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began to grow restive, and evince symptoms of a disposition to rebel, we are treated with bursts of insolence, ebullitions of passion, and a desperate defiance of decorum and propriety.
Many brave ladies in the park to-day ; among others, Castlemaine lay impudently upon her back, in her coach, asleep, with her mouth open.” Her disputes with the king, and their mutual infidelities, became, in the latter part of their intercourse, open and avowed. He would sometimes give her foul wordscall her jade, that meddled with things she had no business with; a compliment she returned, by terming him a fool that allowed himself to be governed by fools. People observed to one another, how imperious this woman was; how she hectored the king into doing whatever she pleased, and that her influence over him was not that of a mistress, for she evidently scorned him, but of a tyrant. Sometimes, he taxed her with her infidelities ; to which she vouchsafed no other answer than a slighting puh! with her mouth, or a threat, that she would print his letters, and expose him to the world. Her custom, on these occasions, was to leave the palace, and retire into lodgings; whence his majesty, in the course of a day or two, would prevail upon her, by some act of self-abasement, as going on his knees and acknowledging his fault, to return to Court. The very people in the streets would exclaim," the king cannot leave town till my Lady Castlemaine be ready to go along with him.” When her women happened to quarrel, she would cause the king to interfere, and make them friends again. The Duke of York, his amours, and the subjection in which his wife held him, appear to have been standing jests with the king. Reflecting upon his brother's matrimonial servitude, he observed once to some of his intimates, that he would go no more abroad with this Tom Otter (meaning the duke) and his wife. Tom Killigrew, who'was present, said,
pray what is the best for a man, to be a Tom Otter to his wife or his mistress ?” Indeed, the king had grown heartily weary of Castlemaine, and her caprices, long before he could assume courage to break the chains, with which she had bound him.
Queen Catherine- In the midst of all this courtship and gallantry passing under her very eye, the queen appears to have led an easy careless life, without troubling her head very much about the vagaries of her partner. He was civil to her; and, in the ordinary observances of the matrimonial life, an exemplary husband. She, in return, after her first disappointment had been digested at finding herself a mere appendage to the court, became discreet and tractable. She would bid Castlemaine not detain the king so long at her house, for the weather was
severe, and the distance from Wbitehall considerable, and his majesty was already troubled with a cold. At the period when Charles was solely occupied with courting Mrs. Stewart, she would pause a moment, before entering the apartment of the latter, who was one of her maids of honour, and by some slight cough, or other signal, make them aware of her approach. She had once, it is said, broken in upon them somewhat unseasonably. To take the air with her ladies, sit finely dressed on great occasions, dance eternally, and pay ber devotions-she was a great devotee-were the ordinary amusements of Catherine of Braganza. Like the lady of Commodore Trunnion, to fancy herself about to become a mother, and amuse herself with vain hopes, was another of her recreations. The poor lady fell ill—was thought to be at the last extremity-pigeons were applied to the soles of her feet, and extreme unction administered. All the court was on tip-toe with expectations—the little Stewart's heart beat with unusual violence, and the duke's friends prayed with more than ordinary fervour, for “ the queen, and all the royal family.” The crisis, however, passed over. She fell into a gentle delirium, and it was observed by those around her, how the wishes of her heart were expressed in the wanderings of her distempered fancy. She would talk of having one, two-nay, three children; only she was sorry that the boy should be so ugly. “Yet, his majesty said, no, it was a very pretty boy; and, indeed, if it was so like himself, as people said, it would be pretty, &c." On awaking, she would start, and inquire, with eagerness,“ how are the children ?"
The following extract presents a lively idea of the court of Charles II. in its glory; and we give it in this place, because the persons, whose characters we have been discussing, are the principal figures of the piece. There is a reality in the few descriptive touches that occur, which gives this rough sketch a value that does not always belong to delineations much more elaborate. In our opinion, it is worth a chapter of De Grammont.
“ July 13th, 1663. Walking in the Pall Mall, I met the queenmother, led by my lord St. Alban's, and hearing that the king and queen are rode abroad with the ladies of honour to the park, and seeing a great crowd of gallants staying here to see her return, I also staid, walking up and down. By and by, the king and queen, who looked in this dress (a white-laced waistcoat, and a crimson short petticoat, and her hair dressed à la negligence) mighty pretty; and the king rode hand-in-hand with her. Here was also my Lady Castlemaine rode among the rest of the ladies; but the king took, methought, no notice of her; nor, when she did light, did any body
press (as she seemed to expect, and staid for it) to take her down, but was taken down by her own gentleman. She looked mighty out of humour, and had a yellow plume in her hat, (which all took notice of,) and yet is very handsome, but very melancholy: nor did any body speak to her, or she so much as smile or speak to any body. I followed them up into Whitehall, and into the queen's presence, where all the ladies walked, talking and fiddling with their hats and feathers, and changing and trying one another's, by one another's heads, and laughing. But it was the finest sight to me, considering their great · beauty and dress, that ever I did see in all my life. But, above all, Mrs. Stewart in this dress, with her hat cocked and a red plume, with her sweet eye, little Roman nose, and excellent taille, is now the greatest beauty I ever saw, I think, in my life; and, if ever woman can, do exceed my Lady Castlemaine, at least in this dress: nor do I wonder if the king changes, which, I verily believe, is the reason of his coldness to my Lady Castlemaine,"
