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Lady Mary Wortley Montague - Her Life and Letters (1689-1762)
by Lewis Melville
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Mary's letters at this period of her life are so entertaining that a few may well be inserted here for the sheer pleasure of reading them.

TO THE COUNTESS OF BUTE

"Padua, September 30, 1757.

"Lord Bute has been so obliging as to let me know your safe delivery, and the birth of another daughter; may she be as meritorious in your eyes as you are in mine! I can wish nothing better to you both, though I have some reproaches to make you. Daughter! daughter! don't call names; you are always abusing my pleasures, which is what no mortal will bear. Trash, lumber, sad stuff, are the titles you give to my favourite amusement. If I called a white staff a stick of wood, a gold key gilded brass, and the ensigns of illustrious orders coloured strings, this may be philosophically true, but would be very ill received. We have all our playthings: happy are they that can be contented with those they can obtain: those hours are spent in the wisest manner, that can easiest shade the ills of life, and are lest productive of ill consequences. I think my time better employed in reading the adventures of imaginary people, than the Duchess of Marlborough's, who passed the latter years of her life in paddling with her will, and contriving schemes of plaguing some, and extracting praise from others, to no purpose; eternally disappointed, and eternally fretting. The active scenes are over at my age. I indulge, with all the art I can, my taste for reading. If I would confine it to valuable books, they are almost as rare as valuable men. I must be content with what I can find. As I approach a second childhood, I endeavour to enter into the pleasures of it. Your youngest son is, perhaps, at this very moment riding on a poker with great delight, not at all regretting that it is not a gold one, and much less wishing it an Arabian horse, which he would not know how to manage. I am reading an idle tale, not expecting wit or truth in it, and am very glad it is not metaphysics to puzzle my judgment, or history to mislead my opinion. He fortifies his health by exercise; I calm my cares by oblivion. The methods may appear low to busy people; but, if he improves his strength, and I forget my infirmities, we attain very desirable ends."

To THE COUNTESS OF BUTE

"Venice, November 8, 1758.

"... Some few months before Lord W. Hamilton married, there appeared a foolish song, said to be wrote by a poetical great lady, who I really think was the character of Lady Arabella, in The Female Quixote (without the beauty): you may imagine such a conduct, at court, made her superlatively ridiculous. Lady Delawarr, a woman of great merit, with whom I lived in much intimacy, showed this fine performance to me: we were very merry in supposing what answer Lord William would make to these passionate addresses; she begged me to say something for a poor man, who had nothing to say for himself. I wrote, extempore, on the back of the song, some stanzas that went perfectly well to the tune. She promised they should never appear as mine, and faithfully kept her word. By what accident they have fallen into the hands of that thing Dodsley, I know not, but he has printed them as addressed, by me, to a very contemptible puppy, and my own words as his answer. I do not believe either Job or Socrates ever had such a provocation. You will tell me, it cannot hurt me with any acquaintance I ever had: it is true; but it is an excellent piece of scandal for the same sort of people that propagate, with success, that your nurse left her estate, husband, and family, to go with me to England; and, then I turned her to starve, after defrauding her of God knows what. I thank God witches are out of fashion, or I should expect to have it deposed, by several credible witnesses, that I had been seen flying through the air on a broomstick, &c. I am really sick with vexation."

TO SIR JAMES STEUART

"Venice, November 14, 1758.

