The Idler in France
Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849), was famous for her charm, wit, and beauty, the latter reflected in Sir Thomas Lawrence's famous portrait of her in 1822. Blessington had an unhappy childhood, and was forced into her first marriage at the age of fourteen, but had developed a love of reading and story-telling. With her second husband Charles John Gardiner, first Earl of Blessington, she lived for several years in France and Italy. In this work, originally published in two volumes in 1841, the author describes her impressions of nature, people and daily life in different French localities (Nimes, Arles, St Remy) with enthusiasm and good humour. Blessington writes especially about Paris, her permanent residence during 1828-30, describing the world of the British expatriate community as well as the cultural life and recent political upheavals which had brought Louis-Philippe to the throne.