CURIOSITY to see a man equally famous for his crimes and his elevation, had once before induced tbe Chevalier de Grammont to visit England. Reasons of state assume great privileges: whatever appears advantageous is lawful; and every thing that is necessary is honourable in politics. While the king of England sought the protection of Spain in the Low Countries, and. that of the States-general in Holland, other powers sent splendid embassies to Cromwell.
This man, whose ambition had opened him a way to sovereign power by the greatest crimes, maintained himself in it by accomplishments which seemed to render him worthy of it by their lustre. The nation, of all Europe the least submissive, patiently bore a yoke which did not even leave her the shadow of that liberty of which she is so jealous; and Cromwell, master of the commonwealth, under the title of Protector, feared at home, but yet more dreaded abroad, at his highest pitch of glory when he was seen by the Chevalier de Grammont; but the Chevalier did not see any appearance of a court. One part of the nobility proscribed, the other removed from employments; an affectation of purity of manners, instead of the luxury which the pomp of courts displays, all taken together, presented nothing but sad and serious objects in the finest city in the world; and therefore the Chevalier acquired nothing by this voyage, but the idea of some merit in a profligate man, and the admiration of some concealed beauties he had found means to discover.
Affairs wore quite a different appearance at his second voyage. The joy for the restoration of the royal family still appeared in all parts: the nation, fond of change and novelty, tasted the pleasure of a natural government, and seemed to breathe again after a long oppression. In short, the same people, who, by a solemn abjuration, had excluded even the posterity of their lawful sovereign, exhausted themselves in festivals and rejoicings for his return.
The Chevalier de Grammont arrived about two years after the restoration: the reception he met with in this court soon made him forget the other; and the engagements he in the end contracted in England, lessened the regret he had in leaving France.
This was a desirable retreat for an exile of his disposition: every thing flattered his taste; and if the adventures he had in this country were not the most considerable, they were at least the most agreeable of his life. But before we relate them, it will not be improper to give some account of the English court, as it was at that period.
The necessity of affairs had exposed Charles II. from his earliest youth, to the toils and perils of a bloody war: the fate of the king, his father, had left him for inheritance nothing but his misfortunes and disgraces: they overtook him everywhere; but it was not until he had struggled with his ill-fortune to the last extremity, that he submitted to the decrees of Providence.
All those who were either great on account of their birth or their loyalty, had followed him into exile; and all the young persons of the greatest distinction, having afterwards joined him, composed a court worthy of a better fate.
Plenty and prosperity, which are thought to tend only to corrupt manners, found nothing to spoil in an indigent and wandering court. Necessity, on the contrary, which produces a thousand advantages whether we will or no, served them for education; and nothing was to be seen among them but an emulation in glory, politeness, and virtue.
With this little court, in such high esteem for merit, the king of England returned two years prior to the period we mention, to ascend a throne, which to all appearances he was to fill as worthily as the most glorious of his predecessors. The magnificence displayed on this occasion was renewed at his coronation. The death of the Duke of Gloucester, and of the Princess Royal, which followed soon after, had interrupted the course of this splendour, by a tedious mourning, which they quitted at last to prepare for the reception of the Infanta of Portugal.
It was in the height of the rejoicings they were making for this new queen, in all the splendour of a brilliant court, that the Chevalier de Grammont arrived to contribute to its magnificence and diversions.
Accustomed as he was to the grandeur of the court of France, he was surprised at the politeness and splendour of the court of England. The king was inferior to none either in shape or air; his wit was pleasant; his disposition easy and affable; his soul, susceptible of opposite impressions, was compassionate to the unhappy, inflexible to the wicked, and tender even to excess; he shewed great abilities in urgent affairs, but was incapable of application to any that were not so: his heart was often the dupe, but oftener the slave, of his engagements.
The character of the Duke of York was entirely different: he had the reputation of undaunted courage, an inviolable attachment for his word, great economy in his affairs, hauteur, application, arrogance, each in their turn: a scrupulous observer of the rules of duty and the laws of justice; he was accounted a faithful friend, and an implacable enemy.
