State mysteries a vision of Pall Mall.
London, M. Jones April 1st. 1813, The Scourge
Original hand colouring
195 x 514 mm
Traces of old folds as issued.
The Regent and three others have been seated on a throne-like settee; they are terrified at the approach of the Princess of Wales (right) led forward by Truth who holds up her mirror, directing its rays against the heads of the Prince who flinches back, throwing up a leg in horror, Lady Douglas seated beside him and clutching his right arm, and Sir John Douglas, who rises to his feet, tugging at his wife’s dress. On the right of the settee, Lady Hertford hides her head against the Prince, clutching his legs in an abandoned way. At her feet crouches Envy, a hag with pendent breasts wreathed with serpents, who flinches from Truth and tries to veil her head with Lady Hertford’s skirt. Truth is naked except for a belt and swirling draperies, on her breast is an irradiated sun (as in No. 12006). The Princess, handsome and dignified, wears the Prince’s feathers in her hair which is encircled by a fillet inscribed ‘[Ich] Dien’; a long veil hangs down her back; with left arm raised she declaims, quoting from Queen Katherine’s speech (‘Henry VIII’, ii. 4): ‘Sir I desire you do me right and Justice And to bestow your pity on me: for I am a most poor Woman and a stranger born out of your dominion – if you can report and prove it, against mine honor aught my bond to Wedlock, or my love and duty against your sacred person in gods name turn me away – and so give me up to the sharpest kind of Justice Behind her (right) walks a man displaying a large document: ‘Secret Correspondence / The – [Regent] / Lady – / Lady – / Mrs – /. Ye perjurers suborned avaunt this deed – the under tongued shall plead – against the deep damnation of your Souls.’ He is ‘a scribe whom the people honor’, and may be Whitbread or Brougham though resembling neither. Lady Hertford exclaims to the Regent: "Hide me! Hide me! Truth is hatefull to me and a Virtuous wife abhorrent to my Nature." The Regent quotes Hamlet as in No. 11990: "Angels and Ministers of grace defend us." Lady Douglas, good-looking, with a tartan scarf across her shoulders, says: "Mercifull Heaven it is all discovered, our our [sic] schemes are confounded and we are branded with the charge of perjury." Her husband, who wears Highland dress, exclaims: "Never mind my Dear – the Blood of Douglas will protect itself! but I must confess it will be most adviseable to shuffle our heads guilty [? quickly] as possible out of this disagreable Halter." The settee is on a dais and is backed by heavy fringed draperies looped round two massive columns. On the left are five men, all terrified at the approach of Truth; they surround a cauldron from which issue flames and clouds of smoke inscribed in large and partly obscured letters ‘DI[V]OR[C]E’; all hold long wands. Sidmouth scrambles away from the cauldron on all fours, a clyster-pipe (cf. No. 9849) hanging from his pocket; he says: "Unhappy Man what had I to do with this wretched scheme of Divorce! – this is worse than my intolerant Dissenting Ministers Bill!" The two archbishops flee to the left: Manners-Sutton says: "”Confound our politics They frustrate our knavish tricks", And have made Canterbury cakes of us." Vernon, his hand on the other’s shoulder, and stepping from the cauldron, says: "I thought I was far enough North for them but it appears York wont do!" Eldon, in his Chancellor’s gown, with primly clasped hands says: "Wou’d I were now quietly locking up my table Beer to prevent waste among my servants, or sneaking to bed with my shoes in my hand – in fear of waking my Lady – any where but where I am." Lord Ellenborough, in his robes, says: "Curse the cauldron! I have put foot in it."