Chatterton, Thomas, 1752-1770. Miscellanies in Prose and Verse; by Thomas Chatterton, the supposed author of the poems published under the names of Rowley, Canning, &c. London: printed for Fielding and Walker, Pater-Noster Row, MDCCLXXVIII., 1778. xxxii,245,p.,plates; 8⁰. (ESTC T39457; OTA K039720.000)
- MISCELLANIES IN PROSE AND VERSE;
- PREFACE Page. i
- Description of the Fryars first passing over the Old Bridge 1
- Ethelgar, a Saxon poem 5
- Kenrick, a Saxon poem 11
- Cerdick, a Saxon poem 15
- Godred Crovan, a poem, composed by Dopnal Syrric, Scheld of Godred Crovan, king of the Isle of Man 21
- The Hirlas, translated from the ancient British of Owen Cyfeliog, prince of Powys 40
- Gorthmund, translated from the Saxon 45
- Narva and Mored, and African eclogue 56
- The Death of Nicou, an African eclogue 61
- Elegy to the memory of Mr. Thomas Phillips of Fairford 66
- February, an elegy 72
- Elegy on W. Beckford, Esq. 76
- Elegy 79
- To Mr. Holland 81
- [Page vi]On Mr. Alcock of Bristol 83
- To Miss B — sh of Bristol 85
- The Advice, addressed to Miss M — R —, of Bristol 87
- The Copernican System 90
- The Consuliad, an heroic poem 92
- Elegy 103
- The Prophecy 105
- Fragment of a sermon, by the celebrated Rowley 112
- Memoirs of Sir William Canynge 117
- The Antiquity of Christmas Games 129
- Description of some curious Saxon Achievements 134
- Anecdote of Chaucer 137
- Anecdote of Judge Jeffries 138
- Account of the Tinctures of Saxon Heralds 139
- Copy of an ancient Manuscript, written by Rowley 140
- On the origin, nature and design of Sculpture 142
- The Adventures of a Star 149
- The story of Maria Friendless 167
- The False Step 174
- Memoirs of a Sad Dog 184
- Tony Selwood's description of a modern antique character 209
- [Page vii]The Hunter of Oddities, No. I. 214
- The Hunter of Oddities, No. II. 217
- The Hunter of Oddities, No. III. 221
- The Hunter of Oddities, No. IV. 225
- Letter from Astrea Brokage 228
- Song, addressed to Miss C — am, of Bristol 232
- Anecdote of Lord C — d 234
- The Unfortunate Fathers 235
- Elegy to the memory of Mr. Thomas Chatterton 241
- To the Printer of the St. James's Chronicle.
- ETHELGAR, A SAXON POEM. / Thomas Chatterton
- KENRICK. TRANSLATED FROM THE SAXON. / Thomas Chatterton
- CERDICK, TRANSLATED FROM THE SAXON. / Thomas Chatterton
- GODRED CROVAN, A POEM. / Thomas Chatterton
- THE HIRLAS, Translated from the ancient British of OWEN CYFELIOG, Prince of Powys. / Thomas Chatterton
- GORTHMUND, TRANSLATED FROM THE SAXON. / Thomas Chatterton
- NARVA AND MORED, AN AFRICAN ECLOGUE. / Thomas Chatterton
- THE DEATH OF NICOU, AN AFRICAN ECLOGUE. / Thomas Chatterton
- ELEGY, To the Memory of Mr. THOMAS PHILLIPS of Fairford. / Thomas Chatterton
- FEBRUARY, AN ELEGY. / Thomas Chatterton
- ELEGY, ON W. BECKFORD ESQ. / Thomas Chatterton
- ELEGY. / Thomas Chatterton
- TO MR. HOLLAND. / Thomas Chatterton
- ON MR. ALCOCK, OF BRISTOL, AN EXCELLENT MINIATURE PAINTER. / Thomas Chatterton
- TO MISS B—SH, OF BRISTOL. / Thomas Chatterton
- THE ADVICE. ADDRESSED TO MISS M—— R——, OF BRISTOL. / Thomas Chatterton
- THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM. / Thomas Chatterton
- THE CONSULIAD, AN HEROIC POEM. / Thomas Chatterton
- ELEGY. / Thomas Chatterton
- THE PROPHECY. / Thomas Chatterton
- FRAGMENT OF A SERMON BY THE CELEBRATED ROWLIE
- MEMOIRS OF SIR WILLIAM CANYNGE
- ANTIQUITY OF CHRISTMAS GAMES.
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- a.A shield, amezz; i. e. painted irregularly with flowers, fruits, leaves, and insects; the field, argent; charge, proper.
- b.A shield, aadod; and were little round cakes of green wheat offered to the afgod or lesser idol of the Saxons; field, or; charge, vert.
- [Page 135]c.A shield, afraten, carved with crosses, patee; no settled tincture.
- d.A shield, þunder-flaegod, reblasted, representing lightning; an irregular kind of dauncettie, argent and gules.
- e.A shield of Keyna, so called from St. Keyna** Camden makes Keyna a British virgin, which is evidently a mistake., a Saxon virgin, who is falsely said to have turned serpents into stone; field, vert; charge, murrey.
- f.A shield afgodod, charged with an afgod, and baso aadod. The afgod was an image like a dragon, as in the cut, placed at the seet of Woden: it was the ancient arms of Wessex, which has been often falsely blazoned, a grissin, sergeant. Camden mentions a procession in some part of England, where was displayed in a banner, a giant and dragon: this he did not know how to account for. Had he looked into the[Page 136] Saxon mythology, he might have found that the heathen Saxons, in the spring, used to bear in procession, a banner, argent, where was displayed the god Woden, azure: and this afgod his usual attendant, gules.
- ANECDOTE OF CHAUCER.
- ANECDOTE CONCERNING LORD JEFFRIES.
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- To the Editor of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- ON THE ORIGIN, NATURE, AND DESIGN OF SCULPTURE.
- ADVENTURES OF A STAR.
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- MEMOIRS OF A SAD-DOG.
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- A SONG. ADDRESSED TO MISS C—AM OF BRISTOL. / Thomas Chatterton
- To the Printer of the Town and Country MAGAZINE.
- THE UNFORTUNATE FATHERS.
- ELEGY, TO THE MEMORY OF MR. THOMAS CHATTERTON, LATE OF BRISTOL. / Thomas Cary
- BOOKS printed for FIELDING and WALKER.
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To this Edition are added,
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MISCELLANIES IN PROSE AND VERSE;
BY THOMAS CHATTERTON.
BY THOMAS CHATTERTON, THE SUPPOSED AUTHOR OF THE POEMS PUBLISHED UNDER THE NAMES OF ROWLEY, CANNING, &c.
LONDON: PRINTED FOR FIELDING AND WALKER, PATER-NOSTER ROW. MDCCLXXVIII.
THE disputes which have taken place in the learned world, respecting those poems which were published some time ago under the names of Rowley and Canning, are still undetermined; notwithstanding all the arguments brought on one side to support their authenticity, and on the other to prove them the forgeries of a young literary adventurer, the question is still brought to no conclusion, and as the partisans of each hypothesis declare themselves unconvinced by the evidences of the other, the matter may be considered as yet involved in doubt and obscurity. The following collection of pieces are liable to none of the objections which are made to the other. They are the genuine and acknowledged[Page x] productions of Thomas Chatterton; a person whose genius and abilities, exercised at a very early period of life, will no less command the respect of posterity, than they have excited the attention, and divided the sentiments of the ablest judge of the present age.
With respect to Rowley's poems, the prevailing opinion seems to be, th•…they were actually written by Chatterton: for though the antique manner in which they were cloathed, had served greatly to disguise them, yet it could not but be observed that that the smoothness of the versification, and the frequent** The argument arising from the coincidences which might be pointed out between the supposed ancient poems and later writers, hath not been attended to in the manner it deserves. It would be more decisive than any other yet made use of. Let any person compare the parallel passages lately pointed out by a writer in the St. James's Chronicle, No. 2671, May 21, 1778, and at the same time advert to the rules laid down by bishop Hurd, for the discovery of imitations, and he will not hesitate to acknowledge, that the writer of Rowley's poems certainly lived in the present century. As this letter will be considered as a curiosity by all who interest themselves concerning the authenticity of those poems, and as it is not readily to be referred to, being printed only in a news-paper, we have subjoined it to the present publication. †† See page xxiv. traces of imitation of later[Page xi] writers〈…〉utterly inconsistent with the〈…〉their being the productions of the fifteenth century. These circumstances did no escape the observation of many gentlemen at th•ir f•rst appearance; but that forgeries•…ld be attempted by one who had not reached the age of seventeen years, and that these attempts should be conducted with a degree of skill and judgment, which obliged the most intelligent to doubt, and[Page xii] at the same time almost compelled the most doubtful to assent, seemed to be hardly within the reach of probability; it rather, in the opinion of many, bordered on imimpossibility.
It hath been presumed, though without duly weighing circumstances, that it would be a wild conjecture to suppose a young, and almost uneducated man, was capable of conducting a complicated fraud, which required applications very different from those which the season of his life, and his means of information seemed to point out, and at the same time such a course of study as is very seldom pursued until a more advanced period. But before this is granted, it should be recollected that he was, as Mr. Warton** Additions to History of Poetry, vol. II. observe•, a singular instance of a prematurity[Page xiii] of abilities, and that he had acquired a store of general information far exceeding his years; that he possessed a comprehension of mind, and activity of understanding, which predominated over his situations in life, and his opportunities of instruction. When these facts are remembered, it will not be considered so very incredible; and the history of the human mind will furnish many examples of a maturity of judgment in persons at as early an age, which will diminish the surprise which must at the first glance impress every person who reflects upon this extraordinary phenomenon. It should be recollected, before we pronouce decisively upon this subject, that there have been instances almost as extraordinary as that we have now under consideration. Dr. Wotton, at the age of six years, acquired a considerable knowledge in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew tongues; and Dr. Johnson[Page xiv] has given the life of one** John Phillip Barretier. who mastered five languages at the age of nine years. These acquisitions are certainly as wonderful as Chatterton's knowledge of the obsolete language of the 15th and 16th centuries, which he was known to be fond of, and to which he had particularly applied his attention. Nor should the contrivance of such a fraud be deemed beyond the reach of one who possessed such abilities. It is known that a person who was distinguished by the name of Psalmanazar, in the beginning of the present century, fabricated a new language, and actually succeeded in imposing upon some of the most intelligent and inquisitive persons of the times, who were equally as desirous, as able to detect the imposture, had it not been managed with a degree of art which eluded all their vigilance.[Page xv]
It will hardly be denied, that acquisitions like those we have before mentioned are equally surprising with any which Chatterton is supposed to have reached; unless the invention of new characters for a language, or the difficulties of obtaining an accurate knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, are more easy to overcome than to imitate the manner of writing in the time of Edward the fourth. But instances may be produced of persons whose extent of intelligence hath been as great in subjects more abstruse, and not less out of the common walk, than those to which Chatterton devoted his attention. It will be sufficient to name the celebrated Crichton, and M. Servin, mentioned by Sully, between both whom and our author a resemblance might be discovered, as well in their astonishing abilities, as in those defects which marked the private[Page xvi] characters of each of these young adventurers.
As the present publication consists of pieces of which not the smallest doubt was ever entertained of their being genuine, it is totally unnecessary here to enter into any argument either to support or invalidate those proofs which have been adduced of the authenticity of the supposed ancient poems; and it is the less incumbent on the present editor, as the public hath lately received entire satisfaction on that head from the same gentleman to whom we are indebted for the first collection of this writer's works. It may not however be unnecessary to add a few words, in order to compleat the short account given by that gentleman of so extraordinary a personage, who may be considered as the literary phenomenon of the times, and whose genius, if it had been properly fostered and encouraged, might have carried English literature[Page xvii] to as high a pitch as any author in the present century. One can scarce avoid drawing a parallel upon the present occasion, from the similarity of circumstances between our author and the great father of the English stage; the one obliged to cramp and abase his genius to the ideas and taste of a barbarous audience; the other, from necessity, compelled to obey the mandates of the directers of our monthly publications, equally dogmatical, ignorant and insipid.
The former editor hath already set forth the few circumstances, relative to his author, which he possessed in common, with other men. The time of his birth, and death; the names of his parents, his profession, and the confined mode of his education, are all accurately stated. It is to be regretted, that he permitted, the sangfroid of the antiquary, to repress, that[Page xviii] warmth, which the excellence of his author might have been expected to excite; surely, that excellence demanded some few words of commendation: it is also to be lamented that he did not enter more minutely into the disposition and circumstances of one whom he could not but respect as an author, however he might dislike his chararacter, as a man: and here it must be confessed, Chatterton appears to us in the most unfavourab•e point of view. He possessed all the vices and irregularities of youth, and his profligacy was, at least, as conspicuous as his abilities. Although he was of a profession which might be said to accelerate his pursuits in antiquities, yet so averse was he to that profession, that he could never overcome it. One of his first efforts, to emerge from a situation so irksome to him, was an application to a gentleman well known in the republic of letters;[Page xix] which unfortunately for the public, and himself, met with a very cold reception; and which the disappointed author always spoke of with a high degree of acrimony, whenever it was mentioned to him.
After his quitting Bristol, he was engaged to assist Mr. Northhook, in a history of London, then publishing in numbers, and, at the same time, was daily writing some piece for the magazines. Every effort appears to have been insufficient to ward off the approach of poverty; and very soon after he settled in London, his distress became so great, that he meditated a design of going to Senegal. ** See Poem to Miss Bush page 85.This intention was never executed. He continued drudging for the booksellers a few months, when at last, oppressed with poverty and disease, in[Page xx] a fit of despair, he put an end to his existence in the month of August 1770, with a dose of poison.
Such was the wretched life, and such the fatal end, of one who, had he not prematurely finished his days, had bidden fair to do the highest honours to English literature. The reader will anticipate every reflection of regret which can be made upon this occasion; and while he sympathizes with the unfortunate, he will lament that one who is allowed to have been, as Mr. Warton expresses it, "a prodigy of genius,"should, by the mere dint of distress, be tempted to rid himself of an insupportable existence. He will feel himself hurt at the idea that no notice should be taken of one who the last mentioned writer pronounces would have proved the first of English poets, had he reached a maturer age; and perhaps[Page xxi] he may feel some indignation against the person to whom his first application was made, and by whom he was treated with neglect and contempt. It were to be wished that the public was fully informed of all the circumstances attending that unhappy application; the event of which deprived the world of works which might have contributed to the honour of the nation, as well as the comfort and happiness of their unfortunate author.
It is observed, by the elegant writer before quoted, that some of the verses contained in the following miscellany, which are those written by their author without any design to deceive, have been judged to be most astonishing productions by the first critic of the present age. After such a judgment it cannot be mentioned without exciting wonder, that writings which[Page] deserve such a character, should continue undistinguished amidst the trash of monthly compilations. A striking similarity may be observed between them and their author, both having met with a fate very unworthy their merit, equally contemned and despised; he, living and dying in obscurity; they, remaining neglected and almost unknown.
