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“ It is rather a nice letter,” she said, When it was finished her excitement and propped up the wicks of the flickering | gave way, her spirits ran down, she weat candles with the corner of the envelope. wearily back to the sofa and pillowed her “I believe she wrote merely out of kind-head on her arms once more. “I wonder ness; it proves that there is some gener- what the next incident will be, and how osity in even the most virtuous heart. I'll many days and nights it is off.” She shut write to the old lady —" she stopped her eyes and in thought hurried down the and reflected for a minute or two. "Poor street to the old port. She saw the masts old lady, she was very good to me, she of ships and the moving water and the was like a mother -- no woman has called passing lights in the distance. “Oh, me my love' since she went away." She God!” she said to herself, “how terrible walked up and down the room for a mo- it is to think that the land is empty for me ment, and looked out again at the wide from end to end. Though I walked over street and the flashing lights. Suddenly every mile of it I should never see his she seized her blotting book, and knelt face or hear his voice, and there is not a down by the table in the impulsive manner heart in the whole of it that cares one that characterized her. “I'll write at single jot for me. And the great sea is once,” she said. “Of course it will shock there, and the ships going on and on and her sweet old nerves, but I know she'll be not a soul on board one of them who glad to hear from me though she won't knows that I live or cares if I die. It own it even to herself :"
frightens me and stuns me and frightens
me again. I am so hungry, and longing, “ DEAREST OLD LADY,- I have been and eager for the utter impossibilities. longing to know what had become of you. Oh, my darling, if you had only trusted I only heard a little while ago that you me, if you could have believed that the sin were a happy bride, and I have just suc- was outside me and not in my heart, I ceeded in getting your address. A thou-would have been so good, I would have sand congratulations. I hope you are very made myself the best woman on earth so much in love, and that Mr. 'Wimple is that I might give you the best love that truly charming. He is indeed a most for- ever Heaven sent into human heart." tupate man and to be greatly envied by There was another knock at the door, and the rest of his sex.
something like a cry escaped from her “I fear you will be shocked to hear that lips. Mr. North has divorced me. I never
“Come in," and again the garçon enloved him, you know. I told you that tered with a letter. This time it was a when you were so angry with me that day thick packet. in Cornwall Gardens, and it was not my “ This is also for madame," he said, “it fault that I married him. I have been is from England.” She waited until the very miserable, and I don't suppose I door had closed behind him before she shall ever be happy again. But the world opened it. is a large place, and I am going to wander The envelope contained a dozen enclosabout; I have always longed to see the ures. They looked like bills and circulars whole of it; now I shall go to the east sent on from her London address. Among and the west and the north and the south them was a telegram. like a wandering Jewess. But before I “I suppose it's nothing," she said, as start on these expeditions I shall be in with trembling hands she opened it. It England for a few weeks and should like was from Bombay, and contained three to see you. Would you see me? I don't words, – suppose you would come near me or let “Sailing in Deccan." me go near you, though I should like to She fell down on her knees by the table, put my head down on your shoulder and and putting her face in her hands, burst feel your kind old arms round me again. into passionate weeping.
“ I am afraid you have eateo up all your “Oh, dear God," she prayed, " forgive wedding-cake, dear old lady, and even if me and be merciful to me. I have not you have any left you would no doubt meant to do wrong, I have only longed to think it far too good for the likes of me. be happy. Oh, dear Father, let me be so. I wonder if you would accept a very little I will try to do right all my life long and wedding present from me, for I should so to make him do right too, only let him much like to send you one? My love to love me still. I have never been happy, you and many felicitations to both you and let me be happy now. I bave suffered so, Mr. Wimple.
I have suffered so. Oh, dear God, is it “ Yours always,
not enough? Forgive me, and let me be “ É. NORTH." happy."
