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Lady Blessington


an evening at the house of Lady Blessington, who sat in the drawing-room with several gentlemen round her. One was one of the brothers Smith, authors of " Rejected Addresses"; another Henry Bulwer, the brother of the novelist. Then there was a German prince, a famous traveller; "and the splendid person of Count d'Orsay, in a careless attitude upon the ottoman, completed the cordon." He also accepted an invitation to go one evening at ten, and found Lady Blessington "in a long library lined alternately with splendidly bound books and mirrors, and with a deep window of the breadth of the room, opening upon Hyde Park :

"The picture to my eye, as the door opened, was a very lovely one-a woman of remarkable beauty half buried in a fauteuil of yellow satin, reading by a magnificent lamp suspended from the centre of the arched ceiling; sofas, couches, ottomans, and busts arranged in rather a crowded sumptuousness through the room; enamel tables, covered with expensive and elegant trifles in every corner; and a delicate white hand relieved on the back of a book, to which the eye was attracted by the blaze of its diamond rings. As the servant mentioned my name, she rose and gave me her hand very cordially; and a gentleman entering immediately after, she presented me to Count d'Orsay, the well-known 'Pelham' of London, and certainly the most splendid specimen of a man and a well-dressed one that I had ever seen. Tea was brought in immediately, and conversation went swimmingly on.'

In the course of a long conversation, mostly about America, Lady Blessington told Willis how she was with Lord Blessington in his yacht at Naples when the American fleet was lying there, ten or eleven years earlier, and they were constantly on board the American ships, adding:

"I remember very well the bands playing always God save the King as we went up the side. Count d'Orsay here, who spoke very little English at that time, had a great passion for Yankee Doodle, and it was always played at his request.'

"The Count, who still speaks the language with a very slight accent, but with a choice of words that shows him to be a man of uncommon taste and elegance of mind, inquired after several of the officers, whom I have not the pleasure of knowing. He seemed to remember his visits to the frigate with great pleasure."

Willis also says of Lady Blessington:

"Her excessive beauty is less an inspiration than the wondrous talent with which she draws, from every person around her, his peculiar excellence. Talking better than anybody else, and narrating, particularly, with a graphic power that I never saw excelled, this distinguished woman seems striving only to make others unfold themselves, and never had diffidence a more apprehensive and encouraging listener. But this is a subject with which I should never be done.

"I was at Lady Blessington's at eight. Moore had not arrived, but the other persons of the party— a Russian count, who spoke all the languages of Europe as well as his own; a Roman banker, whose dynasty is more powerful than the Pope's; a clever English nobleman, and the observed of all observers,' Count d'Orsay, stood in the window upon the park, killing, as they might, the melancholy twilight half-hour preceding dinner."

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A word more concerning the end of the evening:

"We all sat around the piano, and after two or three songs of Lady Blessington's choice, he (Moore) rambled over the keys awhile and sang When First I Met Thee,

An Ultra Villain


with a pathos that beggars description. When the last word had faltered out, he rose and took Lady Blessington's hand, said good-night, and was gone before a word was uttered. For a full minute after he had closed the door, no one spoke. I could have wished, for myself, to drop silently asleep where I sat, with the tears in my eyes, and the softness upon my heart. Here's a health to thee,

Tom Moore !'"

Creevey, in "The Creevey Papers," showed himself to be by no means a friend of D'Orsay's, for speaking of a dinner at Stoke Farm in October 1834, he says:

"Our party here have been the little Russian Ambassador; D'Orsay, the ultra-dandy of Paris and London, and as ultra a villain as either city can produce (you know he married Lord Blessington's daughter, a beautiful young woman whom he has turned upon the wide world, and he lives openly and entirely with her mother, Lady Blessington. His mother, Madame Craufurd, aware of his profligacy, has left the best part of her property to her sister, Madame de Guiche's children)."

There are so many mistakes in this paragraph-Lady Blessington was Harriet's stepmother, Harriet's stepmother, not mother; Madame Craufurd was D'Orsay's grandmother, his mother being Countess d'Orsay; and Madame de Guiche was at that time the Duchesse de Grammont and the granddaughter of Madame Craufurd, not her sister-that we need not take Creevey's opinion seriously. But it raises a nice question in rule of three: viz. If there are so many mistakes in so many lines how many are there in the two volumes?

Chateaubriand, too, had no very good opinion of the Count. In his Memoirs he writes:

"Nothing in London succeeds like insolence, as witness D'Orsay, the brother of the Duchesse de Guiche:

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