THE nearer the Chevalier de Grammont approached the court of France, the more did he regret his absence from that of England; not but that he expected a gracious reception at the feet of his master, whose anger no one provoked with impunity; but who likewise knew how to pardon, in such a manner as to make the favour he conferred in every respect to be felt.
A thousand different thoughts occupied his mind upon the journey: sometimes he reflected upon the joy and satisfaction his friends and relations would experience upon his return; sometimes upon the congratulations and embraces of those, who, being neither the one nor the other, would nevertheless overwhelm him with impertinent compliments: all these ideas passed quickly through his head; for a man deeply in love makes it a scruple of conscience not to suffer any other thoughts to dwell upon his mind than those of the object beloved. It was then the tender, endearing remembrance of what he had left in London that diverted his thoughts from Paris; and it was the torments of absence that prevented his feeling those of the bad roads and the bad horses. His heart protested to Miss Hamilton, between Montreuil and Abbeville, that he only tore himself from her with such haste, to return the sooner; after which, by a short reflection, comparing the regret he had formerly felt upon the same road, in quitting France for England, with that which he now experienced, in quitting England for France, he found the last much more insupportable than the former.
It is thus that a man in love entertains himself upon the road; or rather, it is thus that a trifling writer abuses the patience of his reader, either to display his own sentiments, or to lengthen out a tedious story; but God forbid that this character should apply to ourselves, since we profess to insert nothing in these memoirs but what we have heard from the mouth of him whose actions and sayings we transmit to posterity.
Who, except Squire Feraulas, has ever been able to keep a register of all the thoughts, sighs, and exclamations of his illustrious master? For my own part, I should never have thought that the attention of the Count de Grammont, which is at present so sensible to inconveniences and dangers, would have ever permitted him to entertain amorous thoughts upon the road, if he did not himself dictate to me what I am now writing.
But let us speak of him at Abbeville. The postmaster was his old acquaintance: his hotel was the best provided of any between Calais and Paris; and the Chevalier de Grammont, alighting, told Termes he would drink a glass of wine during the time they were changing horses. It was about noon; and, since the preceding night, when they had landed at Calais, until this instant, they had not eaten a single mouthful. Termes, praising the Lord, that natural feelings had for once prevailed over the inhumanity of his usual impatience, confirmed him as much as possible in such reasonable sentiments.
Upon their entering the kitchen, where the Chevalier generally paid his first visit, they were surprised to see half a dozen spits loaded with game at the fire, and every other preparation for a magnificent entertainment. The heart of Termes leaped for joy: he gave private orders to the hostler to pull the shoes off some of the horses, that he might not bo forced away from this place before he had satisfied his craving appetite.
Soon after, a number of violins and hautboys, attended by all the mob of the town, entered the court. The landlord being asked the reason of these great preparations, acquainted the Chevalier de Grammont that they were for the wedding of one of the most wealthy gentlemen in the neighbourhood, with one of the handsomest girls in the whole province; that the entertainment was to be at his house; and that, if his lordship chose to stop, in a very short time he would see the new-married couple arrive from the church, since the music was already come. He was right in his conjectures; for these words were scarce out of his mouth, when three uncommonly large coaches, loaded with lackeys, as tall as Swiss, with most gaudy liveries, all covered with lace, appeared in the court, and disembarked the whole wedding company. Never was country magnificence more naturally displayed: rusty tinsel, tarnished lace, striped silks, little eyes, and full swelling breasts, appeared on every side.
If the first sight of the procession surprised the Chevalier de Grammont, faithful Termes was no less astonished at the second. The little that was to be seen of the bride's face appeared not without beauty; but no judgment could be formed of the remainder: four dozen of patches, at least, and ten ringlets of hair, on each side, most completely concealed her from all human eyes; but it was the bridegroom who most particularly attracted the Chevalier de Grammont's attention,
He was as ridiculously dressed as the rest of the company, except a coat of the greatest magnificence, and of the most exquisite taste. The Chevalier de Grammont, walking up to him to examine his dress, began to commend the embroidery of his coat. The bridegroom thought himself much honoured by this examination, and told him he bought it for one hundred and fifty louis, at the time he was paying his addresses to his wife. "Then you did not get it made here? "said the Chevalier de Grammont. "No," replied the other; "I bought it of a London merchant, who had ordered it for an English lord." The Chevalier de Grammont, who now began to perceive in what manner the adventure would end, asked him if he should recollect the merchant if he saw him again? "Recollect him!" replied the other, "I surely ought; for I was obliged to sit up drinking with him all night at Calais, as I was endeavouring to beat down the price." Termes had vanished out of sight as soon as ever this coat appeared, though he little supposed that the cursed bridegroom would have any conversation concerning it with his master.
The Chevalier's thoughts were some time wavering between his inclination to laugh, and a desire of hanging Master Termes; but the long habit of suffering himself to be robbed by his domestics, together with the vigilance of the criminal, whom his master could not reproach with having slept in his service, inclined him to clemency; and yielding to the importunities of the country gentleman, in order to confound his faithful servant, he sat down to table, to make the thirty-seventh of the company.
A short time after, he desired one of the waiters to call for a gentleman whose name was Termes. He immediately appeared; and as soon as the master of the feast saw him, he rose from table, and offering him his hand, "Welcome, my friend," said he; "you see that I have taken good care of the coat which you sold me with so much reluctance, and that I have kept it for a good purpose."
Termes, having put on a face of brass, pretended not to know him, and pushed him back with some degree of rudeness. "No, no," said the other, "since I was obliged to sit up with you the whole night, in order to strike the bargain, you shall pledge me in the bride's health." The Chevalier de Grammont, who saw that Terrnes was disconcerted, notwithstanding his impudence, said to him with a smile, "Come, come, my good London merchant, sit down, as you are so civilly invited: we are not so crowded at table but that there will be room enough for such an honest gentleman as yourself." At these words five-and-thirty of the guests were in motion to receive this new visitor. The bride alone, out of an idea of decorum, remained seated; and the audacious Termes, having swallowed the first shame of this adventure, began to lay about him at such a rate, as if it bad been his intention to swallow all the wine provided for the wedding, if his master had not risen from the table as they were taking off four-and-twenty soups, to serve up as many other dishes in their stead.
The company were not so unreasonable as to desire a man who was in such haste to remain to the end of a wedding-dinner; but they all got up when he arose from table, and all that he could obtain from the bridegroom was, that the company should not attend him to the gate of the inn: as for Termes, he wished they had not quitted him till the end of their journey, so much did he dread being left alone with his master.