From The Nineteenth Century. erick became duke of Hanover, and, when THE STORY OF AN UNHAPPY QUEEN. he died, in 1679, Ernst August, in his
Few stories embodying so much of in- turn, succeeded to that duchy. terest and romance, and withal so much Sophia, Ernst August's wife, was the of historical prominence, have remained daughter of Elizabeth, queen of Bohemia more obscure and uncertain in many facts that beautiful and unhappy princess and details than that of the Königsmarck who in her own life and person continued tragedy, which stained the name and fame to experience the long series of misfor. of the Hanoverian court in the year 1694. tunes that dogged the footsteps of the Sift matters which way we will
, doubt Stuarts. She was the youngest child of rests upon many of the particulars, and, her parents, and was endowed with rare indeed, principally upon the all-important gifts and intellectual powers. In the days question of the relations that existed be of their early manhood she had won the tween Königsmarck and Sophia Dorothea, admiration of both brothers, and George the ill-starred daughter of the duke of William, then duke of Hanover, had ofCelle, and the consort of George Louis of fered her his hand, which she gladly acHanover, afterwards our George the First. cepted. Very shortly after his betrothal, One may always safely assume that the however, he revolted against the prospec. world's ill-nature will outrun any one's tive bonds of matrimony, and, in his eager misdeeds; therefore, it is no wonder that desire to escape, bribed his younger the general belief was that she was un brother, Ernst August, to assume them in faithful to her churlish and cruel husband. his stead. Ernst August, who was at this Her guilt has, however, not been proved, time possessed of neither dukedom nor and, while the cynic and detractor may, if estates, was by no means loth to listen to they please, assume the existence of mis- his brother's proposal, and Sophia, who conduct, it is equally open to the charita- was a very clever, practical woman, was ble minority to believe that, in spite of quite ready to accommodate herself to any her miserable and neglected life, she re- contingency that presented itself to her as mained true to her marriage-vow — at any an advantageous one. Ascepticin matters rate, there are no more proofs of the one religious, of cultivated intellect, discernpostulate than of the other.
ing, sarcastic, observant, she confronted The marriage of the ill-assorted pair the intricacies of life with a due regard to was negotiated by the two brothers : Ernst expediency rather than to any other conAugust, then duke of Hanover, on the sideration. At this crisis, therefore, she one hand, desiring that the large fortune showed herself ready to adapt herself to possessed by his elder brother, the duke the altered state of the duke of Hanover's of Celle, should eventually pass to his mind, and when the suggestion was made branch of the family, while the latter, with by him that Ernst August should take his the brilliant possibility of the British place as her betrothed, and on this condi. crown glittering on the horizon of the fu- tion enjoy the major part of the Hano. ture, longed to secure to his daughter so verian revenues, he (George William) splendid a position. Ernst August was binding himself never to marry at all, so eagerly seconded in his efforts by his un- as to secure the succession to his brother, scrupulous wife, Sophia, afterwards the she not only showed not the smallest famous electress of Hanover. It mattered pique at thus being allotted and dealt with little that ever since the child's birth she as a part of the movables, but she assured had regarded her with jealousy and dis her brother, the elector palatine, who was like; these sentiments, she found, had to somewhat staggered at the arrangement, yield to the exigencies of her greed; and that as far as she was concerned, so as it must be acknowledged that the position she obtained a good establishment, it matwas exceptional and peculiar.
tered not in the least which of the two In order to make the family arrange. brothers she married. Things having meots of the brothers plain, it will be as arrived at this satisfactory stage, the conwell to state here their relative circum-tract was sigoed and the marriage was stances. When their father, Duke George, solemnized. died, he left four sons — - viz., Christian Although George William's affection Louis, who succeeded to the duchy of did not go the length of desiring Sophia Celle; George William, who became duke in marriage, yet he was sufficiently drawn of Hanover; John Frederick, and Ernst towards her to find her companionship August. Christian Louis died in 1665, and a joint home with her and with his when his next brother, George William, brother very pleasant and acceptable. became duke of Celle, and John Fred- / Sophia had always commanded his admi.
