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THE MOST GORGEOUS
Lady Blessington becomes an Author by Profession-Visit from S. C. Hall-Her Journal of Conversations with Lord Byron-The Countess Guiccioli visits London-Writes to Lady Blessington concerning Byron-Marriage of Mary Anne Power-Landor comes to England-Introduces Henry Crabbe Robinson to Lady Blessington-His Impressions-Anecdotes of Dr ParrPublishing a Novel-Lady Blessington edits the Book of Beauty
IT soon became evident to Lady Blessington that on an income of two thousand a year, she could not maintain her household in its present splendour, which her love of the luxurious and her sensitiveness to surroundings made her unwilling to alter: and at the same time support her father, her sister Mary Anne, and her brother now a married man
with a family, who, no longer agent for the Blessington estates, was then without employment. Therefore seeking some means by which she might increase her dower, her inclinations turned towards literature, which was not then, as now, the occupation of the million. Its adoption as a calling was moreover acceptable to her from the fact, that more than any other it was calculated to Occupy her mind and prove a refuge from the melancholy reflections which circumstances forced upon her.
Some four years after her marriage to Lord Blessington she had produced a book called the Magic Lantern, containing sketches on such subjects as the park, the opera, and the auction room; and in 1823 whilst abroad had published a second volume entitled Sketches and Fragments, treating of marriage, egotism, sensibility, friendship, fastidiousness, etc. Both were smartly written and gave promise of talent, though neither proved a success: for from the first no profit was forthcoming, whilst from the sales of the second she had received but twenty pounds, which with characteristic generosity she gave to a charity.
Since that time her naturally receptive mind had widened by travel and intercourse with the world. She had read much and observed closely, and above all had profited by her intimate intercourse with such men as Byron, Landor, Lamartine, Herschel, Sir William Drummond and Sir William Gell.