11 MAY 1901, Page 17


TIARRIET, COUNTESS GRANVILLE.* Am, who remember the entertaining letters of Lady Granville (from 1810 to 1845), published in 1894, will not fail to be struck, when they open the pages of the interest- ing volume which has just appeared, by the contrast between the Lady Granville of the earlier and the Lady Granville of the later period.

As the poet sang of her mother—Georgia,na, Duchess of Devonshire—she was a "lady nursed in pomp and pleasure" sister of a Duke whose magnificence was the talk of Europe; and connected with the greatest people in the country. But in England this means connected with those who are engaged in the great work of the world, and who in turn can command the society of all who are distinguished in art, science, and literature. In 1824, when Lord Granville was appointed Am- bassador at the Court of St. Germain, she exchanged the bril- liant circles of London for a still more conspicuous position in

Paris. Charles X. had just ascended the throne, the emigres had returned, and she mixed with the crime de la crime of the

Faubourg. Her first impressions were not very favourable. She writes to her sister :—

" My dear, French people are—what shall I say ? what I do

not like, as most comprehensive They are one and all factitious. Now let me try to make you as fait about them

I wale in and am put on a couch, up comes a jeans Duchesse or vieille Marquise and gives we five minutes, such as I to my shame have sometimes given to a country neighbour or some distant connection, Now for a few of les phrases d'usage which from their tone and manner give me a wish to hurl the cushions of their conches at their crêpes heads Vous aims Paris. eons vous plai sea parmi none,' neither a doubt nor question ! Lady use tette est teen, on as la soupconnerait pas d'et re Anglaise, vow ayes des

• Solna Records of the Later We of Harriet, Countess of Granville. By her Granddaughter, the Bon. Dirs. °Meld.. London: Longmans and Co. [1613.]

enfants, vous hes bien heureuse de pousoir 148 former d Paris.'. Now I will tell you why I think there are more agreeable people to be deterres in this immense city. I have just received a note from Mine. de Coigny, piiillont d'ssprit. I eat half an hour yesterday with the Princesse de Vandemont. She is uncom- monly agreeable, full of new thought and strong opinions, cordial and good-natured, and as natural as her monkey. I went also to the Duchesse de Baguse, and found her the most comfortable, kind, merry, fat little woman. She receives every Sunday quite a different set, and I promise myself to titer de at terrain la after having been to the Orleans, who I hear are very delightful. But oh ! it is the woman made by Herbault, Victorine, and Alexandre, who looks to see if you have six curls or five on the side of your head, who talks, dictates, condescends, and sneers at me—quos ego. It is odd that their effect upon me is to crush me with the sense of my inferiority, while lain absolutely gasping with the sense of my superiority?'

Lady Granville, however, did her best to rival these fine ladies as far as dress was concerned :—

" I was dressed d'une elegance. I have sent a sketch of my new shape to Hart [the Duke of Devonshire], my face, as Mr. Hill once said, Lord help it,' but my miss was faultless. I am more convineed than ever that if manners make the man, dress makes the manners, and strong in the ease of my new corset, in the tidiness of my new silk gown, feet unentangled in my flounces, and hair crepe into the solidity of a wig, I behaved to perfection, and returned home with a very comfortable self-approbation and a diminished dread of representation."

Later on she modified her opinion of French society. She wrote :—" I am glad I warned you not to betray my opinion.

They are all so kind, civil, and privenants that I half repent having given it so decidedly." Her short sketches of character

are very amusing. She liked very much some of her colleagues, especially Madame Apponyi, the Austrian Ambassadress, whom she describes as yearning for sympathy, with a tear in her eyes, and the Princess Lieven, the Russian Ambassadress :—

" Madame de Lieven is invariably gay and brilliantly agree- able. She can keep off bores because she has the courage to ecraser them. The sublimities sometimes clash, but that, to her taste, is a small evil. It would kill me to have Berryer and Mold tete-a-frau looking daggers at each other, but elle sail sager. The pleasantest women go to her. The scene se repite here— merrier perhaps. Here fools rush in, there angels fear to tread."

Lamartine, Berryer, Gnizot, Talleyrand, &c., were among her intimates. Of Talleyrand she writes in June, 1832 :—" Did I tell you Talleyrand paid me a long visit on Wednesday morning? I never knew before the power of his charms. First of all it is difficult and painful to believe that he is not the very best man in the world, so gentle, so kind, so simple, and so grand. One forgets the past life, the present look. He raves of the Queen here (Marie Amelie), and she is admirable."