"This letter will be solely to you, and I desire you will not communicate it to Lady Fanny: she is the best woman in the world, and I would by no means make her uneasy; but there will be such strange things in it that the Talmud or the Revelations are not half so mysterious: what these prodigies portend, God knows; but I never should have suspected half the wonders I see before my eyes, and am convinced of the necessity of the repeal of the witch act (as it is commonly called), I mean, to speak correctly, the tacit permission given to witches, so scandalous to all good Christians: though I tremble to think of it for my own interests. It is certain the British islands have always been strangely addicted to this diabolical intercourse, of which I dare swear you know many instances; but since this public encouragement given to it, I am afraid there will not be an old woman in the nation entirely free from suspicion. The devil rages more powerfully than ever: you will believe me, when I assure you the great and learned English minister is turned methodist, several duels have been fought in the Place of St. Marc for the charms of his excellent lady, and I have been seen flying in the air in the figure of Julian Cox, which history is related with so much candour and truth by the pious pen of Joseph Glanville, chaplain to K. Charles. I know you young rakes make a jest of all those things, but I think no good lady can doubt of a relation so well attested. She was about seventy years old (very near my age), and the whole sworn to before Judge Archer, 1663: very well worth reading, but rather too long for a letter. You know (wretch that I am) 'tis one of my wicked maxims to make the best of a bad bargain; and I have said publicly that every period of life has its privileges, and that even the most despicable creatures alive may find some pleasures. Now observe this comment; who are the most despicable creatures? Certainly, old women. What pleasure can an old woman take? Only witchcraft. I think this argument as clear as any of the devout Bishop of Cloyne's metaphysics: this being decided in a full congregation of saints, only such atheists as you and Lady Fanny can deny it. I own all the facts, as many witches have done before me, and go every night in a public manner astride upon a black cat to a meeting where you are suspected to appear: this last article is not sworn to, it being doubtful in what manner our clandestine midnight correspondence is carried on. Some think it treasonable, others lewd (don't tell Lady Fanny); but all agree there was something very odd and unaccountable in such sudden likings. I confess, as I said before, it is witchcraft. You won't wonder I do not sign (notwithstanding all my impudence) such dangerous truths: who knows the consequence? The devil is said to desert his votaries."

To SIR JAMES STEUART

"Venice, January 13, 1759.

"I have indulged myself some time with day-dreams of the happiness I hope to enjoy this summer in the conversation of Lady Fanny and Sir James S.; but I hear such frightful stories of precipices and hovels during the whole journey, I begin to fear there is no such pleasure allotted me in the book of fate: the Alps were once molehills in my sight when they interposed between me and the slightest inclination; now age begins to freeze, and brings with it the usual train of melancholy apprehensions. Poor human-kind! We always march blindly on; the fire of youth represents to us all our wishes possible; and, that over, we fall into despondency that prevents even easy enterprises: a store in winter, a garden in summer, bounds all our desires, or at least our undertakings. If Mr. Steuart would disclose all his imaginations, I dare swear he has some thoughts of emulating Alexander or Demosthenes, perhaps both: nothing seems difficult at his time of life, everything at name. I am very unwilling, but am afraid I must submit to the confinement of my boat and my easy-chair, and go no farther than they can carry me. Why are our views so extensive and our powers so miserably limited? This is among the mysteries which (as you justly say) will remain ever unfolded to our shallow capacities. I am much inclined to think we are no more free agents than the queen of clubs when she victoriously takes prisoner the knave of hearts; and all our efforts (when we rebel against destiny) as weak as a card that sticks to a glove when the gamester is determined to throw it on the table. Let us then (which is the only true philosophy) be contented with our chance, and make the best of that bad bargain of being born in this vile planet; where we may find, however (God be thanked), much to laugh at, though little to approve.

"I confess I delight extremely in looking on men in that light. How many thousands trample under foot honour, ease, and pleasure, in pursuit of ribands of certain colours, dabs of embroidery on their clothes, and gilt wood carved behind their coaches in a particular figure? Others breaking their hearts till they are distinguished by the shape and colour of their hats; and, in general, all people earnestly seeking what they do not want, while they neglect the real blessings in their possession—I mean the innocent gratification of their senses, which is all we can properly call our own. For my part, I will endeavour to comfort myself for the cruel disappointment I find in renouncing Tubingen, by eating some fresh oysters on the table. I hope you are sitting down with dear Lady F. to some admirable red partridges, which I think are the growth of that country. Adieu! Live happy, and be not unmindful of your sincere distant friend, who will remember you in the tenderest manner while there is any such faculty as memory in the machine called."

To THE COUNTESS OF BUTE

"Venice, May 22, 1759.

"... Building is the general weakness of old people; I have had a twitch of it myself, though certainly it is the highest absurdity, and as sure a proof of dotage as pink-coloured ribands, or even matrimony. Nay, perhaps, there is more to be said in defence of the last; I mean in a childless old man; he may prefer a boy born in his own house, though he knows it is not his own, to disrespectful or worthless nephews or nieces. But there is no excuse for beginning an edifice he can never inhabit, or probably see finished. The Duchess of Marlborough used to ridicule the vanity of it, by saying one might always live upon other people's follies: yet you see she built the most ridiculous house I ever saw, since it really is not habitable, from the excessive damps; so true it is, the things that we would do, those do we not, and the things we would not do, those do we daily. I feel in myself a proof of this assertion, being much against my will at Venice, though I own it is the only great town where I can properly reside, yet here I find so many vexations, that, in spite of all my philosophy and (what is more powerful) my phlegm, I am oftener out of humour than among my plants and poultry in the country. I cannot help being concerned at the success of iniquitous schemes, and grieve for oppressed merit. You, who see these things every day, think me as unreasonable, in making them matter of complaint, as if I seriously lamented the change of seasons. You should consider I have lived almost a hermit ten years, and the world is as new to me as to a country girl transported from Wales to Coventry. I know I ought to think my lot very good, that can boast of some sincere friends among strangers."

