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THIS lady is the most amiable of blue-stockings, and the most profound of princesses. She gossips, with equal liveliness, about love, free-masonry, politics, the nursing of children, the sculpture of Phidias, the toilette, religion, Polish girls, Doctor Johnson, education, the perfidy of the male sex, philosophy, Alderney cows, ethics, Italian countesses, ancient Greece, Frederick the Great, his present Majesty, &c. &c.; and all these, and a hundred other subjects, are discussed with so much good temper, and are moreover garnished with such piquant anecdotes, as to make her book the pleasantest of all light reading; though, at the same time, it is by no means deficient in matters of more touching interest. The auto-biography of a lady is, of all works, the best calculated to be welcomed by the generality of readers. Men will, of course, feel interested in any genuine record from head quarters, of that inexplicable thing, the female heart; and women always burn with anxiety to know by what steps any celebrated individual of their sex has arrived at distinction; to ascertain, for instance, clearly and from authority, how she was dressed on her coming out; what passed between her and her sister about the gentleman who said the first gallant thing to her; and whether she eloped, or was married by consent of parents.

Among the Margravine's undisputed merits, may be reckoned the pre-eminent one of being (if the picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds may be credited) a most beautiful woman. Her beauty, too, was tempered with such mild sweetness of expression, (the finishing grace of female loveliness) as must have made her charms irresistible. Of the power of these, indeed, and of the equal attraction of her mental character, she seems fully aware; and it is amusing to see how, in the frankness of her temper, she goes on throughout the book, sounding her own praises. We are fain to believe she deserved them all, especially when we look at her likeness, engraved from the above-named picture; the composition of which has often been considered as one of the happiest of Sir Joshua's works. The portrait is prefixed to the first volume of the present publication. One might look at it for ever. Her countenance seems alive with kindness and intelligence; she is caressing one of her children; and the figure, with a bewitching toss of the head, is thrown into an attitude which sets off, with the most alluring grace, that union of slenderness, and of full and swelling charms, which were the exquisite characteristics of her person. Her mind will be best estimated by her book, in the perusal of which the reader cannot fail to be delighted with the evidences of affectionate sensibility, and of general accomplishment and gaiety of heart which meet him at every page, and for the sake of which he will forgive (and forget, as a matter of course) the boarding-school truisms which the fair authoress, here and there, in her zeal to be didactic, so complacently deals out as philosophical discoveries.

The Margravine of Anspach, whose life has been the subject of so much discussion in the high circles, and, we may add, of so much calumny, was born in the year 1750. She is the youngest daughter of the fourth Earl of Berkeley, by his countess, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry

* Memoirs of the Margravine of Anspach, written by herself. 2 vols. 8vo.

Drax, of Charborough, in the county of Dorset. Of her birth she gives the following interesting account:—


Lady Berkeley was taken in labour in the month of December, although she did not calculate that she should produce a second boy till the February following. Her alarm and disappointment may be conceived when the child appeared, a most miserable object, scarcely breathing, and scarcely alive, at the end of seven months. Being wrapped up in a piece of flannel, and, without much attention, laid down in the great elbow-chair which was placed at her ladyship's bed-side, with neither clothes nor wet-nurse prepared, I was left in despair for a while to my fate. At that time, certain etiquettes and attentions were observed, which are now neglected and omitted; and the first person who came to Lady Berkeley, a few hours after she was delivered, was her aunt, the Countess of Albemarle Coming up to the bed-side, and, after the usual remarks on such an occasion, perceiving the chair by the bed-side, and imagining that which occupied it to be only a piece of flannel, her ladyship was on the very point of seating herself upon it, when she was prevented, by the screams of the attendant, from putting an end to the existence of the forlorn babe. As Lady Albemarle supposed the infant to be in the bed with the Countess, she was surprised at the narrow escape; and her curiosity being more roused from this circumstance, she directed her attention to the object of it, and requested that it should be brought to the window, in order that she might judge of the probability of its existence. Lady Berkeley exclaimed, peevishly, "It is a miserable thing, and cannot live." The infant's face being uncovered, the helpless little being opened its eyes, as if to hail the light of day; and as they appeared very bright, Lady Albemarle conceived that a child who possessed that power had a good chance to live. She, therefore, immediately sent into the neighbouring streets to find out a wet-nurse; nor did she retire till she had seen the child enjoy its borrowed nourishment from a healthy woman who was procured. Had it not been that an accident had so nearly happened, this circumstance would have been omitted; and, from despair of the mother, I most probably should not have survived. This scene took place at the house of the Earl of Berkeley in Spring Gardens."