Lady Granville had, of course, many moments of fatigue and satiety, and a longing for a more domestic life with her husband and children. As one of her friends said to her : " C'est terrible de s'attacher si fortement it sweet 'ome " ; but still she was very happy in Paris, as appears in a letter from her daughter to Lady Carlisle :—

" My dear Aunt, Mama is gone to the Chamber of Deputies, and has people to dinner. Independently of Mama's wish to see you all again, she certainly does enjoy her existence here extremely. The way of living, the early hours, and the climate do certainly suit her, and also the occupation and little excite- ment of her position she does not dislike, and it must be a pleasure to her to feel how well she does it all, and how popular she is."

Her letters at this time show us the gracious Ambassadress, the charming woman of the world, who cannot quite resist laughing at the follies and weaknesses of her acquaintance. Many people are scandalised by what to them appears

insincerity, but surely it is much more unpleasant to be laughed at to one's face than behind one's back. In the former case, if one is cursed with a sympathetic temperament

one becomes as stupid and foolish as one's interlocutor wishes to think one, thereby giving a triumph to the enemy; while in the second, one may say with the French husband of his flirting wife : " Quand on ne le sait pas ce n'est rien, quand on le salt &est pen de chose." As an Ambassadress and for the honour of England, Lady Granville was doubly bound to please, and she must be excused for occasionally indemni- fying herself for the constraint by a droll allusion to the amusing peculiarities of those with whom she came in contact besides we must always remember that her letters were really and truly never meant to be published, neither the brilliant, joyous letters of the first two volumes, nor the sad ones in which she poured out her sorrow after her bereavement. She wrote to her daughter: "I know you do not show what I write."

Lord Granville's health began to fail in the early "forties," and his wife was very anxious. Hitherto she had possessed every blessing that heaven and earth can bestow,—a loving and dearly loved husband; delightful children, who grew up to be distinguished men and women; relations and friends who were scarcely less dear; success and prosperity on every side. But in 1846 Lord Granville died, and all was changed.

She never entirely ieDovered from the shock. "In the first moment of her grief," her biographer says, "she was perfectly overwhelmed by it. She entirely gave up the world and lived in the most absolute retirement, avoiding all society except that of her nearest relatives. Her chief solace was in religion." Soon after the blow fell which shattered her existence, she went to Rushmore, the home of her elder daughter, Susan Lady Rivers. Mrs. Oldfield writes :—

• "I remember our awe-struck feeling when we were admitted into her presence. Only my little brother Granville was kept out of the way on account of his name. Her eldest son was always, to the day of his death, called Leveson ' by his own family. She used to spend much of her time in writing in commonplace-books, collecting her extracts from a variety of authors of every opinion and almost of every creed, very often adding remarks of her own. These extracts form a sort of journal of the later years of her life. After her visit to Rush- more, Lady Granville took for a few months a home at Bourne- mouth, where she had many of her grandchildren with her."

She writes thence to her daughter, Lady Georgiana Fullerton: —"I feel you think of me, and that is one link to earth. You will like to know that I am well To you alone I say that a little of a La Trappe life is medicine and sedative to me, varied this morning by teaching music to George and knitting to his brother, their radiant joyous faces turned towards me. I felt that ingratitude for blessings is, when allowed, a besetting sin. God bless my dearest child." Another time she writes to the same daughter:—" My life, strange as it seems, is very full, monastic regularity of deed,

tremendous want of limit in thought and tumultuous feeling." Wherever she was she was in the habit of visiting the poor, but her charity was not indiscriminate, for she said: "I think charity to drones is robbery of bees." She taught her grandchildren to read to the old and blind and

to exercise self-denial on their behalf. One of her employ- ments was making all sorts of ingenious trifles to be sold for and by the poor. She made all kinds of pretty things, book- markers, butterflies, &c., herself, and if any one contributed to her basket her pleasure was "almost," Mrs. Oldfield says, "like that of a child. All this made her most lovable and attractive. She was boundless in her generosity. My mother used to say that she was afraid of admiring anything or saying that she wished to possess anything lest my grand- mother should give it to her. She only grudged money spent on herself. The great bitterness of her grief was being soothed not only by the affection of those dearest to her, but by the Sweet influences of Nature, and above all by the holy influences of religion." She was still subject to fits of nervous tension, but even in her prosperous days she had not been free from them,— a sort of anxious, vague apprehension and anguish which only