Old age will, in the long run, have its way. Lady Mary, as pleasantly loquacious as ever, found the manual labour of writing not always to be endured, and she tried the experiment of dictating her correspondence.

"Thus far" (she wrote to Sir James Steuart from Padua, July 19, 1759), "I have dictated for the first time of my life, and perhaps it will be the last, for my amanuensis is not to be hired, and I despair of ever meeting with another. He is the first that could write as fast as I talk, and yet you see there are so many mistakes, it wants a comment longer than my letter to explain my insignificant meaning, and I have fatigued my poor eyes more with correcting it, than I should have done in scribbling two sheets of paper. You will think, perhaps, from this idle attempt, that I have some fluxion on my sight; no such matter; I have suffered myself to be persuaded by such sort of arguments as those by which people are induced to strict abstinence, or to take physic. Fear, paltry fear, founded on vapours rising from the heat, which is now excessive, and has so far debilitated my miserable nerves that I submit to a present displeasure, by way of precaution against a future evil, that possibly may never happen. I have this to say in my excuse, that the evil is of so horrid a nature, I own I feel no philosophy that could support me under it, and no mountain girl ever trembled more at one of Whitfield's pathetic lectures than I do at the word blindness, though I know all the fine things that may be said for consolation in such a case: but I know, also, they would not operate on my constitution. 'Why, then' (say my wise monitors), 'will you persist in reading or writing seven hours in a day?' 'I am happy while I read and write.' 'Indeed, one would suffer a great deal to be happy,' say the men, sneering; and the ladies wink at each other, and hold up their fans. A fine lady of three score had the goodness to add, 'At least, madam, you should use spectacles; I have used them myself these twenty years; I was advised to it by a famous oculist when I was fifteen. I am really of opinion that they have preserved my sight, notwithstanding the passion I always had both for reading and drawing.' This good woman, you must know, is half blind, and never read a larger volume than a newspaper. I will not trouble you with the whole conversation, though it would make an excellent scene in a farce; but after they had in the best bred way in the world convinced me that they thought I lied when I talked of reading without glasses, the foresaid matron obligingly said she should be very proud to see the writing I talked of, having heard me say formerly I had no correspondents but my daughter and Mr. Wortley. She was interrupted by her sister, who said, simpering, 'You forgot Sir J.S.' I took her up something short, I confess, and said in a dry stern tone, 'Madam, I do write to Sir J.S. and will do it as long as he will permit that honour.' This rudeness of mine occasioned a profound silence for some minutes, and they fell into a good-natured discourse of the ill consequences of too much application, and remembered how many apoplexies, gouts, and dropsies had happened amongst the hard students of their acquaintance. As I never studied anything in my life, and have always (at least from fifteen) thought the reputation of learning a misfortune to a woman, I was resolved to believe these stories were not meant at me: I grew silent in my turn, and took up a card that lay on a table, and amused myself with smoking it over a candle. In the mean time (as the song says),

'Their tattles all run, as swift as the sun, Of who had won, and who was undone By their gaming and sitting up late,'

When it was observed I entered into none of these topics, I was addressed by an obliging lady, who pitied my stupidity. 'Indeed, madam, you should buy horses to that fine machine you have at Padua; of what use is it standing in the portico?' 'Perhaps,' said another, wittily, 'of as much use as a standing dish.' A gaping schoolboy added with still more wit, 'I have seen at a country gentleman's table a venison-pasty made of wood.' I was not at all vexed by said schoolboy, not because he was (in more senses than one) the highest of the company, but knowing he did not mean to offend me. I confess (to my shame be it spoken) I was grieved at the triumph that appeared in the eyes of the king and queen of the company, the court being tolerably full. His majesty walked off early with the air befitting his dignity, followed by his train of courtiers, who, like courtiers, were laughing amongst themselves as they followed him: and I was left with the two queens, one of whom was making ruffles for the man she loved, and the other slopping tea for the good of her country. They renewed their generous endeavours to set me right, and I (graceless beast that I am) take up the smoked card which lay before me, and with the corner of another wrote—

If ever I one thought bestow On what such fools advise, May I be dull enough to grow Most miserably wise.

