, for
another picture, small, obscure, but entertainingly intimate, shows him
in humble company in the Steward’s Room with Lowry, the Steward; George
Allan, a clothier; Mother Moss, whoever she may have been; Maximilian
Buck, the chaplain; and one Jack Randall. His name is certainly not one
of the most illustrious among the many poets and writers represented on
the walls of the Poets’ Parlour—Edmund Waller, Matthew Prior, Thomas
Flattman, John Dryden, William Congreve, William Wycherley, Thomas
Otway, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Samuel Butler, Abraham Cowley,
Nicholas Rowe, William Cartwright, Sir Kenelm Digby, Alexander Pope. And
with this last name I come to the final tribute paid to the splendid
Dorset—Pope’s epitaph upon his monument in the Sackville chapel at
Withyham:

           _Dorset, the grace of courts, the Muses’ pride,
           Patron of arts, and judge of nature, died.
           The scourge of pride, though sanctified or great,
           Of fops in learning, and of knaves in state:
           Yet soft his nature, though severe his lay,
           His anger moral, and his wisdom gay.
           Blest satirist! who touched the mean so true,
           As showed vice had his hate and pity too.
           Blest courtier! who could King and country please,
           Yet sacred kept his friendships and his ease.
           Blest peer! his great forefather’s every grace
           Reflected and reflecting in his race,
           Where other Buckhursts, other Dorsets shine,
           And patriots still, or poets, deck the line._



                              CHAPTER VII
                 Knole in the Early Eighteenth Century
                            LIONEL SACKVILLE
                           7th Earl _and_ 1st
                            Duke _of_ Dorset


                                  § i

The first duke of Dorset remains to me, in spite of much reading, but an
indistinct figure. I do not know whether the fault is mine or his.
Perhaps he was a man of little personality; certainly he was lacking in
the charm of his scapegrace father or of his frivolous great-nephew, the
third duke. And yet he is a personage of some solidity: weighty,
Georgian solidity. The epithets chosen by his contemporaries to describe
him are all concordant enough, “a man of dignity, caution, and
plausibility,” “worthy, honest, good-natured,” “he preserved to the last
the good breeding, decency of manner, and dignity of exterior deportment
of Queen Anne’s time, never departing from his style of gravity and
ceremony,” “a large-grown, full person,” and finally—the words come
almost with the shock of being precisely what we were waiting for—“in
spite of the greatest dignity in his appearance, he was in private the
greatest lover of low humour and buffoonery.” He was fitted, if I piece
together rightly my scraps of evidence, to lead the life of a country
gentleman, performing his duty towards his county, entertaining his
friends, enjoying with them after dinner the low humour to which he
inclined, rolling out his laughter in the Poets’ Parlour, slapping his
great thighs, and rejoining his wife afterwards in the spirit of
affectionate domesticity which induced him to begin his letters to her
“dear, dear, dear girl,” or “my dear, dear Colly.” He lived, says one
account of him, after detailing his amiable qualities as a kind husband
and father, “in great hospitality all his life, and he was so respected
that when at Knole on Sundays the front of the house was so crowded with
horsemen and carriages as to give it rather the appearance of a princely
levee than the residence of a private nobleman.” It was his misfortune
that he was not allowed to remain leading this kind of life so much to
his taste: “the poor Duke of Dorset,” said Lord Shelburne, “was made by
his son to commence politician at sixty.” The local offices which he
held were well suited to his disposition and abilities; the titles of
_Custos Rotulorum_, _Lord Lieutenant of Kent_, _Constable of Dover
Castle_, and _Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports_ sit admirably upon his
rather provincial dignity. He could discharge these offices while
surrounding himself with friends, and keeping open house at Knole. He
was surely happy at Knole, with the duchess and the duchess’ friend Lady
Betty Germaine installed in her two little rooms in a corner of the
house, and the correspondence with Dean Swift, and the echoes of the
Restoration reaching him in the shape of dedications from Prior and
Pope, who had been his father’s friends. He must have been happy
superintending the building of the “ruins” in the park, in ordering the
removal of the clock from the roof of the Great Hall to a safer place
over Bourchier’s oriel, in putting up the balustrade in the Stone Court,
in adding to the picture-gallery his own full-length Kneller, painted in
Garter robes—a dignified and ponderous addition—in continuing his
father’s kindly and contemptuous patronage of Durfey, in entertaining
the Prince of Wales, in receiving the present of a pair of elk-antlers
measuring 7 foot from tip to tip, in playing at cards with his wife and
Lady Betty, in watching the bull-baiting in the park, in inspiring the
following tribute on the occasion of his birthday:

                _Accept, with unambitious views,
                The tribute of a female muse;
                Free from all flattery and art,
                She only boasts an honest heart;
                An heart that truly feels your worth,
                And hails the day that gave you birth;
                Of younger men let others boast,
                Since Dorset is my constant toast;
                Nor need the gayer world be told
                That Dorset never can grow old;_

                _And with unerring truth agree,
                There’s none so young, so blithe as he,
                With sprightly wit his jokes abound,
                Well-bred, he deals good-humour round;
                The maid forgets her fav’rite swain,
                When Dorset speaks, he fights in vain;
                The lover too, do all he can,
                Strives, but in vain, to hate the man.
                With this kind wish I end my lays,
                Be ever young with length of days._

or such appreciation of his Christmas hospitality as this:

        _Our liquor at all times to nature gives fire,
        Infuses new blood, and new thoughts can inspire.
        Your wife, she may scold, undaunted you’ll sing,
        For he that is drunk is as great as a King._

        _In the field, if all night you lie under a willow,
        The soft easy snow shall be your down pillow.
        There’s nothing can hurt you without or within
        When you’ve beef in your belly and Punch in your skin._

It is true that certain discordant notes troubled from time to time this
Georgian harmony. The house-steward killed the black page in the
passage; and the duke’s sons themselves were unsatisfactory; even the
favourite son, Lord George, who was the apple of his father’s eye, fell
into disgrace and was court-martialled on a charge of disobedience and
cowardice. “I always told you,” said Lord John on hearing of this, “that
George was no better than myself.” This affair of the battle of Minden
must have been a heavy blow to the duke, but although Lord George was
not exonerated he retained all his father’s doting affection. Still, the
mud had been slung at him and not a little had stuck. The two other sons
were a source of sorrow: Lord John, after devoting his youth to cricket,
went off his head; and Lord Middlesex, the eldest of the three, was an
altogether deplorable character, prompting these verses, based upon an
old saying about the family:

                   _Folly and sense in Dorset’s race
                     Alternately do run,
                   As Carey one day told his Grace
                     Praising his eldest son._

                   _But Carey must allow for once
                     Exception to this rule,
                   For Middlesex is but a dunce,
                     Though Dorset be a fool._

I quote the verses as they stand, though “dunce” seems scarcely the
right description to apply to Lord Middlesex, that dissolute and
extravagant man of fashion, who squandered large sums of money upon
producing operas, that “proud, disgusted, melancholy, solitary man,”
whose conduct savoured so strongly of madness. Certain family
characteristics appeared in him which had skipped his father, and his
father and he, consequently and not unnaturally, were not on very good
terms. The duke, indeed, did not know what to make of his eldest son and
heir. “Upon my word, Mr. Cary,” he said, when Mr. Cary asked him loudly
at the play whether Lord Middlesex was to undertake the opera again next
season, “I have not considered what answer to make to such a question.”
Both Lord Middlesex and Lord John being so unsatisfactory, Lord George
was, and remained, his father’s favourite. Lord George, in an even
greater degree than his father, is an incongruity among the Sackvilles,
a departure from type. In spite of all his mistakes, his misjudgments,
and his misfortunes, he was a man of greater ability than most of them,
of greater energy than the common run of his indolent and
pleasure-loving race, of a further-reaching ambition. He did not begin
life as the eldest son, coming in due course to be the head of the
family, and languidly accepting the civil or diplomatic posts which were
pressed upon him; such career as he had he made for himself. Unlike his
predecessors or their descendants, he was neither an ambassador, a poet,
nor a patron of art or letters—“I have not,” he wrote, “genius
sufficient for works of _mere imagination_”—but first a soldier and then
a statesman, both disastrously. It is not my intention to go into the
details of his public career; my ignorance is too great of the tangle of
Georgian politics; nor am I qualified to discuss whether he did or did
not disobey his orders at Minden, whether he was or was not largely
responsible for the loss of America, whether he did or did not write the
_Letters of Junius_; such questions are treated in histories of the
period. Nor can I deal with the enormous number of letters on political
subjects written both by and to Lord George: I have looked into them
more than once, and have come away merely bewildered by the
cross-threads of home politics, by the names of remembered or forgotten
statesmen, by the fall and reconstruction of Ministries, by the crises
of Whigs and Tories. So I judge it best to leave Lord George alone,
“hot, haughty, ambitious, and obstinate, a sort of melancholy in his
look which runs through all the Sackville family,” and to seek neither
to blacken nor to whitewash his character. I scarcely regard him as one
of the Sackvilles, perhaps because he broke away from the family
traditions into unfamiliar paths, perhaps also because he earned his own
peerage, inherited a large house of his own, and led an existence
separate from Knole. Living at Knole among its portraits and its legends
which grew into the very texture of one’s life, it was, I suppose,
inevitable that one should grow up with pre-conceived affections or
indifferences, and for some reason Lord George never awakened my
interest or my sense of relationship. He was a public character, not a
relation.


                                  § ii

The early impressions of the first duke, who grew to be so pompous,
stout, and good-natured, and whose three sons gave him in their several
ways so much anxiety, are not unattractive. There is a picture of him as
a little slim boy, with his sister and their pet fawn; and there is Lord
George’s own anecdote of his father’s childhood:

  My father, having lost his own mother, was brought up chiefly by the
  Dowager Countess of Northampton, his grandmother. She being
  particularly acceptable to Queen Mary, that Princess commanded her
  always to bring her little grandson, Lord Buckhurst, to Kensington
  Palace, though at that time hardly four years of age, and he was
  allowed to amuse himself with a child’s cart in the gallery. King
  William, like almost all Dutchmen, never failed to attend the
  tea-table every evening. It happened that her Majesty having one
  afternoon by his desire made tea, and waiting for the King’s arrival,
  who was engaged on business in his cabinet at the other extremity of
  the gallery, the boy, hearing the Queen express her impatience at the
  delay, ran away to the closet, dragging after him the cart. When he
  arrived at the door, he knocked, and the King asking “Who is there?”
  “Lord Buck,” answered he. “And what does Lord Buck want with me?”
  replied his Majesty. “You must come to tea directly,” said he, “the
  Queen is waiting for you.” King William immediately laid down his pen
  and opened the door. Then taking the child in his arms, he placed Lord
  Buckhurst in the cart, and seizing the pole drew them both along the
  gallery to the room in which were seated the Queen, Lady Northampton,
  and the company. But no sooner had he entered the apartment, than,
  exhausted with the effort, which had forced the blood upon his lungs,
  and being constitutionally asthmatic, he threw himself into a chair,
  and for some minutes was incapable of uttering a word, breathing with
  the utmost difficulty. The Countess of Northampton, shocked at the
  consequences of her grandson’s indiscretion, would have punished him,
  but the King intervened on his behalf.

When a young man he went on the inevitable Grand Tour. This journey, it
is fair to assume, which was taken at the instigation of his mother’s
relations, was designed to keep him away from the influence of his
enfeebled father and of his step-mother, Ann Roche, quite as much as for
the benefit of his education. His father was very angry at this
withdrawal of his son from his authority, and wrote to him:

  i hear my Lady Northampton has ordered you not to obey me; if you take
  any notice of what she says i have enough in my power to make you
  suffer for it beyond what she will make you amends for. But i cannot
  imagine you to be such a fool as to be governed by the passion and
  folly of anybody.

                                         Your affectionate father,
                                                                 DORSET.

  i expect you will come away by the next yocht.

The next yacht, however, came away without Lord Buckhurst, and the young
man did not return to England until after his father’s death. Shortly
after his succession and return he married Elizabeth Colyear, his “dear,
dear Colly,” and was appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports at a
salary of £160 a year, and Lieutenant of Dover Castle at £50. This is
the menu and cost of the dinner given by the youthful Lord Warden at
Dover Castle on the 16th August 1709 on his being appointed by Queen
Anne:

                                                           £   _s._ _d._
   5 Soups                                                   3    0    0
  12 dishes of fish                                         10   16    0
   1 Westphalia Ham and five fowls                           1    6    0
   8 dishes of pullets and oysters, with bacon               4   16    0
  10 Almond puddings                                         3    0    0
  12 haunches of venison, roast                              1   16    0
   6 dishes of roast pigs                                    2    2    0
   3 dishes of roast geese                                   1    4    0
  12 Venison pasties                                         6    0    0
  12 white Fragacies with Peetets                            7    4    0
   8 dishes of “ragged” veal                                 4   16    0

                             _Second Course_
  14 dishes of ducks, turkey, and pigeons                    8    0    0
  15 codlin tarts, creamed                                   4   10    0
  12 dishes of roast lobster                                 4   16    0
  12 dishes of umble pies                                    4    4    0
  10 dishes of fried fish                                    5    0    0
   8 dishes of Chickens and rabbits                          4    0    0

                                _Ryders_
   5 dishes of dried sweetmeats                             17   10    0
  12 dishes of jelly                                         4   16    0
   6 dishes of Selebub cream                                 2    8    0
  13 dishes of fruit                                        10    0    0
   8 dishes of Almond Pies gilt                              4   16    0
  12 dishes of Custard Florentines                           3   12    0
   8 dishes of lobster                                       3    4    0
 120 Intermediate plates of sorts                            9    0    0

                              _Side-Table_
 A large chine of beef stuck with flags and banners          5   10    0
 1 loaf of double refined sugar                              0    4    6
 Oil and vinegar                                             0    3    0
 Outcharges and expenses of pewter, carriage, bread,
   wharfage, turnspits, glasses, mugs, for ten men,
   horses, use of bakehouse, cooks, coach hire              76   16    9

This was an office he held intermittently for many years, and on one
occasion, England being then at war with Spain, two hundred and fifty
butts, eight hogsheads, and fifty quarter casks of Spanish mountain
wine, and one hundred jars of Raisins of the Sun, being washed up at
Deal and Sandwich, they were adjudged to him as the Lord Warden’s
perquisite of flotsam and jetsam.

In 1714 died Queen Anne, and Lord Dorset, with others, was sent to
Hanover to announce to George his accession to the English throne. He
returned from Hanover with the new King, and drove with him in his coach
from Greenwich to London. On the way George related that thirty-three
years earlier he had travelled to England as a suitor for the hand of
Queen Anne: returning to Gravesend after the failure of his mission, he
rode a common post-horse, which gave him a fall, so that he arrived at
Gravesend covered with mud. The King amused himself in the coach with
looking out for the place where this misfortune had come upon him, and
pointed it out to Lord Dorset, who no doubt joined politely in the
laughter.

Thus began that curious reign of a King who did not know the language of
his adopted country, who spent as much time in his Hanoverian as in his
English estates, and infinitely preferred them, who surrounded himself
with German courtiers and mistresses, and who locked up his wife for
two-and-thirty years as a punishment for her infidelity. The solemnity
of Lord Dorset cannot have been out of place in such a court. Honours
now crowded rapidly upon him, although at one moment he was temporarily
deprived of all his offices for taking part in political intrigues. He
was made a Knight of the Garter, six years later he was made a duke, he
was given the office of Lord Steward, and finally he entered upon the
first lap of his unfortunate career as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Before this, however, he was for the second time called upon to be the
bearer of news of accession to a King of England. I give the account in
Lord George’s words:

  When the intelligence of his [George I’s] decease, which took place
  near Osnabrugh, in the end of July 1727, arrived in London, the
  Cabinet having immediately met, thought proper to dispatch the Duke of
  Dorset with the news to the Prince of Wales. He then resided at Kew,
  in a state of great alienation from the King, the two Courts
  maintaining no communication. Some little time being indispensable to
  enable my father to appear in a suitable manner before the new
  monarch, he sent forward the Duchess his wife, in order to announce
  the event. She arrived at Kew just as the Prince, according to his
  invariable custom, having undressed himself after dinner, had laid
  down in bed. The Duchess demanding permission to see him immediately,
  on business of the greatest importance, the servants acquainted the
  Princess of Wales with her arrival; and the Duchess, without a
  moment’s hesitation, informed her Royal Highness, that George the
  First lay dead at Osnabrugh, that the Cabinet had ordered her husband
  to be the bearer of the intelligence to his successor, and that the
  Duke would follow her in a short time. She added that not a moment
  should be lost in communicating so great an event to the Prince, as
  the Ministers wished him to come up to London that same evening, in
  order to summon a Privy Council, to issue a proclamation, and take
  other requisite measures, at the commencement of a new reign.