those who have suffered from it can understand. In April, 1848, she writes :—" I awoke this morning with an unusual degree of depression and nervous anxiety." At Bournemouth she sought for greater solitude than she could find in her own house. She wished to be somewhere where she could feel atone with Nature and Nature's God, and she obtained permission to Vend several hours of each day in a little Coastguard's hut on the West Cliff. When she was at Rushmore, Lord Rivers fitted up for her a room in a cottage in the park, where she could enjoy undisturbed the solitude which was essential to her comfort. Although so far from the world's tumult, the echo of the French Revolution of February, 1848, reaehed

her. She felt much for the Queen Marie Amelie. She wrote :—

" 'It must have been a cross almost too heavy to bear without amplaining— to see, day by day, tokens of a faint heart and selfish purpose coming out in the words and acts of those on whom the depended. It added to her exile the worst form of desolation, the loneliness of a high unbroken spirit in the throng of shrink- ing and inconstant men.' I altered this from a sentence of Manning, s after hearing of the Queen of the French imploring her husband to get on his horse accompanied by his sons on Moire, and that she Wvuld await the result dn tho baldony of the palace." Lady Granville rejoiced in being an Englishwoman, especially at this time. Her biographer writes :— "May 8th (1848).—Lady Granville was not unmoved by the revo- lutions on the Continent, and was comparing with them the calm and peacefulness of our own land. The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground : That had the waters round about it, whose ram- part was the sea and her wall was from the sea. None know what a mercy it is to live under a good and wholesome law that have not considered the sad condition of being subject to the will of one unlimited man. Few are sufficiently aware how much reason we have to thank God for being Englishmen

I love thee when I see thee stand The hope of every other land, A sea-mark in the tide of Time.' "

In 1849 Lady Granville was at Chiswick, the charming villa belonging to the Duke of Devonshire, which became hers after his death. She writes: "I found that my brother had fitted up my little sitting-room with two beautiful bookcases full of the most delightful books, with his wonderful tact as well as kindness, knowing all that must interest and please me."

Although the Bible was supreme, she took an interest in all sorts of reading, poetry and prose, old and new, from Chaucer and Seneca down to Tennyson and Aubrey de Vere, The Vestiges of Creation, and other books of the day.

In 1854 the Duke of Devonshire had a paralytic stroke, after which he was never able to use his right hand. With great energy he learnt to write with his left, and to keep him company Lady Granville also began the same practice, and continued it ever afterwards. From this time she devoted herself very much to her brother, and did all in her power to cheer him. She wrote to Lady Georgiana :—

" He is charmed with my notes, jokes, and copyings. Oh! near and dear ! what a strange woman I am to be able to put on this outside bravery.' One must guard it like all else—some people I know would shrink from it and think it not like living with real people."

Her interest in politics had always been somewhat languid unless personal, but her son, Lord Granville, was now coming to the front, and she was much interested in his career.

Although she never again mixed in general society, she took a house in London, in which she delighted to

receive her children and grandchildren. She roused her- self also to visit her nearest relations in their various beautiful houses. She was a great deal at Castle Howard with her sister, Lady Carlisle, who at this time was in failing health.- Indeed, the next few years were filled by family sorrows. Five children of Lord and Lady Rivers, Lady Georgiana Fullarton's only child, the Duke of Devonshire, and Lady Carlisle all passed away in the "fifties?' Also her two daughters-in-law, to whom she was fondly attached,—Lady Margaret Leveson Gower and Marie, Lady Granville. The latter was one of the most attractive women ever seen, beautiful and graceful, with a foreign gaiety which added to her charm. She was a Roman Catholic by birth, and Lady Georgiana Fullerton became one. It is beautiful to see how, while remaining a steadfast Protestant herself, Lady Granville and her daughter continued in the utmost sympathy on the most sacred subjects. She prefaces the following passage from John Wesley on "Catholic Spirit" by these words : "This is what I wish Georgy and myself to feel towards each other" :— 6- Give me thy hand. I do not mean, be of my opinion; you need not, I do not expect or desire it, neither do I mean I will be of your opinion. I cannot, it does not depend on my choice; I can no more think than I can see or hear as I will. Keep your own opinion and I mine, as steadily as ever. You need not even endeavour to come over to me, or bring me over to you. I do not desire you to dispute points or to hear or speak one word con- cerning them. Only give me thine hand. I do not mean embrace my modes of worship, or I will embrace yours. I have no desire to dispute with you one moment, let all small points stand aside, let them never come into sight. If thine heart is as my heart, if thou love God and all mankind, I ask no more, give me thine hand."

Lady Granville died on November 25th, 1862.