Lady Hamilton & Horatia (part 55)

In 1811, Emma decided to draw up her second will, after the one she had written a couple of years before, which opened with a curious request highlighting the grandeur and obstinacy of her hopes and illusions:
If I can be buried in St. Paul’s, I should be very happy to be near the glorious Nelson whom I loved and admired, and as once Sir William, Nelson and myself had agreed, we should all be buried near each other … when they quitted this ill-natured, slanderous world… If I am not permitted to be buried in St. Paul’s, let me be put where I shall be near my dear mother…

In her new will she left “to my dearly beloved Horatia Nelson daughter of the great and glorious Nelson all that I shall be possessed of at my death” and a long series of objects followed, including “ money jewels pictures wine furniture books wearing apparel silver gold-plated or silver-gilt utensils … any marbles bronzes busts plaster of Paris… all my table linen laces ornaments… “, etc.
Then she added “it is my wish that H.R. Highness the Prince Regent or if before my death he shall become King that he will provide for the said Horatia in such a manner that she may live as becomes the daughter of such a man as her victorious Father was and as His Royal Highness often promised me “, and complained that the government had not yet recognized her anything “for the services that I have rendered to my King and Country “.

Speaking of Horatia, her hope was that she would “ live to be happy and marry well and I hope that she will make her will as soon as I am dead for I do absolutely give her all I have”.
Before signing, she thought of something else that could bequeath her and added:
“I forgot to mention that I also give Horatia all my china glass crockery ware of every sort that I have.”

This document reveals that Emma was still obsessed by the idea that the Government owed her both gratitude and money, and also that she believed she still had a lot of possessions and also Sir William’s works of art to leave to her daughter.

Maybe it was just a pathetic delusion because she was living in very bad financial (and also psychological) conditions.

Even her physical health was in poor conditions: by 1810, she had already suffered from bilious attacks (she said “bilious complaints brought on by fretting and anxiety”), recurrent jaundice, not to mention the long-term effects of mercurial cures, of very little efficacy but high toxicity.

At age 46, a contemporary account described her as an old woman with grey hair, and very fat.
Emma had entered the courtesan’s purgatory: middle age, faded beauty, and health ruined by excesses.

It had been a very long time since she posed as a living illustration of ideal health and beauty for Dr. James Graham‘s lectures in his “Temple of Health and Hymen”, famed for its “Electro-Magnetic Musical Grand State Celestial Bed. which ensured not only an increase in sexual pleasure but also fertility.

To be continued

Nel 1811, Emma decise di stilare il suo secondo testamento, dopo quello che aveva scritto un paio d’anni prima che si apriva con una curiosa richiesta da cui emergeva la grandiosità e ostinazione delle sue speranze e illusioni:
“Se potessi essere sepolta nella cattedrale di St. Paul, sarei molto felice di essere messa vicino al glorioso Nelson che ho amato e ammirato, e come una volta che Sir William, Nelson ed io avevamo concordato, saremmo stati tutti seppelliti vicini… una volta lasciato questo mondo cattivo e calunnioso…. Se non mi sarà permesso di essere sepolto in St. Paul, mettetemi vicino alla mia cara madre…”.

Nel nuovo testamento lasciava “alla mia amata Horatia Nelson, figlia del grande e glorioso Nelson, tutto ciò di cui sarò in possesso alla mia morte“. Queste parole erano seguite da un lungo elenco in cui comparivano: “denaro, gioielli, immagini, vino, mobili, libri, abbigliamento, oggetti d’argento placcato oro o utensili in argento dorato… eventuali marmi bronzi busti. il gesso di Paride… tutta la mia biancheria da tavola merletti ornamenti… “. ecc,
Aggiungeva inoltre “è mio desiderio che il Principe Reggente o se prima della mia morte diventasse Re, provveda alla suddetta Horatia in modo tale che possa vivere come si addice alla figlia di un uomo com’era il suo vittorioso Padre e come spesso mi ha promesso Sua Altezza Reale” e si lamentava che il governo non le avesse ancora riconosciuto nulla “per i servizi che ho reso al mio Re e al mio Paese”.

Parlando di Horatia, la sua speranza era che vivesse “per essere felice e sposarsi bene e spero che farà testamento non appena sarò morta perché le do assolutamente tutto quello che ho”. Prima di firmare le era venuto in mente qualcos’altro che poteva lasciarle, ed infatti aveva aggiunto: “Ho dimenticato di dire che do a Horatia anche tutte le mie stoviglie di porcellana di vetro di ogni tipo che possiedo…”

Questo documento rivela che Emma era ancora ossessionata dall’idea che il governo le dovesse sia riconoscenza che denaro, e anche che pensava di possedere ancora molti beni e vari oggetti d’arte di Sir William da lasciare alla figlia.

Forse era solo un’idea patetica, un’illusione, perché in quel periodo Emma viveva in pessime condizioni finanziarie (a anche psicologiche).

Neppure fisicamente era in buona salute: alla fine del 1810 aveva già sofferto di coliche biliari, (“disturbi biliari causati da agitazione e ansia”, aveva detto), ittero ricorrente, per non parlare degli effetti a lungo termine di cure mercuriali, di scarsissima efficacia ma di alta tossicità.

All’età di 46 anni, un resoconto contemporaneo la descriveva come una donna anziana con i capelli grigi e molto grassa.

Emma era entrata nel purgatorio della cortigiana: la mezza età, la bellezza sfiorita, la salute rovinata dagli eccessi.

Era passato moltissimo tempo da quando si atteggiava a ritratto vivente della salute e della bellezza ideali per le lezioni del Dr. James Graham nel suo “Tempio della salute e dell’imene“, famoso per il suo “Grande Letto Celestiale musicale ed elettromagneticoche garantiva non solo un aumento del piacere sessuale, ma anche una maggiore: su di esso “si potevano procreare bambini perfetti”.

continua

Image-Flickr: Steve Knight – Emma Hamilton by Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun – 1792

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57 thoughts on “Lady Hamilton & Horatia (part 55)

    1. Luisa ! Emma still was living in illusion. She was obsessed by the idea that government owed her both — gratitude and money . She appeared to have dafted her will in a very pathetic delusion because she was suffering from financial crisis . Her mental health and psychological condition was not stable . The description of her will also read about some crockery and other unimportant substances to be given to her daughter Horatia after her death , showed how depressed she was . This is the truth of life she never realized . So, we ,in India, always cite examples of RAMAYANA that depicts that despite being king of Ayodhya , how Lord Rama had been banished for fourteen years when His bad time came . So was the case with Emma . Thanks !

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Another wonderful comment for which I thank you very much.
        I also thank you for mentioning Lord Rama and his banishment of fourteen years.
        Your ability to find connections to your culture is amazing and greatly appreciated🙏🙏🙏

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  1. Dear Luisa. I really want to meet you in person and give you a big hug. Wow! Wow! Wow! Awesome, fabulous narration. I am so intrigued to know what happens to Emma and Horatia. This series is too good to be missed. ❤❤❤😊😊😊😘😘😘🥰🥰🥰🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Delusions of grandeur for sure. An inflated sense of self worth, probably. Old before her time, due to he life style definitely. Sad to see the decline once her protectors left the world. Thanks for sharing Luisa. Happy Monday. Allan

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