  To the propriety of all these steps the Princess assented; but at the
  same time informed the Duchess, that she could not venture to enter
  her husband’s room, as he had only just taken off his clothes and
  composed himself to sleep. “Besides,” added she, “the Prince will not
  give credit to the intelligence, but will exclaim that it is a
  fabrication, designed for the purpose of exposing him.” The Duchess
  continued nevertheless to remonstrate with her Royal Highness, on the
  injurious consequences of losing time, and adding that the Duke of
  Dorset would expect to find the Prince not only apprised of it, but
  ready to accompany him to London. The Princess of Wales took off her
  shoes, opened the chamber door softly, and advanced up to the bedside,
  while my mother remained at the threshold, till she should be allowed
  to enter the apartment. As soon as the Princess came near the bed, a
  voice from under the clothes cried out in German, _Was ist das?_ “I am
  come, sir,” answered she, “to announce to you the death of the King,
  which has taken place in Germany.” “That is one damned trick,”
  returned the Prince, “I do not believe one word of it.” “Sir,” said
  the Princess, “it is most certain. The Duchess of Dorset has just
  brought the intelligence, and the Duke will be here immediately. The
  Ministers hope that you will repair to town this very evening, as your
  presence there is indispensable.” Her Royal Highness then threw
  herself on her knees, to kiss the new King’s hand; and beckoning to
  the Duchess of Dorset to advance, she came in likewise, knelt down,
  and assured him of the indisputable truth of his father’s decease.
  Convinced at length of the fact, he consented to get up and dress
  himself. The Duke of Dorset arriving in his coach and six, almost
  immediately afterwards, George the Second quitted Kew the same evening
  for London.

George the Second, as Prince of Wales, had been on terms of personal
friendship with the duke. He had stayed at Knole, when half an ox, four
sheep, and a calf were provided, besides the following items for his
visit:

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 Butcher                                                    17    0    0
 Bread and flour                                             4    0    0
 Fowls, butter and eggs                                     14   15    0
 Poulterer                                                  11   14    0
 Fishmonger                                                  9    4    0
 Confectioner                                               25   10    0
 Wine                                                       66    0    0
 Beer                                                       35    0    0
 Master-cook’s bill                                         20    9    0
 To the cooks                                               37   12    6
 The pewterer                                                3   12    4
 The carrier                                                 9    0    0
 Lord Lumley’s Grenadiers                                    3    4    6
                                                          ————   ——    —
                                                          £257    1    4

The duke’s first essay in Ireland was not unsuccessful: he left affairs
alone as far as he possibly could and was tolerably popular. It was only
the second time, twenty years later, that he and Lord George incurred so
much dislike. Into the political reasons for this I have already said
that I will not, because I cannot, enter; I will only quote from a
curious lampoon, preserved in the British Museum, which was written to
celebrate the duke’s departure in 1754:


                          Ringing of the Bell
                                  _or_
               A _Hue_ & _Cry_ after _Raymond_ the _Fox_
                           By ROGER SPY, Esq.

The bells are ringing, Hark! how they merrily toll. What is the cause of
their joy? Or why this cheerful tintinnation? They seem animated, and
their rejoicing seems sensible, so expressive of triumph and hilarity
are their peals, treble, bass and tenor make excellent harmony, and
strike the very heart; the ringers themselves pull with pleasure—what is
it they toll forth, or what may the bells be supposed to say?

                            _Interpreter_

                    I’ll tell you what they say ...

                           _St. Patrick’s_

                    He was full of Pa-pa tricks,
                    Says the bell of St. Patrick’s.

                              _St. Mary_

                    I wonder how dare he,
                    Says the bell of St. Mary.

                             _St. Bride_

                    Our acts he belied,
                    Says the bell of St. Bride.

                              _St. Ann_

                    He played Cat-in-Pan,
                    Says the bell of St. Ann.

                             _St. Andrew_

                    Bad swash as e’er man drew,
                    Says the bell of St. Andrew.

                             _St. Peter_

                    No vinegar sweeter,
                    Says the bell of St. Peter.

                              _St. Owen_

                    In mischief full knowing,
                    Says the bell of St. Owen.

                             _St. Thomas_

                    The Lord keep him from us,
                    Says the bell of St. Thomas.

                        _St. Nicholas Without_

                    He put good men out,
                    Says St. Nicholas Without.

                        _St. Nicholas Within_

                    He put bad men in,
                    Says St. Nicholas Within.

                            _Castle Bell_

                    You’re a very bad parcel,
                    Says the bell of the Castle,

and so on, in the same vein.

His patronage of the actress Peg Woffington sets him in a more personal
and amiable light. I have no evidence to prove whether he was following
in the steps of his father; I only know that Peg Woffington’s portrait,
like that of Nell Gwyn and of the Baccelli, is at Knole; that an old
play-bill of hers was found behind the panelling in the Great Hall; that
the duke gave her a command performance at Dublin; and, finally, that
the following facetious petition—was it written by one of the duke’s
disrespectful sons?—is among the Knole papers:

      To his Grace LIONEL Duke _of_ DORSET, Lord Lieu^t _of_ Ireland

  The humble Memorial of MARGARET WOFFINGTON, _Spinster_. Most humbly
  sheweth

  That your Memorialist is a woman of great merit and small fortune, and
  would be proud of an opportunity of shewing her zeal for his Majesty’s
  service by her ready acceptance and faithful discharge of any
  employment he shall graciously please to bestow upon her.

  That her friends have been at great expense and trouble in procuring
  and perusing the list of the several places on this establishment, and
  find her extremely well qualified to discharge the Office of
  Housekeeper to his Majesty’s Castle as it doth not require much
  greater ability than the Rolls or the Chancellorship of the Exchequer.

  That your Memorialist is a true friend to the present Constitution in
  opposition to all Mock Patriots and drinks the Brownlow Majority and
  the Minority for the Money-bill every day devoutly.

  That she has already by the assistance of whisky made two considerable
  Proselytes Patrick O’Donoghoe and Thady Foley her Chairman tho’ one of
  them had been closeted by Col. Dilkes and the other taken by the hand
  by Sir Rich^d Cox, and verily believes if the same means were
  employed, the Opposition would soon lose its principal supporters.

  That your Memorialist can produce two of the greatest Polemical
  Writers of the present Age in support of her character, 1st. Peter
  Willson who has abused her more than once in his _Universal
  Advertiser_—an honour which he is never known to confer on any but
  persons of the first ranks and character. 2^{dly} Geo. Faulkner, in
  whose impartial Journal are contained a Score of Poems, One Dozen of
  Sonnets, Six letters from some of the best Critics, if you will take
  their own words for it, four Epigrams, besides occasional paragraphs,
  all composed in her praise, and which are at least as well written as
  they are printed.

  That your Memorialist is little versed in the Housekeeper’s
  Arithmetic, having never been instructed in the doctrine of Items,
  Dittos, Sums Total and Balances, which circumstance, it is conceived,
  will turn out greatly to the advantage of the Government.

  That her personal attachment to your Grace is so well known, that odd
  reports have been raised in relation to some intimacies that have past
  between two persons that shall be nameless, and which she defies her
  adversaries to prove.

  Wherefore she humbly hopes that Your Grace will take the premises into
  your serious consideration, and oblige the present Incumbent to resign
  the said office, your Memorialist paying her the full value thereof,
  or if she continues obstinate as old women are apt to do, and refuses
  to sell, that the reversion may be granted to your Petitioner, and the
  rather as she conceives, if it be not done under your Grace’s
  administration, there may be some reason to fear it will never be done
  at all.

                                                    MARGARET WOFFINGTON.

  _Mem_: She is ready and willing to act as first Chambermaid to your
  Grace, to warm your bed and tuck you in, which, as she is advised and
  verily believes, the present Housekeeper is in no manner qualified to
  do.


                                 § iii

I have already mentioned Lady Betty Germaine, who, during the lifetime
of the first duke and duchess, lived almost entirely at Knole and had
three rooms—her bedroom, her sitting-room, and her china closet—set
aside for her exclusive use. This little prim lady, to whom the three
little rooms must have provided so apposite a frame, occupied her time
in writing letters, in stitching at crewel work with brightly-coloured
wools, in making pot-pourri to fill the bowls on the window ledges, and
in telling anecdotes of Queen Anne, whose lady-in-waiting she had once
been, since to her, no doubt, in common with all human nature, the days
which were the past were preferable to the days which were the present.
She was, primarily, the friend of the Duchess of Dorset, and for once a
woman was installed in the house whose coiffure and petticoats the wind
of scandal was unable to ruffle. They composed she, the duchess, the
duke, and Lord George, a harmonious quartette, whose correspondence
survives, voluminous and intimate, pricked into sharper highlights here
and there by the pen of Swift. “As to my duchess,” writes Lady Betty,
“she is so reserved that perhaps she may not be at first so much
admired.” The duke she thought “great-souled,” and it must have been an
occasion of great distress to her that her friend Swift should not
always share her views:

  Madam [_he writes to her after failing to obtain some favour from
  Dorset_], I owe your Ladyship the acknowledgement of a letter I have
  long received, relating to a request I made to my Lord Duke. I now
  dismiss you, Madam, from your office of being a go-between upon any
  affair I might have with his Grace. I will never more trouble him,
  either with my visits or application. His business in this kingdom is
  to make himself easy; his lessons are all prescribed for him from
  Court; and he is sure, at a very cheap rate, to have a majority of
  most corrupt slaves and idiots at his devotion. The happiness of this
  Kingdom is of no more consequence to him than it would be to the Great
  Mogul....

[Illustration:

  LADY BETTY GERMAINE

  _From the portrait at Knole by_ C. PHILLIPS
]

One wonders whether such suggestions troubled Lady Betty. Was it
possible that her great-souled friend would not be Lord Steward and Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland and Lord Warden and Lord Lieutenant of Kent, did
he not also happen to be Duke of Dorset? Was it possible that people
such as the Sackvilles occasionally occupied positions due to their
birth rather than to their intellect? Was it true that he, and
particularly Lord George, cared for their own advancement rather than
for the credit of England?—they who _were_ England, who shared the blood
of the Tudors and the Howards and the Spencers and the Cliffords? whose
house was quarried from Kentish rock? whose oaks and beeches were rooted
so deep into the soil of England? Lady Betty herself, who as Lady Betty
Berkeley had come from that most ancient castle—that rose-and-grey
castle, the colour of her own dried rose-leaves, the castle that, squat,
romantic, and uncouth, brooded over the Severn across the meadows of
Gloucestershire—Lady Betty herself was of all people least qualified or
likely to criticize. The household at Knole was ordered on a magnificent
scale, with the duke and duchess and their guest at the apex of the
pyramid which reposed on the base of five servants at £20 each, two at
£15, two at £10 10_s._, seven at £10, two at £8, thirteen at £6, eight
at £5, two at £5, one at £2, besides the chaplain who was unsalaried,
the senior officers, the Steward, the Comptroller, and the Master of the
Horse at £60, £30, and £25 respectively, Tom Durfey living over the
dairy, and the rabble of labourers, gardeners, and what-not, of whom
nobody took any notice. This was life as Lady Betty was accustomed to
find it ordered. If ever she paused to question its system, no trace of
her wondering appears in her letters.

She had a house of her own, Drayton, in Northamptonshire, considered by
Horace Walpole a “venerable heap of ugliness, with many curious bits,”
which she had inherited from her late husband, who in his turn had
inherited it from a first wife. This husband of Lady Betty’s is a
peculiar figure; so peculiar, indeed, so ambiguous, and so equivocal,
that one wonders at his alliance with the orderly Lady Betty Berkeley,
unless this may be explained by the fact that he “possessed a very
handsome person, and was always a distinguished favourite of the other
Sex.” He was, I gather, a soldier of fortune, of uncertain parentage,
or, as Lord George Sackville delicately puts it, “believed to stand in a
very close degree of consanguinity to King William the Third.” William,
at any rate, brought him over to England from Holland in 1688, knighted
him, saw to it that he became a member of the House of Commons, and
assisted him with grants of money; and Germaine, who inherited from his
father no armorial bearings, was accustomed to use a red cross, which
might be taken to mean that his actual was higher than his ostensible
birth. This gentleman combined with the instincts of a collector a
profound ignorance of artistic matters. His principal pride was his
collection of “Rarities,” in which he would exhibit the dagger of Henry
VIII; he believed a certain Sir Matthew Germaine to be the author of St.
Matthew’s Gospel; and at Drayton, where he was building a colonnade, he
caused the columns to be placed upside down, as he had mistaken the
capitals for the pedestals.

This was the man who married Lady Betty Berkeley when she was thirty
years younger than himself. He had previously been married to the
Duchess of Norfolk, whose husband divorced her on Sir John Germaine’s
account. After her death, by which he inherited Drayton, he attached
himself to the Duke and Duchess of Dorset, who received him with their
wonted hospitality; but this was not enough: he wanted a brilliant
alliance, he wanted an heir to Drayton. While at Bristol he “cast his
eyes upon Lady Betty, whose birth, character, and accomplishments
rendered her every way worthy of his choice.” They married; and the
friendship with the Dorsets, to whom Lady Betty was already devoted, was
strengthened by the new bond. Although the difference in age was so
considerable, Lady Betty, through her “superior understanding, added to
the most correct deportment, acquired great influence over him,” and
when after twelve years of marriage Sir John died, “a martyr to the gout
as well as to other diseases,” he called his wife to his bedside and
spoke to her in these terms:

  Lady Betty [_said he_], I have made you a very indifferent husband,
  and particularly of late years, when infirmities have rendered me a
  burden to myself, but I shall not be much longer troublesome to you. I
  advise you never again to marry an old man, but I strenuously exhort
  you to marry when I am gone, and I will endeavour to put it in your
  power. You have fulfilled every obligation towards me in an exemplary
  manner, and I wish to demonstrate my sense of your merits. I have,
  therefore, by my will, bequeathed you this estate, which I received
  from my first wife; and which, as she gave to me, so I leave to you. I
  hope you will marry and have children to inherit it. But, if events
  should determine otherwise, it would give me pleasure to think that
  Drayton descended after your decease to a younger son of my friend the
  Duchess of Dorset.

He then passed away, but in one particular Lady Betty did not take his
advice: she never married again, although she survived him by fifty
years, and thus it is perhaps that I regard her, with her crewel work,
her china closet, and her pot-pourri, rather as a spinster than as a
widow. There is no trace at all at Knole of Sir John Germaine, that
royal bastard, that handsome and enterprising child of fortune, thanks
to whom Drayton came into the possession of Lord George and continues to
this day in the hands of his descendants. Of Lady Betty, on the other
hand, there are copious traces. There are her rooms, which I have
already described in the first chapter, her small square four-poster,
her ring-box, and the painted wooden figure of a lady with the
_fontange_ of Queen Anne’s day on her head. There is Lady Betty’s own
portrait, a miniature full-length, in blue brocade. There is yard upon
yard of her industrious embroidery. There is the pot-pourri which is
made every summer from her receipt (1750):

  Gather dry, Double Violets, Rose Leaves, Lavender, Myrtle flowers,
  Verbena, Bay leaves, Rosemary, Balm, Musk, Geranium. Pick these from
  the stalks and dry on paper in the sun for a day or two before putting
  them in a jar. This should be a large white one, well glazed, with a
  close fitting cover, also a piece of card the exact size of the jar,
  which you must keep pressed down on the flowers. Keep a new wooden
  spoon to stir the salt and flowers from the bottom, before you put in
  a fresh layer of bay salt above and below every layer of flowers. Have
  ready of spices, plenty of Cinnamon, Mace, Nutmeg, and Pepper and
  Lemon-peel pounded. For a large jar ½ lb. Orris root, 1 oz. Storax, 1
  oz. Gum Benjamin, 2 ozs. Calamino Aromatico,[12] 2 grs. Musk, and a
  small quantity of oil of Rhodium. The spice and gums to be added when
  you have collected all the flowers you intend to put in. Mix all well
  together, press it down well, and spread bay salt on the top to
  exclude the air until the January or February following. Keep the jar
  in a cool, dry place.