His morality and justice, struggling for some time with prejudice, had at last triumphed, by his acknowledging for his wife Miss Hyde, maid of honour to the Princess Royal, whom he had secretly married in Holland. Her father, from that time prime minister of England, supported by this new interest, soon rose to the head of affairs, and had almost ruined them: not that he wanted capacity, but he was too self-sufficient.
The Duke of Ormond possessed the confidence and esteem of his master: the greatness of his services, the splendour of his merit and his birth, and the fortune he had abandoned in adhering to the fate of his prince, rendered him worthy of it: nor durst the courtiers even murmur at seeing him grand steward of the household, first lord of the bedchamber, and lord lieutenant of Ireland. He exactly resembled the Marshal de Grammont, in the turn of his wit and the nobleness of his manners, and like him was the honour of his master's court.
The Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of St. Albans were the same in England as they appeared in France: the one, full of wit and vivacity, dissipated, without splendour, an immense estate upon which he had just entered: the other, a man of no great genius, had raised himself a considerable fortune from nothing, and by losing at play, and keeping a great table, made it appear greater than it was.
Sir George Berkley, afterwards Earl of Falmouth, was the confidant and favourite of the king: he commanded the Duke of York's regiment of guards, and governed the duke himself. He had nothing very remarkable either in his wit, or his person; but his sentiments were worthy of the fortune which awaited him, when, on the very point of his elevation, he was killed at sea. Never did disinterestedness so perfectly characterize the greatness of the soul: he had no views but what tended to the glory of his master: his credit was never employed but in advising him to reward services, or to confer favours on merit: so polished in conversation, that the greater his power, the greater was his humility; and so sincere in all his proceedings, that he would never have been taken for a courtier.
The Duke of Ormond's sons and his nephews had been in the king's court during his exile, and were far from diminishing its lustre after his return. The Earl of Arran had a singular address in all kinds of exercises, played well at tennis and on the guitar, and was pretty successful in gallantry. His elder brother, the Earl of Ossory, was not so lively, but of the most liberal sentiments, and of great probity.
The elder of the Hamiltons, their cousin, was the man who of all the court dressed best: he was well made in his person, and possessed those happy talents which lead to fortune, and procure success in love: he was a most assiduous courtier, had the most lively wit, the most polished manners, and the most punctual attention to his master imaginable: no person danced better, nor was any one a more general lover: a merit of some account in a court entirely devoted to love and gallantry. It is not at all surprising, that with these qualities he succeeded my Lord Falmouth in the king's favour; but it is very extraordinary that he should have experienced the same destiny, as if this sort of war had been declared against merit only, and as if this sort of combat was fatal to none but such as had certain hopes of a splendid fortune. This, however, did not happen till some years afterwards.
The beau Sidney, less dangerous than he appeared to be, had not sufficient vivacity to support the impression which his figure made; but little Jermyn was on all sides successful in his intrigues. The old Earl of Saint Albans, his uncle, had for a long time adopted him, though the youngest of all his nephews. It is well known what a table the good man kept at Paris, while the king his master was starving at Brussels, and the queen dowager, his mistress, lived not over well in France.
Jermyn, supported by his uncle's wealth, found it no difficult matter to make a considerable figure upon his arrival at the court of the Princess of Orange: the poor courtiers of the king her brother could not vie with him in point of equipage and magnificence; and these two articles often produce as much success in love as real merit: there is no necessity for any other example than the present; for though Jermyn was brave, and certainly a gentleman, yet he had neither brilliant actions, nor distinguished rank, to set him off; and as for his figure, there was nothing advantageous in it. He was little; his head was large and his legs small; his features were not disagreeable, but he was affected in his carriage and behaviour. All his wit consisted in expressions learnt by rote, which he occasionally employed either in raillery or in love. This was the whole foundation of the merit of a man so formidable in amours.
