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A History of the Four Georges, Volume I

And wooden shoes and warming pans


warming-pan was one of the most

familiar objects in satirical literature and art for many generations after. {10} A whole school of caricature was heated into life, if we may use such an expression, by this fabulous warming-pan. Warming-pans were associated with brass money and wooden shoes in the mouths and minds of Whig partisans, down to a day not very far remote from our own. Mr. Jobson, the vulgar lawyer in Scott's "Rob Roy," talks rudely to Diana Vernon, a Catholic, about "King William, of glorious and immortal memory, our immortal deliverer from Papists and pretenders, and wooden shoes and warming-pans." "Sad things those wooden shoes and warming-pans," retorted the young lady, who seemed to take pleasure in augmenting his wrath; "and it is a comfort you don't seem to want a warming-pan at present, Mr. Jobson." There was not, of course, the slightest foundation for the absurd story about the spurious heir to the throne. Some little excuse was given for the spread of such a tale by the mere fact that there had been delay in summoning the proper officials to be present at the birth; but despite all the pains Bishop Burnet takes to make the report seem trustworthy, it may be doubted whether any one whose opinion was worth having seriously believed in the story, even at the time, and it soon ceased to have any believers at all. At the time, however, it was accepted as an article of faith by a large proportion of the outer public; and the supposed Jesuit plot and the supposed warming-pan served as missiles
with which to pelt the supporters of the Stuarts, until long after there had ceased to be the slightest chance whatever of a Stuart restoration. This story of a spurious heir to a throne repeats itself at various intervals of history. The child of Napoleon the First and Maria Louisa was believed by many Legitimist partisans to be supposititious. In our own days there were many intelligent persons in France firmly convinced that the unfortunate Prince Louis Napoleon, who was killed in Zululand, was not the son of the Empress of the French, but that he was the son of her sister, the Duchess of Alva, and that he was merely palmed off on the French {11} people in order to secure the stability of the Bonapartist throne.

[Sidenote: 1714--The "Old Pretender"]

James Stuart was born, as we have said, on June 10, 1688, and was therefore still in his twenty-sixth year at the time when this history begins. Soon after his birth his mother hurried with him to France to escape the coming troubles, and his father presently followed discrowned. He had led an unhappy life--unhappy all the more because of the incessant dissipation with which he tried to enliven it. He is described as tall, meagre, and melancholy. Although not strikingly like Charles the First or Charles the Second, he had unmistakably the Stuart aspect. Horace Walpole said of him many years after that, "without the particular features of any Stuart, the Chevalier has the strong lines and fatality of air peculiar to them all." The words "fatality of air" describe very expressively that look of melancholy which all the Stuart features


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