Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself in …
Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself in …

[STANHOPE, Lady Hester.]. Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself in conversation with her Physician [Charles Lewis Meryon]; comprising Her Opinions and Nnec….

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[STANHOPE, Lady Hester.] Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself in conversation with her Physician [Charles Lewis Meryon]; comprising Her Opinions and Nnecdotes of some of the most Remarkable Persons of her Time. London, Henry Colburn, 1845-6.

Three volumes, 8vo. Contemporary half-calf, marbled boards, spines with black lettering-pieces, and directly lettered in gilt; pp. xvii, 394; vi, 384; vii, 319; lithographic frontispiece to each volume (one hand-coloured), folding plan of Stanhope's house at Djoun; extremities with some rubbing, gutter between frontispiece and title-page of volume one re-inforced; otherwise a rather good set.
First editions of the first two volumes, second edition of the third. An aristocrat, Stanhope left England in 1810, travelling first to Greece - where she met Byron - then to Palmyra, and finally settling at a ruined convent on Mount Lebanon. In spite of her changing circumstances, she maintained a large household of servants, entertaining visitors to the convent who included de Lamartine and Kinglake (his Eothen includes an account of the meeting). Her reputation among locals as a holy woman could do little to prevent her from incurring massive debts, and indeed when she died in 1839 her servants ransacked the convent leaving little else than the clothes on her body. Meryon had left with Stanhope in 1810, but returned to England. 'Three volumes of travels and three of memoirs published after her death record her extraordinary journeys and unconventional views. Hester was headstrong and brilliant, and terrified people with her sharp tongue. Lord Byron met her in Greece and complained she had “a great disregard of received notion in her conversation as well as conduct”. Which is pretty rich, coming from Byron. Despite being a woman and a Christian, Hester defied tradition by riding into Damascus unveiled. “The crowds who watched must have been shocked into inaction” is the verdict of one biographer' (in Marcel Theroux in The Guardian, online).
Blackmer 1117; Röhricht 1648; Weber 390.

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