An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy

Letter XI

London, Dec. 23, 17--.

[p. 64] His Highness Prince Lobkowitz condescended to put up with a balcony for himself and friends; and I hastened home, at once to make known to my mother my good fortune, and to retaliate upon my inimical relation. To add to my satisfaction, whern I got home, I found a note [p. 64] from her Grace, desiring I would wait upon her the next moring. This being such an evident proof of my veracity, which it had given me inexpressible uneasiness to have doubted, I experienced proportionable pleasure from it.

I was, notwithstanding, so apprehensive of meeting with a second mortification, that I determined to walk to Queensberry-House, to prevent any person's being a witness to it, should it happen. I accordingly set out on foot, and was not toally free from perturbation when I knocked at the gate. I was, however, immediately ushered to her Grace's apartment, where my reception was as singuluar as my treatment had been the day before; her Grace thus accosting me: "Well, young woman! -- What business had you in a chair yesterday? -- It was a fine morning, and you might have walked. You look as you ought to do now" (observing my linen grown). "Nothing is so vulgar as wearing silk in a morning. -- Simplicity best becomes youth. And you do not stand in need of ornaments. -- Therefore dress always plain, except when you are upon the stage."'

Whilst her Grace was talking in this manner to me she was cleaning a picture; which I officiously requesting her permission to do, she hastily replied, "Don't you think I have domestics enough if I did not choose to do it myself?' -- I apologized for my [p. 65] presumption, by informing her Grace that I had been for some time at Jones's, where I had been flattered that I had acquired a tolerable proficiency in that art. The Dutchess upon this exclaimed, "Are you the girl I have heard Chesterfield speak of?" Uoon my answering that I had the honour of being known to his Lordship, she ordered a canvass bag to be taken out of her cabinet, saying, "No person can give Queensberry less than gold. There are two hundred and fifty guineas, and twenty for the Duke's tickets and mine, but I must give you something for Tyrawley's sake." She then took a bills from her pocket-book, which having put into my hands, she told me her coach was ordered to carry me home, lest any accident should happen to me, now I had such a charge about me.

Though the consclusion of her Grade's whim, as it might justly be termed, was more pleasing the the beginning of ii, and her munificence much greater than thht of the Countess of Cardigan, yet I must acknowledge I was much better pleased with the reception I met with from her ladyship, who honored me with her protection whilst I continued on the stage.

There is a manner in conferring obligation which renders them doubly valuable. The most beneficient actions lose their worth when accompanied with a disgusting sense of [p. 67] superiority; whilst the smile of courtesy makes even trivial favours acceptable.

My benefit surpassed my most sanguine expectaions. And as I had by this time many who professed themselves my admirers, they had, upon this occasion, an opportunity of shewing their generosity without offending my delicacy.

Among those who paid me the greatest degree of attention was Lord Byron, a nobleman who had little to boast of but a title, and an agreeable face; and Mr. Montgomery, since Sir George Metham. As I would not listen to any proposals but marriage and a coach, Mr. Montgomery honestly told me, early in his devoirs, that he could not comply with the first, as his only dependance was on his father, whose consent he could not hope to procure; and as for the latter, he could not afford it. Having come to this eclaircissement, he immediately retired into Yorkshire. The generous conduct of this gentleman (whose passion I was well convinced was sincere) in not attempting to deceive me, made an impression upon my mind greatly in his favoir.

As my next epistle is to contain strange and surprising adventures, and these not the product of the writer's imagination, but as true as wonderful, I will beg your permission to break off here; and lest you acuse me of a want of variation in the conclusion of my [p. 68] letters, I shall end this in the good old-fashion way: So no more at present, from Madam, your humble servant, to command,

G. A. B.

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