The Princess Royal was the first who was taken with him: Miss Hyde seemed to be following the steps of her mistress: this immediately brought him into credit, and his reputation was established in England before his arrival. Prepossession in the minds of women is sufficient to find access to their hearts: Jermyn found them in dispositions so favourable for him, that he had nothing to do but to speak.
It was in vain they perceived that a reputation so lightly established, was still more weakly sustained: the prejudice remained: the Countess of Castlemaine, a woman lively and discerning, followed the delusive shadow; and though undeceived in a reputation which promised so much, and performed so little, she nevertheless continued in her infatuation: she even persisted in it, until she was upon the point of embroiling herself with the king; so great was this first instance of her constancy.
Such were the heroes of the court. As for the beauties, you could not look anywhere without seeing them: those of the greatest reputation were this same Countess of Castlemaine, afterwards Duchess of Cleveland, Lady Chesterfield, Lady Shrewsbury, the Mrs. Roberts, Mrs. Middleton, the Miss Brooks, and a thousand others, who shone at court with equal lustre; but it was Miss Hamilton and Miss Stewart who were its chief ornaments. The new queen gave but little additional brilliancy to the court, either in her person, or in her retinue, which was then composed of the Countess de Panétra, who came over with her in quality of lady of the bedchamber; six frights, who called themselves maids of honour, and a duenna, another monster, who took the title of governess to those extraordinary beauties.
Among the men were Francisco de Melo, brother to the Countess de Panétra; one Taurauvédez, who called himself Don Pedro Francisco Correo de Silva, extremely handsome, but a greater fool than all the Portuguese put together: he was more vain of his names than of his person; but the Duke of Buckingham, a still greater fool than he, though more addicted to raillery, gave him the additional name of Peter of the Wood. He was so enraged at this, that, after many fruitless complaints and ineffectual menaces, poor Pedro de Silva was obliged to leave England, while the happy duke kept possession of a Portuguese nymph more hideous than the queen's maids of honour, whom he had taken from him, as well as two of his names. Besides these, there were six chaplains, four bakers, a Jew perfumer, and a certain officer, probably without an office, who called himself her highness's barber. Katharine de Braganza was far from appearing with splendour in the charming court where she came to reign; however, in the end she was pretty successful. The Chevalier de Grammont, who had been long known to the royal family, and to most of the gentlemen of the court, had only to get acquainted with the ladies; and for this he wanted no interpreter: they all spoke French enough to explain themselves, and they all understood it sufficiently to comprehend what he had to say to them.
The queen's court was always very numerous; that of the duchess was less so, but more select. This princess had a majestic air, a pretty good shape, not much beauty, a great deal of wit, and so just a discernment of merit, that, whoever of either sex were possessed of it, were sure to be distinguished by her: an air of grandeur in all her actions made her be considered as if born to support the rank which placed her so near the throne. The queen dowager returned after the marriage of the Princess Royal, and it was in her court that the two others met.
The Chevalier de Grammont was soon liked by all parties: those who had not known him before, were surprised to see a Frenchman of his disposition. The king's restoration having drawn a great number of foreigners from all countries to the court, the French were rather in disgrace; for, instead of any persons of distinction having appeared among the first who came over, they had only seen some insignificant puppies, each striving to outdo the other in folly and extravagance, despising every thing which was not like themselves, and thinking they introduced the bel air, by treating the English as strangers in their own country.
The Chevalier de Grammont, on the contrary, was familiar with every body: he gave in to their customs, eat of every thing, and easily habituated himself to their manner of living, which he looked upon as neither vulgar nor barbarous; and as he shewed a natural complaisance, instead of the impertinent affectation of the others, all the nation was charmed with a man, who agreeably indemnified them for what they had suffered from the folly of the former.
He first of all made his court to the king, and was of all his parties of pleasure: he played high, and lost but seldom: he found so little difference in the manners and conversation of those with whom he chiefly associated, that he could scarcely believe he was out of his own country. Every thing, which could agreeably engage a man of his disposition, presented itself to his different humours, as if the pleasures of the court of France had quitted it to accompany him in his exile.
