Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

A History of the Four Georges, Volume I »


By Justin McCarthy

Stuart aspect. Horace Walpole said of him many years after that,

“without the particular features of any Stuart, the Chevalier has the

strong lines and fatality of air peculiar to them all.“ The words

“fatality of air” describe very expressively that look of melancholy

which all the Stuart features wore when in repose. The melancholy look

represented an underlying habitual mood of melancholy, or even

despondency, which a close observer may read in the character of the

“merry monarch” himself, for all his mirth and his dissipation, just as

well as in that of Charles the First or of James the Second. The

profligacy of Charles the Second had little that was joyous in it.

James Stuart, the Chevalier, had not the abilities and the culture of

Charles the Second, and he had much the same taste for intrigue and

dissipation. His amours were already beginning to be a scandal, and he

drank now and then like a man determined at all cost to drown thought.

He was always the slave of women. Women knew all his secrets, and were

made acquainted with his projected political enterprises. Sometimes

the fair favorite to whom he had unbosomed himself blabbed and tattled

all over Versailles or Paris of what she had heard, and in some

instances, perhaps, she even took her newly—acquired knowledge to the

English Ambassador and disposed of it for a consideration. At this

time James Stuart is not yet married; but marriage made as little difference in his way of living as it had done in that of his elderly

political rival, George the Elector. It is strange that James Stuart

should have made so faint an impression upon history and upon

literature. Romance and poetry, which have done so much for his son,

“Bonnie Prince Charlie,” have taken hardly any account of him. He

figures in Thackeray’s “Esmond,” but the picture is not made very

distinct, even by that master of portraiture, and the merely frivolous

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