Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Letter-Bag of Lady Elizabeth Spencer-Stanhope — Volume 1   By:

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: THE VISCOUNTESS ANSON]

THE LETTER BAG OF LADY ELIZABETH SPENCER STANHOPE

COMPILED FROM THE CANNON HALL PAPERS, 1806 1873 BY A. M. W. STIRLING

TWO VOLUMES: VOLUME ONE

" TON IS INDEED A CAMELEON WHOSE HUE CHANGES WITH EVERY RAY OF LIGHT." ALMACK'S

TO CHARLES G. STIRLING THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED

PREFACE

The following papers, which extend over a space of nearly seventy years during a most interesting period of our National History, may be said to form a sequel and a conclusion to two previous publications, Coke of Norfolk and his Friends , which appeared in 1906, and Annals of a Yorkshire House , which appeared in 1911. They are, however, more essentially a continuation of the latter, in which the Cannon Hall muniments and anecdotes were brought down to the years 1805 6, from which date the narrative is resumed in the present volume.

In that first series of Papers which was published in the Annals, the bulk of the correspondence centred round the personality of Walter Spencer Stanhope, M.P., who lived from 1749 to 1821. In the present series, the correspondence is principally addressed to or written by John Spencer Stanhope, his son, who lived from 1787 to 1873. Other letters, doubtless, there were in plenty, to and from other members of the family, but only those have survived which found their way back to the old Yorkshire house whence so many of them had originally set forth with their messages of love and home tidings, and which were there preserved, eventually, by the grandmother of the present writer, Lady Elizabeth, wife of John Stanhope and daughter of the celebrated 'Coke of Norfolk.'

The following book, therefore, is appropriately termed the "Letter bag" of the lady to whom its existence is due, although her personal contribution to its contents does not commence before the year 1822, when she first became a member of the family circle of its correspondents. In it, in brief, is represented the social existence of two generations and the current gossip of over half a century, as first set forth by their nimble pens in all the freshness of novelty. Thus it is an ever shifting scene to which we are introduced. We become one with the daily life of a bygone century, with a family party absorbed in a happy, busy existence. We mingle with the gay throng at the routs and assemblies which they frequented. We meet the "very fine" beaux at whom they mocked, and the "raging belles" whom they envied. Then the scene changes, and we are out on the ocean with Cuthbert Collingwood, in our ears rings a clash of arms long since hushed, a roar of cannon which has been silent throughout the passing of a century, while we gauge with a grim realisation the iron that entered into the soul of a strong man battling for his country's gain. Then the black curtain of death shrouds that scene, and we are back once more in the gay world of ton , with its petty gossip and its petty aims.... Later, other figures move across the boards; Wellington, as the ball giver, the gallant chevalier des dames ; Napoleon, in his bonnet de nuit , a mysterious, saturnine figure; his subordinates, who shared his greed without the dignity of its magnitude; next, in strange contrast, Coke of Norfolk, the peaceful English squire, seen thus for the first time not as a public character, a world wide benefactor but in the intimacy of his domestic life, as "Majesty," the butt of his daughter's playful sallies, as the beloved father, the tender grandfather, a gracious, benevolent presence. We read the romance of his daughter, that pretty, prim courtship of a bygone day; we see her home life as a young wife, the coming of another race of merry children; by and by, we follow the fortunes of graceful "little Madam" with her brilliant eyes, and see the advent of yet another lover of a later day. So the scenes shift, the figures come and go, the great things and the small of life intermingle. And as we read, by almost imperceptible stages, the Georgian has merged into the Victorian, and the young generation of one age has faded into the older generation of the next, till we are left confronted with the knowledge, albeit difficult of credence, that both have vanished into the mists of the Unknown... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books