In the second respect Lady Betty carried out her husband’s wishes, for
when she died herself at the age of nearly ninety she bequeathed the
“venerable heap of ugliness” to Lord George, with £20,000 and half the
residue of her estate.


                                  § iv

                           CHARLES SACKVILLE

                                  2nd

                            Duke _of_ Dorset

Since I have avoided all political details, which would have led anyone
more conversant than myself with the background to the facts into pages
of dissertation, there remains very little to say of the first Duke of
Dorset. He died a few years before his dear, dear Colly, and was
succeeded by his son, that Lord Middlesex to whom I have alluded as
being so unsatisfactory. There is not much record of this
good-for-nothing duke, who enjoyed his dukedom only four years, and who
was married to a “very short, very plain, very yellow, and vain girl,
full of Greek and Latin.” Apparently he married her no earlier than he
need, for Horace Walpole writes of “Lord Middlesex’s wedding, which was
over a week before it was known. I believe the bride told it then, for
he and all his family are so silent that they would never have mentioned
it; she might have popped out a child, before a single Sackville would
have been at the expense of a syllable to justify her.” I have already
quoted the few epithets I have found relating to this duke, the “proud,
disgusted, melancholy, solitary man ...” who produced operas and spent
enormous sums on defending singers in legal actions. He was reputed mad,
“a disorder which there was too much reason to suppose, ran in the
blood”; he was certainly eccentric; and there is a large picture of him
in the ball-room at Knole dressed as a Roman emperor, with bare knees, a
plumed helmet on his head, and various pieces of armour. Besides these
scanty documents, there are some verses which scarcely entitle him to be
called a poet: _Arno’s Vale_, which I have never read, and which is
addressed to a certain Madame Muscovita, whose portrait is at Knole; and
others which are at Knole, for instance:

[Illustration:

  LADY BETTY GERMAINE’S BEDROOM AT KNOLE
]


                              DUCK HUNTING

       _Hard by where Knole’s exalted towers rise
       Upon a green smooth plain a pond there lies,
       With verdant grass encircled round, a place
       Seated commodiously the duck to chase.
       Here in the heat of day the youths for sport
       With well-taught spaniels to the pond resort.
       The youths on ev’ry side the pond surround,
       With fav’ring cries the hollow woods resound.
       The eager dogs with barking rend the skies
       Until encouraged by their masters’ cries
       They plunge into the stream: the stream before ’em flies.
       Rover, the first that plung’d, the first in fame
       And one from Charles’s noble breed that came.
       The next came Trip, tho’ of a bastard race,
       And smaller size, he swam the next in place.
       The last came Ranger, with his spotted back,
       That swam but slow: the gravest of the pack.
       His deep rough voice was of a hoarser sound
       With long red ears that swept along the ground....
       And thus the sport goes on, till weary grown,
       And ev’ryone is willing to go home.
       The weary duck at last swims close to land;
       They take her up with a kind, pitying hand.
       Of every spannel they extoll the praise
       And all their virtues to the skies they raise.
       And then they, weary, homewards take their way,
       And drown in sprightly bowls the labours of the day._

The duke’s poems are worthless, of course, but among the Knole papers of
this date is one which I cannot forbear from reproducing:

      AN EPISTLE _from_ DAME I ... L ... _to the_ REVD. MR. B ...

          _Sweet youth, ’tis hard thy innocence should be
          A source of scandal and reproach to me.
          Nay, blush not—with reluctance I prevail
          O’er innate modesty to own the tale._

          _That fatal day when first I saw thy face
          And marked each angel-look and smiling grace,
          Thy fair idea struck my tender heart,
          And, oh! remained, though thou didst soon depart;
          Maternal love, methought, thou didst inspire,
          Around my heart still played the lambent fire.
          Thoughtless of harm, why should I aught conceal?
          A friend I meet, and thus the truth reveal_:

          “_Say, didst thou mark that dove-like form to-day,
          Those eyes that languished with so mild a ray?
          Can fleecy lambs such innocence disclose,
          E’er glowed such blushes on the opening rose?
          Safe could I take the youngster to my bed
          And on my bosom fondly rest his head,
          Harmless the tedious night were so beguiled;
          So watch fond mothers o’er the sucking child._”

          _That seeming friend betrayed me, and began
          To whisper through the house, “I loved the man.”
          Then memory spread and worse suspicions rose,
          And searching spies broke in on my repose;
          Nor chamber, closet, bed, were sacred then:
          They sought to find_ thee, _ah! they sought in vain!
          Thou wrapped in innocence might sleeping be,
          Unconscious of the woes I bore for thee._

          _The uproar now withdrawn, I strive to rest,
          And throw my arms across my pensive breast.
          Soon as my eyelids close I see thy form,
          Pure as the snow-drop, yet in blushes warm.
          But oh! what followed?—strange effect of fright,
          I dreamed that in my bed thou pass’t the night ..._

          _Come, with thy innocence, thy smiles impart
          Fresh joy to me, and mend each wicked heart,
          Talk much of charity, and_ Love, _too, teach:
          ’Tis mine to suffer, but ’tis thine to preach_.



                              CHAPTER VIII
               Knole at the End of the Eighteenth Century
                        JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE
                                  3rd
                            Duke _of_ Dorset


                                  § i

The portrait by Gainsborough in the ball-room is of a man with a curved
mouth, deep grey eyes, and powdered hair brushed back off his forehead.
He looks out from the oval of his framing, beautiful and melancholy. “I
have always looked on him as the most dangerous of men,” said the
Duchess of Devonshire, “for with that beauty of his he is so unaffected,
and has a simplicity and a persuasion in his manner that makes one
account very easily for the number of women he has had in love with
him.” There is much in him which recalls his forefather, Charles, the
Dorset of the Restoration, but this is a personality less opulent, less
voluminous, more wistful and more romantic; all his accessories are
essentially of the eighteenth century—his Chinese page, his diamonds,
his scarf-pin, his Italian mistress who caused so much scandal by
dancing at the Opera in Paris with his Garter bound about her forehead.
He is the immediate precursor of the generation which replaced by Gothic
the Tudor windows in the Orangery, made serpentine some of the straight
paths in the garden, and decorated the windows in the Colonnade with
representations of knights in full armour. He himself escaped the
baronial tendencies. He belonged to an age more delicate, more
exquisite; an age of quizzing glasses, of flowered waistcoats, of
buckled shoes, and of slim bejewelled swords. When he had his mistress
sculpted, it was lying full-length on a couch, naked save for a single
rose looping up her hair. When he had her drawn, it was pointing her
little foot in the first step of a dance, a tambourine in her hand, and
the Chinese boy in the background. When he wrote to his friends, it was
in a bored, nonchalant style, half in English and half in French. His
manner was “soft, quiet, and ingratiating.” He treated the women who
loved him with an easy heartlessness which failed to diminish their
affection. He was possessed of no very great talents but those
calculated to render life agreeable to him in the circles into which he
was born, for it was his good fortune to be born handsome, rich,
charming, and a duke, in a century when those qualifications were a
certain passport to success.

John Frederick Sackville became Duke of Dorset at the age of
twenty-four. He was the son of that Lord John Sackville who passes
across the annals of the family early in life as a poet and cricketer,
and later as a sad and shabby figure, “always dirtily clad,” living
under mild restraint at Vevey, a victim to melancholia. There was,
however, no hint as yet of this hereditary strangeness of temper in his
son, the new Duke of Dorset. The young man came brilliantly into his new
possessions, paid the undertaker £66 6_s._ for the late duke’s funeral,
paid the Sheriff £418 2_s._ for “things taken at Knole”—from which it
would seem that the late duke had died in debt—bought four thousand
ounces of silver, and entertained his neighbours and tenantry to a feast
in celebration of his succession, at which sixty stone of beef, mutton,
and veal were consumed, thirty-four pounds of wax-lights used, and
musicians provided. It is curious to see how the price of wine had
altered between the days of Charles II and this time; namely, 1769.
Claret now cost 54_s._ a dozen, Burgundy 60_s._ a dozen, Champagne
97_s._ a dozen, and port for the servants’ table cost 20_s._ a dozen, in
comparison with the few shillings paid per gallon a century earlier. The
only thing which did not [_see_ p. 133] alter in proportion is beer, for
which 35_s._ a hogshead was paid in the seventeenth century and £2
10_s._ a hogshead in the eighteenth. The young duke’s time, we are told,
was “devoted to gallantry and pleasure among the fashionable circles as
well in France and Italy as in England,” a phrase which begins to
acquire a fatally familiar ring through the generations of the family.
Perhaps nothing else could reasonably be expected of him. Life offered
him too great an ease and too many advantages; why should he have
rejected them? Before he had been for a year in the enjoyment of his
honours and estates he had set out on the Grand Tour accompanied by the
celebrated Nancy Parsons and a train of singers, actors, and Bohemians,
who clustered round him in every European capital which he visited.
Echoes of his extravagance and his escapades come down to us from Paris
and from Rome. He entertained lavishly every evening, inviting only
those who could amuse his already blasé appetite; he rescued his Nancy
Parsons in the nick of time as she was about to be abducted from a
masked ball by a noble Venetian; he indulged his taste for the fine arts
“even beyond the limits of his fortune”; he bought a Perugino, he bought
a doubtful Titian, and a number of Italian primitives; he bought from a
Mr. Jenkins in Rome “_the figure of Demosthenes in the act of delivering
an oration_, a fine Grecian relick in marble,” and a bronze cast of the
Gladiator Repellens, on whose shield he caused his own coat-of-arms to
be embossed. This kind of existence he continued to lead for two or
three years, when he threw over Nancy Parsons, returned to England, and
became the lover of a Mrs. Elizabeth Armistead. Meanwhile, it appears
from his account-books that large sums were being spent by his orders on
both outdoor and indoor repairs at Knole. He put down new floors,
altered some of the windows, and bought further enormous quantities of
silver, 5920 ounces in one year alone, costing £2463 17_s._ 7_d._, and
including a hundred and forty-four silver plates, eight dozen each of
forks and spoons, dishes of all kinds, covers, and tureens. Occupied
with Knole, love affairs, and cricket, he dawdled away a particularly
gilded youth. Details from his account-books give a good idea of his
expenses and occupations:

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 Mrs. Gardiner, lace ruffles                                41    0    0
 Butler, new chain                                          80    0    0
 Opera, expenses last winter                                17   19    0
 Opera, subscription                                        21    0    0
 Paid Sir Joshua Reynolds                                   78   15    0

Mrs. Elizabeth Armistead reigned for three years, but the duke had other
diversions in other circles: the gay, frivolous, and wanton Lady Betty
Hamilton, trailing from ball to ball with her suitors in her wake, set
her heart upon him, and he, not unresponsive, was ready to trifle so
long as he was not expected to marry. Lady Betty was finally married off
to Lord Derby, reputed the ugliest and the richest peer in England.

  Many were the means employed till Lord Derby’s constant and assiduous
  care veiled the ugliness of his person before the idol he worshipped.
  Time and despair made Lady Betty give a hasty and undigested consent.
  After a day of persecutions from every quarter, while a hair-dresser
  was adorning her unhappy head, she traced the consent with a pencil on
  a scrap of paper, and sent it wet with her tears to her mother.

A re-shuffle now took place: the duke became the new Lady Derby’s lover,
and Lord Derby became the lover of Mrs. Armistead. This arrangement,
however, was not of long duration. Lord Derby fell in love with
Elizabeth Farren; Lady Derby, it was rumoured, ran away and had to be
brought back by her brother, the Duke of Hamilton: still bent upon
marrying the Duke of Dorset, she wished to divorce Lord Derby, but was
foiled by the prudence of Miss Farren. The gossips of London were much
excited by all these occurrences. Lady Sarah Lennox wrote: “It is no
scandal to tell you it is imagined that the Duke of Dorset will marry
Lady Derby. I am told she has been and still is most thoroughly attached
to him.” It would be satisfactory to know exactly what part Dorset
played; I fear not a very creditable one. Lady Derby was an impulsive,
headstrong, attractive creature, capable of real passion under all her
lightheartedness and easy virtue; her husband was unfaithful to her; her
rival more sage and experienced than she herself; her lover ready to
take what he could without incurring an irksome responsibility. My
grandfather’s sister, Lady Derby, used to show at Knowsley the window
through which the Duke of Dorset was reported to have been admitted to
the house, disguised as a gardener, and it was commonly supposed that
the infant Lady Elizabeth Stanley was in reality the duke’s daughter.
But when the affair threatened to become too serious he was only too
ready to resume his travels abroad.

I can only suppose that it was during one of his absences that Horace
Walpole went to Knole and found it not at all to his liking, for he
draws a picture of the place in a state of desertion which would surely
not have been warranted had the duke and his household been in
occupation:

  I came to Knole [_he writes to Lady Ossory_], and that was a medley of
  various feelings! Elizabeth and Burleigh and Buckhurst; and then
  Charles [_he means Richard_] and Anne, Dorset and Pembroke, and Sir
  Edward Sackville, and then a more engaging Dorset, and Villiers and
  Prior, and then the old duke and duchess, and Lady Betty Germaine, and
  the court of George II.

  The place is stripped of its beeches and honours, and has neither
  beauty nor prospects. The house, extensive as it is, seemed dwindled
  to the front of a college, and has the silence and solitude of one. It
  wants the cohorts of retainers, and the bustling jollity of the old
  nobility, to disperse the gloom. I worship all its faded splendour,
  and enjoy its preservation, and could have wandered over it for hours
  with satisfaction, but there was such a heterogenous housekeeper as
  poisoned all my enthusiasm. She was more like one of Mrs. St. John’s
  Abigails than an inhabitant of a venerable mansion, and shuffled about
  in slippers, and seemed to _admire_ how I could care about the
  pictures of such old _frights_ as covered the walls.


                                  § ii

I have said that cricket as well as love affairs occupied the duke’s
time, and in this he was only carrying on the tradition begun by his
father and his uncle, who were both enthusiastic cricketers and took
part in the first match recorded as having been played at Sevenoaks, in
1734, between Kent and Sussex, Lord John Sackville and Lord Middlesex
playing, of course, for Kent. Six years later Sevenoaks played London on
the famous Vine cricket ground at Sevenoaks—the first match recorded on
the Vine. The young Duke of Dorset inherited his father’s taste, keeping
in his employ professional cricketers such as Bowra, Miller, and
Minskull, and we have endless details of the matches played, an old
print of one match taking place on the Vine between the duke’s men and
Sir Horace Mann’s men, which shows the players all wearing jockey-caps
and finally a number of cricketing ballads, more noticeable for their
enthusiasm than for their excellence:

             _His Grace the Duke of Dorset came_ [we read],
             _The next enrolled in skilful fame.
             Equalled by few, he plays with glee,
             Nor peevish seeks for victory,
             And far unlike the modern way
             Of blocking every ball at play,
             He firmly stands with bat upright
             And strikes with his athletic might,
             Sends forth the ball across the mead
             And scores six notches for the deed._

There is in particular a great contest between Kent and Surrey,
celebrated in a ballad of sixty-five verses, in which

                _The fieldsmen, stationed on the lawn,
                  Well able to endure,
                Their loins with snow-white satin vests
                  That day had guarded sure_,

and it is related that in this match also the Duke of Dorset was playing
for the honour of his county, for we are told that

                   _Young Dorset, like a baron bold,
                     His jetty hair undrest,
                   Ran foremost of the company,
                     Clad in a milk-white vest._

Despite the efforts of the duke and the men of Kent, they were defeated
by Surrey, and the duke met with disaster:

                   _“O heavy news!” the Rector cried,
                     “The Vine can witness be,
                   We have not any cricketer
                     Of such account as he.”_

It is satisfactory to learn that in the return match Surrey was beaten.


