Page images

had, to her entire conviction, met her mother in the Strand, after the report of her death; that the reality, or the fancy, threw her into fits at the time; and that, to her own death, she believed that she had not been deceived. With her, indeed, it was deemed a vision, a spectral appearance at noon-day, which I need not say was not my impression in the rencontre with myself. I have had, it is true, some ghostly intercourse, as a dramatic author; but Voltaire, no mean authority as a poet, has never rendered by his Semiramis a noon-day spectre either terrible or credible.

Whatever becomes of the above, I cannot doubt that every care has been taken to ascertain the facts attendant upon her illness, her medical friend, her spasmodic suffering, her death and burial.

How she was attended to her grave, we are not informed, but she was buried by Mr. Forster, the chaplain to the English ambassador, in the cemetery of St. Cloud.

For years no stone told where she lay, and some of her English friends at Paris (at Paris !) entered into a determination to remove the body to Père la Chaise, and place a marble over her grave. Some mistaken ideas of delicacy (well termed such) at that time suspended its execution. I suppose these people imagined that grants of money as easily followed the deaths of those who delight as those who destroy mankind! That we should have had our inimitable Jordan's remains transferred from France to England, and, bursting the cloud that covered them, shine in the noblest cemetery of the world, by the side of her great predecessor, Anne Oldfield. For was it not equally true of Jordan as of Oldfield ?

“In comædia autem
Tanta vis, tam venusta hilaritas, tam curiosa

Ut neque sufficerent spectando oculi,

Neque plaudendo manus."

And happily for herself that, in her private character, she equally possessed, with Mrs. Oldfield, —

“ Judgment, which every little fault could spy;

But candour, that would pass a thousand by:
Whilst every social virtue fir'd her breast,
To help the needy, succour the distrest;
A friend to all in misery she stood,
And her chief pride was plac'd in doing good.”

Lines which I imagine poor Savage wrote, with the tears of gratitude streaming from his eyes.

At length, however, the design settled, in cover. ing the grave at St. Cloud, with no “rude and nameless stone," but one which, in the language of ancient Rome, attempts her character, something in the manner of Mrs. Oldfield's epitaph, and is only mistaken in her age. I rely fully upon the accurate recollection of my friend, Pryse Lockhart Gordon, Esq., who, as a military man, remembers being at Cork, in the year 1778, on the recruiting service, and says she was then in her seventeenth year; she died therefore aged fifty-four.


« Memoriæ Sacrum

Quæ per multos annos Londini,
Inque aliis Britanniæ urbibus,

Scenam egregiè ornavit.
Lepore comico, vocis suavitate,
Puellarum hilarium alteriusque sexus
Moribus habitu imitandis nulla secunda:

Ad exercendam eamque
Dum feliciter versata est artem,
Ut res egenorum adversas sublevarit

Nemo promptior.
E vitâ exiit 3o. nonas Julii, 1816,

Annos nata 50;


The Administration to Mrs. Jordan's Effects – Announcement of

Dividend — These Proceedings Explained - Mr. Barton Explains in a Letter Dated 1824 — The Author's Opinion of That Document - The Document Itself - Some Remarks upon It Inserted Impartially, Rather Than from Any Impression in Their Favour.

[ocr errors]

HE first measure after Mrs. Jordan's

death was the administration to her

effects. As she died in France intestate, the king's solicitor, ex officio, collected them. Accordingly letters of administration to Mrs. J.'s effects were taken out at Doctors' Commons, by the Treasury solicitor, 24th May, 1817, and the property sworn to be under £300.

But it was not until nearly seven years had elapsed, that anything like a settlement of her affairs could be announced to her creditors. However, on the 8th of December, 1823, the following advertisement appeared in the Morning Post, and I suppose in other journals:

“ DOROTHEA JORDAN, DECEASED. The creditors of Dorothea Jordan, late of Englefield Green, and Cadogan


Place, Sloane Street, in the County of Middlesex, spinster, deceased, who have proved their debts, may receive a dividend of five shillings in the pound, by applying at the office of the Solicitor to the Treasury, No. 5, Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn. And those creditors who have not yet proved their debts, are requested forthwith to furnish the Solicitor of the Treasury with proof thereof."

This payment having been construed into a composition, and made the 'pretence of a fierce and calumnious attack upon a royal personage, it was very properly denounced and confuted in the following article, and the friends of the noble duke invited to vindicate his character from such assaults, which became credited, because they were not from authority contradicted.


Sunday, Jan. 4, 1824. “A paragraph is now in progress through the newspapers, stating that the debts of this lamented and interesting lady have been compounded for five shillings in the pound, which is now in course of payment. This statement is not correct : Mrs. Jordan died intestate in France; the consequence of which is, her property vests in the Crown, and it has become the duty of the king's solicitor to

« PreviousContinue »