Lady Mary Wortley Montague eBook

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

“Could one believe that Lady Holdernesse is a beauty, and in love? and that Mrs. Robinson is at the same time a prude and a kept mistress? and these things in spite of nature and fortune.  The first of these ladies is tenderly attached to the polite Mr. Mildmay, and sunk in all the joys of happy love, notwithstanding she wants the use of her two hands by a rheumatism, and he has an arm that he cannot move.  I wish I could send you the particulars of this amour, which seems to me as curious as that between two oysters; and as well worth the serious enquiry of the naturalists.  The second heroine has engaged half the town in arms, from the nicety of her virtue, which was not able to bear the too near approach of Senesino in the opera; and her condescension in accepting of Lord Peterborough for her champion, who has signalised both his love and courage upon this occasion in as many instances as ever Don Quixote did for Dulcinea.  Poor Senesino, like a vanquished giant, was forced to confess upon his knees that Anastasia was a nonpariel of virtue and beauty.  Lord Stanhope, as dwarf to the said giant, joked of his side, and was challenged for his pains.  Lord Delawar was Lord Peterborough’s second; my lady miscarried—­the whole town divided into parties on this important point.  Innumerable have been the disorders between the two sexes on so great an account, besides half the house of peers being put under arrest.  By the providence of Heaven, and the wise cares of his Majesty, no bloodshed ensued.  However, things are now tolerably accommodated; and the fair lady rides through the town in triumph, in the shining berlin of her hero, not to reckon the essential advantage of L100 a month, which ’tis said he allows her.”

This story is, as a matter of fact, not far removed from the truth.  It omits, however, the fact that Lord Peterborough, then about sixty years of age, had married Anastasia Robinson in 1722; but the marriage was secret, although Lady Oxford was present at the ceremony, and it was not made public until thirteen years later, although long before there were many who suspected it.  He died in the same year that the announcement was made.  His widow survived him by a score of years.

Sir Godfrey Kneller had a house at Twickenham, and, at the instigation of Pope, sat to him for her portrait, upon which the following lines (generally ascribed to Pope) were written: 

  “The playful smiles around the dimpled mouth. 
  That happy air of majesty and truth;
  So would I draw (but oh! ’tis vain to try,
  My narrow genius does the power deny;)
  The equal lustre of the heav’nly mind,
  Where ev’ry grace with every virtue’s join’d;
  Learning not vain, and wisdom not severe,
  With greatness easy, and with wit sincere;
  With just description show the work divine,
  And the whole princess in my work should shine.”

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Lady Mary Wortley Montague from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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