Wednesday, March 10, 2010

14Oct1871, Remembering The Beautiful Duchess, Georgiana

HAGLEY, Saturday, October 14th, 1871.
—Darling old Tallee and At. Y. came. Tallee has been looking at old letters at Althorp ; found strangely few of Granny's, but, among others, one from the Beautiful Duchess of Dev. to her parents, written soon after her marriage, from Hardwick, speaking in a childlike way of her enjoyment of the place, and how there was no fear but that she would be happy in a simple country life. Poor creature! how different was her future! Her wretched profligate husband living openly with her own friend, in her own home ; she herself driven into gambling and at last into terrible sin ; but I believe sincerely repenting at last.

[FN: The "beautiful Duchess" was Georgiana Spencer, wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire. She left a letter to her children, written in blood, saying, "Do not think hardly of your mother ! I was a Duchess at 17, a beauty, and the fashion." Lady Louisa Egerton, Lady Frederick's sister-in-law, had a great affection for her memory and was convinced that her sins were much fewer than has sometimes been asserted. Of her beauty, and its effects, there are many stories. Lady Louisa remembered an old woman saying of her : "You could have lit a candle at her eyes."]

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