Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Eighteenth Century Vignettes
Author: Dobson, Austin
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Eighteenth Century Vignettes" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



EIGHTEENTH CENTURY VIGNETTES

By Austin Dobson


1892



TO

MY WIFE



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION OF 1892.

|Sixteen of the twenty papers comprised in this volume appeared in
America; but only one of these--'The Citizen of the World'--has been
reprinted in England. Of the four papers remaining, one was published
(in part) in the _Saturday Review_, and the other three in _Longman's
Magazine_, the _National Review_, and the _Library_ respectively. Where
permission to reprint was required, it has been obtained; and it is
hereby gratefully acknowledged.

With the exception of the last two, which are more general in character
than the rest, the papers are now chronologically arranged. They do not
by any means exhaust the list of subjects originally drawn up by their
writer for the kind of episodical treatment at which they aim; and
should these first experiments find a public, it is not impossible that
they may be followed by a further collection.

|The first series of 'Eighteenth Century Vignettes' was succeeded in
1894 by a second, and in 1896 by a third series. The second and third
series were printed at the Chiswick Press; the first was printed from
American plates. In issuing a second and revised edition of this first
series, it has been thought desirable to print the book in England. It
has also been extended by a further paper--'At Leicester Fields.' This
originally appeared in the _English Illustrated Magazine_ for August,
1886, but has now been corrected to date and very materially enlarged.



I. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY VIGNETTES.

|ON the 19th of May, 1708, Her Majesty Queen Anne being then upon the
throne of Great Britain and Ireland, a coach with two horses, gaudy
rather than neat in its appointments, drew up at the door of my Lord
Sunderland's Office in Whitehall. It contained a lady about thirty, of
considerable personal attractions, and dressed richly in cinnamon satin.
She was a brunette, with a rather high forehead, the height of which was
ingeniously broken by two short locks upon the temples. Moreover, she
had distinctly fine eyes, and a mouth which, in its normal state, must
have been arch and pretty, but was now drawn down at the corners under
the influence of some temporary irritation. As the coach stopped,
a provincial-looking servant promptly alighted, pulled out from the
box-seat a large case of the kind used for preserving the voluminous
periwigs of the period, and subsequently extracted from the same
receptacle a pair of shining new shoes with square toes and silver
buckles. These, with the case, he carried carefully into the house,
returning shortly afterwards. Then ensued what, upon the stage, would
be called 'an interval' during which time the high forehead of the lady
began to cloud visibly with impatience, and the corners of her mouth to
grow more ominous. At length, about twenty minutes later, came a sound
of laughter and noisy voices; and by-and-by bustled out of the Cockpit
portal a square-shouldered, square-faced man in a rich dress, which,
like the coach, was a little showy. He wore a huge black full-bottomed
periwig. Speaking with a marked Irish accent, he made profuse apologies
to the occupant of the carriage--apologies which, as might be expected,
were not well received. An expression of vexation came over his
good-tempered face as he took his seat at the lady's side, and he lapsed
for a few minutes into a moody silence. But before they had gone many
yards, his dark, deep-set eyes began to twinkle once more as he looked
about him. When they passed the Tilt-Yard a detachment of the Second
Troop of Life Guards, magnificent in their laced red coats, jack boots,
and white feathers, came pacing out on their black horses. They took
their way towards Charing Cross, and for a short distance followed the
same route as the chariot. The lady was loftily indifferent to their
presence; and she was, besides, on the further side of the vehicle. But
her companion manifestly recognized some old acquaintances among them,
and was highly gratified at being recognized in his turn, although at
the same time it was evident he was also a little apprehensive lest
the 'Gentlemen of the Guard,' as they were called, should be needlessly
demonstrative in their acknowledgment of his existence. After this,
nothing more of moment occurred. Slowly mounting St. James's Street,
the coach turned down Piccadilly, and, passing between the groups of
lounging lackeys at the gate, entered Hyde Park. Here, by the time
it had once made the circuit of the Ring, the lady's equanimity was
completely restored, and the gentleman was radiant. He was, in truth, to
use his own words, 'no undelightful Companion.' He possessed an infinite
fund of wit and humour; and his manner to women had a sincerity of
deference which was not the prevailing characteristic of his age.

There is but slender invention in this little picture. The gentleman was
Captain Steele, late of the Life Guards, the Coldstreams, and Lucas's
regiment of foot, now Gazetteer, and Gentleman Waiter to Queen Anne's
consort, Prince George of Denmark, and not yet 'Mr. Isaac Bickerstaff'
of the immortal 'Tatler.' The lady was Mrs. Steele, _née_ Miss Mary
Scurlock, his 'Ruler' and 'absolute Governesse' (as he called her),
to whom he had been married some eight months before. If you ask at the
British Museum for the Steele manuscripts (Add. MSS. 5,145, A, B, and
C), the courteous attendant will bring you, with its faded ink, dusky
paper, and hasty scrawl, the very letter making arrangements for this
meeting ('best Periwigg' and 'new Shoes' included), at the end of
which the writer assures his 'dear Prue' (another pet name) that she
is 'Vitall Life to YT Oblig'd Affectionate Husband & Humble Sernt Richd
Steele.' There are many such in the quarto volume of which this forms
part, written from all places, at all times, in all kinds of hands. They
take all tones; they are passionate, tender, expostulatory, playful,
dignified, lyric, didactic. It must be confessed that from a perusal
of them one's feeling for the lady of the chariot is not entirely
unsympathetic. It can scarcely have been an ideal household, that 'third
door right hand turning out of Jermyn Street,' to which so many of them
are addressed; and Mrs. Steele must frequently have had to complain to
her _confidante_, Mrs. (or Miss) Binns (a lady whom Steele is obviously
anxious to propitiate), of the extraordinary irregularity of her
restless lord and master. Now a friend from Barbados has stopped him on
his way home, and he will come (he writes) 'within a Pint of Wine;' now
it is Lord Sunderland who is keeping him indefinitely at the Council;
now the siege of Lille and the proofs of the 'Gazette' will detain him
until ten at night. Sometimes his vague 'West Indian business' (that is,
his first wife's property) hurries him suddenly into the City;
sometimes he is borne off to the Gentleman Ushers' table at St. James's.
Sometimes, even, he stays out all night, as he had done not many days
before the date of the above meeting, when he had written to beg that
his dressing-gown, his slippers, and 'clean Linnen' might be sent to
him at 'one Legg's,' a barber 'over against the Devill Tavern at Charing
Crosse,' where he proposes to lie that night, chiefly, it has been
conjectured from the context, in order to escape certain watchful
'shoulder-dabbers' who were hanging obstinately about his own mansion
in St. James's. For--to tell the truth--he was generally hopelessly
embarrassed, and scarcely ever without a lawsuit on his hands. He was
not a bad man; he was not necessarily vicious or dissolute. But his
habits were incurably generous, profuse, and improvident; and his
sanguine Irish nature led him continually to mistake his expectations
for his income. Naturally, perhaps, his 'absolute Governesse' complained
of an absolutism so strangely limited. If her affection for him was
scarcely as ardent as his passion for her, it was still a genuine
emotion. But to a coquette of some years' standing, and 'a cried-up
beauty' (as Mrs. Manley calls her), the realities of her married life
must have been a cruel disappointment; and she was not the woman to
conceal it. 'I wish,' says her husband in one of his letters, 'I knew
how to Court you into Good Humour, for Two or Three Quarrells more
will dispatch me quite.' Of her replies we have no knowledge; but from
scattered specimens of her style when angry, they must often have been
exceptionally scornful and unconciliatory. On one occasion, where he
addresses her as 'Madam,' and returns her note to her in order that she
may see, upon second thoughts, the disrespectful manner in which she
treats him, he is evidently deeply wounded. She has said that their
dispute is far from being a trouble to her, and he rejoins that to him
any disturbance between them is the greatest affliction imaginable. And
then he goes on to expostulate, with more dignity than usual, against
her unreasonable use of her prerogative. 'I Love you,' he says, 'better
than the light of my Eyes, or the life-blood in my Heart but when I have
lett you know that, you are also to understand that neither my sight
shall be so far inchanted, or my affection so much master of me as to
make me forgett our common Interest. To attend my businesse as I ought
and improve my fortune it is necessary that my time and my Will should
be under no direction but my own.' Clearly his bosom's queen had been
inquiring too closely into his goings and comings. It is a strange
thing, he says, in another letter, that, because she is handsome, he
must be always giving her an account of every trifle, and minute of
his time. And again--'Dear Prue, do not send after me, for I shall be
ridiculous:' It had happened to him, no doubt. 'He is governed by his
wife most abominably, as bad as Marlborough,' says another contemporary
letter-writer. And we may fancy the blue eyes of Dr. Swift flashing
unutterable scorn as he scribbles off this piece of intelligence to
Stella and Mrs. Dingley.

In the letters which follow Steele's above-quoted expostulation, the
embers of misunderstanding flame and fade, to flame and fade again. A
word or two of kindness makes him rapturous; a harsh expression sinks
him to despair. As time goes on, the letters grow fewer, and the
writers grow more used to each other's ways. But to the last Steele's
affectionate nature takes fire upon the least encouragement. Once, years
afterwards, when Prue is in the country and he is in London, and she
calls him 'Good Dick,' it throws him into such a transport that he
declares he could forget his gout, and walk down to her at Wales. 'My
dear little peevish, beautiful, wise Governess, God bless you,' the
letter ends. In another he assures her that, lying in her place and on
her pillow, he fell into tears from thinking that his 'charming little
insolent might be then awake and in pain'-.with headache. She wants
flattery, she says, and he flatters her. 'Her son,' he declares, 'is
extremely pretty, and has his face sweetened with something of the Venus
his mother, which is no small delight to the Vulcan who begot him.' He
assures her that, though she talks of the children, they are dear to him
more because they are hers than because they are his own. *

     * A few sentences in this paper are borrowed from the
     writer's 'Life of Steele,' 1886.

And this reminds us that some of the best of his later letters are about
his family. Once, at this time of their mother's absence in Wales, he
says that he has invited his eldest daughter to dinner with one of her
teachers, because she had represented to him 'in her pretty language
that she seemed helpless and friendless, without anybody's taking notice
of her at Christmas, when all the children but she and two more were
with their relations.' So now they are in the room where he is writing.
'I told Betty,' he adds, 'I had writ to you; and she made me open the
letter again, and give her humble duty to her mother, and desire to know
when she shall have the honour to see her in town.' No doubt this was in
strict accordance with the proprieties as practised at Mrs. Nazereau's
polite academy in Chelsea; but somehow one suspects that 'Madam Betty'
would scarcely have addressed the writer of the letter with the same
boarding-school formality. 'Elsewhere the talk is all of Eugene, the
eldest boy. 'Your son, at the present writing, is mighty well employed
in tumbling on the floor of the room and sweeping the sand with a
feather. He grows a most delightful child, and very full of play and
spirit. He is also a very great scholar: he can read his Primer; and
I have brought down my Virgil. He makes most shrewd remarks upon the
pictures. We are very intimate friends and play-fellows.' Yes: decidedly
Steele's children must have loved their clever, faulty, kindly father.



II. PRIOR'S 'KITTY.'

|IN the year 1718, and presumably after Mr. Matthew Prior had already
printed his tall and extremely miscellaneous _folio_ of 'Poems on
Several Occasions,' there was published separately a little _jeu
d'esprit_ by the same 'eminent Hand,' which has not been regarded as the
least fortunate of his efforts. In its first fugitive form, now so rare
as to be known only to a few highly-favoured collectors, it is a single
page or leaf of eight quatrains; and of this there are two issues, both
attributing the verses to Prior, both claiming to be authentic,
both unauthorised. The earlier, which is dated, is headed 'Upon Lady
_Katherine H--des_ first appearing at the _Play-House_ in _Drury-Lane_;'
the other, 'from Curll's chaste press,' bears the title of 'The Female
Phaeton,' by which the piece is now known. The person indicated was the
second daughter of Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon and Rochester, and the
grandchild of the great Lord Chancellor and historian of the Rebellion.
As she was born in 1700, she must at this time have been eighteen. She
was 'beautiful,' says the poet; 'she was wild as Colt untam'd;' she was,
besides,=

```'Inflam'd with Rage at sad Restraint,

````Which wise Mamma ordain'd.'=

Her elder sister, Jane--the 'blooming _Hide,_ with Eyes so rare,' of
whom John Gay had sung in the 'Prologue' to 'The Shepherd's Week'--was
already married to the Earl of Essex. Why should not She, too, be a
Toast, and 'bring home Hearts by Dozens'?=

```'Dearest Mamma, for once let me,

````Unchain'd, my Fortune try;

```I'll have my Earl, as well as She,

````Or know the Reason why.'=

And so the stanzas, eternally human and therefore eternally modern,
dance and sparkle to their natural ending:=

```'Fondness prevail'd, Mamma gave way;

````Kitty, at Heart's Desire,

```Obtains the Chariot for a Day,

````And set the World on Fire.'=

Apart from the reference to Drury Lane Theatre supplied by the title,
there is no clue to the incident recorded. But two years after Prior
wrote these playful verses, which were sent to the lady through Mr.
Harcourt, Catherine Hyde verified her poet's words by securing a suitor
of even higher rank than her sister's husband. In March, 1720, she
married Charles Douglas, third Duke of Queensberry, an amiable and
accomplished nobleman, who, it has been hinted, must sometimes have been
considerably 'exercised' by the vagaries of the charming but impetuous
'child of Nature' whom he had selected for his helpmate. Indeed, despite
her ability, many of her less sympathetic contemporaries did not scruple
to suggest that her Grace's eccentricities almost amounted to a touch
of insanity. Bolingbroke called her '_Sa Singularité_;' Walpole spoke
of her roundly as 'an out-pensioner of Bedlam.' But neither the Abbot of
Strawberry nor Pope's 'guide, philosopher, and friend' had any right
to set up for a Forbes-Winslow or a Brouardel; and there is in reality
little more in what is related of her than might be expected of one who,
at once a spoiled child, a beauty, and a woman of parts, deliberately
revolted against the tyrannous conventionalities of her time. To the
last she persistently declined, as she told Swift, to 'cut and curl her
hair like a sheep's head,' in accordance with the reigning fashion; and
she affected in her dress a simplicity and youthfulness which nothing
but the good looks she contrived to retain so long, could possibly have
justified. She had a fancy for idyllic travesties, appearing now as a
shepherdess, now as a peasant, now as a milkmaid. *

     * In this last character Charles Jervas painted her. The
     picture is in the National Portrait Gallery. She has hazel
     eyes and dark-brown hair.

Upon one occasion she scandalized the court-usher soul of Horace Walpole
by masquerading at St. James's in a costume of red flannel. As a rule,
she carried her innovations triumphantly; but now and then she was
forced to yield to a will more imperative than her own. Once the
fantastic old King of Rath tore off her favourite white apron in the
Pump Room, flinging it contemptuously among the 'waiting gentlewomen' in
the hinder benches. 'None but abigails wore white aprons,' he declared;
and the grande dame _de par la monde_ made a virtue of necessity, and
submitted. In her own entertainments, however, she seems to have been
as despotic as Nash, insisting that people should come early and leave
early, and declining to provide the profuse refreshments then expected.
High-spirited and whimsical no doubt she was; but the stories told
of her are probably exaggerated. Those who praise her, praise her
unreservedly. Her character was unblemished. She was truthful; she was
honest; she was not a flatterer. And she was certainly fearless, for she
dared, even in the rudimentary epoch of the two-pronged fork, to rally
the terrible Dean of St. Patrick's for that deplorable habit--so justly
deprecated by the Historian of Snobs--of putting his knife in his mouth.
When she saw any one 'administer the cold steel,' as Thackeray calls it,
she would shriek out in affected terror lest they should do themselves a
mischief. She seems, although they never really met after her girlhood,
to have wholly subjugated Swift, whose final tone to her comes
perilously close to that fulsome adulation which, in others, stirred his
fiercest scorn. 'I will excuse your blots upon paper,' he says, writing
to her after Gay death, 'because they are the only blots you ever did,
or ever will make, in the whole course of your life.' Further on he
refers 'to the universal, almost idolatrous esteem you have forced from
every person in two kingdoms, who have the least regard for virtue.' It
is her peculiar art, he tells her again, to bribe 'all wise and good
men to be her flatterers.' Swift was no paragon; but the praise of Swift
outweighs the sneers of Walpole.

She was the friend of men of letters--this capricious great lady, and
they have judged her best. To Swift in particular it was an attraction
that she loved and befriended his favourite Gay. The earlier part of the
brief correspondence from which the above quotation is borrowed, shows
the Duchess in her most amiable light; and it was with Gay that it
originated. From the days of her marriage she had protected and petted
that fat and feckless fabulist; she had championed him in the matter of
his second ballad-opera in such a way as to procure her own exile from
Court; and at the time she began to write to Swift, Gay was domiciled at
the Duke's country house at Ambresbury, or Amesbury, near Salisbury, in
Wiltshire. Gay begins by sending Swift the Duchess's 'services,' and by
wishing on his own account that Swift could come to England,--could
come to Amesbury. Swift replies with conventional acknowledgment of
the civility of the lady, whom he had not seen since she was a girl. He
hears an ill thing of her, he says'--that she is _matre pulchrâ filia
pulchrior_, and he would be angry she should excel her mother (Jane
Leveson Gower), who, of old, had long been his 'principal goddess.'
In the letter that succeeds, the Duchess herself adds a postscript to
confirm Gay's invitation. 'I would fain have you come,' she writes. 'I
can't say you'll be welcome; for I don't know you, and perhaps I shall
not like you; but if I do not (unless you are a very vain person), you
shall know my thoughts as soon as I do myself.' No mode of address could
have suited Swift's humour better; and part of his next epistle to Gay
replies to her challenge in the true Swiftian style. He begins very low
down on the page--'as a mark of respect, like receiving her Grace at the
bottom of the stairs.' He goes on with a protest for form's sake against
the imperious manner of her advances; but he argues ingeniously that
she must like him, since they are both unpopular with the Queen. If he
comes, 'he will,' he adds, 'out of fear and prudence, appear as vain as
he can, that he may not know her thoughts of him.' His closing sentences
are in Malvolio's manner. 'This is your own direction, but it was
needless. For Diogenes himself would be vain, to have received the
honour of being one moment of his life in the thoughts of your grace.'

After this, _les épées s'engagent_. As to the correspondence that
ensued, opinions differ widely. Warton discovered 'exquisite humour
and pleasantry' in Swift's 'affected bluntness,' and compares him to
Voiture,--to Waller writing to Sacharissa on her marriage. Later editors
are less enthusiastic, regarding the whole series of letters as 'empty,
laboured, and childish on both sides.' Each of these verdicts is
extreme. Swift tempering candour by compliment, is an unusual but not
an impossible spectacle; while the Duchess writes exactly as one would
expect her to write with Swift's fast friend at her elbow. Gay, knowing
that she will probably follow him, warns Swift playfully that she has
her antipathies,--that she likes her own way,--that she is very frank,
and that in any dispute he must be on her side. Thereupon her Grace
takes up the pen herself:

'Write I must, particularly now, as I have an opportunity to indulge
my predominant passion of contradiction. I do, in the first place,
contradict most things Mr. _Gay_ says of me, to deter you from coming
here; which if you ever do, I hereby assure you, that, unless I like
my own way better, you shall have yours; and in all disputes you
shall convince me if you can. But, by what I see of you, this is not
a misfortune, that will always happen; for I find you are a great
mistaker. For example, you take prudence for imperiousness:'tis from
this first that I determined not to like one, who is too giddy-headed
for me to be certain whether or no I shall ever be acquainted with
[him]. I have known people take great delight in building castles in the
air; but I should choose to build friends upon a more solid foundation.
I would fain know you; for I often hear more good likable things [of
you] than 'tis possible any one can deserve. Pray, come, that I may
find out something wrong; for I, and I believe most women, have an
inconceivable pleasure to find out any faults, except their own. Mr.
_Cibber_ is made poet laureate. * I am, Sir, as much your humble servant
as I can be to any person I don't know.

'C. Q.

'P.S. Mr. _Gay_ is very peevish that I spell and write ill; but I don't
care: for neither the pen nor I can do better. Besides, I think you have
flattered me, and such people ought to be put to trouble.'

That this fashion of writing, so new to him, should not have captivated
Swift, is impossible. He could not accept the invitation; but at least
he could prolong the correspondence. In his next letter he enters upon
preliminaries. He is old, dull, peevish, perverse, morose. Has=

````* 'Harmonious Cibber entertains

````The Court with annual Birth-day Strains;

````Whence Gay was banish'd in Disgrace.'

`````Swift, On Poetry: a Rhapsody, 1733.=

she a clear voice?--and will she let him sit at her left hand, for
his right ear is the better? Can the parson of the parish play at
backgammon, and hold his tongue? Has she a good nurse among her women,
in case he should fancy himself sick? How long will she maintain him and
his equipage if he comes? A week or two later, in the form of another
postscript to Gay, follows the reply of the Duchess:

'It was Mr. _Gay's_ fault that I did not write sooner; which if I had,
I should hope you would have been here by this time; for I have to tell
you, all your articles are agreed to; and that I only love my own way,
when I meet not with others whose ways I like better. I am in great
hopes that I shall approve of yours; for to tell you the truth, I am at
present a little tired of my own. I have not a clear or distinct voice,
except when I am angry; but I am a very good nurse, when people don't
fancy themselves sick. Mr. _Gay_ knows this; and he knows too how to
play at backgammon. Whether the parson of the parish can, I know not;
but if he cannot hold his tongue, I can. Pray set out the first fair
wind and stay with us as long as ever you please. I cannot name my fixed
time, that I shall like to maintain you and your equipage; but if I
don't happen to like you, I know I can so far govern my temper as to
endure you for about five days. So come away directly; at all hazards
you'd be allowed a good breathing time. I shall make no sort of
respectful conclusions; for till I know you, I cannot tell what I am to
you.'

And so the correspondence, always conducted on the one side by Gay
and his kind protectress, or Gay and the Duke, protracts itself until
arrives to Swift that fatal missive from Pope and Arbuthnot announcing
Gay's sudden death,--a missive which, overmastered by a foreboding of
its contents, he kept unopened for days. At a later date some further
communications followed between Swift and the Duchess. But he liked best
her postscripts to his dead friend's letters. 'They made up,' he told
Pope unaffectedly, 'a great part of the little happiness I could have
here.'

