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unfortunate wretch, thus roughly jerked back into the consciousness that a fine lady might make a pretty plaything of him, but could not seriously regard him with anything but scorn. Whatever the precise facts, a breach of some sort might have been anticipated. A game of gallantry in which the natural parts are inverted, and the gentleman acts the sentimentalist to the lady's performance of the shrewd cynic, is likely to have awkward results. Pope brooded over his resentment, and years afterwards took a revenge only too characteristic. The first of his Imitations of Horace appeared in 1733. It contained a couplet, too gross for quotation, making the most outrageous imputation upon the character of "Sappho." Now, the accusation itself had no relation whatever either to facts or even (as I suppose) to any existing scandal. It was simply throwing filth at random. Thus, when Lady Mary took it to herself, and applied to Pope through Peterborough for an explanation, Pope could make a defence verbally impregnable. There was no reason why Lady Mary should fancy that such a cap fitted; and it was far more appropriate, as he added, to other women notorious for immorality as well as authorship. In fact, however, there can be no doubt that Pope intended his abuse to reach its mark. Sappho was an obvious name for the most famous of poetic ladies. Pope himself, in one of his last letters to her, says that fragments of her writing would please him like fragments of Sappho's; and their mediator, Peterborough, writes of her under the same name in some complimentary and once well-known verses to Mrs. Howard. Pope had himself alluded to her as Sappho in some verses addressed (about 1722) to another lady, Judith Cowper, afterwards Mrs. Madan, who was for a time the object of some of his artificial gallantry. The only thing that can be

said is that his abuse was a sheer piece of Billingsgate, too devoid of plausibility to be more than an expression of virulent hatred. He was like a dirty boy who throws mud from an ambush, and declares that he did not see the victim bespattered.

A bitter and humiliating quarrel followed. Lord Hervey, who had been described as "Lord Fanny," in the same satire, joined with his friend, Lady Mary, in writing lampoons upon Pope. The best known was a copy of verses, chiefly, if not exclusively by Lady Mary, in which Pope is brutally taunted with the personal deformities of his "wretched little carcass," which, it seems, are the only cause of his being "unwhipt, unblanketed, unkicked." One verse seems to have stung him more deeply, which says that his "crabbed numbers" are

Hard as his heart and as his birth obscure.

To this and other assaults Pope replied by a long letter, suppressed, however, for the time, which, as Johnson says, exhibits to later readers "nothing but tedious malignity," and is, in fact, a careful raking together of everything likely to give pain to his victim. It was not published till 1751, when both Pope and Hervey were dead. In

5 Another couplet in the second book of the Dunciad about "hapless Monsieur" and "Lady Maries," was also applied at the time to Lady M. W. Montagu: and Pope in a later note affects to deny, thus really pointing the allusion. But the obvious meaning of the whole passage is that "duchesses and Lady Maries" might be personated by abandoned women, which would certainly be unpleasant for them, but does not imply any imputation upon their character. If Lady Mary was really the author of a" Pop upon Pope"-a story of Pope's supposed whipping in the vein of his own attack upon Dennis, she already considered him as the author of some scandal. The line in the Dunciad was taken to allude to a story about a M. Rémond which has been fully cleared up.

his later writings he made references to Sappho, which fixed the name upon her, and amongst other pleasant insinuations, speaks of a weakness which she shared with Dr. Johnson, an inadequate appreciation of clean linen. More malignant accusations are implied both in his acknowledged and anonymous writings. The most ferocious of all his assaults, however, is the character of Sporus, that is Lord Hervey, in the epistle to Arbuthnot, where he seems to be actually screaming with malignant fury. He returns. the taunts as to effeminacy, and calls his adversary a "mere white curd of asses' milk,"-an innocent drink, which he was himself in the habit of consuming.

We turn gladly from these miserable hostilities, disgraceful to all concerned.

Were any excuse available for Pope, it would be in the brutality of taunts, coming not only from rough dwellers in Grub Street, but from the most polished representatives of the highest classes, upon personal defects, which the most ungenerous assailant might surely have spared. But it must also be granted that Pope was neither the last to give provocation, nor at all inclined to refrain from the use of poisoned weapons.

The other connexion of which I have spoken has also its mystery,-like everything else in Pope's career. Pope had been early acquainted with Teresa and Martha Blount. Teresa was born in the same year as Pope, and Martha two years later. They were daughters of Lister Blount, of Mapledurham, and after his death, in 1710, and the marriage of their only brother, in 1711, they lived with their

6 The statements as to the date of the acquaintance are contradictory. Martha told Spence that she first knew Pope as a "very little girl," but added that it was after the publication of the Essay on Criticism, when she was twenty-one; and at another time, that it was after he had begun the Iliad, which was later than part of the published correspondence.

mother in London, and passed much of the summer near Twickenham. They seem to have been lively young women, who had been educated at Paris. Teresa was the most religious, and the greatest lover of London society. I have already quoted a passage or two from the early letters addressed to the two sisters. It has also to be said that he was guilty of writing to them stuff which it is inconceivable that any decent man should have communicated to a modest woman. They do not seem to have taken offence. He professes himself the slave of both alternately or together. "Even from my infancy," he says (in 1714) "I have been in love with one or other of you week by week, and my journey to Bath fell out in the 376th week of the reign of my sovereign lady Sylvia. At the present writing hereof, it is the 389th week of the reign of your most serene majesty, in whose service I was listed some weeks before I beheld your sister." He had suggested to Lady Mary that the concluding lines of Eloisa contained a delicate compliment to her; and he characteristically made a similar insinuation to Martha Blount about the same passage. Pope was decidedly an economist even of his compliments. Some later letters are in less artificial language, and there is a really touching and natural letter to Teresa in regard to an illness of her sister's. After a time, we find that some difficulty has arisen. He feels that his presence gives pain; when he comes he either makes her (apparently Teresa) uneasy, or he sees her unkind. Teresa, it would seem, is jealous and disapproves of his attentions to Martha. In the midst of this we find that in 1717 Pope settled an annuity upon Teresa of 401. a year for six years, on condition of her not being married during that time. The fact has suggested various speculations, but was, perhaps, only a part of some family ar


rangement, made convenient by the diminished fortunes of the ladies. Whatever the history, Pope gradually became attached to Martha, and simultaneously came to regard Teresa with antipathy. Martha, in fact, became by degrees almost a member of his household. His correspondents take for granted that she is his regular companion. He writes of her to Gay, in 1730, as a frienda woman friend, God help me!—with whom I have spent three or four hours a day these fifteen years." In his last years, when he was most dependent upon kindness, he seems to have expected that she should be invited to any house which he was himself to visit. Such a close connexion naturally caused some scandal. In 1725, he defends himself against "villanous lying tales" of this kind to his old friend Caryll, with whom the Blounts were connected. At the same time he is making bitter complaints of Teresa. He accused her afterwards (1729) of having an intrigue with a married man, of "striking, pinching, and abusing her mother to the utmost shamefulness." The mother, he thinks, is too meek to resent this tyranny, and Martha, as it appears, refuses to believe the reports against her sister. Pope audaciously suggests that it would be a good thing if the mother could be induced to retire to a convent, and is anxious to persuade Martha to leave so painful a home. The same complaints reappear in many letters, but the position remained unaltered. It is impossible to say with any certainty what may have been the real facts. Pope's mania for suspicion deprives his suggestions of the slightest value. The only inference to be drawn is, that he drew closer to Martha Blount as years went by; and was anxious that she should become independent of her family. This naturally led to mutual dislike and suspicion, but nobody can now say whether Teresa pinched

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