That they may hereafter stand a monument of the application and abilities of an unfortunate man, untimely lost to himself and to the public, one who had a slight knowledge of him in his life time, but not enough to be acquainted with his merits, until too late, who considers the neglect which hath been shewn to these his acknowledged works, as an imputation on the taste and curiosity of the age, hath employed a few leisure hours in collecting the following[Page xxiii] miscellany, which he trusts, after such respectable opinions as are before quoted, will not require either excuse or apology, but on the contrary, will entitle him to the acknowledgments of those readers whose candour will induce them to applaud the marks of genius which may be found herein, and at the same time make every due allowance for those imperfections which haste, or the unhappy circumstances in which many of them were written, would have given the author, had he been living, a title to expect and demand.
AFTER the opinion which the reverend Mr. Thomas Warton has delivered, concerning the authenticity of the poems attributed to Rowley, it may be expected that those who maintain a contrary doctrine, should publish some arguments in support of it. For my part I shall rather employ memory than sagacity on this subject, and have no weight to throw into either scale, except the following parallels; observing at the same time, how extraordinary it is that so many coincidences should be discoverable between Shakespeare, Dryden, &c. and Rowley, whose name was never heard of till within these ten years past.
These parallel passages, Mr. Baldwin, occurred to me on casually looking over the poems imputed to Rowley; but some of your ingenius correspondents, who peruse them with greater attention, may furnish you with conformities continued through many particulars of superior consequence and notoriety.
The following piece, being the first which is known of Chatterton's productions, we have placed it before the others in this collection, as it will afford some gratification to many readers to compare the earliest effort of his invention with the other works which he afterwards produced.
To the Printer of Farly's Bristol Journal.
The following description of the Fryars first passing over the old bridge, taken from an old manuscript, may not at this time be unacceptable to the generality of your readers.
ON Fridaie was the time fixed for passing the new-brydge. Aboute the time of tollynge the tenth clocke, Master Greggoire Dalbenye[Page 2] mounted on a fergreyne horse, informed Master Mouer all thynges were prepared, when two Beadils want fyrst streying stre. Next came a manne dressed up as follows, hose of gootskyne crinepart outwards, doublette & waiscoat, also over which a white robe without sleeves, much like an albe but not so long, reachinge but to his hands. A girdle of azure over his left shoulder, rechede also to his hands on the right & doubled back to his left, bucklynge with a goulden buckle dangled to his knee, thereby representinge a Saxon earlderman.
In his hands he bare a shield, the maistre of Gille a Brogton, who painted the same, representinge Sainte Warburgh crossinge the foord; then a mickle strong man in armour, carried a huge anlace, after whom came six claryons & six minstrels, who song the song of Sainte Warburgh. Then came Master Maier mounted on a white horse dight with sable trappyngs wrought about by the Nunnes of Saint Kenna, with gould and Silver, his hayre braded with ribbons & a chaperon with the auntient armes of Bristowe fastened on his forehead. Master Mair bare in his hande a goulden rodde, & a congean squire bare in his hande, his helmet waulkinge by the syde of the horse. Then came the earlderman & city broders,[Page 3] mounted on sabyell horses dyght with white trappyngs & plumes & scarlet caps & chaperons having thereon sable plumes; after them, the preists & frears, parish mendicant & secular, some syngynge Sainte Warburghs songe, others soundynge clarions thereto & others some citrialles.
In thilke manner reachynge the brydge the manne with the anlace stode on the fyrst top of a mounde, yreed in the midst of the brydge, than went up the manne with the sheelde, after him the minstrels & clarions; and then the preestes & freeres all in white albes, making a most goodly shewe, the maier & earldermen standinge rounde, they songe with the sound of claryons, the songe of Sainte Baldwyne, which being done, the manne on the top threw with great myght his anlace into the sea & the clarions sounded an auncient charge & forloyne. Then theie song again the song of Sainte Warburge, & proceeded up Xts hill to the crosse, where a Latin sermon was preached by Ralph de Blunderville, & with sound of clarion theye againe want to the brydge & there dined, spendynge the rest of the daye in sports & plaies, the freers of Sainte Augustyne doing the play of[Page 4] the knights of Brystow meekynge a great fire at night on Kynslate hill. ** See the preface to the volume of poems supposed to be written by Rowley, pag. 6, where Mr. Cateot's account of this paper is printed.
THE late publication of a volume of poems, said to have been written by Thomas Rowlie, in the 15th century, having given rise to some ingenious criticisms respecting their authenticity, I beg leave to send you the following fragment of a sermon by the same author. It was given to me some time since by Mr. George Catcott, whose name has been so often mentioned on the present occasion, and to whose inquisitive disposition, and very commendable zeal, the public is principally indebted for the preservation and appearance of these valuable productions of antiquity. It may be necessary to inform you, that, when Chatterton gave this fragment to his friend, he was utterly (and ever after continued) unacquainted with any language but his mother-tongue; and that[Page 113] the citations of these languages, from two antient authors, have been fully authenticated. The poetical talents of our bard are established by the publication of his poems; but the following fragment of a sermon on the divinity of the Holy Spirit, displays him in the more illustrious character of an orthodox divine. Every circumstance which tends to throw light on the history of Rowlie should be given to the public, and his sentiments on so essential a point of the Christian religion by no means suppressed, notwithstanding they may not have the sanction of an age unhappily overgrown with Arianism and infidelity. Chatterton himself, although he totally disbelieved the subject of the fragment, had, however the ingenuity to produce it; and I am sorry that the ingenuous editors had not thought it (and some others of Rowlie's prose productions in their possession) worthy of being published together with his poetical compositions.
I have been favoured with the perusal of some prose MSS. now in Mr. Catcot's possession, that prove Rowlie's existence beyond the possibility of a doubt.[Page 114]
Havvnge whylomme ynn dyscourse provedd, orr soughte toe proove, the deitie of Chryste bie hys worke, names, and attributes, I shalle in nexte place seeke to proove the deeitie of Holye Spryte. Manne moste bee supplyedd wythe Holye Spryte toe have communyonn ryghtfullye of thynges whyehe bee of Godde. S•yncle Paulle prayethe the Holye Spryte toe assyste hys flocke ynn these wordes, The Holye Sprytes communyonn bee wythe you. Lette us dhere desyerr of hymm toe ayde us, I ynne unplyteynge and you ynn understandynge hys deeite: lette us saye wythe Seyncte Cyprian, Ad•sto, Sancte Spiritus, & paraclesin tuam expectantibus illabere calitus; sanctifua templum cerporis nostri, & cons••ra inhabita ulum tuum Seyncte Paulle sayethe yee are the temple of Godde; forr the Spryte of Godde dwellethe ynn you. Gyss yee are the temple of Godde alleyne bie the dwellynge of the Spryte, wote yee notte that the Spryte ys Godde, ande playne proofe of the personne and glorye of the thryrde personne. The personne, gyftes, operatyonns, glorye, and deeitie, are all ynn Holye Spryte, as bee prooved[Page 115] fromm diffraunt textes of Scrypture: beeynge, as Seyncte Peter, sayethe, of the same essentyall matterr as the Fadre ande Sonne, whoe are Goddes, the Holye Spryte moste undisputably bee Godde. The Spryte orr dyvyne will of Godde moovedd uponn the waterrs att the creatyonn of the worlde: thys meanethe the Deeitie. I sayde, ynn mie laste discourse, the promyse of Chryste, whoe wythe Godde the Fadre wolde dwelle ynn the soughle of hys decyples; howe coulde heie soe but bie myssyonn of Holye Spryte? Thys methynkethe prooveth ne alleyne the personaliitie of Holye Spryte, but the verrie foundatyonne and grounde wurch of the Trinitie yttselfe. The Holye Spryte cannot bee the goode thynges ande vyrtues of a manns mynde, sythence bie hymm wee bee toe fast keepe yese goode thynges: gyss wee bee toe keepe a vyrtue bie thatte vyrtue ytt selfe, meethynckes the custos bee notte fytted toe the charge. The Spryte orr Godde ys the auctoure of those goode thynges and bie hys obeisaunce dheie mote alleyne bee heide. I maie notte bee doltysh ne hereticalle toe saie, whate wee calle consyence vs the hyltren warninge of the Spryte, to forsake our evylle waies before he dothe solely leave our steinedd soughles. Nete bee a greaterr proofe of mie argument[Page 116] thann the wurchys of Holye Spryte. Hee createdd manne, hee forslaggen hymm, hee agayne raysedd mann fromm the duste, ande havethe savedd all mankynde fromme eterne rewynn; he raysedd Chryste fromme the deade, hee made the worlde, ande hee schalle destroye ytt. Gyff the Spyrte bee notte Godde, howe bee ytt the posessynge of the Spryte dothe make a manne sayedd toe bee borne of Godde? Ytt requyreth the powerr of Godde toe make a manne a new creatyonn, yette suche dothe the Spryte. Thus sayethe Seyncte Gregorie Naz. Of the Spryte and hys wurchys:
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.
SIR William Canynge, whom Rowley justly styles "a grete and goode man, the favouryte of Godde, the friende of the chyrche, the companyonne of kynges, and the sadre of hys natyve cittie,"was a younger son of a citizen of Bristol. In his youth he gave early dawnings of wisdom and learning;
He was also of a comely person, but married, it seems, for love, without a fortune. Soon after, however, his father and elder brother, who both loved money as much as he despised it, died, and left him large estates in land and money, with his[Page 118] brother John** Called Thomas by Stow, in his list of Mayors. dependent upon him; on which he founded a chauntry for their souls,
in the year 1456. But soon this dawning was overcast by the death of his wife, his second self. Of his native city he was mayor five times; and beside several other charities, founded an almshouse or hospital (which is yet in being) at Redcliff-hill, and built a chapel, and that noble church of St. Mary Redcliff, the finest parish-church in England,
When Sir Baldwin Fulford was executed at Bristol for treason in 1461, 1 Edward IV. Canynge, being then mayor, made great intercession[Page 119] for him to the King,†† Then Maister Canynge sou•…the Kinge. And telle down onne hys knee; "I'm come," qu•d he, "unto your Grace, To move your clemencye." The Deathe of Syr Charles Bawdin. who heard him graciously, having been much his friend, though he would not grant his request. When he was knighted does not appear. Rowley has dedicated to him his tragedy of Aella, in two epistles. To that of Godwyn Canynge wrote the prologue, an•…in it acted the part of King Edward the Confessor. Four poems of his are also printed with Rowley's. In 1467, a second match being proposed by the King between him and a lady of the Wi•eville (the Queen's) family, Sir William went into orders purposely to avoid it, being ordained acolythe, by his friend Bishop Carpenter‡‡ Rowley, in his dedication of Aella, says, "Goode Byshoppe Carpynter dyd byd mee•…ie, He wys•he you healthe and f•linesse11 Happiness. for aie. " of Worcester, 19th of September, and receiving the higher orders of sub-deacon, deacon, and priest,[Page 120] 12th of March, 1467, the 2d and 16th of April, 1468, respectively. Being then made dean of the collegiate church of Westbury, Wilts, with his usual munificence he rebuilt that college. Soon after his taking orders, he gave, by a deed of trust, dated 20th of October, 1467, in part of a benefaction of 500l. to St. Mary Redcliff church, "certain jewels of Sir Theobald Gorges‖‖ Sir Theobald Gorges was a Knight of an ancient family seated at Wraxhall, within a few miles of Bristol. (See Rot. Parl. 3 H. VI. n. 28. Leland's Itin. Vol. vii. p. 98.) He was an actor in both Rowley's tragedies, and wrote one of the Mynsirelles Songes, in Aella, p. 91, "Rowley, Iscamm and T•b. Gorges, "are mentioned by Canynge as three of his•…ends, in his "Accounte of his Feast." Knt. "which had been pawned to him for 160l.
Full of good works, he died in the year 1474, and was buried in Redcliff church, where two monuments were erected to his memory, one with his effigies in the robes of a magistrate, the other in those of a priest, cut in white marble. Besides his many other charitable donations, he settled lands to pay 44l. per annum to the sheriffs,[Page 121] in lieu of toll demanded by them, at the city gates. For an account of the chests deposited by him in Redcliff church, see pp. 272-3.
Sir W. Canynge had also a cabinet of curiosities, which he had collected with very great expence, and Rowley assisted him in making the collection. The greatest part of a large folio was filled with his compositions. This folio, Rowley says. "was a presente wordie of a grete kynge;"and the loss of it will be sincerely regretted by the friends of literature, as the writings might have thrown some light on the learning of those times. Canynge was also a man of an extensive genius, and a liberal turn of mind, the distinguished patron of literature, and a lover of the fine arts. Rowley, it appears by his writings, lived in the greatest intimacy with him, and received very extraordinary marks of his favour and generosity. On all occasions he shews his gratitude to his illustrious friend, takes perpetual delight in dwelling on his many amiable virtues, and constanly manifests an earnest desire of transmitting his fame to posterity. This appears not only in many of his poems, but also in the following prose work, preserved by[Page 122] Chatterton, and printed in the Town and-Country Magazine for Nov. 1775, which, as a literary curiosity, our readers, we doubt not, will be glad to see re-published here, with several corrections. For other particulars of this Maecenas of the Bristol Virgil, they must wait till Mr. Barrett favours the world with his history of that city.
Some farther Account of this extraordinary Person, written by Rowley the Priest.
"I was fadre confessor to masteres Roberte and mastre William Cannings. Mastre Robert was a man after his fadre's own harte, greedie of gaynes and sparynge of alms deedes; but master William was mickle courteous, and gave me many marks in my needs. At the age of 22 years deaces'd master Roberte, and by master William's desyre bequeathd me one hundred marks; I went to thank master William for his mickle courtesie, and to make tender of myselfe to him. — Fadre quod he, I have a crotchett in my brayne, that will need your aide. Master William, said I, if you command me I will go to Roome for you; not so farr distant, said he: I ken you for a mickle learnd priest; if you will[Page 123] leave the parysh of our ladie, and travel for mee, it shall be mickle to your profits.
"I gave my hands, and he told mee I must goe to all the abbies and pryorys, and gather together auncient drawyings, if of anie account, at any price. Consented I to the same, and pursuant sett outt he Mundaie following for the minster of our Ladie and Saint Goodwyne, where a drawing of a steeple, contryvd for the belles when runge to swaie out of the syde the ayre, had I thence; it was done by Syr Symon de Mambrie, who, in the troublesomme rayne of kyng Stephen, devoted himselfe, and was shorne.