Swift survived Gay for nearly fifteen years, and the Duchess lived
far into the reign of George the Third. In the changing procession of
Walpole's pages one gets glimpses of her from time to time, generally
emphasized by some malicious anecdote or epithet. At the coronation she
returned to Court, appearing with perfectly white hair. Yet, four years
before her death, Walpole says of her that (by twilight) you would
sooner 'take her for a young beauty of an old-fashioned century than
for an antiquated goddess of this age.' Indeed her all-conquering charms
seduced him into panegyric; and one day in 1771, she found these verses
on her toilet-table, wrung from her most persistent detractor:=

````'To many a Kitty, Love his car

`````Will for a day engage,

````But Prior's Kitty, ever fair,

`````Obtained it for an age!'=

She was then seventy-one. In later life she was often at her seat of
Drumlanrig, in Dumfriesshire (where she was visited by Mr. Matthew
Bramble and his party *); and Scott in his 'Journal,' under date of
August, 1826, speaks of the 'Walk' by the river Nith which she had
formed, and which still went by her name. Her peculiarities, over which
her friend Mrs. Delany sighs plaintively, did not abate with age; but
her kind heart remained. She died in Savile Row in 1777, of a surfeit of
cherries, and was buried at Durrisdeer.

     * 'Expedition of Humphrey Clinker' (Letter to Dr. Lewis,
     September 15).



III. SPENCE'S 'ANECDOTES.'

|WHEN, in the year 1741, after his quarrel with Gray, Horace Walpole lay
sick of a quinsy at Reggio, the shearing of his thin-spun life was only
postponed by the opportune intervention of a passing acquaintance. The
Rev. Joseph Spence, Fellow of New College, Oxford, and Professor of
Poetry to that University, then travelling in Italy as Governor to Henry
Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, promptly arrived to his aid, summoned Dr.
Cocchi posthaste from Florence, and thus became instrumental in enabling
the Prince of Letter-Writers to expand the thirty or forty epistles
he had already produced into that magnificent correspondence which,
incomplete even now, * fills no fewer than nine closely printed volumes.

     * For example, a number of new letters are included in vol.
     iii. of the privately-printed 'Letters and Journals of Lady
     Mary Coke,' 1889-92.

Spence, to whom all Walpole's admirers owe a lasting debt of gratitude,
was one of the fortunate men of a fortunate literary age. In 1726 he had
published a 'genteel' critique of Pope's 'Odyssey,' conspicuous for its
courteous mingling of praise and blame, and not the less grateful to
the person criticised because--as Bennot Langton said, and as good luck
would have it--ten out of the twelve objections fell, upon the labours
of Pope's luckless coadjutors, Broome and Fenton. The book made Pope his
friend, and himself Professor of Poetry, in which capacity he patronised
Thomson, and protected Queen Caroline's thresher-laureate, Stephen Duck.
During the continental tours which he undertook in 1730 and 1737, and in
that above referred to, he collected the material for his 'Polymetis,'
a tall _folio_ on classical mythology, the earlier editions of which
are now chiefly sought after for their irreverent vignette of Dr. Cooke,
propositor of Eton, in the disguise of 'an ass's nowl.' Spence continued
to dally lightly with letters, editing Sackville's 'Gorboduc,'
annotating Virgil, writing a life of the blind poet Blacklock, and
comparing (after the manner of Plutarch), for Walpole's private press
at Strawberry, Mr. Robert Hill, the 'learned tailor' of Buckingham, with
that Florentine _helluo librorum_, Signor Antonio Magliabecchi. He
lived the mildly studious life of a quiet, easy-going clergyman of the
eighteenth century, nursing a widowed mother like Pope, and declining
to disturb the placid ripple of his days by the 'violent delights'
of matrimony. He is 'the completest scholar,' 'the sweetest tempered
gentleman breathing,' cries his enthusiastic friend, Mr. Christopher
Pitt, himself a virtuoso and a translator of Homer. He is 'extremely'
polite, friendly, cheerful, and master of an infinite fund of subjects
for agreeable conversation,' says Mr. Shenstone of the Leasowes. 'He was
a good-natured, harmless little soul, but more like a silver penny than
a genius,' says ungrateful Mr. Walpole. 'He was a poor creature, though
a very worthy man,' says clever Mr. Cambridge of the 'World' and the
'Scribleriad.' To strike an average between these varying estimates
is not a difficult task. It gives us a character amiable rather than
strong, finical rather than earnest, well-informed and ingenious rather
than positively learned. For the rest, 'Polymetis' has been supplanted
by Lempriere, and is as dead as Stephen Duck; and its author now lives
mainly by the 'priefs' which, like Sir Hugh Evans, he made in his
notebook,--in other words, by the Anecdotes of the Literary Men of his
age, which, when occasion offered, he jotted down from the conversation
of Pope, Young, Dean Lockier, and other notabilities into whose company
he came from time to time.

The story of Spence's 'Anecdotes' is a chequered one. At their author's
death they were still in manuscript, though their existence was an open
secret. Joseph Warton had handselled them for his 'Essay on Pope;' and
Warburton had used them for Ruffhead's 'Life.' When Spence died in 1768,
it was discovered that he had himself intended to print them,--that he
had, in fact, conditionally sold a selection of them to Robert Dodsley,
the bookseller (whom he had formerly befriended), for a hundred pounds.
But before publication was finally arranged both Spence and Robert
Dodsley died. Spence's executors--Bishop Lowth, Dr. Ridley, and Mr.
Rolle--thought suppression for a time desirable; and the surviving
Dodsley, James, although, says Joseph Warton, 'he probably would have
gained £400 or £500 by it,' was easily prevailed upon, out of regard
for Spence, to relinquish the bargain. The manuscript selection was then
presented by the executors to Spence's old pupil, Lord Lincoln, who had
become Duke of Newcastle, while the original 'Anecdotes,' and a fair
copy, remained in Bishop Lowth's possession. The Newcastle MS. was lent
to Johnson, who employed it for his 'Lives of the Poets,' giving great
offence to the Duke by acknowledging the loan without mentioning the
name of the lender; and Malone had access to it for his Dryden, at the
same time compiling from it a smaller selection, which he annotated
briefly. By a series of circumstances too lengthy to detail, this last,
some years after Malone's death, passed into the hands of Mr. John
Murray, who published it in 1820. In the same year, and, by a curious
coincidence, upon the same day, appeared another edition based upon the
Lowth papers, which had also found their way into other hands. This was
prefaced and annotated by Mr. S. W. Singer, and a second edition of it
was issued in 1858 by J. R. Smith. Beyond these three editions of the
'Anecdotes,' there has been no other reprint but the excellent little
compilation in the 'Camelot' series which the late Mr. John Underhill
put forth in 1890.

As will be gathered from the above, Spence's own selection is still
unpublished, and is supposed to remain in the possession of the
Newcastle family. But as Malone extracted all of it that he thought
worth keeping, and as Singer printed the materials on which it was
based, it is not likely that its publication now, even if it were found
to be practicable, would be of material interest, except to show what
Spence personally regarded as deserving of preservation. With respect
to the 'Anecdotes' themselves, there can be little doubt that, whatever
their subsequent extension may have been, they originated in Spence's
acquaintanceship with Pope; and that their first purpose was the
bringing together of such dispersed data as might serve for the basis of
his biography. (So much, in fact, Spence told Warburton when they
were returning from Twickenham after Pope's death; and then, like the
courteous, amiable 'silver penny' that he was, surrendered all his
memoranda to his more pretentious companion, in whose subsequent 'Life,'
for Ruffhead's 'Life of Pope' is really Warburton's, nearly every
anecdote of value is derived from Spence.) From collecting Popiana to
collecting _ana_ of Pope's contemporaries, would be a natural step;
and it would be but a step farther to add, from time to time, such
supplementary notes or _impressions de voyage_ as presented themselves,
even if they had no special connection with the primary matter, which
is Pope and Pope's doings. Indeed, in Singer's opinion, Spence's
'Anecdotes' already contain, not only 'a complete though brief
autobiography' of the poet, but also 'the most exact record of his
opinions on important topics,'--a record which is 'probably the more
genuine and undisguised, because not premeditated, but elicited by the
impulse of the moment.' This, as far as it relates to Pope's views
on abstract literary questions, is no doubt true; but 'genuine,'
'undisguised,' and 'unpremeditated' are scarcely the epithets which
modern criticism has taught us to apply to some, at least, of Pope's
utterances concerning his contemporaries; and in these respects we are
more exactly informed than the Oxford Professor of Poetry. Take, for
instance, the well-known Wycherley correspondence. 'People have pitied
you extremely,' says sympathetic Mr. Spence, who professes to
speak _verbatim_, 'on reading your letters to Wycherley [i.e., the
correspondence which Pope had printed]; surely 'twas a very difficult
thing for you to keep well with him!' And thereupon Mr. Pope, of
Twickenham and Parnassus, replies that 'it was the most difficult thing
in the world;' that he was 'extremely plagued up and down, for almost
two years,' with Wycherley's verses; that Wycherley was really angry at
having them so much corrected; that his memory was entirely gone,--and
so forth. * All of which Mr. Spence confidingly transfers to his
tablets. But thanks to the publication by Mr. Courthope in 1889, from
the manuscripts at Longleat, of most of Wycherley's autograph letters,
we now know that the correspondence to which Spence referred had been
considerably 'edited' by Pope with the view of misrepresenting his
dealings with Wycherley; and there is even something more than a
suspicion that he actually concocted those of Wycherley's letters
for which there are no equivalent vouchers in the Marquis of Bath's
collection.

     * He did not tell Spence (as he might have done) that his
     own 'Damn with faint praise' was borrowed from the man he
     was decrying. 'And with faint praises one another damn,' is
     a line in one of Wycherley's prologues.

In any case, the real documents show clearly that, instead of resenting
the amendments and alterations of his 'Deare Little Infallible,' as he
calls him, the old dramatist received them with effusive gratitude; and,
far from reproaching the poet for neglecting to visit him (which Pope
implied), constantly delayed or postponed his own visits to Pope at
Binfield;--in short, did, in reality, just the very reverse of what he
is represented as doing in Pope's garbled correspondence. So that, in
these worshipful _communiqués_ to Spence, Pope must simply have been
playing at that eighteenth-century pastime to which Swift refers in the
'Polite Conversation' as 'Selling a Bargain.'

In Pope's life, it is to be feared, there were not a few of these
equivocal mercantile transactions. He certainly imposed on Spence's
credulity when he told him that 'there was a design whieh does not
generally appear,' in other words, a cryptic significance, in his
correspondence with Henry Cromwell. And he also, with equal certainty,
disposed of 'a great Pennyworth' (in the current phrase) when he gave
him the--from his own point of view--eminently plausible account of
the circumstances which led to the notorious character of 'Atti-cus.'
Whether Spence, who could not be said to be unwarned, since he records
Addison's caution to Lady Mary against Pope's 'devilish tricks,' had any
lurking suspicion that Pope was not to be relied upon, does not appear.
But it is obvious that, without Spence's 'Anecdotes,' Pope's biographers
would have played but a sorry figure. From Spence it is that we get the
best account of Pope's precocious early years and studies; of his boyish
epic of Alcander, Prince of Rhodes, with its under-water scene, and its
four books of one thousand lines; of the manner of his translation of
Homer and his plan for the 'Essay on Man;' and of a number of facts
concerning the trustworthiness of which there can be no reasonable
doubt. Nor can there be any doubt as to the bulk of his purely critical
utterances. Many of these, and especially such as deal with individual
authors, are now become trite and faded. However novel may have been the
announcement under George the Second, we now learn without a shock of
surprise that Chaucer is an unequalled taleteller, that Bacon was a
great genius, that Milton's style is exotic. But, upon his own craft,
Pope's axioms are still sometimes worth hearing. 'A poem on a slight
subject,' he says, 'requires the greater care to make it considerable
enough to be read.' 'After writing a poem one should correct it all
over, with one single view at a time. Thus, for language: if an elegy,
"These lines are very good, but are they not of too heroical a strain?"
and so _vice versa_' 'There is nothing so foolish as to pretend to be
sure of knowing a great writer by his style.' '_Nil admirari_ is as true
in relation to our opinions of authors as it is in morality; and one
may say, _O, admiratores, servum pecus!_ fully as justly as _O, Imitator
es!_' 'The great secret how to write well is to know thoroughly what one
writes about, and not to be affected.' This last, however, is scarcely
more than an Horatian commonplace.

With the aid of Spence's 'Anecdotes' we gain admission to the little
villa by the Thames where, during the spring of 1744, wasted by an
intolerable asthma, but waiting serenely for the end, Pope lay sinking
slowly. Many of his sayings, and the sayings of those who visited his
sick-room, have their only chronicle in this collection. About three
weeks before his death, he printed his '_Ethic Epistles,_' copies of
which he gave away to different persons. 'Here am I, like Socrates,'
he told Spence, 'distributing my morality to my friends, just as I
am dying.' On Sunday, the 6th of May, he lost his mind for several
hours,--a circumstance which sets him wondering 'that there should be
such a thing as human vanity.' Already his spirit was escaping fitfully
to the Unknown. There are false colours on the objects about him; he
looks at everything 'as through a curtain;' he sees 'a vision.' Most of
all he suffers from his inability to think. But the old love of letters
still survives; he quotes his own verses; and when in his waking moments
Spence reads to him the 'Daphnis and Chloe' of Longus, he marvels how
the infected mind of the Regent Orleans can have relished so innocent a
book. As to his condition he has no illusions. On the 15th, after having
been visited by Thompson the quack, who had been treating him (as Ward
treated Fielding) for dropsy, and professed to find him better, he
described himself to Lyttelton as 'dying of a hundred good symptoms!' *

     * This must have been a commonplace. 'Like the sick man, we
     are just expiring with all sorts of good symptoms,' says
     Swift, in the 'Conduct of the Allies,' 1711.

'On every catching and recovery of his mind,' Spence tells us, 'he
was always saying something kindly either of his present or his absent
friends'--'as if his humanity had outlived his understanding.' Many
of the well-known figures of the day still came and went about his
bedside--Bolingbroke from Battersea, tearful and melancholy, full-blown
Warburton, Lyttelton above-mentioned, Marchmont, blue-eyed Martha
Blount; and it was 'very observable' how the entry of the lady seemed
to give him temporary strength, or a new turn of spirits. To the last
he continued to struggle manfully with his malady. On the 27th, to the
dismay of his friends, he had himself brought down to the room where
they were at dinner; on the 28th his sedan chair was carried for three
hours into the garden he loved so well, then filled with the blossoms
of May and smelling of the coming summer. On the 29th he took the air
in Bushey Park, and a little later in the day received the sacrament,
flinging himself fervently out of bed to receive it on his knees. 'There
is nothing that is meritorious, he said afterwards, 'but virtue and
friendship, and indeed friendship itself is only a part of virtue.' On
the next day, the 30th of May, 1774, he died. 'They did not know the
exact time,' writes the faithful friend to whom we owe so many of these
'trivial, fond records,'--'for his departure was so easy that it was
imperceptible even to the standers-by.'



IV. CAPTAIN CORAM'S CHARITY.

|AMONG a ragged regiment of books, very dear to their owner, but in
whose dilapidated company no reputable volume would greatly care to
travel through Coventry, is a sheepskin-clad tract entitled 'Mémoires
Relating to the State of the Royal Navy of England, For Ten Years,
Determin'd December 1688.' It dates from those antiquated days when even
statistics had their air of scholarship and their motto from 'Tully' or
'the Antients' (_Quid Didcius Otio Litterato?_--it is in this case); and
the year of issue is 1690. The name of the author does not appear, but
his portrait by Kneller does; and he was none other than the diarist
Samuel Pepys, sometime Secretary to the Admiralty under the second
Charles and his successor. *

     * The copy hero described also contains--but apparently only
     inserted by a former owner--the scroll book-plate of Pepys.

In itself the little volume is an extremely instructive one, as much
from the light it throws upon the prominent part played by its writer
in the reconstruction of the Caroline navy, as from its exposure of
the lamentable mismanagement which permitted toad-stools as big as Mr.
Secretary's fists to flourish freely in the ill-ventilated holds of his
Majesty's ships-of-war. But the special attraction of the particular
copy to which we are referring lies in certain faded inscriptions which
it contains. On March 14, 1724, it was presented by one 'C. Jackson' to
'Tho. Coram,' by whom in turn it was transferred to a Mr. Mills, being
accompanied by a holograph note which is pasted at the end: 'To Mr Mills
These Worthy Sir I happend to find among my few Books, Mr Pepys, his
mémoires [there has evidently been a struggle over the spelling of the
name], wch I thought might be acceptable to you & therefore pray you to
accept of it. I am wth much Respect Sir your most humble Scrfc Thomas
Coram. June 10th, 1746.' It is not a lengthy document, but, with its
unaffected wording and its simple reference to 'my few Books,' it gives
a pleasant impression of the brave old mariner to whom, even at the
present day, so many hapless mortals owe their all; and whose ruddy,
kindly face, with its curling white hair, still beams on us from
Hogarth's canvas at the Foundling.

Captain Coram must have been seventy-eight years old when he wrote the
above letter, for he had been born, at Lyme Regis in Dorsetshire, as
far back as 1668. Of his boyhood nothing is known; but in 1694 he
was working as a shipwright at Taunton, Massachusetts. His benevolent
instincts seem to have developed early, for in December, 1703, he
conveyed to the Taunton authorities some fifty-nine acres of land as the
site for a church or schoolhouse.

In the deed of gift he is described as 'of Boston, in New England,
sometimes residing in Taunton, in the County of Bristol, Shipwright.'
He also gave a library to Taunton; and, from the fact that the Common
Prayer Book used in the church of that town was presented to him for the
purpose by Mr. Speaker Onslow, must have been successful in enlisting in
his good offices the sympathies of others. In course of time he became
master of a ship; and, in 1719, a glimpse of his life, of which there
are scant details, shows him being plundered and maltreated by wreckers
at Cuxhaven, while a passenger on a vessel called the 'Sea Flower,' upon
which occasion the affidavit describes him as 'of London, Mariner and
Shipwright.' At this date he was engaged in the supply of stores to
the navy. He must have prospered fairly in his calling, for he soon
afterwards retired from a sea-faring fife in order to live upon his
means, and occupy himself entirely with charitable objects. In the
Plantations, as they were then called, he took great interest;
being notably active as regards the colonization of Georgia and the
improvement of the Nova Scotian cod fisheries. Lord Walpole of Wolterton
(Horace Walpole's uncle), who had met him, testified warmly to his
honesty, his disinterestedness, and his knowledge of his subject.
Neither an educated nor a polished man (and not always a judicious one),
he was indefatigable in the pursuit of his purpose, and his singleminded
philanthropy was beyond the shadow of a doubt. 'His arguments,' said his
intimate friend Dr. Brocklesby, 'were nervous, though not nice--founded
commonly upon facts, and the consequences that he drew, so closely
connected with them, as to need no further proof than a fair
explanation. When once he made an impression, he took care it should
not wear out; for he enforced it continually by the most pathetic
remonstrances. In short, his logic was plain sense; his eloquence, the
natural language of the heart.'

His crowning enterprise was the obtaining of a charter for the
establishment of the Foundling Hospital. Going to and fro at
Rotherhithe, where in his latter days he lived, he was constantly coming
upon half-clad infants, 'sometimes alive, sometimes dead, and sometimes
dying,' who had been abandoned by their parents to the mercy of the
streets; and he determined to devote his energies to the procuring of
a public institution in which they might find an asylum. For seventeen
years, with an unconquerable tenacity, and in the face of the most
obstinate obstruction, apathy, and even contempt, he continued to urge
his suit upon the public, being at last rewarded by a Royal charter and
the subscription of sufficient funds to commence operations. An estate
of fifty-six acres was bought in Lamb's Conduit Fields for £3,500;
and the building of the Hospital was begun from the plans of Theodore
Jacobsen. Among its early Governors were many contemporary artists who
contributed freely to its adornment, thereby, according to the received
tradition, sowing the seed of the existing Royal Academy. Handel, too,
was one of its noblest benefactors. For several years he regularly
superintended an annual performance of the 'Messiah' in the Chapel (an
act which produced no less than £7,000 to the institution), and he also
presented it with an organ. Having opened informally in 1741 at a house
in Hatton Garden, the Governors moved into the new building at the
completion of the west wing in 1745. But already their good offices
had begun to be abused. Consigning children to the Foundling was too
convenient a way of disposing of them; and, even in the Hatton Garden
period, the supply had been drawn, not from London alone, but from all
parts of the Kingdom. It became a lucrative trade to convey infants from
remote country places to the undiscriminating care of the Charity. Once
a waggoner brought eight to town, seven of whom were dead when they
reached their destination. On another occasion a man with five in
baskets got drunk on the road, and three of his charges were suffocated.
The inevitable outcome of this was that the Governors speedily
discovered they were admitting far more inmates than they could possibly
afford to maintain. They accordingly applied to Parliament, who voted
them £10,000, but at the same time crippled them with the obligation to
receive all comers. A basket was forthwith hung at the gate, with the
result that on the first day of its appearance, no less than 117 infants
were successively deposited in it. That this extraordinary
development of the intentions of the projectors could continue to work
satisfactorily was of course impossible, and great mortality ensued.

As time went on, however, a wise restriction prevailed; and the Hospital
now exists solely for those unmarried mothers whose previous character
has been good, and whose desire to reform is believed to be sincere.
Fortunately, long before the era of what one of the accounts calls its
'frightful efflorescence'--an efflorescence which, moreover, could never
have occurred under Captain Coram's original conditions--its benevolent
founder had been laid to rest in its precincts. After his wife's death
he fell into difficulties, and subscriptions were collected for his
benefit. When this was broken to the old man--too modest himself to
plead his own cause, and too proud to parade his necessity--he made,
according to Hawkins, the following memorable answer to Dr. Brocklesby:

'I have not wasted the little wealth of which I was formerly possessed
in self-indulgence, or vain expenses, and am not ashamed to confess,
that in this my old age I am poor.'

