Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Devonshire Progeny: Harryo
When Georgiana gave birth to her second child in 1785 everything was set up grandly for the birth of the Devonshire heir. What came out was another girl, to be named after her aunt, Harriet; although she would henceforth almost always be referred to as 'Harryo.' Not only was a girl born but a typical middle child. Harryo lacked the physical charms of her famous mother. She may have been fashionably pale but she lacked her mother's figure and her chubbiness was constantly commented on. She also decided to lack her mother's love of fashion, but this was more an act of defiance. In fact, Harryo seemed to be more cynical and perhaps a little bitter than her siblings Little G and Hart were. What physical charms Harryo lacked she made up with her cleverness and intelligence. Many would comment through the years on her interesting conversation and obvious smarts. Put all these aspects together and we have some very interesting perspectives on living with the Devonshires. We also have a big Bess-hater. All in all, Harryo's appeal and complexity lies in her contemporary edge. Clearly, she was born in the wrong century.
Every Cavendish reacted to their mother's exile in a different way. Harryo reacted with typical teenage bitchiness. She managed to make peace with her mother before her death in 1806 but afterward was left feeling alone and isolated. To make matters worse she was trapped in her home without her siblings and with her father and...Bess. Bess whom Harryo claimed to always hate despite her always being around. To make matters worse, Bess took over Georgiana's place, sitting at the head of the table; a position reserved for the next lady of the household, not the head of the household's mistress. Aunt Harriet took pity on Harryo and spent more time with her to rescue her from her bad home life. Bess was also attempting to aid Harryo in finding a husband. Bess' choice was Granville Leveson-Gower, a man who had been involved with Harriet and was the father of two of her children. Harryo sneered at the match, despite Granville's good looks. Instead, she went through a series of other suitors, the first being Harriet's son, John. Just as Harryo began to fall in love with the cousin he became interested in Lady Jersey's daughter, Elizabeth. Harriet, hating the idea of becoming in laws with such a woman, tried to convince him to go for his cousin.
Eventually, John's indecisiveness lost him the option of Harryo who moved on to various other suitors including other cousins and friends of her brother. But it all came back to her aunt's boyfriend, Granville. The tall dark and handsome had taken an interest in the short and "stout" Cavendish spinster but she still talked about him with disdain. Although, it was becoming apparent that this disdain was only a facade to mask her true feelings. The truth was Harryo attempted to hate him because she knew he was attached to Aunt Harriet. One time Bess was giving a dinner with the Bessboroughs and invited Granville too. Lord Bessborough and his youngest son showed up but all waited for Harriet and Granville to appear. Things became more and more awkward while everyone waited and Bess continued to wink at Harryo across the table. Finally, a note came saying neither would show up. The men were cranky but Bess and Harryo were enraged, knowing the cause of the no-shows.
Eventually Granville began showing more interested in Harryo (after all he needed a wife) than in Harriet. At first Harriet was unhappy with this, but she slowly began to realize she would rather have him marry someone she loved than any ol' snotty heiress. After a roller coaster of a courtship Granville nervously got on one knee and asked Harryo to be his wife, and she gladly accepted. Granville and Harriet were never to renew their romantic relationship again, but she forever remained his trusted friend and correspondent. Harryo quickly began having children and even accepted her aunt's illegitimate children with her husband into her family where they were raised lovingly. Granville continued to get ambassador positions across Europe, including Paris and the Hague, good thing Harryo was fluent in other languages! In the end, Harryo turned out to be quite like her mother, hosting fabulous get-togethers in whatever city she was stationed in and inspiring all with her intriguing conversation.