Lady Mary Wortley Montague eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Lady Mary Wortley Montague.

Her trouble was that she could not get books enough to occupy her time.  She was always asking Lady Bute to send her some, and was duly grateful when they reached her.  “I fancy you are now saying, ’tis a sad thing to grow old; what does my poor mamma mean by troubling me with criticisms on books that nobody but herself will ever read?  You must allow something to my solitude.”  And again:  “I thank God my taste still continues for the gay part of reading.  Wiser people may call it trifling, but it serves to sweeten life to me, and is worst better than the generality of conversation.”

Lady Mary’s taste in books was catholic.  She has seen the “Memoirs of her old friend, the Duchess of Maryborough,” but would be glad of the Apology for a late Resignation and of Colin Campbell’s books on Architecture.  She has read Mrs. Lennox’s The Female Quixote, and much of Sarah Fielding; and she desires Henry Fielding’s posthumous works, with his Memoirs of Jonathan Wild and The Journey to the Next World; also the Memoirs of Verocand, a man of pleasure, and those of a Young Lady.  “You will call all this trash, trumpery, etc.,” she said to her daughter.  “I can assure you I was more entertained by G. Edwards than H. St. John, of whom you have sent me duplicates.  I see new story books with the same pleasure your eldest daughter does a new dress, or the youngest a new baby.  I thank God, I can find playthings for my age.  I am not of Cowley’s mind, that this world is

  ‘A dull, ill-acted comedy;’

nor of Mr. Philips’s, that it is

  ‘A too well-acted tragedy.’

“I look upon it as a very pretty farce, for those that can see it in that light.  I confess a severe critic, that would examine by ancient rules, might find many defects, but ’tis ridiculous to judge seriously of a puppet-show.  Those that can laugh, and be diverted with absurdities, are the wisest spectators, be it of writings, actions, or people.”

Presently Lady Mary is asking for books the names of which she has seen in the-newspapers:  “Fortunate Mistress, Accomplished Rake, Mrs. Charke’s Memoirs, Modern Lovers, History of Two Orphans, Memoirs of David Ranger, Miss Mostyn, Dick Hazard, History of a Lady Platonist, Sophia Shakespear, Jasper Banks, Frank Hammond, Sir Andrew Thompson, Van a Clergyman’s Son, Cheantles and Celemena.  I do not doubt at least the greater part of these are trash, lumber, etc.; however, they will serve to pass away the idle time, if you will be so kind as to send them to your most affectionate mother.”

Richardson Lady Mary liked in spite of herself, as so many others then and since have done, though it is true that she spoke of the “very extraordinary (and I think undeserved) success of Pamela, which, she said, was all the fashion at Paris and Versailles, and is still the joy of the chambermaids of all nations.”

Project Gutenberg
Lady Mary Wortley Montague from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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