They had advanced some distance from Abbeville, and were proceeding on in the most profound silence, when Termes. who expected an end to it in a short time, was only solicitous in what manner it might happen, whether his master would attack him with a torrent of invectives, and certain epithets which were most justly his due, or whether, in an insulting ironical manner, he might make use of such commendations as were most likely to confound him; but finding, instead of either, that he remained in sullen silence, he thought it prudent rather to prevent the speech the Chevalier was meditating, than to suffer him to think longer about it; and, accordingly, arming himself with all his effrontery, "You seem to be very angry, Sir," said he, "and I suppose you think you have reason for being so; but the devil take me, if you are not mistaken in reality."
"How! traitor! in reality?" said the Chevalier de Grammont: "it is then because I have not had thee well threshed, as thou hast for a long time merited." "Look ye, Sir," replied Termes, "you always run into a passion, instead of listening to reason! Yes, Sir, I maintain that what I did was for your benefit." "And was not the quicksand likewise for my service?" said the Chevalier de Grammont. "Have patience, if you please," pursued the other: "I know not how that simpleton of a bridegroom happened to be at the custom-house when my portmanteau was examined at Calais; but these silly cuckolds thrust in their noses everywhere. As soon as ever he saw your coat, he fell in love with it. I immediately perceived he was a fool; for he fell down upon his knees, beseeching me to sell it him. Besides being greatly rumpled in the portmanteau, it was all stained in front by the sweat of the horses; I wonder how the devil he has managed to get it cleaned; but, faith, I am the greatest scoundrel in the world, if you would ever have put it on. In a word, it cost you one hundred and forty louis d'ors, and seeing he offered me one hundred and fifty for it; 'My master,' said I, 'has no occasion for this tinseled bauble to distinguish him at the ball; and, although he was pretty full of cash when I left him, how know I in what situation he may be upon my return? there is no certainty at play.' To be brief, Sir, I got ten louis d'ors for it more than it cost you: this you see is all clear profit: I will be accountable to you for it, and you know that I am sufficientiy substantial to make good such a sum. Confess now, do you think you would have appeared to greater advantage at the ball, if you had been dressed out in that damned coat, which would have made you look just like the village bridegroom to whom we sold it? and yet, how you stormed at London when you thought it lost; what fine stories you told the king about the quicksand; and how churlish you looked, when you first began to suppose that this country looby wore it at his wedding!"
What could the Chevalier reply to such uncommon impudence? If he indulged his resentment, he must either have most severely bastinadoed him, or he must have discarded him, as the easiest escape the rogue could expect; but he had occasion for him during the remainder of his journey; and, as soon as he was at Paris, he had occasion for him for his return.
The Maréchal de Grammont had no sooner notice of his arrival, than he went to him at the hotel; and, the first embraces being over on both sides; "Chevalier,'' said the Maréchal, "how many days have you been in coming from London hither? for God knows at what a rate you travel on such occasions." The Chevalier told him, he had been three days upon the road; and, to excuse himself for making no more haste, he related to him his Abbeville adventure. "It is a very entertaining one,'' said his brother; "but, what is yet more entertaining, is, that it will be your fault if vou do not find your coat still at table; for the country gentry are not accustomed to rise very soon from a wedding dinner." And then, in a very serious tone, told him, "he knew not who had advised him to this unexpected return, which might probably ruin all his affairs; but he had orders from the king to bid him go back again without appearing at court. He told him afterwards that he was very much astonished at his impatience, as, till this time, he had conducted himself uncommonly well, and was sufficiently acquainted with the king's temper to know, that the only way to merit his pardon was to wait until it freely came from his clemency."
The Chevalier, in justification of his conduct, produced Madame de Saint Chaumont's letter, and told the Marechal that he would very willingly have spared her the trouble of writing him such kind of news, to occasion him so useless a journey. "Still more indiscretion," replied his brother; "for, pray how long has our sister been either secretary of state, or minister, that she should be employed by the king to make known his majesty's order? Do you wish to know the real state of the case? Some time ago the king told Madame how you had refused the pension the king of England offered you. He appeared pleased with the manner in which Comminges had related to him the circumstances attending it, and said he was pleased with you for it. Madame interpreted this as an order for your recall; and Madame de Saint Chau-mont being very far from possessing that wonderful discretion she imagines herself mistress of, she hastened to despatch to you this consequential order in her own hand. To conclude; Madame said yesterday, when the king was at dinner, that you would very soon be here; and the king, as soon as din-der was over, commanded me to send you back as soon as you arrived. Here you are; set off again immediately."
This order might have appeared severe to the Chevalier de Grammont at any other time; but, in the present state of his heart, he soon resolved upon obeying. Nothing gave him uneasiness, but the officious advice which had obliged him to leave the English court; and, being entirely unconcerned that he was not allowed to see the French court before his departure, he only desired the Marechal to obtain leave for him to stay a few days to collect in some play debts which were owing him. This request was granted, on condition that he should not remain in Paris.
He chose Vaugirard for his retreat. It was there that he had several adventures which he so often related in so humorous and diverting a manner, that it would be tedious to repeat them. There it was that he administered the sacrament in so solemn a manner, that, as there did not remain a sufficient number of Swiss at Versailles to guard the chapel, Vardes was obliged to acquaint the king that they were all gone to the Chevalier de Grammont, who was administering the sacrament at Vaugirard. There likewise happened that wonderful adventure which threw the first slur upon the reputation of the great Saucourt, when, having a tête-à-tête with the gardener's daughter, the horn, which was agreed upon as the signal to prevent surprises, was sounded so often, that the frequent alarms cooled the courage of the celebrated Saucourt, and rendered useless the assignation that was procured for him with one of the prettiest girls in the neighbourhood. It was, likewise, during his stay at Vaugirard, that he paid a visit to Mademoiselle de l'Hôpital at Issy, to inquire into the truth of a report of an amour between her and a man of the long robe; and it was there that, on his arriving unexpectedly, the President de Maisons was forced to take refuge in a closet, with so much precipitation, that half of his robe remained on the outside when he shut the door; while the Chevalier de Grammont, who observed it, made his visit excessively long, in order to keep the two lovers upon the rack.
His business being settled, he set out for England on the wings of love. Termes redoubled his vigilance upon the road. The post-horses were ready in an instant at every stage. The winds and tides favoured his impatience; and he reached London with the highest satisfaction. The court was both surprised and charmed at his sudden return. No person condoled with him upon his late disappointment, which had occasioned him to come back, as he testified no manner of uneasiness concerning it himself. Nor was Miss Hamilton in the least displeased at his readiness in obeying the orders of the king his master.