Although the Sunday services are still well attended, Captain Coram's
Charity is no longer the 'fashionable morning lounge' it was in the
Georgian era, when, we are told, the grounds were crowded daily with
brocaded silks, gold-headed canes, and three-cornered hats of the
orthodox Egham, Staines and Windsor pattern. *

     * Egham, Staines, and Windsor form a triangle. According to
     J. T. Smith, Alderman Boydell was one of the last who wore a
     hat of this type ('Book for a Rainy Day,' 1861, p. 221).

No members of the Royal Academy now assemble periodically round the
historical blue dragon punch-bowl, still religiously preserved, over
which Hogarth and Lambert and Highmore and the other pictorial patrons
of a place must often have chirruped 'Life a Bubble,' or 'Drink and
Agree,' at their annual dinners; neither is there of our day any
munificent _maestro_ like Handel to present the institution with a new
organ or the original score of an oratorio. But if you enter to the left
of Mr. Calder Marshall's statue at the gate in Guildford Street, you
shall still find the enclosure dotted with red-coated boys playing at
cricket, and with girls in white caps; and in the quiet, unpretentious
building itself are many time-honoured relics of its past. Here, for
example, is one of Hogarth's contributions to his friend's enterprise,
the 'March of the Guards towards Scotland, in the year 1745,' commonly
called the 'March to Finchley'--that famous performance for which King
George the Second of irate memory said he ought to be 'bicketed,'
and which the artist, in a rage, forthwith dedicated to the King of
_Prusia_, with one 's.' A century and a half has passed since it was
executed, but it is still in excellent preservation, having of late
years, for greater precaution, been placed under glass. *

     * It was disposed of in 1750 by raffle or lottery.
     'Yesterday,'--says the 'General Advertiser' for May 1 in
     that year,--'Mr. Hogarth's subscription was closed. 1843
     chances being subscrib'd for, Mr Hogarth gave the remaining
     107 chances to the Foundling Hospital. At two o'clock the
     Box was opened, and the fortunate chance was No. 1941, which
     belongs to the said Hospital; and the same night Mr Hogarth
     delivered the Picture to the Governors.'

Here, too, is the already mentioned full-length of the founder--a
portrait of the masterly qualities and superb colouring of which neither
McArdell's mezzotint nor Nutter's stipple gives any adequate idea. Here,
again, is one of Hogarth's 'failures,' the 'Moses Brought to Pharaoh's
Daughter,' which is not so great a failure after all. Certainly it
compares favourably with the 'Finding of Moses' by the professed
history-painter, Frank Hayman, which hangs hard by, and is an utterly
bald and lifeless production. On the contrary, in Hogarth's picture, the
expression in the eyes of the mother, which linger on the child as her
hand mechanically receives the money, is one of those touches which make
the whole world kin. Among the circular paintings of similar charities
is a charming little Gainsborough of the Charterhouse, while the
'Foundling' and 'St. George's Hospital' are from the brush of Richard
Wilson.

There is a dignified portrait of Handel by Kneller, which makes one
wonder how the caricaturists could ever have distorted him into the
'Charming Brute;' and also a bust by Roubiliac, being the original model
for the statues in Westminster Abbey and Old Vauxhall Gardens. There are
autographs of Hogarth and Coram and John Wilkes the demagogue; there
is a copy of his 'Christmas Stories' presented by the author, Charles
Dickens; there is a case in one of the windows full of the queer,
forlorn 'marks or tokens' which, in the basket days, were found attached
to its helpless inmates--ivory fish, silver coins of Queen Anne or
James, scraps of paper with doggerel rhymes, lockets, lottery tickets,
and the like. As you pass from the contemplation of these things--a
contemplation not without its touch of pathos--you peep into the church,
mentally filling the empty benches in the organ loft with the singing
faces and pure voices of the childish choristers, and you remember that
here Benjamin West painted the altar-piece, and here Laurence Sterne
preached. Once more in Guildford Street, you turn instinctively towards
another thoroughfare, where lived a later writer who must often have
made the pilgrimage you have just accomplished. For at No. 13 Great
Coram Street was the home of William Makepeace Thackeray, and from the
shadow of the Foundling, in July, 1840, he sent forth his 'Paris Sketch
Book.' When, seven years later, he was writing his greatest novel,
Captain Coram's Charity still lingered in his memory. It is on the wall
of its church that old Mr. Osborne, of 'Vanity Fair' and Russell Square,
erects his pompous tablet to his dead son: it is in the same building
that, sitting 'in a place whence she could see the head of the boy under
his father's tombstone,' poor Emmy feasts her hungry maternal eyes on
unconscious little Georgy.



V. 'THE FEMALE QUIXOTE.'

|ONE evening in the spring of the year 1751, the famous St. Dunstan, or
Devil Tavern, by Temple Bar,--over whose Apollo Chamber you might still
read the rhymed 'Welcome' of Ben Jonson; whence Steele had scrawled
hasty excuses to 'Prue' in Bury Street; and where Garth and Swift
and Addison had often dined together,--was the scene of a remarkable
literary celebration. A young married lady, not then so well-known as
she afterwards became, had written a novel called the 'Life of Harriot
Stuart,' which was either just published or upon the point of issuing
from the press. It was her first effort in fiction; and, probably
through William Strahan the printer, one of whose _employés_ she
married, she had sought and obtained the acquaintance of Samuel Johnson.
The great man thought very highly of her abilities: so much so, that he
proposed to his colleagues at the Ivy Lane Club (the predecessor of the
more illustrious Literary Club) to commemorate the birth of the book by
an 'all-night sitting.' Pompous Mr. Hawkins, who tells the story, says
that the guests, to the number of near twenty, including Mrs. Lenox
(for that was the lady's name), her husband, and a female acquaintance,
assembled at the Devil at about eight o'clock in the evening. The
supper is characterised as 'elegant,' a prominent feature in it being a
'magnificent hot apple-pye,' which, because, forsooth (the 'forsooth' is
Hawkins's), Mrs. Lenox was also a minor poet, her literary foster-father
had caused to be stuck with bay-leaves. Besides this, after invoking
the Muses by certain rites of his own invention, which should have been
impressive, but are not described, Johnson 'encircled her brows' with
a crown of laurel specially prepared by himself. These ceremonies
completed, the company began to spend the evening 'in pleasant
conversation, and harmless mirth, intermingled at different periods with
the refreshments of coffee and tea.' But there must have been stronger
potations as well, since the narrator, Hawkins, who had a 'raging
tooth,' and is therefore excusably inexplicit, speaks of the desertion
by some of those present of 'the colours of Bacchus;' and he expressly
mentions the fact that Johnson, whose face, at five o'clock, 'shone with
meridian splendour,' had confined himself exclusively to lemonade. By
daybreak, the 'harmless mirth' was beginning to be intermingled
with slumber, from which those who succumbed were only rallied with
difficulty by a fresh relay of coffee. At length, when St. Dunstan's
Clock was nearing eight, after waiting two hours for an attendant
sufficiently wakeful to compile the bill, the company dispersed.
Their symposium had been Platonic in its innocence; but to Hawkins,
demoralised by toothache, and sanctimonious by temperament, their issue
into the morning light of Fleet Street had all the aspect, and something
of the remorse of a tardily-terminated debauch. Before he could mentally
disinfect himself, he was obliged to take a turn or two in the Temple,
and breakfast respectably at a coffee-house.

Although she is now forgotten, Charlotte Lenox, the heroine of these
Johnsonian 'high jinks,' was once what Browning would have termed 'a
person of importance in her day.' Her father, Colonel James Ramsay, was
Lieutenant-Governor of New York. When his daughter was about fifteen, he
sent her to England, consigning her to the charge of a relative in this
country, who, by the time she reached it, was either dead or mad. Then
Colonel Ramsay himself departed this life, and she was left without
a protector. Lady Rockingham took her up, receiving her into her
household; but an obscure love-affair put an end to their connection;
and she subsequently found a fresh patroness in the Duchess of
Newcastle. She must also have tried the stage, since Walpole speaks
of her as a 'deplorable actress.' Her sheet anchor, however, was
literature. In 1747 Paterson published a thin volume of her poems,
dedicated to 'the Lady Issabella [sic] Finch,'--a volume in which she
certainly 'touched the tender stops of various quills,' since it recalls
most of the singers who were popular in her time. There are odes in
imitation of Sappho (with one 'p'); there is a pastoral after the manner
of Air. Pope; there is 'Envy, a Satire; 5 there is a versification of
one of Mr. Addison's 'Spectators.5 To this maiden effort, a few years
later, followed the novel above-mentioned, which is supposed to have
been more or less autobiographical; then came another novel, 'The Female
Quixote;' then 'Shakespeare Illustrated;' then a translation of Sully's
'Memoirs;' and then again more novels, plays, and translations. Mrs.
Lenox lived into the present century, supported at the last partly
from the Literary Fund, and partly by the Right Hon. George Rose, who
befriended her in her latter days, and ultimately, when she died, old
and very poor, in Dean's Yard, Westminster, paid the expenses of her
burial. She is said--by Mr. Croker, of course--to have been 'plain in
her person.' If this were so, she must have been considerably flattered
in the portrait by Reynolds which Bartolozzi engraved for Harding's
'Shakespeare.' It is also stated, on the authority of Mrs. Thrale, that,
although her books were admired, she herself was disliked. As regards
her own sex, this may have been true; but it is dead against the
evidence as regards the men. Johnson, for example, openly preferred her
before Mrs. Carter, Miss Hannah More, and Miss Burney; and he never, to
judge by the references in Boswell's 'Life,' wavered in his allegiance.
He wrote the Dedications to 'The Female Quixote' and 'Shakespeare
Illustrated;' he helped her materially (as did also Lord Orrery) in
her version of Père Brumoy's 'Théâtre des Grecs;' he quoted her in
the 'Dictionary;' he drew up, as late as 1775, the 'Proposals' for a
complete edition of her works, and he reviewed her repeatedly. What is
more, he introduced her to Richardson, by whom, upon the ground of her
gifts and her misfortunes (She 'has genius,' and she 'has been unhappy,'
said the sentimental little man), she was at once admitted to the inner
circle of the devoted listeners at North End and Parson's-Green. Another
of her admirers was Fielding, who, in his last book, the 'Journal of a
Voyage to Lisbon,' calls her 'the inimitable and shamefully distress'd
author of the Female Quixote.' Finally, Goldsmith wrote the epilogue to
the unsuccessful comedy of 'The Sister,' which she based in 1769 upon
her novel of 'Henrietta,'--an act which is the more creditable on his
part because the play belonged to the ranks of that genteel comedy which
he detested. A woman who could thus enlist the suffrage and secure
the sendee of the four greatest writers of her day must have possessed
exceptional powers of attraction, either mental or physical; and this of
itself is almost sufficient to account for the lack of a corresponding
enthusiasm in her own sex.

How she obtained her education, the scanty records of her life do not
disclose. But it is clear that she had considerable attainments; and she
obviously added to them a faculty for ingenious flattery, which, after
the fashion of that day, she exhibited in her books. In her best effort,
'The Female Quixote,' there is a handsome reference to that 'admirable
Writer,' Mr. Richardson; and Johnson is styled 'the greatest Genius in
the present Age.' 'Rail,' she makes one of her characters say elsewhere,
and painfully _à-propos de bottes_,--'Rail with premeditated Malice at
the "Rambler;" and for the want of Faults, turn even its inimitable
Beauties into Ridicule: The Language, because it reaches to Perfection,
may be called stiff, laboured, and pedantic; the Criticisms, when they
let in more light than your weak Judgment can bear, superficial and
ostentatious Glitter; and because those Papers contain the finest System
of Ethics yet extant, damn the queer Fellow, for over-propping
Virtue;'--in all of which, it is to be feared, the bigots of this iron
time will see nothing but the rankest logrolling. Yet it was not to Mrs.
Lenox that Johnson said, 'Madam, consider what your praise is worth.' On
the contrary, if Dr. Birkbeck Hill conjectures rightly, he wrote a not
unfavourable little notice of the book in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for
March, 1752,--a notice, which, if it does no more, at least compactly
summarises the scheme of the story.

'Arabella,' it says (the full title is 'The Female Quixote; or, the
Adventures of Arabella'), 'is the daughter of a statesman, born after
his retirement in disgrace, and educated in solitude, at his castle, in
a remote province. The romances which she found in the library after
her mother's death, were almost the only books she had read; from these
therefore she derived her ideas of life; she believed the business
of the world to be love, every incident to be the beginning of an
adventure, and every stranger a knight in disguise. The solemn manner in
which she treats the most common and trivial occurrences, the romantic
expectations she forms, and the absurdities which she commits
herself, and produces in others, afford a most entertaining series of
circumstances and events.' And then he goes on to quote, as coming from
one equally 'emulous of Cervantes, and jealous of a rival,' the opinion
which Mr. Fielding had expressed a few days earlier, in his 'Covent
Garden Journal,'--an opinion which, if, as Johnson asserts, he had at
this time no knowledge of the author of the book, does even more credit
to his generosity than to his critical judgment. For the author of | Tom
Jones' not only devotes rather more than two handsome columns to 'The
Female Quixote;' but, professing to give his report of it 'with no less
Sincerity than Candour,' gravely proceeds to show in what it falls short
of, in what it equals, and in what it excels (!) the master-piece of
which it is a professed imitation. According to him, the advantage of
Mrs. Lenox in the last respect (for the others may be neglected) lies
in the fact that it is more probable that the reading of romances would
turn the head of a young lady than the head of an old gentleman; that
the character of Arabella is more endearing than that of Don Quixote;
that her situation is more interesting; and that the incidents of
her story, as well as the story itself, are less 'extravagant and
incredible' than those of the immortal hero of Cervantes. Finally, he
sums up with the words which Johnson afterwards reproduced, in part, in
the 'Gentleman's Magazine:' 'I do very earnestly recommend it, as a most
extraordinary and most excellent Performance. It is indeed a Work of
true Humour, and cannot fail of giving a rational, as well as very
pleasing Amusement to a sensible Reader, who will at once be instructed
and very highly diverted. Some Faults perhaps there may be, but these
all leave the unpleasing Task of pointing them out to those who will
have more Pleasure in the Office. This Caution, however, I think proper
to premise, that no Persons presume to find many [He is speaking in his
assumed character of Censor of Great Britain]. For if they do, I promise
them the Critic and not the Author will be to blame.'

_Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli_. In spite of the verdict
of Johnson and Fielding,--that is to say, in spite of the verdict of the
Macaulay and Thackeray of the Eighteenth Century,--the Critic, it is
to be feared, must be blamed to-day. Were Fielding alone, one might
discount his opinion by assuming that he would naturally welcome a work
of art which was on his side rather than on that of Richardson; but this
would not account for the equally favourable opinion of Johnson. *

     * Johnson had, if not a taste, at least an appetite, for the
     old-fashioned romances which Mrs. Lenox satirised. Once, at
     Bishop Percy's, he selected 'Fenxmarte of Hircania' (in
     folio) for his habitual reading, and he read it through
     religiously. Upon another occasion his choice fell upon
     Burke's favourite, 'Palmerin of England.' 'History as She is
     wrote' in 'Clelia' and 'Cleopatra;' the persistence of
     Arabella in finding princes in gardeners, and rescuers in
     highwaymen--are things not ill-invented. But repeated they
     pall; and not all the insistence upon her natural good sense
     and her personal charms, nor (as compared with such
     concurrent efforts as Mrs. Eliza Haywood's 'Betsy
     Thoughtless')

Nor could it be laid entirely to the novelty of the attempt, for 'Tom
Jones' and 'Clarissa' and 'Peregrine Pickle,' masterpieces all, had by
this time been written, and can still be read, which it is difficult
to say of 'The Female Quixote; or, the Adventures of Arabella.'
Mrs. Lenox's fundamental idea, no doubt, is a good one, although the
character of the heroine has its feminine prototypes in the 'Précieuses
Ridicules' of Molière and the Biddy Tipkin of Steele's 'Tender Husband.'
It may be conceded, too, that some of the manifold complications which
arise from her bringing every incident of her career to the touchstone
of the high-falutin' romances of the Sieur de la Calprenède, and that
'grave and virtuous virgin,' Madeleine de Scudéry, are diverting enough.
The lamentable predicament of the lover, Mr. Glanville, who is convicted
of imperfect application to the pages of 'Cassandra,' by his hopeless
ignorance of the elementary fact that the Orontes and Oroondates of that
performance are one and the same person; the case of the luckless dipper
into Thucydides and Herodotus at Bath who is confronted, to his
utter discomfiture, with the inoffensive tone of the book itself, can
reconcile us to a heroine who is unable to pass the sugar-tongs without
a reference to Parisatis, Princess of Persia, or Cleobuline, Princess
of Corinth;--who holds with the illustrious Mandana that, even after ten
years of the most faithful services and concealed torments, it is still
presumptuous for a monarch to aspire to her hand;--and who, upon the
slightest provocation, plunges into tirades of this sort: 'Had you
persevered in your Affection, and continued your Pursuit of that
Fair-one, you would, perhaps, ere this, have found her sleeping under
the Shade of a Tree in some lone Forest, as _Philodaspes_ did his
admirable _Delia_, or disguised in a Slave's Habit, as _Ariobarsanes_
saw his Divine _Olympia_; or bound haply in a Chariot, and have had the
Glory of freeing her, as _Ambriomer_ did the beauteous _Agione_; or in
a Ship in the Hands of Pirates, like the incomparable _Eliza_; or'--at
which point she is fortunately interrupted. In another place she fancies
her uncle is in love with her, and thereupon, 'wiping some Tears from
her fine Eyes,' apostrophises that elderly and astounded relative in
this wise--'Go then, unfortunate and lamented Uncle; go, and endeavour
by Reason and Absence to recover thy Repose; and be assured, whenever
you can convince me you have triumphed over these Sentiments which now
cause both our Unhappiness, you shall have no Cause to complain of
my Conduct towards you.' There is an air of unreality about all this,
which, one would think, should have impeded its popularity in its own
day. In the Spain of Don Quixote it is conceivable; it is intolerable
in the England of Arabella. But there are other reasons which help to
account for the oblivion into which the book has fallen. One is, that
by neglecting to preserve the atmosphere of the age in which it was
written, it has missed an element of vitality which is retained even by
such fugitive efforts as Coventry's 'Pompey the Little.' *

     * This, like 'Betsy Thoughtless,' belongs to 1751.

Indeed, beyond the above-quoted references to Johnson and Richardson,
and an obscure allusion to the beautiful Miss Gunnings who, at this
date, divided the Talk of the Town with the Earthquake, there is
scarcely any light thrown upon contemporary life and manners throughout
the whole of Arabella's history. Another, and a graver objection (as
one of her critics, whose own admirable 'Amelia' had been but recently
published, should have known better than any one) is that, in spite of
the humour of some of the situations, the characters of the book are
colourless and mechanical. Fielding's Captain Booth and his wife,
Mrs. Bennet and Serjeant Atkinson, Dr. Harrison and Colonel Bath are
breathing and moving human beings: the Glanvilles and Sir Charleses and
Sir Georges of Mrs. Charlotte Lenox are little more than shrill-voiced
and wire-jointed 'High-Life' puppets.



VI. FIELDING'S 'VOYAGE TO LISBON.'

|NOT far from where these lines are written, on the right-hand side of
the road from Acton to Ealing stands a house called Ford-hook. Shut in
by walls, and jealously guarded by surrounding trees, it offers
itself but furtively to the incurious passer-by. Nevertheless, it has
traditions which might well give him pause. Even in this century, it
enjoyed the distinction of belonging to Lady Byron, the poet's wife;
and in its existing drawing-room, 'Ada, sole daughter of my house and
heart,' was married to William, Earl of Lovelace. But an earlier and
graver memory than this lingers about the spot. More than one hundred
and forty-three years ago, on a certain Wednesday in June, the cottage
which formerly occupied the site was the scene of one of the saddest
leave-takings in literature. On this particular day had gathered about
its door a little group of sympathetic friends and relatives, who were
evidently assembled to bid sorrowful good-bye to some one, for whom, as
the clock was striking twelve, a coach had just drawn up. Presently a
tall man, terribly broken and emaciated, but still wearing the marks of
dignity and kindliness on his once handsome face, made his appearance,
and was assisted, with some difficulty (for he had practically lost the
use of his limbs), into the vehicle. An elderly, homely-looking woman,
and a slim girl of seventeen or eighteen, took their seats beside
him without delay; and, amid the mingled tears and good wishes of the
spectators, the coach drove off swiftly in the direction of London. The
sick man was Henry Fielding, the famous novelist; his companions, his
second wife and his eldest daughter. He was dying of a complication of
diseases; and, like Peterborough and Doddridge before him, was setting
out in the forlorn hope of finding life and health at Lisbon. Since
Scott quoted them in 1821, the words in which his journal describes his
departure have been classic:

'_Wednesday, June_ 26, 1754.--On this day, the most melancholy sun I had
ever beheld arose, and found me awake at my house at Fordhook. By the
light of this sun, I was, in my own opinion, last to behold and take
leave of some of those creatures on whom I doated with a mother-like
fondness, guided by nature and passion, and uncured and unhardened by
all the doctrine of that philosophical school where I had learnt to bear
pains and to despise death.

'In this situation, as I could not conquer nature, I submitted entirely
to her, and she made as great a fool of me as she had ever done of any
woman whatsoever: under pretence of giving me leave to enjoy, she drew
me in to suffer the company of my little ones, during eight hours; and
I doubt not whether, in that time, I did not undergo more than in all my
distemper.'

