Sixty-six years ago this month (February 1, 1946), the loverly Lis Sladen was born. As good a reason as any why I chose a literary character whom she portrayed to kick off this week's collection of literary TV women.......
AS SEEN IN:
"Gulliver In Lilliput"
AS PLAYED BY:
From the source:
I am here obliged to vindicate the reputation of an excellent lady, who was an innocent sufferer upon my account. The treasurer took a fancy to be jealous of his wife, from the malice of some evil tongues, who informed him that her grace had taken a violent affection for my person; and the court scandal ran for some time, that she once came privately to my lodging. This I solemnly declare to be a most infamous falsehood, without any grounds, further than that her grace was pleased to treat me with all innocent marks of freedom and friendship. I own she came often to my house, but always publicly, nor ever without three more in the coach, who were usually her sister and young daughter, and some particular acquaintance; but this was common to many other ladies of the court. And I still appeal to my servants round, whether they at any time saw a coach at my door, without knowing what persons were in it.
On those occasions, when a servant had given me notice, my custom was to go immediately to the door, and, after paying my respects, to take up the coach and two horses very carefully in my hands (for, if there were six horses, the postillion always unharnessed four,) and place them on a table, where I had fixed a movable rim quite round, of five inches high, to prevent accidents. And I have often had four coaches and horses at once on my table, full of company, while I sat in my chair, leaning my face towards them; and when I was engaged with one set, the coachmen would gently drive the others round my table. I have passed many an afternoon very agreeably in these conversations.
But I defy the treasurer, or his two informers (I will name them, and let them make the best of it) Clustril and Drunlo, to prove that any person ever came to me _incognito_, except the secretary Reldresal, who was sent by express command of his imperial majesty, as I have before related.
I should not have dwelt so long upon this particular, if it had not been a point wherein the reputation of a great lady is so nearly concerned, to say nothing of my own; though I then had the honour to be a _nardac_, which the treasurer himself is not; for all the world knows, that he is only a _glumglum_, a title inferior by one degree, as that of a marquis is to a duke in England; yet I allow he preceded me in right of his post.
These false informations, which I afterwards came to the knowledge of by an accident not proper to mention, made the treasurer show his lady for some time an ill countenance, and me a worse; and although he was at last undeceived and reconciled to her, yet I lost all credit with him, and found my interest decline very fast with the emperor himself, who was, indeed, too much governed by that favourite.
Lady Flimnap was seen as a veiled caricature of Catherine, Lady Walpole, the first wife of England's first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. And while Lady Flimnap is protested to be a lady at all times, Lady Walpole became distant from her husband and allegedly had many affairs - one of which may have been responsible for the siring of her son Horace Walpole, who had no physical resemblance to his father nor his siblings......