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Title: Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c. &c. - With Descriptive and Entertaining Ancedotes.
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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LONDON, &C. &C.***


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      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).



PORTRAITS OF CURIOUS CHARACTERS IN LONDON, &c. &c.

With Descriptive and Entertaining Anecdotes.


   "There's none but has some fault; and he's the best,
   Most perfect he, who's spotted with the least."



London:
Printed by and for W. Darton, Jun.
58, Holborn-Hill.
1814.



Contents


Nathaniel Bentley, Esq.
Ann Siggs
Martin Van Butchell
John Statham
Anne Longman
John and Robert Green
Tom and His Pigeons
Roger Smith
George Romondo
Toby
Memoirs of the Famous Sir John Dinely, Baronet
Particulars Concerning the Polite Grocers of the Strand
Ann Johnson
Samuel Horsey
Miss Theodora De Verdion
Daniel Lambert
The Death of Mr. Lambert!
Mary Jones
A Well-Known Carver
The Life of John Elwes, Esq.
The Flying Pye-Man
Thomas Laugher
The Life of Daniel Dancer, Esq.



[Illustration]

NATHANIEL BENTLEY, Esq.

_Known by the Name of Dirty Dick_,

Late a Hardware Merchant, in Leadenhall-street.


Mr. Bentley resided at the corner of the avenue leading to the house
formerly the Old Crown Tavern, Leadenhall-street, not far from the
East-India House.

The house and character of this eccentric individual are so well
described in a poem published in the European Magazine, for January
1801, that we shall transcribe it:

      "Who but has seen (if he can see at all)
    'Twixt Aldgate's well-known pump and Leadenhall,
    A curious hard-ware shop, in general full
    Of wares, from Birmingham and Pontipool?
    Begrim'd with dirt, behold its ample front,
    With thirty years collected filth upon't.
    See festoon'd cobwebs pendent o'er the door,
    While boxes, bales, and trunks, are strew'd around the floor.

      "Behold how whistling winds and driving rain
    Gain free admission at each broken pain,
    Save where the dingy tenant keeps them out
    With urn or tray, knife-case, or dirty clout!
    Here snuffers, waiters, patent screws for corks;
    There castors, card-racks, cheese-trays, knives and forks:
    Here empty cases pil'd in heaps on high;
    There pack-thread, papers, rope, in wild disorder lie.

      "O say, thou enemy to soap and towels!
    Hast no compassion lurking in thy bowels?
    Think what thy neighbours suffer by thy whim
    Of keeping self and house in such a trim!
    The officers of health should view the scene,
    And put thy shop and thee in quarantine.
    Consider thou, in summer's ardent heat,
    When various means are tried to cool the street,
    What must each decent neighbour suffer then
    From various vapours issuing from thy den.

      "When fell Disease, with all her horrid train,
    Spreads her dark pinions o'er ill-fated Spain,
    That Britain may not witness such a scene,
    Behoves us doubly now to keep our dwellings clean.

      "Say, if, within the street where thou dost dwell,
    Each house were kept exactly like thy cell;
    O, say, thou enemy to brooms and mops!
    How long thy neighbours could keep open shops,
    If, following thee in taste, each wretched elf,
    Unshav'd, unwash'd, and squalid like thyself,
    Resolv'd to live?--The answer's very plain,
    One year would be the utmost of their reign:
    Victims to filth, each vot'ry soon would fall,
    And one grand jail-distemper kill them all.

      "Persons there are, who say thou hast been seen
    (Some years ago) with hands and face wash'd clean;
    And, wouldst thou quit this most unseemly plan,
    Thou art ('tis said) a very comely man:
    Of polish'd language, partial to the fair,
    Then why not wash thy face and comb thy matted hair?
    Clear from thy house accumulated dirt,
    New paint the front, and wear a cleaner shirt."

Many are the reports concerning his civility, and polite manner of
attending to the ladies whenever they have honoured him with their
commands; and several curious persons have come to town from various
parts of the country, on purpose to see so remarkable a figure.

Before the powder-tax was introduced, Nathaniel frequently paid a
shilling for dressing that head, which of late years he scarcely
seemed to think worthy of a comb! He mends his own clothes and washes
his own linen, which he proudly acknowledges. His answer to a
gentleman who wished to convert him to cleanliness, was, "It is of no
use, Sir; if I wash my hands to-day, they will be dirty again
to-morrow." On being asked whether he kept a dog or cat to destroy
rats, mice, &c. he replied, "No, Sir, they only make more dirt, and
spoil more goods than any service they are of; but as to rats and
mice, how can they live in my house, when I take care to leave them
nothing to eat?" If asked why he does not take down his shutters which
have been so long up, or why he does not put his goods in proper
order, his answer is, "he has been long thinking of it, but he has not
time."

With all Nathaniel Bentley's eccentricities, it must be acknowledged,
he is both intelligent and polite: like a diamond begrimed with dirt,
which, though it may easily conceal its lustre in such a state, can
easily recover its original polish--not a diamond indeed of the first
water--not a rough diamond--but an _unwashed_ diamond.

In his beauish days, his favourite suit was blue and silver, with his
hair dressed in the extremity of fashion; but now--strange fancy--his
hair frequently stands up like the quills of the porcupine, and
generally attended in his late shop without a coat, while his
waistcoat, breeches, shirt, face, and hands, corresponded with the
dirt of his warehouse.



[Illustration]

ANN SIGGS,

_Contrast to the Character last mentioned._


Those who are in the practice of walking the principal streets of this
metropolis, leading from Bond-street to Cornhill, must have been
attracted by the daily appearance of Ann Siggs, a tall woman, walking
apparently easy with crutches, and mostly dressed in white, sometimes
wearing a jacket or spencer of green baize; yet always remarkably
clean in her dress and appearance.

It does not appear, however, that this female ranks very high among
the _remarkables_, having but very few eccentricities, and nothing
very singular, except her dress and method of walking. The great
burthen of warm clothing which she always wears, is not from
affectation, or a disposition to promote popular gaze, but from the
necessity of guarding against the least cold, which she says always
increases a rheumatic complaint with which she is afflicted.

When we consider the great number of beggars who daily perambulate
London, and the violence they commit against decency, cleanliness, and
delicate feelings, one naturally feels surprised they are so often the
receivers of the generosity and bounty of the passing crowds; but
independent of the commendable garb which adorns the interesting
figure of Ann Siggs, we have repeatedly noticed another rare quality
so very uncommon among the mendicant tribe, and that is, a silent and
modest appeal to the considerate passenger, which almost involuntarily
calls forth inquiry.

She is about fifty-six years of age, and is said to have a brother
still living, an opulent tradesman on the Surrey side of the water;
she also had a sister living at Isleworth, who died some time since.

This mendicant receives from the parish of St. Michael, Cornhill, a
weekly allowance, which, with the benevolence of some well-disposed
persons, probably adds considerably to her comforts,

    "But cannot minister to the mind diseas'd."

It appears she has lived in Eden-court, Swallow-street, upwards of
fifteen years, the lonely occupant of a small back room, leaving it at
9 o'clock every morning to resume her daily walks.

Her father lived many years at Dorking, in Surrey, maintaining the
character of an industrious, quiet, and honest man, by the trade of a
tailor, and who having brought up a large family of eight children,
died, leaving the present Ann Siggs destitute of parental protection
at the age of eighteen; and after many revolutions of bright and
gloomy circumstances that have attended her during her humble
perambulations, which the weakest minds are by no means calculated to
endure, these have in some measure wrought upon her intellects. She is
however perfectly innocent.



MEMOIRS OF THE CELEBRATED

MARTIN VAN BUTCHELL,

_Surgeon, Dentist, &c._

OF MOUNT-STREET, BERKELEY-SQUARE.


The appellation of extraordinary may, indeed, well apply to this
ingenious and whimsical man. All the remarkable eccentricities which
have yet been the characteristic of any man, however celebrated, may
all hide their diminished heads before Martin Van Butchell. He is the
morning star of the eccentric world; a man of uncommon merit and
science, therefore the more wonderful from his curious singularities,
his manners, and his appearance. Many persons make use of means to
excite that attention which their merit did not deserve, and for the
obtaining of credit which they never possessed. It appears, as an
exception to these rules, that the singularities of Martin Van
Butchell have tended more to _obscure_, than to _exalt_ or _display_
the sterling abilities which even the tongue of envy has never denied
him.

[Illustration]

The father of Martin Van Butchell was very well known in the reign of
George II.; being tapestry-maker to his majesty, with a salary of £50
per annum attached to the office.

The education of the son was equal to the father's circumstances; who
lived in a large house, with extensive gardens, known by the name of
the "_Crown House_," in the parish of Lambeth, where several of the
gentry occasionally lodged for the beauty of the situation and air;
the son, who had many opportunities of improvement, by and through the
distinguished persons who paid their visits at his father's house, was
early taken notice of, and very soon possessed a knowledge of the
French language, and arrived at many accomplishments. He maintained a
good character, with a prepossessing address; recommendations which
induced Sir Thomas Robinson to solicit his acceptance to travel with
his son, as a suitable companion, in a tour through Europe. This
offer, it appears, was not accepted; but in a short time after, he
joined the family of the Viscountess Talbot; where, as groom of the
chambers, he remained many years: a situation so lucrative as to
enable him to leave and pursue with vigour his endeared studies of
mechanics, medicine, and anatomy.

The study of the human teeth accidentally took up his attention
through the breaking of one of his own, and he engaged himself as
pupil to the famous Dr. J. Hunter. The profession of dentist was the
occasion of first introducing him to the notice of the public; and so
successful was he in this art, that for a complete set of teeth he has
received the enormous price of eighty guineas! We have heard of a lady
who was dissatisfied with teeth for which she had paid him ten
guineas; upon which he voluntarily returned the money: scarcely had
she slept upon the contemplation of this disappointment, before she
returned, soliciting the set of teeth, which he had made her, as a
favour, with an immediate tender of the money which she originally
paid, and received them back again.

After many years successfully figuring as a dentist, Martin Van
Butchell became no less eminent as a maker of trusses for ruptured
persons. A physician of eminence in Holland having heard of his skill
in this practice, made a voyage for the purpose of consulting him, and
was so successfully treated, that, in return for the benefit received,
he taught Martin Van Butchell the secret of curing fistulas; which he
has practised ever since in an astonishing and unrivalled manner.

The eccentricities of Martin now began to excite public notice; upon
his first wife's death, who, for the great affection he bore towards
her, he was at first determined never should be buried; after
embalming the body, he kept her in her wedding clothes a considerable
time, in the parlour of his own house, which occasioned the visits of
a great number of the nobility and gentry. It has been reported, that
the resolution of his keeping his wife unburied, was occasioned by a
clause in the marriage settlement, disposing of certain property,
_while she remained above ground_: we cannot decide how far this may
be true, but she has been since buried. He has a propensity to every
thing in direct opposition to other persons: he makes it a rule to
dine by himself, and for his wife and children also to dine by
themselves; and it is his common custom to call his children by
whistling, and by no other way.

Next to his dress and the mode of wearing his beard, one of the first
singularities which distinguished him, was walking about London
streets, with a large Otaheitan tooth or bone in his hand, fastened in
a string to his wrist, intended to deter the boys from insulting him,
as they very improperly were used to do, before his person and
character were so well known.

Upon the front of his house, in Mount-street, he had painted the
following puzzle:

    BY HIS MAJESTY'S

    Thus, said sneaking Jack, speaking like himself,
    I'll be first; if I get my money, I don't care who suffers.
    ROYAL
    LETTERS PATENT,
    MARTIN
    VAN BUTCHELL's
    NEW INVENTED
    With caustic care----and old Phim
    SPRING BANDS
    AND FASTNINGS
    Sometimes in Six Days, and always ten--
    the fistulæ in Ano.
    FOR
    THE APPAREL
    AND FURNITURE
    July Sixth
    OF
    Licensed to deal in Perfumery, i.e.
    _HUMAN BEINGS_
    Hydrophobia cured in thirty days,
    AND
    BRUTE CREATURES
    made of Milk and Honey,

which remained some years. In order a little to comprehend it: some
years ago, he had a famous dun horse, but on some dispute with the
stable-keeper, the horse was detained for the keep, and at last sold,
by the ranger of Hyde-Park, at Tattersal's, where it fetched a very
high price. This affair was the cause of a law-suit, and the reason
why Martin Van Butchell interlined the curious notice in small gold
letters, nearly at the top, as follows:--"Thus said sneaking Jack,
speaking like himself, I'll be first; if I get my money, I don't care
who suffers."

After losing his favourite dun horse, a purchase was soon made of a
small white poney, which he never suffers to be trimmed in any manner
whatever; the shoes for it are always fluted to prevent slipping, and
he will not suffer the creature to wear any other. His saddle is no
less curious. He humorously paints the poney, sometimes all purple,
often with purple spots, and with streaks and circles upon his face
and hinder parts. He rides on this equipage very frequently,
especially on Sundays, in the Park and about the streets.

The curious appearance of him and his horse have a very striking
effect, and always attracts the attention of the public. His beard has
not been shaved or cut for fifteen years; his hat shallow and narrow
brimmed, and now almost white with age, though originally black: his
coat a kind of russet brown, which has been worn a number of years,
with an old pair of boots in colour like his hat and about as old. His
bridle is also exceedingly curious; to the head of it is fixed a
blind, which, in case of taking fright or starting, can be dropped
over the horse's eyes, and be drawn up again at pleasure.