Of Fielding's life, it may be said truly, that nothing in it became him
like the leaving it. At the moment of his starting for Lisbon, his case,
as is clear from the above quotation, was already regarded by himself
as desperate. To 'a lingering imperfect gout' had succeeded 'a deep
jaundice;' and to jaundice, asthma and dropsy. He was past the power
of the Duke of Portland's powder; past the famous tar-water of the good
Bishop Berkeley. Had he acknowledged his danger earlier, his life might
have been prolonged, though, in all probability, but for brief space.
His health had for some time been breaking; he was worn out by his
harassing vocation as a Middlesex Magistrate; and he feared that, in the
event of his death, his family must starve. This last consideration it
was that tempted him to defer his retirement to the country in order to
break up a notorious gang of street-robbers, and so earn (as he fondly
hoped) some government provision for those helpless ones whom he must
leave behind him. He succeeded in his task, although he failed of his
reward; and what was worse, as regards his health, much irrecoverable
opportunity had been lost. By the time that his labours were at an
end, he was a doomed man. The Bath waters could effect nothing in the
advanced stage of his malady; and, after a short sojourn at his 'little
house' at Ealing, he took his passage in the 'Queen of Portugal,'
Richard Veal, master, for Lisbon. Of this voyage he has left his own
account; and the posthumous volume thus produced is a curiosity of
literature. It is one of the most touching records in the language of
fortitude under trial; and it is not surprising to learn--as we do from
Hazlitt--that it was a favourite book with another much-enduring mortal,
the gentle and uncomplaining 'Elia.'

In these days of steam power, and floating palaces, and luxurious
sick-room appliances, it is not easy to realize the intolerable tedium
and discomfort, especially to an invalid, of a passage in a second-rate
sailing-ship in the middle of the last century. When, after a rapid but
fatiguing two hours' drive, Fielding reached Redriff (Rotherhithe),
he had to undergo a further penance. The 'Queen of Portugal' lay
in midstream, a circumstance which necessitated his being carried
perilously across slippery ground, transferred to a wherry, and finally
hoisted over the ship's side in a chair. Nor were his troubles by any
means at an end when he found himself securely deposited in the cabin.
The voyage, already more than once deferred, was again postponed. First,
the vessel could not be cleared at the Custom House until Thursday,
because Wednesday was a holiday (Proclamation Day); then the skipper
himself announced that he should not weigh anchor before Saturday.
Meanwhile, from his unusual exertions and other causes, Fielding's main
malady had gained so considerably that he was obliged to summon Dr.
William Hunter from Covent Garden to tap him--an operation which he had
already more than once undergone with considerable relief. On Sunday the
vessel dropped down to Gravesend, reaching the Nore on July 1. Then, for
a week, they were becalmed in the Downs, making Ryde just in time to lie
safely on the Motherbank during a violent storm. Before the ship left
Ryde, the 23rd of July had arrived; and it was not until the second
week in August that she sailed up the Tagus, having taken seven weeks
to perform a journey which then, at most, occupied three, and is now
generally accomplished in about four days.

If the 'Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon' were no more than the chronicle
of the facts thus summarized--nay, if it were no more than what Walpole
flippantly calls the 'account how his [Fielding's] dropsy was treated
and teased by an innkeeper's wife in the Isle of Wight,' it would
require and deserve but little consideration. That it is a literary
masterpiece is not pretended; nor, in the circumstances of its
composition, could a masterpiece be looked for--even from a master. But
it is interesting not so much by the events which it narrates as by the
indirect light which it throws upon its writer's character, upon his
manliness, his patience, and that inextinguishable cheerfulness which,
he says in the 'Proposal for the Poor,' 'was always natural to me.' His
sufferings must have been considerable (he had to be tapped again before
the voyage ended); and yet, with the exception of some not resentful
comment upon the inhumanity of certain watermen and sailors who had
jeered at his ghastly appearance, no word of complaint as to his own
condition is allowed to escape him. On the other hand, his solicitude
for his fellow-travellers is unmistakable. One of the most touching
pages in the little volume relates how, when his wife, worn out with
toothache, lay sleeping lightly in the state room, he and the skipper,
who was deaf, sat speechless over a 'small bowl of punch' in the
adjoining cabin rather than run the risk of waking her by a sound. 'My
dear wife and child,' he says, speaking of a storm in the Channel, 'must
pardon me, if what I did not conceive to be any great evil to myself, I
was not much terrified with the thoughts of happening to them: in truth,
I have often thought they are both too good, and too gentle, to be
trusted to the power of any man I know, to whom they could possibly be
so trusted.' In another place he relates, quite in his best manner,
how he rebuked a certain churlish Custom-house officer for his want of
courtesy to Mrs. Fielding. At times one forgets that it is a dying man
who is writing, so invincible is that appetite for enjoyment which
made Lady Mary say he ought to have been immortal. Not long after they
reached Ryde he wrote to his half-brother and successor John (afterwards
Sir John) Fielding: 'I beg that on the Day you receive this Mrs. Daniel
[his mother-in-law] may know that we are just risen from Breakfast in
_Health and Spirits_ [the italics are ours] this twelfth Instant at 9
in the morning.' At Ryde they were shamefully entreated by the most
sharp-faced and tyrannical of landladies, in whose incommodious hostelry
they sought temporary refuge; and yet it is at Ryde that he chronicles
'the best, the pleasantest, and the merriest meal [in a barn], with more
appetite, more real, solid luxury, and more festivity, than was ever
seen in an entertainment at White's.' And almost the last lines of the
'Journal' recall a good supper in a Lisbon coffee-house for which they
'were as well charged, as if the bill had been made on the Bath road,
between Newbury and London.' But the pleasures of the table play a
subordinate part in the sick man's diary, and often only prompt a larger
subject, as when the John Dory which regales them at Torbay introduces
a disquisition on the improvement of the London fish supply. As might be
anticipated, some of his best passages deal with the humanity about him.
With characteristic reticence, he says little of his own companions, but
his pen strays easily into graphic sketches of the little' world of the
'Queen of Portugal.' The ill-conditioned Custom-house officer, already
mentioned; the military fop who comes to visit the captain at Spithead;
the sordid and shrewish Ryde landlady with her chuckleheaded nonentity
of a husband--are all touched by a hand which, if tremulous, betrays
no diminution of its cunning. Of all the potraits, however, that of the
skipper is the best. *

     * The picture, it should be added, was not at first
     presented in its racy entirety. When, in February, 1755, the
     'Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon' was given to the world for
     the benefit of Fielding's widow and children, although the
     'Dedication to the Public' affirmed the book to be 'as it
     came from the hands of the author,' many of the franker
     touches which go to complete the full-length of Captain
     Richard Veal, as well as sundry other particulars, were
     withheld. This question is fully discussed in the
     Introduction to the limited edition of the 'Journal,'
     published in 1892 by the Chiswick Press.

The rough, illiterate, septuagenarian sea-captain, 'full of strange
oaths' and superstitions, despotic, irascible and good-natured,
awkwardly gallanting the ladies in all the splendours of a red coat,
cockade and sword, and heart-broken, privateer though he had been, when
his favourite kitten is smothered by a feather-bed, has all the elements
of a finished individuality. It is with respect to him that occurs
almost the only really dramatic incident of the voyage. A violent
dispute having arisen about the exclusive right of the passengers to
the cabin, Fielding resolved, not without misgivings, to quit the
ship, ordering a hoy for that purpose, and taking care, as became a
magistrate, to threaten Captain Veal with what that worthy feared more
than rock or quicksand, the terrors of retributary legal proceedings.
The rest may be told in the journalist's own words: 'The most distant
sound of law thus frightened a man, who had often, I am convinced, heard
numbers of cannon roar round him with intrepidity. Nor did he sooner see
the hoy approaching the vessel, than he ran down again into the cabin,
and, his rage being perfectly subsided, he tumbled on his knees, and a
little too abjectly implored for mercy.

'I did not suffer a brave man and an old man, to remain a moment in this
posture; but I immediately forgave him.' Most of those who have related
this anecdote end discreetly at this point. Fielding, however, is too
honest to allow us to place his forbearance entirely to the credit of
his magnanimity. 'And here, that I may not be thought the sly trumpeter
of my own praises, I do utterly disclaim all praise on the occasion.
Neither did the greatness of my mind dictate, nor the force of my
Christianity exact this forgiveness. To speak truth, I forgave him from
a motive which would make men much more forgiving, if they were much
wiser than they are; because it was convenient for me so to do.'

With the arrival of the 'Queen of Portugal' at Lisbon the 'Journal'
ends, and no further particulars of its writer are forthcoming. Two
months later he died in the Portuguese capital, and was buried among the
cypresses of the beautiful English cemetery. _Luget Britannia gremio non
dari Fovere natum_--is inscribed upon his tomb.



VII. HANWAY'S TRAVELS.

|ONE hot day in Holborn,--one of those very hot days when, as Mr.
Andrew Lang or M. Octave Uzanne has said, the brown backs buckle in
the fourpenny boxes, and you might poach an egg on the cover of a
quarto,--the incorrigible bookhunter who pens these pages purchased two
octavo volumes of 'Beauties of the Spectators, Tatlers and Guardians,
Connected and Digested under Alphabetical Heads.' That their contents
were their main attraction would be too much to say. For the literary
'Beauties' of one age, like those other=

`````'Beauties reckoned

```So killing--under George the Second,'=

are not always the 'Beauties' of another. Where the selector of to-day
would put Sir Roger de Coverley and Will Wimble, the Everlasting Club,
or the Exercise of the Fan, the judicious gentlemen in rusty wigs and
inked ruffles who managed the 'connecting' and 'digesting' department
for Messrs. Tonson in the Strand, put passages on Detraction, Astronomy,
Chearful-ness (with an 'a'), Bankruptcy, Self-Denial, Celibacy, and
the Bills of Mortality. They must have done a certain violence to their
critical convictions by including, in forlorn isolation, such flights of
imagination as the 'Inkle and Yarico' of Mr. Steele and the 'Hilpah
and Shalum' of Mr. Addison. The interest of this particular copy is,
however, peculiar to itself. It is bound neatly in full mottled calf,
with stamped gold roses at the corners of the covers; and at the points
of a star in the centre are printed the letters E, G, C, G. An autograph
inscription in the first volume explains this mystery. They are the
initials of the 'Twin Sisters

Miss Elizabeth, & Miss Caroline Grigg,' to whom are addressed the votive
couplets that follow:--=

```'Freedom & Virtue, Twin born from Heaven came.

```And like two Sisters fair, are both the same.

```On Thee Elizabeth may Virtue smile!

```And Thou, sweet Caroline, Life's cares beguile.

```May Gracious Providence protect & guide,

```That Days & Years in peace may slide;

```And bring You Bliss, in Parents love,

```Till You shall reach the bliss above.'=

After this comes--'Thus prays Your very true friend & affectionate
Servant J. Hanway,'--a signature which proves that one may be a
praiseworthy philanthropist and a copious Pamphleteer and yet write no
better verse than the Bellman. For without consulting the records at
the Marine Society in Bishopsgate Street, there is little doubt that the
writer of these lines was the once well-known Jonas Hanway of the Ragged
Schools, the Magdalen Hospital, and half a hundred other benevolent
undertakings. Indeed the circumstance that the book is addressed to
_two_ ladies is, of itself, almost proof of this, since, either from
bachelor caution, or from some other obscure cause, Hanway always
attaches a Dingley to his Stella. His 'Journey from Portsmouth to
Kingston' is addressed to two ladies; so also is his famous 'Essay on
Tea.' But there is stronger confirmation still. He was in the habit of
giving away copies of this very book--in fact of this very edition--as
presents to his friends and _protégés_. Not long ago, in a second-hand
bookseller's catalogue, was advertised another pair of the same volumes,
in 'old English red morocco, elaborately tooled,' which had been given
by Hanway to his 'young friend Master John Thomson.' It was dated
from Red Lion Square in 1772, the same year in which his verses to the
Demoiselles Grigg were written. Master Thomson's initials were also
impressed upon the sides of this copy; and although the Muses had not
been invoked in his behalf, the book contained a holograph letter of
nine pages of useful advice, by the aid of which, coupled with the
'Beauties,' he was to learn 'to attain the treasures of health, wealth,
peace, and happiness.' But from the excellent condition of the volumes
in both instances, it must be inferred that neither of the twin sisters
nor Mr. Hanway's 'young friend' acted upon Johnson's precept and gave
their days and nights to the periods of Addison.

Of Hanway himself, Johnson said, in his memorable way, 'that he
acquired some reputation by travelling abroad, but lost it all by
travelling at home.' His 'Historical Account of the British Trade on
the Caspian Sea' (generally called 'Travels in Persia'), 1753, 4
vols., quarto, did indeed once enjoy a considerable reputation, and his
adventures were adventurous enough. Beginning life as a Lisbon merchant,
he subsequently accepted a partnership in a St. Petersburgh house.
At this date the Russo-Persian trade had recently been established
by Captain John Elton, who afterwards, to the disgust of the St.
Petersburgh factors, took service under Nadir Shah. Hanway accompanied
a caravan of woollen goods to Persia; and here began his experiences. He
found Astrabad in rebellion, and the caravan was plundered. Thereupon,
after many privations and narrow escapes, he made his way to Nadir Shah,
who ordered restitution of the goods,--a restitution which was more
easy to order than to execute, although something was restored. But the
traveller's troubles were by no means at an end. In the Caspian, on the
return voyage, his ship was attacked by the Ogurtjoy pirates, and he
himself afterwards fell seriously ill. To this succeeded, in consequence
of the presence of plague at Cashan, the amenities of a long quarantine
on an island in the Volga, in the final stage of which the unhappy
travellers 'were required to strip themselves entirely naked in the
open air [this was in a Russian October], and go through the unpleasant
ceremony of having each a large pail of warm water thrown over them,
before they were permitted to depart.' Alien Hanway at last reached
Moscow, he found that the opportune death of a relative had placed him
in possession 'of pecuniary advantages, much exceeding any he could
expect from his engagement in Caspian affairs.' He nevertheless stayed
five years and a half more at St. Petersburgh; and then, returning to
England, took up his abode in London, where he proceeded to prepare
his travels for the press. Being laudably unwilling that any publisher
should run the risk of losing money by him, the first edition was
printed at his own expense; but the book proved a great success, passing
speedily into many libraries (into Gray's among others), and Andrew
Millar ultimately purchased the copyright. The remainder of Hanway's
life was spent in philanthropy and pamphleteering. He helped Sir John
Fielding and others to set on foot the still existent Marine Society
for training boys for the sea; he helped to remodel 'Captain Coram's
Charity,' of which he was a Governor; he founded the Magdalen Hospital;
he advocated the interests of Sunday-Schools and Ragged Schools, of
chimney-sweeps and the infant poor. Not the least important of his
services to the community was his vindication, in the teeth of the
chairmen and hackney coachmen, of the use, by men, of the umbrella,
hitherto confined to the weaker sex. * As a pamphleteer he was
unwearied, and the mere titles of his efforts in this way occupy four
columns of Messrs. Stephen and Lee's great dictionary. He wrote on the
Naturalization of the Jews; he wrote on Vails-Giving, on the American
War, on Pure Bread, on Solitary=

```* 'Good housewives all the winter's rage despise,

```Defended by the riding-hood's disguise:

```Or underneath th' umbrella's oily shed,

```Safe thro' the wet, on clinking pattens tread.'

`````Gay's Trivia, 1716, i. 209-212.=

Confinement; he wrote 'Earnest Advice' and 'Moral Reflections' to
Everybody on Everything. To misuse Ben Jonson's words of Shakespeare,
'He flowed with that facility that sometimes it was necessary he should
be stopped.' One entire pamphlet on bread was dictated in the space of
a forenoon, says his secretary and biographer Pugh. When it is further
explained that it consisted of two hundred law sheets, or ninety octavo
pages, it is obvious that the excellent author's powers as a pamphleteer
must have been preternatural. But it is hardly surprising to find even
his admirer admitting that his ideas were not well arranged, and that
his style was undeniably diffuse.

This latter quality is aptly illustrated by a volume which lies before
us, being in fact the identical record of those travels in England by
which Johnson asserted that Mr. Hanway had lost the celebrity he had
acquired by his 'Travels in Persia.' The very title of the book--a
privately printed quarto--is as long as that of 'Pamela.' It runs
thus,--'A Journal of Eight Days Journey from Portsmouth to Kingston
upon Thames; through South-am ton, Wiltshire, etc. With Miscellaneous
Thoughts, Moral and Religious; in a Series of Sixty-four Letters:
Addressed to two Ladies of the Partie. To which is added, An Essay on
tea, considered as 'pernicious to Health, obstructing Industry, and
impoverishing the Nation: With an Account of its Growth, and great
Consumption in these Kingdoms. With several political Reflections; and
Thoughts on Public Love. In Twenty-five Letters to the same Ladies. By
a Gentleman of the Partie. London: H. Woodfall, 1756.' The 'Partie,' by
the way, if we are to trust Wale's emblematic frontispiece, must have
been limited to the writer and these two ladies, discreetly disguised in
the 'Contents' as 'Mrs. D.' and 'Mrs. O.'

Why, as remarked by an ingenious 'Monthly Reviewer,' it should be
necessary to tell 'Mrs. D.' and 'Mrs. O.' (whom the artist shows us
conversing agreeably with Mr. Hanway under an awning in a two-oared
boat) what, having been of the 'Partie,' they probably knew quite as
well as he did, is not explained. But on the other hand, it may be
contended that he really tells them very little, since the 'Moral and
Religious' reflections almost entirely swallow up the Travels. 'On every
occurrence,' says the critic quoted, 'he expatiates, and indulges
in reflection. The appearance of an inn upon the road suggests... an
eulogium on temperance; the confusion of a disappointed Landlady gives
rise to a Letter on Resentment; and the view of a company of soldiers
furnishes out materials for an Essay on War.' The company of soldiers
was Lord George Bentinck's regiment of infantry on their march to Essex;
and one sighs to think with what a bustle of full-blooded humanity--what
a 'March to Finchley' of incident--the author of a 'Journal of a Voyage
to Lisbon' would have filled the storied page. But Mr. Hanway is not
the least penitent; rather is he proud of his reticence. He specially
expresses his gratitude to the hostess 'who gave occasion for my
thoughts on resentment, a subject far more interesting than whether a
battle was fought at this, or any other place, five hundred years ago.'
(If 'Mrs. D.' and 'Mrs. O.' were really of this opinion, they must have
been curiously constituted.) 'Can you bear with this medley of both
worlds?' he asks them on another occasion, and it is not easy to reply
except by saying that there is too much of one and too little of the
other. To pass Bevis Mount with the barest mention of Lord Peterborough;
to come to Amesbury and 'Prior's Kitty' and be fobbed off with 'a pious
rhapsody;' to stop at Stockbridge for which Steele was member when
he was expelled from Parliament, only to enter upon fifty pages of
indiscriminate reflections on Public Love, Self-examination, the
Vanity of Life, and half a dozen other instructive but irrelevant
subjects,--these things, indeed, are hard to bear, especially as they
are not recommended by any particular distinction of matter or manner.
'Tho' his opinions are generally true,' says the critic already quoted,
'and his regard for virtue seems very sincere, yet these alone are not,
at this day, sufficient to defend the cause of truth; stile, elegance,
and all the allurements of good writing, must be called in aid:
especially if the age be in reality, as it is represented by this
Author, averse to everything that _but seems_ to be serious.' 'Novelty
of thought,' he says again, 'and elegance of expression, are what we
chiefly require, in treating on topics with which the public are already
acquainted: but the art of placing trite materials in new and striking
lights, cannot be reckoned among the excellencies of this Gentleman; who
generally enforces his opinions by arguments rather obvious than new,
and that convey more conviction than pleasure to the Reader.'

Why, with the book before us, we should borrow from an anonymous writer
in the 'Monthly Review,' requires a word of explanation. The reviewer
was Oliver Goldsmith, at this time an unknown scribbler, working as
'general utility man' to Mr. Ralph Griffiths the bookseller, who owned
the magazine. Goldsmith devotes most of his notice to the 'Essay on
Tea,' the scope of which is sufficiently indicated by its title. But the
'Essay on Tea' also engaged the attention of a better known though not
greater critic, Samuel Johnson, whose 'corruption was raised' (as the
Scotch say) by this bulky if not weighty indictment of his darling
beverage. Johnson's critique was in the 'Literary Magazine.' At the
outset he makes candid and characteristic profession of faith. 'He is,'
he says, 'a hardened and shameless Tea-drinker, who has for twenty years
diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant,
whose kettle has scarcely time to cool, who with Tea amuses the evening,
with Tea solaces the midnight, and with Tea welcomes the morning.' The
arguments on either side are now of little moment, though Hanway, as a
merchant, is better worth hearing on the commercial aspect of the Tea
question than on things in general. But the review greatly irritated
him. An unfortunate remark dropped by Johnson about the religious
education of the children in the Foundling stung him into an angry
retort in the 'Gazetteer,'--a retort to which (according to Boswell)
Johnson made the only rejoinder he is ever known to have offered to
anything that was written against him. As may be expected, it was not
a document from which his opponent could extract much personal
gratification; but it is not otherwise remarkable.

That the criticism of Johnson and Goldsmith was not wholly undeserved
must, it is feared, be conceded. Even in days less book-burdened, and
more patient of tedium than our own, to string half a dozen pamphlets of
platitudes upon the slenderest of threads, and call it the 'Journal of
a Journey from Portsmouth to Kingston-upon-Thames,' could scarcely have
been tolerable. Yet Johnson allowed to the author the 'merit of meaning
well.' Hanway's benevolence was, in truth, unquestioned. His sincerity
was beyond suspicion, and his services to his fellow-creatures were
considerable. His misfortune was that, like many excellent persons, his
sense of humour was imperfect, and his infirmity of digression chronic.
He was, moreover, the victim of the common delusion that to teach and to
preach are interchangeable terms. His biographer Pugh, who admits that,
with all his good qualities, he had a 'certain singularity of thought
and manners,' gives some curious details as to his habits and costume.
In order to be always ready for polite society, he usually appeared
in dress clothes, including a large French bag (which duly figures in
Wale's frontispiece) and a _chapeau bras_ with a gold button. 'When it
rained, a small _parapluie_ defended his face and wig.' His customary
garb was a suit of rich dark brown, lined with ermine, to which he added
a small gold-hilted sword. He was extremely susceptible to cold, and
habitually wore three pairs of stockings. He was an active pedestrian,
although he possessed an equipage called a 'solo' (which we take to
be the equivalent of Sterne's _Désobligeante_). Among his other
characteristics was the embellishment of his house in Red Lion Square
in such a way as to prompt and promote improving conversation in those
unhappy intermissions of talk which come about while the card-tables are
being set, and so forth. The decorations in the drawing-room were not
without a certain mildly-moral ingenuity. They consisted of portraits of
Adrienne Le Couvreur and five other famous beauties, in frames united by
a carved and gilded ribbon inscribed with passages in praise of beauty.
Above these was placed a statue of Humility; below, a mirror just convex
enough to reduce the female spectator to the scale of the portraits, and
round the frame of this was painted,--=

```'Wert thou, my daughter, fairest of the seven;

```Think on the progress of devouring Time,

```And pay thy tribute to Humility.'=

Hanway died in 1786, aged seventy-four. He is buried at Hanwell, and he
has a bust in Westminster Abbey.



