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Edward prince of Wales, his only child by his queen, but even to have been solicitous for the welfare of his illegitimate issue.
Let me add, that lord Orford began to "doubt" Richard's virtues, and in the posthumous "Historic" ones of this king, his lordship seems to think that those wicked actions, he most disbelieved, might have been performed by him. This nobleman had caprices; one was his enmity to sovereigns and their ministers. Of all potentates, he most hated the character of Henry VII., and wished to wipe away the stains of Richard III., merely to lower Henry's reputation, who, he would insinuate, was greatly his inferior.
JOHANNA BAPTISTA VERUE,
DAUGHTER of the duke de Luynes, and a much beloved wife of the count de Verue, a woman of extraordinary beauty, intellect and accomplishment, but an unfaithful wife; to this defect in duty, her husband undesignedly contributed. Not content with possessing such excellence, joined to a love of retirement and domestic life, the thoughtless and imprudent count was perpetually speaking of her charms to his royal master, Victor Amadeus, king of Sardinia and duke of Savoy; a sovereign, who, with many good qualities, was alternately a prey to female art, capricious infatuation, and unavailing repentance.
Hearing so much of the countess de Verue, and her husband frequently boasting how much she excelled all the ladies he saw, the king asked why he did not bring her to Turin? As if impatient of the happiness he enjoyed, and in an unlucky moment, he introduced her at court: she became a favourite with the queen, who little suspected that she was encouraging a rival in the affections of her husband.
Amadeus soon became passionately fond of her. Princes and kings, it has been said, make rapid strides in love: the countess, fascinated by royal attentions, irritated by some real or imaginary neglect on the part of her husband, forgot her duty, and forfeited her reputation.
A separate establishment, guards, and other accompaniments of royalty, soon proclaimed to the indignant public her splendid infamy.
The injured queen was for a long time unacquainted with their amours, till with a design of showing the height of his regard for VOL. III. 2 Z
his fair favourite, and in that peculiar fatality, which often accompanies guilt, Victor actually invited his royal consort to a public entertainment, given in honour of the birth of a child he had by the
It was not till the company sat down to table that the eyes of the unhappy wife were open to the cruel and unfeeling conduct of her husband. The guilty countess was adorned with some of the most valuable of the jewels, which had been presented to the queen on her marriage; naturally provoked at such indecorous and unfeeling treatment, after reproaching them for thus adding insult to injury, the queen immediately left the room.
For the honour of the count, it ought to be recorded, that the moment he perceived the consequences of his folly approaching, he could not reconcile it to himself to remain a silent and contented spectator of domestic dishonour; he repented a thousand times, as we all do, of our indiscretions,—when it is too late.
Having demanded an audience of the king, which, as guilt is always a coward, was denied, in a short interview with his infatuated wife, he pointed out the ingratitude and baseness of her conduct; spoke of the frail texture of royal attachments, and unlawful love; professed himself ready to forgive what had passed, if she would directly separate from her seducer, and with her husband-whom she once professed to love-quit Turin for ever.
Their conversation was interrupted by a message from the king, who probably dreaded the result of so trying a struggle: but the lady showing no symptom of returning duty, the count left her in agonies; and, after indignantly rejecting a pension of two hundred thousand livres, settled on him by the king, the count quitted Turin, and repaired to Paris.
In the blandishments of unhallowed pleasure, and forgetful of her nuptial vows, three years passed quickly away. At length, perceiving a diminution of royal favour, stimulated by compunction, and a return of suppressed affection for her absent husband, and probably disgusted, as every sensible and delicate woman must be, at her degraded condition, which, excepting the thin veil of splendor, differed in no essential from the odious and obscene situation of a prostitute, with the additional character of a foul and ungrateful adulteress, the countess determined to leave the king.
Taking advantage of his absence, on a journey to Chambery, and assisted by her brother, who resided at Paris, and with whom she
had corresponded on the subject, relays of post-horses were provided at short distances; she departed from Turin, and was half way to Paris before Amadeus was apprised of her departure.
The queen's jewels, with a letter for the king, were found on. her toilet; she apologized for her conduct, imputing it to the anguish of repentance for her sinful life; she expressed the warmest sense of his kindness and attention, and concluded with earnestly entreating his majesty to be reconciled to the queen, as it would add considerably to her peace of mind to hear that she was no longer the occasion of separating him from so good and worthy a
Victor, chagrined at her abrupt departure, and apparent want of tenderness, bitterly cursed the whole sex in a transport of rage; but impelled rather by necessity than inclination, he reluctantly followed her advice.