He was every day engaged for some entertainment; and those who wished to regale him in their turn, were obliged to take their measures in time, and to invite him eight or ten days beforehand. These importunate civilities became tiresome in the long-run; but as they seemed indispensable to a man of his disposition, and as they were the most genteel people of the court who loaded him with them, he submitted with a good grace; but always reserved to himself the liberty of supping at home.
His supper-hour depended upon play, and was indeed very uncertain; but his supper was always served up with the greatest elegance, by the assistance of one or two servants, who were excellent caterers and good attendants, but understood cheating still better.
The company, at these little entertainments, was not numerous, but select: the first people of the court were commonly of the party; but the man, who of all others suited him best on these occasions, never failed to attend: that was the celebrated Saint Evremond, who with great exactness, but too great freedom, had written the history of the treaty of the Pyrenees: an exile like himself, though for very different reasons.
Happily for them both, fortune had, some time before the arrival of the Chevalier de Grammont, brought Saint Evremond to England, after he had had leisure to repent in Holland of the beauties of that famous satire.
The Chevalier was from that time his hero: they had each of them attained to all the advantages which a knowledge of the world, and the society of people of fashion, could add to the improvement of good natural talents. Saint Evremond, less engaged in frivolous pursuits, frequently gave little lectures to the Chevalier, and by making observations upon the past, endeavoured to set him right for the present, or to instruct him for the future. "You are now," said he, "in the most agreeable way of life a man of your temper could wish for: you are the delight of a youthful, sprightly, and gallant court: the king has never a party of pleasure to which you are not admitted. You play from morning to night, or, to speak more properly, from night to morning, without knowing what it is to lose. Far from losing the money you brought hither, as you have done in other places, you have doubled it, trebled it, multiplied it almost beyond your wishes, notwithstanding the exorbitant expenses you are imperceptibly led into. This, without doubt, is the most desirable situation in the world: stop here, Chevalier, and do not ruin your affairs, by returning to your old sins. Avoid love, by pursuing other pleasures: love has never been favourable to you. You are sensible how much gallantry has cost you; and every person here is not so well acquainted with that matter as yourself. Play boldly: entertain the court with your wit: divert the king by your ingenious and entertaining stories; but avoid all engagements which can deprive you of this merit, and make you forget you are a stranger and an exile in this delightful country.
"Fortune may grow weary of befriending you at play. What would have become of you, if your last misfortune had happened to you, when your money had been at as low an ebb as I have known it? Attend carefully then to this necessary deity, and renounce the other. You will be missed at the court of France, before you grow weary of this: but be that as it may, lay up a good store of money: when a man is rich, he consoles himself for his banishment. I know you well, my dear Chevalier: if you take it into your head to seduce a lady, or to supplant a lover, your gains at play will by no means suffice for presents and for bribes: no, let play be as productive to you as it can be, you will never gain so much by it, as you will lose by love, if you yield to it.
"You are in possession of a thousand splendid qualifications which distinguish you here: generous, benevolent, elegant, and polite; and for your engaging wit, inimitable. Upon a strict examination, perhaps, all this would not be found literally true: but these are brilliant marks; and since it is granted that you possess them, do not shew yourself here in any other light: for, in love, if your manner of paying your addresses can be so denominated, you do not in the least resemble the picture I have just now drawn."
"My little philosophical monitor," said the Chevalier de Grammont, "you talk here as if you were the Cato of Normandy." "Do I say any thing untrue?" replied Saint Evremond: "is it not a fact, that as soon as a woman pleases you, your first care is to find out whether she has any other lover, and your second how to plague her; for the gaining her affection is the last thing in your thoughts. You seldom engage in intrigues, but to disturb the happiness of others: a mistress who has no lovers, would have no charms for you, and if she has, she would be invaluable. Do not all the places through which you have passed furnish me with a thousand examples? Shall I mention your coup d'essai at Turin? the trick you played at Fontainbleau, where you robbed the Princess Palatine's courier upon the highway? And for what purpose was this fine exploit, but to put you in possession of some proofs of her affection for another, in order to give her uneasiness and confusion by reproaches and menaces, which you had no right to use?