VIII.  A GARRET IN GOUGH SQUARE.

|NOT very far from 'streaming London's central roar'--or, in plain
words, about midway in Fleet Street, on the left-hand side as you go
toward Ludgate Hill--is a high and narrow archway or passage over which
is painted in dingy letters the words 'Bolt Court.' To the lover of the
'Great Cham of Literature,' the name comes freighted with memories.
More than a hundred years ago 'the ponderous mass of Johnson's form,' to
quote a poem by Mrs. Barbauld, must often have darkened that contracted
approach, when, in order to greet with tea the coming day ('veniente
die'), * and to postpone if possible that 'unseasonable hour at which
he had habituated himself to expect the oblivion of repose,' he rolled
across from the Temple to Miss Williams's rooms. Where the blind lady
lodged, no Society of Arts tablet now reveals to us; but as soon as
the pilgrim has traversed the dark and greasy entrance-way, and finds
himself in the little court itself, with its disorderly huddle of
buildings, and confusion of tip-cat playing children, he is in Johnson's
land, and only a few steps from the actual spot on which Johnson's last
hours were spent. Fronting him, in the farther angle of the enclosure,
is the Stationers' Company's School, and the Stationers' Company's
School stands upon the site of No. 8 Bolt Court, formerly Bensley's
Printing Office, ** but earlier still the last residence of Dr. Johnson,
who lived in it from 1776 to 1784.

     * 'Te venienie die, te decedenle canebat.'--Georg, iv. 466.

     * Bensley succeeded Allen the printer, Johnson's landlord.
     During Bensley's tenancy of the house it was twice the scene
     of disastrous fires, by the second of which (in June, 1819)
     the Doctor's old rooms were entirely destroyed. Among other
     valuables burned at Bensley's was the large wood block
     engraved by Bewick's pupil, Luke Clennell, for the diploma
     of the Highland Society; and the same artist's cuts after
     Stothard for Rogers's 'Pleasures of Memory' of 1810 were
     only saved from a like fate by being kept in a 'ponderous
     iron chest.'

It was in the backroom of its first floor that, on Monday, the 13th
December in the latter year, at about seven o'clock in the evening, his
black servant Francis Barber and his friend Mrs. Desmoulins, who watched
in the sick-chamber, 'observing that the noise he made in breathing had
ceased, went to the bed, and found that he was dead.'

Standing in Bolt Court to-day, before the unimposing façade of the
school which now occupies the spot, it is not easy to reconstruct that
quiet parting-scene; nor is it easy to realize the old book-burdened
upper floors, or the lower reception chamber, where, according to Sir
John Hawkins, were given those 'not inelegant dinners' of the good
Doctor's more opulent later years. Least of all is it possible to
conceive that, somewhere in this pell-mell of bricks and mortar, was
once a garden which the famous Lexicographer took pleasure in watering;
and where, moreover, grew a vine from which, only a few months before
he died, he gathered 'three bunches of grapes.' But if Bolt Court prove
unstimulating, you have only to take a few steps to the right, and you
arrive, somewhat unexpectedly, in a little parallelogram at the back,
known as Gough Square. Here, in the north-west corner, still stands
one of the last of those sixteen residences in which Johnson lived in
London. It is at present a place of business; but the tenants make no
difficulty about your examination of it, and when you inquire for the
well-known garret you are at once invited to inspect it. The interior of
the house, of course, is much altered, but there is still a huge
chain at the front door, which dates from Johnson's day, and the old
oak-balustraded staircase remains intact. As you climb its narrow
stages, you remember that, sixty years since, Thomas Carlyle must have
made that ascent before you; * and you wonder how Johnson, with his bad
sight and his rolling gait, managed to steer up it at all.

     * He visited it in 1831 (Froude's 'Carlyle,' vol. ii., eh.
     x.).

The flight ends in the garret itself, upon which you emerge at present,
as in a hay-loft. But it is not in the least such a 'sky-parlour' as
Hogarth assigns to his 'Distressed Poet.' It occupies the whole width
and breadth of the building; it is sufficiently lighted by three windows
in front, and two dormers at the sides; and the pitch of the roof is by
no means low. Here you are actually in Johnson's house; and as you turn
to look at the stairway you have just quitted, it is odds if you do not
expect to see the shrivelled wig, the seared, blinking face, and the
heavy shoulders of the Doctor himself rising slowly above the aperture
with a huge volume under his arm. For it was in this very garret in
Gough Square, within sound of the hammers of that famous clock of St.
Dunstan's, to which Cowper refers in the 'Connoisseur,' * that the great
Dictionary was compiled.

     * For August 19, 1750, on 'Country Congregations.' The old
     clock still exists, in working order, at a villa in
     Regent's.

Here laboured Shiels, the amanuensis, and his five companions,
ceaselessly transcribing the passages which had been marked for them to
copy, and probably going 'odd man or plain Newmarket' for beer as soon
as ever their employer's back was turned; here, also, at the little
fire-place in the corner, must often have sat Johnson himself, peering
closely (much as Reynolds shows him in the portrait of 1778) at the
proofs that were going to long-suffering Andrew Millar. It was in
this identical garret that Joseph Warton once visited him to pay a
subscription; here came Roubiliac and Sir Joshua; and here, when the
room had grown to be dignified by the title of the 'library,' Johnson
received Dr. Burney, who found in it 'five or six Greek folios, a deal
writing-desk, and a chair and a half.' The half-chair must have been
that mentioned by Miss Reynolds; and it is evident that long experience
or repeated misadventure had made Johnson both skilful and cautious in
manipulating it. 'A gentleman,' she says, 'who frequently visited him
whilst writing his "Idlers" [the 'Idler' was partly composed in Gough
Square in 1758] constantly found him at his desk, sitting on a chair
with three legs; and on rising from it, he remarked that Dr. Johnson
never forgot its defect, but would either hold it in his hand or place
it with great composure against some support, taking no notice of its
imperfection to his visitor.' 'It was remarkable in Dr. Johnson,' she
goes on, 'that no external circumstances ever prompted him to make any
apology, or to seem even sensible of their existence.'

In Gough Square Johnson lived from 1749 to 1759. 'I have this day moved
my things,' he writes to his step-daughter, Miss Porter, on the 23rd
of March in the latter year, 'and you are now to direct to me at Staple
Inn.' These ten years were among the busiest and most productive of his
life. No pension had as yet made existence easier to him; no Boswell was
at hand to seduce him to port and the Mitre; and the Literary Club,
as yet unborn, existed only in embryo at a beefsteak shop in Ivy Lane.
Besides the 'Idler' and the Dictionary, which latter was published in
the middle of his sojourn at Gough Square, he sent forth from his garret
'Irene' and the 'Vanity of Human Wishes,' the 'Rambler,' and the
essays in Hawkesworth's 'Adventurer.' It was here that he drew up those
proposals for that belated edition of Shakespeare of which Churchill
said:=

```He for Subscribers baits his hook,

```And takes their cash--but where's the Book?=

and here, early in 1759, he wrote his 'Rasselas.' It was in Gough
Square, on the 16th of March, 1756, that he was arrested for £5 18s.,
and only released by a prompt loan from Samuel Richardson; it was
while living in Gough Scpiare that he penned that noble letter to
Chesterfield, of which Time seems to intensify rather than to attenuate
the manly dignity and the independent accent. 'Is not a Patron, my Lord,
one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water,
and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice
which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early,
had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot
enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known,
and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess
obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling
that the Publick should consider me as owing that to a Patron which
Providence has enabled me to do for myself.'

'Till I am solitary, and cannot impart it.'

The same thought recurs in the closing words of the preface to his
_magnum opus_, which, little more than two months after the date of the
above letter, appeared in a pair of folio volumes.

'I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please
have sunk into the grave; and success and miscarriage are empty sounds.'
It needs no Boswell to tell us that the reference here is to the death,
three years before, of his wife,--that fantastic 'Tetty,' to himself so
beautiful, to his friends so unattractive, whom he loved so ardently and
so faithfully, and whose name, coupled with so many 'pious breathings,'
is so frequently to be found in his 'Prayers and Meditations.' 'This is
the day,' he wrote, thirty years afterwards, 'on which, in 1752, dear
Tetty died. I have now uttered a prayer of repentance and contrition;
perhaps Tetty knows that I prayed for her. Perhaps Tetty is now praying
for me. God help me.' In her epitaph at Bromley he styles her '_formosa,
culta, ingeniosa, pia_.' In a recently discovered letter she is his
'charming Love,' his 'most amiable woman in the world,' and (even at
fifty) his 'dear Girl.' He preserved her wedding ring, says Boswell, 'as
long as he lived, with an affectionate care, in a little round wooden
box, in the inside of which he pasted a slip of paper, thus inscribed by
him in fair characters, as follows: '_Eheu! Eliz. Johnson, Nuptay Jul.
9° 1736, Mortua, eheu! Mart._ 17° 1752.' *

     * This ring was exhibited at the Guelph Exhibition of 1891
     by Mr. A. C. Lomax.

Her loss was not the only bereavement he suffered in Gough Square. Two
months before he left it, in 1759, his mother died at Lichfield,--'one
of the few calamities,' he had told Lucy Porter, 'on which he thought
with terror.' Confined to London by his work, he was not able to close
her eyes; but he wrote to her a last letter almost too sacred in its
wording for the profanation of type, and he consecrated an 'Idler'
to her memory. 'The last year, the last day, must come,' he says
mournfully. 'It has come, and is past. The life which made my own
life pleasant is at an end, and the gates of death are shut upon my
prospects.' To pay his mother's modest debts, and to cover the expenses
of her funeral, he penned his sole approach to a work of fiction,--the
story of 'Rasselas.'=

```Who now reads Johnson? If he pleases still,

```'Tis most for Dormitive or Sleeping Pill,--=

one might say, in not inappropriate parody of Pope. His strong
individuality, his intellectual authority, his conversational power,
must live for ever; but his books!--who, outside the fanatics of
literature,--who reads them now? Macaulay, we are told by Lord Houghton,
once quoted 'London' at a dinner-table, but then he was talking to
Dean Milman; and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, in his novel of 'A Mortal
Antipathy,' refers to the Prince of Abyssinia.

Browning, says Mrs. Sutherland Orr, qualified himself for poetry in his
youth by a diligent perusal of the Dictionary; and it may perhaps be
said of him, in those words of Horace which Johnson himself applied
to Prior, that 'the vessel long retained the scent which it first
received.' But who now, among the supporters of the circulating
libraries, ever gets out the 'Rambler,' or 'Irene,' or the 'Vanity of
Human Wishes' (beloved of Scott and Byron), or 'Rasselas,'--'Rasselas,'
once more popular than the 'Vicar of Wakefield,' *--'Rasselas,'
which despite such truisms as 'What cannot be repaired is not to be
regretted,' is full of sagacious 'criticism of life'!

     * Of an illustrated edition of the' Vicar' published at the
     end or 1890, we are credibly informed that 8,000 copies were
     sold within a twelvemonth. And where is 'Rasselas' now?

The honest answer must be, 'Very few.' Yet a day may come when the
Johnsonese of Johnson's imitators will be forgotten, and people will
turn once more to the fountain-head to find, with surprise, that it
is not so polluted with Latinisms after all, and that it abounds in
passages direct and forcible. 'Of all the writings which are models,'
says Professor Earle, 'models I mean in the highest sense of the word,
models from which the spirit of genuine true and wholesome diction is to
be imbibed (not models of mannerism of which the trick or fashion is
to be caught), I have no hesitation in saying that there is one author
unapproachably and incomparably the best, and that is Samuel Johnson.'
And this is the 'deliberate conclusion' of an expert who has given
almost a lifetime to the comparative study of English prose.



IX. HOGARTH'S SIGISMUNDA.

|TOWARD the close of the last century, the regular attendants upon the
ministrations of the Rev. James Trebeck in the picturesque old church
at the end of Chiswick Mall, must often have witnessed the arrival of a
well-known member of the congregation. Year after year had been wheeled,
in a Bath chair, from a little villa under the wing of the Duke of
Devonshire's mansion hard by, a stately old lady between seventy and
eighty years of age, whose habitual costume was a silk sacque, a raised
head-dress, and a black calash. Leaning heavily upon her crutched cane,
and aided by the arm of a portly female relative in similar attire,
she would make her way slowly and with much dignity up the nave, being
generally preceded by a bent and white-haired man-servant, who, after
carrying the prayer-books into the pew, and carefully closing the door
upon his mistress and her companion, would himself retire to a remoter
part of the building. From the frequenters of the place, the little
procession attracted no more notice than any other recognized
ceremonial, of which the intermission would alone have been remarkable;
but it seldom failed to excite the curiosity of those wayfarers who,
under the third George, already sought reverently, along the pleasant
riverside, for that house in Mawson's Buildings where the great Mr.
Pope wrote part of his 'Iliad,' or for the garden of Richard, Earl
of Burlington, where idle John Gay gorged himself with apricots and
peaches. They would be told that the elder lady was the widow of the
famous painter, William Hogarth, who lay buried under the teacaddy-like
tomb in the neighbouring churchyard; that her companion was her cousin,
Mary Lewis, in whose arms he died; and that the old servant's name was
Samuel. For five and twenty years Mrs. Hogarth survived her husband,
during all of which time she faithfully cherished his memory. Those
who visited her at her Chiswick home (for she had another in Leicester
Fields) would recall with what tenacity she was wont to combat the view
that he was a mere maker of caricatura, or, at best, 'a writer of comedy
with the pencil,' as Mr. Horace Walpole (whose overcritical book she had
not even condescended to acknowledge) had thought fit to designate
him. It was as a painter pure and simple, as a rival of the Guidos and
Correggios, that she mainly valued her William. 'They said he could not
colour!' she would cry, pointing, it may be, as a protest against the
words, to the brilliant sketch of the 'Shrimp Girl,' now in the National
Gallery, but then upon her walls. Or, turning from his merits to his
memory, she would throw a shawl about her handsome head and, stepping
out under the over-hanging bay-window into the old three-cornered garden
with its filbert avenue and its great mulberry tree, would exhibit the
little mural tablet which Hogarth had himself scratched with a nail,
in remembrance of a favourite bullfinch. 'Alass poor Dick,' ran the
faint-lined inscription, not without characteristic revelation of the
sculptor's faulty spelling. And if she happened to be in one of the more
confidential moods of old age, she would perhaps take from a drawer that
very No. 17 of the 'North Briton,' which she afterwards gave to Ireland,
and which her husband, she would tell you, had carried about in his
pocket for days to show to sympathetic friends. 'The _supposed_ author
of the _Analysis of beauty!_'--she would indignantly exclaim, quoting
from the opening lines of Wilkes's nefarious print, headed with its
rude woodcut parody of Hogarth's portrait in 'Calais Gate,' * and
then, turning the blunt-lettered page, she would point silently to the
passages relating to the much-abused 'Sigismunda,' concerning which,
if her hearers were still judiciously inquisitive, they would, in all
probability, receive a gracious invitation to test the truth of the
libel by inspecting that masterpiece itself at its home in her London
house.

     * The original No. 17 of the 'North Briton,' dated Saturday,
     September 25, 1762, had no portrait. The portrait was added
     to a reprint of Wilkes's article issued May 21, 1763, or
     immediately after the appearance of Hogarth's etching of
     Wilkes. Since the above paper was first published in
     America, this interesting relic of Hogarth has once more
     come to light. In April, 1845, it was sold with Mr. H. P.
     Standly's collection. At the sale, in February, 1892, of Dr.
     J. R. Joly's Hogarth prints and books, it passed (with some
     of the Standly correspondence) to Mr. James Tregaskis, the
     well-known bookseller at the 'Caxton Head' in Holborn, from
     whom it was acquired by the present writer. By November,
     1789, however, all this had become 'portion and parcel' of
     the irrevocable past.

In that month Mrs. Hogarth had been laid beside her mother and her
husband under the tomb in Chiswick churchyard; the little 'country
box' had passed to Mary Lewis; and--by direction of the same lady--the
contents of the 'Golden Head' in Leicester Fields were shortly
afterwards (April, 1790) announced for sale. In the Print Room at the
British Museum (where is also the original manuscript of the famous
'Five Days' Tour' of 1732) is a copy of the auctioneer's catalogue,
which once belonged to George Steevens. It is not a document of many
pages. At Mrs. Hogarth's death, her income from the prints, exclusive
property in which had been secured to her in 1767 by special Act of
Parliament, had greatly fallen off; and though she had received the
further aid of a small pension from the Royal Academy, it is to be
presumed that her means were considerably straitened. It is known, too,
that there had been lodgers at the 'Golden Head,' one being the engraver
Richard Livesay, another the strange Ossianic enthusiast and friend of
Fuseli, Alexander Runciman; and obviously nothing but 'strong necessity'
could justify the reception of lodgers. These circumstances must explain
the slender contents of Mr. Auctioneer Greenwood's little pamphlet. Many
of the treasures of William Hogarth's household had already become the
prey of the collector, or had passed to admiring friends; and what
remained to be finally dispersed under the hammer practically consisted
of family relics. There was Hogarth's own likeness of himself and his
dog, soon to become the property of Mr. Angerstein, from whom it passed
to the National Gallery; there was another whole-length of painting of
him; there was Roubiliac's clever _terra cotta_; there was a cast of the
faithful Trump, and one of Hogarth's hand; there were the portraits of
his sisters Mary and Ann, which now belong to Mr. R. C. Nichols. Other
items were a set of 'twelve Delft ware plates,' painted with the signs
of the zodiac by Sir James Thornhill; portraits of Sir James and his
wife; of Mrs. Hogarth herself; of Hogarth's six servants; and there were
also numerous framed examples of his prints. * But the most important
object in the sale was undoubtedly the famous 'Sigismunda.'

     * By a piece of auction-room humour, 'The Bathos' appears as
     'The Bathers.'

'Sigismunda Mourning over the Heart of Guiscardo' is the full title of
the picture in the National Gallery catalogue. As one looks at it now,
asylumed safely, _post tot discrimina_, in Trafalgar Square, it is
not so much its qualities as its story that it recalls. How much
heartburning, how much bitterness, would have been saved to its sturdy
little 'Author,' as he loved to style himself, if it had never been
projected! He was an unparalleled pictorial satirist; he was, and still
is, an unsurpassed story-teller upon canvas.=

```'In walks of Humour, in that cast of Style,

```Which, probing to the quick, yet makes us smile;

```In Comedy, thy nat'ral road to fame,

```Nor let me call it by a meaner name,

```Where a beginning, middle, and an end

```Are aptly joined; where parts on parts depend,

```Each made for each, as bodies for their soul,

```So as to form one true and perfect whole,

```Where a plain story to the eye is told,

```Which we conceive the moment we behold,

```Hogarth unrivall'd stands, and shall engage

```Unrivall'd praise to the most distant age.'=

Thus even his enemy and assailant, Charles Churchill. But Hogarth
had the misfortune to live in an age when Art was given over to the
bubblemongers and 'black masters;' when, to the suppression of native
talent, sham _chefs d'ouvre_ were praised extravagantly by sham
connoisseurs; and the patriotic painter of 'Marriage À-la-Mode' justly
resented the invasion of the country by the rubbish of the Roman
art-factories. Had he confined himself to the forcible indignation of
which, as an impenitent islander, he possessed unlimited command, it
would have been better for his peace of mind. But, in an unpropitious
hour, he undertook to prove his case by demonstration. Among the
pictures from Sir Luke Schaub's collection, offered for sale in 1758,
was a 'Sigismunda,' attributed to Correggio, but in reality from the
brush of the far inferior artist, Furini. It was recklessly run up by
the virtuosi, and was finally bought in for over £400. Hogarth,
whose inimitable 'Marriage' had fetched only £126 (frames included),
determined to paint the same subject. He had an open commission from
Sir Richard Grosvenor, a wealthy art-collector, who had been one of the
bidders for the Furini, and he set to work. He took unusual pains--a
thing which, in his case, was of evil augury; and he modified the
details of his design again and again, in obedience to the suggestions
of friends. When at last the picture was completed, Sir Richard, who,
perhaps not unreasonably, had looked for something more in the artist's
individual manner, took advantage of Hogarth's conventional offer to
release him from his bargain, and rather shabbily withdrew from it upon
the specious ground 'that the constantly having it [the picture] before
one's eyes would be too often occasioning melancholy ideas'--a sentiment
which the irritated painter, calling verse to his relief, afterwards
neatly paraphrased. Admitting its power to touch the heart to be the
'truest test' of a masterpiece, he says of 'Sigismunda':=

````'Nay;'tis so moving that the Knight

````Can't even bear it in his sight;

````Then who would tears so dearly buy,

````As give four hundred pounds to cry?

````I own, he chose the prudent part,

````Rather to break his word than heart;

````And yet, methinks,'tis ticklish dealing

````With one so delicate--in feeling.'=

As a result of Sir Richard Grosvenor's action, the picture remained on
the artist's hands,--a source of continual mortification to himself,
and a fruitful theme of discussion to both his friends and enemies. The
political caricaturists got hold of it, and used it as a stick to beat
the pensionary of Lord Bute; the critics employed it to continue their
assaults on the precepts of the 'Analysis.' When Wilkes retorted
to Hogarth's ill-advised print of the 'Times,' he openly described
'Sigismunda' as a portrait of Mrs. Hogarth 'in an agony of passion;' and
the fact that she had served as her husband's model was not neglected by
his meaner assailants. Finally, after various attempts had been made
to engrave it, the picture was left by the artist to his widow with
injunctions not to sell it for less than £500. After her death it was
bought at the 'Golden Head' sale for £56 by Alderman Boydell. As already
stated, it is now in the National Gallery, to which it was bequeathed by
the late Mr. Anderdon in 1879.