She continued, during her infancy, so very diminutive, weak, and delicate, that nothing but the unremitting care which was bestowed upon her by a German nurse (for her mother was not fond of children!) could have reared her. Her sister, who was only two years older, used to carry her about in her arms; and to give her strength, cold baths were ordered, which produced an ague, from which she with difficulty recovered. We hope the publication of this fact will contribute to the abolition of that absurd and dangerous practice of dipping infants in cold water, the sudden effect of which is as painful to the system as electrifying the child would be. Such violent contrasts are unnatural, and must be hurtful; and we wish the Margravine, who has bestowed much of her good sense upon the nurture of children, had spoken more at large upon this subject. We have heard the case described, of a poor infant who was preposterously dipped every morning into icy cold water. The dread of the little creature, as she was carried towards the scene of her suffering, was almost tragically evinced by her trembling and clinging to her nurse, for she was not old enough to speak; but, when she was held over the bath, preparatory to the remorseless plunge, her limbs became almost convulsed, and her soft and baby face, which one might imagine incapable of any expression, was momentarily visited with a premature character in the deformity of its terror, and in the beseeching looks cast towards her father, who, yield

ing to injudicious advice, used to sanction the operation. This child died of Hydrocephalus.

The Margravine appears to have suffered, in the early part of her life, from the unfeeling treatment of two individuals, who, of all others, ought to have cherished and loved her: we mean her mother and her first husband. Not that they acted in concert; but that each, in his and her several sphere, seemed industrious in filling her young mind with unhappiness. This is a specimen of the behaviour of her mother:

"I was compelled that night to sleep in the same bed with Lady Berkeley, and from that time ever after in the same room, till I was married. That night, instead of speaking to me, my mother spoke to herself, and repeated in different phrases the same thing, that she had lost her only child-her fa


And here is a little anecdote of her sister, Lady Georgiana, told in her diverting and sly way :

"Some time after this, one night when my mother was asleep, Lady Georgiana came to my bed-side, having stolen silently from her own, and whispered, My Bessy, I am in love.'

"I was silent for some time, struck with the sudden manner and peculiar way of this disclosure, while Lady Georgiana continued in her whisper to tell me that she loved Lord Forbes. If my astonishment could be increased, it was at that name; for he was very ugly."

On the subject of the first declaration of love to herself, she is equally lively and dramatic :

Lady Berkeley sat in a box at the ball, and permitted Lady Georgiana and me to take a walk with some other young ladies. Each of us had a cavalier, who were to take care of and bring us back soon; but Lord Forbes insisted on walking between us. While proceeding along we were joined by a tall man in a black domino, who took the advantage of a crowd which impeded us, and who dropped on his knees before me, and said, ' Lady Elizabeth, I die if you do not hear me!'

"He then said, that to see me, and to love and to be miserable, were one and the same thing. My surprise and terror cannot be described; but Lord Forbes held me, and he and my sister laughed. I now began to imagine that this was masquerade wit; but my astonishment increased, when the man continued his language, and pulled off his mask; when I beheld the handsome universally allowed to be so by every one, and perhaps one of the handsomest men to be seen in any country.


"Not one word escaped my lips till Lord Forbes said, 'I have been his confident a long time;' and he shook my arm, but in vain, for the language of love was only terror to me; and on finding I could not speak, he said, "Ten thousand pardons I ask; permit me to speak to Lady Berkeley.' To which Lord Forbes answered, 'Oh, yes; it is a dumb chicken, but I will roast her for this;' and Mr. walked away. I hurried back to my mother, and calmed my terrors by saying to myself, Poor man, he is certainly mad!"

The conduct of Lord Craven, the Margravine's first husband, if the truth has been told of him, was unfeeling, unjust, gross, and wilful in the extreme; and there are one or two scenes in the present memoirs, between Lady Craven and his lordship, which are among the most affecting things we ever read. The following, which in some respects reminds us of a passage in Fielding's "Amelia," is one of them :

"That winter, I was much surprised to find that often, when Lord Craven told me he was going to hunt in Hampshire or Wiltshire, he had been in neither places; but in London, and not residing in our own house. I, of

course, began to grow very uneasy; and soon discovered that he had formed another attachment to a person whom he had found at the Crown Inn, by chance, at Reading; left there for debt by a gay colonel, whose mistress she was; till, tired by her extravagance, he had left her and her charms in pledge to pay her reckoning.


"Consideration for an excellent family prevents her being named here; but originally she had run away with a worthy man, and married him. soon left him for a gay captain, who, disgusted with her profuseness, deserted her, and she came upon the town. Her many admirers soon forsook her, when Lord Craven unfortunately became acquainted with her. He took excursions with her, and she drank at table with him, and then gained an ascendancy over him-a melancholy proof that they who never read nor reflect are always at the mercy of those who will flatter the whim of the


"This connexion necessarily prevented me from seeing much of my husband, and he appeared not so happy or amused at the sight of his children as usual: all doubts were, however, removed, had there been any; when one day Lord Macartney came to me and entreated me to prevent Lord Craven from travelling in one of my coaches, with a woman who called herself Lady Craven, and conducted herself at inns in such a manner as to reflect upon and tarnish my character; And,' added Lord Macartney, if Lord Berkeley knows this, he will certainly call Lord Craven out.' Lord Macartney had passed through Dunchurch, where Lord Craven and the lady had slept.

