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THlE DISAPPEARANCE OF MRS. GRUNDY. 4-C --- - THE STORY OF THE REA.L LADY. "Like other legendary beings, she has changed her nature with the flight of time. In the year 1800 she was little else than a generally censorious woman, a personification of other people's opinion upon one's
own conduct," says a London "Times" leader concerning Mrs. Grundy." "Gradually she sphere of criticism , was restricted to the territory of courtship and gallantry, with its attached colonies of chaperonage, flirtation, and amatory indiscretion. She became, in short, a specialist in maiden modesty and wifely pre caution. Then-perhaps, in the .eventies or eighties-her history took a strange turn. She, who had begun as something of an ogress, became almost popular, except among the irreverent young. No longer thought of as a captious busybody, she won for herself a re putation as a true model of pro priety. It was she who would kindly teach young, ladies how not to be 'conspicuous,' how to avoid being 'talked abouif,' how to fish in dan gerous waters without tumbling in. She became a kind of deified aunt, stern but-and here was the essence of the change in her-helpful and.1 necessary. Her tenure of Olympus was not, however, prolonged. Irre verent youth rebelled, dragged 'her down, and, in a" thousand angry or hysterical novels,; made of her an Aunt Sally. Now even that phase in her career is ended. Her, name, which, in jest or earnest, was once on every lip. is seldom spoken." Referring to this leader. Mr. Ernest Law, of Hampton Court Palace. points out that a "Mrs. Grundv" did -really exist. "That lady was, as a fact, embodied in the housekeper of that same at Hampton Court Palace in the late 'forties and early 'fifties of last, century. ]let fame is perpetuated in a dark space-one of tbe mvs terry chambers of the palace-the door of which is rarely opened, and which is still known ae 'Mrs. Grundv's Gallery.' Here she im pounded any picture or sculpture which she considered unfit for ex hibition in the State rooms; and here she-kent them under lock and-j kev: in defiance of the -authority and protests of the Queen's sur vevor of pictures. The story goes that on one occasion the First com missioner of. Works, on a .isit .,f inspection; sent for rMm. Grundy. In answer to the First Commis sioner'. requ.est. she declined to open the door for him. 'But I. am one of Her Majesty's Ministers, and I have authority over the struc ture of the palace.' 'I cannot h!lp that, sir, replied Mrs. Grundy, 'only on an order signed b-- his Lordship the Lord Chamberlain of her Maiesty's Household cen I al lo.w anybody to enter .my al!cry ' '~ihat is the sort of thing that 'lirs. Grundv would say.' History- -.jes not record the eventual zes',lt; though he did not get in on that occasion. But in the century-old sti.u?Rle between the Office of Works and the Lord. Chamberlain's department, some 40 years after her death, the First Commissioner sue- i ceeded in havinr' the occupation o' 'Mrs. Grundv's--Gallerv' ,.f?~sr,'nd to. his department, to be used for stores. Some 15 years afterwards its treasures were craiusaTlv brouelbt forth, and the pictures hunr in ilhl State roomrr. notably Cariani's beautiful .'Venus Recumbent,' NTo. SS, in the Second Presence Chainm ber. identified three years ago by Mr. Tancrd Borenius as havinjg be longed to the famous Venetia.n col, lector. Andrea Vendramin. from . drawing in his catalogue of 12'7.. It was not until 20 iears ago that a. leaden statue of Venus. which had; been sent from Windsor. and wr. istored in - 'Mir's. Grund,'s Galler". n-P·c flwomrht: forth to aRlorr, Fl>n'¶' VTIT.'s inond arden. Whaft .would 'Mrs. Grbundy syv? '' "