In the couplets already quoted, Hogarth had ended by saying:=

````'Let the picture rust.

```Perhaps Time's price-enhancing dust,

```As statues moulder into earth,

```When I'm no more, may mark its worth,

````And future connoisseurs may rise,

````Honest as ours, and full as wise,

````To puff the piece and painter too,

````And make me then what Guido's now.'=

To some extent the reaction he hoped for has arrived. The latter-day
student of 'Sigis-munda,' unblinded by political prejudice or private
animosity, renders full justice to the soundness of its execution and
the undoubted skill of its technique. Indeed, at the present moment,
the tendency seems to be rather to overrate than to underrate its
praiseworthy qualities. Yet, when all is said, the subject remains an
unattractive and even a repulsive one. It must be admitted also that, in
one respect, contemporary critics were right. They were wrong in their
unreasoning preference for doubtful 'exotics,' but they were right
in their contention that, upon this occasion, Hogarth had strayed
perilously from his own peculiar walk, and that so-called 'history
painting' was _not_ his strongest point. Conscientious and painstaking,
'Sigismunda' is still a mistake, although it is the mistake of a great
artist; and Hogarth's recorded partiality for it affords but one more
example of that unaccountable blindness which led Addison to put his
poems before the 'Spectator,' Prior to rank his 'Solomon' above the
'loose and hasty scribble' of 'Alma,' and Liston, whose nose alone was
provocative of laughter, to cherish the extraordinary delusion that his
true vocation was that of a tragic actor.



X. 'THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD.'

|WHAT was it that suggested to Goldsmith raphers and commentators have
pointed to more than one plausible model,--the 'Lettres Persanes' of
Montesquieu, the 'Lettres d'une Péruvienne' of Madame de Graffigny, the
'Lettres Chinoises' of the Marquis d'Argens, the 'Asiatic' of Voltaire's
'Lettres Philosophiques.' But it is sometimes wise, especially in such
hand-to-mouth work as journalism, which was all Goldsmith at first
intended, to seek for origins in the immediate neighbourhood rather
than in remoter places. In 1757 Horace Walpole published anonymously, in
pamphlet form, a clever little squib upon Admiral Byng's 'The Citizen of
the World'? Biogtrial in particular and English inconstancy in general,
which he entitled 'A Letter from Xo Ho, a Chinese Philosopher at London,
to his friend Lien Chi, at Peking.' This was briefly noticed in the
May issue of the 'Monthly Review,' where Goldsmith was then acting as
scribbler-general to Griffiths, the proprietor of the magazine (his
reviews of Home's 'Douglas' and of Burke's 'Sublime and Beautiful'
appeared in the same number), and it was described as in Montesquieu's
manner. A year later Goldsmith is writing mysteriously to his friend Bob
Bryan-ton, of Ballymulvey, in Ireland, about a 'Chinese whom he shall
soon make talk like an Englishman;' and when at last his 'Chinese
Letters,' as they were called at first, begin to appear in Newbury's
'Public Ledger,' he takes for the name of his Oriental, Lien Chi
Altangi, one of Walpole's imaginary correspondents having been Lien Chi.
This chain of association, if slight, is strong enough to justify some
connection. The fundamental idea, no doubt, was far older than either
Walpole or Goldsmith; but it is not too much to suppose that Walpole's
_jeu d'esprit_ supplied just that opportune suggestion which produced
the remarkable and now too-much-neglected series of letters afterwards
reprinted under the general title of 'The Citizen of the World.'

'The metaphors and illusions,' says Goldsmith in one of those admirable
prefaces of which he possessed the secret, 'are all drawn from the
East;' and in another place he tells us that a certain apostrophe is
wholly translated from Ambulaaohamed, a real (or fictitious) Arabian
poet. To these ingenuities he no doubt attached the exaggerated
importance habitually assigned to work which has cost its writer pains.
But it is not the adroitness of his adaptations from Le Comte and
Du Halde that most detains us now. The purely Oriental part of the
work--although it includes the amusing story (an 'Ephesian Matron' _à la
Chinoise_) of the widow who, in her haste to marry again, fans her late
husband's grave to dry it quicker, and the apologue of Prince Bonbennin
and the White Mouse--is practically dead wood. It is Goldsmith under the
transparent disguise of Lien Chi--Goldsmith commenting, after the
manner of Addison and Steele, upon Georgian England, that attracts and
interests the modern reader. His Chinese Philosopher might well have
wondered at the lazy puddle moving muddily along the ill-kept London
streets, at the large feet and white teeth of the women, at the unwieldy
signs with their nondescript devices, at the unaccountable fashion of
lying-in-state; but it is Goldsmith, and Goldsmith only, who could
have imagined the admirable humour of the dialogue on liberty between
a prisoner (through his grating), a porter pausing from his burden to
denounce slavery and the French, and a soldier who, with a tremendous
oath, advocates, above all, the importance of religion. It is
Goldsmith again--the Goldsmith of Green-Arbour-Court and Griffith's
back-parlour--who draws, from a harder experience than could have been
possible to Lien Chi, the satiric picture of the so-called republic of
letters which forms his twentieth epistle. 'Each looks upon his fellow
as a rival, not an assistant in the same pursuit. They calumniate, they
injure, they despise, they ridicule each other: if one man writes a book
that pleases, others shall write books to show that he might have given
still greater pleasure, or should not have pleased. If one happens to
hit on something new, there are numbers ready to assure the public that
all this was no novelty to them or the learned; that Cardanus or Brunus,
or some other author too dull to be generally read, had anticipated the
discovery. Thus, instead of uniting like the members of a commonwealth,
they are divided into almost as many factions as there are men; and
their jarring constitution, instead of being styled a republic of
letters, should be entitled an anarchy of literature.' One rubs one's
eyes as one reads; one asks oneself under one's breath if it is of our
day that the satirist is speaking. No; it is of the reign of the second
of the Georges, before Grub Street was turned into Milton Street.

Literature, in its different aspects, plays not a small part in the
lucubrations of Lien Chi. Two of the best letters are devoted to a
whimsical description of the vagaries of some of its humbler professors,
who hold a Saturday Club at the 'Broom' at Islington; others treat of
the decay of poetry; of novels, and 'Tristram Shandy' in particular; of
the necessity of intrigue or riches as a means to success. Nor are
Art and the Drama neglected. The virtuoso, who afforded such a fund
of amusement to Fielding and Smollett, receives his full share of
attention; and in the papers upon acting and actors, Goldsmith once more
displays that critical common-sense which he had shown so conspicuously
in 'The Bee.' Travellers and their trivialities are freely ridiculed;
there are papers on Newmarket, on the Marriage Act, on the coronation,
on the courts of justice; on quacks, gaming, paint, mourning, and mad
dogs. There is a letter on the irreverent behaviour of the congregation
in St. Paul's; there is another on the iniquity of making shows of
public monuments. Now and then a more serious note is touched, as when
the author is stirred to unwonted gravity by the savage penal code of
his day, which, 'cementing the laws with blood,' closed every avenue
with a gibbet, and against which Johnson too lifted his sonorous voice.=

```'Scarce can our fields, such crowds at Tyburn die,

```With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply,'--=

he sang in 'London,' anticipating his later utterances in 'The Rambler.'
Goldsmith, on the other hand, crystallized in his verse the raw material
of which he made his Chinese philosopher the mouthpiece. Several of the
best known passages of his two longest poems have their first form in
the prose of Lien Chi. Indeed, one actual line of 'The Traveller,' 'A
land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,' is simply a textual quotation
from 'The Citizen of the World.'

But what in the Chinese letters is even more remarkable than their
clever raillery of social incongruities and abuses, is their occasional
indication of the author's innate but hitherto undisclosed gift for the
delineation of humorous character. Up to this time he had exhibited
no particular tendency in this direction. The little sketches of Jack
Spindle and 'my cousin Hannah,' in 'The Bee,' go no farther than
the corresponding personifications of particular qualities in the
'Spectator' and 'Tatler;' and they are not of the kind which, to employ
a French figure, 'enter the skin' of the personality presented. But in
the case of the eccentric philanthropist of 'The Citizen of the World,'
whom he christens the 'Man in Black,' he comes nearer to such a definite
embodiment as Addison's 'Will Wimble.' The 'Man in Black' is evidently
a combination of some of those Goldsmith family traits which were
afterwards so successfully recalled in Dr. Primrose, Mr. Hardcastle,
and the clergyman of 'The Deserted Village.' The contrast between his
credulous charity and his expressed distrust of human nature, between
his simulated harshness and his real amiability, constitutes a type
which has since been often used successfully in English literature; it
is clear, too, that in the account of his life he borrows both from his
author and his author's father. When he speaks of his unwillingness to
take orders, of his dislike to wear a long wig when he preferred a
short one, or a black coat when he dressed in brown, he is only giving
expression to that incompatibility of temper which led to Goldsmith's
rejection for ordination by the Bishop of Elphin; while in his picture
of his father's house, with its simple, kindly prodigality, its little
group of grateful parasites who laugh, like Mr. Hardcastle's servants,
at the host's old jokes, and the careless paternal benevolence which
makes the children 'mere machines of pity,' 'instructed in the art
of giving away thousands before they were taught the more necessary
qualifications of getting a farthing,' one recognizes the environment
of that emphatically Irish household on the road from Ballymahon to
Athlone, in which Goldsmith's own boyhood had been spent.

Excellent as he is, however, the 'Man in Black,' with his grudging
generosity and his 'reluctant goodness,' is surpassed in completeness of
characterization by the more finished portrait of Beau Tibbs. The poor
little pinched pretender to fashion, with his tarnished finery and his
reed-voiced, simpering helpmate,--with his coffee-house cackle of my
Lord Mudler and the Duchess of Piccadilly, and his magnificent promises
of turbot and ortolan, which issue pitifully in postponed ox-cheek and
bitter beer,--approaches the dimensions of a masterpiece. Charles Lamb,
one would think, must have rejoiced over the reckless assurance which
expatiates on the charming view of the Thames from the garret of a
back-street in the suburbs, which glorifies the 'paltry, unframed
pictures' on its walls into essays in the manner of the celebrated
Grisoni and transforms a surly Scotch hag-of-all-work into an old and
privileged family-servant,--the gift 'of a friend of mine, a Parliament
man from the Highlands.' Nor are there many pages in Dickens more
perennially humorous than the scene in which the 'Man in Black,' his
_inamorata_ the pawnbroker's widow, and Mr. and Mrs. Tibbs, all make
a party to the picturesque old Vauxhall Gardens of Jonathan Tyers. The
inimitable sparring which ensues between the second-hand gentility of
the beau's lady and the moneyed vulgarity of the tradesman's relict,
their different and wholly irreconcilable views of the entertainment,
and the tragic termination of the whole, by which the widow is balked
of 'the waterworks' because good manners constrain her to sit out the
wiredrawn _roulades_ and quavers of Mrs. Tibbs--these are things which
age cannot wither nor custom stale. If Goldsmith had written nothing but
this miniature trilogy of Beau Tibbs,--if Dr. Primrose were uninvented
and Tony Lumpkin non-existent,--he would still have earned a perpetual
place among English humourists.

Something of this, undoubtedly, he owed to the fortunate instinct which
dictated his choice of his material. The forerunner of Dickens,--the
disciple, although he knew it not, of Fielding,--he makes his capital
by his disregard of the reigning models of his time. Declining to select
his characters from the fashionable abstractions of Sentimental Comedy
and the mechanical puppets of conventional High Life, he turns aside
to the moving, various, many-coloured middle-classes, from whose ranks
originality has not yet been banished, or nature cast out. Of these he
had knowledge and experience; of those he had seen but little. Upon the
other walk, his labours might have been as forgotten as the 'Henry' of
Richard Cumberland or the 'Henrietta' of Mrs. Charlotte Lenox. But he
took his own line; and in consequence, Beau Tibbs and the pawnbroker's
widow (with her rings and her green damask) are as much alive to-day as
Partridge or Mrs. Nickleby.



XI. AN OLD LONDON BOOKSELLER.

|DEC. 22. Mr. John Newbery, of St. Paul's who knew him.' These words,
copied from the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for 1767, record the death of one
who, in his way, was an eighteenth century notability. He belonged
to the good old 'Keep-your-Shop-and-your-Shop-will-keep-you' class of
tradesmen, who lived without pretence near their places of business
in the City, worked industriously during the week, marched off to St.
Bride's or St. Dunstan's on Sunday morning with a crop-eared 'prentice
in the rear to carry the great gilt Bible, and jogged away in crowded
chaises of summer afternoons to eat tarts at Highgate or drink tea out
of china in the Long churchyard, sincerely lamented by all.

In due time they made their 'plumbs;' sent their sons to St. Paul's or
Merchant Taylors', sometimes even to Oxford or Cambridge; and finally
left their portraits to posterity in the becoming and worshipful garb of
Sheriffs or Common-councilmen. Unfortunately for this paper, there is no
such limner's likeness of 'honest John Newbery.' Yet we are not wholly
without details as to his character and personal appearance. That
'glorious pillar of unshaken orthodoxy,' Dr. Primrose, formerly
of Wakefield, for whom, as all the world knows, he had published a
pamphlet' 'against the Deuterogamists of the age,' describes him as a
red-faced, good-natured little man, who was always in a hurry. 'He was
no sooner alighted,' says the worthy Vicar, 'but he was in haste to be
gone; for he was ever on business of the utmost importance.' 'Mr. Idler'
confirms this indication. 'When he enters a house, his first declaration
is, that he cannot sit down; and so short are his visits, that he seldom
appears to have come for any other reason but to say, He must go.' It
is not difficult to fill in the outline of Johnson and Goldsmith.
'The philanthropic bookseller in St. Paul's church-yard' was plainly
a bustling, multifarious, and not unkindly personage, essentially
commercial, essentially enterprising, rigorously exacting his money's
worth of work, keeping prudent record of all casual cash advances, but,
on the whole, not unbeneficent in his business fashion to the needy
brethren of the pen by whom he was surrounded. Many of John Newbery's
guineas passed to Johnson, to Goldsmith, to poor mad Christopher Smart,
who married his step-daughter. As Johnson implies, it is not impossible
that he finally fell a victim to that unreasoning mental activity which
left him always struggling hopelessly with more schemes and proposals
than one man could possibly manage. His wig must often have been awry,
and his spectacles mislaid, in that perpetual journey from pillar to
post which ultimately landed him, at the comparatively early age of
fifty-four, in his grave at Waltham St. Lawrence.

It was at Waltham St. Lawrence, a quiet little Berkshire village, whose
churchyard is dotted with the tombs of earlier Newberys, that he had
been born. His father, a small farmer, destined him for his own calling.
But, like Gay, it was not John Newbery's fate 'to brighten ploughshares
in paternal land.' He passed early into the service of a 'merchant,'
otherwise a printer and newspaper proprietor, at Reading, managing
so well that, when his employer died, he was left a co-legatee in the
business. Thereupon, being a resolute man, he did better still, and
married his master's widow, who had three children. Even this succeeded;
upon which, progressing always in prosperity, he began to think of
starting in London. Before doing so, he made a tour in the provinces.
Of this expedition there exists a curious record in the shape of an
unprinted journal, throwing much light upon modes of travelling in those
early coaching days, when the unfortunate outside passenger (like Pastor
Moritz in a later paper *) had to choose between being jolted to
death in the basket, or clinging like a fly to the slippery top of the
vehicle.

     * See-post, 'A German in England.'

The majority of the entries are merely matter of business,--titles for
new books, recipes for diet-drinks, shrewd trade maxims, and the
like. But here and there the writer intersperses notes of general
interest,--on Dick Turpin the highwayman, on Lady Godiva and peeping
Tom, and (more than once) upon that 'curious and very useful machine,'
the Ducking-Stool for scolds, a 'plan of which instrument (he says) he
shall procure and transplant to Berkshire for the good of his native
county.' His business at Reading was as miscellaneous as his memorandum
book, and he seems to have dealt in all kinds of goods. About 1744 he
removed to London, opening a shop at the sign of the 'Bible and
Crown,' near Devereux Court, without Temple Bar, together with a branch
establishment at the Royal Exchange. To this Johnson probably refers
when he says: 'He has one habitation near Bow Church, and another about
a mile distant. By this ingenious distribution of himself between two
houses, he has contrived to be found at neither.' From the 'Bible and
Crown,' which had been his old Reading sign, he moved a year later to
the 'Bible and Sun' in St. Paul's Churchyard. This continued to be his
headquarters until his death. Gradually his indiscriminate activities
narrowed themselves to two distinct branches of business, in these days
incongruous enough,--the sale of books and the sale of patent medicines.
While at Reading, he had become part owner, among other things, of
Dr. Hooper's Female Pills; and soon after his settlement in London, he
acquired the sole management of a more famous panacea, Dr. James's Fever
Powders, which had in their time an extraordinary vogue. According to
Mrs. Delany, the King dosed the Princess Elizabeth with them; Gray and
Cowper both believed in their efficacy; and Horace Walpole, declared he
should take them if the house were on fire. Fielding specially praises
them in 'Amelia,' affirming that in almost any country but England
they would have brought 'public Honours and Rewards' to his 'worthy and
ingenious Friend Dr. James;' while Goldsmith may be said to have laid
down his life for them. With the sale of these and kindred specifics,
John Newbery alternated his unwearied speculations as a bookseller. He
was at the back of Smollett's venture of the 'British Magazine;' it was
for his 'Universal Chronicle' that Johnson wrote his 'Idler' and quizzed
his proprietor as 'Jack Whirler;' he was the publisher of Goldsmith's
'Traveller' and 'Citizen of the World;' and lie probably found part
of the historical sixty guineas which somebody paid for the 'Vicar of
Wakefield.' He died at Canbury or Canonbury House, Islington, in the
still-existent Tower of which he was an occasional resident. Indeed, it
is more than probable that he was at one time the responsible landlord
of that favourite retiring place for literary men,--a retiring place not
without its exceptional advantages, if we* are to believe last-century
advertisements, which, in addition to a natural cold bath, speak of
'a superlative Room, furnish'd for a single Person, or two Gentlemen,
having a Prospect into five Counties ['_longos prospicit agros!_'],
and the use of a good Garden and Summer-House.' Besides this there were
traditions of Prior Bolton and Anne of Cleves, of Bacon and Elizabeth,
of Sir John Spencer and William Fielding, Earl of Denbigh (the
novelist's grand-uncle), which certainly have figured in any schedule of
attractions, and must naturally have been interesting to the Smarts
and Hills and Woodfalls and Goldsmiths who afterwards inhabited the old
ivy-clad Tower.

Newbery's epitaph in the churchyard of his native village lays its
main stress upon his connection with Dr. James's nostrum; and it was
doubtless to this and the other patent medicines with which he was
connected that he owed the material part of his prosperity. Yet it
is not now upon the celebrated 'Arquebusade Water' (dear to Lady Mary
Coke), or the far-famed 'Cephalic Snuff,' or the incomparable 'Beaume
de Vie,' once so familiar in eighteenth-century advertisements, that
he bases his individual claim to the gratitude of posterity. It is, to
quote his biographer, Mr. Welsh, as 'the first bookseller who made
the issue of books, specially intended for children, a business of
any importance;' as the publisher of 'The Renowned History of Giles
Gingerbread: a little Boy who lived upon Learning,' of 'Mrs. Margery
Two-Shoes' (afterward Lady Jones), of the redoubtable 'Tommy Trip and
his dog Jouler,' of the 'Lilliputian Magazine,' and of numbers of other
tiny masterpieces in that flowered and gilt Dutch paper of which the art
has been lost, that he is best remembered. Concerning these commendable
little treatises, with their matter-of-fact title-pages and their
artless appeal to all little Masters and Misses 'who are good, or intend
to be good,' there are varying opinions. Dr. Johnson, according to Mrs.
Thrale, thought them too childish for their purpose. He preferred the
'Seven Champions,' or 'Parisenus and Parismenus.' 'Babies,' he said in
his legislative way, 'do not want to hear about babies. They like to
be told of giants and castles, and of somewhat which can stretch and
stimulate their little minds.' 'Remember always,' he added, 'that the
parents buy the books, and that the children never read them.' Yet it is
claimed for Robert Southey that in Newbery's 'delectable histories' he
found just that very stimulus which made him a life-long book-lover;
and it is characteristic of Charles Lamb (a better judge of children's
literature than Johnson) that he puts forward these particular
publications against the Bar-baulds and Trimmers ('those blights and
blasts of all that is human in man and child'), as presenting the very
quality which Johnson desired, the 'beautiful interest in wild tales,
which made the child a man, while all the time he suspected himself to
be no bigger than a child.' 'Think what you would have been now,' he
writes to Coleridge of 'Goody Two-Shoes,' 'if instead of being fed with
tales and old wives' fables in childhood, you had been crammed with
geography and natural history!' The authorship of these 'classics of the
nursery' is an old battle ground. Newbery, it is alleged, wrote some of
them himself. He was (says Dr. Primrose when he met him) 'at that time
actually compiling materials for the history of one Mr. Thomas Trip,'
and if this can hardly be accepted as proof positive, it may be safely
asserted that to Newbery's business instincts are due those ingenious
references to his different wares and publications which crop up so
unexpectedly in the course of the narrative. For example, in 'Goody
Two-Shoes' we are told that the heroine's father 'died miserably'
because he was 'seized with a violent Fever in a place where Dr. James's
Powder was not to be had!' But who were Newbery's assistant authors?
Giles and Griffith Jones, say some; Oliver Goldsmith, say others.
With respect to the last-named no particular testimony seems to be
forthcoming beyond his known relations to the publisher, and the
so-called 'evidence of style.' In the absence of confirmatory details
the former is worthless; and the latter is often entirely misleading.
Without going back to the time-honoured case of Erasmus and Scaliger's
oration, two modern instances of this may be cited. Mr. Thackeray, says
Mr. Forster, claimed the 'Pleasant and Delightful History of Thomas
Hickathrift' for Henry Fielding. But both Mr. Forster and Mr. Thackeray
should have remembered that their common acquaintance, Mr. Isaac
Bickerstaff, of the 'Tatler,' had written of Hickathrift as a chap-book
when Fielding was a baby. In the same way 'Tommy Trip' has, by no mean
judges, been attributed to Goldsmith upon the strength of the following
quatrain:--=

````'Three children sliding on the ice

`````Upon a summer's day,

````As it fell out they all fell in,

`````The rest they ran away.'=

Alas! and alas! for the 'evidence of style.' Not only had these
identical lines been turned into Latin in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for
July, 1754, when Goldsmith was still studying medicine at Leyden; but
they are quoted at p. 30 of 'The Character of Richard St[ee]le,

Esq;' by 'Toby, Abel's Kinsman,' which was issued by 'J. Morphew, near
Stationer's Hall,' as far back as the month of November, 1713. As a
matter of fact, they are much older still, being affirmed by Chambers in
his excellent 'Book of Days' to be, in their first form, part of a long
and rambling story in doggerel rhyme dating from the early part of
the Civil Wars, which is to be found at the end of a little old book
entitled 'The Loves of Hero and Leander,' 12mo, London, 1653, and 1677.



