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COURT AND FASHIONABLE
FOR APRIL, 1909.
1. An Elegant PORTRAIT of the RIGHT HON. LADY GERTRUDE VILLIERS.
2. TWO WHOLE-LENGTH FIGURES in the FASHIONS of the SEASON, COLOURED.
3. An ORIGINAL SONG, set to Music for the Harp and Piano-forte; composed exclusively for this Work, by Mr. Hook.
4. Two elegant and new PATTERNS for NEEDLE-WORK.
London: Printed by and for J. BELL, Proprietor of the WEEKLY MESSENGER, Southamptom-Street,
Strand, May 1, 1809.
COURT AND FASHIONABLE
For APRIL, 1809.
The Forty-fourth Number.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LADY GERTRUDE VILLIERS.
circles of dissipation, which the proud look down upon with contempt, and the gay with indifference. It would be difficult to find amongst the youthful females of the
ed with more industry and parental precaution than that of her Ladyship's. She has been brought up under the immediate superintendance of the most accomplished woman, and the care which has been bestowed upon her education has well rewarded the sanguine expectations of her parents.
LADY GERTRUDE VILLIERS, a Portrait of whom is prefixed to the present Number of La Belle Assemblée, is the only daughter of the Right Honourable Earl Grandison. From the youth of her Lady-nobility of Great Britain a character formship, and very recent introduction into the fashionable world, she is not to be considered as a public character; she has not yet become celebrated for that fashionable splendour, and consequent notoriety, which is peculiar to high life. Her Ladyship's privacy, however, has been attended with its customary advantages; it has fostered those virtues of the domestic kind which dignify, if they do not decorate life. The seclusion of her education has given opportunities to the culture of those duties which are so generally slighted in the
We can declare indeed with truth, that it would be difficult to point out to our young nobility a more perfect pattern of domestic excellence than that exhibited by Lady Gertrude Villiers.
HYMENÆA IN SEARCH OF A HUSBAND.
I find by your Magazine of the last month that you have given my letter a distinguished place in your fashionable receptacle. I know not whether I have much of the vanity of an author, but I have certainly the vanity of a woman, and therefore feel no inconsiderable satisfaction at dis tinction and precedence.-With these sentiments. Sir, I proceed in my narrative.
I believe I have before expressed my indignant astonishment, that mankind should || be so unjust as to ridicule those whom their own neglect alone has rendered ridiculous. There are many points of difference between ancient and modern manners, but in nothing do they differ more than that the ancients were accustomed to consider many things as venerable and respectable which the moderns have scouted as ridiculous and contemptible. Thus has it been with the single part of the female sex. The virgins of the ancients were the old maids of the present day. In ancient times the most distinguished offices of religion were assigned to that species, who, according to the present practice, are rendered ridiculous under the appellation of old maids. What else were the vestal virgins but so many old maids, carefully selected; I say carefully selected, because, if my reading and memory be correct, it was necessary beyond all possibility of doubt to be old maids before they became vestals, In the same manner the oracles of old were administered and declared by priestesses. In plain words, instead of being objects of ridicule and contempt, there was in former times a degree of sanctity attached to the very idea of an old maid, and the Roman Consul, in all his imperial glory, was compelled to give way to an ancient virgin, as if he had met a superior being. Oh! that I had lived in those days; but in this age of coxcombs, it is really peculiarly hard to be the stand
ing jest of those who are themselves the jest of all the graver and better part of mankind.
I shall make but one more observation before I proceed to take up the thread of my narrative. It has been found convenient to assign certain limits to every division of human life; thus infancy is said to terminate at seven years, childhood at fourteen, and minority at twenty-one. Now I must briefly suggest, that it might be equally convenient to assign the limits of hope and despair in the state of female celibacy; in other words, you might do away much mischief, and perhaps do much active good, if you were to point out at what precise age a woman may be considered an old maid; at what period she may cease to hope, and begin to reconcile herself to the certainty of passing away the remainder of her days in single blessedness.
To resume my narrative.-I left off at that point where I had already lost three of my lovers, and considering the circumstances of the case, I cannot but think that from two of them I had a happy escape; with respect to Sir Toby I may perhaps have been in the wrong, and to confess the truth, I have frequently repented my caprice.
