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THE DUKE'S IMPUDENCE.

be convinc'd of the sincerity of my repentance for my former madness, would become an advocate with his majesty to grant me his most gracious pardon, which it is my comfort I shall never be required to purchase by any step unworthy of a man of honor. I do not intend, in case of the king's allowing me to pass the evening of my days under the shadow of his royal protection, to see England for some years, but shall remain in France or Germany, as my friends shall advise, and enjoy country sports till all former stories are buried in oblivion. I beg of your excellency to let me receive your orders at Paris, which I will send to your hostel to receive. The Dutchess of Wharton, who is with me, desires leave to wait on Mrs. Walpole, if you think proper.

I am, etc.”

After this, the embassador could do no less than receive him ; but he was somewhat disgusted when on leaving him the duke frankly told him-forgetting all about his penitent letter, probably, or too reckless to care for it—that he was going to dine with the Bishop of Rochester-Atterbury himself then living in Paris—whose society was interdicted to any subject of King George. The duke, with his usual folly, touched on other subjects equally dangerous, his visit to Rome, and his conversion to Romanism ; and, in short, disgusted the cautious Mr. Walpole. There is something delightfully impudent about all these acts of Wharton's; and had he only been a clown at Drury Lane instead of an English nobleman, he must have been successful. As it is, when one reads the petty hatred and humbug of those days, when liberty of speech was as unknown as any other liberty, one can not but admire the impudence of his Grace of Wharton, and wish that most dukes, without being as profligate, would be as free-spoken.

With six hundred pounds in his pocket, our young Lothario now set up house at Rouen, with an establishment “equal," say the old-school writers, “to his position, but not to his means.” In other words, he undertook to live in a style for which he could not pay. Twelve hundred a year may

be enough for a duke, as for any other man, but not for one who considers a legion of servants a necessary appendage to his position. My lord duke, who was a good French scholar, soon found an ample number of friends and acquaintances, and not being particular about either, managed to get through his half-year's income in a few weeks. Evil consequence: he was assailed by duns. French duns have never read their Bible, and know nothing about forgiving debtors; "your money first, and then my pardon,” is their motto. My lord duke soon found this out. Still he had an income, and could pay them

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all off in time. So he drank and was merry, till one fine day came a disagreeable piece of news, which startled him considerably. The government at home had heard of his doings, and determined to arraign him for high treason.

He could expect little else, for had he not actually taken up arms against his sovereign ?

Now Sir Robert Walpole was, no doubt, a bear. He was not a man to love or sympathize with; but he was goodnatured at bottom. Our frolic grace” had reason to acknowledge this. He could not complain of harshness in any measures taken against him, and he had certainly no claim to consideration from the government he had treated so ill. Yet Sir Robert was willing to give him every chance; and so far did he go, that he sent over a couple of friends to him to induce him only to ask pardon of the king, with a promise that it would be granted. For sure the Duke of Wharton's character was anomalous. The same man who had more than once humiliated himself when unasked, who had written to Walpole's brother the letter we have read, would not now, when entreated to do so, write a few lines to that minister to ask mercy. Nay, when the gentlemen in question offered to be content even with a letter from the duke's valet, he refused to allow the man to write. Some people may admire what they will believe to be firmness, but when we review the duke's character and subsequent acts, we can not attribute this refusal to any thing but obstinate pride. The consequence of this folly was a stoppage of supplies, for as he was accused of high treason, his estate was of course sequestrated. He revenged himself by writing a paper, which was published in “Mist's Journal,” and which, under the cover of a Persian tale, contained a species of libel on the government.

His position was now far from enviable; and, assailed by duns, he had no resource but to humble himself, not before those he had offended, but before the Chevalier, to whom he wrote in his distress, and who sent him £2000, which he soon frittered away in follies. This gone, the duke begged and borrowed, for there are some people such fools that they would rather lose a thousand pounds to a peer than give sixpence to a pauper, and many a tale was told of the artful manner in which his grace managed to cozen his friends out of a louis or two. His

ready wit generally saved him. Thus on one occasion an Irish toady invited him to dinner; the duke talked of his wardrobe, then sadly defective; what suit should he wear? The Hibernian suggested black velvet.

Could you recommend a tailor ?” Certainly.” Snip came, an expensive suit was ordered, put on, and the dinner taken.

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In due course the tailor called for his money. The duke was not a bit at a loss, though he had but a few francs to his name. “Honest man," quoth he, “you mistake the matter entirely. Carry the bill to Sir Peter; for know that whenever I consent to wear another man's livery, my master pays for the clothes,” and inasmuch as the dinner-giver was an Irishman, he did actually discharge the account.

At other times he would give a sumptuous entertainment, and in one way or another induce his guests to pay for it. He was only less adroit in coining excuses than Theodore Hook, and had he lived a century later, we might have a volume full of anecdotes to give of his ways and no means. Meanwhile his unfortunate duchess was living on the charity of friends, while her lord and master, when he could get any one to pay for a band, was serenading young ladies. Yet he was jealous enough of his wife at times, and once sent a challenge to a Scotch nobleman, simply because some silly friend asked him if he had forbidden his wife to dance with the lord. He went all the way to Flanders to meet his opponent; but, perhaps fortunately for the duke, Marshal Berwick arrested the Scotchman, and the duel never came off.