Nothing new had happened in the English court during his short absence; but it assumed a different aspect soon after his return: I mean with respect to love and pleasure, which were the most serious concerns of the court during the greatest part of this gay reign.
The Duke of Monmouth, natural son to Charles the Second, now made his first appearance in his father's court: his entrance upon the stage of the world was so brilliant, his ambition had occasioned so many considerable events, and the particulars of his tragical end are so recent, that it were needless to produce any other traits to give a sketch of his character. By the whole tenor of his life, he appeared to be rash in his undertakings, irresolute in the execution, and dejected in his misfortunes, in which, at least, an undaunted resolution ought to equal the greatness of the attempt.
His figure and the exterior graces of his person were such, that nature, perhaps, never formed any thing more complete: his face was extremely handsome; and yet it was a manly face, neither inanimate nor effeminate; each feature having its beauty and peculiar delicacy: he had a wonderful genius for every sort of exercise, an engaging aspect, and an air of grandeur: in a word, he possessed every personal advantage; but then, he was greatly deficient in mental accomplishments. He had no sentiments but such as others inspired him with; and those who first insinuated themselves into his friendship took care to inspire him with none but such as were pernicious. The astonishing beauty of his outward form caused universal admiration: those who before were looked upon as handsome, were now entirely forgotten at court; and all the gay and beautiful of the fair sex were at his devotion. He was particularly beloved by the king; but the universal terror of husbands and lovers. This, however, did not long continue; for nature not having endowed him with qualifications to secure the possession of the heart, the fair sex soon perceived the defect.
The Duchess of Cleveland was out of humour with the king, because the children she had by his majesty were like so many little puppets, compared to this new Adonis: she was the more particularly hurt, as she might have boasted of being the queen of love, in comparison with the duke's mother. The king, however, laughed at her reproaches, as, for some time, she had certainly no right to make any; and, as this piece of jealousy appeared to be more ill-founded than any she had formerly affected, no person approved of her ridiculous resentment. Not succeeding in this, she formed another scheme to give the king uneasiness: instead of opposing his extreme tenderness for his son, she pretended to adopt him in her affection, by a thousand commendations and caresses, which she was daily and continually increasing. As these endearments were public, she imagined they could not be suspected; but she was too well known for her real design to be mistaken. The king was no longer jealous of her; but, as the Duke of Monmouth was of an age not to be insensible to the attractions of a woman possessing so many charms, he thought it proper to withdraw him from this pretended mother-in-law, to preserve his innocence, or at least his fame, uncontaminated: it was for this reason, therefore, that the king married him so young.
An heiress, of five thousand pounds a year, in Scotland, offered very à-propos: her person was full of charms, and her mind possessed all those perfections in which the handsome Monmouth was deficient.
New festivals and entertainments celebrated this marriage: the most effectual method to pay court to the king, was to outshine the rest in brilliancy and grandeur; and whilst these rejoicings brought forward all manner of gallantry and magnificence, they either revived old, or established new amours.
The fair Stewart, then in the meridian of her glory, attracted all eyes, and commanded universal respect and admiration: the Duchess of Cleveland endeavoured to eclipse her at this fete, by a load of jewels, and by all the artificial ornaments of dress; but it was in vain: her face looked rather thin and pale, from the commencement of a third or fourth pregnancy, which the king was still pleased to place to his own account; and, as for the rest, her person could in no respect stand in competition with the grace and beauty of Miss Stewart.
It was during this last effort of her charms, that she would have been queen of England, had the king been as free to give his hand as he was to surrender his heart; for it was at this time that the Duke of Richmond took it into his head either to marry her, or to die in the attempt.
A few months after the celebration of the Duke of Monmouth's nuptials, Killegrew, having nothing better to do, fell in love with Lady Shrewsbury; and, as Lady Shrewsbury, by a very extraordinary chance, had no engagement at that time, their amour was soon established. No one thought of interrupting an intimacy which did not concern any one; but Killegrew thought proper to disturb it himself: not that his happiness fell short of his expectation, nor did possession put him out of love with a situation so enviable; but he was amazed that he was not envied, and offended that his good fortune raised him no rivals.
He possessed a great deal of wit, and still more eloquence, which most particularly displayed itself when he was a little elevated with the juice of the grape: he then indulged himself in giving luxurious descriptions of Lady Shrewsbury's most secret charms and beauties, which above half the court were as well acquainted with as himself.
The Duke of Buckingham was one of those who could only judge from outward appearances; and appearances, in his opinion, did not seem to promise any thing so exquisite as the extravagant praises of Killegrew would infer. As this indiscreet lover was a frequent guest at the Duke of Buckingham's table, he was continually employing his rhetoric on this subject, and he had full opportunity for his harangues; for they generally sat down to dinner at four o'clock, and only rose just in time for the play in the evening.
The Duke of Buckingham, whose ears were continually deafened with descriptions of Lady Shrewsbury's merits, resolved at last to examine into the truth of the matter himself: as soon as he had made the experiment, he was satisfied; and, though he fancied that fame did not exceed the truth, yet this intrigue began in such a manner, that it was generally believed its duration would be short, considering the fickleness of both parties, and the vivacity with which they had engaged in it: nevertheless no amour in England ever continued so long.
The imprudent Killegrew, who could not be satisfied without rivals, was obliged, in the end, to be satisfied without a mistress: this he bore very impatiently; but so far was Lady Shrewsbury from hearkening to, or affording any redress for, the grievances at first complained of, that she pretended even not to know him. His spirit could not brook such treatment; and, without ever considering that he was the author of his own disgrace, he let loose all his abusive eloquence against her ladyship: he attacked her with the most bitter invectives from head to foot: he drew a frightful picture of her conduct; and turned all her personal charms, which he used to extol, into defects. He was privately warned of the inconveniences to which these declamations might subject him, but despised the advice, and, persisting, he soon had reason to repent it.
As he was returning one evening from the Duke of York's apartments at St. James's, three passes with a sword were made at him through his chair, one of which went entirely through his arm. Upon this, he was sensible of the danger to which his intemperate tongue had exposed him, over and above the loss of his mistress. The assassins made their escape across the Park, not doubting but they had despatched him.