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"When Lord Craven arrived in London, in Charles-street, after he had seen me and the children, I sent them out of the room, and told him that I had a favour to ask of him, which was, that he would not permit his mistress to call herself Lady Craven. He looked much confused, rose from where he was sitting, and walked about the room some time. He then asked how long it was that I had known that he had a mistress? To this I replied, Above a twelvemonth.' He then took some more walks across the room; when, suddenly stopping, and clasping his hands together, he threw his eyes up to heaven and exclaimed, ' By G-, you are the best-tempered creature in the world; for I have never suspected that you knew this!' I then told him that he must remember the spotless young creature he had married, and who had borne him seven children; and that there was one thing I must insist on, which was, that if he continued to live with that woman, I would order a bed in the next room to his; for her conduct was such that my health might suffer. He said that she was a very good sort of woman, and asked, rather peremptorily, who had informed me otherwise? I then told him fairly, that I had obtained an interview with the lady's husband, who had acquainted me exactly with the character of the person with whom he had formed a connexion, and that the looseness of her conduct was such, that it was only to be equalled by her extravagance; and that he had concluded all his account of her by pitying my unfortunate situation.

"Lord Craven began to feel indignant, and his appearance indicated resentment; but I continued to entreat him to consider his children, and seriously to reflect on the fatal consequences of his conduct.

"In all probability, when he left me, he returned to the lady, and informed her of all that had passed, as she soon after took him over to the Continent, intending, most likely, to keep him out of the way of his wife, by quitting England. His stay there, however, was but of short duration, as he could speak no other language but English; and his patience being exhausted, he returned at the end of a six weeks' excursion.

"I could never persuade his Lordship, that, although he had made a will entailing his property on his three sons, he might spend it all before he died. At the time that my second son, Berkeley Craven, was born, Lord Craven made his will; at which time Lord Berkeley declared that he should never marry: and, as his brother w s surrounded by dangers in his profession as a naval officer, he was determined that Lady Granard's children should never

inherit one farthing of the Berkeley property, My second son was his lordship's heir; and it was on that declaration that Lord Craven made his will, making my jointure 30007. a-year, and giving me Benham and the house in Charles-street for my life, which subsequently he took away from me: and Lord Berkeley, notwithstanding his resolution, married.

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When Keppel Craven was about three years old, just before the Christmas holidays, which Lord Craven always spent with his wife, children, and friends, at one of his beautiful seats, his lordship one day sent for me into his dressingroom, and, with much embarrassment, said, 'I am going to London; I shall not pass the Christmas here; and when I go, I shall never see your face again.' I named to him the people I expected to come, and represented to him how extraordinary it would appear to some of them if he were absent; but he said that he was determined never to see me more. To this I answered, That is, to part with me?' He replied, 'Yes.' I then proceeded as far as the door, and, turning round, said, with the greatest calmness I could collect, The parting of a husband and wife, who have lived together for thirteen years, and have had seven children, and the fortunes of those children at the mercy of a father misled, is a thing of too great consequence to those children for me not to take the best advice upon such an event;' and I retired to my own sitting-room."

It was this unhappy circumstance which gave birth to the malignant gossip, of which, in her after-life, she became the victim. In the dedication of her letters from Constantinople, published in 1789, she speaks of a Birmingham coin of herself, which had been made to pass in most of the inns in France, Switzerland, and England, for the wife of her husband. Her arms and coronet were used to support the deception; and thus, in the person of another, she was liable to be unworthily estimated.

Soon after the separation from Lord Craven, our authoress made the tour of the Continent; and has qualified herself to lay before the public a delightful stock of anecdotes, private memoirs, scandal, &c. &c. connected with the foreign courts. At Vienna, she was, of course, introduced to the Emperor, who immediately fell in love with her. She hints at this circumstance with great naiveté :

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"When Prince Kaunitz delivered the Emperor's message to me, and added to it, The Emperor says, he never saw any woman with the modest and dignified deportment of Lady Craven,' I immediately replied that it was not in my power to stay; and I set off in ten days to perform the extraordinary journey to St. Petersburgh, where the Empress of Russia, and, by her orders, all who commanded under her authority, treated me with the most unexampled


"The Emperor had no wife, and the opinion which he had formed of me, and which was repeated over all Germany, terrified me; and, fearful lest injurious reports should be spread of me, which was what I could not bear,-at the risk of being thought ungrateful to the Emperor, I fled like a frightened bird from a net.'

The following account of the precautions taken by the Polish mothers to ensure the chaste behaviour of their daughters, is capital :

"The Polish ladies are very vigilant over the conduct of their daughters, and intrigues are not so easily carried on here as in England; and in some districts, (which is perfectly ridiculous!) they are forced to wear little bells, both before and behind, in order to proclaim where they are and what they are doing."

An edifying contrast to which is furnished by her description of the Turkish ladies:

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