Many have been the insults and rude attacks of the ignorant and vulgar
mob, at different times, upon this extraordinary man; and instances
have occurred of these personal attacks terminating seriously to the
audacious offender. One man, we remember, had the extreme audacity to
take this venerable character by the beard; in return, he received a
blow from the injured gentleman, with an umbrella, that had nearly
broken a rib.

We shall now endeavour to exhibit his remarkable turn for singularity,
by his writings, as published at different times in the public prints,
and affording entertainment for the curious:

    "Corresponding--Lads--Remember Judas:----And the year 80! _Last
    Monday Morning, at 7 o'clock_, Doctor Merryman, _of Queen-street,
    May-fair, presented_ Elizabeth, the wife of Martin Van Butchell,
    with _her Fifth fine Boy, at his_ House _in_ Mount Street,
    Grosvenor Square, and--they--are--all--well--. Post Master General
    for Ten Thousand Pounds (--we mean Gentlemen's--Not a Penny
    less--) I will soon construct--such Mail-Coach--Perch--Bolts as
    shall never break!

    To many I refer--for my character: Each will have grace--to write
    his case; soon as he is well--an history tell; for the public
    good;--to save human blood, as--all--true--folk--shou'd. Sharkish
    people may--keep themselves away,----_Those that use me ill--I
    never can heal, being forbidden--to cast pearls to pigs;
    lest--they--turn--and--tear. Wisdom makes dainty: patients come to
    me, with heavy guineas,--between ten and one; but--I--go--to--none_."

    Mender of Mankind; in a manly way.

In another advertisement, he says:

    "That your Majesty's Petitioner is a British Christian Man, aged
    fifty-nine--with a comely beard--full eight inches long. That your
    Majesty's Petitioner was born in the County of Middlesex--brought
    up in the County of Surrey--and has never been out of the Kingdom
    of England. That your Majesty's Petitioner (--about ten years
    ago--) had often the high honour (--before your Majesty's
    Nobles--) of conversing with your Majesty (--face to face--) when
    we were hunting of the stag--on Windsor Forest."

    "_British_ Christian _Lads_ (--Behold--now is the day--of
    Salvation. Get understanding, as the highest gain.--) Cease
    looking boyish;--become quite manly!--(_Girls_ are fond of hair:
    it is _natural_.--) Let your beards grow long: that ye may be
    strong:--in mind--and body: as were great grand dads:--Centuries
    ago; when John did not owe--a single penny: more
    than--he--could--pay."

Many more equally whimsical advertisements might be selected, and many
additional anecdotes might be told of him; but what we have here
recorded concerning this complete _original_ may be depended upon. Not
one word of which is contrary to truth.



PARTICULARS RELATING TO

JOHN STATHAM,

A REMARKABLE BLIND YOUNG MAN,

_Well known about the streets of London_.


It seems that this extraordinary character was born blind, about the
year 1768. Having been deprived of his father, whilst very young, he
was taken care of by his father-in-law, a brass-founder; and, early in
life, habituated to attend very constantly the public worship of the
church of England; but it appears, the visits he then made to places
of worship were more from the authority of his father-in-law, than
from any relish he had for the benefit of assembling amongst religious
people; on the contrary, he was averse to the practice of going to
church, and therefore it is not to be wondered at, that he should be
found at length professing openly, by words and actions, similar
dislike even to religion itself. But his continuance in these
sentiments was suddenly changed, in accidentally meeting with the
Countess of Huntingdon's Hymns, and the preaching of a gentleman at
Spa Fields Chapel, so that he became more and more enraptured with
the sublime doctrines of the Gospel; and has ever since constantly
attended upon the dissenting meetings. And though blind, he does not
_walk in darkness_, like too many professing Christians, "who have
eyes, but see not."

[Illustration]

Those who have the use of their sight, and have been constantly
resident in London, are not better acquainted with the town than poor
Statham. With astonishing precision, he finds his way, from street to
street, and from house to house, supplying his customers with the
various periodical publications that he carries; and this only by the
means of an extraordinary retentive memory. His constant companion
being a stick, whereby he _feels_ his way. Such is his care and
recollection, that he has never been known to lose himself.

Whilst living with his father-in-law, he paid great attention to the
brass foundery business and still remembers the process of that art.
On the death of his father-in-law, poor Statham became possessed of a
very small freehold estate: the produce of which is, however, so
trifling, that were it not for the occasional assistance of benevolent
persons, and his little magazine walk, the wants of nature could not
be supplied. He uses every exertion within his power to increase his
weekly pittance; but the cruelty exercised upon him by inconsiderate
people has, at different times, given him severe pain and bitter
disappointment: the inhumanity we allude to, is that of sending him
orders for magazines to be taken to places, several miles distant,
which when purchased and conveyed to the fictitious place, he has been
told, "No such books have been ordered, nor is there any one of that
name lives here." Now if the persons so treating a poor defenceless
man, only reflected a moment, at least they would forbear the shameful
exercise of such wanton cruelty.

As we have hinted at the strength of his memory, we will now produce
some facts to substantiate the truth. He can repeat all the Church of
England service, and a great part of the Old and New Testament; some
particular portions of Scripture which he considers remarkably
striking he delivers with peculiar emphasis; besides the recollection
of Lady Huntingdon's Hymns. Every sermon he hears he will go over,
when returned home, with astonishing precision.

Equal to his retentive memory is his ingenuity, possessing an
extensive knowledge of metals, copper, tin, brass, pewter, &c. &c. He
can likewise tell if pinchbeck is or not a good mixture of copper and
brass of equal proportion!

And no less remarkable is his retention of hearing: we remember upon a
time, a person only having been once in his company, and after an
absence of some months the same gentleman paid him a second visit;
poor Statham immediately looked to the spot from whence the voice
proceeded, and having repeatedly turned his head, without any further
information, instantly addressed the gentleman he recollected.

It appears he is extremely fond of music, and what is called spiritual
singing. His mode of living is always regular and frugal; strong
liquors, so much used by the poor of this country, are by him
religiously abstained from. These circumstances cause him to receive
the advantages of a regular good state of health, and that
cheerfulness of mind and patience in suffering so very conspicuous in
his character.

    Since the above account was written, this unfortunate individual
    was found, by the road side, near Bagnigge Wells, frozen to death,
    on Christmas morning, December 25th, 1808, having lost his way in
    that memorably severe storm of frost and snow, of Christmas eve of
    that year.



ANNE LONGMAN,

SINGER AND MUSICIAN.


We have now to take notice of a female who never fails to attract
particular notice; she is mostly attended by a crowd: with the
assistance of a musical instrument, called a guitar, she adds her own
voice, which, combined with the instrument, has a very pleasing
effect.

[Illustration]

A decent modesty is conspicuous in this person, more so than in any
other we have ever witnessed following so humble a calling. She is
wife to a soldier in the foot-guards, and lost her sight by suckling
twin children, who are sometimes with her, conducted by a girl, who
seems engaged to assist the family both at home and out of doors.
Cleanliness, at all times the nurse of health, is by nine-tenths of
the poor of this land banished existence, as if it were matter of
misery to be distinguished by a clean skin and with clean clothes; now
this rarity, we speak of, is amply possessed by Anne Longman, and
though not quite so conspicuous in this particular as Ann Siggs, yet
she lays strong claim to pity and charitable sympathy. It cannot be
supposed that her husband, possessing only the salary arising from the
situation of a private in the foot-guards, can support, without
additional assistance, himself, his wife quite blind, and a family of
four children, without encountering some severe trials and
difficulties; so that, upon the whole, it is a matter of satisfaction
and pleasure to find, that, incumbered as she is, some addition is
made to their support through the innocent means of amusing the
surrounding spectators by her melody.



JOHN AND ROBERT GREEN,

THE WANDERING MINSTRELS.


These pedestrians form a singular sight; twins in birth, and partners
in misfortunes in life; they came into the world blind; and blind are
compelled to wade their way through a world of difficulties and
troubles.

Though nothing very remarkable can be recorded of them, yet there is
something in their looks and manners that at least renders them
conspicuous characters.

They are continually moving from village to village, from town to
town, and from city to city, never omitting to call upon London,
whether outward or homeward bound. It is observable, however, they
never play but one tune, which may account for their not stopping any
length of time in one place. For upwards of twenty years they have
always been seen together.

[Illustration]

John and Robert Green are visitors at most country fairs, particularly
at the annual Statute Fair, held at Chipping Norton, which they never
fail to attend; and at this place, it appears, they were born.

When in London, they are always noticed with a guide; and as soon as
the old harmony is finished, one takes hold of the skirt of the
other's coat, and in that manner proceed until they again strike up
the regular tune. We are inclined to think the charity bestowed upon
them is not given as a retaining fee, but rather to get rid of a
dissonance and a discord which, from continual repetition, becomes
exceedingly disagreeable; though in this manner they pick up a decent
subsistence.



TOM AND HIS PIGEONS,

_A noted Character_,

ABOUT ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD, &C.


Thomas Sugden seems determined to distinguish himself from the rest of
his brethren, by carrying two pigeons upon his shoulders, and one upon
his head; healthy and fine birds continue so but a little time with
him. He is the dirtiest among the dirty; and his feathered companions
soon suffer from this disgusting propensity; one week reduces their
fine plumage and health to a level with the squalid and miserable
appearance of their master, whose pockets very often contain the poor
prisoners, to be ready to bring them forth at the first convenient
stand he thinks it most to his advantage to occupy; and from this mode
of conveyance are they indebted for broken feathers, dirt, &c.

[Illustration]

Sugden, a native of Yorkshire, lost his sight in a dreadful storm,
on board the Gregson merchantman, Capt. Henley, commander: the
particulars he sometimes relates, and attributes his misfortunes to an
early neglect of parental admonition, when nothing but sea could serve
his turn. He addresses his younger auditors upon this subject, and
remonstrates with them on the advantage of obedience to their parents.



[Illustration]

ROGER SMITH.


Elevated as the bell-ringing tribe are above this humble creature, the
correct manner of his ringing, with hand-bells, various peals and song
tunes, would puzzle the judgments of a very large portion of
regular-bred belfry idlers.

Numbers of persons have attended upon his performance, particularly
when his self-constructed belfry was in existence, near Broad Wall,
Lambeth, containing a peal of eight bells, from which he obtained a
tolerable livelihood; here he was soon disturbed, and obliged to quit,
to make way for some building improvement. He has ever since exercised
his art in most public places, on eight, ten, and sometimes twelve
bells, for upwards of twenty-four years. He frequently accompanies the
song tunes with his voice, adding considerably to the effect, though
he has neither a finished nor powerful style of execution. While he
performs upon the hand-bells (which he does sitting), he wears a hairy
cap, to which he fixes two bells; two he holds in each hand; one on
each side, guided by a string connected with the arm; one on each
knee; and one on each foot. It appears, he originally came from the
city of Norwich, and was employed as a weaver in that place some
years, but, having (from a cold) received an injury to his sight,
resigned his trade for the profession which necessity now compels him
to follow.



GEORGE ROMONDO,

_Well known for his imitative abilities_

AND GROTESQUE APPEARANCE.


It seems the important study of ass-braying, wild-boar grunting, and
the cry of hungry pigs, has engaged for some years the attention of
this original. In addition to these harmonious and delightful sounds,
another description of melody he successfully performs, which is on
the trumpet, French horn, drum, &c.

[Illustration]

An Italian took a fancy to his wonderful ingenuity, and had him
imported into England. As an inducement to obtain George's consent to
leave the city of Lisbon, in Portugal, the place of his nativity, he
was most flatteringly assured of making his fortune.

Romondo took shipping for England, safely arrived in London early in
the year 1800; and soon after commenced operations in a caravan drawn
by horses, nearly resembling those used by the famous Pidcock, for the
travelling of his wild beasts up and down the country. In this manner
Romondo began making a tour of England, from fair to fair, under the
style and title of "THE LITTLE MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN." He now became
alternately pig, boar, and ass, for the Italian's profit, with an
allowance of 2s. 6d. per day, for himself. It is natural to suppose
such a speculation could not be attended with success; the event
actually turned out so; and after some time it was given up, and our
poor mountain hero left by this cunning Italian, to shift for himself.

He, however, soon after commenced operations upon his own account, and
continues to this day to exercise his surprising talents!

He is about forty-three years of age, wears a cocked hat, drooping a
prodigious length over his shoulders, completely in the fashion of a
dustman or coalheaver, and with a coat actually sweeping the ground.
In height he is about three feet six inches; his legs and thighs
appear like a pair of callipers; he is said to be, in temper, very
good natured; and is very fond of the ladies, often kissing their
elbows, which come exactly parallel with his lips, as he walks the
streets of London; and in exchange, many a box on the ear has been
received, with apparent good nature. At particular times, he is seen
in his full dress, with a round fashionable hat, white cotton
stockings, and red slippers.



TOBY,

A CONSPICUOUS NEGRO.

_A frequent visitor about the streets of London._


From the unintelligible crying jargon this man utters, while
supplicating charity, one would be induced to suppose him ignorant
of the English language; but he possesses, at least, as perfect a
knowledge of it as most persons in his humble sphere.