"Who but yourself ever took it into his head to place himself in ambush upon the stairs, to disturb a man in an intrigue, and to pull him back by the leg when he was half way up to his mistress's chamber? Yet did not you use your friend the Duke of Buckingham in this manner, when he was stealing at night to ------ although you were not in the least his rival? How many spies did not you send out after d'Olonne? How many tricks, frauds, and persecutions did you not practise for the Countess de Fiesque, who perhaps might have been constant to you, if you had not yourself forced her to be otherwise? But, to conclude, for the enumeration of your iniquities would be endless, give me leave to ask you, how you came here? Are not we obliged to that same evil genius of yours, which rashly inspired you to intermeddle even in the gallantries of your prince? Shew some discretion then on this point here, I beseech you: all the beauties of the court are already engaged; and however docile the English may be with respect to their wives, they can by no means bear the inconstancy of their mistresses, nor patiently suffer the advantages of a rival: suffer them, therefore, to remain in trailquillity, and do not gain their ill-will for no purpose.
"You certainly will meet with no success with such as are unmarried: honourable views, and good landed property, are required here: and you possess as much of the one as the other. Every country has its customs: in Holland, unmarried ladies are of easy access, and of tender dispositions; but as soon as ever they are married, they become like so many Lucretias: in France, the women are great coquettes before marriage, and still more so afterwards: but here it is a miracle if a young lady yields to any proposal but that of matrimony: and I do not believe you yet so destitute of grace as to think of that."
Such were Saint Evremond's lectures; but they were all to no purpose: the Chevalier de Grammont only attended to them for his amusement; and though he was sensible of the truth they contained, he paid little regard to them: in fact, being weary of the favours of fortune, he had just resolved to pursue those of love.
Mrs. Middleton was the first whom he attacked: she was one of the handsomest women in town, though then little known at court: so much of the coquette as to discourage no one: and so great was her desire of appearing magnificently, that she was ambitious to vie with those of the greatest fortunes, though unable to support the expense. All this suited the Chevalier de Grammont; therefore, without trifling away his time in useless ceremonies, he applied to her porter for admittance, and chose one of her lovers for his confidant.
This lover, who was not deficient in wit, was at that time a Mr. Jones, afterwards Earl of Ranelagh: what engaged him to serve the Chevalier de Grammont, was to traverse the designs of a most dangerous rival, and to relieve himself from an expense which began to lie too heavy upon him. In both respects the Chevalier answered his purpose.
Immediately spies were placed, letters and presents flew about: he was received as well as he could wish: he was permitted to ogle: he was even ogled again: but this was all: he found that the fair one was very willing to accept, but was tardy in making returns. This induced him, without giving up his pretensions to her, to seek his fortune elsewhere.
Among the queen's maids of honour, there was one called Warmestre; she was a beauty very different from the other. Mrs. Middleton was well made, fair, and delicate; but had in her behaviour and discourse something precise and affected. The indolent languishing airs she gave herself did not please every body: people grew weary of those sentiments of delicacy, which she endeavoured to explain without understanding them herself; and instead of entertaining she became tiresome. In these attempts she gave herself so much trouble, that she made the company uneasy, and her ambition to pass for a wit, only established her the reputation of being tiresome, which lasted much longer than her beauty.
Miss Warmestre was brown: she had no shape at all, and still less air; but she had a very lively complexion, very sparkling eyes, tempting looks, which spared nothing that might engage a lover, and promised every thing which could preserve him. In the end, it very plainly appeared that her consent went along with her eyes to the last degree of indiscretion.