"Hawkes showd me a manuscript in Saxonne, but I was onley to bargayne for drawyings. — The next drawyngs I metten with was a church to be reard, so as in form of a cross, the end standing in the ground; a long manuscript was annexd. Master Canning thought no workman culd be found handie enough to do it. — The tale of the drawers deserveth relation. — Thomas de Blunderville, a preeste, although the preeste had no allows, lovd a fair mayden, and on her begatt a sonn. Thomas educated his sonn; at sixteen years he went into[Page 124] the warrs, and neer did return for five years. — His mother was married to a knight, and bare a daughter, then sixteen, who was seen and lovd by Thomas, sonn of Thomas, and married to him, unknown to her mother, by Ralph de Mesching, of the minster, who invited, as custom was, two of his brothers, Thomas de Blunderville and John Heschamme. Thomas nevertheless had not seen his sonn for five years, yet kennd him instauntly; and learning the name of the bryde, took him asydde and disclosd to him that he was his sonn, and was weded to his own sistre. Yoynge Thomas toke on so that he was shorne.
"He drew manie fine drawyings on glass.
"The abott of the minster of Peterburrow sold it me; he might have bargaynd 20 marks better, but master William would not part with it. The prior of Coventree did sell me a picture of great account, made by Badilian Y'allyanne, who did live in the reign of Kynge Henrie the First, a mann of fickle temper, havyng been tendred syx pounds of silver for it, to which he said naie, and afterwards did give it to the then abott of[Page 125] Coventriee. In brief, I gathered together manie marks value of fine drawyings, all the works of mickle cunning — Master William culld the most choise parts, but hearing of a drawying in Durham church hee did send me.
"Fadree, you have done mickle well, all the chatills are more worth then you gave; take this for your paynes: so saying, he did put into my hands a purse of two hundreds good pounds, and did say that I should note be in need; I did thank him most heartily. — The choise drawyng, when his fadre did dye, was begunn to be put up, and somme houses neer the old church erased; it was drawn by Aslema, preeste of St. Cutchburts, and offerd as a drawyng for Westminster, but cast asyde, being the tender did not speak French. — I had now mickle of ryches, and lyvd in a house on the hyll, often repayrings to mastere William, who was now lord of the house. I sent him my verses touching his church, for which he did send me mickle good things. — In the year kyng Edward came to Bristow, master Cannings send for me to avoid a marriage which the kyng was bent upon between him and a ladie he neer had seen, of the samilee of the Winddevilles; the danger[Page 126] were nigh, unless avoided by one remidee, an holie one, which was, to be ordained a sonn of holy church, beyng franke from the power of kynges in that cause, and cannot be wedded. — Mr. Cannings instauntly sent me to Carpenter, his good friend, bishop of Worcester, and the Fryday following was prepaird and ordaynd the next day, the daie of St. Mathew, and on Sunday sung his first mass in the church of our Ladie, to the astonishing of kyng Edward, who was so suriously madd and ravyngs withall, that master Cannings was wyling to give him 3000 markes, which made him peace again, and he was admyted to the presence of the kyng, staid in Bristow, partook of all his pleasures and pastimes till he departed the next year.
"I gave master Cannings my Bristow tragedy, for which he gave me in hands twentie pounds, and did praise it more then I did think my self did deserve, for I can say in troth I was never proud of my verses since I did read master Chaucer; and now haveing nought to do, and not wyling to be ydle. I went to the minster of our Ladie and Saint Goodwin, and then did purchase the Saxon manuscripts, and sett my selfe diligentley[Page 127] to translate and worde it in English metre, which in one year I performd and styled it the Battle of Hastyngs; master William did bargyin for one manuscript, and John Pelham, an esquire, of Ashley, for another. — Master William did praise it muckle greatly, but advisd me to tender it to no man, beying the menn whose name were therein mentiond would be offended. He gave me 20 markes, and I did goe to Ashley, to master Pelham, to be payd of him for the other one I left with him.
"But his ladie being of the family of the Fiscamps, of whom some things are said, he told me he had burnt it, and would have me burnt too if I did not avaunt. Dureing this dinn his wife did come out, and made a dinn to speake by a figure, would have over sounded the bells of our Ladie of the Cliffe; I was fain content to gett away in a safe skin.
"I wrote my Justice of Peace, which master Cannings advisd me secrett to keep, which I did; and now being grown auncient I was seizd with great pains, which did cost me mickle of marks to be cuted off. — Master William offered me a[Page 128] cannon's place in Westbury-College, which gladly had I accepted but my pains made me to stay at home. After this mischance I livd in a house by the Tower, which has not been repaird since Robert Consull of Gloucester repayrd the castle and wall; here I livd warm, but in my house on the hyll the ayer was mickle keen: some marks it cost me to put in repair my new house; and brynging my chattles from the ould; it was a fine house, and I much marville it was untenanted. A person greedy of gains was the then possessour, and of him I did buy it at a very small rate, having lookd on the ground works and mayne supports, and fynding them staunch, and repayrs no need wanting, I did buy of the owner, Geossry Coombe, on a repayring lease for 99 years, he thinkying it would fall down everie day; but with a few marks expence did put it up in a manner neat, and therein I lyvd."
IN the days of our ancestors, Christmas was a period sacred to mirth and hospitality. Though not wholly neglected now, it cannot boast of the honours it once had; the veneration for religious seasons fled with popery, and old English hospitality is long since deceased. Our modern playthings of fortune, who make the whole year a revolution of dissipation and joyless festivity, cannot distinguish this season; unless by resting from their laborious pleasures, and (if they can think) find a happy serenity in solitude and reflection, unknown in the tumult of hurricanes. — The ancient Christmas gambols were, in my opinion, superior to our modern spectacles and amusements; wrestling, hurling the ball, and dancing in the woodlands, were pleasures for men; it is true, the conversation of the hearth-fide was the tales of superstition:[Page 130] the fairies, Robin Goodfellow, and hobgoblins, never failed to make the trembling audience mutter an Ave Maria, and cross their chins; but the laughable exercises of blindman's buff, riddling, and question and command, sufficiently compensated for the sew sudden starts of terror. Add to these amusements, the wretched voices of the chanters and sub chanters; howling carols in Latin; the chiming of consecrated bells; the burning consecrated wax candles; curiously representing the Virgin Mary; praying the saint whose monastery stood nearest; the munching consecrated cross-loaves, sold by the monks; all which effectually eradicated the spectres of their terrific stories. Nor were these the only charms against the foul fiends, and night-mare; sleeping cross-legged, like the effigies of Knights Templars, and warriors, and the holy bush and church-yard yew, were certain antidotes against those invisible beings. After this representation, I may be thought partial to my own hobby-horse, as an antiquary, in giving the preference to the amusements of the days of old; but let the sentimental reader consider that the tales of superstition, when believed, affect the soul with a sensation pleasurably[Page 131] horrid; we may paint in more lively colours to the eye, they spoke to the heart.
The great barons and knights usually kept open house during this season, when their villains, or vassals, were entertained with bread, beef, and beer, and a pudding, wastol cake, or Christmas kitchel, and a groat in silver at parting; being obliged, in return, to wave the full flaggon round their heads, in honour of the master of the house. Sometimes the festival continued, till Twelfthday, when the baron, or his steward, took the deis, or upper seat of the table, and after dinner gave every man a new gown of his livery, and two Christmas kitchels. — This kind of liberality, endeared the barons to the common people, and made them ever ready to take up arms under their banners.
A register of the nunnery of Keynsham relates, that William, earl of Glocester, entertained two hundred knights with tilts and fortunys, at his great manor of Keynsham, provided thirty pies of the eels of Avon, as a curious dainty; and on the Twelfth-day began the plays for the knights[Page 132] by the monks; with miracles and maumeries for the henchmen and servants, by minstrels.
Here is plainly a distinction made between maumeries and miracles, and the more noble representations comprehended under the name plays. The first were the holiday entertainments of the vulgar; the other of the barons and nobility. The private exhibitions at the manors of the barons, were usually family histories, the monk, who represented the master of the family, being arrayed in a tabard (or herald's coat without sleeves) painted with all the hatchments of the names. In these domestic performances absurdities were unavoidable; and in a play wrote by Sir Tibbet Gonges, Constance, countess of Bretagne and Richmond, marries and buries her three husbands in the compass of an hour. Sometimes these pieces were merely relations, and had only two characters of this kind, as that in Weever's Funeral monuments. None but the patrons of monasteries had the service of the monks in performing plays on holidays; provided the same contained nothing against God or the church. The public exhibitions were superior to the private; the plot, generally, the life of some pope, or the[Page 133] founder of the abbey the monks belonged to. I have seen several of these pieces, mostly Latin, and cannot think our ancestors so ignorant of dramatic excellence as the generality of modern writers would represent: they had a good moral in view, and some of the maumeries abound with wit, which though low now was not so then. Minstrels, jesters, and mummers, was the next class of performers; every knight had two or thee minstrels and jesters, who were maintained in his house, to entertain his family in their hours of dissipation; these Chancer mentions in the following passages:
HEREWITH I send you some curious Saxon achievements; an inedited coin of Sexburgeo, wife of Kinewalch, king of the West-Saxons, after whose death she reigned queen; and a Saxon amulet.
As no part of antiquity is so little known as Saxon heraldry, I shall not pretend to be infallible in the following conjectural explanation of the bearings.[Page]
AFTER Chancer had distributed copies of the tale of Piers Plowman, a Franciscan friar wrote a satiric maumery upon him; which was acted at the monasteries in London, and at Woodstock before the court. Chancer not a little nettled at the poignancy and popularity of the satire, meeting his antagonist in Fleet-street, beat him with his dagger; for which he was fined two shillings, as appears by a record of the Inner Temple, where Chancer was a student.
A Few months before the abdication of the dastardly tyrant James II. lord chancellor Jeffries, of detested memory, went to Arundel, in Sussex, in order to influence an election. He took his residence at the castle, and went the day fixed for the election to the town-hall, where Mr. Peckam, who was then mayor of Arundel, held his court. Jeffries had the impudence to shew his bloody face there: the mayor ordered him to withdraw immediately; and in case of refusal, threatened to have him committed. "You,"said he, "who ought to be the guardian of our laws, and of our sacred constitution, shall not so audaciously violate them. This is my court, and my jurisdiction here is above yours."Jeffries, who was not willing to perplex still more the king's assairs, and to enrage the populace, retired immediately. The next morning he invited Peckham to breakfast with him, which he accepted; but he had the courage to scorn to take a place, which the merciless executioner offered him.
Taken from the Records of the Town of Arundel.
BEING a little curious in antiquities, I have found that the Saxon heralds had these three tinctures, Heofnas, Weal, and Ocyre. Heofnas, (that is, in Saxon, Heaven) I take to be azure. Weal, (that is, strange or foreign) purpure, tenne, or any other colour brought from soreign countries: and Ocyre may be the same with oker, a yellow sossil, and signifies or.
If any of your ingenious correspondents (whether heralds or antiquaries) do not approve of my conjectures, I should be glad to know their opinion of the above.
As you mention, that Henry II. introduced the dress called court-mantle, the following copy of a manuscript, written three hundred years ago, by one Rowley, a monk, concerning the said dress, may not be unacceptable.
BRIGHHIKE** An Anglo-Saxon earl. haveinge ymade Seyncte Baldwynnes†† In Bristol. chapele ynto a house, Kynge Harrie secundus, in his yinge daies was there taughte. Yn the walle of sayde house, was an‡‡ Statue. ymagerie of a Saxonne§§ Earl. Ab-thane,‖‖ Elegantlie made. crabbatelie ywroghtenne, with a mantille of estate, whyche yinge Harrie enthoghten to bee**** Much. moke fyner dresse thanne hys. Causeynge the same to be†††† Devised or imitated. quaintissen yn‡‡‡‡ Foreign. elenge selke and§§§§ Embroidery. broderie, thus came courte dresse from a Brystoe ymagerie.[Page 141]
And in another manuscript, written by Rowley, it is said,
Mr. Beckford in his Robes, as Lord Mayor, treading on Tyranny, and supporting Britannia, who, in a recumbent distressed Posture, looks up to him as imploring his Assistance. On an Altar (on which are the Arms of the City of London) the Address, surmounted with the Cap of Liberty, and the City Regalia, the Sword resting on Magna Charta, encircled with Laurel.
SCULPTURE is an art which, by design and solid matter, imitates the palpable objects of nature. It is difficult to ascertain the epocha of[Page 143] its origin; it is lost in the most remote antiquity. The arts of imitation in general, as painting, architecture, sculpture, &c. where the first invented. Sculptors began to work upon clay and wax, which are more flexible, and more pliable than wood and stone. They soon made statues of trees which were neither subject to corruption nor worms, as the lemon-tree, the cypress, the palm, the olive, the ebony, and the vine: at last they made use of metals, ivory, and the hardest stones; marble especially became the most precious matter, and the most esteemed for works of sculpture.
The nations amongst which this fine art was in the greatest honour were the Aegyptians; those people, so celebrated by the monuments of their gratitude towards the memory of the kings their benefactors. It was to perpetuate their names, that they erected, in the earliest ages, the two Colossean statues of Mocrus, and the queen his spouse.
The Aegyptian sculptors excelled all others in exactness of proportion; the different parts of a statue were often formed by divers artists; and these parts united made the whole perfect.[Page 144]
The Greek historians boast of the invention of that art in their country, which they attribute to love: however, it is certain that the first essays of sculpture in Greece were very unpolished; but Dedalus, having travelled into Aegypt, improved himself in this art, and formed afterwards pupils who became the admiration of a people whose taste was not yet refined by the elegant statues of Phydias, Myron, Lysippus, &c.
The Greeks, subdued by the Romans, degenerated insensibly; and the arts vanished with their freedom.
Sculpture was an exotic which never could thrive in victorious Rome; its transient glory was eclipsed by the other arts in the reign of Augustus; it declined under Tiberius, Caius, and Claudius; and re-appeared with an enormous magnitude under Nero.
The Gothic sculpture sprung afterwards from a wild imagination, unassisted by nature.
The epocha of sculpture is the same in France and Italy. The celebrated Michael Angelo worked[Page 145] in Rome under the pontificate of Leo X. whilst John Goujon was admitted at Paris, under the patronage of Francis I.
The English advanced by slow degrees to the perfection of that art, in which they now rival their ancient masters.
The sculptors gave the name of statue to a figure in embossed work, that stands by itself in wood, stone, marble, or metal, of persons conspicuous by their birth, their rank, or their merit.
The ancients often represented figures of men, kings, and even gods, under a species of statues smaller than the natural size.
Those of persons who had distinguished themselves by their superior knowledge, their virtues, or some important services to the commonwealth, were erected at the public expence in statues of human size.
The third species of statues was designed for kings and emperors: they were taller than men[Page 146] commonly are; and those which personated heroes were larger in proportion.
As for the Colossean statues, they represented gods; and often kings and emperors, desirous to magnify themselves by these stupendous works, reared at their own expence monuments of their vanity and folly.
An equestrian statue exhibits a man on horseback; as the statue of Charles I. at Charing-cross; the statue of Henry IV. at Paris; and that of Cosmo de Medicis, at Leghorn.
A Greek statue is naked and antique; thus called, because the Greeks displayed in that manner the gods, the heroes, and the athlets of the Olympic games.
The Roman statues are all represented with a drapery.