[Illustration]

The use of his own native language is of great advantage to him, in
exciting the pity and fixing the attention of the passenger; and is,
besides, a great inducement to many to extend their charity to this
apparently distressed stranger. Indeed he exercises every art, and
leaves no method untried, to work upon the various dispositions of
those he supplicates. Very often he will preach to the spectators
gathered round him, presuming frequently to make mention of the name
of Jesus; and, sometimes, he will amuse another sort of auditors with
a song; and _when begging_, he always appears bent double, as if with
excessive pain and fatigue. But here again is another deception and
trick of a very shallow manufacture: for in the same day we have seen
him, when outward-bound, in the morning, so bent double as with a
_fixed_ affliction; but on his return home in the evening, after the
business of the day is closed, this black Toby reverses his position,
lays aside all his restraints, walks upright, and with as firm a step
as the nature of his loss will allow, begins talking English, and
ceases preaching. To all appearance, a daily and universal miracle
appears to be wrought; for scarcely are he and his jovial companions
assembled together in one place and with one accord; or rather
scarcely has liquor appeared upon the table, than the blind can
see--the dumb speak--the deaf hear--and the lame walk! Here, indeed,
as Pope has said, one might

    "See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing:"

Or, as he has neatly said upon a more solemn occasion,

    "Hear the dumb sing; the lame his crutch forego,
    "And leap, exulting, like the bounding roe."

To descend from the imitations of these poetic strains, we add, that
to such assemblies[1] as those just described, Toby is a visiting
member, and is frequently called upon from the chair to amuse the
company; and as a beggar's life is avowedly made up of extremes, from
these midnight revels, he adjourns to a miserable two-penny lodging,
where, with the regular return of the morning, as a carpenter putteth
on his apron, or as a trowel is taken into the hand of a bricklayer;
even so Black Toby, laying aside all the freaks of the evening, again
sallies forth in quest of those objects of credulity, that will ever
be found in a population so extensive as that of this metropolis.

          [1] From some such meetings as these, we suppose the
          following circular club letter to have been issued:

          "The company of all mumpers, cadjers, match-makers,
          dandelion-diggers, dragon-fogrum-gatherers, water-cress-fishers,
          and others, is earnestly requested, to-morrow evening, at
          the Old Blind Beak's Head, in Dyot-street, St. Giles's, at
          9 o'clock precisely. As the house has been altered, the
          company will be accommodated with a large room up stairs;
          but those who are not really lame, are desired to leave
          their sticks and crutches at the bar, to prevent mischief.
          After the admission of new members, the president will give
          directions from the chair, for avoiding beadles and all
          other unlucky persons; point out, for the benefit of country
          members, the best parts for strolling, the method of making
          artificial sores, &c.

          "Mr. Nick Froth, the landlord, also informs his friends and
          customers, that, on account of the many evening lectures and
          methodist meetings, in the winter season, the club will meet
          an hour later than usual. He will also allow sprats to be
          broiled on the tap-room fire, let his boy fetch hogs' maws
          and sheeps' heads.--And that he likewise sends strong beer
          in white jugs or black tin pots (out of a blind) to any of
          the stands, at a reasonable distance from his house.--

          "N.B. A good stand to let, now occupied by a person who is
          under the necessity of going into the Lock Hospital."

Toby was employed on board a merchantman, bound from Bermuda to Memel,
and in the voyage, from the severity of the weather and change of
climate, lost the whole of his toes in the passage. From Memel, he
found his way to England, on board the Lord Nelson privateer, and ever
since has supported himself by the improper charity he receives from
begging.



MEMOIRS OF THE FAMOUS

Sir JOHN DINELY, Baronet,

_One of the Knights of Windsor_.

    "Take him for all in all,
    We ne'er shall look upon his like again."


Sir John Dinely is descended from a very illustrious family, which
continued to flourish in great repute in Worcestershire, till the late
century, when they expired in the person of Sir Edward Dinely, Knight.

The present heroic Sir John Dinely has, however, made his name
conspicuous by stepping into a new road of fancy, by his poetic
effusions, by his curious advertisements for a wife, and by the
singularity of his dress and appearance.

Sir John now lives at Windsor, in one of the habitations appropriated
to reduced gentlemen of his description. His fortune he estimates at
three hundred thousand pounds, _if he could recover it_!

In dress, Sir John is no changeling; for nearly twenty years past he
has been the faithful resemblance of the engraving accompanying this
account. He is uncommonly loquacious, his conversation is overcharged
with egotism, and such a mixture of repartee and evasion, as to excite
doubts, in the minds of superficial observers, as to the reality of
his character and abilities. With respect to his exterior, it is
really laughable to observe him, when he is known to be going to some
public place to exhibit his person; he is then decked out with a
full-bottomed wig, a velvet embroidered waistcoat, satin breeches and
silk stockings. On such occasions as these, not a little inflated with
family pride, he seems to imagine himself as great as any lordling:
but on the day following, he may be seen slowly pacing from the
chandler's shop with a penny loaf in one pocket, a morsel of butter, a
quartern of sugar, and a three-farthing candle in the other.

[Illustration]

He is still receiving epistles in answer to his advertisements, and
several whimsical interviews and ludicrous adventures have occurred in
consequence. He has, more than once, paid his addresses to one of his
own sex, dressed as a fine lady: at other times, when he has expected
to see his fair enamorata at a window, he has been rudely saluted with
the contents of very different compliments. One would suppose these
accidents would operate as a cooler, and allay in some degree the
warmth of his passion. But our heroic veteran still triumphs over
every obstacle, and the hey-day of his blood still beats high; as may
be seen by the following advertisement for a wife, in the Reading
Mercury, May 24, 1802:

    "Miss in her Teens--let not this sacred offer escape your eye. I
    now call all qualified ladies, marriageable, to chocolate at my
    house every day at your own hour.--With tears in my eyes, I must
    tell you, that sound reason commands me to give you but one
    month's notice before I part with my chance of an infant baronet
    for ever: for you may readily hear that three widows and old
    maids, all aged above fifty, near my door, are now pulling caps
    for me. Pray, my young charmers, give me a fair hearing; do not
    let your avaricious guardians unjustly fright you with a false
    account of a forfeiture, but let the great Sewel and Rivet's
    opinions convince you to the contrary; and that I am now in legal
    possession of these estates; and with the spirit of an heroine
    command my three thousand pounds, and rank above half the ladies
    in our imperial kingdom. By your ladyship's directing a favourable
    line to me, Sir John Dinely, Baronet, at my house in Windsor
    Castle, your attorney will satisfy you, that, if I live but a
    month, eleven thousand pounds a year will be your ladyship's for
    ever."

Sir John does not forget to attend twice or thrice a year at Vauxhall
and the theatres, according to appointments in the most fashionable
daily papers. He parades the most conspicuous parts of Vauxhall, and
is also seen in the front row of the pit in the theatres; whenever it
is known he is to be there, the house is sure, especially by the
females, to be well attended. Of late, Sir John has added a piece of
stay-tape to his wig, which passes under his chin; from this
circumstance, some persons might infer that he is rather chop-fallen;
an inference by no means fair, if we still consider the gay complexion
of his advertisements and addresses to the ladies.



PARTICULARS CONCERNING THE

POLITE GROCERS OF THE STRAND.

"Brother John and I."


Our engraving represents two singular characters, whose eccentric
humour is well worthy of the attention of the _curious_. Messrs. AARON
and JOHN TRIM are grocers, living at No. 449, Strand, nearly opposite
to Villier's-street; at this shop curiosity would not be disappointed
of the expected gratification, from the personal appearance of the two
gentlemen behind the counter, if there was nothing else to strike the
attention. One of the gentlemen is so short, as frequently to be under
the necessity of mounting the steps to serve his customers. And the
shop itself displays no common spectacle: a dozen pair of scales are
strewed from one end of the counter to the other, mingled with large
lumps of sugar and various other articles; the floor is so completely
piled with goods, one upon the other, and in all parts so covered that
there is passage sufficient but for one person at a time to be served:
and we believe there is no shop in the neighbourhood so much
frequented, although there are a great many in the same business
within two hundred yards of A. and J. Trim. Their shop is remarkable
for selling what is termed "_a good article_." These gentleman
exercise the greatest attention to their customers, and such good
humour and urbanity of manners, as to be characterised the "POLITE
GROCERS." They were born in the same house in which they now live, and
have remained there ever since; and where their father, a man well
esteemed, died some years back, leaving the business to his sons, with
considerable property.

[Illustration]

The church of England never had more regular attenders upon its
ministry and forms of worship than in the persons of Messrs. Aaron and
John Trim, whose attendance at the public worship, at St. Martin's, in
the Strand, is as regular with them as the neglect and desertion is
common by the generality of its members.

The whole of the business of the Polite Grocers is conducted by
themselves, with now and then the assistance of a young woman, who
appears principally to have the management of the Two-penny-post; and
from the extent of their trade, the smallness of their expenses, and
their frugality, it is generally supposed they must be rich; but
though extremely talkative upon any other subject, yet on every point
relating to themselves, and their private concerns, they very properly
maintain the most impenetrable closeness and reserve.

Abounding as this age does with so many temptations and examples of
extravagance and waste, it requires no small portion of resolution to
maintain a due observance of economy, to be kept from following the
public current in its wasteful fashions and extravagant expenses. Now,
that the _Polite Grocers_ maintain this economy, cannot be doubted;
and which, in the present situation of things, must be considered no
small virtue. Economy without penuriousness, liberality without
prodigality!



ANN JOHNSON,

THE HOLBORN LACE-WEAVER,

_A conspicuous blind woman_.


Ann Johnson is a poor industrious widow, cleanly, sober, and decent,
inoffensive and honest, and quite blind. The engraved portrait of this
interesting figure may be depended upon for its faithful
representation of the much-to-be-pitied original. She was born at
Eaton, in Cheshire, on St. Andrew's day, old style, in the year 1743,
was apprenticed to a ribband weaver at the early age of ten years, and
was twenty-four years old when she lost her sight, occasioned by a
spotted fever.

Sitting exposed to the inclemency of hot and cold, of wet and dry
weather, for upwards of six and twenty years, in the open streets of
London, might naturally undermine a constitution the most vigorous and
healthy. It certainly has considerably affected Ann Johnson, whose
regular appearance, even in the bitterest days of winter, has been as
uniform as the finest in summer, on Holborn-hill, upon the steps at
the corner of Marmaduke and Thomas Langdale's house, the distillers.
Here she exhibits the expert manner in which she makes laces,
attracting the notice of the considerate passenger: she is rendered
additionally interesting, by the cheerfulness of her conversation and
the serenity of her countenance, using words, in effect, similar to
the following beautiful lines:

    "Are not the ravens daily fed by thee?
    And wilt thou clothe the lilies, and not me?
    Begone distrust!--I shall have clothes and bread,
    While lilies flourish, or the birds are fed."

She resides at No. 5, Church-lane, Bloomsbury, and has been an
inhabitant of London upwards of thirty-eight years. We particularly
recommend her to the considerate attention of every little girl or
young woman, and, when they are in want of any laces, to think of Ann
Johnson.--Such great industry deserves encouragement.



[Illustration]

SAMUEL HORSEY,

A REMARKABLE MAN WITHOUT LEGS,

_Called the King of the Beggars_.


Such as have seen this man in London (and there are very few that have
not) will be instantly struck with the accuracy of the engraving.

He has literally _rocked_ himself about London for upwards of nineteen
years, with the help of a wooden seat, assisted by a short pair of
crutches; and the facility with which he moves is the more singular,
when we consider he is very corpulent; he appears to possess
remarkably good health, and is about fifty-six years of age. In his
life we have no great deal to notice, as wonderful or remarkable. His
figure alone is what renders him a striking character; not striking
for the height or bulk of his person, but for the mutilated
singularity and diminutive size so conspicuously attracting when upon
his move in the busiest parts of London streets; in places that
require considerable care, even for persons well mounted upon legs,
and possessing a good knowledge in the art of walking, to get along
without accidents; but even here poor Samuel works his way, whilst
buried, as it were, with the press of the crowd, in a manner very
expeditious, and tolerably free from accidents, except being tumbled
over now and then by people walking too much in haste.



MISS THEODORA DE VERDION,

commonly known by the name of

CHEVALIER JOHN THEODORA DE VERDION,

_Who lived in London disguised as a man, a teacher of languages and a
walking bookseller._


This singular woman was born in the year 1744, at Leipsic, in Germany,
and died at her lodgings in Upper Charles-street, Hatton-Garden,
London, July 15, 1802. She was the only daughter of an architect, of
the name of Grahn, who erected several edifices in the city of Berlin,
particularly the church of St. Peter. She wrote an excellent hand, and
had learned the mathematics, the French, Italian, and English
languages, and possessed a complete knowledge of her native tongue.
Upon her arrival in England, she commenced teacher of the German
language, under the name of Dr. John de Verdion. In her exterior, she
was extremely grotesque, wearing a bag wig, a large cocked hat, three
or four folio books under one arm, and an umbrella under the other,
her pockets completely filled with small volumes, and a stick in her
right hand.

[Illustration]

She had a good knowledge of English books; many persons entertained
her for her advice, relative to purchasing them. She obtained a
comfortable subsistence from teaching and translating foreign
languages, and by selling books chiefly in foreign literature. She
taught the Duke of Portland the German language, and was always
welcomed to his house; the Prussian Ambassador to our court received
from her a knowledge of the English language; and several
distinguished noblemen she frequently visited to instruct them in the
French tongue; she also taught Edward Gibbon, the celebrated Roman
historian, the German language, previous to his visiting that country.
This extraordinary female has never been known to have appeared in any
other but the male dress since her arrival in England, where she
remained upwards of thirty years; and upon occasions she would attend
at court, decked in very superb attire; and was well remembered about
the streets of London; and particularly frequent in attending book
auctions, and would buy to a large amount, sometimes a coach load, &c.
Here her singular figure generally made her the jest of the company.