It was between these two goddesses that the inclinations of the Chevalier de Grammont stood wavering, and between whom his presents were divided. Perfumed gloves, pocket looking-glasses, elegant boxes, apricot paste, essences, and other small wares of love, arrived every week from Paris, with some new suit for himself; but, with regard to more solid presents, such as ear-rings, diamonds, brilliants, and bright guineas, all this was to be met with of the best sort in London, and the ladies were as well pleased with them as if they had been brought from abroad.
Miss Stewart's beauty began at this time to be celebrated. The Countess of Castlemaine perceived that the king paid attention to her; but, instead of being alarmed at it, she favoured, as far as she was able, this new inclination, whether from an indiscretion common to all those who think themselves superior to the rest of mankind, or whether she designed, by this pastime, to divert the king's attention from the commerce which she held with Jermyn. She was not satisfied with appearing without any degree of uneasiness at a preference which all the court began to remark: she even affected to make Miss Stewart her favourite, and invited her to all the entertainments she made for the king; and, in confidence of her own charms, with the greatest indiscretion, she often kept her to sleep. The king, who seldom neglected to visit the countess before she rose, seldom failed likewise to find Miss Stewart in bed with her. The most indifferent objects have charms in a new attachment: however, the imprudent countess was not jealous of this rival's appearing with her, in such a situation, being confident, that whenever she thought fit, she could triumph over all the advantages which these opportunities could afford Miss Stewart; but she was quite mistaken.
The Chevalier de Grammont took notice of this conduct, without being able to comprehend it; but, as he was attentive to the inclinations of the king, he began to make his court to him by enhancing the merit of this new mistress. Her figure was more showy than engaging: it was hardly possible for a woman to have less wit, or more beauty: all her features were fine and regular; but her shape was not good: yet she was slender, straight enough, and taller than the generality of women: she was very graceful, danced well, and spoke French better than her mother tongue: she was well bred, and possessed, in perfection, that air of dress which is so much admired, and which cannot be attained, unless it be taken when young, in France. While her charms were gaining ground in the king's heart, the Countess of Castlemaine amused herself in the gratification of all her caprices
Mrs. Hyde was one of the first of the beauties who were prejudiced with a blind prepossession in favour of Jermyn: she had just married a man whom she loved: by this marriage she became sister-in-law to the duchess, brilliant by her own native lustre, and full of pleasantry and wit. However, she was of opinion, that so long as she was not talked of on account of Jermyn, all her other advantages would avail nothing for her glory: it was, therefore, to receive this finishing stroke, that she resolved to throw herself into his arms.
She was of a middle size, had a skin of a dazzling whiteness, fine hands, and a foot surprisingly beautiful, even in England: long custom had given such a languishing tenderness to her looks, that she never opened her eyes but like a Chinese; and, when she ogled, one would have thought she was doing something else.
Jermyn accepted of her at first; but, being soon puzzled what to do with her, he thought it best to sacrifice her to Lady Castlemaine. The sacrifice was far from being displeasing to her: it was much to her glory to have carried off Jermyn from so many competitors; but this was of no consequence in the end.
Jacob Hall, the famous rope-dancer, was at that time in vogue in London: his strength and agility charmed the public, even to a wish to know what he was in private; for he appeared, in his tumbling dress, to be quite of a different make, and to have limbs very different from the fortunate Jermyn. The tumbler did not deceive Lady Castlemaine's expectations, if report may be believed: and as was intimated in many a song, much more to the honour of the rope-dancer than of the countess; but she despised all these rumours, and only appeared still more handsome.
While satire thus found employment at her cost, there were continual contests for the favours of another beauty, who was not much more niggardly in that way than herself: this was the Countess of Shrewsbury.
The Earl of Arran, who had been one of her first admirers, was not one of the last to desert her: this beauty, less famous for her conquests, than for the misfortunes she occasioned, placed her greatest merits in being more capricious than any other. As no person could boast of being the only one in her favour; so no person could complain of having been ill received.