Killegrew thought that all complaints would be useless; for what redress from justice could he expect for an attempt of which his wounds were his only evidence? And, besides, he was convinced that if he began a prosecution founded upon appearances and conjectures, the parties concerned would take the shortest and most effectual means to put a stop to all inquiries upon the subject, and that their second attempt would not prove ineffectual. Being desirous, therefore, of deserving mercy from those who had endeavoured to assassinate him, he no longer continued his satires, and said riot a word of the adventure. The Duke of Buckingham and Lady Shrewsbury remained for a long period both happy and contented: never before had her constancy been of so long a duration; nor had he ever been so submissive and respectful a lover.
This continued until Lord Shrewsbury, who never before had shewn the least uneasiness at his lady's misconduct, thought proper to resent this: it was public enough, indeed, but less dishonourable to her than any of her former intrigues. Poor Lord Shrewsbury, too polite a man to make any reproaches to his wife, was resolved to have redress for his injured honour: he accordingly challenged the Duke of Buckingham; and the Duke of Buckingham, as a reparation for his honour, having killed him upon the spot, remained a peaceable possessor of this famous Helen. The public was at first shocked at the transaction; but the public grows familiar with every thing by habit, and by degrees both decency, and even virtue itself, are rendered tame, and overcome. The queen was at the head of those who exclaimed against so public and scandalous a crime, and against the impunity of such a wicked act. As the Duchess of Buckingham was a short fat body, like her majesty, who never had had any children, and whom her husband had abandoned for another; this sort of parallel in their situations interested the queen in her favour; but it was all in vain: no person paid any attention to them; the licentiousness of the age went on uncontrolled, though the queen endeavoured to raise up the serious part of the nation, the politicians and devotees, as enemies against it.
The fate of this princess was in many cases truly melancholy: the king, indeed, paid her every outward attention; but that was all: she easily perceived that the respect he entertained for her daily diminished, in proportion as the credit of her rivals increased: she saw that the king her husband was now totally indifferent about legitimate children, since his all-charming mistresses bore him others. As all the happiness of her life depended upon that blessing, and as she flattered herself that the king would prove kinder to her if heaven would vouchsafe to grant her desires, she had re course to all the celebrated secrets against sterility: pious vows, nine-day prayers, and offerings having been tried in all manners, but all to no purpose, she was at last obliged to return to natural means.
What would she have given on this occasion for the ring which Archbishop Turpin wore on his finger, and which made Charlemagne run after him, in the same manner as it had made him run after one of his concubines, from whose finger Turpin had taken it after her death! But it is now many years since the only talismans for creating love are the charms of the person beloved, and foreign enchantments have been looked upon as ineffectual. The queen's physicians, men of great prudence, sagacity, and wisdom, as they always are, having duly weighed and considered that the cold waters of Tunbridge had not succeeded in the preceding year, concluded that it would be advisable for her to try the warm baths at Bristol: this journey was therefore fixed for the next season; and in the confidence of its proving effectual, this excursion would have afforded her much pleasure, if the most dangerous of her rivals had not been one of the first that was appointed to attend the court. The Duchess of Cleveland being then near her time, there was no uneasiness on her account: the common rules of decency required a little attention. The public, it is true, was not either more or less acquainted with the circumstances of her situation, by the care which she now took to conceal it; but her appearing at court in her present condition would have been too great an insult to the queen. Miss Stewart, more handsome than ever, was appointed for this excursion, and began to make magnificent preparations: the poor queen durst say nothing against it; but all hopes of success immediately forsook her. What could the baths, or the feeble virtue of the waters, perform against charms that entirely counteracted their effects, either through the grief and uneasiness they occasioned her, or by their still more powerful consequences?
The Chevalier de Grammont, to whom all pleasures were insipid without the presence of Miss Hamilton, was yet unable to excuse himself from attending the court. The king delighted too much in his sprightly conversation to leave him behind; and however pleasing his company might have been in the solitude occasioned by the absence of the court, Miss Hamilton did not think it right to accept his offer of staying in town, because she was obliged to remain there: she however granted him the permission of writing her an account of any news that might occur upon the journey. He failed not to make use of this permission, in such a manner as one may imagine; and his own concerns took up so much space in his letters, that there was very little room left for other subjects during his stay at the baths. As absence from the object of his affections rendered this place insupportable, he engaged in every thing that might dissipate his impatience, until the happy moment of return arrived.
He had a great esteem for the elder of the Hamiltons; no less esteem, and far more friendship for his brother, whom he made the confidant of his passion and attachment for his sister. The Chevalier was also acquainted with his first engagements with his cousin Wetenhall; but being ignorant of the coldness that had interrupted a commerce so brisk in its commencement, he was surprised at the eagerness he shewed upon all occasions to please Miss Stewart: his assiduity appeared to the Chevalier de Grammont to exceed those civilities and attentions that are usually paid for the purpose of making court to the favourites of princes. He observed him more strictly, and soon perceived that he was deeper in love with her than was consistent either with his fortune or his repose.
As soon as the remarks he made had confirmed him in his suspicions, he resolved to use his endeavours to prevent the consequences of an engagement pernicious in every respect; but he waited for a proper opportunity of speaking to him upon the subject.
In the mean time the court enjoyed every kind of diversion, in a place where amusement is sought with avidity. The game of bowls, which in France is the pastime of mechanics and servants only, is quite the contrary in England, where it is the exercise of gentlemen, and requires both art and address. It is only in use during the fair and dry part of the season, and the places where it is practised are charming, delicious walks, called bowling-greens, which are little square grass-plots, where the turf is almost as smooth and level as the cloth of a billiard-table. As soon as the heat of the day is over, all the company assemble there: they play deep, and spectators are at liberty to make what bets they please.
The Chevalier de Grammont, long before initiated in the English games and diversions, had been engaged in a horserace, in which he was indeed unsuccessful; but he had the satisfaction of being convinced by experience, that an English horse can go twenty miles upon the high road in less than an hour: he was more fortunate at cock-fighting; and in the bets he made at the bowling-green, the party he betted upon never failed to win.
Near all these places of diversion there is usually a sort of inn, or house of entertainment, with a bower or harbour, in which are sold all sorts of English liquors, such as cider, mead, bottled beer, and Spanish wines. Here the rooks meet every evening to drink, smoke, and to try their skill upon each other; or, in other words, to endeavour to trick one another out of the winnings of the day. These rooks are, properly speaking, what we call capons, or piqueürs, in France; men who always carry money about them, to enable them to lend to losing gamesters, for which they receive a gratification, which is nothing for such as play deep, as it is only two per cent., and the money to be repaid the next day.
These gentlemen are so nice in their calculations, and so particularly skilful in all manner of games, that no person would dare to enter the lists with them, were they even assured that no unfairness would be practised: besides, they make a vow, to win four or five guineas a day, and to be satisfied with that gain; a vow which they seldom or never break.