Her general purchase at these sales was odd volumes; which she used to
carry to other booksellers, and endeavour to sell, or exchange for
other books. She was also a considerable collector of medals and
foreign coins of gold and silver; but none of these were found after
her decease. She frequented the Furnival's Inn coffee house, in
Holborn, dining there almost every day; she would have the first of
every thing in season, and was as strenuous for a large quantity, as
she was dainty in the quality of what she chose for her table. At
times, it is well known, she could dispense with three pounds of solid
meat; and, we are sorry to say, she was much inclined to extravagant
drinking.

The disorder of a cancer in her breast, occasioned by falling down
stairs, she was, after much affliction, _at length compelled_ to
make known to a German physician, who prescribed for her; when the
disorder turned to a dropsy, defied all cure, and finished the career
of so remarkable a lady.

    To follow lovers, women there have been
    Disguis'd as men, who've dar'd the martial scene;
    Or, in pursuit of an inconstant swain,
    Experienc'd all the dangers of the main.
    Not so DE VERDION, for some other plan
    She laid aside the woman for the man.
    Perhaps she thought, that female garb and looks
    Ill spoke the gravity of German books;
    That as a woman she could not pretend
    To teach, translate, and literature to vend;
    That as a woman she could never be
    A DOCTOR, since 'tis man takes that _degree_:
    Who can deny that a _bag wig_ denotes
    More sense, more consequence, than _petticoats_?
    And probably our hero-heroine knew
    That otherwise her nostrums would not do!
    But haply Prudence urg'd this strange disguise,
    (For in concealment modesty oft lies)
    Assur'd she'd have to deal with wicked men,
    She might have chose this metamorphose then;
    And, as poor women always weak are thought,
    Security from men's appearance sought;
    Then let not ridicule insult her name,
    For who can tell but virtue was her aim;
    That she disclaim'd her sex through pious care,
    And thus, ye fair ones, left a name that's _fair_;
    For, nature's common frailties set aside,
    She liv'd a Christian, and a Christian died;
    Nor man nor woman by attire is known,
    The PROOF OF ALL WILL BE THE HEART ALONE!



[Illustration]

DANIEL LAMBERT,

_Aged Thirty-six Years_.


The astonishing weight of this man is fifty stone and upwards, being
more than seven hundred pounds; the surprising circumference of his
body is three yards four inches; his leg, one yard and an inch; and
his height, five feet eleven inches; and, though of this amazing size,
entirely free from any corporeal defect.

This very remarkable personage received his birth in Leicester; at
which place he was apprenticed to an engraver. Until he arrived at the
age of twenty years, he was not of more than usual size, but after
that period he began to increase in bulk, and has been gradually
increasing, until within a few months of the present time. He was much
accustomed to exercise in the early years of his life, and excelled in
walking, riding and shooting; and more particularly devoted himself to
field exercises, as he found himself inclined to corpulency; but, to
the great astonishment of his acquaintance, it proved not only
unavailing, but really seemed to produce a directly opposite effect.
Mr. Lambert is in full possession of perfect health; and whether
sitting, lying, standing, or walking, is quite at his ease, and
requires no more attendance than any common-sized person. He enjoys
his night's repose, though he does not indulge himself in bed longer
than the refreshment of sleep continues.

The following anecdote is related of him:--"Some time since, a man
with a dancing bear going through the town of Leicester, one of Mr.
Lambert's dogs taking a dislike to his shaggy appearance, made a
violent attack upon the defenceless animal. Bruin's master did not
fail to take the part of his companion, and, in his turn, began to
belabour the dog. Lambert, being a witness of the fray, hastened with
all possible expedition from the seat or settle (on which he made a
practice of sitting at his own door) to rescue his dog. At this moment
the bear, turning round suddenly, threw down his unwieldy antagonist,
who, from terror and his own weight, was absolutely unable to rise
again, and with difficulty got rid of his formidable opponent."

He is particularly abstemious with regard to diet, and for nearly
twelve years has not taken any liquor, either with or after his meals,
but water alone. His manners are very pleasing; he is well-informed,
affable, and polite; and having a manly countenance and prepossessing
address, he is exceedingly admired by those who have had the pleasure
of conversing with him. His strength (it is worthy of observation)
bears a near proportion to his wonderful appearance. About eight years
ago, he carried more than four hundred weight and a half, as a trial
of his ability, though quite unaccustomed to labour. His parents were
not beyond the moderate size; and his sisters, who are still living,
are by no means unusually tall or large. A suit of clothes costs him
twenty pounds, so great a quantity of materials are requisite for
their completion.

It is reported, that among those who have recently seen him was a
gentleman weighing twenty stone: he seemed to suffer much from his
great size and weight. Mr. Lambert, on his departure, observed, that
he would not (even were it possible) change situations with him for
ten thousand pounds. He bears a most excellent character at his native
town, which place he left, to the regret of many, on Saturday, April
4, 1806, for his first visit to London.



THE DEATH OF MR. LAMBERT!

FROM THE STAMFORD PAPER,

_Friday, June 23, 1809._


We have to announce the death of this celebrated man, which took place
in this town _at half past 8 o'clock on Wednesday morning last_.

Mr. Lambert had travelled from Huntingdon hither in the early part of
the week, intending to receive the visits of the curious who might
attend the ensuing races. On Tuesday evening he sent a message to the
office of this paper, requesting that, as "the mountain could not wait
upon Mahomet, Mahomet would go to the mountain." Or, in other words,
that the printer would call upon him to receive an order for executing
some handbills, announcing Mr. Lambert's arrival, and his desire to
see company.

The orders he gave upon that occasion were delivered without any
presentiment that they were to be his last, and with his usual
cheerfulness. He was in bed--one of large dimensions--("Ossa upon
Olympus, and Pelion upon Ossa")--fatigued with his journey; but
anxious that the bills might be quickly printed, in order to his
seeing company next morning.

Before nine o'clock on that morning, however, he was a corpse! Nature
had endured all the trespass she could admit: the poor man's
corpulency had constantly increased, until, at the time we have
_mentioned_, the clogged machinery of life stood still, and the
prodigy of Mammon was numbered with the dead.

He was in his 40th year; and upon being weighed, within a few days, by
the famous Caledon's balance, was found to be 52 stone 11 pounds in
weight (14lb. to the stone), which is 10 stone 11lb. more than the
great Mr. Bright, of Essex, ever weighed.--He had apartments at Mr.
Berridge's, the Waggon and Horses, in St. Martin's, on the ground
floor--for he had been long incapable of walking up stairs.

His coffin, in which there has been great difficulty of placing him,
is 6 feet 4 inches long, 4 feet 4 inches wide, and 2 feet 4 inches
deep; the immense substance of his legs makes it necessarily almost a
square case. The celebrated sarcophagus of Alexander, viewed with so
much admiration at the British Museum, would not nearly contain this
immense sheer hulk.

The coffin, which consists of 112 superficial feet of elm, is built
upon 2 axletrees and 4 cog wheels; and upon these the remains of the
poor man will be rolled into his grave; which we understand is to be
in the new burial-ground at the back of St. Martin's church.--A
regular descent will be made by cutting away the earth slopingly for
some distance--the window and wall of the room in which he lies must
be taken down to allow his exit.--He is to be buried at 8 o'clock this
morning.

    N.B. There is a very good coloured portrait of Daniel Lambert,
    published by W. DARTON, Holborn; with particulars concerning him.
    Price One Shilling.



[Illustration]

MARY JONES,

COMMONLY CALLED

_MAD MOLLY_,

    _Well known about Cheapside, Newgate-Street,
    Holborn-Bridge, &c. &c_.


    Whims wild and simple lead her from her home,
    'Mongst London's alleys, streets, and lanes, to roam.
    When morning wakes, none earlier rous'd than she,
    Pity she claims and kind humanity.
    Affliction sad hath chas'd her hard,
    Frailty her crime, and mis'ry her reward!
    Her mind's serenity is lost and gone,
    Her eyes grown languid, and she weeps alone.
    And oft the gaily-passing stranger stays
    His well-tim'd steps, and takes a silent gaze;
    Or hears repeated, as he passes nigh,
    One short, but simple word, "_Good-by!_"
    A beauty once she was in life's gay morn;
    Fled now's her beauty, and she's left forlorn.
    Once was she happy, calm, and free,
    Now lives in woe, in rags, and misery.
    A revolution too hath taken place,
    In manners, actions, and grimace.
    Unlawful love has marr'd her former peace,
    Quick vanish'd hope; and left her comfortless!
    She merits every kind protecting care:
    Of generous bounty let her have her share.
    Childish and trivial now are all her ways;
    In peace, oh! let her live; with comfort end her days.



A WELL-KNOWN CARVER,

IN FLEET-MARKET, ANNO 1806.

"HOT OR COLD."


    Hot or cold, she carves away
    Ham and Beef all through the day;
    Enough of work she's sure of finding,
    In stopping hunger or stomach lining.
    Through winter's cold, or summer's heat,
    Full is the shop whene'er we see't.

[Illustration]



THE LIFE OF

JOHN ELWES, ESQ.

_Member in three successive Parliaments for Berkshire._


Meggot was the family name of Mr. Elwes; and his name being John, the
conjunction of Jack Meggot induced strangers to imagine sometimes that
his friends were addressing him by an assumed appellation. The father
of Mr. Elwes was an eminent brewer; and his dwelling-house and offices
were situated in Southwark; which borough was formerly represented in
parliament by his grandfather, Sir George Meggot. During his life he
purchased the estate now in possession of the family of the Calverts,
at Marcham, in Berkshire. The father died when the late Mr. Elwes was
only four years old; so that little of the singular character of Mr.
Elwes is to be attributed to him: but from the mother it may be traced
with ease; she was left nearly one hundred thousand pounds by her
husband, and yet starved herself to death. The only children from the
above marriage, were Mr. Elwes, and a daughter, who married the father
of the late Colonel Timms; and from thence came the entail of some
part of the present estate.

Mr. Elwes, at an early period of life, was sent to Westminster School,
where he remained ten or twelve years. He certainly, during that time,
had not misapplied his talents; for he was a good classical scholar to
the last; and it is a circumstance very remarkable, yet well
authenticated, that he never read afterwards. Never, at any period of
his future life, was he seen with a book; nor had he in all his
different houses left behind him two pounds worth of literary
furniture. His knowledge in accounts was little; and, in some measure
may account for his total ignorance as to his own concerns. The
contemporaries of Mr. Elwes, at Westminster, were Mr. Worsley, late
Master of the Board of Works, and the late Lord Mansfield; who, at
that time, borrowed all that young Elwes would lend. His lordship,
however, afterwards changed his disposition.

Mr. Elwes from Westminster-School removed to Geneva, where he shortly
after entered upon pursuits more congenial to his temper than study.
The riding-master of the academy had then three of the best horsemen
in Europe for his pupils: Mr. Worsley, Mr. Elwes, and Sir Sidney
Meadows. Elwes of the three was accounted the most desperate: the
young horses were put into his hands always; and he was, in fact, the
rough-rider of the other two. He was introduced, during this period,
to Voltaire, whom, in point of appearance, he somewhat resembled; but
though he has often mentioned this circumstance, neither the genius,
the fortune, nor the character, of Voltaire, ever seemed to strike him
as worthy of envy.

Returning to England, after an absence of two or three years, he was
to be introduced to his uncle, the late Sir Harvey Elwes, who was then
living at Stoke, in Suffolk, the most perfect picture of human penury
perhaps that ever existed. In him the attempts of saving money was so
extraordinary, that Mr. Elwes never quite reached them, even at the
most covetous period of his life. To this Sir Harvey Elwes he was to
be the heir, and of course it was policy to please him. On this
account it was necessary, even in old Mr. Elwes, to masquerade a
little; and as he was at that time in the world, and its affairs, he
dressed like other people. This would not have done for Sir Harvey.
The nephew, therefore, used to stop at a little inn at Chelmsford, and
begin to dress in character. A pair of small iron buckles, worsted
stockings darned, a worn out old coat, and a tattered waistcoat, were
put on; and forwards he rode to visit his uncle; who used to
contemplate him with a kind of miserable satisfaction, and seemed
pleased to find his heir bidding fair to rival him in the
unaccountable pursuit of avarice. There they would sit--saving
souls!--with a single stick upon the fire, and with one glass of wine,
occasionally, betwixt them, inveighing against the extravagance of the
times; and when evening shut in, they would immediately retire to
rest--as going to bed saved candle-light.

To the whole of his uncle's property Mr. Elwes succeeded; and it was
imagined that his own was not at the time very inferior. He got, too,
an additional seat; but he got it as it had been most religiously
delivered down for ages past: the furniture was most sacredly antique:
not a room was painted, nor a window repaired: the beds above stairs
were all in canopy and state, where the worms and moths held
undisturbed possession; and the roof of the house was inimitable for
the climate of Italy.

Mr. Elwes had now advanced beyond the fortieth year of his age; and
for fifteen years previous to this period it was that he was known in
all the fashionable circles of London. He had always a turn for play;
and it was only late in life, and from paying always, and not always
being paid, that he conceived disgust at the inclination.

The acquaintances which he had formed at Westminster-school, and at
Geneva, together with his own large fortune, all conspired to
introduce him into whatever society he liked best.