A mausoleum is a pompous funeral monument, decorated with sculpture and architecture, with an epitaph sacred to the memory of some considerable personage. It derives its etymology from the[Page 147] magnificent tomb, which Queen Artemisa caused to be erected for Mausolus, king of Caria, her husband.
Heroes, patriots, and statesmen, are not only entitled to the love and veneration of their cotemporaries during their lives, but their virtues and services ought to be transmitted to the latest posterity. This vanity of surviving our dust by lasting monuments of national gratitude, has prompted men to the most noble actions, and inspired them with the emulation of being enrolled in the records of time, with those great heroes whose statues and inscriptions they contemplate with a sort of extacy. The tombs of Westminster-abbey fill the mind with that awful reverence, which a magnificent and grateful nation testifies for its benefactors. The portraits of the illustrious warriors who have subdued our inveterate enemies in both hemisphered, exposed to public view in Vauxhall-gardens, create even in a dissipated multitude a kind of admiration greatly superior to that inspired by the enchantment of the place. The spirit and magnamanity of the incorruptible Beckford, so becoming the first magistrate of the metropolis of a powerful empire; his noble and animated speech[Page 148] to the throne, which was the last public testimony of his unwearied zeal for his country's cause, will be echoed with applause at the sight of his statue by the succeeding generation, to whom he tried to transmit our constitution restored to its pristine purity.
I Shall omit the minute passages of my life, which happened whilst my members were in a state of separation, and begin my history where I began to see the polite world — in the laceman's shop. My possessor was a substantial man, and of some account among the monied men at Jonathan's. He was accounted a wit at his club at the Robinhood, which was not then altogether as patriotic as it is now; no Cato being permitted to mount the table, and harangue himself into an asthma. Here I lived in a state of inactivity for above a month, and heard nothing but the usual discourse of trade; when one day a couple of pretty ladies hurried into the shop, from a coach dignified with a coronet. "Well, Mr. Spangle, we want to take a view of the newest patterns you have. Lord, my dear, and is the wretch really jealous?" "Quite mad, 'pon honour. Don't you think this pattern very pretty? Why, he had the impudence to declare, that I[Page 150] should receive no more visits from the colonel." "An amazing pretty stomacher! pray what is the price? And I hope you answered him like a woman of quality and spirit." "Certainly my dear." "Fifty guineas, Mr. Spangle! Well, let me have it, and book it to lord G—r, I will never disgrace my title." "But, my dear Harriot, I have reason to fear his jealousy will veer round to the right object." "Reason to fear! my dear, what an expression is that for a woman of quality! You have reason to fear nothing but his interrupting your happiness." "And that I defy him to do. Here, Harry, take the trifles. Yours, Mr. Spangle."And away drove the titular honourables, whom I heard no more of till my exaltation among the quality. The next discourse of any consequence happened between Mr. Spangle and his son. Jack Spangle was as complete a city buck as any who srequent the Park when the sun shines. He spoke an anglicised French very sluently; and murdered an overture upon the violin to admiration. "Jack (said the old gentleman to him one day, when the ungracious spendthrift had made application for t'other bank bill) these wild courses will never do. I hear you have a mistress; I don't begrudge it, Jack; but why will[Page 151] you pay so confounded dear for her? I make allowances; you are flesh and blood as well as myself; would you had as much prudence as many years have taught me. I protest, when I was a young fellow, I cut as pretty a figure as you with half the expence. I used to take a trip into the country, hire a good handsome wench as my servant, put her into reputable lodgings, and buy every thing necessary for her myself; and by these means fix her my own at an easy rate. Here was the surgeon's bill saved, and my constitution kept whole and sound for matrimony, if ever fate should throw a wife, with ten thousand pounds, in my way. I made every lady a compliment, but seldom accompanied it with any other present than a kiss. Would you, Jack, pursue the same prudent method, you would find the benefit of it; but I am afraid you are resolved to buy experience dear."
Jack heard this admonition with a sheepishness natural enough to the choice spirits of the city, when they are under the rod of correction: but the old gentleman producing a bill at the end of his harangue, Jack's countenance brightened up; he received it, and bowing respectfully, stammered[Page 152] out, "'Tis very true, Sir, as you say, Sir."
After lying in the shop three months and four days, (I always endeavour to be precise in my chronology, as it gives the reader assurance, that the history is really and bona fide, true) one of my rays by an accident, began to be a little tarnished: this was a terrible misfortune, as in consequence of it, I was degraded to the glass-case at the door. I now gave way to the most violent emotionsof despair, and thought my splendor irretrievable; saw all my hopes of rising in the polite world vanished; and expected never to be relieved, till the day of transmutation, from my disgraceful situation. But fate had kinder days in store for me. The first object that claimed my attention in the street, was the superb chair of Mrs. Spermacety, the wax-chandler's wife. Her chairmen were loaded with silver lace; and the footman who cleared the way, had an enormous bag wig. I expected to have seen it filled with the dignity of a duchess; but how great was my astonishment, when I perceived a short, fat woman, of the same complexion as the sign of the Saracen's Head fastened in it! She was dressed meanly rich, without the shadow of elegance[Page 153] in any thing but her chair, which had formerly belonged to a lady of quality, having purchased it at her decease. Her sneaking pitiful countenance did not discover one grain of generosity or nobility: she appeared an absolute burlesque on the grandeur which surrounded her. The following dialogue between Mr. Spangle and his good friend and neighbour Mr. Pickle let me into her whole history. "Good morning to you, neighbour Spangle, as the man said; methinks Mrs. Spermaceti shines to-day." "She shines every day, at home and abroad, Mr. Pickle: but there may be reasons for it; and the grey mare is sometimes the better horse."This stroke, though in my opinion not very brilliant, brought a horselaugh on both sides for about ten minutes. "You are a wit, neighbour, you are a wit; but they say, as how, that Mrs. Spermaceti was formerly her husband's cook-maid; but lies and snow-balls gather in rolling; pray is there any truth in the matter?" "Between ourselves, there is a great deal of truth in it; and the first charm that Mr. Spermaceti found in his spouse, was that she dressed ortolans to a miracle."Another loud laugh of applause echoed to the end of the street. "And they say, Mr. Spangle, as how, that she lost three[Page 154] thousand pounds one night at the gaming table to lord what-ye-callum — lord Dillitanti; is that true?" "Very true, upon my word; for Tom Shamwell, who now lives by his wit, stood behind her chair, to let him into her hand, as they call it." "Well, the Lord help us all, it is a sad thing to ha•e a spending wife, who consumes all the money before we gets it. "
This edifying discourse was terminated by a hearty shake of the hand, and an invitation from both parties to partake of a bottle of wine. I had now remained exposed to public view for about three weeks, and had caught the eye of every staring countryman, who did honour to my fallen brightness, by exclaiming, "Odzounds! what a woundy pretty thingamy!"Fortune at last began to smile, and my deliverance from disgrace was effected in the following manner.
Father L'Andridella was at the time of the intended assassination of the king of Portugal treasurer to a principal college of the order of Jesus, in the city of Lisbon. He was the intimate friend and considant of Malagrida; and assisted him in composing those ridiculous whimsies which the Inquisition[Page 155] condemned as heretical. He was also deep in the important secret; and when the conspiracy began to unravel, was happy enough to escape the flames which Malagrida and the other conspirators perished in. The inhumanity with which the innocent families of the only two noble conspirators were treated, is too shocking to be dwelt upon.
Andridella went first to Paris, where he was employed by St. Florentin to bear certain presents to certain ministers in England, on a pacific account: but he demanding more for his trouble than St. Florentin chose to give, he was threatened with being confined for life in the Bastile; which threat would have been actually carried into execution, had he not timely got away to England.
How a certain physician came by his intelligence, shall be known in due time.
Andridella, for reasons best known to himself, shifted his habit, and equipped himself as a pedlar. Being a man of an extensive genius, and great knowledge in chemistry, he prepared several tinctures, for taking spots out of linen, recovering[Page 156] tarnished gold or silver, and other ingenious minutiae. In one of his diurnal rotations, he called on Mr. Spangle, and imparted to him the virtues of his box. I was accordingly taken down to bear witness to the excellence of his tincture; and on the touch of his brush moistened by it shone forth with redoubled lustre, which, by a natural sympathy glittered also in the eyes of Mr. Spangle. Andridella was paid generously, and I was once more carefully laid up in the shop; but my stay there was very short; for Mr. Buckram, the taylor, gave me the preference before twenty of my brethren, and fixed me to a magnificent suit of cloaths, which were conveyed to B—n house, for the use of a young d—, just stepped into his estate and title.
The duke of D—e was the nobleman upon whose breast I commanded respect. Paracelsus, and that ingenious astrologic physician, Culpeper, assert, that gold and silver have a magic virtue. The magic of this virtue, commercially considered, is interest; physically, it is chimerical; and metaphisically, it is a fine subtle genius or spirit, as capable of reasoning upon matter, as any deist since Bolingbroke. By the magic of my composition,[Page 157] I was enabled to look internally into the bosoms which I adorned externally, and had no reason to be dissatisfied with my situation, as his grace's heart was no dishonour to his star. He was young, and had his foibles; the principal of which was a strong passion for gaming. Reason in vain endeavoured to convince him of his error; had he been convinced, his resolution would have been too feeble to bear him through in a reformation. The first time I adorned him, I visited the court; after the levee was over, he was accosted by Lord Rattle, "Ah, D—e, how the devil d'ye do to day? I was horridly dipp'd last night; thirteen bottles of champaigne, demme. Lord Shuffle was bit this morning of three thousand; and has sent to his steward to cut down a whole forest to have a better stock to proceed upon. Pray, have you seen C—d's Letters?" "O horrid! don't mention the stuff; I sicken at the idea. Lady Bab Blouzy has had the vapours these five days by perusing as many lines. Nauseous, 'pon 'onour: I always write my billets in French; a certain preservative against vulgar criticism!" "Gadso, you're right, my lord: but as I always thought writing pedantic and beneath a nobleman, my valet always writes my amorous epistles:[Page 158] and a fine fellow he is too! Trims a sentiment like a bag-wig, and twists a meaning like a curl."I admired his lordships prudence, in making his valet a secretary, as it was more than probable he was better qualified for the office than his honourable master.
In the evening, I accompanied the duke to the gaming-table; my lustre sickened, and my whole frame trembled, at beholding the knot of rascals and villains, who surrounded him. Some he honoured with a nod; and others he condescended to enter into a conversation with; and then with an air of careless indifference, sat down to play, and before he rose, lost above eight thousand pounds. This loss but very little affected him, and he went home with the same composure of mind he brought out with him. The sharpers who shared the booty, were Sir Richard —, lord M—, Jack Hounslow, and father Andredilla, whose ingenuity had raised me to my present exalted station. Sir Richard had a legal claim to his title, but no man could disgrace it with more villanies or meannesses. His humble soul stooped to every thing when interest was in the way, and his tender conscience never gave him any trouble about the matter. [Page 159]Though lord M—, and this conscientious knight of the post, were continually quarrelling every were else, they always agreed at the gamingtable, in a very capital point, viz. to bubble his grace. His grace was so easy, so superficially learned in the art of gambling, and his antagonists so cunning and deep in the mystery, that B—n-house was more than once on the verge of being sold, to pay these inpostors what the world calls debts of honour. Lord M—, who though young, yet enervated with pleasure, had still a hankering desire to be sacrificing on the altar of the Cytherean goddess; and, by the infallibility of a bank-bill, had gained admittance into the chamber of Miss R—rs, the baronet's mistress. His lordship was making his addresses, when Sir Richard made his appearance: as the baronet was a man of prudence, and knew how to make use of an opportunity, he proposed to his lordship, that if he should be permitted to partake of the profits arising from his grace, and an eminent East-India bubble, his lordship should partake in common with the baronet in the charms of Miss R — rs. Lord M — stretched his gallantry to the utmost, and complied: and it was upon this consideration that the baronet had admittance to[Page 160] the gaming table. Jack Hounslow was his lordship's understrapper; he had been an upholsterer, but having squandered his stock, and nothing being left but a pair of pistols, he employed them to the most profitable advantage, by levying contributions on the highway. The frequent executions of his fellow labourers striking a damp upon his spirits, and having now pretty well recruited his pockets, he gave up his hazardous employment and commenced sharper. Lord M — soon discovered his inventive genius and useful parts, and engaged him in his service.
Sir Kenelm Digby, who so religiously maintained the doctrine of sympathy, would have attributed his lordship's discovery to similar feelings in his own breast. But as many tedious and learned arguments may be brought to maintain it, and to say but little in a case of importance, is worse than nothing at all, and for other good causes and considerations, I shall leave it entirely to the reader.
