A Blighted Life/Supplemental Notes/Section 3

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A Blighted Life by Rosina Bulwer Lytton
Section 3 supplemental notes

[Copy No. 2.][edit]

London, July 17th, 1858.     

Sir,--Not withstanding the decided opinion which I felt it my duty to express with reference to Lady Lytton, after my visit to her at the private residence of Mr. and Mrs. Hill, and which I need not repeat, justified the course you adopted; I have much satisfaction in hearing of the arrangements which have been made for her ladyship leaving their family in the society of her son and her female friend.--I have the honour to be, sir, very faithfully, your obedient servant,

G. Connolly, M.D.     

      To the Right Hon. Sir Edw. Bulwer Lytton, Bart, M.P., &c., &c., &c.

The whole of this is, no doubt, full of satisfaction to all persons concerned; and to the outside world. We own that it does not satisfy us: but then perhaps we belong to the discontented. Our readers have onlyh to bear in mind that at this time Sir E.B.L. was a Cabinet Minister, with all the immense resources of that post; that he was backed up by the Queen, by Lord Derby, and Mr. Disraeli; and that under such circumstances any attempt to "make the worse appear the better cause" could have little doubt of perfect success. Such appears to have been the opinion of the writer of what follows:--

To the Editor of the "Daily Telegraph."

Sir,--Thanks to you for your noble and eloquent defence of Lady Lytton, and the outrage on public justice perpetrated by her husband. Your watchfulness may have been rendered unnecessary by the family "arrangement" which has been announced, but heaven help Lady Lytton travelling abroad under the guardianship of such "affection," with the stigma of insanity upon her, available for any purpose.

The letter of Mr. Robert Lytton explains nothing, answers nothing. It does not even show where his mother is. He writes--"My mother is now with me, free from all restraint." This letter is dated 1, Park-lane, the town residence of Sir Bulwer Lytton, who is now in London. Does Mr. Lytton mean to say that his mother is or was on Saturday last under the roof of her husband? There is more than meets the eye in this. Is Lady Lytton free from all the restraint? Whatever the "arrangement" is, it was made when she was in durance, and not a free agent, and if that arrangement has taken her from the custody of Mr. Hill, of Brentford, to that of her own son and husband, it is only that her prison-house has been changed. "From the moment my father felt compelled to authorise those steps which have been made the subject of so much misrepresentation , &c., in order that my mother should not be subject to restraint for one moment longer than was strictly justifiable, such was his charge to me." If Sir Edward was so solicitous to procure the opinion of the most able physicians, we may ask how it happened that instead of consulting Dr. Forbes Winslow and Dr. Connolly in the first instance, that he employed a Mr. Thompson to kidnap the lady at his own residence. Mr. Lytton says the statements are "exaggerated" and "distorted," but he does not explain how. He says he has the best right to speak on behalf of his mother, and ahs "the best means of information," and that his assertion will be at once believed. It is hard to refuse this to a son, and in ordinary cases one would not feel inclined to do so; but he seems to have acted entirely under the influence of the father, and to have been from first to last so directly opposed to his mother, that before we give him credence he asks there are several questions he ought to answer. Is it true he has neither sought after nor corresponded with his mother, nor even see her, for nearly seventeen years, until he met her at the Hustings, at Hertford, during the recent election there? Is it true that on that occasion he made the preliminary attempt which culminated at the house of Mr. Thompson, in Clarges-street, to put his mother in a madhouse by sending a physician to the house of the Mayor of Hertford where she was on a visit? Is it true that when his mother was kidnapped in Clarges-street, and Miss Ryves ran out into the street, and seeing Mr. Lytton waiting outside, entreated him to interfere and procure assistance to prevent his mother being carried off to Brentford, he refused to have anything to do with the matter? Other questions suggest themselves, not directly affecting Mr. Lytton, but important to an understanding of this painful case. He says, "I put myself in constant communication with my mother. . . . I carried out the injunctions of my father, who confided in me implicitly, . . . enjoined me to avail myself ot eh advice of Lord Shaftesbury in whatever was judged best and kindest for Lady Lytton." Is this a solemn farce, a piece of well-acted hypocrisy, or a truth in letter and spirit? Is it conceivable that Sir Edward Lytton, not having set eyes on his wife for seventeen years, and leaving her to live and suffer and complain during all that time on £400 a year, suddenly became tenderly solicitous on her behalf, as to require "all that was best and kindest" should be done for her? Why is Lord Shaftesbury introduced? Is it to give the shelter of his sanctity to a cruel outrage? Mephistopheles might envy the genius which suggested the mention of Lord Shaftesbury as the adviser and referee of Sir Bulwer Lytton.

