20 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
(see Plate XIV), does not support the view that she was entirely lacking in beauty. It is not wholly unlike Wright's portrait of Elizabeth Collier (see Plate XVI), and we think in the youthful Violetta Darwin and in other members of the stock descended from Elizabeth Collier and Erasmus Darwin we may find traces of Catherine Sedley.
And if we are to judge a royal mistress, we must turn to her time and parentage ! Her father was one of the lewdest men at Charles II's court, and even Pepys, by no means himself an ascetic, was shocked at his profligacy. Yet he was a man with real literary power, his prose style is " clear and facile," and his plays and poems had such a contemporary reputation that Charles II said of him that " his style, either in writing or discourse, would be the standard of the English tongue." Later in life Sedley somewhat redeemed himself by parliamentary activity and his advocacy of William III'. He will ever be remembered by his lyrics
"Love still has something of the sea, From whence his mother rose ";
" Phillis is my only Joy,
Faithless as the Winds or Seas, Sometimes coming, sometimes coy, Yet she never fails to please";
and these at least settle that he knew how to handle his mother tongue. His portrait from a print in the British Museum is given in Plate XXI.
Sir Charles Sedley's wife was Elizabeth Savage, who came of a distinguished line, and his mother was the Elizabeth Savile, of whom Waller wrote
"Here lies the learned Savile's heir,
So early wise and lasting fair,
That none, except her years they told, Thought her a child or thought her old."
Thus we link up with Sir Henry Savile (see Plate XV), the most scholarly Englishman of his date, the founder of the Savilian professorships of geometry and astronomy at Oxford, tutor to Queen Elizabeth, Warden of Merton and Provost of Eton. On the other hand Sir William Sedley2, Sir Charles' paternal grandfather, founded the Sedleian
' He is reported to have said that if King James made his (Sedley's) daughter a countess, he had been even with him in courtesy by making James' daughter a queen ! y I have not been able to discover in Oxford any portrait of Sir William Sedley.