Father Andredilla having acquired a considerable sum by his tinctures, put himself into a magnificent dress, hired three servants, and assuming the title of marquis de Villa Garcia, completed the[Page 161] party who were continually preying upon the inexperience of the duke. One morning, lord Rattle came thundering in upon his grace, "O, D — e, I shall die with risibility. Never was such a comical figure, demme; no masquerade face can be half so laughable. There's C — d gone to his trial, with a countenance as dejected as lord B — e's when at Kingston; and lady Harriet G — r, with a face as bronzed and as impudent as a naiad of Covent-Garden." "Pretty work, Rattle, and what d'ye think will be the issue?" "Between you and I, I have a very important secret, and could I confide in your retentive faculties, by the Lord, I have no friend upon earth I would rather reveal it to." "You may depend upon my honour, Jack; did I ever betray your inestimable secrets?" "Why then, D — e, it is absolutely determined, that when a divorce is obtained, C — d shall positively marry lady Harriet: I may confide in your honour now, I hope?" "Undoubtedly,"replied his grace, smothering a laugh, "your secrets are of too much importance to be trisled with."Lord Rattle's whispers had generally as much truth, as those of a coffee-house politician, who is happy in the acquaintance of a paragraph-maker.[Page 162]
I had lived with his grace long enough to see him bubbled out of thirty thousand pounds, and was then configned, as a customary fee, to his valet, who immediately carried me to Monmouthstreet, to take my chance with an army of decayed gentry; some of whom I had been acquainted with in their days of prosperity. As I had lived my usual time among the great, I submitted to my fate without murmuring. A black velvet coat and waistcoat, my near neighbours, were taken down to give physical dignity to a young fellow who had newly commenced quack-doctor; and found out a nostrum to cure distempers which never existed. This suit had once adorned a genius of the same profession, whose extraordinary operations in Moorfields, had made him the envy of all Hatton-Garden. Doctor Bialini, the original wearer, was quite an Esculapius in his way; he was unacquainted with every principle in surgery: but having as much courage and impudence, as ignorance, he boldly undertook the most difficult operations. When he happened to divide an artery in the cure of a scratch, it was all very well; and he had discovered by experience, that diverting the distemper to the nobler parts, was an infalliable cure, for inconsiderable ailments. He couched for the[Page 163] cataract, and where he cured one by chance, he made twenty totally blind, beyond all possibility of recovery. But success did not always attend his adventure; a young lady of great family applying to him to be eased of a troublesome pain in the head, he gave her such a dose of his cathartic pills, that she expired under their operation. The friends of the deceased accused the doctor of murder, and left it to his choice either to take a dose of his own cathartics, or leave England to return no more. As he knew the merit of his medicaments too well to chuse the first, he returned to Italy, to exercise his honester occupation of a taylor. His solemn habiliments were now disposed of to his successor in fame, Mr. Perron, who had been educated a cobler, and on the merit of being twice salivated, advertised to cure a certain distemper in all its extensive branches. The regular surgeons have had no reason to complain of his success; as he has greatly increased the business of the faculty, by confirming the disease, and ruining the constitution in every patient he undertook to cure. The warehouse I was laid up in was greatly frequented by second-hand gentry, among whom I heard many entertaining discourses, but too foreign from my purpose to be related here. [Page 164]A servant enquiring for a rich suit with a star, I was accordingly taken down, approved of, and carried off. I wondered what use I was going to be put to, when a meagre tall old man made his appearance. "Well done, my bra' bonny laddie, this is saving the siller, and laying up more for the bairn."These words were uttered by the identical duke of A —, who putting on his prudent finery, stepped into a coach, as antiquated as hospitality, and rattled off to court. The reception he met with from his M —, would have shamed virtue out of countenance: when we see villany and avarice caressed, what shall we say, but that k — s are men. His only merit was in being born a Scot, and distantly related to lord B —. I had examined his breast, and found him nothing but a composition of pride, fraud and avarice. As he was deep in all his favoured countryman's secrets, the affair of the peace was not unknown to him, and he had no inconsiderable share of the booty. Not contented with his share, he revealed the transaction to a certain western physician, binding him by oath, not to discover from whom he had his intelligence; and articling to receive a moiety of whatever should be given the doctor to[Page 165] stop his mouth, or say nothing at all to the purpose. The whole juggle was transacted entirely to the duke's satisfaction: and he partook so gloriously of the hush-money, that for a moment emerging from his usual avarice; he gave his servants new liveries, and matched one of his horses, having before paired a bay and a black one. The nobility did not receive him so well as his M —; as he was universally looked upon as a scandal to his title, he was shunned by every polite company. Unfortunately, the too retentive memory of a gentleman, discovered his grace's cloaths to have been worn by a more honourable nobleman; and having whispered his discovery to lady Henrietta F—h. as a very great secret; it was known all over the town before the evening, that the duke of A — had been to court in the duke of D — 's cast-off cloaths. Nothing can express the vexation of the old duke; his pride, which had stooped to his avarice, in the purchase of his prudent bargain, began, though too late, to have the pre-eminence; he ordered his servant to bear me back to Monmouth-street, and desire the fripperyman to refund the money, which he did, after deducting a guinea for the use of his magnificence. [Page 166]I was now taken off the coat, and condemned to the melting-pot; but whilst the executioner is preparing my siery grave, I have time to subscribe myself,
AS there are few monthly productions so universally read as your agreeable Miscellany, I have taken the liberty to beg the insertion of the following short account of my life, in which I shall be as brief as possible; and which, if you think proper to countenance, may be a means to warn others of my sex from falling into the same unhappy snares, which I now fatally experience have been my ruin.
My parents were people of some repute, for my father enjoyed a place under the government of upwards of two hundred pounds a year, besides a small estate in the country, which brought him in about a hundred and fifty pounds a year more. As I was their only daughter, they naturally took the best care of my learning that their income would permit, and I was sent early to a boarding school, where I received the rudiments of a polite[Page 168] education, and made as great progress in French, music, &c. as could reasonably be expected.
I was in my thirteenth year when my father died of a fever, and as he had been no great oeconomist, and the estate which he enjoyed was to leave our family at his death, my poor mother and I were left without the least resource. Grief for the loss of a tender and affectionate husband, soon put an end to my mother's distress; and I was now the only one left to suffer for the faults of my poor father's imprudence. It happened I had a near relation who was married to a gentleman of fortune, who pitying my situation, took me home with her to be a companion. By the chearfulness of my disposition, and my universal assiduities to please, I ingratiated myself so much in the favour of my cousin and Mr. M —, and received for it such convincing proofs of their friendship and desire to make me happy, that I soon forgot the loss I had so lately sustained. Mr. and Mrs. M — were extremely good-natured and affable, and I enjoyed every felicity I could wish for in my dependent state. Unluckily for me, Mrs. M — was threatened with a consumption, just as I had attained my fifteenth year, which daily increasing,[Page 169] in about six months, terminated a life, the loss of which I have now the utmost reason to lament; but not before she had recommended me to the care of Mr. M — in such terms that none but a wretch abandoned to all manner of villainy could have ever forgot.
I felt every emotion of grief which a heart truly susceptible of gratitude could experience at such a shock; but my concern was soon alleviated by the assurances I received from my surviving benefactor of a continuance of that protection and esteem I had hitherto met with. By his genorosity I was rendered sole mistress of his house, and had every indulgence granted which I could expect. As he had no children, he took me frequently with him, for an airing in the chariot, and though I observed his fondness for me, daily increase, I did not suffer the least suspicion to enter my breast. Being of an age in which young women are initiated in company, and as I was to move in a more genteel sphere, than formerly, I was no longer to be supported in my present character, but at a considerable expence, so that he spared no cost to make me appear suitable to that rank in which he placed me.[Page 170]
By this stratagem, which I did not at first understand, he filled me with additional tenderness and gratitude; compelled me to repose on him as my only support; and by my sense of his favour, and the desire of retaining it, disposed me to unlimited complaisances. At last the wretch took advantage of the familiarity which he enjoyed as my relation, and the submission which he exacted as my benefactor, to attempt the ruin of an orphan, whom his indulgence had melted, and his authority had subdued. Shocked at the baseness of his designs, I summoned all the courage which a weak woman could employ, and resented his behaviour with a becoming indignation. But instead of recoiling at the deed, he upbraided me with ingratitude, and mingled his artifices with menaces of total desertion, if I should continue to resist.
I was now completely depressed, and though I had seen mankind enough to know the necessity of outward chearfulness, I often withdrew to my chamber to vent my grief, and examine by what means I might escape perpetual mortification. The loss of my indulgent parents and kind cousin were[Page 171] now severely felt; and I only reflected that had I been taught a more useful kind of learning than a boarding-school produces, I might still live secure under the consciousness of an unblemished reputation. Unaccustomed and unexperienced to earn my bread in a menial capacity, I had no hopes lest but such as might proceed from his future honour and genorosity. I soon found myself cruelly deceived; no art or cunning was left untried to accomplish his purpose; the most subtle protestations of protection and maintenance were made use of, and a solemn promise of marriage to silence all my fears.
Oh! Woman, woman, thy name is frailty!
Young and credulous, I swallowed the glittering bait, and fell an easy victim to the unruly passion of an ungrateful wretch.
But, alas! When he found the consequences attendant on our crime, which I tremble to relate, he not only refused to fulfil his promise of marriage; but also abandoned me to all the pangs of recollection, and the frowns of a merciless world. [Page 172]Yet villain as he was, he did not turn me out of doors, till he had given me money to support me in those moments of perturbation, which his passion had forced me to suffer; and an untimely birth at length relieved me from the anxieties of a mother, though it left me under the severe pressures of infamy, and the painful prospect of approaching poverty.
Friends and acquaintances have now forsaken me, and I am reduced to the lot of those unhappy beings, from whom many, who melt at the sight of all other misery, think it meritorious to withhold relief; whom the rigour of virtuous indignation dooms to suffer without complaint, and perish without regard; and whom I myself have formerly insulted in the pride of reputation, and security of innocence.
Let others, who read my story, be warned by my example; and however specious the pretence, avoid the consequences. Let them consider that however secure they may think themselves, they will have need of all their fortitude when put to the test. Whatever they may think of me,[Page 173] let them judge as favourably as possible, and as it is out of their power to assist, let them at least pity a wretch destined to suffer for the faults of an ungrateful monster.
PERMIT me, through the channel of your Magazine, to lay before the public, scenes of distress of no common kind. Though it can afford me no pleasure to recite the many sufferings of a wretched victim to misfortune; yet, by my errors, others may be convinced that the way of virtue only, is the way to felicity. Born to an elevated rank in life, I was instructed rather to value myself on the blind acquisitions of fortune, and the tinsel of external accomplishments, than on the more solid and commendable qualifications of the mind. My years of infancy were marked by an infant pride; and the mercenary disposition of menial servants did not fail to make the evil increase with my growth.
When I just entered my sixteenth year, I was initated into all the oeconomy of high life. Should the rustic or mercantile reader find fault with the expression oeconomy, when applicable to high life,[Page 175] his ignorance is seen in the censure. Dames of spirit have their mean savings; and a titled lady is as anxiously avaricious in her way, as any plodding citizen whose business and pleasure unite in gain. Most of the estates of our nobility are heavily mortgaged, or lie useless to the owner, till the rent clears the incumbrances; this is all that can be urged in defence of a lady of quality's sharping upon her servant, and slripping her fille de chambre of all her ready cash, to answer some urgent demand upon her honour; which she protests, by that sacred honour, shall be returned with interest in a few days. But, alas! Among quality, things equally as sacred as honour are abused and trifled with. If there is any real spirit in high life, any generous indifference as to the affairs of this world, which should constitute the sole merit of noblesse, it is oftener found in a citizen's wife. However the court may exclaim against the city, there is less mercenary meanness in the dames of Ludgate-Hill, than in a whole masquerade of right honourable dishonourables
But to return to my own story. Happy in the notion of the world, by being born to a title and a large fortune, it is not to be doubted that the[Page 176] coxcombs of the court were busy to ingratiate themselves in my favour, by genteely letting me know, they thought themselves very pretty fellows; some indeed went so far, as to assure me by the lard, and all that, that I was consumedly handsome, still keeping a distant view to the dear subject, self; and never lending a compliment, unless it might be returned to the maker. These shadows of men were my continual torment, being my settled, perhaps, prejudiced aversion.
Another class of lovers deserved rather my friendship, or my pity, than my love, these were men of sense, who, by the malice of their fortune, (or their stars, if you are an astrologer) had never risen in life to what their ambitious ideas aspired to.
As the customs of the world are, by the courtesy of it, allowed to be just, these men imagined every girl of conspicuous accomplishments, whose unexperienced heart they could deceive into love, their lawful prize. Dangerous is that lover who has more sense than virtue: his sense, when perverted, is the greatest evil he can possess. Fools are mere cyphers, they are like the air; when the arrow flies, no traces remain to tell its way; they[Page 177] are like the sea, where every single impression is lost in multitudes of impressions. Though I easily defended myself against the egotisms and addresses of the coxcomb, I found it no easy task to ward off the assaults of the man of sense; his batteries are levelled at the heart, and where he has mutual youth to plead in his favour, seldom fails of carrying the day. In the early bloom of life, we are not ourselves; and I confess, had not pride been a more certain guard than virtue, my fortune would have fallen into the hands of the creditors of an unfortunate, but amorous author. However, this was an error of youth; and the passion fled with my experience and the absence of the bard. But, my God! Why did it fly! To make room for one which should torment me for years. Better had it been for me to live poor by the villany of another, than to be rich, great, and miserable by my own villany. But just heavens! I deserve it all.
I was in my nineteenth year, when the personal accomplishments of a young gentleman, of inferior rank and fortune to mine, a Mr. Knowles, first engaged my notice. I cannot say, I conceived a passion instantaneously for him; I was never so[Page 178] romantic. I admired his manly figure, his easy air, and affable behaviour. In short, I wished to know him, which was going as far as a woman of prudence, could go upon first sight. I was then universally allowed to be a beauty; and was unhappy enough to engage his attention. If his person pleased, his conversation charmed me; I was now madly in love. A solid judgment, without the least cynical cast; a florid, easy manner of speech, without the least affectation; and a fluent tongue, without any impertinence, all inspired to make me so. From the minute of our conversation, we began an acquaintance, an ill-fated one for me. Mr. Knowles had never spoke of his passion, though his fine eyes expressed unutterable things: we were often together, and I did not think it an unhappy circumstance that no declaration had been made; for that chilling coldness, which, by the custom of the world, necessarily succeeds a declaration, till the matrimonial act is determined, must, to mutual lovers, be a ceremonious torment. In the ensuing spring, Mr. Knowles being in the country, as I was one morning playing on my harpsichord, my father came hastily into the room. "My dear girl,"said he, throwing his arm round my waist,[Page 179] "I am overjoyed; partake of my transports, and ease one part of them."
I replied, "Whatever gives my father joy, must consequently be welcome to me."
"It is in your power,"answered he, "in your power alone, to insure this happiness to me. The earl of — has seen you; he likes, he loves you: he has this day offered proposals to me, and will settle more than your own fortune on you."
I was thunder-struck at this intelligence; I could hear no more: I fainted. My father was frighted; he called for help, and soon recovered me. Seeing me revive, he changed his tender solicitude to rage; called me an ungrateful, vile, disobedient wretch, in having engaged my affections to another, which he was sure was the case, without his consent; told me, I should marry his lordship in three days time, or turn out of his doors with nothing but what I could demand. Saying this, he flung out of the room, and left me to consult with Janet, my waiting woman, who was privy to my prepossession in favour of Mr.[Page 180] Knowles. "Oh, Janet!"I exclaimed, "was ever poor creature so suddenly plunged into the depth of misery!" "Why, to be sure, madam,"returned she, "the matter is a little sudden; but as to misery, I have heard your honourable father say, that happiness and misery were both in our own hands. Suppose, madam, this affair had not hapened, would you ever have had Mr. Knowles?" "No!"replied I warmly, "No! I would never have stooped below my birth." "Why then, dear madam, if he is out of the question, who could you have better than an earl? It is true, he is old, but then you will have a man of quality, and have all your own fortune settled on you. For my part, I can see no reason to hesitate."Weak as these reasons may appear, it was such cogency of argument that urged me to consent to be countess of —. Doubting the stability of the resolution, I hastened to put it into execution; and in one fatal minute did what ages of repentance could not undo. My lord was affable and kind; my father transported out of himself; and I was neither miserable nor happy, in a kind of negative existence, which, for want of a better name, we call the vapours, a latitudinary word, which, meaning every thing, means nothing. [Page 181]Mr. Knowles heard of our marriage: he flew on the wings of love. As I was sitting alone in my parlour, amusing myself with fruitless repentance, he burst in upon me, and giving me an inexpressible look, exclaimed, "Oh, my Fanny!"That short sentence, did more, than the bitterest reproach could have done: it threw me into agonies not to be described. At last I gathered strength enough to speak. "Sir, since the laws of the world have have bound me to another, to whom my kind regards are due, they cannot now be yours."This I murmured in articulations scarce to be understood: I knew not what I said. He started from his chair, and eagerly seizing my hand, exclaimed, "And was there ever a possibility they could be mine!"This reply embarrassed me greatly; I was all confusion and hurry, when my lord entered.