Whether he felt his end approaching, or whether he was sick of vile pleasures which he had recklessly pursued from the age of fifteen, he now, though only thirty years of age, retired for a time to a convent, and was looked on as a penitent and devotee. Penury, doubtless, cured him in a measure, and poverty, the porter of the gates of heaven, warned him to look forward beyond a life he had so shamefully misused. But it was only a temporary repentance; and when he left the religious house, he again rushed furiously into every kind of dissipation.

At length, utterly reduced to the last extremities, he bethought himself of his colonelcy in Spain, and determined to set out to join his regiment. The following letter from a friend who accompanied him will best show what circumstances he was in:

“Paris, June 1st, 1729. “Dear Sir, I am just returned from the Gates of Death, to Thanks for

your last kind Letter of Accusations, which I am persuaded was intended as a seasonable Help to my Recollection, at a Time that it was necessary for me to send an Inquisitor General into my Conscience, to examine and settle all the Abuses that ever were committed in that little Court of Equity;

but I assure you, your long Letter did not lay so much my Faults as my Misfortunes before me, which believe me, dear have fallen as heavy and as thick upon

return you

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me as the Shower of Hail upon us two in E-Forest, and has left me much at a Loss which way to turn myself. The Pilot of the Ship I embarked in, who industriously ran upon every Rock, has at last split the Vessel, and so much of a sudden, that the whole Crew, I mean his Domesticks, are all left to swim for their Lives, without one friendly Plank to assist them to Shore. In short, he left me sick, in Debt, and without a Penny; but as I begin to recover, and have a little Time to think, I can't help considering myself, as one whisk'd up behind a Witch upon a Broomstick, and hurried over Mountains and Dales through confus'a Woods and thorny Thickets, and when the Charm is ended, and the poor Wretch dropp'd in a Desart, he can give no other Account of his enchanted Travels, but that he is much fatigued in Body and Mind, his Cloaths torn, and worse in all other Circumstances, without being of the least Service to himself or any body else. But I will follow your Advice with an active Resolution, to retrieve my bad Fortune, and almost a Year miserably misspent.

“But notwithstanding what I have suffered, and what my Brother Mad-man has done to undo himself, and every body who was so unlucky to have the least Concern with him, I could not but be movingly touch'd at so extraordinary a Vicissitude of Fortune, to see a great Man fallen from that shining Light, in which I beheld him in the House of Lords, to such a Degree of Obscurity, that I have obsery'd the meanest Commoner here decline, and the Few he would sometimes fasten on, to be tired of his Company; for you know he is but a bad Orator in his Cups, and of late he has been but seldom sober.

“ A week before he left Paris, he was so reduced, that he had not one single Crown at Command, and was forc'd to thrust in with any Acquaintance for a Lodging: Walsh and I have had him by Turns, all to avoid a Crowd of Duns, which he had of all Sizes, from Fourteen hundred Livres to Four, who hunted him so close, that he was forced to retire to some of the neighboring Villages for Safety. I, sick as I was, hurried about Paris to raise Money, and to St. Germain's to get him Linen; I bought him one Shirt and a Cravat, which with 500 Livres, his whole Stock, he and his Duchess, attended by one Servant, set out for Spain. All the News I have heard of them since is that a Day or two after, he sent for Captain Brierly, and two or three of his Domesticks, to follow him ; but none but the Captain obey'd the Summons.

Where they are now, I can't tell ; but fear they must be in great Distress by this time, if he has no other Supplies; and so ends my Melancholy Story.

I am, etc."

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16+ WHARTON'S DEATH IN A BERNARDINE CONVENT.

Still his good-humor did not desert him; he joked about their poverty on the road, and wrote an amusing account of their journey to a friend, winding up with the well-known lines :

“Be kind to my remains, and oh! defend,

Against your judgment, your departed friend." His mind was as vigorous as ever, in spite of the waste of

many debauches; and when recommended to make a new translation of "Telemachus,” he actually devoted one whole day to the work; the next he forgot all about it. In the same manner he began a play on the story of Mary Queen of Scots, and Lady M. W. Montagu wrote an epilogue for it, but the piece never got beyond a few scenes. His genius, perhaps, was not for either poetry or the drama. His mind was a keen, clear one, better suited to argument and to grapple tough polemic subjects. Had he but been a sober man, he might have been a fair, if not a great writer. The “ True Briton,” with many faults of license, shows what his capabilities were. His absence of moral sense may be guessed from the fact that in a poem on the preaching of Atterbury, he actually compares the bishop to our Savior himself!

At length he reached Bilboa and his regiment, and had to live on the meagre pay of eighteen pistoles a month. The Duke of Ormond, then an exile, took pity on his wife, and supported her for a time: she afterward rejoined her mother at Madrid.

Meanwhile, the year 1730 brought about a salutary change in the duke's morals. His health was fast giving way from the effects of divers excesses; and there is nothing like bad health for purging a bad soul. The end of a misspent life was fast drawing near, and he could only keep it up by broth with eggs beaten

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in it. He lost the use of his limbs, but not of his gayety. In the mountains of Catalonia he met with a mineral spring which did him some good; so much, in fact, that he was able to rejoin his regiment for a time. A fresh attack sent him back to the waters; but on his way he was so violently attacked that he was forced to stop at a little village. Here he found himself without the means of going farther, and in the worst state of health. The monks of a Bernardine convent took pity on him and received him into their house. He grew worse and worse ; and in a week died on the 31st of May, without a friend to pity or attend him, among strangers, and at the early age of thirty-two.

Thus ended the life of one of the cleverest fools that have ever disgraced our peerage.

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