The Old Court Suburb, or Memorials of Kensington, Regal, Critical, and Anecdotical, Volume II

Hunt, Leigh




'LORD HERVEY, for the amusement of thE Queen, and for the recommendation of himself at the expense of others, wrote a little Kensington drama, called "The Death of Lord Hervey, or a Morning at Court." We extract


from it two or three lively passages, relating to a breakfast, a divine service, and a levee; because in the one, the reader will find himself in company with Queen Caroline, under circumstances characteristic of her manners towards those about her; in the second, a very candid exhibition is made of her indifference for court-chaplains; and in the third, he will see what the royal talk on court-days must, to a certain extent, of necessity, be. Hervey takes insidious advantage of the favour he was in with her Majesty; whose willingness to think the best of her gossiping lord of the Bedchamber would not have been so amused with the thing as she was, could she have seen the Memoir in which she has been preserved for posterity. The simultaneous emphasis with which she divides her emotions between the news of a friend's


death and the delights of a cup of chocolate, and the sarcasms which plentifully acidulate the sweets of her obliging enquiries round the court circle, would have come out with stronger and more suspicious effect.

The tragical exclamation of Princess Caroline, when she first hears of the supposed death, and the striking circumstance of her twisting off the thumbs of her glove, are meant to imply the love which this poor girl, the most amiable of the family, is said to have entertained for the unworthy biographer. How he could have alluded to it at all, as a gentleman, especially through such a medium as a court effusion like this, written for the purpose of entertaining her mother, and which every body would read "confidentially" whom his vanity could get to do so, must


be inconceivable at the British court of the .

We have added translations of the French passages between brackets, not " for the benefit of the country gentlemen," as the phrase used to run (for country gentlemen, except, perhaps, in sporting instances, are now, we believe, pretty much on a par with others in such matters) but for the benefit of that large addition to the class of readers, qualified to enjoy what they read, which has been made of late years without a commensurate increase of education.