Nothing can paint the distraction of his features; lunacy itself could not be more enraged; he fiercely commanded Mr. Knowles to walk out of the house, without permitting him to speak, and returned to me with the countenance of a fury. "Madam,"said he, "could you carry on your vile intrigues no where but in my house! But I[Page 182] will take care for the future, you shall have no intrigues elsewhere."Saying this, he left me, and never afterwards suffered me to stir out, but with an old woman, who served me in the office of a duenna.
Vexed at this barbarous treatment, I resented it like a woman of quality and spirit. I insisted on the dismission of my spy, and being left to my own liberty. This his lordship flatly refused. Madening with rage, I made an immediate assignation with Mr. Knowles, exerted my authority, sent back my guard, and flew in my own coach to the place of appointment.
When a woman has taken one false step, 'tis too late to think of receding; she is necessitated to go on. Jealousy is certainly the effect of love; yet it is a very troublesome effect, and only tends to make the possessor hated by the object he loves.
My husband's behaviour grew intolerable, and I was determined to leave him. This I did soon after with Mr. Knowles, and we retired to a neighbouring kingdom. Happy in not being disturbed, we thought his lordship sat easy under his[Page 183] loss; when the first intelligence we had of him brought his will. Distracted at the fatal consequence of my resentment, I flew to the house once his, now mine, his generosity having left me all, laying the blame on the disparity of our ages, my prepossession, and his jealousy. Here had I the unhappiness to find my father dying, stabbed to the heart with the news of my flight. O, my God! what an everlasting hell of reflection must attend the guilty.
THE man who sits down to write his own history, has no very agreeable task to execute. The chevalier Taylor is the only egotist since Julius Caesar, who has made tolerable work in drawing the picture of himself. Julius had but two colours to paint with, truth and classic elegance: here the chevalier had the advantage, for he was too great to be confined within the bounds of the first qualification, and has〈◊〉with a thousand materials. The sentimental John Buncle should not be forgotten: the man who admires the mountains of the north in his description, will lose all his admiration in the real prospect.[Page 185]
But to proceed to my own affairs. I am, Mr. Editor, a Sad Dog, a very Sad Dog; have run through many sad adventures, had many sad escapes from the clutches of baliffs, and at the time of writing this sad relation, am throned in a broken chair within an inch of a thunder-cloud.
I set out in life with a fortune of five thousand pounds, which the old prig, my father, left me, with this memorable piece of advice: "Item, I leave to my youngest son Henry, five thousand pounds, with an old book, formerly his grandmother Bridget's, called, The Way to save Wealth, containing a thousand choice receipts in cookery, &c. and I advise that he read two pages of the said book every day before he dines."Very pretty advice! but I had not veneration enough for the parental character to follow it.
When the legacy was paid me, I bid my brother adieu, drank three bottles of claret with Sir Stentor Ranger, who had married my sister, and drove furiously to the metropolis in my own phaeton and sour. Honour was the only book which I ever honoured with a perusal; and being pretty well dipped in the theory of gambling, I ventured to[Page 186] engage with some knights of the post, which were a little better versed in the practical part, and at one sitting lost one fifth of my fortune. This was a terrible stroke to me, and I began, for the first time in my life, to reflect; but a bottle of champaigne, and a night at the hotel, drove every troublesome idea out of my head.
Miss Fanny H — t, who by a natural transition is transmigrated from a whore into a bagniokeeper, was then in the bloom of her charms; she was never a first-rate beauty, but always a very favourite toast among the bucks and pretty fellows of the city.
I was one evening strolling the Park, when Miss Fanny had experience enough to perceive that she had nailed my attention. As I was neither acquainted with her character, or situation, I was not a little elated with the condescending glances she honoured me with. Presuming on my conquest, I made her a few compliments, 'squired her out of the Park, and thought myself blest in being permitted to accompany her to her lodgings. I had not enjoyed my tête-à-tête five minutes, before I was astonished at hearing the well-known[Page 187] thunder of the voice of Jack N — tt. "'Sblood and 'oons, you old harridan, she is mine for a month; and I would rather lose fifty per cent. than lend her for a single night to the dearest friend upon earth."To this vociferous exclamation the venerable matron replied: "Won't Miss Kitty do for once, or Polly, or Miss Nancy?" "I'll have no Miss, but Fanny, by G —,"replied Jack, bursting into the parlour upon us. I was now sufficiently in the secret, and not displeased at finding my charmer no vestal. Jack, who had paid fifty pounds for his month, insisted on his right of purchase; but Miss Fanny thinking me a better pay-master, heroically turned him out of the parlour; telling him, for his comfort, that he should have his month another time. Miss Fanny pleased me so well, that before I was weary of her I had sunk another thousand; when, in a fit of reflexion, I bid her adieu, and left her to Jack, and the rest of her monthly keepers.
To make a little digression, I think this method of hiring for a month preferable to the wholesale bargains for life, and of mutual advantage to the keeper and kept, if that form will stand good in law, for a man will find it all rapture and love,[Page 188] without disgust; and in a few months play the the same part over again, with no decay of vigour.
Jack N — tt is now a principal merchant, and rolls about in his coach and four to every public dinner; where his appetite and solidity of judgment, in the edible way, does honour to the city. It is notorious that he is a cuckold, and by more than one method free of his company; but that is no detriment to him in the scale of mercantile merit. The extraordinary bustle he has made in a late political affair, is very little to his advantage; but it must be observed in his defence, that the earl of H — lsb — h did him the greatest act of friendship mortal man could do him, viz. invited him to a turtle-feast, and revealed to him a secret in the culinary art, till then utterly unknown to all the world but his lordship and his cook. Some indeed pretended to say, that this secret is nothing more than giving venison an additional flavour, by basting it with a preparation of French cheese and rancid butter; but as I would not presume to give my opinion in a matter of such importance, I shall leave Jack to the pleasure of the table, and proceed in my relation.[Page 189]
On this considerable decay of my fortune, I began to consider seriously of my departed father's curious advice; and in consequence of this consideration, resolved to set up for a fortune-hunter, and retrieve my affairs in the sober track of matrimony. A Miss L — n was the girl I had fixed upon, and accordingly dressed at. She raised my hopes, and gratified my vanity by several significant glances; and I was so certain of carrying her off in the end, that I chearfully launched out five hundred pounds in dress and equipage; which had such an amazing effect, that in three weeks time I had three kisses of her hand, and in the fourth week she took a trip to Scotland with her father's footman. This unexpected stroke created in me an absolute aversion to matrimony, and a resolution not to endeavour to better myself by the hymenial knot.
Soon after this affair I made an acquaintance with the wife of an alderman: I shall conceal his name, as his patriotic behaviour has rendered him respectable in the city. Mrs. — was of an amorous complexion: her husband had too much of the citizen to be like her: turtle, venison, and popularity, were the only objects of his attention,[Page 190] out of the compting-house. Though he has never repeated three periods with propriety, except when assisted by the ingenious device of placing the ready-made speech in the crown of his hat; yet his mercantile genius has often struck upon very lucky hits. He is unrivalled in reckoning the amount of rate per cent. and no stock-broker at Jonathan's can whisper a piece of secret intelligence with half his dexterity. Between you and I and the post, Mr. Editor, the stopping the circulation of bad halfpence, inconsiderable as the coin may appear to some, has brought him in no less than seven thousand pounds, and increased the trade of him and his partners amazingly.
Mrs. — had penetration enough to find out my good qualities; and you will suppose, that I was not wanting in acknowledging her partiality. We had frequent interviews at the house of a capital miliner in the Strand, and the amour for some time went swimmingly on.
Mrs. — was under no apprehensions of my being satiated with enjoyment? for generously considering I was but a younger brother, I never sacrificed on the altar of the Cyprean goddess,[Page 191] without receiving a bank-bill worth my acceptance. But, alas! happiness is of short duration; or, to speak in the language of the high-sounding Ossian, "Behold! thou art happy; but soon, ah! soon, wilt thou be miserable. Thou art as easy and tranquil as the face of the green-mantled puddle; but soon, ah! soon, wilt thou be tumbled and tossed by misfortunes, like the stream of the water-mill. Thou art beautiful as the cathederal of Canterbury; but soon wilt thou be deformed like Chinese palace-paling. So the sun rising in the east gilds the borders of the black mountains, and laces with his golden rays the dark-brown heath. The hind leaps over the slowery lawn, and the reeky bull rolls in the bubbling brook. The wild boar makes ready his armour of defence. The inhabitants of the rocks dance, and all nature joins in the song. But see! riding on the wings of the wind, the black clouds fly. The noisy thunders roar; the rapid lightnings gleam; the rainy torrents pour, and the dropping swain flies over the mountain: swift as Bickerstaff, the son of song, when the monster Bumbailiano, keeper of the dark and black cave, pursued him over the hills of death, and the green meadows of dark men."O, Ossian! immortal genius! what an invocation[Page 192] could I make now! but I shall leave it to the abler pen of Mr. Duff, and spin out the thread of my own adventures.
Mrs. — having dispatched a billet to me, I flew to her in her own house. The knight, as she thought, was fixed to the table of Sir Tunbelly Grains, knight, citizen, and alderman, who had invited him to dinner on a delicious turtle: a blessing not to be neglected. But, Oh! grief of griefs! the knight having forgot his favourite tobacco-box, popped in upon us unexpectedly, and found us too familiarly engaged. Instead of bursting into the rage which might have animated an Italian or Spaniard on the occasion, he shook his head, and pronouncing coolly, "Very fine, all very fine!"he left us, and returned to Sir Tunbelly to finish the turtle. As by his hasty throwing open the door he had exposed us to the view of two of his servants, I was terribly afraid of a prosecution for crim. con. for though it was as fashionable then as it is now, I was not very eager to lose the remainder of my fortune fashionably. But the knight considering his reputation would receive a severe stroke, should the affair be made public, contented himself with demanding[Page 193] two thousand pounds for the injury I had done him. As he threatened to prosecute for larger damages, unless I complied, I was obliged to refund more than Mrs. —'s bounty had bestowed upon me.
The old curmudgeon had heartily provoked me, and I resolved, though at the expence of every shilling I had, to be revenged on him. For this purpose I published the whole affair, and the devil assisting my invention, I struck upon another expedient to gratify my vengeance.
The knight's eldest daughter, Sabina, whom he had by a former wife, was a fine sprightly girl, and wanted nothing but the bon ton to render her perfectly accomplished; about eighteen, a remarkable fine complexion, and expressive blue eyes. She was at the time of the unlucky discovery with a relation in Essex: as I had formerly paid a few compliments to her beauty, which I had reason to say, without vanity, were not ill received, I instantly dispatched an epistle to her, the most tender my imagination could dictate. It wrought the effect I designed, and she returned an answer. After a long farce of lying and intriguing on my[Page 194] part, and credulity on hers, I accomplished the grand end — you will guess what I mean.
We lived in love and rapture about a month, when her father bid her prepare to marry Mr. Lutestring, the mercer, by the next week. She flew to the usual place of assignation, bathed in tears, with a face expressive of the most violent grief.
I was now almost persuaded to love her in earnest; but I was a Sad Dog to suffer revenge (and when I seriously reflect, a revenge which had no foundation in reason) to get the better of every nobler passion.
"O! my dear Harry,"exclaimed the beautiful unfortunate, "let us fly immediately to Scotland, otherwise my father, inhuman man! will oblige me to marry Bob Lutestring next week."
"Bob Lutestring, my dear,"replied I indifferently, "is a substantial man, and I would not have you disoblige your father on my account."[Page 195]
"And is this your advice!"returned the heroine, assuming a dignified air: "be assured, Sir, I shall follow it."Saying this, she flung from me; her ideas, I suppose, a little different from those she brought with her.
But I had not yet accomplished my revenge Steeled in impudence as I am, I blush to write the rest; but it shall be out. I informed Mr. Lutestring of my intimacy with his future spouse, and advised him not to unite himself to a woman of such principles. I made certain of receiving a challenge, and a string of curses for my information; but, alas! I knew not the city. "Sir,"replied the mercer, "I thank you for your intelligence, this day received: but your advice is not worth a yard of tape; you say Sabina has been faulty; allow it: but will her father give me any thing the less for her fortune on that account? on the contrary, were not my notions of honour very refined, I might make it a means of raising my price."I slunk away, astonished at this reply, reflecting how various are the species and refinements of honour.[Page 196]
I was now just on the brink of poverty: I had made a considerable breach in my last five hundred; and began to shudder at the contempt with which the decay of my fortune threatened me. Relying on his former professions of friendship, I posted down to Sir Stentor Ranger, in hopes he would have assisted me. I found the knight very busy, with Sir Charles Banbury, in tracing the honourable pedigree of an Arabian barb. "Hey, Hal,"exclaimed the knight, with a voice which would have drowned the full chorus of a foxchace; "what the devil brought thee here? I thought thou wert grown a gentleman, and had forgotten us all."He received me with as much kindness and civility, as his rustic breeding would permit, and invited me to his antiquated hall.
After a noble dinner of venison, when Sir Charles had retired, on cracking the nineteenth bottle, I ventured to open the business. Nothing can express the surprise which distended the knight's ample countenance. I made no very agreeable comments on his astonishment; but, thank Heaven! those comments were as groundless as the Rev. Mr. Bentinck's on the Bible.[Page 197]
"Zounds,"thundered the knight, "five thousand pounds gone already: you have been a Sad Dog, Hal, that I'll say for thee. But, howsundever, as thou beest my nown flesh and blood, d'ye see, I'll do something for thee. Let me see, let me see: dost understand horse-flesh?"
I answered "that I was not very deep in the mystery, but I hoped, with a little of his instructions, to be serviceable to him."
"This,"I replied, "I could with safety undertake."
In consequence of this bargain I commenced superintendant of his stables and kennels. I discharged my office much to his satisfaction; and by dint of application acquiring some knowledge in the mysteries of the turf, I began to be of consequence in the racing world. Sir Stentor's hall was very ancient, and had been in days of yore a family seat of the Mowbrays. It had not undergone any considerable reparation since the Reformation; when an ancestor of Sir Stentor's, having often had quarrels with a neighbouring abbot, in the sacrilegious pillage, purchased his abbey for less than the one-twentieth of its value; and robbing it of all its ornaments and painted glass, made the abbey a stable, and turned his dogs into the chapel.
Sir Stentor had many curious visitors, on account of his antient painted glass-windows; among the rest was the redoubted baron Otranto, who has spent his whole life in conjectures. This most ingenious gentleman, as a certain advertiser stiles[Page 199] him, is certainly a good judge of paintings, and has an original, easy manner of writing. That his knowledge in antiquity equals his other accomplishments may be disputed. As Sir Stentor had ever been politically attached to his family, he welcomed the the baron with every demonstration of joy, and ordered the bells of the parish church to be rung. As a further testimony of his joy, he sent for a blind fidler, the Barthelemon of the village, to entertain the baron with a solo during dinner; and after the desert, Robin Hood's Ramble was melodiously chaunted by the knight's groom and dairy-maid, to the excellent music of a twostringed violin, and a bag-pipe. A concert by the first masters in Europe could not have pleased the baron so well: he imagined himself carried back to the age of his favourite hero, Richard the Third.