XII. GRAY'S LIBRARY.

|AMONG Gray's papers was one inscribed 'Dialogue of Books.' The
handwriting was that of his biographer Mason, but it was believed to be
either by Gray or by West. There is a strong presumption that the author
was Gray; and it is accordingly attributed to him in the Rev. D. C.
Tovey's 'Gray and his Friends,' where for the first time it was printed.
It shows us the little great man (if it is accurately dated 1742, it
must have been in the year of his fullest poetical activity) sitting
tranquilly in his study chair, when he is 'suddenly alarmd with a great
hubbub of Tongues.' He listens; and finds that his books are talking
to one another. Madame de Sévigné is being what Mrs. Gamp would call
'scroudged' by Aristotle, who replies to her compressed expostulations
with all the brutality of a philosopher and a realist. Thereupon she
appeals to her relative, the author of the 'Histoire amoureuse des
Gaules.' But the gallant M. Bussy-Rabutin, himself pining for an
interchange of compliments with a neighbouring Catullus, is hopelessly
penned in by a hulking edition of Strabo, and cannot possibly arrive
to the assistance of his _belle Cousine_. Elsewhere La Bruyère comments
upon the strange companions with whom Fate has acquainted him; and
Locke observes, with a touch of temper, that _he_ is associated with
Ovid,--and Ray the Naturalist! * Virgil placidly quotes a line of
his own poems; More, the Platonist, delivers himself of a neat little
copybook sentiment in praise of theological speculation; and great fat
Dr. Cheyne huskily mutters his own adage, 'Every man after forty is
either a fool or a Physician.'

     * Ray's 'Select Remains' with life by Derham, 1740, and many
     marginal notes by Gray, was recently in a London
     bookseller's catalogue.

In another corner an ill-judged and irrelevant remark by Euclid,
touching the dimensions of a point, brings down upon him the scorn both
of Swift and Boileau, who clamour for the unconditional suppression
of mathematics. (If there be nothing else, this in itself is almost
sufficient to fix the authorship of the paper with Gray, whose hatred
of mathematics was only equalled by that of Goldsmith.) Then a pert
exclamation from a self-sufficient _Vade Mecum_ provokes the owner of
the library to so hearty an outburst of merriment that the startled
tones at once shrink back into 'uncommunicating muteness.' Laughter, it
would seem, is as fatal to books as it was of old to the Coquecigrues.

Whether Gray's library ever again broke silence, his biographers have
not related. But if his books were pressed for space while in his
possession, they have since enjoyed ample opportunities for change
of air and scene. When he died he left them, with his manuscripts, to
Mason, who in turn bequeathed them to the poet's friend Stonehewer,
from whom they passed, in part, to a relative, Mr. Bright of Skeffington
Hall. At Mr. Bright's death, being family property, they were sold by
auction. In August, 1851, they were again offered for sale; and three
years later a number of them, which had apparently been reserved or
bought in, once more came under the hammer at Sotheby and Wilkinson's.
We have before us the catalogue of the second sale, which is naturally
much fuller than that of 1854. What strikes one first is the care with
which the majority of the volumes had been preserved by their later
possessors. Many of the Note-Books were cushioned on velvet in special
cases, while the more precious manuscripts had been skilfully inlaid,
and bound in olive morocco with leather joints and linings of crimson
silk. Like Prior, Gray must have preserved almost everything, 'e'en from
his boyish days.' Among the books is 'Plutarch's Lives,' with Dacier's
notes, and the inscription, 'E libris Thomæ Gray, Scholæ Eton: Alumn.
Januar. 22, 1733'--a year before he left for Cambridge; there is also
his copy of Pope's 'Iliad,' with autograph date a year earlier; there
is a still more youthful (though perhaps more suspicious)
possession--namely, three volumes of Dryden's 'Virgil,' which were
said to have actually belonged to Pope. 'Ex libris A. Pope, 1710,' was
written at the back of the portrait, and the same inscription recurred
in each volume, though in the others some Vandal, probably a classmate,
by adding a tail to the 'P' and an 'r' at the end, had turned the 'Pope'
into 'Roper.' Another of Gray's Eton books was a Waller, acquired in
1729, in which favourite poems and passages were underlined.

Of the classics he must have been a most unwearied and sedulous student.
Euripides he read in the great folio of Joshua Barnes (Cantab. 1694),
which is marked throughout by a special system of stars, inverted
commas, and lines in red crayon; and his note-books bristle with
extracts, neatly 'arranged and digested,' from all the best Greek
authors--Sophocles, Thucydides, Xenophon, and even that Isocrates
whom Goldsmith, from the critical altitudes of the 'Monthly Review,'
recommended him to study. At other 'classics' he worked with equal
diligence. His 'Decameron'--the London _quarto_ of 1725--was filled
with _marginalia_ identifying Boccaccio's sources of inspiration and
principal imitators, while his Milton--the two-volume _duodecimo_ of
1730-8--was interleaved,and annotated profusely with parallel passages
drawn from the Bible, Dante, Shakespeare, and 'the ancients.'' He had
crowded Dugdale's 'Baronage' with corrections and additions; he had
largely 'commented' the four folio volumes of Clarendon's 'Rebellion;'
and he had followed everywhere, with remorseless rectifications, the
vagrant utterances of gossiping Gilbert Burnet. His patience, accuracy,
research, were not less extraordinary than his odd, out-of-the-way
knowledge. In the 'Voyages de Bergeron' (quarto) that author says:
'Mango Cham fut noie.' No, comments Gray, decisively, 'Muncacâ or
Mangu-Khanw was not drowned, but in reality slain in China at the siege
of Hochew in 1258.' Which of us could oblige an inquisitive examiner
with the biography of this Eastern potentate! Which of us would not be
reduced to 'combining our information' (like the ingenious writer on
Chinese Metaphysics) as to 'mangoes' and 'great Chams'!

But the two most interesting items of the Catalogue are yet unmentioned.
One is the laborious collection of Manuscript Music that Gray compiled
in Italy while frivolous Horace Walpole was eating iced fruits in
a domino to the sound of a guitar. Zamperelli, Pergolesi, Arrigoni,
Galuppi--he has ransacked them all, noting the school of the composer
and the source of the piece selected--copying out religiously even the
'Regole per l'Accompagnamento.' The other, which we who write have seen,
is the famous Linnaeus exhibited at Cambridge in 1885 by Mr. Ruskin. It
is an interleaved copy of the 'Systema Naturae,' two volumes in three,
covered as to their margins and added pages with wonderful minute notes
in Latin, and illustrated by Gray himself with delicately finished
pen-and-ink drawings of birds and insects. During the later part of his
life these volumes, we are told, were continually on his table, and
his absorbing love for natural history is everywhere manifested in his
journals and pocket-books. When he is in the country, he classes the
plants; when in town, he notes the skins of birds in shops; and when he
eats whitebait at Greenwich, he straightway describes that dainty in
the language of Tacitus. _Nullus odor nisi Piscis; farina respersus,
frixusque editur_.

Among the manuscripts proper of this collection, the place of honour
belongs to one which Mason had labelled 'Original Copy of the Elegy in
a Country Church Yard.' In addition to other variations from the printed
text, erased words in this MS. showed that Cato stood originally for
Hampden, and Tully and Cæsar for Milton and Cromwell:=

``'Some mute inglorious Tully here may rest,

```Some Cæsar guiltless of his country's blood.'=

Here, too, were found those well-known but rejected 'additional'
stanzas:=

```'The thoughtless World to Majesty may bow,

````Exalt the brave, and idolize Success;

```But more to Innocence their Safety owe

````Than Pow'r and Genius e'er conspir'd to bless.=

```'And thou, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead,

````Dost in these Notes their artless Tale relate,

```By Night and lonely Contemplation led

````To linger in the gloomy Walks of Fate:=

```'Hark! how the sacred Calm that broods around,

````Bids ev'ry fierce tumultuous Passion cease;

```In still small Accents whisp'ring from the Ground,

````A grateful Earnest of eternal Peace.=

```'No more, with Reason and thyself at Strife,

````Give anxious Cares and endless Wishes room;

```But thro' the cool sequester'd Vale of Life

````Pursue the silent Tenour of thy Doom.' *=


* Another additional stanza, perhaps better known than the above, does
not occur in the 'Original Copy' of the Elegy, but in a later MS. at
Pembroke College:--=

```'There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the Year,

```By Hands unseen, are Show'rs of Violets found:

```The Red-breast loves to build, & warble there,

```And little Footsteps lightly print the Ground.'=

```His bushy beard, and shoe-strings green,

````His high-crown'd hat, and sattin-doublet,

```Mov'd the stout heart of England's Queen,

````Tho' Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it.'=

Or again:=

```'Who prowl'd the country far and near,

````Bewitch'd the children of the peasants,

```Dried up the cows, and lam'd the deer,

````And suck'd the eggs, and kill'd the pheasants.'=


Another group of autographs in this volume had a special interest. The
first was the notelet, or 'spell,' which Lady Schaub and Miss Speed left
for Gray upon that first call when the nervous poet was 'not at home'
to his unexpected visitors. Next to this came the poem which the note
elicited--that charming 'Long Story,' with its echo of Matthew Prior,
which has set their tune to so many later verse-spinners:

Does not one seem to catch in this the coming cadences of another
haunter of the 'Poets' Walk' at Eton--of Winthrop Mackworth Praed;
nay, an it be not _lèse majesté_, even of the lighter strains of Lord
Tennyson himself! To the 'Long Story' followed Miss Speed's polite
little acknowledgment with its invitation to dinner, and a few pages
further on the verses beginning--=

```* Midst Beauty and Pleasure's gay Triumphs to languish,'=

which Gray probably wrote for her--verses in which there is more of
poetic ardour than genuine passion. Gray was not a marrying man. Yet one
feels half sorry that he was never united to 'Your oblig'd & obedient
Henrietta Jane Speed,' with her £30,000, her house in town, and her
'china and old japan infinite.' Still more to be resented is the freak
of Fate which transformed the delightful Melissa of the 'Long Story'
into the berouged French Baronne who, sixteen years later, in company
with her lap-dogs, piping bullfinch, and cockatoo, arrived from the
Hague as Madame de la Perrière, and 'Ministress at London.'

The large _quarto_ volume containing the above poems also included
the first sketch in red crayon of Gray's unfinished Latin Poem, 'De
Principiis Cogitandi,' and a copy of the translation of the Ugolino
episode from the 'Inferno,' first printed by Mr. Gosse in 1884. Of the
volumes of miscellaneous MSS. (where was found the 'Dialogue of Books')
it is impossible to speak here. But among the rest comes a copy of the
'Strawberry Hill' edition of the 'Odes by Mr. Gray'--those Odes which at
first he had so obstinately refused to annotate. 'If a thing cannot
be understood without notes,' he told Walpole, 'it had better not be
understood at all.' He must, however, have subsequently recanted,
since this copy is filled with carefully written explanations of the
allusions, and with indications of the sources of information. This
book and the Note-books of Travel and Reading, with their methodical
arrangement, their scrupulous accuracy, their unwearied pains, all
help us to understand that leisurely fastidiousness, that hesitating
dilettanteism, that endless preluding to unachieved performance, which
make of the most literary, exact, and polished of poets, at the same
time the least copious of writers. In his bust in the Pembroke College,
Mr. Hamo Thorny-croft has happily succeeded in accentuating these
qualities of refinement and intellectual precision. For the rest, is not
Gray wholly contained in the vignette of Rogers to Mitford?

Gray, he says, saw little society in London. He had 'a nice dinner from
the Tavern brought to his lodgings, a glass or two of sweet wine, and
[here is a delightful touch!] as he sippd it talked about great People.'
It needs but to fill the room with those scarlet martagon-lilies and
double stocks for which he trudged daily to Covent Garden, to spread a
meteorological register upon the writing-table, to open Gavin Douglas
his 'Palice of Honour' in the window-seat--and the picture is finished.



XIII. THE NEW CHESTERFIELD.

|LORD CHESTERFIELD detested proverbs. For him they were not so much
the wit of one man and the wisdom of many, as the cheap rhetoric of the
vulgar, to which no person of condition could possibly condescend. Yet
it is his Lordship's misfortune to suggest one of the homeliest. Nothing
so well describes the state of his modern reputation as the familiar
adage, 'Give a dog a bad name, and hang him.' Dr. Johnson, who had more
or less valid reasons for antagonism, characterized the famous letters
in one of those vigorous verdicts, the compactness of which has
sometimes been allowed to condone injustice. They taught, he declared,
'the morals of a courtesan, * and the manners of a dancing-master.'

     * Modern usage here requires the alteration of a word.

Cowper followed suit. Addressing the author in the 'Progress of Error'
as Petronius, he informed him that the tears of the Muses would 'scald
his memory;' and after apostrophizing him as a 'graybeard corrupter of
our listening youth,' and a 'polish'd and high-finish'd foe to Truth,'
adjured him finally (and rather fatuously) to send from the shades
some message of recantation,--in all of which there is more of
poetic phraseology than energy of reproach. With the novelists Lord
Chesterfield has hardly fared better. Dickens, who drew upon him for
Sir John Chester in 'Barnaby Rudge,' makes that personage declare
enthusiastically that 'in every page of this enlightened writer, he
finds some captivating hypocrisy which had never occurred to him before,
or some superlative piece of selfishness to which he was utterly a
stranger.' The picture in Thackeray's 'Virginians' is quieter and
more lifelike. We are shown Lord Chesterfield at Tunbridge, when Harry
Warrington makes his _debut_ there--'a little beetle-browed, hook-nosed,
high-shouldered gentleman,' much like his portrait by Gainsborough,
sitting over his wine at the White Horse with M. de Pollnitz, rallying
and ironically complimenting that ambiguous adventurer, making
magnificent apology to Mr. Warrington when he has unwittingly insulted
him, and, at a later period, with his customary composure, losing six
hundred pounds to him at cards. As to this last detail there may be
doubts. Thackeray probably counted upon human frailty and the inveteracy
of an ancient habit, but Lord Carnarvon says that Lord Chesterfield gave
up play when he accepted office, and he had been Ambassador at the Hague
and Viceroy in Ireland years before he met Colonel Esmond's grandson at
M. Barbeau's much-frequented ordinary in the Wells.

Turning to the two quarto volumes which, in March, 1774, were sent forth
from Golden Square by that not entirely discreet and certainly rapacious
representative, his Lordship's daughter-in-law, one's first impression
is that they have been more talked about in the light of Johnson's
epigram than read by that of their own merits. No one, of course, would
affirm, even allowing for the corrupt state of the society in which
they were written, that their moral tone, in one respect especially, is
defensible; nor can it be denied, even supposing them to emanate from
a friend rather than a parent, that they contain passages which, to
our modern taste, are more than unpleasant. But without in the
least attempting to extenuate these objectionable features of the
correspondence, it is but just to its author to remember that it was
never intended either for the public instruction or for the public eye.
When Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope trusted the letters would be of use 'to the
Youth of these Kingdoms,' she was palpably overlooking this obvious
fact. If Lord Chesterfield had published them himself, he would no doubt
have considerably edited them; but it is extremely unlikely that he
would ever have published them at all. The principles which he desired
to instil into Philip Stanhope were the principles of the society in
which Philip Stanhope was moving--they were those of his patron, Lord
Albemarle, and his preceptress, Lady Hervey. They were intended not for
the world at large, but for the narrower world of fashion.

The systematic dissimulation which they appear to inculcate has also
been urged against them. But here again it seems to have been forgotten
that young Stanhope was intended for a politician and statesman,--that
what his father most desired for him was the successes of a court and
the rewards of diplomacy. After all, the _volto sciolto_ and _pensieri
stretti_, the 'looks loose' and 'thoughts close,' * which he so
persistently enjoins, are no more than the unimpeachable Sir Henry
Wotton impressed upon the equally unimpeachable John Milton.

     * A more popular rendering of this useful maxim is the
     'heyes hopen and mouth shut' of Thomas the footman in 'The
     Newcomes,' eh. xlvii.

Lord Chesterfield puts his points coldly and cynically; but by his
excellent sermon on the _suaviter in modo_ and the _fortiter in re_,
he preaches in reality little beyond that necessary conciliation of the
feelings of others which is inculcated by almost every manual of
ethics. Again, if he harps somewhat wearisomely upon '_les manières, les
bienséances, les agrémens_, it is precisely because these were the
weak points of his pupil, who, master at twenty of Latin, Greek, and
political history, speaking readily German, French, and Italian,
having a remarkable memory and a laudable curiosity, still retained an
awkwardness of address which neither Marcel nor Desnoyers could wholly
overcome, * and a defective enunciation which would have resisted all
the pebbles of Demosthenes.

     * Desnoyers was the fashionable English dancing-master;
     Marcel, the French one.

For the rest, Lord Chesterfield's teaching is, in great measure,
unexceptionable. Its worst fault, in addition to those already
mentioned, is that it too frequently confuses being with seeming, and
the assumption of a virtue with the actual possession of it. But many of
its injunctions are most praiseworthy, and even admirable as aphorisms;
and those to whom their note of worldly wisdom is distasteful must
blame not so much the writer, as Horace and Cicero, Bolingbroke and La
Bruyère, De Retz and La Rochefoucault, from whom he had compiled his
rules for conduct, and shaped his scheme of life.

When Philip Stanhope died at six-and-thirty, neither '_paitri [sic] de
graces_' as Lord Chesterfield hoped, nor particularly distinguished in
statecraft (he was simply Envoy at Dresden), it was discovered that he
had so far adopted the policy of '_pensieri stretti_ as to have been
married privately for some years. Probably the shock of this discovery
was softened to his father (who nevertheless behaved liberally to the
widow) by the fact that, in the failure of his plans for his son, he had
already begun to interest himself in the training of another member of
his family, a little boy who was destined to be his successor in the
earldom. Seven years before Philip Stanhope's death he had opened a new
series of letters with a godchild, also Philip Stanhope, and the son of
Mr. Arthur Stanhope, of Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire. Beginning when
the boy was five and a half, the correspondence was continued for nine
years, following him from 'Mr. Robert's boarding School at Marybone by
London' to the house in Southampton Row of his tutor, the notorious
Dr. Dodd. When the first letter was written, Lord Chesterfield was
sixty-seven, and the last was penned only three years before his death.
This is the collection which, after being mislaid for a long period,
was published in 1889 by the late Lord Carnarvon, to whom it had been
presented by his father-in-law, the sixth Earl of Chesterfield. It
contributes not a little to the revision of the popular idea formed of
the writer,--an idea, it may be added, which, upon re-examination of the
earlier correspondence, had already been considerably modified by such
critics as Mr. Abraham Hayward and M. Sainte-Beuve. Superficially, the
letters resemble their predecessors, and the outline of education is
much the same. Little Philip was to be 'perfectly master' of that French
which his godfather loved so dearly, and in which he wrote so often
and so well; he was to be thoroughly grounded in History, Geography,
Dancing, Italian, German; he was to be proficient in Greek and Latin,
and he was to complete his studies in the 'well-regulated republic' of
Geneva, the salutary austerity of which was then usefully tempered
by the presence of Voltaire and the French refugees. Many of the new
letters reproduce the old precepts; there are even similarities of
thought and phraseology; and though the _volto sciolto_ is not obtruded,
the _suaviter in modo_ is still persistently advocated. But age has
brought its softening influences--the moral tone is ostensibly higher,
and the old worldly _savoir-faire_ has lost much of its ancient
cynicism. Some of the axioms which Lord Carnarvon quotes are remarkable
for their accent of earnestness; others, as he observes, are 'almost
theological' in tone. Saint Augustine, for example, could hardly say
more than this: 'Si je pouvois empêcher qu'il n'y eut un seul malheureux
sur la Terre, j'y sacrifierois avec plaisir mon bien, mes soins, et
même ma santé. C'est le grand devoir de l'homme, surtout de l'homme
chrétien.' The next is nearer to the elder manner: 'Ayez une grande
Charité pour l'amour de Dieu et une extrême politesse pour l'amour de
vous même.' And here is a graver utterance than either: 'God has been
so good as to write in all our hearts the duty that He expects from us,
which is adoration and thanksgiving and doing all the good we can to our
fellow creatures.'

It is extraordingry to note what an infinity of trouble Lord
Chesterfield took to arouse and amuse his little pupil. Sometimes the
letter is an anecdote, biographical or historical; sometimes a cunningly
contrived French vocabulary, one of which, _inter alia_, comprehensively
defines 'Les Graces' as 'Something gracefull, genteel, and engaging in
the air and figure.' Others (like the admirable papers in 'The World')
denounce the prevailing vice of drunkenness. 'Fuyez le vin, car c'est
un poison lent, mais sur.' Occasionally a little diagram aids the
exposition, as when a rude circle, with a tiny figure at top, stands for
'le petit Stanhope' and 'ses antipodes;' in other cases, the course
of instruction in politeness and public speaking is diversified
by definitions of similes and metaphors, epigrams, anagrams, and
_logogriphes_. Finally, there is a complete treatise, in fourteen
epistles, on the 'Art of Pleasing,' from which we extract the following
on wit and satire:

'When wit exerts itself in satyr it is a most malignant distemper; wit
it is true may be shown in satyr, but satyr does not constitute wit,
as most fools imagine it does. A man of real wit will find a thousand
better occasions of showing it. Abstain therefore most carefully from
satyr, which though it fall upon no particular person in company, and
momentarily from the malignity of the human heart, pleases all; upon
reflexion it frightens all too, they think it may be their turn next,
and will hate you for what they find you could say of them more, than
be obliged to you for what you do not say. Fear and hatred are next door
neighbours. The more wit you have the more good nature and politeness
you must show, to induce people to pardon your superiority, for that is
no easy matter.'