Mr. Elwes, on the death of his uncle, came to reside at Stoke, in
Suffolk. Bad as was the mansion-house he found here, he left one still
worse behind him at Marcham, of which the late Colonel Timms, his
nephew, used to mention the following proof. A few days after he went
thither, a great quantity of rain falling in the night, he had not
been long in bed before he found himself wet through; and putting his
hand out of the clothes, found the rain was dropping from the ceiling
upon the bed. He got up and moved the bed; but he had not lain long,
before he found the same inconveniency continued. He got up again, and
again the rain came down. At length after pushing the bed quite round
the room, he retired into a corner where the ceiling was better
secured, and there he slept till morning. When he met his uncle at
breakfast, he told him what had happened. "Ay! ay!" said the old man,
seriously; "I don't mind it myself; but to those that do, that's a
nice corner in the rain."

Mr. Elwes, on coming into Suffolk, first began to keep fox-hounds; and
his stable of hunters, at that time, was said to be the best in the
kingdom. Of the breed of his horses he was certain, because he bred
them himself; and they were not broke in till they were six years old.

The keeping of fox-hounds was the only instance in the whole life of
Mr. Elwes of his ever sacrificing money to pleasure. But even here
every thing was done in the most frugal manner. His huntsman had by no
means an idle life of it. This famous lacquey might have fixed an
epoch in the history of servants; for, in a morning, getting up at
four o'clock, he milked the cows. He then prepared breakfast for his
master, or any friends he might have with him. Then slipping on a
green coat, he hurried into the stable, saddled the horses, got the
hounds out of the kennel, and away they went into the field. After the
fatigues of hunting, he refreshed himself by rubbing down two or three
horses as quickly as possible; then running into the house, would lay
the cloth and wait at dinner. Then hurrying again into the stable to
feed the horses; diversified with an interlude of the cows again to
milk, the dogs to feed, and eight horses to litter down for the night.
What may appear extraordinary, this man lived in his place for some
years; though his master used often to call him "an idle dog!" and
say, "the rascal wanted to be paid for doing nothing."

An inn upon the road, and an apothecary's bill, were equal objects of
aversion to Mr. Elwes. The words "give" and "pay" were not found in
his vocabulary; and therefore, when he once received a very dangerous
kick from one of his horses, who fell in going over a leap, nothing
could persuade him to have any assistance. He rode the chase through,
with his leg cut to the bone; and it was only some days afterwards,
when it was feared an amputation would be necessary, that he consented
to go up to London, and, dismal day! part with some money for advice.

The whole fox-hunting establishment of Mr. Elwes, huntsman, dogs, and
horses, did not cost him three hundred pounds a year!

While he kept hounds, and which consumed a period of nearly fourteen
years, Mr. Elwes almost totally resided at Stoke, in Suffolk. He
sometimes made excursions to Newmarket; but never engaged on the turf.
A kindness, however which he performed there, should not pass into
oblivion.

Lord Abingdon, who was slightly known to Mr. Elwes in Berkshire, had
made a match for seven thousand pounds, which, it was supposed, he
would be obliged to forfeit, from an inability to produce the sum,
though the odds were greatly in his favour. Unasked, unsolicited, Mr.
Elwes made him an offer of the money, which he accepted, and won his
engagement.

On the day when this match was to be run, a clergyman had agreed to
accompany Mr. Elwes to see the fate of it. They were to go, as was his
custom, on horseback, and were to set out at seven in the morning.
Imagining they were to breakfast at Newmarket, the gentleman took no
refreshment, and away they went. They reached Newmarket about eleven,
and Mr. Elwes began to busy himself in inquiries and conversation till
twelve, when the match was decided in favour of Lord Abingdon. He then
thought they should move off to the town, to take some breakfast; but
old Elwes still continued riding about till three; and then four
arrived. At which time the gentleman grew so impatient, that he
mentioned something of the keen air of Newmarket Heath, and the
comforts of a good dinner. "Very true," said old Elwes; "very true. So
here, do as I do;"--offering him at the same time, from his great-coat
pocket, a piece of an old crushed pancake, "which," he said, "he had
brought from his house at Marcham two months before--but that it was
as good as new."

The sequel of the story was, that they did not reach home till nine in
the evening, when the gentleman was so tired, that he gave up all
refreshment but rest; and old Mr. Elwes, having hazarded seven
thousand pounds in the morning, went happily to bed with the
reflection--that he had saved three shillings.

He had brought with him his two sons out of Berkshire; and certainly,
if he liked any thing, it was these boys. But no money would he lavish
on their education; for he declared that "putting things into people's
heads, was taking money out of their pockets."

From this mean, and almost ludicrous, desire of saving, no circumstance
of tenderness or affection, no sentiment of sorrow or compassion,
could turn him aside. The more diminutive the object seemed, his
attention grew the greater: and it appeared as if Providence had
formed him in a mould that was miraculous, purposely to exemplify that
trite saying, _Penny wise, and pound foolish_.

From the parsimonious manner in which Mr. Elwes now lived, (for he was
fast following the footsteps of Sir Harvey,) and from the two large
fortunes of which he was in possession, riches rolled in upon him like
a torrent. But as he knew almost nothing of accounts, and never
reduced his affairs to writing, he was obliged, in the disposal of his
money, to trust much to memory; to the suggestions of other people
still more; hence every person who had a _want_ or a _scheme_, with an
apparent high interest--adventurer or honest, it signified not--all
was prey to him; and he swam about like the enormous pike, which, ever
voracious and unsatisfied, catches at every thing, till it is itself
caught! hence are to be reckoned visions of distant property in
America; phantoms of annuities on lives that could never pay; and
bureaus filled with bonds of _promising_ peers and members long
_dismembered_ of all property. Mr. Elwes lost in this manner full
_one hundred and fifty thousand pounds_!

But what was got from him, was only obtained from his want of
knowledge--by knowledge that was superior; and knaves and sharpers
might have lived upon him, while poverty and honesty would have
starved.

When this inordinate passion for saving did not interfere, there are
upon record some kind offices, and very active services, undertaken by
Mr. Elwes. He would go far and long to serve those who applied to him:
and give--however strange the word from him--give himself great
trouble to be of use. These instances are gratifying to select--it is
plucking the sweet-briar and the rose from the weeds that overspread
the garden.

Mr. Elwes, at this period, was passing--among his horses and hounds,
some rural occupations, and his country neighbours--the happiest hours
of his life--where he forgot, for a time, at least, that strange
anxiety and continued irritation about his money, which might be
called the _insanity of saving_! But as his wealth was accumulating,
many were kind enough to _make_ applications to employ it for him.
Some very obligingly would trouble him with nothing more than their
_simple bond_: others offered him a scheme of great advantage, with "a
small risk and a certain profit," which as certainly turned out to the
reverse; and others proposed "tracts of land in America, and plans
that were sure of success." But amidst these _kind offers_, the fruits
of which Mr. Elwes long felt, and had to lament, some pecuniary
accommodations, at a moderate interest, were not bestowed amiss, and
enabled the borrowers to pursue industry into fortune, and form a
settlement for life.

Mr. Elwes, from Mr. Meggot, his father, had inherited some property in
London in houses; particularly about the Haymarket, not far from which
old Mr. Elwes drew his first breath; being born in St. James's parish.
To this property he began now to add, by engagements with one of the
Adam's about building, which he increased from year to year to a very
large extent. Great part of Marybone soon called him her founder.
Portman Place, and Portman Square, the riding-houses and stables of
the second troop of life-guards, and buildings too numerous to name,
all rose out of his pocket; and had not the fatal American war kindly
put a stop to his rage of raising houses, much of the property he then
possessed would have been laid out in bricks and mortar.

The extent of his property in this way soon grew so great, that he
became, from judicious calculation, his _own insurer_: and he stood
to all his losses by conflagrations. He soon therefore became a
_philosopher_ upon fire: and, on a public-house belonging to him being
consumed, he said, with great composure, "well, well, there is no
great harm done. The _tenant_ never paid me, and I should not have got
quit of him so quickly in any other way."

It was the custom of Mr. Elwes, whenever he went to London, to occupy
any of his premises which might happen to be then vacant. He travelled
in this manner from street to street; and whenever any body chose to
take the house where he was, he was instantly ready to move into any
other. He was frequently an itinerant for a night's lodging; and
though master of above a hundred houses, he never wished to rest his
head long in any he chose to call his own. A couple of beds, a couple
of chairs, a table, and an old woman, comprised all his furniture; and
he moved them in about a minute's warning. Of all these moveables, the
old woman was the only one which gave him trouble; for she was
afflicted with a lameness, that made it difficult to get her about
quite so fast as he chose. And then the colds she took were amazing;
for sometimes she was in a small house in the Haymarket; at another in
a great house in Portland Place: sometimes in a little room, and a
coal fire; at other times with a few chips, which the carpenters had
left, in rooms of most splendid, but frigid dimensions, and with a
little oiled paper in the windows for glass.

[Illustration]

Mr. Elwes had come to town in his usual way, and taken up his abode in
one of his houses that was empty. Colonel Timms, who wished much to
see him, by some accident, was informed his uncle was in London; but
then how to find him was the difficulty. He inquired at all the usual
places where it was probable he might be heard of. He went to Mr.
Hoare's, his banker; to the Mount Coffee-house; but no tidings were to
be heard of him. Not many days afterwards, however, he learnt, from a
person whom he met accidentally, that they had seen Mr. Elwes going
into an uninhabited house in Great Marlborough Street. This was some
clue to Colonel Timms, and away he went thither. As the best mode of
information, he got hold of a _chairman_; but no intelligence could he
gain of a _gentleman_ called Mr. Elwes. Colonel Timms then described
his person--but _no gentleman_ had been seen. A pot-boy, however,
recollected, that he had seen a poor old man opening the door of the
stable, and locking it after him, and from every description, it
agreed with the person of old Mr. Elwes. Of course, Colonel Timms,
went to the house. He knocked very loudly at the door; but no one
answered. Some of the neighbours said they had seen such a man; but
no answer could be obtained from the house. The Colonel, on this,
resolved to have the stable-door opened; which being done, they
entered the house together. In the lower parts of it all was shut and
silent; but, on ascending the stair-case, they heard the moans of a
person seemingly in distress. They went to the chamber, and there,
upon an old pallet-bed, lay stretched out, seemingly in the agonies of
death the figure of old Mr. Elwes. For some time he seemed insensible
that any body was near him; but on some cordials being administered by
a neighbouring apothecary, who was sent for, he recovered enough to
say, "That he had, he believed, been ill for two or three days, and
that there was an old woman in the house; but for some reason or other
she had not been near him. That she had been ill herself; but that she
had got well, he supposed, and was gone away."

They afterwards found the _old woman_--the companion of all his
movements, and the partner of all his journeys--stretched out lifeless
on a rug upon the floor, in one of the garrets. She had been dead, to
all appearance, about two days.

Thus died the servant; and thus would have died, but for a providential
discovery of him by Colonel Timms, old Mr. Elwes, her master! His
mother, Mrs. Meggot, who possessed _one hundred thousand pounds_,
starved herself to death; and her son, who certainly was then worth
_half a million_, nearly died in his own house for absolute want.

Mr. Elwes, however, was not a hard landlord, and his tenants lived
easily under him: but if they wanted any repairs, they were always at
liberty to do them for themselves; for what may be styled the comforts
of a house were unknown to him. What he allowed not himself it could
scarcely be expected he would give to others.

He had resided about thirteen years in Suffolk, when the contest for
Berkshire presented itself on the dissolution of parliament; and when,
to preserve the peace of that county, he was nominated by Lord Craven.
To this Mr. Elwes consented; but on the special agreement, that he was
to be brought in for nothing. All he did was dining at the ordinary
at Abingdon; and he got into parliament for the moderate sum of
_eighteen-pence_!

Mr. Elwes was at this time nearly sixty years old, but was in
possession of all his activity. Preparatory to his appearance on the
boards of St. Stephen's Chapel, he used to attend constantly, during
the races and other public meetings, all the great towns where his
voters resided; and at the different assemblies he would dance with
agility amongst the youngest to the last.

Mr. Elwes was chosen for Berkshire in three successive parliaments:
and he sat as a member of the House of Commons above twelve years. It
is to his honour, that, in every part of his conduct, and in every
vote he gave, he proved himself to be an independent country
gentleman.

The _honour_ of parliament made no alteration in the dress of Mr.
Elwes: on the contrary, it seemed, at this time, to have attained
additional meanness, and nearly to have reached that happy climax of
poverty, which has, more than once, drawn on him the compassion of
those who passed him in the street. For the Speaker's dinners, he had
indeed one suit; with which the Speaker, in the course of the session,
became very familiar. The minister, likewise, was well acquainted with
it: and at any dinner of opposition, still was his apparel the same.
The wits of the minority used to say, "that they had full as much
reason as the minister to be satisfied with Mr. Elwes--as he had the
_same habit_ with every body!" At this period of his life, Mr. Elwes
wore a wig. Much about that time, when his parliamentary life ceased,
that wig was worn out: so then (being older and wiser as to expense)
he wore his own hair; which, like his expenses, was very small.

He retired voluntarily from a parliamentary life, and even took no
leave of his constituents by an advertisement. But, though Mr. Elwes
was now no longer a member of the House of Commons, yet, not with the
venal herd of expectant placemen and pensioners, whose eyes too often
view the House of Commons as another Royal Exchange, did Mr. Elwes
retire into private life. No; he had fairly and honourably,
attentively and long, done his duty there, and he had so done it
without "fee or reward." In all his parliamentary life, he never asked
or received a single favour; and he never gave a vote, but he could
solemnly have laid his hand upon his breast, and said, "So help me
God! I believe I am doing what is for the best!"