                                 § iii

We come now to the period when “the gay Duke of Dorset became ambassador
in Paris,” and “his encouragement of the Parisian ballet was the
amazement and envy of his age.” It is entertaining, and rather sad, to
read both his official despatches from Paris and his private letters to
his friends, and to reflect that while he was writing to the Duchess of
Devonshire, “I suppose you will hear talk of my ball, it has made a
great noise at Paris”; or to the Foreign Office, “It is hardly possible
to conceive a moment of more perfect tranquility than the present, the
French government, free from the late causes of its anxiety, appears
entirely bent upon improving the advantages of peace,”—it is sad, and
certainly ironical, to reflect that the taking of the Bastille was
distant by a paltry three years. With no foreboding of those tremendous
events, which more than any war, more even than the career of Napoleon,
were to change the fortunes of humanity, the Court of France and the
English envoy continued on their course of enjoyment. The Duke of Dorset
became, naturally, extremely popular in Paris. He was himself not sure
that he wholly liked the French:

  All the French are _aimable, si vous voulez_, but they are capricious
  and inconstant, especially the women [_he wrote home to the Duchess of
  Devonshire_]; in short, I have really no friend here but Mrs. B.
  [Marie Antoinette], and then I see her so seldom that I forget half
  what I want to say to her. The Frenchmen are all jealous and
  treacherous, so that between the capriciousness of the fair sex and
  the want of confidence I have in the other _je me sens vraiment
  malheureux_, I assure you, my dearest duchess.

But the French had no corresponding fault to find. The English
ambassador was princely and lavish; he was spending money, as he himself
owned, at the rate of £11,000 a year; he was greatly in the Queen’s
favour, so greatly that he has been included by certain authorities
(notably Tilly) in their lists of her lovers. Sir Nathaniel Wraxall,
who, although an inaccurate was yet a contemporary writer, says that
this was not so, and that he has seen a letter-case, preserved by the
duke, full of Marie Antoinette’s notes addressed to him. Wraxall says
that they were written on private concerns, commissions that she
requested him to execute for her, principally regarding English articles
of dress or ornament, and other innocent and unimportant matters.
Whether Dorset was or was not her lover is not of the smallest
importance; and surely no one would grudge, at this distance of time,
any pleasure that a princess so young and so unfortunate might have
enjoyed in life.

A question in which the Duke was naturally much interested was the
affair of the diamond necklace. His despatches to the Foreign Office are
full of references to the story, from August 1785 onwards:

  The usually credited account is, that the Cardinal [de Rohan] has
  forged an order from the Queen to the Jeweller of the Crown to deliver
  to him diamonds to the amount of 1,600,000 livres, and which diamonds
  he actually received. What makes this event the more extraordinary is
  that the Cardinal is known to be a man of extremely good parts, and is
  in the enjoyment of the greatest honour and revenues to which any
  subject in the Church can aspire.

And again:

  Mme. de la Motte, from an apprehension that her life is in danger,
  affects to have lost her senses. The jailer, upon entering her room
  the day before yesterday, was some time before he discovered her, and
  at length found her under her bed, quite naked.

It would, of course, take up too much space to give all Dorset’s
despatches on this subject. I mention them chiefly because a large
proportion of the diamonds composing the original necklace are at Knole,
one half having been purchased by the Duke of Dorset after the necklace
had been split up and brought to England, and the other half by the Duke
of Sutherland. This, at least, is the tradition; and there is some
evidence to support it, in a receipt among the Knole papers:

  =Received= of his Grace the DUKE of DORSET nine hundred and
  seventy-five pounds for a brilliant necklace.

            £975      For Mr. JEFFERYS and self, W M JONES.

and this receipt is endorsed “Paid 1790,” which tallies with the date
when the necklace was sold by De la Motte to Jefferys, a jeweller in
Piccadilly. They are beautiful diamonds, small, but very blue, and are
set at present in the shape of a tasselled diadem.

Another topic which temporarily exercised the duke while in Paris was
the “very extraordinary proposal” made to the French Government by a M.
Montgolfier to

  construct a balloon of a certain diameter to carry sixteen persons.
  The project [_the despatch continues_] is to carry on a trade between
  this part and the South of France; Paris and Marseilles are the two
  places named. The balloon is to be freighted with plate glass, and the
  return to be made in reams of paper. M. de Calonne has hitherto
  received the proposal with great coolness, as M. Montgolfier requires
  an advance of 60,000 livres Tournais. It is, however, under
  contemplation, as M. Montgolfier has declared his intention of making
  the offer to our government in case he does not meet with
  encouragement here. It is said that the Comptroller General rather
  discourages enterprises of this sort, as any further progress in the
  art of conducting balloons might tend to prejudice the revenues of the
  City of Paris, which will shortly be surrounded by a wall, the cost of
  which is estimated at four or five millions.

The duke naturally thought M. Montgolfier’s plans nonsensical:

  I should almost scruple to mention to your Lordship an undertaking so
  extraordinary [_he says_] had I not heard from exceedingly good
  authority that such a plan is seriously in agitation. Great credit is
  given to M. Montgolfier’s superior skill in these matters, and that
  gentleman’s friends are sanguine in their expectations of his success.
  The weight he proposes to carry _exceeds that of a waggon-load_!

He gives some further details of what M. Montgolfier, who “pretends to
have at last discovered means of directing the course of Balloons,”
proposes to do:

  He has obtained the sanction of M. de Calonne for his first
  experiment, which is to be made the first day of next May, when he
  engages to depart from a town in Auvergne, distant from Paris 150
  miles, and to descend at or near this City in the space of seven
  hours.

A month later he writes:

  The government has at last accepted M. Montgolfier’s proposal. 30,000
  livres are to be granted to him in advance for the experiment, and if
  it succeeds the whole of his expenses will be paid without any
  examination of his accounts, a pension granted to him, and every
  honorary recompense bestowed on him to which he can aspire. He
  pretends to have discovered the means of guiding his machine, but it
  was not till after his project to England, in case of refusal here,
  that it was accepted.

On such topics as the diamond necklace and M. Montgolfier and current
affairs Dorset beguiled his leisure and that of the Foreign Office.
There is no indication that he detected any signs of the trouble in
store. It is true that occasionally he writes in this strain:

  Their Majesties, the Dauphin, and the rest of the Royal family, are
  removed from Fontainebleau to Versailles. The expenses attending these
  journeys of the Court is incredible. The duc de Polignac told me that
  he had given orders for 2115 horses for this service.... Besides this,
  an adequate proportion of horses are ordered for the removal of the
  heavy baggage.... It is asserted that M. de Calonne will be under the
  necessity of borrowing at least eight millions of livres next year,

and that after the fall of the Bastille he was moved to write: “I really
think it necessary that some public caution be given to put those upon
their guard who may propose to visit this part of the continent.” But
beyond these occasional comments he does not seem to have been troubled
by any thoughts of the future. He did not foresee that his friend “Mrs.
B.,” to whom after his return to England he continued to supply English
gloves, would lose upon the scaffold that little head which had carried
so gaily the butterfly or the frigate, or that within two or three
years’ time the English newspapers would be writing: “The Duke of
Dorset’s seat at Knole is a place of rendezvous for the banished French
_noblesse_ at this time resident in England,” or that he would be
entertaining there as a fugitive his friend Champcenetz, a young officer
in the Swiss Guards and author of a “_Petit traité de l’amour des femmes
pour les sots_.” Dorset would no doubt have proved a perfectly adequate
ambassador in normal times, but that vast situation with its infinite
ramifications was beyond an intellect that accepted for granted the
existing régime under which dukes were born for pleasure and labourers
were not. But with all the foresight in the world it is difficult to see
what he could have done, or how the course of history could have been
affected, had he sent home grave warnings instead of babbling of the
diamond necklace and M. Montgolfier.

There was another distraction for him in Paris: Giannetta Baccelli, an
Italian dancer. The duke seems to have lost his head completely over her
for the time being, for he gave her his Garter to wear as a hair-ribbon,
with “HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE” in diamonds, brought her home to
England with him, sent her to a ball in Sevenoaks wearing the family
jewels—which provoked a great scandal in the county—and gave her one of
the towers at Knole, which to this day remains, through the
mispronunciation of the English servants, “Shelley’s Tower.” It was for
this lady, or so the rumour ran, that he finally rejected the faithful
and unfortunate Lady Derby. There was nothing that Dorset would not do
for Baccelli. He had her painted by Reynolds, and painted and drawn by
Gainsborough, and sculpted from the nude. He even wrote to his friend
the Duchess of Devonshire asking her to do what she could for his
protégée, “I don’t ask you to do anything for her openly,” he wrote,
“but I hope _que quand il s’agit de ses talents_ you will commend her. I
assure you,” he adds rather pathetically, “she is _une bonne fille_,
very clever, and _un excellent cœur_, and her dancing is really
wonderful.”

Gainsborough’s large full-length portrait of Baccelli, originally at
Knole, has been sold; but his pencil sketch for it remains, rather faded
and very delicate of line. It is drawn in the ball-room: Baccelli stands
on a model’s throne, pointing her toe and lifting up her skirt;
Gainsborough himself stands in front of her, a palette in his hand, so
that he turns his back towards the person looking at the drawing; the
Chinese page, in a round hat, stands by. It reconstructs with great
vividness the scene of her posing in the ball-room. The only pity is
that the artist should not have drawn in the duke, who was surely there,
looking on, and criticizing and making suggestions. The receipt for the
big picture is at Knole, though no mention is made of the drawing (_see
illustration facing p. 208_):

  =Received= of his Grace the DUKE of DORSET one hundred guineas in full
  for two ¾ portraits of his Grace, one full-length of Mad^{sle}
  Baccelli, two Landskips, and one sketch of a beggar boy and girl.

            £105    _THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH_, _June 15, 1784_.

One of the “two ¾ portraits of his Grace” mentioned in this receipt is
the one now in the ball-room, one of the most beautiful Gainsboroughs I
know—included with five other pictures for the ludicrous sum of £105.

Reynolds’ portrait of the dancer shows a mischievous and attractive
face, with slightly slanting eyes, peeping out from behind a mask which
she holds up in her hand. The duke even went to the length of ordering
the portraits of the servants he had provided for her, and among the
collection of servants’ portraits in Black Boy Passage are Daniel Taylor
and Elinor Law, servants of Mad^{me} Baccelli; Mrs. Edwards, attendant
on Mad^{me} Baccelli; and Philip Louvaux, servant to Mad^{me} Baccelli.
She evidently, with her servants and her tower, had a regular
establishment at Knole, and many receipts bearing her signature witness
the duke’s generosity towards her: “Received 7th April 1786 of Mr.
Burlington [the agent] the sum of fifty pounds on account of his Grace
the Duke of Dorset, Jannette Baccelli,” and so on. They had several
children, all of whom died in babyhood, except one, alluded to in the
following letter: “The duke has a very fine boy to whom Baccelli is
mother, now at school near Knole. This, we think, is the only surviving
progeny of the alliance,” but, much as I should like to know, I have no
idea what became of this romantically-begotten scion, or even of whether
he lived to grow up.

Perhaps the “heterogenous housekeeper” of Horace Walpole’s letter was
Baccelli’s importation, for in another place he writes disgustedly of
“Knole, which disappointed me much. But unless you know how vast and
venerable I thought I remembered it, I cannot give you the measure of my
surprise; but then there was a trapes of a housekeeper, who, I suppose,
was the Baccelli’s dresser, and who put me out of humour....”

The connection seems to have lasted for a long time, for it is not until
the end of 1789 that we come across an old newspaper cutting announcing
with curious candour that “the Duke of Dorset and the Baccelli have just
separated, and she is said to have behaved very well,” so that she
eclipsed the records of Nancy Parsons, of Mrs. Elizabeth Armistead, and
of poor Lady Derby. It is, I think, a not unpicturesque incident in the
story of Knole—the dancer sitting in those stately rooms to Reynolds and
Gainsborough, or descending from her tower to walk in the garden with
the duke, attended by the Chinese boy carrying her gloves, her fan, or
her parasol. Those were the days when the Clock Tower, oddly recalling a
pagoda, was but newly erected; when the great rose-and-gold Chinese
screen in the Poets’ Parlour was new and brilliant in the sun; when the
Coromandel chests were new toys; and the Italian pictures and the
statuary brought back by the duke from Rome were still pointed out as
the latest acquisitions. And no doubt then the statue of the Baccelli
reposing in her lovely nudity on her couch was not relegated to the
attic, where a subsequent and more prudish generation sent it, but stood
somewhere in the living-rooms, where it might be seen and admired in the
presence of the smiling model. Amusement was caused too, no doubt, among
the guests of the duke and the dancer by Sir Joshua’s portrait of the
Chinese boy squatting on his heels, a fan in his hand, and the square
toes of his red shoes protruding from beneath his robes. It was more
original to have a Chinese page than to have a black one; everybody had
a black one: “Dear Mama,” wrote the Duchess of Devonshire to her mother,
“George Hanger has sent me a Black boy, eleven years old and very
honest, but the duke don’t like me having a black, and yet I cannot bear
the poor wretch being ill-used; if you liked him instead of Michel I
will send him, he will be a cheap servant and you will make a Christian
of him and a good boy; if you don’t like him they say Lady Rockingham
wants one.” But the black page at Knole, of which there had always been
one since the days of Lady Anne Clifford, and who had always been called
John Morocco regardless of what his true name might be, had been
replaced by a Chinaman ever since the house steward had killed the John
Morocco of the moment in a fight in Black Boy’s Passage. This particular
Chinese boy whom I have mentioned, whose real name was Hwang-a-Tung, but
whom the English servants, much as they called Baccelli Madam Shelley,
more conveniently renamed Warnoton—fell on fortunate days when he came
to Knole, for not only was he painted by Sir Joshua, but he was educated
at the duke’s expense at the Grammar School in Sevenoaks.

