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in spirit--the idol of his parents, and the pride of his friends. His early fall at the fatal and sanguinary battle of Albuera, where he was shot through the heart, while gallantly leading his men to the charge, gave rise to several tributes to his memory. One of these, as coming from the pen of the justly celebrated Mrs. Hemans, will no doubt be acceptable to the reader.
TO THE MEMORY OF
FELL IN THE
MAJOR FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MONTAGU,
Of The Royal Welsh FUSILEERS,
BATTLE OF ALBUERA, MAY 16TH, 1811,
Full many an eye shall weep, and heart deplore.
Thy bed of slumber on a foreign shore !
When to their home thy loved remains were borne ;
Paused from the carnage of the field to mourn.
And rising night-winds murmured o'er the plain;
In deep repose, the slumb'ring and the slain.
Loved son of Albion, in the soldier's grave:
On the low death-bed of the slaughtered brave.
To fire thine eye, or animate thy breast;
Break the deep stillness of thy sacred rest.
The exulting pæan, or the choral strain;
'Midst the pale dead, on Albuera's plain.
Wave in thy helmet victory's towering plume!
For worth and valour, lost in manhood's bloom. The following stanzas, written by a brother officer, “ were dictated on the field of battle ;" and appeal to the feelings from their simplicity, which seems to guarantee the sincerity of the writer. The Editor will, no doubt, however, give preference to those by Mrs. Hemans.
ON THE BURIAL OF MAJOR MONTAGU.
Mournfully an anxious train
The chief they love.
To saints above.
Gallant friends, with sighs around,
That marks his tomb.
His early doom.
His days were few :
I think I before mentioned that Lady Shrewsbury, though a Catho. lic, kept up a friendly intercourse with the families in her neighbourhood. The Methuens' of Corsham, the Montagus' of Lackham, the Marquis of Lansdown's, and Lady Catherine Long's families, were amongst some of her Protestant acquaintances. At the time I allude to, the country rang with the fame of Miss Tilney Long, * her beauty, her accomplishments, and her immense fortune being the theme of all male tongues. But to the honour of Lord Dormer, and the other Catholic gentlemen visiting at the abbey, none of them evinced the least desire to join the swarm of lovers, that fluttered like flies round the rising sun. Alas! poor victim of man's selfishness! I well remember how gay and happy she looked the last time I saw her at a ball, seated at the top of the room like a little queen, with all her attendant worshippers full of smiles and compliments, and jealously vying with each other in administering the sweetest dose of flattery to the great heiress. She was not so pretty as her sister Diana, though a pleasing looking fairy creature, and who might, under other circumstances, and by other men, have been loved for herself alone. Her marriage was a great grief to her amiable mother, Lady Catherine; though she did not then contemplate the tragedy with which her daughter was to close her blameless and persecuted life. Miss Tilney Long and her sisters had been so admirably brought up by their pious and exemplary parent, that they were alike a blessing to her, and to the country round, working for the poor, and visiting them in their cottages, as divested of all pride, as if fortune had never smiled upon them. Sir James Long, their father, was a sensible and unworldly-minded man, with so much hatred of all parade and ostentation, that he carried things to the other extreme; and when dining en famille, would not suffer the attendance of a single footman, but always had a dumb waiter placed at his elbow. His splendid and almost regal seat at Wanstead, (now, alas! levelled with the dust, to answer the demands of prodigality and selfishness,) he never once, in all the years of their wedded life, took his wife to visit, fearing that Lady Catherine might wish, if she saw it, to live there. It was well for him that he did not live to witness the havoc and ruin of all his
Mrs. Wellesley Pole.
vast possessions, and his family, honoured and loved as they were, afflicted and impoverished, owing to the ill-fated marriage of a beloved and virtuous daughter, whose only fault was in uniting herself, contrary to the wishes of her mother, to the man who requited her confidingness with ingratitude, and returned her love with infidelity. Peace to her ashes ! and may the repentant tears of a world-condemned husband one day be shed over them! The following song, as having been written upon her, may not be unacceptable; at all events, it has the merit of novelty, never having been before the public.
I saw her first in regal bowers,
'Mid many a jewelled fair ;
She seemed to tread on air :
So wild, so darkly bright,
Since that remembered night.
That echoed to ber sigh;
Had dimm'd ber bright, bright eye :
Had play'd the faithless part,
I read her broken heart.
And saw her borne along,
And be who did her wrong
And took another bride ;
Though none should weep beside.
