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to a tradition invented probably as excuse
for intemperance by such as can empty two
bottles of wine, but never produce a
Spectator or a Freeholder."

The collection of books is celebrated for its
abundance of Italian and Spanish authors, the
former in particular. Among the curiosities
in other languages are an Editio Princeps of
Homer, which belonged to Fox; a copy of the
same poet belonging to Sir Isaac Newton, with
a distich in his handwriting oil the fly-leaf;
and a singularly interesting one of Camoens,
which it is alleged must have been in the
hands of the poet himself. At the bottom of
the title-page is a painful corroboration of
the statements respecting his end. It is a
manuscript note in an old Spanish hand,
stating, that the writer "saw him die in a
hospital, without even a blanket to cover
him." "He did this," says he, "after having
triumphed in the East (Camoens served
in various expeditions), and traversed five
thousand five hundred leagues of ocean:
and all for what, but to study day and night
to no better purpose than spiders to catch

There are several curious manuscripts in
the library, particularly three autograph
letters of Petrarch, three autograph plays of
Lope de Vega, the original copy of a play of
the younger Moratin, and the music of
Metastasio's Olimpiade beautifully written out
by Jean Jacques Rousseau, at the time when
that "shaker of the thrones of Europe" got
his livelihood by work of that kind.

The collection of pictures is not remarkable,
except as containing a greater number of
portraits of men of letters, Italians in
particular, than is to be found perhaps in any
other private abode. Among them is Addison
when he was young (a handsome face);
Alfieri (in miniature), the Italian tragic poet,
who was some time in England; his wife
(another miniature), the Countess of Albany,
widow of the Pretender (a princess of the
house of Stolberg); Sir Philip Francis;
Robespierre (miniature), with his pert
insignificant look, on which nobody would have
guessed that so much tragedy was hanging;
Jerome Bonaparte (a narrow-minded repulsive
countenance); two portraits, large and
small, if we mistake not, of the Duchess
of Portsmouth (Louise de Querouaille, Charles
the Second's mistress), quite making out, in
one of them, the "baby face," of which Evelyn
accuses her (nobody would have taken her
for an ancestress of the manly-visaged Foxes);
many portraits of the rest of the family; a
fine one of Talleyrand, by Schetter, and
one, by Gerard, of Napoleon at Fontainebleau.
There are also busts of Napoleon, of
Machiavel, and of Henry the Fourth, the last
"looking like a goat;" a curious painting by
Sir Joshua Reynolds, consisting of whole-
length portraits of Charles Fox when a
youth, with his fair relatives, Lady Sarah
Lenox and Lady Susan Strangeways; and
another, by Hogarth, representing Dryden's
play of the Indian Emperor, performed by
children, one of whom is a grand-niece of
Sir Isaac Newton, whose bust is on the
chimney-piece. The play was performed for the
amusement of the Duke of Cumberland, who
is seated accordingly; and the governess
playing with one of the children is Lady

We now come, not only to the possessors
of the present house, but to those of the
one that preceded it; and therefore must go
a good way back, before we return to the

We have seen, in a former article, that
with the exception of an Anglo-Saxon in the
time of Edward the Confessor, of whom
nothing further is mentioned, and of the Bishop
of Coutances, to whom William the
Conqueror gave it with power to alienate, the
De Veres, Earls of Oxford, were the earliest
recorded possessors of the manor of
Kensington, and seated probably on the spot in

It is not ascertained that such was the case;
but as the property was valuable, was convenient
for its neighbourhood to London, and
seems to be implied as residential in the name
of the adjoining locality, Earl's Court, that is
to say, the Court for administering the Earl's
property or jurisdiction, it is extremely
improbable that none of the family ever occupied
it. It was associated with their name from
the time of William the Conqueror to that of
James the First. Aubrey de Vere, its first
holder under the Bishop, must needs have
visited his property some time or other, or
for what did he come with the Conqueror
into England? The ancient manor-house that
stood not far from the present Holland House,
must have been built for somebody; and
visions of Aubrey and his successors, however
transient, naturally present themselves to the
eye of the local antiquary.

This Aubrey de Vere came from Holland
with the first William, as countrymen of his
did afterwards with William the Third. He
died, however, a monk; perhaps out of
penitence for the wrongs which he had committed
as a soldier. The title of Earl of Oxford came
into the family with his grandson. Almost
all his successors were stirring soldiers and
influential subjects. One of them was a
Magna Charta baron; another a commander
at the battles of Cressy and Poitiers; another
at Agincourt; another was the great lord
who received Henry the Seventh at his house
with such a magnificent show of retainers,
and who, notwithstanding his having been
one of the chief instruments in setting that
money-scraper on the throne, was fined by
his sharp-eyed and shabby visitor, for
entertaining him at a cost beyond the law. The
family branched out into many worthies,
a daughter of one of whom, the "starry
Vere" of some noble verses by Marvell,
was the Lady Fairfax who gave that brave