[Illustration:

  HWANG-A-TUNG

  A CHINESE BOY, PAGE TO THE 3RD DUKE OF DORSET

  _From the portrait at Knole by_ SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS
]


                                  § iv

The year after the parting in which the Baccelli was reported to have
behaved so well, the duke married. His bride was an heiress, Arabella
Diana Cope, who brought the duke, according to his own statement, a
dowry of £140,000. She must have been an imposing figure, if one may
trust Hoppner’s portrait, which shows her walking in a white muslin
dress, a little dog frisking round her feet, and tall feathers on her
head; and Wraxall, who certainly knew her, says, with the touch of awe
and even dislike perceptible between the lines of all his accounts of
her, that “her person, though not feminine, might then be denominated
handsome; and, if her mind was not highly cultivated or refined, she
could boast of intellectual endowments that fitted her for the active
business of life.” Wraxall writes, possibly, with a prejudiced pen, for
at one time he was employed in sorting and classifying the Knole
manuscripts, and in this matter his views clashed with those of her
Grace and her Grace’s second husband; the business was abandoned half
way through, but Wraxall’s trace remains in the neat, ejaculatory notes
which I find on the reverse side of many of the papers—“curious!” or
“not without merit!” This may account for the subtle spitefulness of his
remarks. Nevertheless, I imagine that Knole perceived under the duchess’
régime a considerable contrast with the days of the merry and
pleasure-loving Baccelli. The new duchess was a severe and orderly lady,
“under the dominion of no passion except the love of money, her taste
for power and pleasure always subordinate to her economy,” and the duke
himself, perhaps under the influence of his wife, began to turn from his
extravagant ways towards parsimony, curtailing his expenses in spite of
the enormous increase in his income, and becoming, moreover, irascible,
fretful, morbid, and quarrelsome. The days of his patronage of opera and
Parisian ballet were over, the days when he was confident that the talk
of his ball in Paris would reach the ears of the Duchess of Devonshire
in London. His expenses at Knole were reported to be reduced to four or
five thousand a year, yet he could not endure to hear the praise of
other houses, for Knole he considered “as possessing everything.” It is
not an attractive picture of the gay duke’s declining years. Hoppner,
who had been staying at Knole for nine or ten days painting the three
children, described the duke as most unpleasant in his temper, anxious
and saving, humoursome and uncomfortable, “not suffering the dinner to
be all placed on the table,” and when, playing at Casino, he lost
fifteen shillings to Hoppner he “fretted when the cards he wished for
were taken up.” The three children were brought up with the utmost
severity; they were scarcely allowed to speak in the presence of their
elders; and little Lord Middlesex was sent out of the room in disgrace
at luncheon for asking his sister for the salt. Yet I fancy that the
real control, under a show of submission, was exercised by that
commanding figure, the duchess. She never betrayed any signs of
exasperation, whether the duke sent away the dinner, or grumbled that
Neckar was a man of no family, or that Mr. Hailes, the secretary, was a
man of no family either—much to Mr. Hailes’ discomposure. This dwelling
upon family was one of his many crotchets, and he was fond of pointing
out that the Sackvilles had never branched, but remained the only family
of that name in the Kingdom, and would draw attention to the coincidence
that Sackville Street was the longest street in London without branch or
turning. Prudent and long-suffering, no doubt the duchess had in her
mind the advantages she intended to secure when she should be no longer
a wife and sick-nurse, but a widow. Baccelli’s statue was in the attic,
and Mr. Ozias Humphrey, of the Royal Academy, was quite out of favour
because he went to Knole in the duke’s absence and took possession of a
room without previously showing proper attention to the duchess. She
presided calmly, while the duke fretted and economized, and quarrelled
with his friends, and deteriorated in intellect, and became a prey to
gloom, and grew old and sad before his time; she presided unruffled, for
all the while she rested satisfied in her knowledge of his testamentary
dispositions. He was, in fact, although only in the fifties, already a
very ill man. He was falling rapidly into a deeper and deeper
melancholy, and there is a tradition that towards the end he could only
be soothed by the playing of two musicians in a neighbouring room—the
room now called the Music Room, in which hang, rather ironically,
Reynolds’ portrait of the Baccelli peeping out from behind her mask, and
Vigée Lebrun’s portrait of the grave, greyhaired lady, Arabella Diana,
Duchess of Dorset. He sat in the library, his hands fumbling at the
breast-pin in his _jabot_, while the soothing strains reached him,
veiled by distance. Veiled by distance, too, the memories of his past
floated to him on the music, and melted with the music into the solace
of a confused and wistful harmony. The past, so luminous, was not wholly
lost, since in memory it was still recoverable. There had been the fun
of the masked ball in Rome; there had been the clandestine hours of
tenderness with Betty Hamilton; there had been Versailles; there had
been the days when he could glance down through the window and see
Baccelli flirting with Sir Joshua on the lawn. The musicians in the
neighbouring room played on. He had been twenty-four when Knole had come
to him; he had not had to wait for his good things until he was grown
too sober to enjoy them. It had been so easy to accept the urbanity, the
_empressement_, everyone was eager to lavish; so pleasant to move in a
world so bland, so obliging, and so polite. No effort had been
necessary; the fat quails had dropped ready roasted into his mouth. No
effort: a smile there; a gracious word here; tossed alike with a casual,
if good-humoured, contempt. Surveying himself in his mirror while his
valet knelt to buckle the diamond Order round his knee, flicking with a
lace pocket-handkerchief at a few grains of powder fallen upon his coat,
he had been secure in the safe conduct of his great name and his
personal charm. And if the faint ghosts whispered round him now in the
quiet library at Knole—a fair head thrust at him upon a pike, the
reproachful eyes of Lady Derby, the stilled limbs of those half-Italian
babies that the Baccelli had borne him—why, he could banish them: Lord
Middlesex slept in his nursery upstairs, and the tall duchess watched,
effaced though vigilant, from a corner of the library. But when she rose
and came towards him, thinking that he had fallen asleep in his nodding
over the fire, he repulsed her fretfully, with the gesture of an old
man, and wondered at himself in his confused and unhappy mind for this
anomalous discourtesy towards a woman.

Next door to the Music Room hangs the lovely full-length of the three
children, painted by Hoppner while on that uncomfortable visit. One is
bound to admit that their appearance bears no impress of the grand,
solemn, and gloomy household in which they were being brought up. The
little boy, rosy, flaxen-curled, in high nankeen trousers and a soft
frilly shirt, has his arms round his baby sister, who, with bare toes,
is looking sulkily at her elder sister’s shoes; they are out in the
park; nothing could be more natural or unconstrained. My grandfather
used to show me the baby girl, telling me that while Hoppner was seeking
for a pose for his picture a grievance arose between the two little
girls because one had shoes and the other had not, and that on Lord
Middlesex taking his sister into his arms for consolation, Hoppner
rushed at them exclaiming that he could not improve upon the charm of
this accidental pose. I think this story has a convincing ring about it.
Certainly it was the only anecdote which my grandfather had to tell of
any picture in the house; usually he did not know a Hoppner from a
Vandyck, a Kneller from a Gainsborough. He said that he had the story
straight from his mother, Lady Elizabeth, the sulky baby of Hoppner’s
picture, and the young woman in fancy dress of Beechey’s portrait in the
same room.

[Illustration:

  JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE ARABELLA DIANA
  3RD DUKE OF DORSET 3RD DUCHESS OF DORSET

  THE EARL OF MIDDLESEX

  LADY ELIZABETH SACKVILLE LADY MARY SACKVILLE

  _From a silhouette by_ A. T. TERSTAN, _1797. The property of_ LADY
    SACKVILLE
]

The only pleasant aspect of these later years of the gay duke’s life is
his friendship and constant employment of the artists of his day. Before
he fell into what Wraxall calls his “mental alienation” he counted
Reynolds among his intimates, was a pall-bearer at his funeral in
Westminster Abbey, and accumulated so many works of that artist at
Knole, including one at the back of which is written, “Sir Joshua
Reynolds, painted by himself and presented to his Grace the Duke of
Dorset in 1780,” that what was once the Crimson Drawing-Room became
known as the Reynolds Room; and the Reynolds Room it is to this day.
Madame Vigée Lebrun stayed at Knole, which she found too gloomy for her
taste, the duchess warning her, the first time they sat down to dinner,
“You will find it very dull, for we never speak at table.” Ozias
Humphrey, before he was so unfortunate as to offend the duchess,
contributed a number of canvases to the duke’s collection:

  Two pastels, 12 guineas each.

                                       KNIGHTSBRIDGE, _June 25th, 1792_.

                                                             £ _s._ _d._
 His Grace the Duke of Dorset to Ozias Humphrey, for a
   portrait in miniature                                    16   16    0
 A small crayon picture of the crossing-sweeper at Hyde
   Park Corner with a rich gold frame and glass             21    0    0
 A portrait of the Duchess of Dorset in crayons             12   12    0
                                                           ———   ——    —
                                                           £50    8    0

  =Received= of his Grace the Duke of DORSET the sum of fifty pounds in
  full for the amount of the annexed bill.

                                                         OZIAS HUMPHREY.

It is perhaps significant of his new economy that the duke ignored the
eight shillings.

With Opie, too, he was on friendly terms, and amongst the other receipts
at Knole is one from Opie for the portrait of Edmund Burke for £24 3_s._
There is also a letter at Knole from Burke, who probably knew his
Grace’s weakness for his house:

                                             DUKE ST., _Sept, 14, 1791_.

  MY LORD,

  I am just now honoured with your Grace’s letter, and am extremely
  concerned that it is not in my power to accept your Grace’s most
  obliging invitation. I have great respect for its present possessor;
  and as for the place, I, who am something of a lover of all
  antiquities, must be a very great admirer of Knole. I think it the
  most interesting thing in England. It is pleasant to have preserved in
  one place the succession of the several tastes of ages; a pleasant
  habitation for the time, a grand repository of whatever has been
  pleasant at all times. This is not the sort of place which every
  banker, contractor, or Nabob can create at his pleasure.... I would
  not change Knole if I were the Duke of Dorset for all the foppish
  structures of this age.

Other receipts at Knole make it clear that the average price for a
half-length was £37, while for a full-length by Reynolds the duke paid
£300.

There is also a mention in a contemporary diary that the duke asked
Hoppner for his portrait, which he promised should be hung next to Sir
Joshua’s portrait of himself. The diary notes that Ozias Humphrey’s
_Selbstbildnis_ is “still in the room, but has been removed from its
place next the Reynolds.” It is “still in the room” now, a man with a
delicate face and a pointed nose, on the wall with Gainsborough’s _Lord
George Sackville_, Sir Joshua’s _Samuel Foote_, his _Oliver Goldsmith_,
his _Peg Woffington_, and his own portrait; but the Hoppner for which
the duke asked is not there, and never was; no doubt Hoppner was not
sufficiently encouraged by the uncomfortable visit to send so valuable
an acknowledgment.

At this period England lay under the fear of an invasion by the young
victorious Bonaparte, and a scheme was set on foot for raising a corps
of infantry to be called the Knole volunteers; I recently came across
some of their accoutrements in an old locker at Knole; they had an
amateurish look. A document bearing many blots and the signatures of all
the volunteers—or, in some cases, their mark—is also at Knole:

  HIS GRACE _the_ DUKE _of_ DORSET’S offer of raising a Corps of
  Infantry, to consist of Sixty Men, to be called the _Knole
  Volunteers_, for the purpose of preserving Order and protecting
  property in the Parish and Neighbourhood of Sevenoaks having been
  accepted, and George Stone, Stephen Woodgate, and Thomas Mortimer
  Kelson being appointed officers by his Majesty to command the same,
  they propose the following Rules and Regulations, which they hope will
  be cheerfully submitted to by all who have voluntarily come forward to
  offer their services in the said Corps at this important Crisis:

      1st. _That_ each individual attend twice a week for the purpose of
        exercising from half after Six o’clock to half after Eight
        o’clock in the Evening.

      2nd. As a regular attendance is particularly essential, it is
        proposed that the small Sum of Sixpence be paid by every person
        not present to answer to his Name when called over at the time
        appointed, unless it appears he is prevented by Sickness, which
        forfeits, should there be any, shall be spent by the Corps at
        the end of the year in any manner they shall think proper.

      3rd. That every Man appears clean and properly accoutered.

      4thly. That they do their utmost Endeavour to learn their
        Exercise, paying proper respect to their Officers.

  _Finally_, they wish it to be clearly understood that their Services
  shall not be required to extend further than the Parish and
  Neighbourhood of Sevenoaks, unless it be for the purpose of guarding
  Prisoners or Convoys as far as one Stage.

                                                   KNOLE, _22 May 1798_.

But it is improbable that the duke had much to do with the raising or
organisation of this corps, for during the last twenty months of his
life his irascibility turned to definite melancholia, and he remained at
Knole more or less alone with the duchess keeping a jealous guard over
him. It is impossible not to draw the parallel between his end and that
of Charles the Restoration earl, his great-grandfather, remembering
especially the wildness and extravagance in which both had spent their
youth; but whereas Charles was carried away to Bath at the end by that
sordid woman Ann Roche, the duke was carefully tended in his own great
house by the reserved and prudent woman he had married, too dignified to
be accused save under the veil of polite phrases of intriguing to get
the control of his affairs into her own hands. So he sank gradually, and
in 1799, at the age of fifty-four, he died, when it was found that he
had so disposed of his lands, his fortune, and his boroughs that
Arabella Diana was left with so great an accumulation of wealth and of
parliamentary influence as had “scarcely ever vested, among us, in a
female, and a widow.”



                               CHAPTER IX
                    Knole in the Nineteenth Century


                                  § i

The new Duke of Dorset was only five years old when his father’s
dignities descended so prematurely on to his small yellow head, but he
had a capable mentor in the person of his mother, and before two years
had elapsed her authority was reinforced by that of a stepfather. This
was Lord Whitworth, recently Ambassador to the Courts of Catherine II.
and Paul I. The circumstances of Lord Whitworth’s recall had been in the
least degree mysterious. Various rumours were current; amongst others,
that he had offended the Czar in the following somewhat ludicrous
manner: the Czar having forbidden that any empty carriage should pass
before a certain part of his palace, Lord Whitworth, uninformed of the
regulation, ordered his coach to meet him at a point which would entail
passing over the forbidden area. The sentry held up the coach; the
servants persisted in driving on; they came to blows; and the Czar, when
the affair came to his ears, ordered Lord Whitworth’s servants to be
beaten, the horses to be beaten, and the coach to be beaten too. Lord
Whitworth, in a fit of rage and petulance, dismissed his servants,
ordered the horses to be shot, and the coach to be broken into pieces
and thrown into the Neva.

He appears to have had at least one trait in common with the Sackvilles
themselves, at any rate in early life, for it was said of him that he
was “more distinguished during this period of his career by success in
gallantries than by any professional merits or brilliant services.” Even
at the time of his marriage, when, returning from Russia to England, he
found available the wealthy and desirable relict of his friend the late
Dorset, he was heavily entangled with a lady named Countess Gerbetzow,
whose partiality for the English Ambassador had been such that she had
placed her own fortune at his disposal for the purpose of clothing
himself and defraying the expenses of his household. In return for this
affection and assistance Lord Whitworth promised her marriage as soon as
she could divorce her husband; but during the course of the divorce
proceedings the Ambassador was recalled, and left for England on the
understanding that Countess Gerbetzow would follow him there as soon as
she conveniently could. Meanwhile he made the acquaintance of the more
eligible duchess, became engaged to her, and lost no time in marrying
her. Countess Gerbetzow had, however, by now obtained her divorce, and
was travelling across Europe on her way to England: at Leipzic she
learnt from a newspaper that Lord Whitworth in London was engaged to the
Duchess of Dorset. Indignant and outraged, she flew post-haste to
London. Too late: she arrived only to find that the marriage had already
been celebrated. But she would not allow the matter to rest there, and
“her reclamations, which were of too delicate and serious a nature to be
despised, at length compelled the duchess, most reluctantly, to pay her
Muscovite rival no less a sum than ten thousand pounds.” Whether the
duchess continued to think Lord Whitworth worth the price is not
recorded. If he was an expensive husband, he was certainly from the
worldly standpoint a very successful one, and that was a standpoint the
duchess was not likely to despise. He became successively Ambassador to
the French Republic, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and an earl, but “we
may nevertheless be allowed to doubt,” observes Wraxall, who claims Lord
Whitworth’s personal friendship,

  whether a humbler matrimonial alliance might not have been attended
  with more felicity ... united to a woman of inferior fortune and
  condition ... he would certainly have presented an object of more
  rational envy and respect than as the second husband of a duchess,
  elevated by her connections to dignities and offices, subsisting on
  her possessions, and who will probably ere long inter him with an
  earl’s coronet on his coffin.—I return [_says Wraxall, having thus
  dismissed the pair_] to Marie Antoinette.

I doubt whether the little duke was allowed a very exuberant enjoyment
of his boyhood with this couple in authority over him. Children were
strictly brought up in that generation, and it is clear that the duchess
was by nature a severe and not very sympathetic woman. The little boy
and his sisters must have been docile and well behaved in the great
house and gardens which belonged to him in name only, but which in
practice were entirely under his mother’s control, for her to alter the
windows as she pleased, and to put Lord Whitworth’s cognizance in the
stained glass beside the Sackville arms. I visualize—I scarcely know
why—the duchess and Lord Whitworth almost as the jailers of the small
inheritor. There is nothing to justify such a theory; and, indeed, very
little record remains of that short life: there is his rocking-horse—an
angular, long-necked, maneless animal, which in due course became my
property, after passing through the two intervening generations—his
brief friendship with Byron as a schoolboy, and his portrait as a tall,
fair young man in dark blue academical robes. There is very little else
to mark his passage across the stage of Knole. He came, late in time, of
a race never remarkable for strength of character, and the obituary
notice which described him as having possessed gentle and engaging
manners, tinctured by shyness, and of amiable temper, probably came
nearer to the truth than the generality of such eulogies. Byron has told
us nothing in the least illuminating of his friend. He has left a long
address in verse, included in _Hours of Idleness_, in which he is
careful to explain that the duke was his fag at Harrow,

              _Whom still affection taught me to defend,
              And made me less a tyrant than a friend,
              Though the harsh custom of our youthful band
              Bade_ thee _obey, and gave me to command_,

and equally careful to remind him that they might in later years meet in
the House of Lords,

          _Since chance has thrown us in the self-same sphere,
          Since the same senate, nay, the same debate,
          May one day claim our suffrage for the state._

The rest of the poem is an exhortation to the duke, whose “passive
tutors, fearful to dispraise,” may

             _View ducal errors with indulgent eyes,
             And wink at faults they tremble to chastise_,

to be worthy of the record his ancestors have left him; of he who
“called, proud boast! the British drama forth,” and of that other one,
Charles, “The pride of princes, and the boast of song”—to become, in
fine, “Not Fortune’s minion, but her noblest son.” One suspects, in
fact, that Byron himself viewed the errors of his ducal fag with an
indulgent eye, and the depth of the friendship, on Byron’s part at
least, is easily measured by the letters he wrote on hearing of the
duke’s death—letters whose cynicism is perhaps atoned for by their
frankness:

[Illustration:

  GEORGE JOHN FREDERICK SACKVILLE, 4TH DUKE OF DORSET

  LADY MARY SACKVILLE LADY ELIZABETH SACKVILLE

  _From the portrait at Knole by_ HOPPNER
]

  I have just been—or, rather, ought to be—very much shocked by the
  death of the Duke of Dorset [_he wrote to Tom Moore_]. We were at
  school together, and then I was passionately attached to him. Since,
  we have never met—but once, I think, in 1805—and it would be a paltry
  affectation to pretend that I had any feeling for him worth the name.
  But there was a time in my life when this event would have broken my
  heart; and all I can say for it now is that—it is not worth breaking.

