The Countess of Upper Ossory


Inveterate letter-writer Horace Walpole corresponded at length with Lady Ossory (Anne Liddell FitzRoy FitzPatrick); alone, his letters to her take up three volumes in the Yale Series of Walpole Correspondence.

While Walpole ‘praised women as far better letter-writers than men,’ we unfortunately do not have the Lady Ossory letter to which Walpole replies; it was she who evidently visited the Ladies of Llangollen in August 1790.

“Strawberry Hill, Aug. 30, 1790.

To be sure I am glad you have been delighted with your travels; but Lord! Madam, how could you think (perhaps you did not think) of being pleased with beauties and prospects at home! […] From your first letter I had more hopes of you […] — but you have relapsed, and are enchanted with Wales, and Chirk Castle, and twenty baubles, that everybody may visit in a week’s time without risk….
I firmly believe all the beauties of Wales, and regret having never seen them while I was able….
Of Chirk Castle, I never heard before; but how few have eyes! and till somebody has, the rest only look, till they [have] been taught to see, by hearing others have seen. […]
I am as little acquainted with Miss Ponsonby and Miss Buttershaw; I think I saw something in a newspaper about them, but I mind so little what I read there, that it made no impression, nor did I recollect to inquire; so your Ladyship has told me more than I can possibly tell you of them.”  [vol. 34; pp. 92-95]

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BONUS: The Duchess of Devonshire “gossips” about The Countess

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