Should any critic assert, that it is impossible such an imagination could enter the cerebellum of the baron, who confines all his ideas within the narrow limits of propriety (for the songs of Robin Hood were not in being till the reign of queen Elizabeth) his assertion shall stand uncontradicted by me, as I know, by woeful experience,[Page 200] that when an author resolves to think himself in the right, it is more than human argument can do to convince him he is in the wrong.
The baron, after dinner, asked the knight if he had ever discovered in any place about his house an escutcheon argent, on a fesse gules; three garbs, or; between as many shields, sable, cheveronny of the first?
To this learned interrogatory the knight answered with a stare of astonishment, and "Anon, Sir, what d'ye talk of? I don't understand such outlandish lingo, not I, for my part."
Otranto finding it impossible to enter into a conversation suitable to his hobby-horse, begged leave to visit the kennel, desiring the knight to permit the huntsman to go with him, lest the dogs might not be over civil to a stranger.
"Odzookers,"cried Sir Stentor, "are you afraid of the dogs? I'll go with you myself, man."[Page 201]
The baron found many things worthy his notice in the ruinated chapel; but the knight was so full of the praises of his harriers, that the antiquary had not opportunity to form one conjecture. After looking round the chapel for some moveable piece of age, on which he might employ his speculative talents, to the eternal honour of his judgment, he pitched upon a stone which had no antiquity at all; and, transported with his fancied prize, placed it upon his head, and bore it triumphantly to his chamber, desiring the knight to give him no disturbance the next day, as he intended to devote it to the service of futurity.
This important piece of stone had by the huntsman been sacrilegiously stolen from the neighbouring church-yard, and employed with others to stop up a breach in the kennel, through which the adventurous Jowler had squeezed his lank carcase.
Nothing can escape the clutches of curiosity. The letters being ill cut, had an appearance of something Gothic; and the baron was so far gone in this Quixotism of literature, that at the first glance he determined them to be of the third Runic alphabet of Wormius.[Page 202]
The original inscription was: James Hicks lieth here, with Hester his wife.
The broken stone is here represented,
The baron having turned over Camden, Dugdale, Leyland, and Wever, at last determined it to be, Hic jacet corpus Kenelmae Sancto Legero. Requicseat, &c. &c. What confirmed him in the above reading, and made it impossible for him to be mistaken, was, that a great man of the name of Sancto Legero, had been buried in the county about five hundred years ago.
Elated with the happy discovery, the Baron had an elegant engraving of the curiosity executed, and presented it to the society of antiquaries, who look upon it as one of the most important discoveries which have been made since the great Dr. Trefoil found out, that the word kine came from the Saxon co•…ice.[Page 203]
When this miracle of literature left the village, the bells were again rung, and the baron was wrapped in Elysium on the success of his visit.
I had served Sir Stentor above two years, when, by a lucky hit, Sir Charles Banbury and myself took the whole field in, and cleared above twenty thousand pounds; eight thousand of which fell to my share.
I was now once more established in the world, and redeemed from the dependance which had mortified my pride. As I was seldom ungrateful, I repaid Sir Stentor's kindness, by revealing to him the whole arcana of the turf; which he has improved to so much advantage, that he has added five hundred per annum to his paternal estate, by his successes at Newmarket.
In prosperity I never gave ear to the sage whispers of Prudence; her cool advice was never felt, but in the winter of adversity. I was flush, and resolved to go over to Paris, and glitter in all the splendor of an Englishman. This rapid resolution was as rapidly executed, and in less than ten days[Page 204] after my success I found myself at the city of noise and frippery.
I had too much spirit to murmur at the expence, but I often wished for something more substantial, than soup or fricasée: after living at the gigantic table of Sir Stentor, and feasting on roast beef and venison, I found it difficult to swallow liquids and shadows. But every other consideration was soon drowned in that of a young marchioness, who never met my eyes without telling them such a tale of love, that it was impossible not to understand it.
I directed my valet La Fosse, to make every possible enquiry after her: he brought me intelligence that she was the widow of a marquis, and of a very noble family. This was sufficient: I instantly dispatched a messenger of love to her: and 'ere another moon had gilded up her horns, married her. But I had cause to repent my expedition; she was indeed the widow of a marquis, but one of the poorest of that title in France; his debts were great, and his widow instead of discharging them, had contracted more, her noble family not being able to support her.[Page 205]
I was soon rouzed from my dream of happiness, and thrown into prison; my fortune was insufficient to procure my liberty, and there I should have perished, had not an old rich farmer-general taken my wife under his protection, paid her debts, generously set me free, and presented me with a bill of two hundred pounds, on condition I returned to England. I did not chuse to reject his offer, and with that sort of pseudo-repentance, which generally waits on us when we are grown wise too late, took my leave of France and prosperity.
Immediately on my return to England, I waited on Sir Stentor; but the knight knowing my genius in horse-flesh, was not willing to put me in a condition of rivalling him upon the turf.
I thought it not prudent to refuse the knight's offer; and making the best of a bad bargain, accepted[Page 206] Jockey, and the bill, and made the best of my way to London.
Here, after a long deliberation, I resolved to turn stock-jobber: and the first time I visited Jonathan's, by propagating a report that Jamaica was taken by the Spaniards, increased my small sum to two thousand pounds. I was now in raptures, and saw once again the visions of good fortune swimming before my sight. I still continued improving my principal, when an account from Trieste reduced me to seven hundred; and in a few days after, another account from the same unfortunate place, utterly ruined me, and I waddled a lame duck out of the alley.
What could I now do? As to mechanic business I was utterly a stranger to it, and my soul disdained the livery of a slave. I had distracted myself with reflection, till the last bill of ten pounds was mutilated, when I thought of setting up for an author.
As I did not doubt my invention, and had vanity enough for the character, I sat down to invoke the muses. The first fruits of my pen, were[Page 107] a political essay and a piece of poetry: the first I carried to a patriotic bookseller, who is, in his own opinion, of much consequence to the cause of liberty; and the poetry was left with another of the same tribe, who made bold to make it a means of puffing his Magazine, but refused any gratuity. Mr. Britannicus, at first imagining the piece was not to be paid for, was lavish of his praises, and I might depend upon it, it should do honour to his flaming patriotic paper; but when he was told that I expected some recompence, he assumed an air of criticism, and begged my pardon; he did not know that circumstance, and really he did not think it good language, or sound reasoning.
I was not discouraged by the objections and criticisms of the bookselling tribe; and as I know the art of Curlism, pretty well, I make a tolerable hand of it. But, Mr. Printer, the late prosecution against the booksellers having frightened them all out of their patriotism, I am necessitated either to write for the entertainment of the public, or in defence of the ministry. As I have some little remains of conscience, the latter is not very agreeable. Political writing, of either[Page 208] side of the question, is of little service to the entertainment or instruction of the reader. Abuse and scurrillity are generally the chief figures in the language of party. I am not of the opinion of those authors, who deem every man in place a rascal, and every man out of place a patriot.
Permit this then to appear in your universally admired Magazine; it may give some entertainment to your reader, and a dinner to
LEST your Hunter of Oddities should meet with me, and cook up my singularity as a dish of diversion for the town, I trouble you with a description of myself. Have you ever seen a portait by Holbein, or the figure of an old fellow in ancient tapestry? I am a laughable counterpart to either of these curiosities. I am heir to no inconsiderable estate, which has but one incumbrance on it; a plaguy, long-lived, surly dog of a father.
If I am not mistaken the Roman-catholics make longevity one of the peculiar gifts of heaven. I confess I am so irreligious as to wish heaven had been less sparing of its gifts to my honoured papa. You will say I am an ungracious child, perhaps; but when you have got to the end of my epistle, you will excuse me. If absurdities and follies are the general attendants of age, I cannot see with what justice grey-hairs command veneration.[Page 210]
My father has as well furnished a wardrobe as any knight in the shire; but not an individual garment in it which has been made since the Revolution.
My father dresses in the uniform of a courtier in the reign of James I. his hat is like a strawberrybasket, with the handle thrust under his chin: this piece of ornament belonged to Robert Carey, who, as he was a great man in his time, and nearly related to our family, must not be out of remembrance. He wears also an enormous ruff, once the property of Sir Venison Goosepye, lordmayor of London, who, though of a younger branch of the family, established it on a more respectable footing than before, by doubling its rentroll. Gratitude obliges my sire to wear this ruff, though as full of holes as a lawyer's conscience. A flashed doublet, with slit sleeves, and a long cloak, envelopes his trunk; and a monstrous pair of trunk-hose, square shoes, and large shoe-roses, conclude his bundle of ridiculous habiliments. Could I persuade him to be contented with making himself laughed at, I should be happy in entertaining my friends with the oddity of his appearance; but when I consider that mine is equally[Page 211] as laughable, I sicken at the sight of his antiquated garb. I am almost ashamed to describe myself; but in hopes that he must soon set out on his journey to the other world, I make a virtue of necessity, and comply. He absolutely threatens to disinherit me, if I grumble at dressing for the memory of the departed; and an estate of six-thousand per annum, is not to be lost for the sake of a fulltrimmed suit, and a gold button. My hair is dressed in a very peculiar and risible manner; it is cut close on the middle of the head, and twisted like a horse's mane on each side: this my papa avers was the most polite fashion in the reign of queen Elizabeth, as appears by the portrait of his great uncle, Sir Henry Dainty. This Sir Henry was the greatest beau of his time, and is thought by a learned antiquary to be the identical person for whom Shakespeare drew the character of Ostrick in Hamlet. My hat is not quite so comical as my sire's; it inclines more to the shape of a closestool-pan, pardon the simile, you will find it in another author, it is too delicate to be my own. This ornament of the head once graced the caput of the profound Dr. Technicus, who had an universal nostrum which enabled him to ride in his chair; and what do you think this nostrum was? [Page 212]Nothing but a cataplasm of masticated bread and butter. My ruff is perfectly yellow: but as it belonged to the reverend Dr. Drouzy, my father makes it a point of conscience to oblige me to wear it. I have a large jutting coat and wide breeches, the very tip of the mode in the days of Henry VII. mottled stocking, red and green, and shoes with monstrous pikes complete my ornamentals.
This, Mr. Printer, is a perfect representation of my externals. Do be so obliging as to give the old fellow a hint in your Magazine, that he acts very ridiculously. He has already felt the bad effects of his antiquated wardrobe. My sister was as laughable as myself; she wore a hood of unconscionable thick velvet, which projected on each side of her face, like a horse's blinds; her ruff was enormous, and betwixt that and her head-gear there was nothing but the tip of her nose to be seen: her stays reached down to her knees, her stockings were yellow, and her shoes square-toed. All these ornaments had in the days of their prosperity, glittered on Alice Sevenoke, a maid of honour to queen Mary, who was famous for making custards, and giving eel-pies an excellent relish. My sister Biddy's gown was as heavy as[Page 213] a modern novel: upon a moderate computation it had above three pounds of silver, in its embroidery: the colours indeed were faded, but that defect was made up in the lenghth of the train, which afforded the cat a five minutes play while Miss Biddy was turning the corner.
A female must necessarily be worse qualified to bear this purgatory than a man; and she having fifteen thousand pounds, which an old aunt had left her to be paid at her marriage, whipped off to Scotland, at the age of sixteen, with a young fellow in the army. Would I could make my escape too, from the tyranny of this taylor of antiquity! I am sensible no character at Cornelys's could make so ridiculous an appearance as I do.
Oh, dear Mr. Ham, if you have any bowels of compassion, address a line or two to the old prig: shew him how barbarous it is to deprive a young fellow of all the pleasures of life, to indulge an unaccountable whim: push the matter home to him; and, if you succeed, you shall ever have the prayers of
I Think Addison says, in defining a complete fine gentleman, that even dress should be attended to; and, indeed, it has so great an influence in most situations of this life, that a person who is entirely negligent of it will find himself either overlooked or despised in the usual intercourse of society.
There are, indeed, some singular characters, who pique themselves upon an utter contempt for dress; but to the shame of men of letters be it said, that these are generally pedants, or such as value themselves upon an affected absence from the trivial pursuits of this world.
Dick Flighty, is a man of a very different cast from these: dress he considers as the ultimate end of existence; and he would be miserable for a[Page 215] year if lord M —, or captain G —, was to have a new fashoned cut, from Paris before him. He was the first who introduced the Tambour waistcoat: he rode post from that metropolis, with six horses, to be here in time. This he considered as a very capital stroke in establishing his fashionable character; and which he looked upon as indispensable, when Sir James G — appeared in a silver silk flowered embroidery, before he had recieved intelligence of the invention. His disgrace upon this occasion was inexpressible; and had he not retrieved himself in the violet birds eye velvet, on the ensuing birth-day, the consequence might have been fatal.
Dick is possessed of about four thousand a year, which he lays out, in his opinion, to the best advantage. He neither games nor drinks, which considering the licentiousness of the age, is something extraordinary: but then he keeps as elegant an equipage as any man in town, which he constantly uses: besides this, he has a fine pack of hounds, though he never hunts, four race-horses, though he never sports; and keeps three mistresses, whom he never visits.[Page 216]
To be ingenuous, Dick may be fairly classed as the sovereign of petit maitres, the prince of fops, and the representative-general of coxcombs: nevertheless, Dick, is an arrant sloven. Whilst he is driving from one end of the town to the other, in search of the most celebrated embroiderer, to give him directions concerning a new invented sprig, his chapeau de bras, which he wears on his head, would be a disgrace to a hair dresser; and the back of his coat is more greasy than a butcher's; but then this is the ton. Dick holds it as an invariable maxim, that a clean coat and a good hat, in an undress, would be a disgrace to a gentleman, and bring him upon a level with a bourgeois.
FINDING you gave place to my Odd Man in your last, I have sent you another to hand up in the group; and as I shall let you have one every month, we shall by the end of the year complete our collection.
Dick Slender is now about his forty-fifth year, six feet high, without any incumbrance of flesh. He is one of those people who saunter about town and call themselves gentlemen, because they have nothing to do, and are incapable of doing any thing.
Dick, upon the death of his father, became possessed of three thousand pounds in the funds; he was destined to the bar, and had been brought up in the Temple; but finding in himself very little disposition for the Statutes at Large, or Coke upon Littleton, he shut up his folios, and resolved to be the man of pleasure.[Page 218]
He soon discovered, however, that the interest of his money, at three per cent. would not support him in the line of life he had chalked out; and, therefore, sunk the capital in the purchase of an annuity, and caring for neither man, woman, or child, eats, drinks, and dresses up to one hundred and eighty pounds per annum.
Dick is always the first night at a new play in the pit; and though he never read Aristotle, or understands a syllable of Horace, he is one of the greatest critics of the age. He has learnt a few set-phrases at the Bedford: these he utters promiscuously upon all such occasions, and he blends them in so curious a manner that they will do for any performance of every degree of merit. He, nevertheless, has, frequently, a crowd about him at the coffee-house; and his decisions, indecisive as they be, are considered as the opinion of the town.