Thus, duly honoured, shall the memory of a good man go to his grave:
for, while it may be the painful duty of the biographer to present to
the public the pitiable follies which may deform a character, but
which must be given to render perfect the resemblance on those
beauties which arise from the bad parts of the picture, who shall say,
it is not a duty to expiate?

The model which Mr. Elwes left to future members may, perhaps, be
looked on rather as a work to wonder at than to follow, even under the
most virtuous of administrations. Mr. Elwes came into Parliament
_without expense_, and he performed his duty as a member would have
done in the pure days of our constitution. What he had not bought, he
never attempted to sell; and he went forward in that straight and
direct path, which can alone satisfy a reflecting and good mind. In
one word, Mr. Elwes, as a public man, voted and acted in the House of
Commons, as a man would do who felt there were people to live after
him, who wished to deliver unmortgaged to his children the public
estate of government; and who felt, that if he suffered himself to
become a pensioner on it, he thus far embarrassed his posterity, and
injured their inheritance.

When his son was in the Guards, he was frequently in the habit of
dining at the officers' table there. The politeness of his manner
rendered him generally agreeable, and in time he became acquainted
with every officer in the corps. Amongst the rest, was a gentleman of
the name of Tempest, whose good humour was almost proverbial. A
vacancy happening in a majority, it fell to this gentleman to
purchase; but as money is not always to be got upon landed property
immediately, it was imagined that some officer would have been obliged
to purchase over his head. Old Mr. Elwes hearing of the circumstance,
sent him the money the next morning, without asking any security. He
had seen Captain Tempest, and liked his manners; and he never once
afterwards talked to him about the payment of it. But on the death of
Captain Tempest, which happened shortly after, the money was replaced.

This was an act of liberality in Mr. Elwes which ought to atone for
many of his failings. But behold the inequalities which so strongly
mark this human being! Mr. Spurling, of Dynes-Hall, a very active and
intelligent magistrate for the county of Essex, was once requested by
Mr. Elwes to accompany him to Newmarket. It was a day in one of the
spring meetings which was remarkably filled with races; and they were
out from six in the morning till eight o'clock in the evening before
they again set out for home. Mr. Elwes, in the usual way, would eat
nothing; but Mr. Spurling was somewhat wiser, and went down to
Newmarket. When they began their journey home, the evening was grown
very dark and cold, and Mr. Spurling rode on somewhat quicker; but on
going through the turnpike by the Devil's Ditch, he heard Mr. Elwes
calling to him with great eagerness. On returning before he had paid,
Mr. Elwes said, "Here! here! follow me--this is the best road!" In an
instant he saw Mr. Elwes, as well as the night would permit, climbing
his horse up the precipice of the ditch. "Sir," said Mr. Spurling, "I
can never get up there." "No danger at all!" replied old Elwes: "but
if your horse be not safe, lead him!" At length, with great
difficulty, and with one of the horses falling, they mounted the
ditch, and then, with not less toil got down on the other side. When
they were safely landed on the plain, Mr. Spurling thanked heaven for
their escape. "Ay," said old Elwes, "you mean from the _turnpike_:
very right; never _pay a turnpike_ if you can avoid it!" In proceeding
on their journey, they came to a very narrow road: on which Mr. Elwes,
notwithstanding the cold, went as slow as possible. On Mr. Spurling
wishing to quicken their pace, old Elwes observed, that he was letting
his horse feed on some hay that was hanging to the sides of the hedge.
"Besides," added he, "it is nice hay, and you have it for _nothing_!"

Thus, while endangering his neck to save the payment of a turnpike,
and starving his horse for a _halfpenny-worth_ of hay, was he risking
the sum of _twenty-five thousand pounds_ on some iron works across the
Atlantic Ocean, and of which he knew nothing, either as to produce,
prospect or situation.

[Illustration]

In the advance of the season, his morning employment was to pick up
any stray chips, bones, or other things, to carry to the fire, in his
pocket; and he was one day surprised by a neighbouring gentleman in
the act of pulling down, with some difficulty, a _crow's nest_, for
this purpose. On the gentleman wondering why he gave himself this
trouble.

"Oh, Sir," replied he, "it is really a shame that these creatures
should do so. Do but see what waste they make!"

To save, as he thought, the expense of going to a butcher, he would
have a whole sheep killed, and so eat mutton to the--end of the
chapter. When he occasionally had his river drawn, though sometimes
horse-loads of small fish were taken, not one would he suffer to be
thrown in again, for he observed, "He should never see them more!"
Game in the last state of putrefaction, and meat that _walked about
his plate_, would he continue to eat, rather than have new things
killed before the old provision was exhausted.

When any friends, who might occasionally be with him, were absent, he
would carefully put out his own fire, and walk to the house of a
neighbour; and thus make one fire serve both. His shoes he never would
suffer to be cleaned, lest they should be worn out the sooner. But
still, with all this self-denial--that penury of life to which the
inhabitant of an alms-house is not doomed--still did he think he was
profuse; and frequently said, "he must be a little more careful of his
property." When he went to bed, he would put five or ten guineas into
a bureau, and then, full of his money, after he had retired to rest,
sometimes in the middle of the night, he would come down to see if it
was safe. The irritation of his mind was unceasing. He thought every
body extravagant; and when a person was talking to him one day of the
great wealth of old Mr. Jennings, (who is supposed to be worth a
_million_,) and that they had seen him that day in a new carriage,
"Ay, ay," said old Elwes; "he will soon see the end of his money!"

Mr. Elwes now denied himself every thing, except the common
necessaries of life; and, indeed, it might have admitted a doubt,
whether or not, if his manors, his fish-ponds, and grounds in his own
hands, had not furnished a subsistence, where he had not any thing
actually to buy, he would not, rather than have bought any thing, have
starved. He one day, during this period, dined upon the remaining part
of a moor-hen, which had been brought out of the river by a rat! and,
at another, ate an undigested part of a pike, which a larger one had
swallowed, but had not finished, and which was taken in this state in
a net! At the time this last circumstance happened, he discovered a
strange kind of satisfaction; for he said to Capt. Topham, who
happened to be present, "Ay! this is killing two birds with one
stone!" Mr. Elwes, at this time, was perhaps worth nearly 800,000l.
and at this period he had not made his will, of course was not saving
from any sentiment of affection for any person.

As he had now vested the enormous savings of his property in the
funds, he felt no diminution of it.

Mr. Elwes passed the spring of 1786 alone, at his solitary house at
Stoke; and, had it not been for some little daily scheme of avarice,
would have passed it without one consolatory moment. His temper began
to give way apace; his thoughts unceasingly ran upon money! money!
money!--and he saw no one but whom he imagined was deceiving and
defrauding him.

As, in the day, he would not allow himself any fire, he went to bed as
soon as day closed, to save candle; and had begun to deny himself even
the pleasure of sleeping in sheets. In short, he had now nearly
brought to a climax the moral of his whole life--the perfect vanity of
wealth!

On removing from Stoke, he went to his farmhouse at Thaydon Hall; a
scene of more ruin and desolation, if possible, than either of his
houses in Suffolk or Berkshire. It stood alone, on the borders of
Epping Forest; and an old man and woman, his tenants, were the only
persons with whom he could hold any converse. Here he fell ill; and,
as he would have no assistance, and had not even a servant, he lay,
unattended, and almost forgotten, for nearly a fortnight--indulging,
even in death, that avarice which malady could not subdue. It was at
this period he began to think of making his will; feeling, perhaps,
that his sons would not be entitled, by law, to any part of his
property, should he die intestate: and, on coming to London, he made
his last will and testament.

Mr. Elwes, shortly after executing his will, gave, by letter of
attorney, the power of managing, receiving, and paying all his monies,
into the hands of Mr. Ingraham, his lawyer, and his youngest son, John
Elwes, Esq. who had been his chief agents for some time.

Nor was the act by any means improper. The _lapses of his memory_ had
now become frequent and glaring. All recent occurrences he forgot
entirely; and as he never committed any thing to writing, the
confusion he made was inexpressible. As an instance of this, the
following anecdote may serve. He had one evening given a draft on
Messrs. Hoares, his bankers, for twenty pounds; and having taken it
into his head, during the night, that he had over-drawn his account,
his anxiety was unceasing. He left his bed, and walking about his room
with that _little feverish irritation_ that always distinguished him,
waited with the utmost impatience till morning came, when, on going to
his banker, with an apology for the great liberty he had taken, he was
assured there was no occasion for his apology, as he happened to have
in their hands, at that time, the small sum of _fourteen thousand
seven hundred pounds_!

Mr. Elwes passed the summer of 1788 at his house in Welbeck-Street,
London, without any other society than that of two maid servants: for
he had now given up the expense of keeping any male domestic. His
chief employment used to be that of getting up early in the morning to
visit his houses in Marybone, which during the summer were repairing.
As he was there generally at four o'clock in the morning, he was of
course on the spot before the workmen; and he used contentedly to sit
down on the steps before the door to scold them when they did come.
The neighbours, who used to see him appear thus regularly every
morning, and who concluded, from his apparel, he was one of the
workmen, observed, "there never was so punctual a man as the _old
carpenter_." During the whole morning he would continue to run up and
down stairs, to see the men were not idle for an instant, with the
same anxiety as if his whole happiness in life had been centred in the
finishing this house, regardless of the greater property he had at
stake in various places, and for ever employed in the _minutiæ_ only
of affairs. Indeed, such was his anxiety about this house, the rent of
which was not above fifty pounds a year, that it brought on a fever,
which nearly cost him his life.

In the muscular and unincumbered frame of Mr. Elwes, there was every
thing that promised extreme length of life; and he lived to above
seventy years of age without any natural disorder attacking him: but,
as Lord Bacon has well observed, "the minds of some men are a lamp
that is continually burning;" and such was the mind of Mr. Elwes.
Removed from those occasional public avocations which had once engaged
his attention, _money_ was now his only thought. He rose upon _money_;
upon _money_ he lay down to rest; and as his capacity sunk away from
him by degrees, he dwindled from the real cares of his property into
the puerile concealment of a few guineas. This little store he would
carefully wrap up in various papers, and depositing them in different
corners, would amuse himself with running from one to the other, to
see whether they were all safe. Then forgetting, perhaps, where he had
concealed some of them, he would become as seriously afflicted as a
man might be who had lost all his property. Nor was the _day_ alone
thus spent: he would frequently rise in the middle of the _night_, and
be heard walking about different parts of the house, looking after
what he had thus hidden and forgotten.

It was at this period, and at seventy-six years old, or upwards, that
Mr. Elwes began to feel, for the first time, some bodily infirmities
from age. He now experienced occasional attacks from the gout: on
which, with his usual perseverance, and with all his accustomed
antipathy to _apothecaries_, and their _bills_, he would set out
to walk as far and as fast as he could. While he was engaged in this
painful mode of cure, he frequently lost himself in the streets, the
names of which he no longer remembered, and was as frequently brought
home by some errand-boy, or stranger, of whom he had inquired his way.
On these occasions he would bow and thank them, at the door, with
great civility; but never indulged them with a sight of the inside of
the house.

During the winter of 1789, the last winter Mr. Elwes was fated to see,
his memory visibly weakened every day; and, from his unceasing wish to
save money, he now began to apprehend he should die in want of it. Mr.
Gibson had been appointed his builder in the room of Mr. Adam; and one
day, when this gentleman waited upon him, he said, with apparent
concern, "Sir, pray consider in what a wretched state I am; you see in
what a good house I am living; and here are five guineas, which is all
I have at present; and how I shall go on with such a sum of money,
puzzles me to death--I dare say you thought I was rich; now you see
how it is!"

The first symptoms of more immediate decay, was his inability to enjoy
his rest at night. Frequently would he be heard at midnight as if
struggling with some one in his chamber, and crying out, "I will keep
my money, I will; nobody shall rob me of my property!" On any one of
the family going into his room, he would start from his fever of
anxiety, and, as if wakened from a troubled dream, again hurry into
bed, and seem unconscious of what had happened. At other times, when
perfectly awake, he would walk to the spot where he had hidden his
money, to see if it was safe.

In the autumn of 1789, his memory was gone entirely; his perception of
things was decreasing very rapidly; and as the mind became unsettled,
gusts of the most violent passion usurped the place of his former
command of temper. For six weeks previous to his death, he would go to
rest in his clothes, as perfectly dressed as during the day. He was
one morning found fast asleep betwixt the sheets, with his shoes on
his feet, his stick in his hand, and an old torn hat upon his head.

Mr. Elwes, on the 18th of November, 1789, discovered signs of that
utter and total weakness, which carried him to his grave in eight
days. On the evening of the first day he was conveyed to bed--from
which he rose no more. His appetite was gone. He had but a faint
recollection of any thing about him; and his last coherent words were
addressed to his son, Mr. John Elwes, in hoping "he had left him what
he wished," On the morning of the 26th of November he expired without
a sigh!

Thus died Mr. Elwes, the most perfect model of human penury which has
been presented to the public for a long series of years.



[Illustration]

THE FLYING PYE-MAN.


This person is well known in the neighbourhood of Fleet-market, daily
making his appearance there as the vender of hot pudding and pies. His
actions and language are superior to the common way of those people
who follow so humble a calling. His hair is mostly powdered, his dress
is extremely clean, and even genteel; his tongue is constantly at
work, and his voice strong. He moves with astonishing rapidity, is
followed by a crowd, and enjoys an extensive trade.



THOMAS LAUGHER,

_Aged 109 Years_.