  Adieu—it is all a farce.

And he alludes to it once more, a fortnight later, again writing to
Moore, to say that “the death of poor Dorset—and the recollection of
what I once felt, and ought to have felt now, but could not,” has set
him pondering.

That, then, is all which the boy could leave behind him—that he should
set Byron, for a moment, pondering. From such slight traces—the English
little boy of the Hoppner, the old-fashioned rocking-horse, and the
portrait of the fair young man—we have to reconstruct as best we can an
entire personality. We have to figure him running about the garden at
Knole; kissing his mother’s hand—surely never throwing his arms about
her—his grave little bow to Lord Whitworth; the “your Grace” of his
nurse’s behests; the brief contact with the dazzling personality of
Byron at Harrow; the stir with which he cannot have failed to anticipate
the advantages of his life and his emancipation. We have the account of
him playing tennis, when a ball hit him in the eye, and obliged him to
be for ever after “continually applying leeches and blisters and
ointments and other disagreeable remedies,” and to be “very moderate in
all exercises that heat or agitate the frame.” We have, finally, his
tragic end at the age of twenty-one, to which additional poignancy is
lent by the fact that he had recently become engaged.

He had gone to Ireland, where his stepfather was then Viceroy, to stay
with his friend and quondam school-fellow Lord Powerscourt. On the day
after his arrival the two young men, with Lord Powerscourt’s brother,
Mr. Wingfield, went out hunting, and after a fruitless morning they were
about to return home when they put up a hare:

  The hare made for the inclosures on Kilkenny Hill. They had gone but a
  short distance, when the Duke, who was an excellent forward horseman,
  rode at a wall, which was in fact a more dangerous obstacle than it
  appeared to be.... The Duke’s mare attempted to cover all at one
  spring, and cleared the wall, but, alighting among the stones on the
  other side, threw herself headlong, and, turning in the air, came with
  great violence upon her rider, who had not lost his seat; he
  undermost, with his back on one of the large stones, and she crushing
  him with all her weight on his chest, and struggling with all her
  might to recover her legs. The mare at length disentangled herself and
  galloped away. The Duke sprang upon his feet, and attempted to follow
  her, but soon found himself unable to stand, and fell into the arms of
  Mr. Farrel, who had run to his succour, and to whose house he was
  conveyed. Lord Powerscourt, in the utmost anxiety and alarm, rode full
  speed for medical assistance, leaving his brother, Mr. Wingfield, to
  pay every possible attention to the Duke. But, unfortunately, the
  injury was too severe to be counteracted by human skill; life was
  extinct before any surgeon arrived. Such was the melancholy
  catastrophe that caused the untimely death of this young nobleman. He
  had been of age only three months, and had not taken his seat in the
  House of Lords [1815].

The author of this obituary notice was at great pains to clear the young
man of any charge of “unseasonable levity”:

  It has been said [_he observes_] that the Duke, in his dying moments,
  made use of the expression “I am off.” He did so; but not, as has been
  very erroneously supposed, by way of heroic bravado, or in a temper of
  unseasonable levity; but simply to signify to his attendants, who, in
  pulling off his boots, had drawn him too forward on the mattress, and
  jogged one of the chairs out of its place, that he was _slipping off_,
  and wanted their aid to help him up into his former position. He was
  the last person in the world to be guilty of anything like levity upon
  any solemn occasion, much less in his dying moments. The fact was,
  when he used the expression “I am off” he had become very faint and
  weak, and was glad to save himself the trouble of further
  utterance....

  Now suppose a stranger to the real character of this excellent youth
  to have heard no more of him than what he would be most likely to hear
  of one whose constitutional modesty concealed his virtues, namely,
  that he was very fond of cricket, that he hurt his eye with a
  tennis-ball, that he lost his life hunting, that his last words were
  “I am off”; would not a person possessed of this information, and no
  more, naturally conclude that the Duke was a young man of trivial
  mind, addicted to idle games and field sports, and apt to make light
  of serious things? How false a notion would such a person form of the
  late Duke of Dorset! As to the four circumstances above alluded to, if
  he was fond of cricket, it was in the evening generally that he
  played. When he hurt his eye [it was on the 7th of December] he had
  been at his books all the morning, and went between dinner and dusk to
  take one set at tennis. When he lost his life hunting, he had not
  hunted ten times the whole season. And what have been represented as
  his last words were not his last words; and, even if they were, they
  had no other meaning than “Pray prevent a helpless man from slipping
  down out of his place.” That he was not a mere sportsman, a mere
  idler, or a mere trifler, witness the wet eyes that streamed at every
  window in the streets of Dublin as his hearse was passing by; witness
  the train of carriages that composed his funeral procession; witness
  the throng of Nobility and Gentlemen that attended his remains to the
  sea-shore; witness the families he had visited in Ireland; witness the
  reception of his corpse in England; witness the amazing concourse of
  friends, tenantry, and neighbours, that came to hear the last rites
  performed, and to see him deposited in the tomb; witness the more
  endeared set of persons who still mean to hover round the vault where
  he is laid!


                                  § ii

It now became apparent how exceedingly wise had been the precautionary
measures taken by the duchess in regard to her husband’s will. A distant
cousin, the son of Lord George, succeeded to the title as fifth and last
duke—this part of the succession was beyond the reach of her control—but
under the terms of the will Knole became her property for life, and she
received in addition, on the death of her son, an increase in her income
of nine thousand a year. She must certainly have been one of the richest
women in England. Lord Whitworth, meanwhile (till 1817), continued as
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and as the originals of the following
letters written to him by Sir Robert Peel, with enclosures in Peel’s
handwriting, are at Knole, I think it not wholly irrelevant to print
them here, with a few other notes, in view of their interest as being
written immediately after the battle of Waterloo, and having, so far as
I know, never before been published.

                                              IRISH OFFICE.
                                                      _June 22nd, 1815._

  _Private_
  DEAR LORD WHITWORTH,

  You will receive by this express the official accounts of the most
  desperate and most important action in which the British arms have
  ever been engaged. The Gazette details all the leading particulars—I
  have just been at the War and Foreign Offices to collect any further
  information that may be interesting to you. It is evident that the
  attack was in a great degree a surprise upon the Allies, Bonaparte
  collected his troops and advanced with much greater rapidity than
  could have been expected. It was supposed that it would have required
  three days to bring the British force into line for a general
  engagement—but the suddenness of the attack gave them a much shorter
  time for preparation. It is said that on the 16th the Prussians lost
  fourteen thousand men.

[Illustration:

  ROCKING HORSE

  ONCE THE PROPERTY OF THE 4TH DUKE OF DORSET
]

[Illustration:

  A RECEIPT FROM GAINSBOROUGH
]

  All the private accounts attribute the success of the day to the Duke
  of Wellington’s personal courage and extraordinary exertions. Flint
  will send you some interesting particulars on this point.

  When the French Cavalry charged—the Duke placed himself in the centre
  of the square of infantry—a barrier that was impenetrable. Nothing
  could exceed the desperation with which the Cuirassiers fought. When
  they found they could make no impression on the solid mass of
  infantry—they halted in front and deliberately charged their pistols
  and shot at individuals of course without a chance of surviving. Lord
  Bathurst showed me a letter which he had received from Apsley. He says
  that Bonaparte had a scaffolding erected out of cannon shot from the
  top of which he saw the field of battle and the progress of the fight.
  When he found that success was almost hopeless he put himself at the
  head of the Imperial Guard—and charged in person. They were met by the
  first foot guards who overthrew them completely. The conduct of all
  the British infantry was beyond praise—Lord Wellington had about
  sixty-five thousand men in the field. Castlereagh told me that he
  thought Bonaparte must have lost the fourth of his army. This is of
  course mere conjecture.

  Of the Regiments of Cavalry which distinguished themselves the Life
  Guards, the 10th, and the 18th are particularly mentioned. The field
  of battle after the action presented a most extraordinary sight. The
  panic of the French army after their failure—and the fruitlessness of
  the desperate courage they had shewn—was very great when the attack on
  our part commenced. They threw away their arms—knapsacks, etc., etc.,
  in the greatest confusion. The Prussians gave no quarter in the
  pursuit.

  The Duke and Blucher met for a moment after the action—in the village
  of _La heureuse Alliance_ [sic].

  The Belgian Cavalry and some of the British did not much distinguish
  themselves. I hear that the 7th, Lord Uxbridge’s own regiment, have
  not added much to their reputation—but do not quote me for this piece
  of intelligence. General Picton was shot through the head. He behaved
  with the greatest possible gallantry.

  Schartzenburg [_sic_] is supposed to have crossed the Rhine with an
  immense force—perhaps 200,000 men on or about the 20th. I should
  rather say it was expected that he would cross about that time. There
  is no account from Paris—or from the French army.

  I have sent you a strange mixture of detached and unconnected
  particulars. I heard them one by one—in such a hurry—and am now
  obliged to write to you in such a hurry that I may not detain the
  express that I cannot reduce them into any shape.

  The consequence of our success must infallibly lead to a reduction of
  our regular force in Ireland—forthwith I apprehend. The Duke entreats
  in the strongest manner that reinforcements of infantry may be sent to
  him.

  Believe me ever dear Lord Whitworth, Yours most truly

  _The Lord Lieutenant_. ROBERT PEEL.

                                      PARIS
                            Rue de la Paix—Hotel du Montblanc—
                                                      _July 15th, 1815_.

  DEAR LORD WHITWORTH,

  As I owe my trip to Paris in great measure to the kindness and
  readiness with which you dispensed with my services in Ireland—it is
  but just that I should give you some account of my proceedings—Croker,
  Fitzgerald and myself left Town on Saturday Morning last [8th] arrived
  at Dover that night. I was a little disappointed to hear that the
  Tricolor Flag was flying at Calais—However we were determined, perhaps
  rather rashly—to make an attempt to land, and sailed the next morning
  in an armed schooner—putting the guns below and hoisting a flag of
  truce when we got into Calais roads. The Governor however was
  inexorable—and positively refused us permission to land. We heard that
  the white flag was flying at Dunkirk and at Boulogne and the wind
  favoured for the latter—we made for it. As we passed Vimereux and
  Ambleteuse we saw the white flag flying there and indeed at every
  intervening village between Calais and Boulogne. It was late in the
  evening when we arrived off Boulogne—we could discern that there was a
  flag hoisted, and on standing in close into the harbour we found it
  was the Tricolor.

  Fitzgerald and I were so sick and heartily tired of our voyage, that
  we resisted most strenuously Croker’s proposition to make for
  Dieppe—we wrote a very civil note to the Commandant—hoisted our flag
  of Truce and despatched a messenger. He was detained about three
  hours—he said that our arrival in the roads had caused great alarm in
  the garrison—that he had been placed under arrest on his landing—had
  been taken to the Commandant who was holding a sort of Council of
  war—that the flag of truce was mistaken for the white
  flag—particularly as the Schooner was armed—and unfortunately for us
  three or four English Brigs were in the offing.

  However he brought with him a civil answer from the Commandant
  informing us that “une mesure de sureté militaire l’occupoit à le
  moment,” but when he was at leisure he would send a boat for us.

  We were half afraid to trust ourselves to him, particularly as he told
  our envoy that he could not recognize a flag of truce in an armed
  vessel, but the apprehension of a sail to Dieppe with a contrary wind
  overcame the apprehension of a day or two’s confinement at Boulogne.
  The boat arrived—and we landed at Boulogne about 3 o’clock on Monday
  morning. The Commandant was civil to us but did not conceal from us
  that he was a furious Bonapartist. He said he had no soldiers—if he
  had 30 that white flag in the next village should not be hoisted—or
  there should be a massacre if it was. We proceeded on our journey
  about 7 o’clock on the morning of Monday—nothing could exceed the
  apparent devotion of all the inhabitants of the country through which
  we passed to the cause of Louis—the white flag was hanging from every
  window. Vive le Roi was in every mouth. We met with no interruption
  until we arrived at Montreuil—where there was a strong garrison—the
  Commandant like the officers—determined Bonapartists. We had nothing
  but Castlereagh’s passport except La Chatre’s which was worse than
  nothing, but the Commandant allowed us after some parley to proceed.
  The presence of the military was hardly sufficient to keep down the
  popular feeling in favour of the King—among the inhabitants it was
  universal here as every where else, there was not a single exception.
  At Abbeville we were again stopped. Here there was a very strong
  garrison—2000 men. Party spirit was running very high. The inhabitants
  were armed—the military seemed disposed to resist the order which they
  expected to receive on the day of our arrival, to lay down their arms
  and leave the town.

  Every precaution was taken as if the town was besieged. There were
  soldiers at every drawbridge. The Commandant however allowed us to
  proceed—and we arrived safely at Paris on the evening of Tuesday.

  _Sunday, 16th._

  Paris is surrounded by the troops of the allies and nothing can
  be more interesting than the present situation of it. The
  streets are crowded with officers and soldiers of all nations.
  Cossacks—Russians—Prussians, Austrians, Hungarians, etc. The
  English are great favourites. The Prussians held in the greatest
  detestation. If they had entered Paris alone—or if the Crowned
  Heads had delayed their entry—they, the Prussians would probably
  have pillaged Paris. They have taken some pictures from the
  Louvre—a very few, however, and none to which they had not some
  claim. They have demanded the payment of one hundred millions of
  francs from the city and at this moment—there are Prussian
  guards in the houses of Perigaux and some of the other principal
  bankers who are held as a sort of hostage—for the payment of the
  contribution.

  We drove to-day to the Depot d’Artillerie, and were told by the
  sentry—one of the national guards, that we were welcome to see the
  salon—but that the Prussians had removed everything which it
  contained—the sword of Joan of Arc—the knife of Ravaillac—Turenne’s
  sword. I am sorry for this—not on account of the mortification which
  it will inflict on French vanity—but because I fear the return of the
  King will be less popular—than it would have been if he could have
  preserved entire at least those national monuments and relics which
  are exclusively French.

  We paid a visit to Denon the other day. He had some Prussians
  quartered upon him, and was very loud in his exclamations against _ce_
  [sic] _bête féroce_ as he called Blucher. He expressed his sentiments
  very freely on political subjects—said the King was not destined to
  govern France in times like these—and predicted a short duration to
  his dynasty. He spoke in terms of great and apparently sincere
  affection towards Bonaparte—he was the last person who saw him before
  he quitted Paris. Denon observed that he had committed a great error
  after the battle of Waterloo in quitting the army—that he had by that
  step lost its confidence—that he ought either to have remained with
  it—or to have returned to it immediately. If he had summoned the two
  chambers, informed them without reserve of his disasters and concluded
  by stating that his travelling carriage was at the door and that he
  was going to resume the command of the army, that even still he need
  not have despaired of ultimate success.