ration, and her esprit, vivacity, and wit was solemnized in 1665; but it is a fact proved a great attraction to him, while that no ceremony whatever took place, or, Ernst August, who was genuinely in love as Sophia sarcastically put it,“ the cere. with his wife, suffered considerably with mony was a silent one." A liaison unthe pangs of jealousy ; but he need have sanctioned by the church it undoubtedly been under no apprehensions on this was. Religious-minded persons,” said score, for Sophia had at this time a sio- the perspicuous and epigrammatic Sophia, cere regard for her husband, and besides, in all of whose observations sparkle grains never, at any time of her life, did her heart of wit and humor, “consider this as a play a prominent part in her history – her marriage before God, which I very much head had always complete ascendency; prefer to its being so considered before and thus George William's presence was man." In 1666 Eleanore gave birth to a by no means a source of danger to her. daughter, but before this time Sophia had
In 1662 the Cardinal Archbishop of begun to entertain doubts as to the wisWartenburg and Bishop of Osnaburg died, dom of her actions in bringing these two and Erast August became, in accordance together. She bad expected to find in with the Treaty of Westphalia, Bishop of Eleanore a subservient follower, grateful Osnaburg, and thither he and Sophia be- for past favors, and submissive to her took themselves, and there lived for wishes, and behold, she was, in spite of seventeen years, when they took posses. her equivocal position, a dignified lady, an sion of the dukedom of Hanover.
independent thinker, and an accomplished Bereft of the companionship of his sis-intellectual rival. ter-in-law, George William, now forty When John Frederick died and Ernst years old, began once more to travel August succeeded to Hanover, traosferabout the world and to visit other courts, ring himself and his court thither, the two aod at Hesse he fell in with the Princesse families were brought into much closer de Tarante, and desperately in love with proximity. By this time George William her lady-in-waiting, Eleanore d'Olbreuse. had married the mother of his child, and The latter was the daughter of a gentle. thus sealed a perpetual code of warfare man of noble birth in Poitou - one of the between the two branches of the family. maoy French exiles who had fled from As it was an accomplished fact, however, France at the time of the revocation of the the duke and duchess of Hanover agreed Edict of Nantes. Eleanore was aware that so rich an inheritance had better not that his rank was too far above her own be lost to them and to their heirs by for there to be a question of marriage be- reason of any false pride, so they resolved tween them, but, though she reciprocated to do their best to bring about an allihis feelings, she was not one who could ance between their son and the daughter be easily annexed to the ducal establish- of the despised Eleanore d'Olbreuse, ment, and for a long time she refused his and, after a good deal of manœuvring, advances. Sophia, like many another an engagement was formed between the pecetrating and acute person, failed in cousins. Sophia Dorothea had been well discrimination where her own vanity was and carefully brought up; she was of high concerned, and she believed that the influ- spirit, happy temperament, and joyous na. ence that she had once wielded over her ture; and when she was sixteen there brother-in-law was an established and per- were many aspirants for her hand amongst manent one, and wholly unlikely to be the princely houses of Europe. That nullified by any other. Far, therefore, Philippe von Königsmarck was a préfrom entertaining any fears that the linison tendant, and one favored by the young might prove a dangerous one in her inter- girl herself, we think there is little doubt, ests, she believed that it would act as an and he was a frequent visitor at the court additional protection against his contract. of Celle. ing a legitimate one. It is true that she Philippe's family was neither insignifiregarded this last contingency as a very cant nor obscure. His father and grandremote one; still, she had never been quite father had distinguished themselves in free from the uncomfortable suspicion that the wars of Europe ; the latter, a German the extraordinary renunciation of his by birth, having placed his sword at the rights at the time of her marriage with his disposal of the king of Sweden, and brother was not as indisputably binding crowned a long and brilliant career by as its legal phraseology betokened. She the capture of Prague; while the former therefore resolved to try to procure for fought for the Venetian Republic, and was him the realization of his wishes. Some named Generalissimo by the Venetians. accounts assert that a morganatic marriage. The Königsmarck family were noteworthy