Thomas Laugher, supposed to be the oldest man now living in England,
was baptized on the 6th of January (old style), in the year 1700, at
Markly, Worcestershire: he now resides (June the 20th, 1809,) at the
Park coffee-house, Worcester-street, Southwark. Consequently he is
upwards of 109 years of age: his father died at the age of 97, his
mother at 108, and his son at 80.

When King William and Queen Mary died, he was a little boy: he very
well remembers Queen Anne going to the House of Peers, 1705, on
horseback, seated on a pillion, behind the Lord Chancellor. He says he
was formerly a wholesale wine and brandy merchant in Tower-street, and
that he lost, by the failure of the house of Neele, Fordyce and James,
Bartholomew-lane, the sum of £198,000; and that the sudden loss of his
property took such an effect upon him, that it struck him blind, and
speechless, and caused quantities of skin to come from off his body.
He was educated at Christ's College, Oxford; and, after a residence of
eleven years and a half at that place, he took a tour on the continent
of Europe, and visited many parts of Turkey, in which he resided
upwards of seven years.

He never drank strong beer, small beer, wine, or spirits, until he was
above 53 years of age. His principal sustenance was tea, coffee, bread
and spring water. He never ate any animal food whatever, nor butter,
nor cheese. He recollects the quartern loaf at 2-1/4d., primest meat
at 1d. per pound, and the best fresh butter at 2-1/4d. per pound.

His grandmother died 141 years old, and she lived upon dry bread and
cold pump water. This astonishing man, whose looks are truly
venerable, is, to all appearance, strong and hearty, and seems likely
to live many more years; and, for a man of his great age, can walk
about extremely well. He rises mostly at 4 o'clock in the morning,
takes a long walk before breakfast, and eats and drinks very
sparingly, though he now lives upon animal food and beer, and but
rarely, if ever, drinks any spirits, except for their proper use.

    [Since the foregoing account was written, he has departed this
    life, in the year 1812.]

[Illustration]



THE LIFE OF

DANIEL DANCER, ESQ.

    Content is wealth, the riches of the mind,
    And happy he who can that treasure find;
    But the base miser starves amidst his store,
    Broods o'er his gold; and, griping still for more,
    Sits sadly pining, and believes he's poor.

    DRYDEN.


It is presumed by philosophers, that the most important study for the
improvement of mankind is MAN; and this knowledge cannot be more
profitably acquired, than in perusing those true examples of human
life, recorded in the vicissitudes and incidents which biography
presents impartially to the mind, with the direction of truth for
their application to the purposes of our own lives and actions, for
imitation or abhorrence.

In this view, however elevated or depressed the hero of the piece may
be, some useful instruction may still be gained, as we find ourselves
more or less interested in his transactions. In relating the splendid
actions of ambitious heroes, little is offered that can be adopted or
imitated by the most numerous class of society; but in detailing the
events concomitant with the most miserable penury, a lesson is
produced fraught with wisdom, the chief purport of which is to show in
what estimation riches are in the eyes of God, who wisely and equally
condemns to human distress, the miser that scrapes, and the spendthrift
that scatters.

Avarice, the most degrading of all passions to the understanding, and
the most deleterious to our happiness, exhibits a humiliating picture
of human nature, and most impressively illustrates the undeniable
truth, that wealth cannot grant ease to its possessor; but, on the
contrary, fills him with the most alarming fears for the safety of
this imaginary good, and naturally suggests the most consolatory
reflection to forbearing poverty, whose unequal share in the
distribution of wealth is more than counterbalanced by the comparison.

With this view is here presented to the public, the following exact
particulars of the most remarkable instances of the misery which is
ever attendant upon the mind cursed with the insanity of saving. It
appears by the parish register, that Mr. Daniel Dancer was born in the
year 1716, and was the eldest of four children, three sons and a
daughter. His father lived on Harrow-Weald Common, near Harrow on the
Hill, where he possessed property to a very considerable amount, and
which his son, by the most determined and whimsical abstemiousness,
increased to upwards of three thousand pounds per annum.

The years of his minority probably passed unnoticed, as nothing is
recorded of him in his youth that might indicate the singularity and
propensity to _save_, which so peculiarly distinguished his maturer
years; but a detail of his actions is now offered to the world, as the
most perfect examples of _saving knowledge_, and how misery may be
multiplied by self-denial, for the purpose of accumulating useless
riches.

Mr. Dancer, as before observed, had a sister, whose disposition to
reserve perfectly accorded with his own; and, as they lived together
many years, their stories are necessarily connected, and will furnish,
in the sequel, the most melancholy and degrading instance of the
infirmity and folly of human nature.

The daily appearance of this lady abroad, when it happened that
necessity or condescension drew her out, exhibited the most perfect
resemblance of one of the witches in former times: for it is certain,
that had not philosophy, and the extension of knowledge, long ago
banished the belief in witchcraft, Miss Dancer had certainly been
taken up by the witch-finders, and most probably burned for her
acquaintance with poverty, which made her appear in such a
questionable form, that even the sagacious Matthew Hopkins,
witch-hunter to King James, might have mistaken this bundle of rags
for a correspondent with familiar spirits; for her appearance might,
with justice, be pronounced not to be of this fashionable world.

Her accoutrements were usually a mixture of male with female
paraphernalia, tied round with a raveling of hemp; for even in this
part of attire she studied how to make one cord last long by
untwisting it to make it go farther; and, thus equipped, she would
sally forth, armed with a broomstick or pitchfork, to check the
progress of such daring marauders as had the audacity to intrude upon
her brother's grounds; on which occasion her neighbours observed she
had more the appearance of a walking dunghill than one of the fair
sex.

The miserable hovel in which this parsimonious and uniform pair took
up their earthly residence was perfectly of a piece with themselves.
Like Drake's ship, it had suffered so much by repair, and still wanted
so much, that a bit of the original building could scarcely be
distinguished by the most diligent antiquarian; for there was not one
article of moveables which can be mentioned, but had, at one time or
another, been nailed to some part of the mansion, either to keep out
the weather, or, which Mr. and Miss Dancer deemed more troublesome,
the neighbouring feline species, which, strange to declare, often
ventured into this house of famine, lured, no doubt, by the inviting
scent of the vermin within, some of which species often had the
temerity to dispute the antiquity of their right of possession; for it
cannot be supposed that this saving pair could think of the
extravagance of keeping a cat, who daily denied themselves the natural
call of appetite.

A neighbour going in one day, found Mr. Dancer pulling some nails out
of the sides of his bellows; and, upon asking him the reason, he
replied, that wanting some nails to fasten a piece of leather to a
hole which time had effected in the boarding of the house, he thought
he could spare some out of this useful piece of furniture, which would
save buying; observing, that undertakers, trunk-makers, and
bellows-makers, were the most extravagant and wasteful fellows in the
world in their profusion of nails.

Miss Dancer's disposition exactly corresponded with his own; and she
lived, or rather vegetated, in this delightful mansion, winter and
summer, making each season keep pace with her frugal maxims; for out
of a _little_ she had learned to _spare_, as extravagance was in her
opinion the most unpardonable fault.

The purpose of life is for refinement and improvement in some pursuit
or other. This couple only lived to save money, therefore every action
of theirs only tended to the accumulation of wealth; and it was a long
time before they had arrived at the summit of the ART of SAVING, by
absolutely denying themselves regular repasts, however coarse in
quality, or scanty in quantity; for they, for a series of years, lived
as sumptuously as three pounds of _sticking_ of beef, and fourteen
hard dumplings, would allow for the short space of seven days; and
this supply, for years, served them week after week; and though,
during hot weather in summer, the meat might urge greater expedition,
and fresher supplies, yet they never were observed to relinquish their
daily portion, with one cold dumpling and a draught of water. Half a
bullock's head, with occasionally a few stale trotters, made broth for
weeks; and this was sometimes rendered more savoury by the addition of
a few picked bones which he took up in his walks, and of which he
daily deprived the dogs.

Their way of life suffered no variation; one uniform application of
the principle of _saving_ pervaded every action of their lives, and
was the constant object of every point of view. Their economical
arrangements were constantly the same, save that, now and then,
accident might throw something in their way, which might spare their
weekly expenditure for three pounds of _sticking_. Mr. Dancer's
constant and strict attention, in his walks about his grounds,
sometimes afforded him a piece of delicious viand, which the hand of
more dainty and more extravagant appetite had thrown aside; not so
much for the sake of variety, as for the nauseous increase of smell it
had acquired; which, rendering it unfit for its former owner, seemed,
when picked up, to endear it the more to the parsimonious finder, who
immediately calculated upon the saving it would produce to this
thrifty pair in their weekly commons.

An uncommon instance of this kind occurred one summer's morning, which
for many weeks discontinued the inquiries at the butcher's shop after
the allowance of neck-beef; and, while it offered a change in their
mode of living, gratified their darling avarice, and insatiable
propensity to save money. It happened one morning, as Mr. Dancer was
taking his usual walk upon the common, to pick up bones, sticks, or
any bit of rag or other matter that might go towards repairing his
clothes or his house, that he found a sheep, which had apparently died
from natural disease, and most probably was in a putrid state. This
was a rare prize for Mr. Dancer; and, incredible as it may appear, he
took it up, and bore it home on his shoulder in triumph to his sister,
who received it as the immediate gift of heaven, to bless their _poor
souls_ with a change of food; for they had not for years tasted any
thing like it; and now they were likely to feast for a great length of
time uncontrolled, and at no expense neither, which was the most
delicate _sauce_ that could accompany such a delicious morsel as
carrion mutton to the appetite of a miser.

[Illustration]

It was immediately skinned, and cut up, and the fat carefully laid
aside, and an immense number of pies made of it, with proper
seasoning; so that Mr. Dancer's house, for a while, resembled a
Perigord pie-maker's shop, preparing to pack up for exportation. On
these they feasted with their accustomed frugality for several weeks,
until the whole were exhausted. It is even said that Miss Dancer
importuned Mr. Dancer to send two handsome ones to Mr. James Taylor,
the Borough usurer.

When a miser finds a treasure, he is sure to lock it up. Whether Mr.
Dancer thought his sister extravagant in the indulgence of her stomach
at the beginning of the _pie-feast_, or whether it was his pleasure at
the thought of living at a small expense, or at the change of diet the
pies supplied, he became unusually careful of them at last, and locked
them up in one of his strong coffers. The truth of this, the following
anecdote will illustratively supply. The neighbours one morning
observing Miss Dancer rather lower spirited than usual, kindly
inquired into the cause, when after some hesitation, she acknowledged,
that her brother Daniel had scolded her for eating too much of the
mutton pies, and told her she was very extravagant, which she
observed, with tears in her eyes, was an exceeding hard case, as she
loved to save as well as himself; but what vexed her more, he had
locked them up in his strong trunk, in order to make them last longer,
not trusting her with the key. Miss Dancer, upon the whole, seems to
have been a very proper companion for her brother; for it would have
been a difficult case to have matched him any where for savingness.

This couple never manifested any predilection for any mode of worship.
Religion did not teach how to save money; so that whenever Mr. Dancer
happened to stray into a church or meeting, which happened sometimes,
in his long walks, it was only for a little rest; and he was sure to
depart before the collection was to be made, as he thought the gift of
a penny was parting with the seed of a guinea, which might by little
and little increase to an hundred. He might indeed be deemed a
Predestinarian from the following circumstance; but, as Mr. Locke
observes, "Let ever so much probability hang on one side, and a
covetous man's reasoning and money in the other, it is easy to foresee
which will outweigh." It was during the last illness, which terminated
his sister's life, that he was importuned to afford her some medical
assistance; to which he shrewdly replied, it would cost him money;
and, besides, continued he, "Why should I waste my money in wickedly
and wantonly trying to oppose the will of God? If the girl is come to
her latter end, nothing can save her; and all I may do will only tend
to make me lose my money; and she may as well die now as at any other
time. If I thought bleeding would recover her, I would open a vein
myself; but I cannot think of paying for physic for dying people." The
dread of incurring expence, and parting with his darling coin, was
insurmountable. Mr. Dancer's reasoning on the conduct of Providence,
even tended towards his favourite penchant--SAVE MONEY.

Perhaps never having felt the inconvenience of ill health, or, from
that callosity of heart ever attendant upon the avaricious mind, he,
at this period, allowed his sister, in her last exigency, but the
usual portion of _sticking of beef_, with the cold hard dumpling;
to which he added the miser's humanity, "If you don't like it, why, go
without." But Mr. Dancer's deficiency of care was very amply supplied
by the late lady Tempest, who afforded every attention and kindness
necessary to the case of Miss Dancer. The latter was possessed of more
than 2000l. which she intended to leave Lady Tempest for her
extraordinary care of her in her last illness; but she, unfortunately
for Lady Tempest, expired before she could sign a will in her favour;
and her property being thus left intestate, and at the disposition of
the law, her two brothers wished equally to divide it with Mr. Dancer;
but to this proposal he would not agree, and obstinately refused to
comply with any proposal they could make, insomuch that, after a long
while persevering, and obstinately refusing to come to any agreement
of participation, a law-suit followed, and Mr. Dancer recovered 1040l.
of his sister's fortune, as the regular price of her board and lodging
for thirty years, at thirty pounds per annum, and one hundred pounds
for the last two years; for this charge he declared to be very
_reasonable_, as during that time she had done nothing but _eat_ and
_lie in bed_. The remainder of her fortune, after these extraordinary
deductions, was equally divided between the two brothers and Mr.
Dancer.