It was in the midst of a company of these rooks, that Hamilton found the Chevalier de Grammont, when he called ir, one evening to get a glass of cider. They were playing at hazard; and as he who holds the dice is supposed to have the advantage, the rooks did the Chevalier de Grammont that honour out of compliment: he had the dice in his hand when Hamilton came into the room. The rooks, secure of their odds, were betting against him at a high rate, and he took all.
Hamilton could hardly believe his eyes, to see a man of his experience and knowledge engaged in so unequal a contest; but it was to no purpose that he informed him of his danger, both aloud in French, and in private by signs; he still disregarded his warnings, and the dice, that bore Cæsar and his fortunes, performed a miracle in his favour. The rooks were defeated for the first time, but not without bestowing upon him all the encomiums and praises of being a very fair and honourable plaver, which they never fail to lavish upon those whom they wish to engage a second time; but all their commendations were lost, and their hopes deceived: the Chevalier was satisfied with the first experiment.
Hamilton, when the king was at supper, related to him how he found the Chevalier de Grammont rashly engaged with the rooks, and in what manner he had been providentially preserved. "Indeed, Sir," said the Chevalier de Grammont, "the rooks were discomfited for once;" and thereupon related the adventure to his majesty in his usual way, attracting the attention of all the company, to a circumstance, trifling in itself, but rendered interesting by his humour.
After supper, Miss Stewart, in whose apartment there was play, called Hamilton to her to tell the story. The Chevalier de Grammont, perceiving that she attended to him with pleasure, was fully confirmed in the truth of his first conjectures; and, having carried Hamilton home with him to supper, they began, to discourse freely together as usual. "George," said the Chevalier de Grammont, "are you in any want of money? I know you love play; perhaps it may not be so favourable to you as it is to me: we are at a great distance from London. Here are two hundred guineas, take them, I beseech you, they will do to play with at Miss Stewart's." Hamilton, who little expected this conclusion, was rather disconcerted. "How! at Miss Stewart's! "" Yes, in her apartments, friend George," continued the Chevalier de Grammont; "I have not yet lost my eyes: you are in love with her, and if I am not mistaken, she is not offended at it; but tell me how you could resolve to banish poor Wetenhall from your heart, and suffer yourself to be infatuated with a girl, who perhaps, after all, is not worth the other, and who, besides, whatever favourable dispositions she may have for you, will undoubtedly, in the end prove your ruin. Faith, your brother and you are two pretty fellows, in your choice. What! can you find no other beauties in all the court to fall in love with, except the king's two mistresses? As for the elder brother, I can pardon him: he only took Lady Castlemaine, after his master had done with her, and after Lady Chesterfield had discarded him; but, as for you, what the devil do you intend to do with a creature, on whom the king seems every day to doat with increasing fondness? Is it because that drunken sot Richmond has again come forward, and now declares himself one of her professed admirers? You will soon see what he will make by it: I have not forgotten what the king said to me upon the subject.
"Believe me, my dear friend, there is no playing tricks with our masters, I mean, there is no ogling their mistresses. I myself wanted to play the agreeable in France, with a little coquette, whom the king did not care about, and you know how dearly I paid for it. I confess she gives you fair play, but do not trust to her. All the sex feel an unspeakable satisfaction at having men in their train, whom they care not for, and to use them as their slaves of state, merely to swell their equipage. Would it not be a great deal better to pass a week or ten days incognito at Peckham with the philosopher Weten-hall's wife, than to have it inserted in the Dutch Gazette,— 'We hear from Bristol, that such a one is banished the court on account of Miss Stewart, and that he is going to make a campaign in Guinea on board the fleet that is fitting out for the expedition under the command of Prince Rupert?'"
Hamilton, who was the more convinced of the truth of this discourse, the more he considered it, after musing some time, appeared to wake from a dream, and addressing himself with an air of gratitude to the Chevalier de Grammont: "Of all the men in the world, my dear friend,'' said he, "you have the most agreeable wit, and at the same time the clearest judgment with respect to your friends: what you have told me has opened my eyes: I began to suffer myself to be seduced by the most ridiculous illusion imaginable, and to be hurried away rather by frivolous appearances, than any real inclination: to you I owe the obligation of having preserved me from destruction at the very brink of a precipice. This is not the only kindness you have done me, your favours have been innumerable; and, as a proof of my gratitude for this last, I will follow your advice, and go into retirement at my cousin Wetenhall's, to eradicate from my recollection every trace of those chimeras which lately possessed my brain; but so far from going thither incognito, I will take you along with me, as soon as the court returns to London. My sister shall likewise be of the party; for it is prudent to use all precautions with a man, who with a great deal of merit, on such occasions, is not over scrupulous, if we may credit your philosopher." "Do not pay any attention to that pedant," replied the Chevalier de Grammont: "but tell me what put it into your head to form a design upon that inanimate statue, Miss Stewart?" "How the devil should I know!" said Hamilton: "you are acquainted with all her childish amusements. The old Lord Carlingford was at her apartment one evening, shewing her how to hold a lighted wax-candle in her mouth, and the grand secret consisted in keeping the burning end there a long time without its being extinguished. I have, thank God, a pretty large mouth, and, in order to out-do her teacher, I took two candles into my mouth at the same time, and walked three times round the room without their going out. Every person present adjudged me the prize of this illustrious experiment, and Killegrew maintained that nothing but a lantern could stand in competition with me. Upon this she was like to die with laughing; and thus was I admitted into the familiarity of her amusements. It is impossible to deny her being one of the most charming creatures that ever was. Since the court has been in the country, I have had a hundred opportunities of seeing her, which I had not before. You know that the dishabille of the bath is a great convenience for those ladies, who, strictly adhering to all the rules of decorum, are yet desirous to display all their charms and attractions. Miss Stewart is so fully acquainted with the advantages she possesses over all other women, that it is hardly possible to praise any lady at court for a well-turned arm, and a fine leg, but she is ever ready to dispute the point by demonstration; and I really believe, that, with a little address, it would not be difficult to induce her to strip naked, without ever reflecting upon what she was doing. After all, a man must be very insensible to remain unconcerned and unmoved on such happy occasions; and besides, the good opinion we entertain of ourselves is apt to make us think a woman is smitten, as soon as she distinguishes us by habitual familiarity, which most commonly signifies nothing. This is the truth of the matter with respect to myself: my own presumption, her beauty, the brilliant station that sets it off, and a thousand kind things she had said to me, prevented me from making serious reflections; but then, as some excuse for my folly, I must likewise tell you, that the facility I found in making her the tenderest declarations by commending her, and her telling me in confidence a thousand things which she ought not to have intrusted me with, might have deceived or infatuated any other man as well as myself.