Jermyn was displeased that she had made no advances to him, without considering that she had no leisure for it: his pride was offended; but the attempt which he made to take her from the rest of her lovers was very ill advised.
Thomas Howard, brother to the Earl of Carlisle, was one of them: there was not a braver, nor a more genteel man, in England; and though he was of a modest demeanour, and his manners appeared gentle and pacific, no person was more spirited, nor more passionate. Lady Shrewsbury, inconsiderately returning the first ogles of the invincible Jermyn, did not at all make herself more agreeable to Howard: that, however, she paid little attention to; yet, as she designed to keep fair with him, she consented to accept an entertainment which he had often proposed, and which she durst no longer refuse. A place of amusement, called Spring Garden, was fixed upon for the scene of this entertainment.
As soon as the party was settled, Jermyn was privately informed of it. Howard had a company in the regiment of guards, and one of the soldiers of his company played pretty well on the bagpipes: this soldier was therefore at the entertainment. Jermyn was at the garden, as by chance; and, puffed up with his former successes, he trusted to his victorious air for accomplishing this last enterprise: he no sooner appeared on the walks, than her ladyship shewed herself upon the balcony.
I know not how she stood affected to her hero: but Howard did not fancy him much; this did not prevent his coming up stairs, upon the first sign she made to him; and not content with acting the petty tyrant, at an entertainment not made for himself, no sooner had he gained the soft looks of the fair one, than he exhausted all his common place, and all his stock of low irony, in railing at the entertainment, and ridiculing the music.
Howard possessed but little raillery, and still less patience: three times was the banquet on the point of being stained with blood; but three times did he suppress his natural impetuosity, in order to satisfy his resentment elsewhere with greater freedom.
Jermyn, without paying the least attention to his ill-humour, pursued his point, continued talking to Lady Shrewsbury, and did not leave her until the repast was ended.
He went to bed, proud of this triumph, and was waked next morning by a challenge: he took, for his second, Giles Rawlings, a man of intrigue, and a deep player. Howard took Dillon, who was dexterous and brave, much of a gentleman, and, unfortunately, an intimate friend to Rawlings.
In this duel fortune did not side with the votaries of love: poor Rawlings was left stone dead; and Jermyn, having received three wounds, was carried to his uncle's, with very little signs of life.
While the report of this event engaged the courtiers according to their several interests, the Chevalier de Grammont was informed by Jones, his friend, his confidant, and his rival, that there was another gentleman very attentive to Mrs. Middleton. This was Montagu, no very dangerous rival on account of his person, but very much to be feared for his assiduity, the acuteness of his wit, and for some other talents, which are of importance, when a man is once permitted to display them.
There needed not half so much to bring into action all the Chevalier's vivacity, in point of competition: vexation awakened in him whatever expedients the desire of revenge, malice, and experience could suggest, for troubling the designs of a rival, and tormenting a mistress. His first intention was to return her letters, and demand his presents, before he began to teaze her; but, rejecting this project, as too weak a revenge for the injustice done him, he was upon the point of conspiring the destruction of poor Mrs. Middleton, when, by accident, he met with Miss Hamilton. From this moment ended all his resentment against Mrs. Middleton, and all his attachment to Miss Warmestre: no longer was he inconstant: no longer were his wishes fluctuating: this object fixed them all; and, of all his former habits, none remained, except uneasiness and jealousy.
Here his first care was to please: but he very plainly saw, that to succeed, he must act quite in a different manner to that which he had been accustomed to.
The family of the Hamiltons, being very numerous, lived in a large and commodious house near the court: the Duke of Ormond's family was continually with them: and here persons of the greatest distinction in London constantly met: the Chevalier de Grammont was here received in a manner agreeable to his merit and quality, and was astonished that he had spent so much time in other places; for, after having made this acquaintance, he was desirous of no other.
All the world agreed, that Miss Hamilton was worthy of the most ardent and sincere affection: nobody could boast a nobler birth, nothing was more charming than her person.
Memoirs of Count Grammont