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offences may appear to the dealers in fiction, mankind are too well acquainted with the value of
see either of them; and "dying in a few years, left £.1500 per annum inheritance at Stepney, to her chambermaid.”
Philadelpha, Lady Wentworth, Lady of the manor of Stepney, I find, died in April, 1696, ten years after her daughter, (the celebrated Lady Henrietta Wentworth, Baroness of Nettlested, and mistress of the Duke of Monmouth,) for whom she ordered a monument to be erected in the church of Tuddington, in Bedfordshire, of not less than £.2,000 value; which, by the neglect of those to whom the Earl of Cleaveland's estate has since devolved, is now hastening fast to decay. Her will, which was made April 2, 1696, and proved, May 4, following, (Pr. OFF. Bond, qu. 84,) contains no such devise as that above mentioned. She bequeathed about £.10,000 in legacies to various noble relations and friends; £.200 to her servant, Mrs. Mary Fanningham, and £.330 to other servants; and she made her executors, Sir Robert Howard and two other gentlemen, her residuary legatees. By her will she confirmed, and appropriated a fund for the payment of, certain legacies bequeathed by her daughter; among which was, an annuity of £.100 for her life, "to Mrs. Flanningham," who probably had been Lady Henrietta Wentworth's servant, and was the same person to whom she herself bequeathed £.200, though, perhaps, by a mistake in the transcript of this will, there is a slight variation in the names.-Here we have the germ of Mrs. Thomases fiction.
Her mother, in 1684, retiring with her daughter, for cheapness, to some place in Surrey, (she does not tell us where,) became acquainted with Dr. Glisson, [an eminent physician,] then (as she informs us) near a hundred years of age." At his last visit to them, this gentleman
integrity and truth, in all human dealings, not to hold the whole tribe of impostors and forgers of
having drawn on "a a pair of rich Spanish leather gloves, embossed on the backs and tops with gold embroidery, and fringed round with gold plate," he was asked their history; as " he seemed to touch them with particular respect." “I do so,” returned he; "for the last time I had the honour of approaching my mistress, Queen ELIZABETH, she pulled them from her own royal hands, saying- Here, Glisson, wear them for my sake:' I have done so with veneration, and never drew them on, but when I had a mind to honour those whom I visit, as I now do you: and since thou lovest the memory of my royal mistress, take them, and preserve them carefully, when I am gone!-Too true a prediction! he went home, and died in a few days!”
It must be acknowledged that Corinna had a good sprag memory; for Dr. Francis Glisson, a celebrated physician and anatomist in the last century, (the person here meant,) died in the year 1677, at which time she was just two years old; but if we allow the speech which she has with great precision given as his, to have come to her by relation from her mother, then we ar only to suppose that the Doctor made it seven years afte he was dead. “Thus bad begins, and worse remains be hind ;” for Dr. Glisson, when he died, being in truth just eighty, (and not near one hundred, as she chose to repre sent him,) must have been born in 1597, and consequently in the last year of Elizabeth's reign, was only five year old. Here then we have an account of a very extraordinary phenomenon, well worthy the attention of our curious collectors of rarities;-a pair of gloves of so accommodating a nature, that in spite of their stiffened high tops, they not only equally suited either sex, but by a peculiar power of expansion and contraction exactly
every kind in abhorrence; and however they may be elated by the praise of ingenuity, or the profits
fitted a boy of five years old, a Queen of seventy, and an old physician of eighty. As they are probably yet forthcoming, the representatives of this lady cannot do better than present them to the gentleman, who, we were frequently assured some time since, was possessed of a curious whole-length portrait of our great dramatick poet; as by an easy transition he may convert them into ShakSPEARE'S GLOVES; with neither of which inestimable treasures, though long and fondly expected, have the eyes of the steady BELIEVERS in this kind of trumpery yet been gratified.
In these extraordinary Memoirs we are next presented with the history of a chemical quack, whom the writer calls Dr. Quibus; who, being reduced to poverty, poisoned himself with so strong a corrosive," that " in a few hours his belly burst, and his bowels gushed out.”"Thus (adds Corinna) ended the life of a poor wretch under the most excruciating dolours, who had ruined many without benefit to himself." We shall hereafter find the very same excruciating dolours tormenting our author in his last moments.
Mrs. Thomases mother died in January, 1718-19; and a Mr. Richard Gwinnet, who had promised to marry her, having died about two years before, and by his will bequeathed to her, as she states, six hundred pounds, she was involved in a lawsuit for this sum. Though she prevailed in this suit, she received, (she says,) at the end of several years, only £.213 165. od.; and in 1727, being utterly destitute, she was thrown into the Fleet. Probably, while she was confined there, she sold to Curll, the bookseller, a parcel of Pope's Letters to Henry Cromwell, Esq., which she had by some means procured from that gen
of successful fraud, detection and disgrace wil assuredly at last overtake them.
tleman, with whom she appears to have been intimate acquainted. Curll, in his Key to the DUNCIAD, 172 says, that Mr. Cromwell gave them to her; but in a no on that poem, in 1729, (Book ii. 1. 66," Which Curl Corinna," &c.) Pope thus represents this transaction:
"This name, [Corinna,] it seems, was taken by o Mrs. Thomas,] who procured some private letters of M Pope's while almost a boy, to Mr. Cromwell, and s them, without the consent of either of those gentleme to Curll, who printed them in 12mo. in 1727. He discovered her to be the publisher, in his Key, p.4 But our poet had no thought of reflecting on her in t passage; on the contrary, he has been informed she is a de woman, and in misfortunes. We only take this oppor nity," &c.-The words in Italicks were omitted by Po in the subsequent editions; probably in consequence Curll's informing him in an advertisement at the end her Letters and Memoirs, printed in 1731, (under title of PYLADES and CORINNA,) that she was the auth of an abusive pamphlet against him, entitled "CODR or the DUNCIAD Dissected," which she published in 17 under the name of "Mr. Phillips."
For some years after the death of Dryden, she appea to have kept up a friendly intercourse with his family relations; for she addressed a letter and a paper of ver to his kinswoman, Mrs. Creed, on the death of daughter Jemima, who, I find from a MS. document m before me, was buried at Tichmarsh in February, 1705 -Her scheme, however, of gaining some money br fictitious account of Dryden's funeral, seems to h been formed on her being confined in the Fleet in 17 (if not before); and probably it was then put into Cu
This unfortunate woman, it. appears from her own account, was put into the Fleet in the year
hands, though he did not think proper to produce it till three years afterwards, in the Memoirs of Congreve. This may be collected from a slight circumstance. In a poem on our author's death, which she wrote immediately after that event, (for it appeared in the Collection entitled LUCTUS BRITANNICI, published on that occasion, in June, 1700,) are the following lines:
"But ah! Britannia, thou complain'st too late;
In 1727, she printed the second edition of her Poems, in which this on Dryden is introduced; but having then probably written the narrative which will be found in a following page, in which she represents him as dying in excruciating dolours, she very prudently omitted the last couplet above quoted, with which these dolours were completely at variance.
According to her own account, she was put into the Fleet in 1727. Under an Act of Insolvency, a warrant was issued for her release, in June 1729; but in consequence of her extreme indigence, she remained in confinement till near the middle of the next year, as appears from the following original letter, written by her in a very neat hand, which was found in a presentation copy of her volume of Poems, purchased a few years ago by my friend Mr. Bindley. It has no superscription, but was probably addressed to Sir Joseph Jekyll, Master of the Rolls; Your Honour being the appropriate address to the person