  At the Tuileries after mass there was a great collection of
  Marshals—Peers of France—and other rogues of the higher order. We saw
  Marmont—Macdonald—Masséna—St. Cyr—Dupont, etc., and almost all the
  General officers of the French army who are in Paris—and did not take
  a decided part against the King. The garden of the Tuileries was
  absolutely full of people, and nothing can exceed or describe the
  enthusiasm of the women and children in favour of the King. If
  shouts—and applause and Vive le Roi—and white handkerchiefs could
  contribute to his strength—his throne would be established on solid
  foundations, but I do not see that men—fighting men—partake so much of
  the general joy—I confess I think the King has been ill advised in
  making Fouché his chief confidant and minister. It seems to me that it
  must preclude him from punishing treason in others—if he rewards so
  notorious a traitor as Fouché so highly. Fouché betrayed the King—then
  he betrayed Bonaparte—then he betrayed the Provisional Government of
  which he was the head and now he is minister. In fact he betrayed the
  Provisional Government deliberately—and on condition that he should be
  the King’s adviser. The virulence of French traitors—owing to the
  impunity of Treason—is beyond conception. Grouchy has written a letter
  to the Emperor of Russia requesting him to intercede in his favour
  with the King—and to procure for him permission to retain his rank as
  Marshal in the French army or, if that cannot be granted, that the
  Emperor will allow him to enter the Russian army retaining his present
  rank. The Emperor’s answer was not amiss. He had nothing to say to his
  first Proposition—and with respect to his second—it was an
  indispensable qualification in a Russian officer that he should be a
  man of honour.

  Pray remember me very kindly to the Duchess of Dorset and believe me
  ever

                                    Dear Lord Whitworth,
                                                Yours most truly
                                                            ROBERT PEEL.

  _His Excellency_
    _The Lord Lieutenant._

                                             PARIS, _Monday, July 17th_.

  Arbuthnot saw Mr. Lane about an hour since I had this account from
  him—½ past 3.

  Mr. Lane of No. 5 Essex Court in the Temple states himself to have
  arrived to-day from France; and he gives the following account:

  That on the 20th he left Paris, and notwithstanding there were firing
  of guns and other marks of rejoicing, there was a general feeling in
  the town that all was not going well; that at Boulogne Mr. Lane saw
  the _Moniteur_ of the 22nd which gives a long account of what is
  called the battle of Marennart, stating that the British were 90,000
  men and the French not so many, that until four in the Evening the
  French had completely won the battle, but that about that hour the
  English Cavalry had attacked the Cuirassiers and routed them, that the
  young guards coming to their assistance got entangled in their
  confusion, and the old guard was likewise “_entrainée_.” At this
  moment some _Malveillant_ in the army cried “Sauve qui peut” and a
  general flight commenced; the whole left wing of the army _dispersed_:
  He lost all his cannon caissons etc. Buonaparte had ordered the wreck
  of his army to be collected near Phillipville, and he had issued
  directions calling on the Northern provinces to rise in mass. This,
  says the _Moniteur_, ended a battle so glorious yet so fatal to the
  French arms. Buonaparte has arrived in Paris on the morning of the
  21st. The Council of Ministers and the two chambers had been placed in
  a state of permanency and it was declared high treason to vote an
  adjournment.

                     Extract of a letter from the DUKE _of_ WELLINGTON
                                 to SIR CHARLES FLINT.
                                                 dated BRUSSELS.
                                                         _19 June 1815._

  What do you think of the total defeat of Bonaparte by the British
  Army?

  Never was there in the annals of the World so desperate or so hard
  fought an action, or such a defeat. It was really the battle of the
  Giants.

  My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained of my old
  friends and companions and my poor Soldiers; and I shall not be
  satisfied with this Battle however glorious, if it does not of itself
  put an end to Bonaparte.

  [I have been asked for so many Copies of this (all of which I have
  refused) that I am glad to return it.]

                                                         _19 June 1815._

  On the 16th to the very great astonishment of everyone the French
  attacked us or rather the Prussians, Lord Wellington came up with a
  very few Troops including the 7 Divisions and succeeded in stopping
  them, the next day was passed in partial Cavalry actions and yesterday
  was fought the severest battle that I believe ever has been known, the
  disproportion was immense so much so that altho’ we constantly
  repulsed them yet had not the Prussians come up at 7 (altho’ in fact
  they might have been up long before) we perhaps might ultimately have
  been annihilated. Trotter and I was on the field at the beginning and
  I count it as the best day of my life—I was there also to-day—the
  French have abandoned everything—In point of Artillery it is a second
  Vittoria.

  Our loss is so great that our Army will not I fear be in a state to
  act efficiently—but as we have done the material thing, the Allies may
  do the rest—the French Cavalry which was very fine suffered beyond
  expression—For a mile the road is actually strewed with Cuirasses—when
  I say this, I do not exaggerate. The Prussians are pursuing as fast as
  they can and with a large body of Troops. There will not be a stop by
  possibility till we get over the Frontier, after that time I dare not
  prophesy, but I do not think they will like to attack us again.

  The Action was fought in front of _Waterloo_ where two Roads
  separate—the one going to Nivelle, the other to Genappe—the position
  which was a very beautiful one was in front of the junction of the two
  roads. [_unsigned._]

                                                NIVELLE. _19 June 1815._

  The great action of yesterday was the severest contest either
  Frenchmen or Englishmen ever witnessed—it was the most obstinate
  struggle of two brave and rival Nations each firm in its cause—The
  gallantry of the French could only be exceeded by the resolution and
  intrepidity of John Bull. It raged from 11 till 9 and was once nearly
  lost. The Duke seconded by his Troops repaired every momentary
  disaster.

  Buonaparte placed himself at the head of his guards and led them on.
  The 1st Guards defeated them and put them to the rout and then the
  dismay became general—The Guards and generally the Infantry were the
  mainstay of the Action. Our Brigade had the defence of a Post which if
  lost, lost all. Our Light Company under Colonel Macdonnell were there,
  the Coldstreams then went down and we held it to the last, tho’ the
  Houses were in Flames. The loss has been immense—The French are
  totally defeated.

  There never was a more severe Battle than that of the 18th. I enclose
  a little Sketch of it. The dotted Line from Braine la Leud to above La
  Haye is the brow of the Hills occupied by the Duke of Wellington. The
  Troops had bivouaced just in the rear. The other dotted line near La
  Belle Alliance marks the brow of the Hills from where the French
  attack was made. There are two small Hedges in the Rear of this one.
  The Attack on Hougomont was very severe from a little before 12 to
  half past one. Bonaparte then moved a strong Force (continuing however
  his first Attack for several hours) to attack the left of the Centre
  where Picton and Ponsonby were killed. He drove our people from the
  Hedges a short distance but they soon returned and drove him
  considerably beyond those Hedges. In the Evening he collected a very
  great force near La Haye Sainte and attacked the Right of the Centre.
  This was done repeatedly by Infantry and Cavalry but though they
  frequently got through the Line they could never drive them from their
  position. The British Artillery was a little in front. The Duke
  several times left the Guns taking away the Horses and Ammunition, but
  his Fire was too heavy for the Enemy to bring up Horses to take them
  off and he as often regained them. At about 7 o’clock the French were
  heartily sick of it and retired rapidly. The Duke immediately changed
  his Defensive operations to that of Attack and at the same time Bulow
  brought up about 30,000 fresh Troops on the right flank of the Enemy
  near the Village of La Haye. Blucher was also near at hand.

  The Rout at this time was complete. The Pursuit was rapid and I really
  believe that the following morning the French Army had not 50 Guns out
  of 300 and no Baggage of any sort.

  The latter part of this Account I take from others and from seeing the
  Field of Battle two days afterwards. The first and second attacks I
  was present at.

  The Returns are arrived of Killed and Wounded. The British and
  Hanoverians lost on the 16th, 17th and 18th 845 Officers and 13,000
  Men. The French lost much more. The Method in which the Duke received
  the united Charges of Cavalry and attacks of Infantry is not common.
  He formed two Regiments in Squares and united them by a Regt. in Line
  four deep making a Sort of Curtain between two Bastions. [_unsigned._]


                                 § iii

After Lord Whitworth’s term of office had come to an end he and the
duchess returned to live at Knole, and to make such improvements there
as were agreeable to the taste of the early nineteenth century. Such
were the Gothic windows of the Orangery, which replaced the Tudor ones
and were inscribed with the date 1823, and further changes were
projected, such as a design which was to sweep away the symmetry of the
lawns on the garden front and bring a curving path up to the house. This
scheme, however, was never carried out. The bowling-green still rises,
square and formal, backed by the two great tulip trees and the more
distant woods of the park. The long perspective of the herbaceous
borders was left undisturbed. The apple-trees in the little square
orchards, that bear their blossom and their fruit from year to year with
such countrified simplicity in the heart of all that magnificence, were
not uprooted. Consequently the garden, save for one small section where
the paths curve in meaningless scollops among the rhododendrons, remains
to-day very much as Anne Clifford knew it. It has, of course, matured.
The white rose which was planted under James I’s room has climbed until
it now reaches beyond his windows on the first floor; the great lime has
drooped its branches until they have layered themselves in the ground of
their own accord and grown up again with fresh roots into three complete
circles all sprung from the parent tree, a cloister of limes, which in
summer murmurs like one enormous bee-hive; the magnolia outside the
Poets’ Parlour has grown nearly to the roof, and bears its mass of
flame-shaped blossoms like a giant candelabrum; the beech hedge is
twenty feet high; four centuries have winnowed the faultless turf. In
spring the wisteria drips its fountains over the top of the wall into
the park. The soil is rich and deep and old. The garden has been a
garden for four hundred years.

And here, save for a few very brief notes to bring the history of the
house down to the present day, these sketches must cease. The duchess
Arabella Diana dying in 1825, her estate devolved upon her two
daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, my great-grandmother, who
married John West, Lord de la Warr, and who died in 1870, left Buckhurst
to her elder sons and Knole to her younger sons, one of whom was my
grandfather. He was, as I remember him, a queer and silent old man. He
knew nothing whatever about the works of art in the house; he spent
hours gazing at the flowers, followed about the garden by two grave
demoiselle cranes; he turned his back on all visitors, but sized them up
after they had gone in one shrewd and sarcastic phrase; he bore a really
remarkable resemblance to the portraits of the old Lord Treasurer, and
he seemed to me, with his taciturnity and the never-mentioned background
of his own not unromantic past, to stand conformably at the end of the
long line of his ancestors. He and I, who so often shared the house
alone between us, were companions in a shy and undemonstrative way.
Although he had nothing to say to his unfortunate guests, he could
understand a child. He told me that there were underground caves in the
Wilderness, and I believed him to the extent of digging pits among the
laurels in the hope of chancing upon the entrance; he made over a tall
tree to me for my own, and I mounted a wooden cannon among its branches
to keep away intruders. When I was away, which was seldom, he would
write me harlequin letters in different coloured chalks. When I was at
home he would put after dinner a plate of fruit for my breakfast into a
drawer of his writing-table labelled with my name, and this he never
once failed to do, even though there might have been thirty people to
dinner in the Great Hall, who watched, no doubt with great surprise, the
old man who had been so rude to his neighbours at dinner going
unconcernedly round with a plate, picking out the reddest cherries, the
bluest grapes, and the ripest peach.

When we were at Knole alone together I used to go down to his
sitting-room in the evening to play draughts with him—and never knew
whether I played to please him, or he played to please me—and sometimes,
very rarely, he told me stories of when he was a small boy, and played
with the rocking-horse, and of the journeys by coach with his father and
mother from Buckhurst to Knole or from Knole to London; of their taking
the silver with them under the seat; of their having outriders with
pistols; and of his father and mother never addressing each other, in
their children’s presence, as anything but “my Lord” and “my Lady.” I
clasped my knees and stared at him when he told me these stories of an
age which already seemed so remote, and his pale blue eyes gazed away
into the past, and suddenly his shyness would return to him and the
clock in the corner would begin to wheeze in preparation to striking the
hour, and he would say that it was time for me to go to bed. But
although our understanding of one another was, I am sure, so excellent,
our rare conversations remained always on similar fantastic subjects,
nor ever approached the intimate or the personal.

Then he fell ill and died when he was over eighty, and became a name
like the others, and his portrait took its place among the rest, with a
label recording the dates of his birth and death.



                                APPENDIX
                        A Note on Thieves’ Cant


The vocabulary given on page 135 contributes no word which may not be
found in any cant dictionary, and therefore may appear undeserving of
inclusion. But I put it in because I think few people, apart from
students of philology, realize the existence of that large section of
our language in use among the vagabond classes. Cant and slang, to most
people’s minds, are synonymous, but this is an error of belief: slang
creeps from many sources into the river of language, and so mingles with
it that in course of time many use it without knowing that they do so;
cant, on the other hand, remains definite and obscure of origin. Slang
is loose, expressive, and metaphorical; cant is tight and correct: it
has even a literature of its own, broad and racy, incomprehensible to
the ordinary reader without the help of a glossary. Its words, for the
most part, bear no resemblance to English words; unlike slang, they are
not words adapted, for the sake of vividness, to a use for which they
were not originally intended, but are applied strictly to their peculiar
meaning.

Although the origin of cant as a separate jargon or language is
obscure—it does not appear in England till the second half of the
sixteenth century—the origin of certain of its words may be traced. Of
those included in the vocabulary on page 135, for example, _ken_, for
house, comes from _khan_ (gipsy and Oriental); _fogus_, for tobacco,
comes from _fogo_, an old word for stench; _maund_, or _maunder_, to
beg, does not derive, as might be thought, from _maung_, to beg, a gipsy
word taken from the Hindu, but from the Anglo-Saxon _mand_, a basket;
_bouse_, to drink (which, of course, has given us booze, with the same
meaning, and which in the fourteenth century was perfectly good
English), comes from the Dutch _buyzen_, to tipple. _Abram_, naked, is
found as _abrannoi_, with the same meaning, in Hungarian gipsy;
_cassan_, cheese, is _cas_ in English gipsy; _dimber_ survives for
“pretty” in Worcestershire. _Cheat_ appears frequently in cant as a
common affix.

As for _autem mort_, I find it in an early authority thus defined:
“These _autem morts_ be married women, as there be but a few. For
_autem_ in their language is a church, so she is a wife married at the
church, and they be as chaste as a cow I have, that goeth to bull every
moon, with what bull she careth not.”