"I presented her with one of the prettiest horses in England. You know what peculiar grace and elegance distinguish her on horseback. The king, who, of all the diversions of the chase, likes none but hawking, because it is the most convenient for the ladies, went out the other day to take this amusement, attended by all the beauties of his court. His majesty having galloped after a falcon, and tne whole bright squadron after him, the rustling of Miss Stewards petticoats frightened her horse, which was at full speed, endeavouring to come up with mine, that had been his companion; so that I was the only witness of a disorder in her clothes, which displayed a thousand new beauties to my view. I had the good fortune to make such gallant and flattering exclamations upon that charming disorder, as to prevent her being concerned or out of countenance upon it. On the contrary, this subject of my admiration has been frequently since the subject of our conversation, and did not seem to displease her.
"Old Lord Carlingford, and that mad fellow Crofts (for I must now make you my general confession), those insipid buffoons, were frequently telling her some diverting stories, which passed pretty well with the help of a few old threadbare jests, or some apish tricks in the recital, which made her laugh heartily. As for myself, who know no stories, and do not possess the talent of improving them by telling, if I did know any, I was often greatly embarrassed when she desired me to tell her one: 'I do not know one, indeed,' said I, one day, when she was teasing me on the subject. 'Invent one, then,' said she. 'That would be still more difficult,' replied I; 'but, if you will give me leave, madam, I will relate to you a very extraordinary dream, which has, however, less appearance of truth in it than dreams generally have.' This excited her curiosity, which would brook no denial. I, therefore, began to tell her, that the most beautiful creature in the world, whom I loved to distraction, paid me a visit in my sleep. I then drew her own portrait, with a rapturous description of all her beauties; adding, that this goddess, who came to visit me with the most favourable intentions, did not counteract them by any unreasonable cruelty. This was not sufficient to satisfy Miss Stewart's curiosity: I was obliged to relate every particular circumstance of the kindness I experienced from this delicate phantom; to which she was so very attentive, that she never once appeared surprised or disconcerted at the luscious tale: on the contrary, she made me repeat the description of the beauty, which I drew as near as possible after her own person, and after such charms as I imagined of beauties that were unknown to me.
"This is, in fact, the very thing that had almost deprived me of my senses: she knew very well that she herself was the person I was describing: we were alone, as you may imagine, when I told her this story; and my eyes did their utmost to persuade her that it was herself whom I drew. I perceived that she was not in the least offended at knowing this; nor was her modesty in the least alarmed at the relation of a fiction, which I might have concluded in a manner still less discreet, if I had thought proper. This patient audience made me plunge headlong into the ocean of flattering ideas that presented themselves to my imagination. I then no longer thought of the king, nor how passionately fond he was of her, nor of the dangers attendant upon such an engagement: in short, I know not what the devil I was thinking of; but I am very certain, that if you had not been thinking for me, I might have found my ruin in the midst of these distracted visions."
Not long after, the court returned to London; and from that time, some malevolent star having gained the ascendant, every thing went cross in the empire of love: vexation, suspicions, or jealousies, first entered the field, to set all hearts at variance; next, false reports, slander, and disputes completed the ruin of all.
The Duchess of Cleveland had been brought to bed while the court was at Bristol; and never before had she recovered from her lying-in with such a profusion of charms. This made her believe that she was in a proper state to retrieve her ancient rights over the king's heart, if she had an opportunity of appearing before him with this increased splendour. Her friends being of the same opinion, her equipage was prepared for this expedition; but the very evening before the day she had fixed on to set out, she saw young Churchill, and was at once seized with a disease, which had more than once opposed her projects, and which she could never completely get the better of.
A man who, from an ensign in the guards, was raised to such a fortune, must certainly possess an uncommon share of prudence, not to be intoxicated with his happiness. Churchill boasted in all places of the new favour he had received: the Duchess of Cleveland, who neither recommended to him circumspection in his behaviour, nor in his conversation, did not seem to be in the least concerned at his indiscretion. Thus this intrigue was become a general topic in all companies, when the court arrived in London, and occasioned an immense number of speculations and reasonings: some said she had already presented him with Jermyn's pension, and Jacob Hall's salary, because the merits and qualifications of both were united in his person: others maintained that he had too indolent an air, and too delicate a shape, long to maintain himself in her favour; but all agreed, that a man who was the favourite of the king's mistress, and brother to the duke's favourite, was in a fair way of preferment, and could not fail to make his fortune. As a proof, the Duke of York soon after gave him a place in his household: this was naturally to be expected; but the king, who did not think that Lady Cleveland's kindness to him was a sufficient recommendation to his favour, thought proper to forbid him the court.
This good-natured king began now to be rather peevish; nor was it altogether without reason: he disturbed no person in their amours, and yet others had often the presumption to encroach upon his. Lord Dorset, first lord of the bed-chamber, had lately debauched from his service Nell Gwyn, the actress: Lady Cleveland, whom he now no longer regarded, continued to disgrace him by repeated infidelities with unworthy rivals, and almost ruined him by the immense sums she lavished on her gallants; but that which most sensibly affected him, was the late coldness and threats of Miss Stewart. He long since had offered her all the settlements and all the titles she could desire, until he had an opportunity more effectually to provide for her, which she had pretended only to decline, for fear of the scandal they might occasion, on her being raised to a rank which would attract the public notice; but since the return of the court, she had given herself other airs. Sometimes she was for retiring from court, to appease the continual uneasiness her presence gave the queen: at other times, it was to avoid temptations, by which she wished to insinuate that her innocence was still preserved. In short, the king's heart was continually distracted by alarms, or oppressed by humour and caprice.
As he could not for his life imagine what Miss Stewart wished him to do, or what she would be at, he thought upon reforming his establishment of mistresses, to try whether jealousy was not the real occasion of her uneasiness. It was for this reason, that, after having solemnly declared he would have nothing more to say to the Duchess of Cleveland, since her intrigue with Churchill, he discarded, without any exception, all the other mistresses which he had in various parts of the town. The Nell Gwyns, the Miss Davis's, and the joyous train of singers and dancers in his majesty's theatre, were all dismissed. All these sacrifices were ineffectual: Miss Stewart continued to torment, and almost to drive the king to distraction; but his majesty soon after found out the real cause of this coldness.