And flung down the card on the table, and myself out of the room, in the most indecent fury. A few minutes on the cold water convinced me of my folly, and I went home as much mortified as my Lord E. when he has lost his last stake at hazard. Pray don't think (if you can help it) this is an affectation of mine to enhance the value of a talent I would be thought to despise; as celebrated beauties often talk of the charms of good sense, having some reason to fear their mental qualities are not quite so conspicuous as their outside lovely form.—A propos of beauties:

I know not why, but Heaven has sent this way A nymph, fair, kind, poetical, and gay; And what is more (tho' I express it dully), A noble, wise, right honourable cully: A soldier worthy of the name he bears, As brave and senseless as the sword he wears.

"You will not doubt I am talking of a puppet-show; and indeed so I am; but the figures (some of them) bigger than the life, and not stuffed with straw like those commonly shown at fairs. I will allow you to think me madder than Don Quixote when I confess I am governed by the que-dira-t-on of these things, though I remember whereof they are made, and know they are but dust. Nothing vexes me so much as that they are below satire. (Between you and me) I think there are but two pleasures permitted to mortal man, love and vengeance; both which are, in a peculiar manner, forbidden to us wretches who are condemned to petticoats. Even vanity itself, of which you daily accuse us, is the sin against the Holy Ghost not to be forgiven in this world or the next.

Our sex's weakness you expose and blame, Of every prating fop the common theme; Yet from this weakness you suppose is due Sublimer virtue than your Cato knew. From whence is this unjust distinction shown? Are we not formed with passions like your own? Nature with equal fire our souls endued: Our minds as lofty, and as warm our blood. O'er the wide world your wishes you pursue, The change is justified by something new, But we must sigh in silence and be true.

"How the great Dr. Swift would stare at this vile triplet! And then what business have I to make apologies for Lady Vane, whom I never spoke to, because her life is writ by Dr. Smollett, whom I never saw? Because my daughter fell in love with Lord Bute, am I obliged to fall in love with the whole Scots nation? 'Tis certain I take their quarrels upon myself in a very odd way; and I cannot deny that (two or three dozen excepted) I think they make the first figure in all arts and sciences; even in gallantry, in spite of the finest gentlemen that have finished their education at Paris.

"You will ask me what I mean by all this nonsense, after having declared myself an enemy to obscurity to such a degree that I do not forgive it to the great Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, who professes he studied it. I dare swear you will sincerely believe him when you read his celebrated works. I have got them for you, and intend to bring them. Oime! l'huomo. propone, Dio dispone. I hope you won't think this dab of Italian, that slid involuntarily from my pen, an affectation like his Gallicisms, or a rebellion against Providence, in imitation of his lordship, who I never saw but once in my life: he then appeared in a corner of the drawing-room, in the exact similitude of Satan when he was soliciting the court of Heaven for leave to torment an honest man."



CHAPTER XVII

LAST YEARS (1760-1762)

Lady Mary writes the history of her own times—Her health—Death of Edward Wortley Montagu—His will—Lady Mary ponders the idea of returning to England—She leaves Italy—She is held up at Rotterdam—She reaches London—Horace Walpole visits her—Her last illness—Her fortitude—Her death—She leaves one guinea to her son.

One of Lady Mary's amusements towards the end of her life was writing the history of her own time. "It has been my fortune," she said, "to have a more exact knowledge both of the persons and facts that have made the greatest figure in England in this age, than is common; and I take pleasure in putting together what I know, with an impartiality that is altogether unusual. Distance of tie and place has totally blotted from my mind all traces of resentment or prejudice; and I speak with the same indifference to the Court of Great Britain as I should do of that of Augustus Caesar." Lady Mary, however, merely wrote for her own entertainment, and burnt her manuscript almost as soon as it was composed. It would certainly have made interesting reading; but she never had any idea of publication. "I know mankind too well to think they are capable of receiving the truth, much less of applauding it; or, were it otherwise, applause to me is as insignificant as garlands on the dead."

