Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

interviews which afterwards took place at this romantic spot; our walks sometimes continued till past midnight: the Duke of York and Lord Malden were always of the party, and our conversation was composed of general topics. The prince had from his infancy been wholly secluded, and naturally took much pleasure in conversing about the busy world, its manners and pursuits, characters and scenery. Nothing could be more delightful or more rational than our midnight perambulations. I always wore a dark coloured habit; the rest of our party generally wrapped themselves in great coats to disguise them, excepting the Duke of York, who almost universally alarmed us by the display of a buff coat, the most conspicuous colour he could have selected for an adventure of this nature. The polished and fascinating ingepuousness of his royal highness's man

MOI

[ocr errors]

ners contributed not a little to liven our promenades. He sung wih exquisite taste ; and the iones of his voice, breaking the silence of the vight, have often appeared to my entranced senses like more than mortal melody, Often have I lam ned the distance which destiny had placed between us : how my soul would have idolized such a husband! Alas! how often, in the ardent enthusiasm of my soul, have I formed the wish that being were mine alone to whom partial millions were to look up for protection.

- The Duke of York was now on the eve of quitting the country for Hanover, the prince was also on the point of receiving his first establishment; and the apprehension that his attachment to a married woman might injure his royal highness in the opinion of the world, rendered the caution which we in yariably observed of the

ere

utmost importance. A considerable time elapsed in these delightful scenes of visionary happiness. The prince's attachment seemed to increase daily, and I considered myself as the most blest of human beings. During some time we had enjoyed our meetings in the neighbourhood of Kew, and I now only looked forward to the adjusting of his royal highness's establishment for the public avowal of our mutual attachment.”

Proceeding with her narrative, Mrs. Robinson informs us that the daily prints now indulged the malice of her enemies by the most scandalous paragraphs respecting the Prince of Wales and herself. “ I now found it,” says she, “ too late to stop the hourly augmenting torrent of abuse that was poured upon me from all quarters. Whenever I appeared in public, I was overwhelmed by the gazing of the

on

multitude. I was frequently obliged to quit Ranelagh, owing to the crowd which staring curiosity bad assembled round my box; and, even in the streets of the metropolis, I scarcely ventured to enter a shop without experiencing the greatest inconvenience. Many hours have I waited till tlie crowd dispersed which surrounded my carriage, in expectation of my quitting the shop. I cannot suppress a smile at the absurdity of such proceeding, when I remember that, during nearly three seasons, I was almost every night upon the stage, and that I had then been near five years with Mr. Robinson at every fashionable place of entertainment. You, my dear Sir,* in your quiet haunts of transatlantic simplicity, will find some difficulty in reconciling

* This narrative is extracted from a letter ad. dressed by the fair writer to a friend in America, sometime in the year 1783.

these things to your mind-these unaccountable instances of national absurdity. Yet so it is, I am well assured, that were a being, possessed of more than human endowments, to visit this country, it would experience indifference, if not total neglect, while a less worthy mortal might be worshipped as the idol of the day, if whispered into notoriety by the comments of the multitude. But, thank heaven! my heart was not formed in the mould of callous effrontery. I shuddered at the gulf before me, and felt small gratification in the knowledge of having taken a step, which many, who condemned, would have been no less willing to imitate, had they been placed in the same situation.

“Previous to my first interview with his royal highness, in one of his letters I was astonished to find a bond of the most solemn and binding nature, con

OUC

« ZurückWeiter »