As my story soon got wind, and became the common theme of the country, it was sometime before another suitor offered. The ladies of the fashionable world are per fectly mistaken, if they flatter themselves with any peculiar dexterity in the art of mangling characters and reputations; there is as much malice, and therefore as much execution, done in this way in the country as in the metropolis; the difference is in the weapons alone. In London some de gree of wit is necessary to the Lady Teazle of the company; in the country, malice, idleness, and plain speaking, supply its place. In London, moreover, the atten tion is necessarily dissipated and distracted
by a diversity of topics, and therefore no "He is not more than sixty," replied my one fully engages the mind and the tongue; father; "tall, erect, and healthy. His in the country a piece of scandal, an ill-meagre appearance is a proof of his health; natured story, is a thing of rare occurrence, with the exception of the gout for about six and therefore of exclusive interest. The months in the spring and fall, I never knew circumstances, therefore, of my three him to have an ailing. He is then confinlovers, the desertion of one, the despaired to his bed, but with careful nursing is of another, and the loss of all, together with my confinement and my final compromise, were shortly as well known throughout the county, as if every individual who retailed these anecdotes had been a family servant in my father's house.
He who would live in secret must not live in the solitude of the country.
tolerably good tempered; between nursing him and reading to him you may pass your time very pleasantly. To make short of the matter," continued my father, “Sir Zachary has informed me that he has considered the matter very gravely, and has no objection to matrimony."
"He has considered the matter long enough," said I, "for he has been consi dering it for these fifty years, and has in turn
to almost every lady in the county, till he has become the jest of them all, and not a milk-maid but would refuse him; in short, my dear father, you must allow me to refuse him before he shall have the opportunity of refusing me."
Accordingly, nothing could be more unpleasant than the first month or two after my adventure; whenever I entered a ball-offered his hand, and repented of his offers, room every finger was pointed at me. The younger ladies tittered, the elder looked grave, and the young men seemed alarmed at me. To make short of the matter, I know not how long I might have been the stare of the Assizes and the wonder of the Sessions, bad not Miss Pumpkin, the daughter of a neighbouring Squire, very fortunately eloped with her father's huntsman, which rescued me from the popular gaze by drawing all eyes upon herself.
My father replied only by a menace, that he had made this choice for me; and that if I refused him I might abide the conse quences.
Not to enter into any minute detail, suffice it to say, that I was compelled to receive the visits of Sir Zachary as an accepted lover.
A short time after this event, my father one day sent for me to his gun-room, and taking my bands with more glee and affection than he had lately testified, informed As this man was a perfect character, you me that something had occurred very much must allow me to introduce you to him at to his satisfaction.-"I began to think," more length. He was the son of a gentlesaid he," that you had become what is man, I believe a physician, who having accalled a bad bargain, and that there werequired a considerable fortune by his pro no hopes of marrying you in the country; || fession, had made a purchase of a good I have very happily deceived myself. You know our near neighbour, Sir Zachary Wizen."—"Yes," replied I, "but I hope Sir Zachary Wizen is not the object of your conversation."
"Why not," resumed my father: "there is not a more respectable gentleman in the neighbourhood. His estate is certainly mortgaged, but were it not for that circumstance he would not marry; your fortune will release his estate, and he will transfer the incumbrance as a future jointure instead of a present mortgage: You will thus have a husband with a clear estate, and Sir Zachary will have a wife in the place of a mortgagee."
"But his age, my dear Sir." No. XLIV. V. VI.
estate in the country. He had two sons, the eldest of which was Zachary. The one was educated to the pulpit, the advowson of a living being appended to the estate; the other, who was the main hope of the father, was educated immediately by the old gentleman himself; he had small Latin and less Greek, but a plentiful stock of the heavy infidel literature of the last age, Sir Zachary, therefore, entered upon his estate with a thorough contempt for all religious principles, which, in the country at least, serve us as the rule of life, being more intelligible to our understandings and more sensible to our feelings than mere abstract morality. Sir Zachary, therefore, was considered as a phenomenon amongst