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might perhaps be made to see the clearer for a pair of spectacles of their providing. But, at the mere hint of such corrupt practices, Lady Lovell's indignation burst forth. She would hear of no deviation from the strictest and most straightforward path of rectitude and course of law !
“ Under your ladyship’s favour, madam,” remonstrated Master Corbet, “ if your object be, as I conclude, success, no reasonable means ought to be neglected. For weeks and months lath my Lord Lovell been occupied in creating a party for himself to the prejudice of your ladyship. To the great world you are personally unknown; to the legal world represented as a despoiler-nay, almost as an impostor --a woman of low birth and habits, engrafted by chicanery upon the noble stock of a ruined house. It is vitally important that this dire impression should be counteracted.”
“ Be it effected, then, by fair and open means !” cried Lady Lovell, with glowing cheeks. 6 If it be needful to establish my respectability in the eyes of the world, my father's kinswoman, the old Countess of Carlisle, shall present me at court, according to her frequent proposition. As a peeress of the realm, I am entitled to a private audience of their majesties."
Scarcely an hour after despatching a formal request to the lady in waiting for the appointment of a suitable occasion for this purpose, the royal invitation was placed in the hands of Lady Lovell. It was now too late to retract her petition ; nor did she altogether regret that a private presentation was to preface the courtly publicity of the
A day and an hour were instantly appointed. A small summer drawing-room of the old palace of Hampton Court, in the suite of state apartments overlooking the river, was usually selected by Queen Katharine for receiving those privileged persons admitted to private audience. Nothing could be simpler than this unadorned chamber. The mouldings and wainscotings were of pure white, and the hangings of pale sea-green damask; a chair and footstool, somewhat richer than the rest, alone indicating the place of the queen, whose appearance and demeanour were far from being of an imposing character. Dingy in complexion, heavy in countenance and deportment, Katharine was seen to peculiar disadvantage amid the bevy of youthful beauties selected to compose her household. But though the first impressions produced by the young queen were far from favourable, scarcely had she given utterance to the customary compliments, when Lady Lovell felt prepossessed in her behalf. In speaking, her large dark eyes became, if not animated, expressive and benign; and there was an indication of helplessness in her broken English, which accorded well with her foreign and almost girlish appearance. The blazing and audacious beauty of Lady Castlemaine “ paled its ineffectual fires” before the mild lustre of her meekness, which well became the august position of one who has nothing to attain by self-assumption.
To the venerable countess the deportment of the youthful queen was almost respectful,- to the country lady under her protection simply gracious. But while Lady Carlisle regarded her sovereign in admiration of a deportment so different from that of the haughty lady
Dec. 1838.-VOL. XXIII.-NO, XCII.
she had last beheld inhabiting those walls,—the domineering Henrietta Maria,–Lady Lovell regarded her with far deeper interest, as an unhappy woman, heart-broken by the indifference of her husband.
There is something peculiarly touching in the melancholy of a young heart stript suddenly of its illusions, and wrecked upon the arid and Ainty shore of the world. Reared in that absolute ignorance of all things needful, peculiar to the insulated education of royalty, Katharine of Braganza, tenderly beloved by her brother Don Alphonso, had been taught to expect from her future consort the same affectionate deference she received at the court of Portugal; and from the moment the policy of Mazarin had decreed that the balance of power in Europe could only be maintained by the transference of so slight a weight in the scale as the hand of a princess of Braganza to the endurance of a king of England, Katharine was instructed that Britain was the garden of the world, and Charles Stuart an English mirror of the graces of Iberian chivalry. In becoming his wife she was to become the most fortunate of women and of queens !
In this charming illusion had she bidden adieu to the orange groves of Belem ; and from her embarkation in the Tagus to the hour of setting foot on British ground, the gallantry of Lord Sandwich and his fleet was taxed to the utmost to maintain the deceit. Even her first interview with the king had failed to disenchant her imagination. The excitement of that moment imparted a charm to her countenance which the attraction of novelty in any shape served to enhance in the eyes of her fickle husband; nor was it till after the expiration of a week or two the attentions paid in her very presence to the favourite mistress roused her indignation, and her indignation was publicly reprimanded by the dismissal of her Portuguese attendant, that the queen gave way to a despair which with the king's courtiers passed thenceforward under the name of sullenness.