examples of one of the characteristics of doubt in a few contemptuous sentences, the age — viz., the eagerness with which in his otherwise delightful and interesting men sundered the ties of country and account of the doings in Hanover in the kindred and gave their services to for. days of the electors. eiga sovereigos, and were not infrequently At the time of Sophia Dorothea's marthus compelled to fight against their owo. riage in 1682 there lived in a somewhat The young Königsmarcks — for there invidious position at least we should were two- - were well known and eagerly think so in these days — two sisters of welcomed at most of the European courts; whose origin and experiences a few words indeed, the young cavaliers, Charles and must be said. Elizabeth and Catherine Philippe, were renowned in their own were the daughters of a certain Count persons for their deeds of valor, their Meissenburg, who, whether of high or dexterity in feats of arms, their extraor- humble origin, will here be best de. dinary beauty, their lively wit, and their scribed as a chevalier d'industrie. His high-bred gallantry. Charles, the elder, two daughters were both beautiful, both achieved an uppleasant notoriety in Lon. maneuvring, both wise in their generadon by designing and decreeing the muro tion, and both shared the propensities and der of Mr. Thynne - a deed from the ambition of their father; and, after much fatal punishment of which he was rescued travelling about in different countries, by the intervention of the English mon- their pecuniary resources being well-oigh arch; and he afterwards laid down his exhausted, they had all several years life on the battle-field, in the attempt to before this time betaken themselves to redeem his blighted honor.
the lively little court of Osnaburg, where There is no doubt that the foundation they met with so much appreciation that, of Philippe's unhappy love was laid at about the year 1663, they took up their Celle. Sophia Dorothea's resistance to abode there, and we hear no more of their her father's will was useless, and she was father, who, we conclude, having found a compelled to become the wife of a prince refuge for his daughters, left them to work who was in after-days to justify her feel. out their own fortunes under the pas. ings of antipathy.
toral care and vigilance of the Bishop of Every member of the family of the Osnaburg. Elizabeth, the elder, was house of Hanover was brave, and Prince twenty-one at this time. She was tall and George was no exception to the rule. handsome, with a brilliant complexion, When but fifteen, he fought at Cosna- and bold, black eyes, and her conversabruck, and later on he served in many tion was lively and witty. She was obsecampaigns, and distinguished himself in quious and servile to her superiors, and them. But neither military prowess nor arrogant and insolent to her inferiors. adventures, neither youth 'nor any other Messrs. Platen and Busche filled the quality, could break down the stolid ret. posts of governors to two of the young icence of his apathetic nature. Taciturn, princes, and whether they fell victims to moody, and sullen, he possessed neither the charms of these very intriguing young the charm of manner to touch the feelings ladies, or whether they shrewdly availed of a young girl, nor the warmth of heart themselves of the possibilities of the situthat would have made him naturally de- ation, we know not; all we do know is sirous of doing so. He simply accepted that M. Platen married Elizabeth and M. the situation as one of political necessity. Busche espoused the other; that henceCold and calculating, selfish and imper- forward they were attached to the episcoturbable, every gracious attribute of youth pal court at Osnaburg, and followed it was wanting in his character. During when it removed to Hanover; that Eliza. their engagement he showed her none of beth became the reigning favorite with the attentions of a lover, and, indeed, little Ernst August; and that the mari com. of the courtesy of a gentleman. What plaisant rose higher and higher at court, wonder that the prospect before her re- until he found himself a count, and champulsed and mortified her? Brought up berlain to his master. at Celle, the centre of a loving circle, the Of Ernst August's conjugal infidelities pride of her father, the idol of her mother, – provided they did not interfere with the her unclouded youth was but an ill prepa. exercise of her will and pleasure, or with ration for the stormy days that wrecked her political influence - Sophia was not her life. But even the cold impartiality in the least jealous; and it is likely that of a curious and scrutinizing posterity the absence of this inconvenient but comhesitates unflinchingly to pronounce her mon propensity riveted her sway over her guilty, although Thackeray dismisses the ) husband more effectually than the pres.