His success in gallantry is not less conspicuous than his judgment in criticism; if a number of letters constantly addressed to him in a female, hand, often sealed with a coronet, can authenticate his intrigues, or prove that half the women of[Page 219] fashion in England are enamoured with him. But unfortunately he lately quarrelled with his washerwoman upon the loss of some silk stockings, and she has revealed a secret that has banished him from George's for these three weeks. She was the amanuensis, the corresponding ladies, and the deliverer of all these letters to the parties who brought them to this coffee-house; and she is resolved to keep the seal, with the coronet, for her trouble. This she has revealed to several of her customers in the Temple, at the same time declaring, that notwithstanding the many intrigues she had carried on with Dick Slender, and though she had often been alone with him in private, he had never once offered a rude thing to her: yet Jenny is but two and twenty, has a very wanton eye, and a good complexion.
To illustrate Dick's character still farther, he is a politician; he has read all Junius's letters, and can make out every dash; he is a member of the Bill of Rights: harangues at the Smyrna upon the Middlesex election; and proposes questions at the Robin-hood upon the legality of incapacitation. It is true, that all his political reading has been confined to the Public and the Gazetteer; but no[Page 220] man understands the real nature of our constitution; the essence of our rights and liberties; the limits of the prerogative; the extent of parliamentary privileges; the nature of our foreign connections, or the balance of power, better, or more profoundly, than DICK SLENDER — by intuition!
THIS metropolis abounds with so many oddities, that I am sometimes at a loss to hit upon one for the month. I have now in my collection about three dozen, that will do either for winter or summer: their peculiarities are of such a nature, and they are such complete originals, they never can be unseasonably hung up to public view. But a truce with preface, or else, perhaps, you will think me worthy a place in my own collection.
Eolus is as variable in his temper as the thirtytwo points of the compass; but it must be acknowledged that a coach has to him all the magnetic qualities of the load-stone, especially when the wind is in his chops. But why confine his character in so small a compass? Eolus is every body, and every thing at times: he eats like Quin, drinks with Rigby, intrigues with a Cumb — d, and fights with every man that never existed. He is a buckram hero, and, if I might be allowed a taylor's[Page 222] pun, you may twist him to what you please. It is time, however, to bring forth our hero, and let him speak for himself.
Here, cook — at four precisely — let the venison be done to a turn; and as to the turbot, let it weigh exactly three pounds, not an ounce more or less.
Yes, Sir, you may depend upon your directions being punctually followed — Nobody, I think, hits your honour's taste so well as me — I study it day and night.
Yes, Jack, I must acknowledge you do make me eat a pound more since you came to the house, than ever I did before. I shall just take a turn in a hack round the new buildings, Grosvenorsquare, and Marybone, by way of a whet, and be here precisely at four.
So short a dialogue, dear Ham, cannot certainly disgust your readers; but, perhaps, they may be curious to know how many he has to dine with[Page 223] him? Just as many as a certain r — l lover found, when he awoke and met with nobody but himself.
Eolus seems to have followed Quin's rule, which I shall exemplify. Said lady T — sh — d (I mean the modest lady T — sh — d) to Quin: "I wonder, Mr. Quin, that you do not marry, take a house, and keep an equipage." "Why lookye, my lady, I like the sweets of matrimony without the bitters — I always carry my wife, my coach, and my cook in my pocket, and when they displease me, jolt me into a passion, or spoil my appetite, I turn them off."
Quin was so pregnant of good things, that the very mention of him, engenders a number; but I shall take up your reader's time with the relation of only one more, which he said to the same lady, upon a somewhat similar occasion. "Pray, Mr. Quin,"said she, "did you ever make love?" "No, my lady,"replied Sir John Bruce, "I always buy it ready made."
So much for Quin; now once more for Eolus: he is about five seet nothing; as round as a hogshead, owing to his eating immoderately; rides in a hack all the morning to create an appetite; rides[Page 224] in the same vehicle all the afternoon to promote digestion. He has seven hundred a year, of which he does not save a farthing, which he disposes of chiefly to hackney-coachmen and vintners. The ladies, however, ingross some part of his purse, as well as his person; but he is an oeconomist in love, at least with regard to property, which he transfers to them very sparingly.
If after this any one should think Eolus the mere puff of imagination, he may be seen alive every day at four, not a hundred yards from Warwick-court, Holborn.
LOUNGING the other day at Slaughter's coffee-house, I made acquaintance with a person, who has turned out a proper candidate to be enrolled in your list of oddities.
He had been reading the Gazetteer for about twenty minutes, in the course of which he had taken as many pinches of snuff, when he started all at once, and giving a fling to the paper, overturned a dish of scalding coffee upon a gentleman's white silk stockings, crying, "Zounds, there he is again — how he stinks!"then rising up without paying any attention to the mischief he had done, or making the least apology to the gentleman whose legs he had scalded, he walked three or four times up and down the room shaking his arm and fingers, crying out, "Keep off, keep off."
I did not know what to conclude from his behaviour; but as I was the nearest to him during his exclamation, and this perambulation, I thought it[Page 226] necessary to ask him whether he proposed insulting me — to which he made no reply, but muttered "The devil opened my curtains last night, and he has been after me all day."Then shaking his hand more violently than ever, "there you are off at last."After this curious soliloquy, he began to grow a little calm, seated himself upon another of the benches, and ordered a pint of milk. He then pulled out of his pocket several old pamphlets, and read them very attentively, but not without ejaculating now and thee, "Off, you villain, off,"and shaking his hand and arm very violently.
I enquired at the bar, who this extraordinary person was, and whether he was out of his mind; when I was informed, that he was Mr. Ha—w—y, brother to the commissioner of that name; that he had frequented the house several years, and that he was a very inoffensive, good-natured man.
Having received this intelligence, I resolved to have a little conversation with him, when I found him very rational upon every subject, except the devil: but the slightest hint about that infernal being, made him shake his hand and arm, and cry out, "Off — off."[Page 227]
It would be doing this gentleman a great piece of service, if any of your ingenious correspondents could hit upon some probable scheme of exorcising this same devil out of poor Ha — w — y, who would then in every respect be an agreeable and worthy member of society.
THOUGH I have much reason to think myself qualified for society, I am, to my great mortification, confided in a boarding-school; however, I am not debarred the pleasure of reading. I know all the real names of your téte à tétes; and am very well skilled in decyphering an asterism or dash. I have perused every novel published by Lowndes or Noble; and could, upon occasion, compile a secret history, as pathetic and moving as any other female author. There is no modern play which I have not read; from the bright sallies of Foote, to the dull dialogue of Cumberland. You see I am a judge of theatrical merit: my knowledge of the drama, is hereditary; for my cousin Ben, who understands heraldry, can prove himself (and consequently me) to be descended from Ben Jonson's grandmother's sister. So much for internal merit. The young fox-hunters in the neighbourhood swear I am a woundy pretty maid! The politer sort protest before gad, I am[Page 229] an angel; and Madame Gouvernante, tells me, I am very fair, very elegant, and every way accomplished. You will excuse this description of myself, as it is a true, though trite observation, that few readers regard any history 'till they are minutely acquainted with the author: my intention in writing, was to ask your advice. Now you must know Mr. Ham, that I have ten thousand pounds, at my own disposal; a qualification, which may, in your opinion, exceed all the others I value myself upon. My father, who is a plodding sort of a man, and upon Bristol exchange, (or rather in the street) has the character of a rich merchant, who knows how to live in the world, designs to marry me to Bob Barter, the hopeful son of his good friend Hezekiah Barter. Bob is, in the polite language of Bristol, a devil of a buck. You may see him in the morning, sitting under a shed on the key, registering the weight of sugars, and in the evening shining at a ball. He overturns a basket of oysters, or beats a dog, with a better grace than any youthful notary of Bacchus, in that elegant city: the cream of politeness. As Madame Gouvernante knows my father's intentions, she very readily permits his intrusions, and takes every opportunity to leave[Page 230] us together. The wretch has never read further than the Gazette, or tables of interest; so that it is impossible to receive a compliment worth accepting from him. He seems to look upon me as already married, and treats me with a suitable indifference. Upon the exit of the Gouvernante, he claps on his hat, takes a turn round the room, very politely exposes his backside to the fire, and remarks it is very cold, or something of equal importance. I never regard the wretch; but if I am reading, consider myself as alone, and read on. Pray, Mr. Hamilton, is such a contemptible being, to be treated with more respect? Having told you, I do not like this uncivilized Bristolian, you may imagine a tendresse for some other has made his faults more conspicuous. You will not be far from the truth. A young author who has read more than, Magliabechi, and wrote more love-letters than Ovid, is continually invoking the nine to describe me; but he never pays a compliment to my person, without a concomitant one to my understanding. Though I have ten thousand pounds, he never mentions marriage; and when it is forced into his discourse, rails at it most religiously: but he intrigues like a Jesuit, to be made happy with a téte à téte conversation,[Page 231] or a walk in the wood; but, thank my stars! I have always courageously denied. He has sentiment in his common conversation; and is reported to have ruined three young ladies of fortune. Pray, Mr. Hamilton, what am I to do in this case? Nothing can be more disagreeable than this boarding-school: If I am obliged to marry that insignificant wretch, Bob Barter, will the forced ceremony oblige me to hate my literary lover? Your advice will oblige
I Was some time since in company with a party who piqued themselves upon being men of wit and genius: one of them, however was nothing more than a pretender, who after many ineffectual attempts, at length set the table on a roar, by a most execrable pun; he joined in the laugh, and fancied he had now been very successful, when a gentleman turning to lord Ch — d, asked his lordship what was his opinion of punning in general? To which his lordship replied, "I conceive punning has a doublefold advantage in company, for a very good pun makes one laugh, and a very bad one makes one laugh still more, as was the case just now; but,"said he, "an indifferent pun, is the most indifferent of all indifferent things; having neither salt enough to make one smile, or stupidity enough to excite the risible muscles at the author; and may therefore be stiled the dregs of wit, the sediment of humour, and the caput mortuum of common sense."
MR. Sladon, a merchant of Bristol, by industry and diligent application to business, acquired a considerable fortune. As he was an enemy to noise and pomp, he neither set up his carriage, nor endeavoured to make a splended appearance; his only care centered in Maria, his beautiful daughter: he spared no costs to complete her education; her genius requited his labour; no instructions were lost on her, and she excelled in every qualification, which dignify her sex. At the age of seventeen she was universally allowed to be a beauty. The reader will excuse the writer from giving a description of her person; let him cull from the volumes of poets and painters, all his imagination counts beautiful, and throw into it an inexpressible softness, and he has Maria.
Mr. Hinckley, whose father was closely connected in trade with Mr. Sladon, struck with the[Page 236] uncommon lustre of Maria's person and mind, intreated his father, to permit him to pay his addresses to her. "George,"said the priest of Mammon, "I commend your choice, Miss Sladon is a very good oeconomist, and will have little less than a plumb to her fortune: go, and prosper."Young Hinckley assured his father he had not the least mercenary view. "Away,"replied the old man "when you have been as often upon 'Change as me, you'll know better."
Young Hinckley had no cause to complain of his reception; Maria had never viewed him with eyes of indifference. Mr. Sladon rejoiced at the proposed alliance; all was unity and love, and before the expiration of two months, George acquainted his father, that he intended to request Mr. Sladon to fix the day; but was thunderstruck with his command, that he should not go such lengths till he had further orders from him.
Mr. Sladon, who was himself above deceit, never suspected it in another; his generous frankness laid him open to the vile arts of old Hinckley: after being connected together, the space of a year, he broke, and ruined him.[Page 237]
Maria had by this time conceived the most tender passion for young Hinckley: it was allowable, as she had always considered him as her future husband. No words can describe Hinckley's excess of love. Imagine what an effect this stroke must have upon both. Nothing but imagination can paint it.
Mr. Sladon was only affected for his daughter: his noble soul rose superior to this revolution; he triumphed in poverty, over the wealthy wretch who caused his misfortunes. Old Hinckley, whose fortune was increased, not dimished by this infamous action, perceived with chagrin, his son's madness for Maria; he endeavoured to divert his attention to objects more rich, and therefore, in his opinion, more deserving: but he laboured in vain; nothing could abate his love. Mr. Sladon saw his passion; he pitied him: but could not think of uniting his daughter to a man, whose superiority of circumstances, was derived from his own ruin.
Old Hinckley, finding all remonstrances useless, by some mercenary agents, persuaded Mr. Sladon that young Hinckley was privy to, and assisting in his ruin. The circumstances made it plausible;[Page 238] he believed it, and forbade him his house. Maria would have credited it of any other man; in this case it was dubious: her love for him was partial; but as she had looked upon the father formerly in the best light, she doubted whether she might not be deceived in the son. She was in this wavering opinion, when the only servant Mr. Sladon had, brought her a letter from young Hinckley: she knew the hand, she eagerly caught it; she recollected, and dropped it on the ground: after a long struggle between duty and love, she sent it back unopened. When a person of good sense and strong natural parts, has not the happiness of a religious education, he is generally a Deist or Socinian. This was the case with young Hinckley; his father endeavouring to qualify him for commerce, neglected Christianity: to the most refined notions of honour and morality, he united an absolute contempt for religion; his passions were violent, but as he was continually on his guard, they seldom appeared. When he heard that Maria had returned his letter, he raved to the utmost extravagance of madness; then appearing calm, he sat down, and writing a letter, sealed it and left it on the table. Having done this, he went into his chamber, and immediately shot himself.[Page 239]
Old Hinckley hearing the explosion, ran from his compter, and ascending the stairs, saw his son extended breathless. He fainted, and continued in that condition, till his servants, occasionally coming in, recovered him.
The letter, which was directed to his father, contained what follows.
I shall not accuse your conduct, for you are my father; I shall only endeavour to vindicate the action I am about to perpetrate. This will be easily done. There is a principle in man (a shadow of the Divinity) which constitutes him the image of God; you may call it conscience, grace, inspiration, the spirit, or whatever name your education gives it. If a man acts according to this regulator, he is right: if contrary to it, he is wrong. It is an approved truth, that this principle varies in every rational being. As I can reconcile suicide to this principle, with me it is consequently no crime. Suicide is sometimes a noble insanity of the soul: and often the result of a mature and deliberate approbation of the soul. If ever a crime it is only so to society; there indeed it always appears an irrational emotion: but when[Page 240] our being becomes dissocial, when we neither as•ist, or are assisted by society, we do not injure it by laying down our load of life. It may seem a paradoxical assertion, that we cannot do wrong to ourselves; but it is certain we have power over our own existence. Such is my opinion, and I have made use of such power.
This seeming philosophy was lost on old Hinckley; he was really affected with the loss of his son, and did not survive him three months.
Maria! the beautious Maria, had a still shorter date. She heard the fatal news; and expired within a week. — Mr. Sladon loved his daughter too well to live without her; he compleated the tragedy, and sunk to the grave, resigned and contented amidst the chastisements of Providence.