This discovery was owing to the officious Duchess of Cleveland, who, ever since her disgrace, had railed most bitterly against Miss Stewart as the cause of it, and against the king's weakness, who, for an inanimate idiot, had treated her with so much indignity. As some of her grace's creatures were still in the king's confidence, by their means she was informed of the king's uneasiness, and that Miss Stewards behaviour was the occasion of it; and as soon as she had found the opportunity she had so long wished for, she went directly into the king's cabinet, through the apartment of one of his pages called Chiffinch. This way was not new to her.
The king was just returned from visiting Miss Stewart, in a very ill humour: the presence of the Duchess of Cleveland surprised him, and did not in the least diminish it. She, perceiving this, accosted him in an ironical tone, and with a smile of indignation: "I hope,'' said she, "I may be allowed to pay you my homage, although the angelic Stewart has forbid you to see me at my own house. I will not make use of reproaches and expostulations, which would disgrace myself: still less will I endeavour to excuse frailties which nothing can justify, since your constancy for me deprives me of all defence, considering I am the only person you have honoured with your tenderness, who has made herself unworthy of it by ill conduct. I come now, therefore, with no other intent than to comfort and to condole with you upon the affliction and grief into which the coldness, or new-fashioned chastity of the inhuman Stewart has reduced your majesty." These words were attended by a fit of laughter, as unnatural and strained as it was insulting and immoderate, which completed the king's impatience: he had, indeed, expected that some bitter jest would follow this preamble; but he did not suppose she would have given herself such blustering airs, considering the terms they were then upon; and, as he was preparing to answer her, "Be not offended," said she, "that I take the liberty of laughing at the gross manner in which you are imposed upon: I cannot bear to see that such particular affectation should make you the jest of your own court, and that you should be ridiculed with such impunity. I know that the affected Stewart has sent you away, under pretence of some indisposition, or perhaps some scruple of conscience; and I come to acquaint you that the Duke of Richmond will soon be with her, if he is not there already. I do not desire you to believe what I say, since it might be suggested, either through resentment or envy: only follow me to her apartment, either that, no longer trusting calumny and malice, you may honour her with a just preference, if I accuse her falsely; or, if my information be true, you may no longer be the dupe of a pretended prude, who makes you act so unbecoming and ridiculous a part."
As she ended this speech, she took him by the hand, while he was yet undecided, and pulled him away towards her rival's apartments. Chiffinch being in her interest, Miss Stewart could have no warning of the visit; and Babiani, who owed all to the Duchess of Cleveland, and who served her admirably well upon this occasion, came and told her that the Duke of Richmond had just gone into Miss Stewart's chamber. It was in the middle of a little gallery, which, through a private door, led from the king's apartments to those of his mistresses. The Duchess of Cleveland wished him good-night, as he entered her rival's chamber, and retired, in order to wait the success of the adventure, of which Babiani, who attended the king was charged to come and give her an account.
It was near midnight: the king, in his way, met his mistress's chambermaids, who respectfully opposed his entrance, and, in a very low voice, whispered his majesty that Miss Stewart had been very ill since he left her; but that, being gone to bed, she was, God be thanked, in a very fine sleep. "That I must see," said the king, pushing her back, who had posted herself in his way. He found Miss Stewart in bed, indeed, but far from being asleep: the Duke of Richmond was seated at her pillow, and in all probability was less inclined to sleep than herself. The perplexity of the one party, and the rage of the other, were such as may easily be imagined upon such a surprise. The king, who, of all men, was one of the most mild and gentle, testified his resentment to the Duke of Richmond in such terms as he had never before used. The duke was speechless, and almost petrified: he saw his master and his king justly irritated. The first transports which rage inspires on such occasions are dangerous: Miss Stewart's window was very convenient for a sudden revenge, the Thames flowing close beneath it: he cast his eyes upon it; and, seeing those of the king more incensed and fired with indignation than he thought his nature capable of, he made a profound bow, and retired, without replying a single word to the vast torrent of threats and menaces that were poured upon him.
Miss Stewart, having a little recovered from her first surprise, instead of justifying herself, began to talk in the most extravagant manner, and said every thing that was most capable to inflame the king's passion and resentment; that, if she were not allowed to receive visits from a man of the Duke of Richmond's rank, who came with honourable intentions, she was a slave in a free country; that she knew of no engagement that could prevent her from disposing of her hand as she thought proper; but, however, if this was not permitted her in his dominions, she did not believe that there was any power on earth that could hinder her from going over to France, and throwing herself into a convent, to enjoy there that tranquillity which was denied her in his court. The king, sometimes furious with anger, sometimes relenting at her tears, and sometimes terrified at her menaces, was so greatly agitated, that he knew not how to answer, either the nicety of a creature who wanted to act the part of Lucretia under his own eye, or the assurance with which she had the effrontery to reproach him. In this suspense, love had almost entirely vanquished all his resentments, and had nearly induced him to throw himself upon his knees, and entreat pardon for the injury he had done her, when she desired him to retire, and leave her in repose, at least for the remainder of that night, without offending those who had either accompanied him, or conducted him to her apartments, by a longer visit. This impertinent request provoked and irritated him to the highest degree: he went out abruptly, vowing never to see her more, and passed the most restless and uneasy night he had ever experienced since his restoration.
The next day the Duke of Richmond received orders to quit the court, and never more to appear before the king; but it seems he had not waited for those orders, having set out early that morning for his country seat.
Miss Stewart, in order to obviate all injurious constructions that might be put upon the adventure of the preceding night, went and threw herself at the queen's feet; where, acting the new part of an innocent Magdalen, she entreated her majesty's forgiveness for all the sorrow and uneasiness she might have already occasioned her: she told her majesty that a constant and sincere repentance had induced her to contrive all possible means for retiring from court; that this reason had inclined her to receive the Duke of Richmond's addresses, who had courted her a long time; but since this courtship had caused his disgrace, and had likewise raised a vast noise and disturbance, which perhaps might be turned to the prejudice of her reputation, she conjured her majesty to take her under her protection, and endeavour to obtain the king's permission for her to retire into a convent, to remove at once all those vexations and troubles her presence had innocently occasioned at court: all this was accompanied with a proper deluge of tears.
It is a very agreeable spectacle to see a rival prostrate at our feet, entreating pardon, and at the same time justifying her conduct. The queen's heart not only relented, but she mingled her own tears with those of Miss Stewart: after having raised her up, and most tenderly embraced her, she promised her all manner of favour and protection, either in her marriage, or in any other course she thought fit to pursue, and parted from her with the firm resolution to exert all her interest in her support; but, being a person of great judgment, the reflections which she afterwards made induced her to change her opinion.
