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ruffles of costly Mechlin, whereof a loosely-tied cravat surrounds the wearer's throat; a wondrously embroidered waistcoat of luminous material, traversed diagonally by a broad blue riband, and descending low upon breeches of dull-coloured satin, which end in legs of rather clumsy model, encased in silken hose, having thereto attached large, though not unshapely, feet inserted in high-heeled pumps, and crossed on the instep by huge buckles that glimmer with a hundred twinkling lights. A gorgeous star on the left breast. . . signifying that the wearer had been honoured with the Order of the Garter. Mr. Craig sums up the description of this man as "splendour lacking harmony, symmetry lacking charm, elegance lacking ease, suavity without the impression of sincerity, dignity without that absence of constraint which true dignity implies."
Chesterfield had and encouraged a reputation for gallantry, though he was never known to have experienced a great passion. When King George once heard that Lords Bolingbroke, Chesterfield, and Carteret were each engaged in writing a history of his reign, he remarked "I shall like to read Bolingbroke's, who, of all the rascals and knaves who have been lying against me these ten years, has certainly the best parts and the most knowledge. He is a scoundrel, but he is a scoundrel of a higher class than Chesterfield. Chesterfield is a little tea-table scoundrel; that tells little womanish lies to make quarrels in families; and tries to make women lose their reputations, and make their husbands beat them, without any object but to give himself airs."
The Queen said all the three histories would be heaps of lies. "Bolingbroke's would be great lies, Chesterfield's little lies, and Carteret's lies of both sorts.'
Chesterfield married, in 1733, Melusina de Schulenberg,
The Burnt Will
daughter of the lady already mentioned and it was believed-of George 1., for as Walpole says,
was very like him." The first George left a will in which a large sum of money was bequeathed to Melusina, but George II. burnt it. Lord Chesterfield intended to take legal steps to recover the £40,000 thus left; but the King, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, arranged the matter by paying over £20,000. It is said that Chesterfield had been attracted by Melusina when quite a young man, and that she had then and always preferred him to all others. After the marriage they kept up different establishments, she still residing with her aunt-or mother-the Duchess of Kendal, and he at the house next door. She was a good and thoughtful wife, and outlived him several years, but they had no children, the boy to whom the celebrated letters were written being a natural son.
In his old age Chesterfield led a retired life in the great mansion which he had built. His library was a beautiful room, the walls "covered half way up with rich and classical stores of literature; above the cases were, in close series, the portraits of eminent authors, French and English, with most of whom he had conversed; over these, and immediately under the massive cornice, extended all round in foot-long capitals the Horatian lines:
Nunc somno. et. inertibus. Horis.
Lucen solicter. jucunda. oblivia. vitea.
On the mantelpieces and cabinets stood busts of old orators, interspersed with voluptuous vases and bronzes, antique or Italian, and airy statuettes in marble or alabaster, of nude or semi-nude opera nymphs."
Here he wrote much more than was published. “I used to snatch up my pen with momentary raptures, because by choice; but now I am married to it. I often scribble, but at the same time protest to you that I almost as often burn."
Chesterfield suffered from an ailment which he said "was goutish-rheumatism or a rheumatic gout," and talked of miserable age. "Fontenelle's last words at a hundred and three were 'Je souffre d'être'; deaf and infirm as I am, I can with truth say the same thing at sixty-three." However, he lived sixteen years longer. It was his custom to take a drive each day almost up to the last, and when a distinguished visitor called upon him once, and shortly took his leave, the Earl said lightly, "I will not detain you, for I must go and rehearse my funeral." It was also in his old age that he replied to an inquiry concerning a friend: "To tell you the truth, we have both been dead this twelve month, but we do not own it." He was courteous under every circumstance, even though he could not restrain his tendency to say a smart thing. When his valet parted the curtains of the bed on which his lordship lay dying, to announce that Mr. Dayrolles had called to see him, he found strength to make his last effort at speech with, "Give Dayrolles a chair."
In his will he left his servants two years' wages, adding to the clause: "I consider them as unfortunate friends; my equals by nature, and my inferiors only in the difference of our fortunes."
John, Lord Hervey, the persistent enemy of Chesterfield, was as much liked by Queen Caroline as the latter was disliked. He was a strangely vain man, and yet it is difficult to say how much his solicitude for his face