But to return, of all the visitors at the abbey, none ever amused me more than the wife and daughter of a London city banker. The airs and graces of Lady and Miss -, to the venerable countess, were indeed truly laughable. Our worthy curate's wife, a sensible and accomplished woman, had been, previously to her marriage, the governess of Miss – who, after repeated invitations, came with her lady mamma to rusticate at the vicarage. Lady Shrewsbury, who was exceedingly partial to Mrs. Robinson, and had paid her the most flattering attentions ever since she came to the village, was very desirous to invite Lady
to the abbey, and often went herself to request their company. I shall never forget how the contrast struck me, (young as I then was,) between the manners of the purse-proud citizen, and the high-born but humble countess. The display of low-minded pride in the one, and the unaffected kindness and well-bred courtesy of the other, were strongly exhibited; when Lady Shrewsbury entered the little lowly parlour of the curate, Lady without deigning to rise from her seat, just condescended to return the salutation of the countess, by a slight bend of the head. Miss also was as dignified as mamma. The young lady had such a delicate nose too, that she could not sit in
a room “lighted with mutton fat,” as she expressed herself, and poor Mrs. Robinson sent to Lady Shrewsbury's housekeeper, to borrow some wax candles. The countess laughed to me, at this display of cockney refinement, justly observing, that if Miss — used nothing but wax lights at home, “she should not distress those whom she visited with her niceties," more particularly a poor curate, who must find it difficult to afford even the “mutton fat” she despised. Though Lady Shrewsbury had none of that offensive pride which converts the coronet into a fool's cap, she always drew a line of nice distinction between the really and the would-be great, and never forgot the observance of that etiquette, which in her young days was considered as the distinguishing feature of those who were come of “gentle blood.” Alas! what a lamentable change has taken place! Since her youthful days, the peerage is now but a second-hand book, in the hands of any purchaser who can give the price for it. Old families have fallen off to make way for new, men who have no claims to renown, beyond the king's patent, no proud right, as in ancient times, to the knightly crest, or the lordly coronet—that coronet wherein might often then be seen as in a looking-glass, either the laurelled head of the hero, or the attic features of the sage.
In resuming the rude sketches which, with the pencil of memory, I have faithfully, though perhaps somewhat desultorily, drawn, I will introduce to the reader's notice a character not mentioned before. Lord Dormer, the favourite nephew of the Countess of Shrewsbury, (and who is himself now sleeping in that last sleep, in which so many of my early friends and most dear companions lie,) was a Catholic nobleman of great moral worth, whose social nature and frankness of manners made his visits to the abbey a season of pleasure to all the household. His lordship was what is termed an old bachelor ; but without the particularities or stiff formality of one. I have seen him on a twelfth-night, at our village pastor's, as much amused with the juvenile pastimes, as the happy and innocent children that presided, with laughing eyes, over the sugared and flower-bedecked cake. How much more would the aristocracy be looked up to, if descending from those high stilts upon which they now totter, they sometimes met their fellow men upon the plain ground of Christian humility and benevolent courtesy ! “ stooping their greatness to the low degree of their inferiors in rank, though certainly not in moral dignity. Such stooping, indeed, would be only like the bending of the warrior's plume beneath the sweet breath of heaven, to rise up again more gracefully than ever. I remember Lord Dormer related to us a very singular circumstance which happened to himself while on a visit to Lord Montagu. One day, after breakfast, he amused himself in rambling over the old mansion; and having free permission to wander where his fancy willed, he passed through gallery and corridor, inspecting on his way the various apartments. As he was returning, he entered a chamber, the door of which stood partly open. His lordship had advanced, he said, into the middle of the room, before he perceived the curtains of the dark high tester.bed to be drawn at each side, and an old lady sitting up in it, with that sort of head
gear anciently worn, under the name of a “nightrail,” enveloping her head like a hood, or nun's veil, and from thence spreading wider like a cape over her shoulders. His lordship, much distressed at his intrusion, made an apology; to which the old lady answered only by a formal inclination of her head. On returning to his friend, Lord Dormer mentioned the mistake he had committed in entering the old lady's chamber. Lord Montagu looked greatly surprised, declaring he knew of no such person being in the house ; and requested Lord Dormer to go with him immediately, and point out the chamber. Accordingly they went together; and on entering the room, where, but a few moments before he had seen the old lady, what was Lord Dormer's surprise to find the curtains of the bed undrawn, and not the slightest vestige of any person having occupied it, or the chamber. Some, who heard his lordship relate the fact, treated it as an optical illusion, while others placed it to the account of his lordship’s superstitious belief as a Catholic. But Lord Dormer was neither a visionary nor a bigot; his sound judgment and simple piety alike forbidding the vagaries of fancy, or the dreams of superstition, from hoodwinking his mind. Neither did I ever witness the least shade of superstition in Lady Shrewsbury but on one occasion, when her affection for her élève, young Talbot, led her to fear an old tradition in the Shrewsbury family. Speaking one day to me of young Mr. Talbot, she expressed her doubts of his ever succeeding to the earldom ; “ that is,” said her ladyship, “ if his father should come to the title." And then she told me the story of a bishop, who, being wrongfully condemned to death, (and to which a Shrewsbury was in some way instrumental,) knelt down at the scaffold, and lifting up his hands, prayed to God, that as a sign of his innocence of the crime brought against him, the title of Shrewsbury might never again descend from father to son. “ And it never has," said she ; “ so that if John's father lives to be earl, I am sure he will never come to the title himself.” That her ladyship really felt strongly impressed with the truth of this strange tradition, is self-evident, from her fears; but how far it merits belief can be easily proved, by the genealogy of the Shrewsbury family.
Although my intention in giving these rude sketches was to bear record not of myself, but of persons and places which have come under my observation, yet there is a natural sympathy which prompts me, and I would hope without being amenable to the charge of egotism, to make some mention of the home of my childhood—a spot, from its total seclusion, better known to the local antiquarian than to any other.
Alderton House, or as it was originally spelt, Aldrington, in North Wilts, formerly belonged to the ancient family of the Gores.* The old part of the mansion was, by judges, considered to be one of the most curious specimens of the antique dwellings of our early ancestors extant; but I shall not attempt to describe it, although I have by me a rough sketch, drawn by one of the olden worthies, in the title-page to a large manuscript book, written by one of the Gore family in 1666, and from which I shall make a few extracts.
See Lodge's Peerage.