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after a few visits, dropped off; and she was never known to inquire into the reason, or ask what was become of them.
She was never positive in arguing; and she usually treated those who were so, in a manner which well enough gratified that unhappy disposition ; yet in such a sort as made it very contemptible, and at the same time did some hurt to the owners. Whether this proceeded from her easiness in general, or from her indifference to persons, or from her despair of mending them, or from the same practice which she much liked in Mr. Addison, I cannot determine ; but when she saw any of the company very warm in a wrong opinion, she was more inclined to confirm them in it than oppose them. The excuse she commonly gave, when her friends asked the reason, was, “ That “ it prevented noise, and saved time." Yet I have known her very angry with some, whom she much esteemed, for sometimes falling into that infirmity.
She loved Ireland much better than the generality of those who owe both their birth and riches to it; and, having brought over all the fortune she had in money, left the reversion of the best
part thousand pounds, to Dr. Stephens's Hospital. She detested the tyranny and injustice of England, in their treatment of this kingdom. She had indeed reason to love a country, where she had the esteem and friendship of all who knew her, and the universal good report of all who ever heard of her, without one exception, if I am told the truth by those who keep general conversation. Which character is the more extraordinary, in falling to a person of so much knowledge, wit, and vivacity, qualities that are used to create envy, and consequently censure ; and must be
of it, one
rather imputed to her great modesty, gentle behaviour,, and inoffensiveness, than to her superiour virtues.
Although her knowledge, from books and company, was much more extensive than usually falls to the share of her sex; yet she was so far from making a parade of it, that her female visitants, on their first acquaintance, who expected to discover it by what they call hard words and deep discourse, would be sometimes disappointed, and say, “ They found she “ was like other women.” But wise men, through all her modesty, whatever they discoursed on, could easily observe that she understood them very well, by the judgment shown in her observations, as well as in her questions.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1727.
SHALL say nothing of her wit or beauty, which are allowed by all persons who can judge of either, when they hear or see her. Besides, beauty being, transient, and a trifle, cannot justly make part
of character. And I leave others to celebrate her wit, because it will be of no use in that part of her character which I intend to draw. Neither shall I relate any part of her history; farther than that she went, in the prime of her youth, to the court of Hanover with her · husband, and became of the bedchamber to the present princess of Wales, living in expectation of the queen’s * death : upon which event she came over with her mistress, and has ever since continued in her service ; where, from the attendance daily paid her by the ministers, and all expectants, she is reckoned much the greatest favourite of the court at Leicesterhouse : a situation which she has long affected to desire that it might not be believed.
There is no politician who more carefully watches the motions and dispositions of things and persons at St. James's, nor can form his language with a more
imperceptible dexterity to the present posture of a court, or more carly foresee what style may be
proper upon any approaching juncture of affairs; whereof she can gather early intelligence without asking it, and often when even those from whom she has it are not sensible that they are giving it to her, but equally with others admire her sagacity. Sir Robert Walpole and she both think they understand each other, and are both equally mistaken.
With persons where she is to manage, she is very dextrous in that point of skill which the French call tâter le pavè; with others, she is a great vindicator of all present proceedings, but in such a manner, as if she were under no concern farther than her own konviction, and wondering how any body can think otherwise. And the danger is, that she may come in time to believe herself; which, under a change of princes, and a great addition of credit, might have bad consequences.
She is a most unconscionable dealer; for, in return of a few good words, which she gives to her lords and gentlemen daily waiters before their faces, she gets ten thousand from them behind her back, which are of real service to her character. The credit she has is managed with the utmost thrift; and whenever she employs it, which is very rarely, it is only upon such occasions where she is sure to get much more than she spends. For instance, she would readily press sir Robert Walpole to do some favour for colonel Churchill, or Doddington; the prince, for a mark of grace to Mr. Schutz; and the princess, to be kind to Mrs. Clayton. She sometimes falls into the general mistake of all courtiers, which is that of not suiting her talents to the abilities of others, but thinking those she deals with
to have less art than they really possess; so that she may possibly be deceived when she thinks she deceives.
In all offices of life, except those of a courtier, she acts with justice, generosity, and truth. She is ready to do good as a private person, and I would almost think in charity that she will not do harm as a courtier, unless to please those in chief power.
In religion she is at least a latitudinarian, being not an enemy to books written by the freethinkers; and herein she is the more blamable, because she has toomuch morality to stand in need of them, requiring only a due degree of faith for putting her in the road to salvation. I speak this of her as a private lady, not as a court favourite, for, in the latter capacity, she can show neither faith nor works.
If she had never seen a court, it is not impossible that she might have been a friend.
She abounds in good words, and expressions of good wishes, and will concert a hundred schemes for the service of those whom she would be thought to favour: schemes, that sometimes arise from them, and sometimes from herself; although, at the same time, she very well knows them to be without the least probability of succeeding. But, to do her justice, she never feeds or deceives any person with
promises, where she does not at the same time intend a degree of sincerity.
She is, upon the whole, an excellent companion for men of the best accomplishments, who have nothing to desire or expect *.
“ I wish I could tell you any agreeable news of what your “ heart is concerned in; but I have a sort of quarrel with Mrs.