"I am exceedingly glad of your father's good health: he owes it to his uncommon abstinence and resolution," Lady Mary wrote to her daughter, April 11, 1759. "I wish I could boast the same. I own I have too much indulged a sedentary humour and have been a rake in reading. You will laugh at the expression, but I think the liberal meaning of the ugly word rake is one that follows his pleasures in contradiction to his reason. I thought mine so innocent I might pursue them with impunity. I now find that I was mistaken, and that all excesses are (though not equally) blamable. My spirits in company are false fire: I have a damp within; from marshy grounds frequently arises an appearance of light. I grow splenetic, and consequently ought to stop my pen, for fear of conveying the infection."

"My health is very precarious; may yours long continue and see the prosperity of your family. I bless God I have lived to see you so well established, and am ready to sing my Nunc dimittis with pleasure," Lady Mary wrote to her daughter in November, 1760; and early in the next year she touched on the same subject in a letter to Sir James Steuart. "I have not returned my thanks for your obliging letter so soon as both duty and inclination prompted me but I have had so severe a cold, accompanied with a weakness in my eyes, that I have been confined to my stove for many days.... I am preparing for my last and longest journey, and stand on the threshold of this dirty world, my several infirmities like posthorses ready to hurry me away."

It was in January, 1761, that Edward Wortley Montagu passed away at the age of eighty-three. He died at Wharncliffe, the family seat of the Wortleys, where he had lived in a most miserly manner. He had only one luxury—tokay, of which he was passionately fond. He left a great fortune, the highest estimate of which was L1,350,000. Horace Walpole said the estate was worth L600,000. Walpole gives some particulars of the legacies: "To his son, on whom six hundred a-year was settled, the reversion of which he has sold, he gives L1,000 a-year for life, but not to descend to any children he may have by any of his many wives. To Lady Mary, in lieu of dower, but which to be sure she will not accept, instead of the thirds of such a fortune, L1,200 a-year; and after her to their son for life; and then the L1,200 and L1,000 to Lady Bute and to her second son; with L2,000 to each of her younger children; all the rest, in present, to Lady Bute, then to her second son, taking the name of Wortley, and in succession to all the rest of her children, which are numerous; and after them to Lord Sandwich, to whom, in present, he leaves about L40,000. The son, you perceive, is not so well treated by his own father as his companion Taaffe[22] is by the French Court, where he lives, and is received on the best footing; so near is Fort l'Eveque to Versailles."

[Footnote 22: Theodore Taaffe, an Irish adventurer, who, with Edward Wortley Montagu, was imprisoned in Fort l'Eveque, at Paris, for cheating at cards in 1751. The incident has been given in a pamphlet written by Montagu.]

On hearing of the death of her husband, Lady Mary bethought herself of returning to England, from which she had been absent for more than a score of years. She was seventy-two years old, and may well have thought that her time, too, would soon come, and that she would like to die in her native country. Still, it was some time before she could bring herself to a decision to set out. She was delighted with the political success of Lord Bute and pleased with her daughter's prosperity, but "I am doubtful whether I will attempt to be a spectator of it," she confided in Sir James Steuart in April. "I have so many years indulged my natural inclinations to solitude and reading, I am unwilling to return to crowds and bustle, which would be unavoidable in London. The few friends I esteemed are now no more: the new set of people who fill the stage at present are too indifferent to me even to raise my curiosity." Also, as she said, she was beginning to feel the worst effects of age, blindness excepted, and was grown timorous and suspicious.

It was no light thing for a woman of Lady Mary's age to voyage alone, except for a servant or two, from Venice to London. Yet her indomitable spirit came to her aid, and in the autumn of 1761 she left Italy. She travelled by way of Augsberg and Frankfort to Rotterdam. The journey had been far from agreeable. "I am dragging my ragged remnant of life to England," she wrote to Sir James Steuart on November 20. "The wind and tide are against me; how far I have strength to struggle against both I know not; that I am arrived here is as much a miracle as any in the golden legend; and if I had foreseen half the difficulties I have met with I should not certainly have had courage to undertake it.... I am nailed down here by a severe illness of my poor Marianne, who has not been able to endure the frights and fatigues that we have passed."

When, about three weeks later, Marianne had sufficiently recovered to move on, Lady Mary was held up by a hard, impenetrable frost. The delay irked her, and she became somewhat depressed, and said that she was dubious, in her precarious state of health, whether she would arrive at her destination. At the beginning of the new year, she did actually make a start, and got half way to Helvoet, and was obliged to turn back by the mountains of sea that obstructed the passage. "I have had so many disappointments I can scarce entertain the flattering thought of arriving in London," the poor lady complained; but she found comfort in that "It is uncommon at my age to have no distemper, and to retain all my senses in their first degree of perfection." Later in the month she arrived in London.