The heart of Charles II.—if so flimsy a thing deserves to pass under that noble designation- resembled in nature certain birds which, though easily brought down by a first shot, are never to be reapproached if once suffered to get wing. The queen had lost that golden opportunity which she had misconstrued into the mere prelude to a life of happiness, and the advantage was never to be regained. All was over ! -love, hope, joy,—the prospects of domestic life, of loving children, of a calm and contented decline brightened by the reminiscences of a happy youth! Deserted, despised, an object of pity to some and contempt to others, Katharine beheld the homage of the courtiers dedicated before her face to Lady Castlemaine, leaving her abandoned and desolate in a foreign country--no tender hand to dry her tearsno friendly spirit to afford her counsel ; her only chance of securing even the decent courtesies of her husband, depending upon the degree of patience with which she might be disposed to support the insults of her rival.
With a sympathy readily to be understood did Lady Lovell regard the dispirited young foreigner, who, having the misfortune to be a queen in addition to that of being a neglected wife, was debarred the consolations of independence and personal enjoyment which brightened her own career; and as if conscious of the kindly thoughts passing in her bosom, Katharine, perceiving that her fair visiter was able to converse fluently in French, entered more readily into conversation. It was a bright sunny autumnal day. Miss Middleton and Miss Warmester, the attendant maids of honour, had profited by the momentary absence of the lady in waiting to saunter forth into a stone balcony abutting from the adjoining chamber, in order to display themselves to the admiration of a few idlers in the gardens below, and indulge in many criticisms at their expense.
left alone with the Countess di Panetra and her two guests, felt comparatively happy and at ease, when, suddenly, repeated bursts of laughter from the antechamber caused the brow of Katharine to become overclouded, and the eyes of Panetra to sparkle with indignation. The aged Countess of Carlisle, a rare visiter at court, expected every moment to find her majesty's page in waiting despatched to inquire the origin of this indecorous mirth; but, to her surprise, no notice was taken. It was in this guise that the approach of the king usually announced itself to his wife. But Lady Lovell was wholly unsuspicious of his majesty's proximity, when the precipitate return of the Lady Berkeley managed to precede by a moment the entrance of a tall, heavy-looking, richlyaccoutred personage, remarkable chiefly for an air of slouching selfpossession, who, but for the humility of the queen's countenance, as she rose from her seat to do him honour, it would have been difficult to invest with the poetical “ divinity which doth hedge a king.” Her fancy had depicted him better looking—better bred; for in place of the deference testified by his consort to the gray hairs of the Countess of Carlisle, he noticed the old lady's obeisance merely by a careless inclination of the head; and, in pure listlessness, suffered both her majesty and her companions to remain standing, while, with an abstracted air, he went through the ceremonies of an inquiry touching her majesty's projects of pastime for the morning.
It was not till the close of Katharine's almost tremulous replies to a long series of idle questions, that the eyes of the king chanced to fall upon a graceful form, half-hidden behind the yellow satin vertugadin of the Countess di Panetra. In a moment his whole demeanour changed. The careless husband disappeared, and the graceful cavalier stood in his place, as, bending towards her Majesty, he inquired the name of the stranger.
“ I conceived it unnecessary, sir, to present the Lady Lovell to your notice, conceiving, from your observations of yesterday, that her ladyship was well known to you,” replied Katharine, a slight tinge of red becoming perceptible on her swarthy cheek as she glanced suspiciously towards her guest.
I regret to own myself less fortunate than your majesty has been pleased to suppose me,” replied the king, coolly; and with a more respectful air he signified his desire for presentation. An ironical smile passed between the two damsels of honour, who had now taken up their position behind the chair of Katharine, on perceiving a certain unusual air of embarrassment pervade the deportment of the king, when he found that of the country lady wholly devoid of flurry or confusion. The noble countenance of Lady Lovell remained unchanged, and her air serene, while he addressed her; for it was not the
witty companion of Etherege and Buckhurst, it was not the gay comrade of Buckingham and Rochester, she discerned in the dangerous Charles Stuart. She beheld in him only a man who neglected to pay his debts of honour to a living subject, and his debts of gratitude to a dead one ; and in spite of the easy grace of his person, and gallantry of his address, she despised the unprincipled and ungenerous master of the elder Lovells.
