Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox 1740-1832
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An intimate, detailed portrayal of the lives of four eighteenth-century sisters--great-granddaughters of King Charles II who lived wealthy, public lives--is based on diaries and letters and reveals the joys and tragedies they shared.
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Remove the prejudice.’ Emily saw disaster ahead. Even as she hoped against hope that her son would abandon his revolutionary plans, she began to create a heroic version of him in her own mind, an image of her son that would withstand any battering it might receive if he were caught and unmasked. Creating a hero of her son prepared her for cataclysm. ‘I find my mind much less weak than I thought it would be,’ she wrote to Lucy a few weeks later, adding, ‘please tell Eddy so and press him to your.
Like myself and God will receive me from you.’ Then he crossed himself, laid her hand gently down and, his face streaming with tears, tottered out of the room. A younger man knelt by the bed, kissed Louisa’s hand and exclaimed, ‘Protestant, Catholic, what is it but a name? But look at her, look at the tears of the poor, the old, the young, the infirm, the helpless and tell me ye priests, if these are not her passports to heaven? No, no, if the soul of our sweet Lady Louisa, the poor man’s friend.
Patrons. After the baptismal ceremony the company departed, clattering westwards in their carriages out of their namesakes’ lives. Lady Caroline Lennox, trundling back to Richmond House in Whitehall, left little Caroline to a life in the shadow. Darkness descends over her as it did over the house in Hatton Garden that night. Perhaps she became a servant, perhaps even a milliner or a mantua maker. But it was just as likely that, like one of Lady Caroline’s own children, she would die of a fever.
Family. Irishness aside, nothing could be held against him. He was rich, young, well educated and obviously in love. The only way that Richmond could make his prejudice about nationality obvious was to drive a harder bargain than he would have done if Kildare’s land had been in Hampshire or Sussex, and Kildare tacitly accepted that his Irishness had to be paid for with a penniless bride. Kildare was prepared to pay the price. He offered very generous settlements, and wrote to the Duke, ‘I have.
Much as if they were dependents, whereas I cannot think them so much so, for I am sure they give us a great deal more than we give them, and really, if we consider it, ’tis no more than a contract we make with them.’ As she often did in her letters, Louisa was thinking aloud. The notion that social class was ordained was conventional (and convenient) enough; the idea that servants, though humble, were not dependent, that indeed the dependence was the other way round, was much less commonplace.