ence of many a nobler trait would have thea did not possess the art of dissimula. done. But Ernst August had enough tion ; and the contempt and disgust that good sense to rely on the wisdom of her she felt for her enemy were not disguised; counsels, and thus it was that Sophia had neither, unfortunately, did she veil her senno objection to Madame von Platen en-timents when conversing with others; and joying the monopoly of what it is quite Madame von Platen resolved, if it were in possible Ernst August called his heart, any way possible, to compass the ruin of provided that her head was permitted to the woman she hated. The contest was rule the duchy. George Louis stood in an unequal one. Elizabeth von Platen the same relationship to Busche and his was endowed with unscrupulousness, with wife as did his father to Platen and his ; violent passions, with an uprelenting habut George had just decency enough to tred of all who opposed her, and, lastly, dismiss Madame de Busche before his with the full confidence of the elector, wife's arrival at Hanover.
and with what, for want of a better or We hear but few details concerning the worse dame, we will call his love. Her young princess in the early days of her detestation of the princess knew no residence there. It was impossible for bounds; jealousy, fury at the manner in the most fastidious to criticise her manner, which she knew she had expressed her. which was full of grace and courtesy. self concerning her, her youth, her beauty, Dignified, and at the same time cordial to her dignity – all combined to bring Sosuch of her father-in-law's court as were phia Dorothea within the scope of Ma. worthy of her regard, to Madame von dame von Platen's poisonous malevolence. Platen she extended the coldest and most On the other hand the princess stood alone distant of recognitions. At this time the in her unguarded youth; her husband's elector showed his beautiful though some admiration was not of long duration; but what alarming daughter-in-law a consider. she went upon her way rejoicing in the ation and respect that he was not in the sole happiness that was permitted her habit of according to others, and for this that of the care and love of her children reason Madame von Platen dared not at dangerously indifferent to the perils that first display the resentment and rancor beset her path, and haughtily ignoring the that the superiority of the newly arrived venomous serpent that hissed at hei fect. princess caused her to experience. So. Soon Madame von Platen began to inphia Dorothea's pure mind and simple trigue for the return of her sister, hoping dignity, and her respectful submission to that the latter might regain some of her her husband's relations, won insensibly the old influence over the electoral prince, temporary regard of her mother-in-law; and thus destroy one that she dreaded and and George himself, though it is impossi- feared. But Catherine had lost all her ble to say that he loved her, at all events power over her former lover, so Madame felt a kind of pride in and lethargic admi. von Platen turned her mind to another ration of her superiority, while Madame scheme. To beauty, wit, and refinement von Platen watched the growing influence George was wholly callous, and his wife's of the youthful princess with angry jeal. superiority, if it pleased him at first, now ousy. The birth of a son (afterwards bored and oppressed him. He therefore George the Second) changed the current sought relief in the society of one of the of her life, and she became for a time ugliest and most ungainly ladies of the happier in her uncongenial home than she court, one Melusine von Schulenburg, had ever hoped to be.
whose leanness and general gawkiness had The star of Hanover seemed to be in won for her the sobriquet of "the May. the ascendant at this time, and the dig- pole,” together with ihe half-surprised, nity of elector was granted to Ernst Au. half-amused amazement of his mother gust, while the chances of the British not so much at his disloyalty to his young crown becoming vested in the electress wife, as at the selection he had made in a appeared to be increasing. Time went mistress. We may, however, remind our. on, and Countess Platen's influence over selves that George was not prejudiced in the elector did not diminish. Unscrupu- favor of leanness only, for we have Horlous and false, no means were too base ace Walpole's graphic and emphatic dewhereby to obtain her ends; and modern scription of Lady Darlington, whose and ancient history too must be very dili- tendencies are wholly in the other direcgently passed in review before so de- tion; and when he landed in England, to praved and demoralized, so corrupt and take possession of his throne, and drove to debased a nature will present itself for the London in his gilded coach surrounded by student's consideration. Sophia Doro- I his seraglio, the mob that had assembled to