The countess, unhappy although considerably enriched, and still feeling the impressions of her first love, which, however faithless or unworthy the object of it, or we ourselves may prove, we never recollect without regret; the countess, in the hope of being able to compensate for her failure by her future good conduct, and probably wishing to emerge from the infamy of her condition, planned a reconciliation with her husband.
This purpose she wished to accomplish without subjecting herself to the mortification of a notorious refusal. An opportunity soon offered of putting her scheme into execution, and in her own way.
A public entertainment, with a grand masquerade, being announced to be given by a prince of the blood, a few louis-d'ors to his valet enabled the lady to find out that the count de Verue was to be present, and the dress he was to wear.
While the unfaithful wife was making these inquiries, she could not help detaining the servant, an old and faithful domestic of the family, to ask him a few questions concerning his master-the life he led, and the company he kept.
The feelings of the countess may be easily imagined, when the valet informed her that his master neither enjoyed health nor spirits since he left Turin; that his sister, alarmed at the state of her brother's health, had insisted on his consulting a physician, who described the disease as an affection of the mind, entirely out of the reach of medicine, and recommended company and dissipation.
On this principle the unhappy man had been prevailed on to
promise his sister that he would accompany her to the masquerade. The valet added, that the count saw little company, but spent the greatest part of his time in his own room; that his chief attention seemed occupied by a picture, on which he fixed his melancholy eyes for hours together. "A picture," replied the countess, with augmented emotion," a picture! and of whom?"-" Of yourself, madam," said the valet, in an emphatic expressive manner, and immediately quitted the apartment. The adulteress, as if a dagger had pierced her vitals, instantly sunk on the floor in the agonies of bitter repentance.
While she had been passing her unhallowed hours in chambering and wantonness, her deserted husband, the object of her earliest love, and for whom, even in the moments of infidelity, she was not able wholly to suppress her affection, her deserted husband had been solitary, disconsolate, comfortless, and unhappy; still doting on the unfaithful blaster of all his joys.
Such reflections stimulated the countess to pursue her purpose with augmented eagerness; she prepared for the masquerade, and resolved to appear in the assumed character of Diana.
The day which was to decide her fate at length arrived; and as midnight approached, being conveyed to the festive spot, she was literally what she appeared to be, the goddess of the night. Her splendid and expensive dress, ornamented with jewels which were not within the reach of common finances, and her superior air and deportment, attracting general attention.
It was some time before the count appeared: when at last he entered the room, supported by his sister, his debilitated appearance and slow pace soon caught her eye,-HE WAS THE GHOST OF DE
Having seated himself near where she sat, the countess soon contrived to enter into conversation with him, in that kind of audible whisper which, on such occasions, is the general vehicle of folly or of crime. From the state of her feelings she was unable to exhibit external gaiety, while discontent sat heavy on her heart.
Affecting, or actually experiencing indisposition, and hinting a wish to retire, she mentioned, with regret, that her carriage was sent home with orders not to return till a late hour. The count, interested in the fate of the fair stranger, offered to attend her home in his own coach, which he had ordered to wait, designing to make only a short stay. With apparent reluctance, but inward satisfac
tion, she accepted his offer; and they were driven to a house, in magnificence nearly approaching to a palace, in the Fauxbourg, St. Germaine.
The count, though ill able, insisted on handing the lady from his coach. As she descended, the mask, by accident or design, dropped from her face, and discovered that countenance he had so often looked on with tenderness and rapture, drowned in tears.
He paused for a moment, distracted by love, which was still ardent, and resentment proportionably keen; the latter predominated, and, in the anguish of a husband irreparably injured, he turned from the woman he once adored, without uttering a word.
The miserable countess, sinking under the horrors of her situation, was conveyed by the attendants to her apartment; and De Verue, notwithstanding the state of his health, soon after joined a regiment on actual service, and met with that death he had long and ardently desired.
This is another of the numerous instances daily occurring, in which a little prudence, and a little common sense, would have prevented irretrievable calamity.
The count de Verue had too high an opinion of his wife's chastity, and thought she would, like gold, be more pure for passing through the fire;-poor human nature is not made of materials for such trials;-LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION is a safe axiom, laid down by one who well knew, because he made us what
PLATO has very sagaciously observed, that of all the shipwrecks to which the human understanding is liable on the sea of ratiocination, the most common is that of splitting on the rock of false comparisons, or similitudes.
FROM a production of the pen of Mr. SHERIDAN, employed on such a subject as Lord NELSON, every reader will expect much. Yet no reader will be disappointed in his expectations from the following inscription on the tablet of the statue erected to that distinguished commander, which has been recently exposed to public view in Guild Hall, London.