Horace Walpole, who heard everything, had, of course, heard that Lady Mary was returned to England, and in a letter of October 8, 1761, announced her return, adding with a brutality unusual even in him: "I have not seen her yet, though they have not made her perform quarantine for her own dirt." However, as he discovered shortly after, it was Lady Mary Wrottisley, and not Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who had arrived.

Of course, when Lady Mary had come to London, Walpole was one of the first to go and see her. "I went last night to visit her," he wrote to Sir Horace Mann on January 29. "I give you my honour, and you who know her, would credit me without it, the following is a faithful description. I found her in a miserable little chamber of a ready-furnished house, with two tallow candles, and a bureau covered with pots and pans. On her head, in full of all accounts, she had an old black-laced hood, wrapped entirely round, so as to conceal all hair or want of hair. No handkerchief, but up to her chin a kind of horse-man's riding-coat, calling itself a pet-en-l'air, made of a dark green (green I think it had been) brocade, with coloured and silver flowers, and lined with furs; boddice laced, a foul dimity petticoat sprig'd, velvet muffeteens on her arms, grey stockings and slippers. Her face less changed in twenty years than I could have imagined; I told her so, and she was not so tolerable twenty years ago that she needed to have taken it for flattery, but she did, and literally gave me a box on the ear. She is very lively, all her senses perfect, her languages as imperfect as ever, her avarice greater. She entertained me at first with nothing but the dearness of provisions at Helvoet. With nothing but an Italian, a French, and a Prussian, all men-servants, and something she calls an old secretary, but whose age till he appears will be doubtful; she receives all the world who go to homage her as Queen-mother, and crams them into this kennel. The Duchess of Hamilton, who came in just after me, was so astonished and diverted, that she could not speak to her for laughing. She says that she left all her clothes at Venice. I really pity Lady Bute; what will the progress be of such a commencement?"

Lady Mary rented a house in Great George Street, Hanover Square, whither her daughter and grandchildren came often. Occasionally she went about, and from time to time would grace an assembly with her presence. Horace Walpole saw her at some gathering, dressed in yellow velvet and sables, with a decent laced head and a black hood, almost like a veil, over her face. His prognostication that she would by her interference and demands for "jobs" make life hideous for Lord and Lady Bute proved to be unfounded, and he had the grace to say, "She is much more discreet than I expected, and meddles with nothing"; but he could not refrain from saying that "she is woefully tedious in her narrations."

Lady Mary was suffering from cancer, which she concealed from her family and acquaintances until about the beginning of July (1762). Then it burst, and there was no hope of her life being much prolonged. On July 2 she wrote her last letter to Lady Frances Steuart, saying, "I have been ill a long time, and am now so bad I am little capable of writing, but I would not pass in your opinion as either stupid or ungrateful. My heart is always warm in your service, and I am always told your affairs shall be taken care of." If she was a bad woman to cross, at least even on her deathbed she tried to do service to her friends. Death had no terrors for her; she said she had lived long enough; and she died, as she had lived, with great fortitude.

Lady Mary passed away on August 21, 1762, at the age of seventy-three. Her remains were interred in the graveyard of Grosvenor Chapel, where also lie Ambrose Phillips, David Mallett, Lord Chesterfield, William Whitehead, John Wilkes, and Elizabeth Carter.

All that Lady Mary possessed, except some trifling legacies, she left to Lady Bute. Her fortune is believed to have been inconsiderable, except for some valuable jewels. Walpole had one last gibe: "With her usual maternal tenderness and usual generosity, she has left her son one guinea." The gibe was unworthy, because Walpole knew quite well the career of that son, who, anyhow, was sufficiently provided for. It may be that it was the pricking of Walpole's conscience for this last outburst that made him later administer a stern rebuke to Lady Craven. "I am sorry to hear, Madam, that by your account Lady Mary Wortley was not so accurate and faithful as modern travellers. The invaluable art of inoculation, which she brought from Constantinople, so dear to all admirers of beauty, and to which we owe, perhaps the preservation of yours, stamps her an universal benefactress; and as you rival her in poetic talents I had rather you would employ them to celebrate her for her nostrum, than detect her for romancing."

THE END

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