Lady Gower did not long enjoy her victory over her friends and her fond relations, for she died in June, 1727.
In May, 1732, Lord Mar died at Aix-la-Chapelle. Lady Mary’s sister, Lady Mar, in later years suffered from mental irregularity. Her brother-in-law, James Erskine, Lord Grange, endeavoured to secure possession of her person by some process of law, but was thwarted by Lady Mary, who obtained a warrant from the King’s Bench. For years Lady Mar remained in her sister’s custody. She survived until 1761. There was a rumour that Lady Mary treated her badly, but there is no reason to believe that there was any substantial ground for the accusation.
Lady Mary’s daughter, Mary, married in 1736, John Stuart, third Earl of Bute, the favourite of the Princess of Wales, and afterwards Prime Minister.
ON THE CONTINENT (1739-1744)
Lady Mary leaves England—She does not return for twenty years—Montagu supposed to join her—The domestic relations of the Montagus—A septennial act for marriage—Lady Mary corresponds with her husband—Dijon—Turin—Venice—Bologna—Florence—The Monastery of La Trappe—Horace Walpole at Florence—His comments on Lady Mary and her friends—Reasons for his dislike of her—Rome—The Young Pretender and Henry, Cardinal York—Wanderings—Cheapness of life in Italy—Lady Mary’s son, Edward—He is a great trouble to his parents—His absurd marriage—His extravagance and folly—Account of his early years—He visits Lady Mary at Valence—Her account of the interviews.
In July, 1739, Lady Mary went abroad. She did not return until the beginning of 1762, a few months before her death.
She went abroad without her husband, and, indeed, they never met again. At first, apparently, he had intended to join her—at least so she gave Lady Pomfret to understand:
“You have put me to a very difficult choice, yet, when I consider we are both in Italy, and yet do not see one another, I am astonished at the capriciousness of my fortune” (she wrote from Venice late in 1739). “My affairs are so uncertain, I can answer for nothing that is future. I have taken some pains to put the inclination for travelling into Mr. Wortley’s head, and was so much afraid he would change his mind, that I hastened before him in order (at least) to secure my journey. He proposed following me in six weeks, his business requiring his presence at Newcastle. Since that, the change of scene that has happened in England has made his friends persuade him to attend parliament this session: so that what his inclinations, which must govern mine, will be next spring I cannot absolutely foresee. For my own part, I like my own situation so well that it will be a displeasure to me to change it. To postpone such a conversation as yours a whole twelvemonth is a terrible appearance; on the other hand, I would not follow the example of the first of our sex, and sacrifice for a present pleasure a more lasting happiness. In short, I can determine nothing on this subject. When you are at Florence, we may debate it over again.”