That the impression produced by her own beauty upon his majesty was of a very different nature, was perceptible to every female witness of the scene. The transitory bloom produced by his arrival faded from the cheek of the queen when she observed the king gradually recede to the window overlooking the gardens, so as to compel Lady Lovell to follow him, and stand somewhat apart from the circle, while he proceeded to interrogate her touching the progress of the lawproceedings instituted against her. Already poor Katharine beheld in Lady Carlisle's protégée a new enemy arrayed against her peace ; and no longer inclined to pursue her cheerful chat with the venerable countess, who, nearly fifty years before had been resident, with the earl her husband, at the court of Lisbon, she sank into a desponding reverie.
« Much as I could desire that this suit were amicably adjusted, and inexplicable as now appear to me the differences subsisting between your ladyship and Lord Lovell,” observed the king, in reply to the exposition of facts he had demanded, “ I grieve to be under the necessity of avowing that I foresee no conclusion to the dispute, save under the rigid interpretation of the law. Hitherto, madam, let me admit that my wishes have sided with an old companion in arms, the son of a most loyal subject; but since, from the moment of this interview, I feel that it will be impossible for me to remain the partisan of my friend, I shall strive to dismiss the matter from my thoughts, till the issue be formally communicated to me by the Lord Chancellor. Meanwhile be the Lady Lovell assured, that whatever sentence is decreed by the wisdom of the law, it will at all times be most gratifying to her majesty and myself to welcome her at court with the attentions due to her personal merits."
A silent obeisance was the only answer to be tendered to so flattering an intimation ; but when, after a moment's silence, the king proceeded in a lower voice to express his hopes that her ladyship had received an invitation to the approaching fête, Lady Lovell ventured to outrage the rules of etiquette by an entreaty that, in her present unprotected and delicate situation, she might be permitted to absent herself from the brilliant scene. It would be extremely painful to her feelings, she said, to hazard a personal encounter with Lord Lovell.
“ His lordship’s presence at court, madam, depends for the future upon the signification of your wishes," replied the king, still more and more fascinated by the sensibility which glowed in the countenance of the fair stranger; “ for hitherto it has depended upon mine. No invitation will be issued to his lordship that can place an impediment to the satisfaction I promise myself in your ladyship's presence at Hampton."
And straightway quitting the window with a profound bow, which admitted of no rejoinder or expostulation, the king bent his steps towards Katharine, with whom he entered into conversation in so gracious and confidential a tone, that the circle accepted it as a token of dismissal, and retiring in a group into the adjoining antechamber, the countess and her protegée found themselves at liberty to depart.
But the odour of royal favour had now sanctified the fair stranger ! Without an exception, the ladies present crowded round the countess to claim an introduction to her lovely kinswoman. Lady Berkeley was at the trouble to inform her of the precise moment at which it would be desirable to enter the ball-room on the following evening, so as to be in waiting for the appearance of their majesties; and had not Lady Carlisle interfered with an assurance that her niece, Lady Capel, had already undertaken to escort her rustic cousin to the ball, Lord Lovell's rejected wife would have been overpowered by the chaponerage of as many fair courtieresses as are ever to be found at the service of any fortunate individual illustrated by the light of a king's countenance.
“ You have succeeded to a miracle, my dear child," said the old lady as she settled herself for a doze in the carriage on their way to town. “During my fifty years' experience I remember no such successful debût. In the whole course of my service I never received from the queen-mother a tenth part of the courtesies bestowed upon us this single morning by her majesty; and, as to the king, I could only desire that his homage were somewhat less warmly demonstrated. How is all this, my dear Lady Lovell ? Are you sincere in your assurance that this is the first time of your quitting your rural seclusion ? Yet why should I feel amazed ? Beau sang se fait connaître ; and the best blood in England was intermingled in the veins of your
* To be continued.
TO A PORTRAIT OF LADY JANE GREY,
By HANS HOLBEIN.
Grace is diffused to every outward part!
Alas! not framed ambition's schemes to thwart,
Thy fitting empire were the human heart
Yet better than a world of weary rule
Sad pace we from fresh air and violets cool,
Unto a real queen of blood of gold-