An uneventful existence—Montagu’s Parliamentary duties take him to London—Lady Mary stays mostly in the country—Correspondence—Montagu a careless husband, but very careful of his money—Later he becomes a miser—Lady Mary does not disguise the tedium of her existence— Concerning a possible reconciliation with her father—Lord Pierrepont of Hanslope—Lord Halifax—Birth of a son, christened after his father, Edward Wortley Montagu—The mother’s anxiety about his health—Family events—Lady Evelyn Pierrepont marries Baron (afterwards Earl) Gower—Lady Frances Pierrepont marries the Earl of Mar—Lord Dorchester marries again—Has issue, two daughters—the death of Lady Mary’s brother, William—His son, Evelyn, in due course succeeds to the Dukedom of Kingston—Elizabeth Chudleigh—The political situation in 1714—The death of Queen Anne—The accession of George I—The unrest in the country— Lady Mary’s alarm for her son.
The records for the first years of the married life of Edward and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu are scanty indeed. From the wedding day until 1716, when they went abroad, Lady Mary’s life was, for months together, as uneventful as that of the ordinary suburban housewife. Montagu’s parliamentary duties took him frequently to town, and kept him there for prolonged periods, during which he certainly showed no strong desire for her to join him. Lady Mary, indeed, spent most of the time in the country. Sometimes she stayed at the seat of her father-in-law, Wharncliffe Lodge, near Sheffield; occasionally she visited Lord Sandwich at Hinchinbrooke; for a while they stayed at Middlethorpe, in the neighbourhood of Bishopthorpe and York. From time to time they hired houses in other parts of Yorkshire. The honeymoon lasted from August until October, 1712, when Montagu had to go to Westminster.
The first letter of this period is dated characteristically: “Walling Wells, October 22, which is the first post I could write. Monday night being so fatigued and sick I went straight to bed from the coach.” It starts:
“I don’t know very well how to begin; I am perfectly unacquainted with a proper matrimonial stile. After all, I think ’tis best to write as if we were not married at all. I lament your absence, as if you were still my lover, and I am impatient to hear you are got safe to Durham, and that you have fixed a time for your return.”
Marriage made Lady Mary more human. She no longer dwelt upon the various points that in her maidenhood days she had thought would be conducive to happiness in matrimonial life; she was now, anyhow for the moment, in love with her husband, or at least persuaded herself that this was the case, and was at pains to inform him of the fact.