She knew that the king's disposition was not capable of an obstinate constancy: she therefore judged that absence would cure him, or that a new engagement would by degrees entirely efface the remembrance of Miss Stewart: and that, since she could not avoid having a rival, it was more desirable she should be one who had given such eminent proofs of her prudence and virtue. Besides, she flattered herself that the king would ever think himself eternally obliged to her, for having opposed the retreat and marriage of a girl, whom at that time he loved to distraction. This fine reasoning determined her conduct. All her industry was employed in persuading Miss Stewart to abandon her schemes; and what is most extraordinary in this adventure, is, that, after having prevailed upon her to think no more either of the Duke of Richmond, or of a nunnery, she charged herself with the office of reconciling these two lovers.
Indeed it would have been a thousand pities if her negotiation had miscarried: but she did not suffer this misfortune; for never were the king's addresses so eager and passionate as after this peace, nor ever better received by the fair Stewart.
His majesty did not long enjoy the sweets of a reconciliation which brought him into the best good humour possible, as we shall see. All Europe was in a profound peace, since the treaty of the Pyrenees: Spain flattered herself she should be able to recruit, by means of the new alliance she had contracted with the most formidable of her neighbours; but despaired of being able to support the shattered remains of a declining monarchy, when she considered the age and infirmities of her prince, or the weakness of his successor: France, on the contrary, governed by a king indefatigable in business, young, vigilant, and ambitious of glory, wanted nothing but inclination to aggrandize herself.
It was about this time, that the king of France, not willing to disturb the tranquillity of Europe, was persuaded to alarm the coasts of Africa, by an attempt, which if it had even been crowned with success, would have produced little good: but the king's fortune, ever faithful to his glory, has since made it appear, by the miscarriage of the expedition of Gigeri, that such projects only as were planned by himself were worthy of his attention.
A short time after, the king of England, having resolved also to explore the African coasts, fitted out a squadron for an expedition to Guinea, which was to be commanded by Prince Rupert. Those who, from their own experience, had some knowledge of the country, related strange and wonderful stories of the dangers attendant upon this expedition: that they would have to fight not only the inhabitants of Guinea, a hellish people, whose arrows were poisoned, and who never gave their prisoners better quarter than to devour them, but that they must likewise endure heats that were insupportable, and rains that were intolerable, every drop of which was changed into a serpent: that, if they penetrated farther into the country, they would be assaulted by monsters a thousand times more hideous and destructive than all the beasts mentioned in the Revelations.
But all these reports were vain and ineffectual: for so far from striking terror into those who were appointed to go upon this expedition, it rather acted as an incentive to glory, upon those who had no manner of business in it. Jermyn appeared among the foremost of those; and, without reflecting that the pretence of his indisposition had delayed the conclusion of his marriage with Miss Jennings, he asked the duke's permission and the king's consent to serve in it as a volunteer.
Some time before this, the infatuation which had imposed upon the fair Jennings in his favour, had begun to subside. All that now inclined her to this match were the advantages of a settlement. The careless indolence of a lover, who faintly paid his addresses to her, as it were, from custom or habit, disgusted her; and the resolution he had taken, without consulting her, appeared so ridiculous in him, and so injurious to herself, that, from that moment, she resolved to think no more of him. Her eyes being opened by degrees, she saw the fallacy of the splendour which had at first deceived her; and the renowned Jermyn was received according to his real merit when he came to acquaint her with his heroical project. There appeared so much indifference and ease in the raillery with which she complimented him upon his voyage, that he was entirely disconcerted, and so much the more so, as he had prepared all the arguments he thought capable of consoling her, upon announcing to her the fatal news of his departure. She told him "that nothing could be more glorious for him, who had triumphed over the liberty of so many persons in Europe, than to go and extend his conquests in other parts of the world; and that she advised him to bring home with him all the female captives he might make in Africa, in order to replace those beauties whom his absence would bring to the grave."
Jermyn was highly displeased that she should be capable of raillery in the condition he supposed her reduced to; but he soon perceived she was in earnest. She told him, that she considered this farewell visit as his last, and desired him not to think of making her any more before his departure.
Thus far every thing went well on her side. Jermyn was not only confounded at having received his discharge in so cavalier a manner; but this very demonstration of her indif-ference had revived, and even redoubled, all the love and affection he had formerly felt for her. Thus she had both he pleasure of despising him, and of seeing him more entangled in the chains of love than he had ever been before. This was not sufficient: she wished still farther, and very unadvisedly, to strain her resentment.
Ovid's Epistles, translated into English verse by the greatest wits at court, having lately been published, she wrote a letter from a shepherdess in despair, addressed to the perfidious Jermyn. She took the epistle of Ariadne to Theseus for her model. The beginning of this letter contained, word for word the complaints and reproaches of that injured fair to the cruel man by whom she had been abandoned. All this was properly adapted to the present times and circumstances. It was her design to have closed this piece with a description of the toils, perils, and monsters that awaited him in Guinea, for which he quitted a tender mistress, who was plunged into the abyss of misery, and was overwhelmed with grief and despair; but not having had time to finish it, nor to get that which she had written, transcribed, in order to send it to him under a feigned name, she inconsiderately put this fragment, written in her own hand, into her pocket, and still more giddily dropped it in the middle of the court. Those who took it up, knowing her writing, made several copies of it, which were circulated all over the town but her former conduct had so well established the reputation of her virtue, that no person entertained the smallest doubt but the circumstances were exactly as we have related them. Some time after, the Guinea expedition was laid aside for reasons that are universally known, and Miss Jennings's subsequent proceedings fully justified her letter; for, notwithstanding all the efforts and attentions Jermyn practised to regain her affections, she would never more hear of him.
But he was not the only man who experienced the whimsical fatality, that seemed to delight in disuniting hearts, in order to engage them soon after to different objects. One would have imagined, that the God of Love, actuated by some new caprice, had placed his empire under the dominion of Hymen, and had, at the same time, blind-folded that god, in order to cross-match most of the lovers whom we have been speaking of.
The fair Stewart married the Duke of Richmond; the invincible Jermyn, a silly country girl; Lord Rochester a melancholy heiress; the sprightly Temple, the serious Littleton; Talbot, without knowing why or wherefore, took to wife the languishing Boynton; George Hamilton, under more favourable auspices, married the lovely Jennings; and the Chevalier de Grammont, as the reward of a constancy he had never before known, and which he never afterwards practised, found Hymen and Love united in his favour, and was at last blessed with the possession of Miss Hamilton.
Memoirs of Count Grammont