Lord Sandwich.-This nobleman, of a weak, and not very high principled, but amiable character, seems to have aimed at uniting, in his person, the man of pleasure, and the man of business, and serving his majesty in both capacities alike. The miserable anxiety of a courtier's life is well exemplified in his history :-"0! how wretched is that poor man, who hangs on princes' favours !! He moved, apparently, up and down the court like one walking on slippery ground, and constantly in apprehension of a fall. Dependent entirely on the hold which he was able to keep of the king's mutable favour, a smile or a frown was life or death to his hopes. To be sent for by his majesty to my Lady Castlemaine's, to play at cards, was happiness; and he professed himself glad at any time to lose fifty pounds to be so invited. We find him always calculating the chance of this person rising, or that person falling; and considering to whom he ought to adhere, whom it was his interest to abandon; with whom he stood well or ill, and upon whose friendship he would reckon on an emergency. His kindness to Lady Castlemaine, he apprehended, had brought upon him the queen's displeasure; but then, why should he fall for the sake of one, who had neither wit, management, nor interest, to hold up any one? He had brought her over from Portugal, and had, doubtless, employed his opportunity of paying court to her to advantage. But when it turned out, that she, poor lady, instead of being able to afford countenance, stood in need of some one to countenance her, my lord thought himself no longer under any obligation to stand by her against his own interests. How anxious, too, he shews himself, to fasten an obligation upon any one whom he considered a person likely to rise at court-sorry, for example, that Sir H. Bennett had declined his present of a gold cup, because that would have
given him some claim upon his kind offices; whereas it was to be feared, that Sir H. had refused his gift in order to avoid any such claim. Then, there was the risk of having to reconcile opposite interests and friendships, and the difficulty of steering safely between parties to whom he was under equal obligation. Thus, when the faction of Bennett and of Lord Bristol were driving so furiously against the Chancellor, that his downfal began to be apprehended, Lord Sandwich found himself in a dilemma of the nature above described. He acknowledged that Clarendon had been his greatest friend; and, therefore, he would not join in any active measures against him; but keep aloof from both parties alike, and "passively carry himself even.” For the rest of his character, he was always needy, because he never lived within compass; in religion, a lover of uniformity in church-service and discipline -otherwise, “wholly sceptical ;” and a gambler.
The Duke of Albemarle.—This individual retained his influ. ence at court, for whose meridian his coarse and vulgar manners and conversation might otherwise have disqualified him, solely on the ground of his services at the Restoration. It was in this style that he would talk :- De Ruyter was bearing down upon his ship, with an evident design of giving him a broadside. “ Now," says he (chewing tobacco the while,) “will this fellow come, and give me two broadsides, and then he shall run." On the contrary, De Ruyter held him to it two hours, till the duke himself was forced to retreat, and be towed off, the Dutchman staying till he had refitted his vessel. One on board observed to the duke, “Sir, methinks De Ruyter hath given us more than two broadsides.” “Well,” rejoined the duke, • but you shall find him run by and by.” And so, indeed, he did; but not till Albemarle himself had first been made to retreat. That paragon of beauty and virtue, his wife, was equally notorious for selling every office that she could lay her hands upon, as for giving nasty dirty dinners. Albemarle fell, latterly, as low in the estimation of people, as he had once stood undeservedly high ; and received one or two slights from the king, which affected him more than the loss of credit. However, he consoled himself with his bottle. “He is grown a drunken sot, and drinks with nobody but Troutbecke, whom nobody else will keep company with.” There was a story abroad, at the time, that these two worthies being at their cups, Albemarle expressed his wonder that “Nan Hyde should have come to be Duchess of York ;” “Nay,” returned Troutbecke, “ne'er wonder at that; for if you will give me another bottle, I will tell you a greater miracle.” And what was that, but that “our dirty Bess (meaning his duchess) should come to be Duchess of Albemarle !"
Lord Chancellor Clarendon.-Clarum et venerabile nomen; but only one more example of the truth of that Scripture, which saith,
every man is but vanity, and a great man is a lie.” His authority in government may be considered as having been quite absolute, during the first years of his administration. But it was the king's belief
, that he could not dispense with his policy and services, that alone preserved his ascendancy so long. He loved the chancellor neither as a companion, nor as a friend; and grew at length, from the latter's domineering spirit, to hate him inveterately. This overweening pride on the part of Clarendon, and his assumption of superiority, together with a contempt for the judgment of others, which he was at no pains to conceal, more than all his other failings together, recommended that minister to the hearty dislike of his contemporaries. At the council board, and elsewhere, he always intimated plainly enough what he as clearly felt, that the rest of the persons present were immeasurably below him. His manner of speaking was rather that of one informing his company of something which he knew well enough himself, but of which they were entirely ignorant, than of a cabinet minister in consultation with his colleagues. The king evidently submitted to him, as a school boy to his master. Thus, when that featherbrained nobleman, Lord Bristol, was playing off some of his stage-tricks in the house of lords, and his majesty was under some apprehensions in consequence, he is described as running up and down, and to and from, the chancellor's, like a boy. Another circumstance, that excited the sinister remarks of the malevolent, was his making the king trot every day to him, when he himself, though too ill to come to council, was well enough to go a much greater distance to visit his cousin, the chief justice. Of the thraldom under which his majesty lay, we may form some conception from the ecstacy into which the court was thrown when the great seal was, at length, returned by the hands of secretary Morrice. As soon as it was brought, Baptist May, keeper of the privy purse, fell upon his knees before the king, caught him about the legs, gave him joy, and said that this was the first day they could call him King of England, now that he was freed from this great man.
Some busy meddling peer, once told the king, that the chancellor had openly declared his majesty to be a “lazy person, and unfit to govern.
Why," returned Charles, " that is no news, for he hath told me so twenty times, and but the other day he told me so.” Though the king replied to these, and similar intimations, which the courtiers were not backward in giving him, with his usual sang-froid, they did not the less rankle in his breast. The evil day at length fell upon Clarendon, and the king was at liberty to discharge his bosom of the gall,
VOL. XIII. PART I.