Mr. Dancer's calculations for saving money were systematical and
regular; nothing escaped his attention to that sole object of his
soul; and so rigid was his avarice, that he rarely washed his face or
hands, because soap was dear, towels would wear out, and, besides,
when dirty were expensive washing. However, to obviate the too great
inconvenience of the accumulation of filth, he would, once in two or
three weeks, in summer time, repair to a neighbouring pond, and there
wash himself with sand, and afterwards lie on his back in the grass to
dry his skin in the sunshine.

His wardrobe might very justly boast more sorts and colours, and more
substances, than the paraphernalia of a strolling company of players.
His stockings were so much darned, that it was difficult to discern
what they were for patches; for none of the original could ever be
discovered; and in dirty or cold weather, they were strongly fortified
with ropes of twisted hay, for which he had a happy talent. This
contrivance served him for boots; and when he declined them, he could
untwist them, and they served to increase the bulk of his bed.

For many years it was his opinion that every man ought to be his own
cobbler; and for this employ he had a lucky genius, which he indulged
so far as to keep by him the most necessary tools for mending shoes;
but these, it must impartially be observed, cost him nothing; for he
had borrowed one at a time from different persons until he had
possessed himself of a complete set, and with these he mended his own
shoes so admirably, that what he wore, by the frequent jobs and
coverings they had received from his thrifty hands, had become so
ponderous, that running a race in them would have been impracticable;
and, besides, their dimensions were so much enlarged, that they
resembled hog-troughs more than shoes. To keep these upon his feet, he
took several yards of cord, which he twisted round his ancles in the
manner the ancient Romans wore their sandals.

Linen was a luxury to which, notwithstanding his avaricious
disposition, he was not quite a stranger; for at an early period of
his saving career, he used to buy two shirts annually; but for some
years previous to his death, he never allowed himself more than one,
for which he would constantly bestow at some old clothes shop two
shillings and sixpence; and was never but once known to go to so
_handsome_ a price as three shillings. After it had got into his
possession, it never underwent the necessary operation either of
washing or mending; upon his back it was doomed to perpetual slavery
until it fell off in rags. Hence it cannot be doubted, nor will it
surprise the reader to be told, that, notwithstanding Mr. Dancer's
peculiarity of disposition induced him to shun the world, he never was
without a numerous retinue about him, whose lively spirit, and
attachment to his person, made his acquaintance, as well as his
neighbours, extremely cautious of approaching him.

After his sister's death, a pair of sheets, as black as soot bags,
were discovered upon the bed; but these he would never suffer to be
removed; and when they were worn out, were never replaced; so that
after that time he relinquished the use of linen to sleep in.

He would not allow any one to make his bed, though Lady Tempest often
solicited him to permit it; and for many years his room was never
swept. Towards the time of his death, it was observed to be filled
with sticks, which he had stolen out of the different hedges. A
considerable quantity of odd shapen gravel stones were also found in a
bag, but for what use these were intended is unknown.

The report of his riches, and the idea of its concealment about the
house, once brought a troop of house-breakers, who very easily
entered, and, without any search-warrant, rummaged every corner of the
place; but although this domiciliary visit cost the lives of some of
them, they took away but little property. Old Dancer had been long on
his guard; and his mode of hiding was so peculiar to himself, that the
grand object of the thieves was never discoverable by them. Mr. Dancer
concealed his treasure where no one could ever think of seeking for
it. Bank notes were usually deposited with the spiders; they were hid
amongst the cobwebs in the cow-house; and guineas in holes in the
chimney, and about the fire-place, covered with soot and ashes. Soon
after the robbery, when the thieves were apprehended, and to be tried,
it being very necessary that Mr. Dancer should attend the trial, Lady
Tempest requested that in order to appear a little decent, he would
change his shirt, and she would lend him a clean one. "No, no," he
replied, "it is not necessary. The shirt I have on is quite _new_; I
bought it only three weeks ago, and then it was clean."

His extreme love of money overcame every other consideration; and to
this idol, Mammon, he even sacrificed brotherly affection. From the
evident want of this principle, and to his attachment to gain, may be
accounted his strange behaviour, as before related, to his sister at
her latter end. But in one singular instance, and to the canine
species too, he seemed, in some measure, to forego his favourite idea
of saving. This was a dog, of which he was extremely fond, and which
he called by the familiar appellation of, _Bob my child_. His
treatment of this animal affords an instance of that inconsistency of
human acting, which philosophy seeks in vain to account for.

While his self-denial was so severe that he denied himself a penny
loaf a day, and existed entirely upon Lady Tempest's pot liquor and
scraps from her kitchen, of which he would cram so greedily, that he
was frequently under the necessity of rolling himself upon the floor
before he could go to sleep, he allowed this dog, he called Bob, a
pint of milk daily; and this he paid for as it was constantly supplied
by a neighbouring farmer, when he had parted with his farming stock,
and had not one cow left.

Once upon a time a complaint being made to him that his dog Bob had
worried some of his neighbour's sheep, he took the dog to a farrier's
shop, and had all his teeth filed down.

[Illustration]

For this barbarous action he never gave any reason; possibly it might
be to prevent the like again; as he might shrewdly guess, that any
further damage from his dog's mischievous manner might bring expenses
upon him, as he was certainly liable to be compelled to pay them.

His sister being dead, and finding himself lonesome, he hired a man
for his companion; and in his choice he shewed much discernment; for
his man Griffiths was a proper counterpart of himself--both miserable
alike. When they went out, they took different roads, though both
followed the same occupation; only that the servant indulged more
taste for strong beer; a liquor which Mr. Dancer carefully avoided, as
costing money; but Griffiths would tipple a little, which was the
cause of much altercation at night when these _saving_ souls met.
However, Griffiths generally came loaded with bones, some of which
having some fragments of flesh on, served to heighten their repast,
and quieted the master's impending storm. This fellow had, by as
severe parsimony as that exercised by Mr. Dancer, contrived to
accumulate 500l. out of wages which had never exceeded 10l. per annum.
At the time he lived with Mr. Dancer, he was upwards of sixty, and
hired himself to him for _eighteen pence a week_. Every trait of so
singular a character is interesting. Mr. Dancer having occasion to
come to London one day for the purpose of investing _two thousand_
pounds in the funds, a gentleman, who did not _know_ him, met him near
the Royal Exchange, and mistaking him for a beggar, charitably slipped
a penny into his hands. Jemmy Taylor, the Borough usurer, who stood
by, was a little surprised; but Mr. Dancer seemed to understand the
gentleman very well; and observing to Taylor, _every little helps_, he
pocketed the half-pence, and walked on. Perhaps he might consider this
penny as the seed or a pound, to which it might attain by gentle
gradations; and as the human mind is always pleased with prospects of
what it wishes, Mr. Dancer might contemplate this penny multiplying
itself progressively, until it arrived at thousands; for, as Lord
Chesterfield observes, _take care of the pence, and the pounds will
take care of themselves_. In fact, the truth is, that wealth is at
first acquired by very minute particles: small sums are the semina of
great ones, and may very aptly be compared to seconds of time, which
generate years, centuries, and even eternity itself.

Lady Tempest was the only person who had any influence over this
unfortunate miser; and though she knew his fortune was at last to
devolve to her and Captain Holmes, yet she, with that gentleman, with
the utmost solicitude, employed every contrivance to make him partake
of those conveniences and indulgences, which his fortune could supply,
and which his advanced years required; but all their entreaties were
without effect. "Where was he to get the money? How could he afford
it? If it was not for some charitable assistance, how could he live?"
One day, however, this lady, with a great deal of persuasion,
prevailed upon him to purchase a hat, which he did at last, of a Jew,
for a shilling, having worn the one he then possessed upwards of
fourteen years; but yet it was too good in his eye to throw away. When
Lady Tempest visited him the next time, she, to her great astonishment,
perceived him still with his old hat on. On importuning him for the
reason, he at last told her, that, after much solicitation, he had
prevailed on his OLD MAN GRIFFITHS to give him SIXPENCE profit upon
the hat he had purchased, by her desire, of the Jew, a few days
before.

To those who cannot exist without every conveniency in life, and even
without every artificial appendage to luxury, let them turn to this
old miser, worth more than THREE THOUSAND pounds per annum, who, for
the sake of making that sum still more, foregoes even that superlative
comfort, a fire in winter time! Ye spendthrifts, read this anecdote
and blush.

Mr. Dancer had arrived at his 78th year before he felt any serious
cause of complaint to call in a doctor. His antipathy to the medical
tribe has been already mentioned; therefore it was in vain to advise
him to take any medicine, even when there was a necessity for it.

During the illness which terminated this miserable man's misspent
life, in the 78th year of his age, in the month of October 1794, Lady
Tempest accidentally called upon him, and found him lying in an old
sack, which came up to his chin, and his head wrapped up in pieces of
the same materials as big as a bee-hive. On her remonstrating against
the impropriety of such a situation, he observed, that being a _very
poor man_, he could not afford better; and having come into the
world without a shirt, he was determined to go out in the same manner.

His opinion of the professors of physic was rather singular, and
seemed to border upon predestination. To use his own language, the
_medical tinkers_ were all a set of rogues; who, while they patched up
one hole, always contrived to make ten, for a better job; but he
allowed of the utility of surgery in repairing accidental fractures.

His prejudice against the whole tribe of lawyers was determined in the
extreme. Indeed, his inveteracy was the result of strongly feeling the
effects of their chicanery; and his aversion to this class of men was
so great, that he would even forego his own interest to gratify his
resentment, as the following anecdote will prove.

Having, as was usually his half yearly custom, agreed with an old
clothes-woman for a shirt for half a crown, as he thought, the dealer
called at his house, and left him one worth three shillings; but for
which he refused to pay any more than his original agreement of 2s.
6d. Notwithstanding the party urged the goodness and the fineness of
the article, Mr. Dancer was impenetrable; and no more than the
half-crown would he pay; which the woman as peremptorily refusing, at
last applied to the court of Requests of the district, to which he was
obliged to repair, although it cost him fivepence on the journey for
bread and cheese, and the cost of hearing, &c. in all upwards of four
shillings and sixpence. This had such an effect on Mr. Dancer's mind,
that he ever afterwards held the lawyers in abhorrence; for to give,
or pay, were not to be found in his vocabulary. Addition and
multiplication were his favourite rules, and usury was the foundation
of his good deeds.

Though Mr. Dancer, by his spirit of covetousness, debased himself in
this sordid manner, yet he kept a mare, for which he showed a great
partiality; but he never allowed her more than two shoes at one time,
deeming it an unnecessary expense to shoe the hind feet of the animal;
and he used to say, it was more pleasant for a horse to feel the naked
grass, than to be confined in unnatural shoes.

Mr. Dancer was the most perfect picture of human penury that perhaps
ever existed, and the most singular character that ever lived; his
habits were those of an hermit, and his extreme avarice rendered him
as abstemious as any ascetic of the desert.

In this manner lived, and in this situation died, Daniel Dancer,
Esquire, a monumental proof to the world, that the advantages of
fortune, unless properly directed, will not make their possessor
happy. Lady Tempest, it ought to be observed here, had but a very
short enjoyment of the great accession of wealth she acquired by this
miser's death; for she contracted an illness during her attendance
upon Mr. Dancer's last hours, that in a few months closed the period
of her own life, which happened in January, 1795.

The house, or rather the heap of ruins, in which Mr. Dancer lived, and
which, at his death, devolved to the right of Captain Holmes, was a
most miserable decayed building, frightful and terrific in its outside
appearance; for it had not been repaired for more than half a century.
But though poor in external appearance, the ruinous fabric was very
rich in the interior. It took many weeks to explore its whole contents;
and Captain Holmes and Lady Tempest found it a very agreeable task to
dive into the miser's secrets. One of the late Mr. Dancer's richest
scrutoires was found to be a dung-heap in the cow-house; a sum little
short of £2500 was contained in this rich piece of manure; and in an
old jacket, carefully tied, and strongly nailed down to the manger, in
bank-notes and gold, five hundred pounds more.

Several large bowls, filled with guineas, half-guineas, and quantities
of silver, were discovered, at different times, in searching the
corners of the house; and various parcels of bank-notes stuffed under
the covers of old chairs and cushions. In the stable the Captain found
some jugs of dollars and shillings. It was observable, that Mr. Dancer
used to visit this place in the dead of the night; but for what purpose
even old Griffiths himself could not guess; but it is supposed, it was
to rob one jug to add to a bowl which he had buried, and was nearly
full, when taken up from under one of the hearth tiles.

The chimney was not left unsearched, and paid very well for the
trouble; for in nineteen different holes, all filled with soot, were
found various sums of money, amounting together to more than 200l.
Bank-notes to the value of 600l. were found doubled up in the bottom of
an old tea-pot. Over these was a bit of paper, whimsically inscribed,
"Not to be too hastily looked over."

Mr. Dancer's principal acquaintance, and the most congenial companion
of his soul, was the penurious Jemmy Taylor, of the Borough of
Southwark. This genius became acquainted with him accidentally at the
Stock Exchange, where they chanced to meet to transact some money
affairs: and they often visited each other afterwards; for it was a
certain satisfaction to each to edify by the other's experience. No
doubt their conversation ran much upon refinements in _hard living_;
for Jemmy was as rigid an ascetic as the other, though he did not go
quite in so beggarly a style.


FINIS.



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THE ORPHAN BOY; or, a Journey to Bath. Founded on Fact. By MARY
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      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained
as printed.

The Table of Contents was not present in the original text and has
been produced for the reader's convenience.





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