                                 INDEX


 ANNE, Queen, as Princess Anne, 138
   her death, 160

 ARMISTEAD, Mrs. Elizabeth, mistress of 3rd Duke of Dorset, 179


 BEAUMONT, Francis, his friendship with 3rd Earl of Dorset, 55

 BACELLI, Giannetta, mistress of 3rd Duke of Dorset, 188–192

 BERKELEY, Lady Betty. _See_ GERMAINE, Lady Betty

 Berkeley Castle, 169

 BLACKMORE, his poem _Prince Arthur_ quoted, 148

 BOURCHIER, Archbishop of Canterbury, buys Knole from Lord Say & Sele, 5
   Builds on to Knole, 6, 7
   Encloses the park, 21
   Allows glass-making in the park, 24

 BOWRA, a cricketer, 182

 BRUCE, Lord, his duel with Edward Sackville, 84–90

 BUCKHURST, Lord. _See_ SACKVILLE, Thomas
   house at Withyham, 18; and mentioned _passim_

 BUCKINGHAM, Duke of, his opinion of Charles, Earl of Dorset, 144

 BUTLER, Samuel, his opinion of Charles, Earl of Dorset, 144
   his portrait at Knole, 151

 BURKE, Edmund, letter from, 197–198
   his portrait at Knole, 197

 BYRON, Lord, quoted, 28, 204
   friendship with 4th Duke of Dorset, 203–204
   his letters to Thomas Moore, 204–205


 CARTWRIGHT, William, his portrait at Knole, 151

 CHAMPCENETZ, Comte de, a French fugitive, 188

 CHARLES I, verses on the death of, 106–107

 CHARLES II, anecdote of his childhood, 98
   at Edgehill, 107
   Chapter VI _passim_

 CLIFFORD, Lady Anne, 3rd Countess of Dorset, description of herself,
    49–50
   marries Richard Sackville, 52
   her children, 53
   her diary quoted, 59–72
   her later years, 73–78

 COLIGNY, Odet de, Cardinal of Chatillon, entertained by Thomas
    Sackville at Shene, 36 _seq._

 COLYEAR, Elizabeth, marries 1st Duke of Dorset, 153

 CONGREVE, William, his opinion of Charles, Earl of Dorset, 141
   his portrait at Knole, 151

 COPE, Arabella Diana, marries 3rd Duke of Dorset, 192
   her character, 192–194
   marries Lord Whitworth, 202
   living at Knole, 217–218
   death of, 219

 COPE, Eliza, letter from, 97

 Copt Hall, 111, 128

 COURTHOPE, History of English Literature quoted, 45

 COWLEY, Abraham, his portrait at Knole, 151

 CRANFIELD, Lady Frances, marries 5th Earl of Dorset, 111

 CRANMER, Archbishop of Canterbury, gives Knole to Henry VIII, 8

 Cricket, 155, 181–183

 CUMBERLAND, Francis, Earl of, 55
   George, Earl of, Queen Elizabeth’s champion, 48
     his adventures, 49
     his death, 51
     his will, 55
   Margaret, Countess of, 52–59 _passim_
     her death, 62

 CURZON, Mary, 4th Countess of Dorset, 84
   governess to the children of Charles I, 97–98


 DESMOND, Catherine Fitzgerald, Countess of, 14

 DEVONSHIRE, Duchess of, her opinion of 3rd Duke of Dorset, 176
   his letters to her, 183, 184, 188
   her letter about a black page, 191

 DERBY, Countess of. _See_ HAMILTON, Lady Betty

 Diamond necklace, affair of the, 3rd Duke of Dorset’s dispatches on,
    184–185
   half the diamonds bought by him, 185

 DIGBY, Sir Kenelm, marries Venetia Stanley, 58
     friendship with 4th Earl of Dorset, 104–106
     his portrait at Knole, 105, 151
   Venetia Stanley, Lady, mistress of 3rd Earl of Dorset, 58

 DORSET, Earls and Dukes of. _See_ SACKVILLE
   1st Duchess of. _See_ COLYEAR, Elizabeth
   2nd Duchess of, 173
   3rd Duchess of. _See_ COPE, Arabella Diana
   House, London, 31
   3rd Countess of. _See_ CLIFFORD, Lady Anne
   4th Countess of. _See_ CURZON, Mary
   5th Countess of. _See_ CRANFIELD, Lady Frances
   6th Countess of, 128, 150

 Drayton House, 169
   bequeathed to Lord George Sackville by Lady Betty Germaine, 172

 DRAYTON, Michael, his friendship with 3rd Earl of Dorset, 59

 DRYDEN, John, his debt to 6th Earl of Dorset, 145, 147, 148
   letter from, 149
   at Knole, 149
   his enmity with Shadwell, 150
   his portrait at Knole, 151
   satirized by Blackmore, 148
   his works dedicated to Dorset, 148

 DURFEY, Tom, a pensioner at Knole, 150, 154
   verses quoted, 150
   his portraits, 150, 151


 EVELYN’S Diary, quoted, 123

 ELIZABETH, Queen, gives Knole to Thomas Sackville, 34–38
   her death, 50


 FARREN, Elizabeth, marries the Earl of Derby, 180

 FLATTMANN, Thomas, his portrait at Knole, 151

 FLETCHER, his friendship with 3rd Earl of Dorset, 59

 FOOTE, Samuel, his portrait at Knole, 198


 GAINSBOROUGH, Thomas, draws Mme. Baccelli, 189
   his receipt for painting, 189, ccviii.

 GEORGE I, accession of, 160–161

 GEORGE II, accession of, 161–162

 GERMAINE, Lady Betty, her rooms at Knole, 12–13
   as a guest at Knole, 167–172
   Sir John, 169–171

 GERBETZOW, Countess, her affair with Lord Whitworth, 202

 GOLDSMITH, Oliver, his portrait at Knole, 198

 GORBODUC, 33, 41–42, 43

 GOSSE, Edmund, quoted, 32

 GWYNN, Nell, 122–127


 HAMILTON, Lady Betty (Countess of Derby), in love with 3rd Duke of
    Dorset, 179
   married off to Lord Derby, 179–180, 188

 HENRY VIII obtains Knole from Cranmer, 8
   makes a garden there, 21

 HEYWOOD, Jasper, quoted, 32

 HOBBS, Thomas, his portrait at Knole, 151

 HOPPNER, John, his portrait of the 3rd Duchess of Dorset, 192
   stays at Knole to paint the three children, 193
   his portrait of the children, 196
   asked for his own portrait by the 3rd Duke of Dorset, 198

 HUMPHREY, Ozias, quarrels with 3rd Duke of Dorset, 194
   receipts for pictures, 197


 JAMES I, interviews with Lady Anne Clifford, 65–66

 JAMES II at Edgehill, 107

 JONSON, Ben, his friendship with 3rd Earl of Dorset, 59
   poem on his death by 5th Earl of Dorset, 112

 JOHNSON, Dr., quoted, 116, 119


 KNELLER, Sir Godfrey, portraits by him at Knole, 29, 153

 KNOLE described, 1–19
   early history of the house, 5
   becomes the palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury, 5
   repairs and expenses, 6–8
   acquired by Henry VIII, 8
   acquired by Thomas Sackville, 34, 38
   lead-work at, 39
   list of servants at, 78–81
   raided by Cromwell’s soldiers, 82–83, 101–104
   expenses at, in time of Charles I, 91
   banquet and menus, 93–94
   household stuff at, 95–96
   arms at, 99–100
   acquisitions from Copt Hall, 101
   the Cellars at, 133, 178
   Horace Walpole’s opinion on, 181, 190
   the Green Court, 3
   the Stone Court, 3, iii
   the Water Court, 4
   Great Hall, built, 6;
     altered, 39
   Great Staircase, built, 6, 39
   the Ball-room, 6;
     frieze in, 11
   Bourchier’s Tower, 7
   Bourchier’s Oriel, 8
   Queen’s Court and Slaughter-house, 7
   the Brown Gallery, built, 7;
     described, 13
   the Cartoon Gallery, described, 10–11
   Lady Betty Germaine’s Rooms, described, 12, 13
   the Leicester Gallery, described, 13–14
   the King’s Bedroom, described, 15
   the Venetian Ambassador’s Bedroom, described, 15–16
   the Chapel, described, 16–17
   the Garden, described, 20, 218
   Garden Accounts, 21–24
   the Park, 24–26;
     additions to, 92


 LEBRUN, Mme. Vigée, stays at Knole, 197

 LEICESTER, Robert Dudley, Earl of, his brief ownership of Knole, 13

 LENNOX, Lady Sarah, her letters quoted, 180

 LOCKE, John, his portrait at Knole, 151


 MACAULAY, quoted, 138, 143–145, 147–148

 MANN, Sir Horace, a cricketer, 182

 MARIE ANTOINETTE, her friendship with the 3rd Duke of Dorset, 184, 187

 MILLER, a cricketer, 182

 MINSKULL, a cricketer, 182

 Mirror for Magistrates, 33, 43;
   quoted, 44
   Professor Saintsbury on, 45–47

 MONTGOLFIER, his aeronautical projects, 185–187

 MORETON, Archbishop of Canterbury, makes alterations at Knole, 8

 MOTTE, Mme. de la, 185

 MUSCOVITA, Mme., 173


 NORFOLK, Duchess of, marries Sir John Germaine, 170


 OPIE, John, his portrait at Knole, 197

 “ORANGE MOLL,” 123, 125

 OTWAY, Thomas, his portrait at Knole, 151


 PARSONS, Nancy, taken abroad by 3rd Duke of Dorset, 178
   abandoned by him, 179

 PEEL, Sir Robert, letters to Lord Whitworth, 208–214

 PEPYS, Samuel, quoted, 116, 117, 124, 125

 POPE, Alexander, his epitaph on 6th Earl of Dorset, 151
   his portrait at Knole, 151

 Pot-pourri, 12;
   Lady Betty Germaine’s receipt for, 172

 POWERSCOURT, Lord, friend of 4th Duke of Dorset, 206

 PRIOR, Matthew, visits 6th Earl of Dorset, 140
   educated at Lord Dorset’s expense, 147
   verses quoted, 147
   mentioned by Macaulay, 145


 RADCLIFFE, Mrs. Ann, visits Knole, 24

 _Religio Medici_, Sir Kenelm Digby on, 105–106

 REYNOLDS, Sir Joshua, his portrait of Mlle. Bacelli, 189
   his portrait of the Chinese page, 191
   his portrait of himself, 196–197
   his portrait of the Duke of Dorset, 198

 ROCHE, Mrs. Ann, marries 6th Earl of Dorset, 140, 141

 ROCHESTER, John Wilmot, Earl of, 117
   his opinion of Charles, Earl of Dorset, 145
   his portrait of Knole, 150

 ROWE, Nicholas, his portrait at Knole, 151

 Rye House Plot, letter referring to the, 134–135

 ROHAN, Cardinal de, 184


 SACKVILLES, the, described, 28–29
   their origin, 29–30

 SACKVILLE, Herbrand de, comes into England with William the Conqueror,
    30
   Sir Richard, suggests _The Scholemaster_ to Ascham, 30
     his London property, 31
   Thomas, 1st Earl of Dorset, makes alterations at Knole, 6, 39
     his early life, 32
     his political career, 34–41
     his literary works, 41–47
     his armour described, 99
   Richard, 3rd Earl of Dorset, marries Lady Anne Clifford, 52
     description of, 57
     his character, 57–59
     mentioned in Lady Anne Clifford’s diary, 54–72 _passim_
     his death, 72
   Edward, 4th Earl of Dorset, 29, 82
     his duel with Lord Bruce, 84–90
     his income and expenses, 91–92, 93
     his possessions in America, 92–93
     during the Civil War, 106–110
   Hon. Edward, murdered by the Roundheads, 106
     poem on his death, _ibid._
   Richard, 5th Earl of Dorset, 111
     his marriage settlement with Lady Frances Cranfield, 111–112
     his memorandum books, 112–114
   Hon. Thomas, epitaph on, 114
   Charles, 6th Earl of Dorset; his silver at Knole, 15–29
     described, 115
     his youth, 116–127
     goes abroad, 127
     marries; his love-letter, 128
     his finances, 129–133
     his later years, 137–143
     his melancholia and death, 141
     his character, 143–145
     his literary merit, 145;
       and songs quoted, 119, 137, 146
     his patronage of poets, 147–151
     compared to 3rd Duke of Dorset, 200
   Lionel, 1st Duke of Dorset; his character and relations with his
      sons, 152–157
     as a child, 157–158
     his early years, 158
     announces their accession to George I and George II, 160–163
     becomes Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 163–167
   Lord George, quoted, 140, 157, 161
     his relations with his father, 155
     his political career, 156–157
     inherits Drayton from Lady Betty Germaine, 172
     his portrait at Knole, 198
   Lord John, a cricketer, 155, 181
     his melancholia and death, 177
   Charles, 2nd Duke of Dorset, a wastrel, 155
     reputed mad, 173
     his poems quoted, 173–174
   John Frederick, 3rd Duke of Dorset, described, 29, 176–177
     his youth and love-affairs, 177–180
     as a patron of cricket, 181–183
     as Ambassador in Paris, 183–188
     at Knole with the Baccelli, 189–192
     his marriage and later years, 192–199
     his melancholia and death, 199–200
   George John Frederick, 4th Duke of Dorset, 29
     his childhood, 193, 203
     his friendship with Byron, 204–205
     killed out hunting, 206–208
   Lord Lionel; his unsociability, 11
     at Knole, 83
     his anecdote of Hoppner’s picture, 196
     at Knole, 219–220
   Lady Margaret (afterwards Countess of Thanet), mentioned in Lady Anne
      Clifford’s Diary, 21, 53, 54, 61, 64, 67, 70
     her portrait at Knole, 68
   Lady Elizabeth (Countess de la Warr), in Hoppner’s portrait, 196
     succeeds to Knole, 219
     at Knowsley, 180

 SAINTSBURY, Professor, quoted, 41, 45–47

 SEDLEY, Sir Charles, 117

 SHADWELL, Thomas, patronized by 6th Earl of Dorset, 145–150

 SMITH, Captain Robert, builds sham ruins in Knole Park, 26

 SPENSER, Edmund, sonnet to Thomas Sackville, 43

 STANLEY, Venetia. _See_ DIGBY, Lady

 STUART, Mary, Queen of Scots, her altar at Knole, 16, 35

 SWIFT, Jonathan, quoted, 141
   letter from, 153, 168


 Theatres in the reign of Charles II, 118, 122–124

 Thieves’ cant in the reign of Charles II, 135, _and Appendix_ 221

 Tobacco, 40


 WALLER, Edmund, his portrait at Knole, 151

 WALPOLE, Horace, quoted, 119;
   on Knole, 17, 150, 181, 190

 Waterloo, Sir Robert Peel’s letters relating to battle of, 208–214;
   other accounts of, 214–217

 WELLINGTON, Duke of, letter from, about Waterloo, 215

 WHITWORTH, Lord, marries Arabella Diana, Duchess of Dorset, 202
   recalled from St. Petersburg, 201
   his entanglement with Countess Gerbetzow, 202
   Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 203
   letters to him from Peel, 208–214

 WILLIAM III, 158

 WITHYHAM, Sackville vault at, 18
   Lady Anne Clifford’s visit to, 71
   epitaphs at, 114

 WOFFINGTON, Margaret, her relations with 1st Duke of Dorset, 165–167
   her portrait at Knole, 198

 WRAXALL, Sir Nathaniel, quoted, 184, 192, 203

 WYCHERLEY, William, his opinion of 6th Earl of Dorset, 144
   his portrait at Knole, 151

-----

Footnote 1:

  State papers of Henry VIII.

Footnote 2:

  Slea = unravelled.

Footnote 3:

  The original of this curious paper is now at Appleby, dated April 1st,
  1616, and runs as follows: “A memoranda that I, Anne, Countess of
  Dorset, sole daughter and heir to George, late Earl of Cumberland, do
  take witness of all these gentlemen present, that I both desire and
  offer myself to go up to London with my men and horses, but they,
  having received a contrary commandment from my Lord, my husband, will
  by no means consent nor permit me to go with them. Now my desire is
  that all the world may know that this stay of mine proceeds only from
  my husband’s command, contrary to my consent or agreement, whereof I
  have gotten these names underwritten to testify the same.”

Footnote 4:

  Night-gown, of course, has not the modern meaning, as at that date
  people slept naked.

Footnote 5:

  _Glecko_, or _Gleck_: a three-handed game played with 44 cards (eight
  left in stock). The gleck consisted in three of a kind.

Footnote 6:

  Joistment: the feeding of cattle in a common pasture for a stipulated
  fee.

Footnote 7:

  Runts: young ox or cow.

Footnote 8:

  The following account is abridged from the _Mercurius Publicus_ of the
  day: “Charles Lord Buckhurst; Edward Sackville, his brother; Sir Henry
  Belasyse, eldest son of Lord Belasyse; John Belasyse, brother of Lord
  Faulconberg; and Thomas Wentworth, only son of Sir G. Wentworth,
  whilst in pursuit of thieves near Waltham Cross, mortally wounded an
  innocent tanner named Hoppy, and ... were soon after apprehended on
  charges of robbery and murder, but the Grand Jury found a bill for
  manslaughter only.”

Footnote 9:

  This refers to the frequent flooding of Whitehall Palace by an
  unusually high tide.

Footnote 10:

  _See_ Appendix.

Footnote 11:

  The butler, not the biographer.

Footnote 12:

  The powdered dried root of Sweet Sedge (_Acorus Calamus_).


 Printed in England at the CLOISTER PRESS, Heaton Mersey, near Manchester

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. P. vii, changed “1556 KNOLE resold by Warwick to EDWARD VI” to “1552
      KNOLE resold by Warwick to EDWARD VI”.
 2. P. ix, changed “1552 Succeeded his father, EDWARD” to “1662
      Succeeded his father, EDWARD”.
 3. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 4. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 5. Footnotes were re-indexed using numbers and collected together at
      the end of the last chapter.
 6. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 7. Superscripts are denoted by a caret before a single superscript
      character or a series of superscripted characters enclosed in
      curly braces, e.g. M^r. or M^{ister}.



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