The certificates appended to Mr. Lytton's letter are not properly "certificates;" they are intended as apologies for the conduct of Sir Bulwer Lytton. But though put forward with this view, they substantiate that the state of Lady Lytton's mind "is such as to justify her liberation from restraint," and prove nothing to his honour. It is easy to see that the "certificate" of Dr. Forbes Winslow is but an answer to certain questions put by Mr. Edwin James, who was strangely employed by Mr. Lytton, and whose object was to extract from the doctor everything that he could on behalf of Sir Edward. On this part of the question we are all competent to form an opinion, and if it should appear that the facts submitted to Sir Edward were facts suggested by himself, and the medical men, on whose certificates he acted, were employed by him, which is the fact, Dr. Forbes Winslow's opinion upn this part of the question goes for nothing.

The more enquirires we make into the matter the more convinced we are that a great wrong was attempted, and has now been glossed over. That wrong was not done to Lady Lytton alone, but to all society. Her wrath may have been appeased, her personal wounds may have received plaster, and her friends may have been flattered and cajoled into silence, but is the public satisfied, or the wrong to society been atoned for, while the case of Lady Lytton remains uninvestigated, and the conduct of her husband escapes official and public censure? Is any one of us safe so long as the law permits the "next of kin" to do what has been done to her?

AN ENGLISHMAN.     

Daily Telegraph, July 21, 1858.[edit]

(Need to retype lost section.)


LORD LYTTON THE FIRST.[edit]

This man was once called by his admirers (who were probably well paid for it) "The modern Shaspere." We now know in what estimation his writings are held. But his private character was so vile and detestable, that it will cause almost incredulity if it ever should be exposed in its true colours to the world. Labouchere, in Truth has a paragraph upon him, which is truth itself. Here it is:--"A man may be endowed with genius and with numerous amiable qualities, and yet be a Snob. Few of those who have lived during the present century have been gifted with more genius than Lord Lytton, and yet few have been so arrant a Snob. In his works of fiction he has frequently sought to portray gentlemen, and these gentlemen, each of whom has a family likeness to his creator, are the beau-ideals of Snobs--clever, pushing, conceited, florid Snobs, with Brummagem manners, Brummagem morals, a Brummagem varnish of philosophy, and a Brummagem varnish of poetry." In Friday's Times we read this advertisement, anything meaner than which we never perused:--

HERTS, Knebworth-park, with 1,500 acres of capital Shooting, three miles from Stevenage and Welwyn Stations (G.N.R.)--A handsome FURNISHED baronial MANSION, surrounded by a fine park and splendid gardens and grounds. Particulars of &c., &c.

Is the son as mean a fellow as the father? Lord Lytton left him about £300,000; and he is paid as Viceroy of India £100,000 a year, with "pickings," and he offers to let his family mansion. Would he not do better to let his Mother, that noble, injured Lady, into Knebworth, than hire it out to some stranger?

MR. JOHN FORSTER.[edit]

This man, who was one of Lord Lytton's tools, and who also played today for the greater part of his life to a congenial evil spirit, Sir Alexander Cockburn, is thus described by Lady Lytton. Under the name of Janus Allpuff, she alludes to her accomplished husband:--"The chief Macænas of this Fudgester (Forster) is a Sir Janus Allpuff, who not content with having hunted his unhappy Wife nearly to death, and reduced to the lowest ebb of pecuniary destitution, from defending herself against his infamous Conspiracies, also prevents her in every possible way fromearning her bre: and who so useful in this way as Fudgester? I should tell you, in order to show you the astuteness and diabolical cunning of this Infamous Gang, and the tortuous sneaking measures they adopt to prevent their dirty work being brought home to them, by always employing others, as far a-field as possible, to do it; this Fudgester, from being a known tool and toady of that vile old profligate, Sir Janus Allpuff, and declared enemy of his Victim, never reviews her books, or mentions her name in any way, in his own particular paper, The Excruciator (The Examiner), but merely sets on the ramifications of the Gang to attack and malign her in every possible way: and from the wording of some of these attacks, it is quite clear that Sir Janus gives the substance of what he wishes them to do, as the same internal evidence exists of such being the case, that does as to his furnishing the pith of the puffs about himself to those organs of his myrmidons. But after all there is nothing so silly as your over-cunning people; which the very bungling way in which Sir Janus gets his dirty work done, will ultimately prove: and indeed some of the anonymous letters which his infamous Literary Myrmidons are set to write to his Victim, strongly resemble, in their little mean cramped characters, his own, or his Jackal Fudgester's writing."