Alas! and alas! that so much labour and patience should have been lost.
For Philip the Second, though he made no secret marriage, was not a
much greater success than Philip the First. He turned out a commonplace
country gentleman, amiable, methodical, agricultural, but wholly
overshadowed and obliterated by the fame of the accomplished statesman
and orator who had directed his studies.

'The bows of eloquence are buried with the Archers.' It is impossible,
even with the aid of the phonograph, to recapture the magnetic
personality, the fervour of gesture that winged the words and carried
conviction to the hearer. Equally impossible is it, in this age of
egotisms and eccentricities that pass for character, to realize the
fascination of those splendid manners for which Lord Chesterfield was
celebrated.

The finished elegance, the watchful urbanity, the perfect ease and
self-possession, which Fielding commended, and Johnson could not
contest, are things too foreign to our restless overconsciousness to
be easily intelligible. But we can at least call up--not without
compassionate admiration--the pathetic picture of the deaf old gentleman
who had been the rival of 'silver-tongued Murray' and the correspondent
of Montesquieu, sitting down at seventy in his solitary study at Babiole
* to write, in that wonderful hand of which Lord Carnarvon gives a
facsimile, his periodical letter of advice to a _petit bout d'homme_ at
Parson Dodd's in Southampton Row, concerning whose career in life he had
formed the fondest--and the vainest--expectations.

     * Babiole was His Lordship's country-house at Blackheath, so
     entitled in imitation of Bagatelle, the seat near Paris of
     his friend Madame la Marquise de Monconseil. It was also the
     name of a house of Madame de Pompadour.



XIV. A DAY AT STRAWBERRY HILL.

|TO the rigorous exactitudes of modern realism it may seem an almost
hopeless task to revive the details of a day in a Twickenham Villa when
George the Third was King. And yet, with the aid of Horace Walpole's
letters, of the 'Walpoliana' of Pinkerton, and, above all, of the
catalogue of Strawberry Hill printed by its owner in 1774, there is no
insurmountable difficulty in deciding what must probably have been the
customary course of events. Nothing is needed at the outset but
to assume that you had arrived, late on the previous night, at the
embattled Gothic building on the Teddington Road, and that the fatigues
of your journey had left you little more than a vague notion of your
host, and a fixed idea that the breakfast hour was nine. Then, after
carrying with you into the chintz curtains of the Red Bedchamber an
indistinct recollection of Richardson's drawings of Pope and his mother,
and of Bermingham's 'owl cut in paper,' which you dimly make out with
your candle on the walls, you would be waked at eight next morning
by Colomb, the Swiss valet (as great a tyrant over his master as his
compatriot Canton in the 'Clandestine Marriage'), and in due time would
repair to the blue-papered and blue-furnished Breakfast Room, looking
pleasantly on the Thames. Here, coasting leisurely round the apartment,
you would probably pause before M. de Carmontel's double picture of your
host's dead friend, Madame du Deffand, and her relative the Duchesse de
Choiseul, or you would peer curiously at the view of Madame de Sevigné's
hotel in the 'Rue Coulture St. Catherine.' Presently would come a patter
of tiny feet, and a fat, and not very sociable, little dog, which had
once belonged to the said Madame du Deffand, would precede its master,
whom you would hear walking, with the stiff tread of an infirm person,
from his bedroom on the floor above. Shortly afterwards would enter a
tall, slim, frail-looking figure in a morning-gown, with a high, pallid
forehead, dark brilliant eyes under drooping lids, and a friendly, but
forced and rather unprepossessing smile. Tonton (as the little dog was
called), after being cajoled into a semblance of cordiality, would be
lifted upon a small sofa at his master's side, the teakettle and heater
would arrive, and tea would be served in cups of fine old white embossed
Japanese china. And then, the customary salutations exchanged and over,
would gradually begin, in a slightly affected fashion, to which you
speedily grow accustomed, that wonderful flow of talk which (like
Praed's Vicar's)=

```'Slipped from politics to puns,

````And passed from Mahomet to Moses,'--=

that endless stream of admirably told stories, of recollections graphic
and humorous, of sallies and _bons mots_, of which Horace Walpole's
extraordinary correspondence is the _cooled_ expression, but of the
vivacity and variety of which, enhanced as they were by the changes
in the speaker's voice and look, and emphasized by his semi-French
gesticulation, it is impossible to give any adequate idea. A glance
across the river would suggest an anecdote of her Grace the Duchess
of Queensberry: a falling spoon, a _mot_ by Lady Townshend. Upon
yesterday's execution at Tyburn would follow a vivid picture of the
deaths of Balmerino and Kilmarnock; or a reference to your ride from
London of the night before, would usher in a full and particular account
how the voluble and fascinating gentleman before you, with the great
chalk stones in his fingers, was once all but shot through the head by
the highwayman James Maclean.

Breakfast over, and a liberal bowl of bread-and-milk tossed out of window
to the troops of squirrels that come flocking in from the high trees
round the lawn, your host would invite you to make the tour of the
grounds, adding (if it were May) that his favourite lilacs were well
worth the effort. He would astonish you by going out in his slippers and
without a hat; and, in reply to your ill-concealed astonishment, would
laughingly compare himself to the Indian in the 'Spectator' who said
he was 'all face.' Passing by the Abbot's garden, with its bright
parterres, he would lead you to the pretty cottage he had built on the
site of the old residence of his deceased tenant Richard Francklin, once
printer of that scurrilous 'Craftsman' in which Pulteney and Bolingbroke
had so persistently assailed his father. In its sunny, print-hung
tea-room, with the 'Little Library' at the side, he would show you the
picture of his friend Lady Hervey, once the 'beautiful Molly Lepel' of
Pulteney and Chesterfield's ballad, and would tell you that the frame
was carved by the same Grinling Gibbons to whom we owe the bronze statue
of King James the Second in the Privy Garden at Whitehall. Thence you
would pass to the chapel in the wood, with its stained-glass pictures of
Henry the Third and his Queen from Bexhill Church, and its shrine from
Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome; and he would explain that the roof was
designed by that unimpeachable authority in Gothic, Mr. Chute of the
Vyne, in Hampshire; that George Augustus Selwyn had given him the great
earthen pot at the door; and that the carved bench in the ante-chapel
had been contrived by no less a person than the son of the famous
'Ricardus Aristarchus,' Master of Trinity, the--=

```'mighty Scholiast, whose unwearied pains

``Made Horace dull, and humbled Milton's strains--'=

as he would quote from the 'Dunciad' of the late lamented Mr. Pope.
Richard Bentley the younger, he would remind you, had also drawn some
excellent illustrations to Gray (the originals of which he will show you
later in the library); and meanwhile he invites your attention at the
end of the winding walk to another masterpiece from the same ingenious
brain--a huge oaken seat shaped like a shell, in which once sat together
three of the handsomest women in England--the Duchess of Hamilton, the
Duchess of Richmond, and the Countess of Ailesbury. If you were still
intelligently interested, and your host still unfatigued (for he is
capricious and easily tired), you would pass from the garden to the
private printing-press, the 'Officina Arbuteana' as he christens it,
next the neighbouring farmyard. Here you would be introduced to the
superintendent and occasional secretary, Mr. Thomas Kirgate, who, if
so minded, would exhibit to you a proof of Miss Hannah More's poem of
'Bishop Bonner's Ghost' (which his patron is kindly setting up for
her), or then and there strike you off a piping-hot 'pull' of the latest
quatrain to those charming Miss Berrys who are now inhabiting 'Little
Strawberry' hard by, once tenanted by red-faced, good-humoured Mrs.
Clive. As you return at last to the house, your guide would almost
certainly pause in the Little Cloister at the entrance beside the blue
and white china tub for goldfish in which was drowned that favourite cat
whose fate was immortalized by Gray; and, lifting the label, he would
read the poet's words:=

```''T was on this lofty Vase's side,

````Where China's gayest Art has dy'd

```The azure Flow'rs, that blow,

```Demurest of the tabby kind,

```The pensive Selima reclin'd,

````Gaz'd on the Lake below.' * =

     * There is one of these labels in the Dyce Collection at
     South Kensington.

Once more under Bentley's japanned tin lantern in the gloomy little
hall, your host, pending the scribbling of half-a-dozen pressing
letters' to Lady Ossory, Mr. Pinkerton, or one or other of his many
correspondents, would beg you to await him in the Picture Gallery. Here,
long before you had exhausted your admiration of the Emperor Vespasian
in basalt, or the incomparable Greek Eagle from the baths of Caracalla,
he would resume his post of _cicerone_, leading you almost at once to
the portraits of his three beautiful nieces, Edward Walpole's daughters,
one of whom, painted by Reynolds, had been fortunate enough to marry
King George's own brother, William Henry, Duke of Gloucester (a fact of
which her uncle Horace is ill-disguisedly proud). From the Gallery you
would pass to the Round Drawing-Room, whose chief glory was Vasari's
'Bianca Capello;' and thence to the adjoining Tribune, a curious
yellow-lit chamber, with semicircular recesses, in which were
accumulated most of the choicest treasures of Strawberry,--miniatures by
Cooper and the Olivers, enamels by Petitot and Zincke, gems from Italy,
bas-reliefs in ivory, coins and seal-rings and reliquaries and filigree
work, in the dispersed profusion of which you would afterwards dimly
recall such items as a silver bell carved with masks and insects by
Benvenuto Cellini, a missal attributed to Raphael, a bronze Caligula
with silver eyes, and a white snuff-box with a portrait purporting to be
a gift from Madame de Sévigné in the Elysian Fields, but sent in reality
by the faithful Madame du Deffand. Each object would bring its train
of associations and traditions; and the fading of the 'all-golden
afternoon' would find your companion still promising fresh marvels in
the yet unexplored rooms beyond, where are the speculum of cannel coal
once used by the notorious starmonger, Dr. John Dee; the red hat of his
Eminence Cardinal Wolsey; and the very spurs worn by King William the
Third, of immortal memory, at the ever-glorious Battle of the Boyne.

With four o'clock would come dinner, eaten probably in the Refectory,
a room consecrated chiefly to the family portraits, conspicuous among
which, in blue velvet, was your host by Richardson. The repast was
'of Attic taste,' but with very little wine, as Walpole himself drank
nothing but iced water, and 'coffee upstairs' was ordered with such
promptitude as to afford the visitor but scanty leisure for lingering
over the bottle. About five you migrated to the Round Drawing-Room,
where your entertainer, after recommending you to replenish your box
with Fribourg's snuff from a canister of which the hiding-place was an
ancient marble urn in the window-seat, would take up his station on the
sofa, and resume his inexhaustible flood of memories and reflections,
always bright, often striking, and never wearisome. Once, perhaps, he
would rise to exhibit the closet he had built for Lady Di. Beauclerk's
seven drawings in soot-water to his own tragedy of the 'Mysterious
Mother;' or he would adjourn for an hour to the Library, to turn over
his unrivalled collection of Hogarth's prints; or to show you Lady Mary
Wortley Montagu's 'Milton,' or the identical 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey' from
which Pope made his translations, or the long row of books printed at
the 'Officina Arbuteana.' But he would gravitate sooner or later to his
old vantage-ground on the sofa, whence, unhasting, unresting, he would
discourse most excellent anecdote into the small hours, when the chintz
curtains of the Red Bedchamber would again receive his bewitched and
bewildered, but still unsatiated, visitor. And so would end your day at
Horace Walpole's Gothic Castle of Strawberry Hill.



XV. GOLDSMITH'S LIBRARY.

|AN auctioneer's catalogue--and particularly an auctioneer's catalogue
more than a hundred years old--is not, at first sight, the most
suggestive of subjects. And yet that issued in July, 1774, by Mr. Good,
of 121 Fleet Street, still possesses considerable interest. For it
is nothing less than an account, bald, indeed, and only moderately
literary, of the 'Household [sic] Furniture, with the Select Collection
of Scarce, Curious and Valuable Books, in English, Latin, Greek,
French, Italian and other Languages, late the Library of Dr. Goldsmith,
Deceased.' As one runs over the items, one seems to realize the
circumstances. One seems almost to see Mr. Good's unemotional
assistants, with their pens behind their ears, and their ink-bottles
'upon the excise principle' dangling from their button-holes, as they
peer about the dingy Chambers at Brick Court, with the dark little
closet of a bedroom at the back where the poor Doctor lay and died.
We can imagine them sniffing superciliously at the chief pictorial
adornment, 'The Tragic Muse, in a gold frame;' or drawing from its
sheath, with an air of 'prentice connoisseurship, 'the steel-hilted
sword, inlaid with gold,' or 'the black-hilted _ditto_,' not without
speculations as to how those weapons would adorn their own ungainly
persons in a holiday jaunt to White Conduit House or Marybone Gardens.
We see them professionally prodding the faded mahogany sofa 'covered
with blue morine' which had so often vibrated under the nervous
twitchings of Johnson; appraising the 'compass card-tables' over which
Boswell had dealt trumps to Reynolds; or critically weighing the teapot
in which the 'Jessamy Bride' had more than once made tea. Their sordid
commercial figures must have crossed and re-crossed before 'the very
large dressing-glass' with 'mahogany frame,' which only a few weeks
past had reflected the 'blue velvet,' and the 'straw-coloured' and
'silver-grey tamboured waistcoats' for which honest Mr. William Filby,
at the sign of the Harrow in Water Lane, was never now to see the money.
No doubt, too, they desecrated, with their Fleet Street mud, that famous
Wilton carpet which had looked so sumptuous when it was first laid down
but half-a-dozen years ago; and, if they were at all like their brethren
of these days, they must have pished generally over the rest of those
modest properties which, in the golden epoch when the 'Good Natur'd
Man' seemed to promise perpetual prosperity, had excited so much awe and
admiration among Goldsmith's humbler friends. 'Not much to tot up here,
Docket!'--says Mr. Good's young man to his fellow. And we may fancy
Mr. Docket assenting with a contemptuous extension of his under lip,
enforced by the supplementary proposition that they should at once
moisten their unpromising labours by adjourning to a pot of 'Parsons'
Black Champagne' at the Tavern by the Temple Gates.

As for the books, the 'Select Collection' that the unsympathetic
stock-takers turned over so irreverently with their feet as they lay
in dusty ranges on the floor, it must be feared that worthy Mr. Good's
description of them as 'Scarce, Curious and Valuable' is more creditable
to his business traditions than his literary insight. Goldsmith was
scarcely a book-lover in the sense in which that term is now used. The
man who, as Hawkins relates, could tear half-a-dozen leaves out of
a volume to save himself the trouble of transcription,--the man who
underscored objectionable passages with his thumb-nail, as he once did
to a new poem that belonged to Reynolds--was _not_ a genuine _amateur
du livre_. They were a 'speculative lot' in all probability, the 'Brick
Court Library;' and no doubt bore about them visibly the bumps and
bruises of their transit 'in two returned post chaises' to the remote
farm at Hyde, where their owner laboured at his vast 'Animated
Nature.' Many of them had manifestly been collected to that end.
Hill's 'Fossils,' 1748; Pliny's 'Historia Naturalis,' 1752; Gessner and
Aldrovandus 'De Quadrupedibus;' Gouan's 'Histoire des Poissons,' 1770;
Bohadsch's 'De Animalibus Marinis,' 1761; De Geer's 'Histoire des
Insectes,' 1771, must all plainly have belonged to that series of
purchases for the nonce which, he says in his preface, had so severely
taxed his overburdened resources. In the classics he was fairly well
equipped; and, as might be expected, he had many of the British poets,
not to mention two copies of that indispensable manual, Mr. Edward
Bysshe his treatise of the rhyming art.

But it is in French literature generally, and in French minstrels
and playwrights in particular, that his store is richest. He has the
'Encyclopédie,' the 'Dictionnaire' and 'Recueil d'Anecdotes,' the
'Dictionnaire Littéraire,' the 'Dictionnaire Critique, Pittoresque
et Sentencieux,' the 'Dictionnaire Gentilhomme;' he has many of the
_ana_--'Parrhasiana,' 'Ducatiana,' 'Nau-deana,' 'Patiniana,' although,
oddly enough, there is no copy of the 'Ménagiana,' which not only
supplied him with that ancient ballad of 'Monsieur de la Palice' out of
which grew 'Madam Blaize,' but also with the little poem of Bernard de
la Monnoye, which he paraphrased so brightly in the well-known stanzas
beginning:=

````'Say, cruel Iris, pretty rake,

`````Dear mercenary beauty,

````What annual offering shall I make,

`````Expressive of my duty?'=

He has the works of Voltaire, Diderot, Fontenelle, Marmontel, Voiture;
he has the plays of Brueys, La Chaussée, Dancourt, Destouches; he has
many of the madrigalists and minor verse-men,--all of which possessions
tend to corroborate that suspected close study of Gallic authors
from which, as many hold, he derived not a little of the unfailing
perspicuity of his prose, and most of the brightness and vivacity of his
more familiar verse. Of his own works--and the fact is curious when one
remembers some of his traditional characteristics--there are
practically no examples, at least there is none catalogued. Their sole
representative is an imperfect set of the 'History of the Earth and
Animated Nature,' which had only recently been completed, and was
published posthumously. Not a single copy of 'The Vicar,' of 'She Stoops
to Conquer,' of 'The Citizen of the World,' of 'The Deserted Village'!
Not even a copy of that rarest of rarities, the privately printed
version of 'Edwin and Angelina,' which its author told his friend
Cradock 'could not be amended'--although he was always amending it! Of
course it is possible that his own writings had been withdrawn from
Mr. Good's catalogue, or that they are included in the 'and others' of
unspecified lots. But this is scarcely likely, and it may be accepted
as a noteworthy fact that one of the most popular authors of his day
did not, at his death, possess any of his own performances, with the
exception of an incomplete specimen of his most laborious compilation.*

     * Racine was in similar case. In the inventory of his
     effects, discovered some time since, there is not a single
     copy of his works.

Besides this, the only volumes that bear indirectly upon his work are
the 'Memoirs' of the Cardinal de Retz, which he had used in 'The Bee,'
the 'Lettres Persanes' of Montesquieu, which perhaps prompted 'The
Citizen of the World,' and the 'Roman Comique' of M. Paul Scarron, which
he had been translating in the latter months of its life--an accident
which has left its mark in his last poem, the admirable 'Retaliation':=

```'Of old, when Scarron his companions invited,

``Each guest brought his dish, and the feast was united.'=

It may be that he had intended to prefix a biographical sketch or memoir
to his version of the 'Comic Romance,' since the reference here
is plainly to those famous picnic suppers in the Marais, to which,
according to Scarron's biographer, M. Charles Baumet, came as
guests--but * '_chacun apportant son plat_'--the pink of dames, of
courtiers, and of men of letters.

Where did they go, these books and household goods of 'Dr. Goldsmith,
deceased'? It is to be presumed that he did not boast a book-plate,
for none, to our knowledge, has ever been advertised, nor is there any
record of one in the late Lord de Tabley's well-known 'Handbook,' so
that the existing possessors of those precious volumes, in the absence
of any autograph inscription, must entertain their treasures unawares.
Of his miscellaneous belongings, the only specimens now well-known do
not seem to have passed under the hammer of the Fleet Street auctioneer.
His favourite chair, a dark, hollow-seated, and somewhat penitential
looking piece of furniture, is preserved at South Kensington, where, not
many years since, it was sketched, in company with his cane--perhaps
the very cane that once crossed the back of Evans the bookseller--by Mr.
Hugh Thomson, the clever young Irish artist to whom we are indebted for
the most successful of recent illustrated editions of the | Vicar of
Wakefield.' *

     * Published by Macmillan in 1890. The sketch forms the tail-
     piece to the Preface, p. xxi.

Neither chair nor cane is in the Good Catalogue, nor does it make any
mention of the worn old wooden writing-desk which was presented to Sir
Henry Cole's museum by Lady Hawes. Her husband, Sir Benjamin Hawes, once
Under Secretary at War, was the grandson of William Hawes, the 'surgeon
apothecary' in the Strand, who was called in, late on that Friday night
in March, when the poor Doctor was first stricken down with the illness
which a few days later terminated fatally. William Hawes, a worthy and
an able man, who subsequently obtained a physician's degree, and helped
to found the Humane Society, was the author of the little pamphlet, now
daily growing rarer, entitled 'An Account of the late Dr. Goldsmith's
Illness, so far as relates to the Exhibition of Dr. James's Powders,
etc., 1774' [April]. He dedicated it to Burke and Reynolds; and
he published it (he says) partly to satisfy curiosity as to the
circumstances of Goldsmith's death, partly to vindicate his own
professional conduct in the matter. His narrative, in which discussion
of the popular nostrum upon which Goldsmith so obstinately relied
not unnaturally occupies a considerable part, is too familiar for
repetition; and his remarks on Goldsmith as a writer are of the
sign-post order. But his personal testimony to the character of 'his
late respected and ingenious friend' may fitly close this paper: 'His
[Goldsmith's] humanity and generosity greatly exceeded the narrow limits
of his fortune; and those who were no judges of the literary merit of
the Author, could not but love the Man for that benevolence by which he
was so strongly characterized.'



XVI. IN COWPER'S ARBOUR.

|AMONG its many drawbacks controversy has this in particular, that it
sometimes embroils us with our closest friends. Writing recently of Lord
Chesterfield, * we found occasion to comment upon certain couplets which
the poet of the 'Progress of Error' addressed to his Lordship concerning
his celebrated 'Letters.'

     * See ante, p. 192.

What was said amounted to no more than that Cowper, in this instance at
least, had not proved himself a Juvenal,--a sentiment which, seeing
that his accredited biographer, Mr. Goldwin Smith, accuses him, as
a satirist, of brandishing a whip without a lash, could scarcely be
regarded as extravagant condemnation. Not the less, it has lain sorely
upon our conscience. Of all the lettered figures of the eighteenth
century, none is more dear to us than the gentle recluse of the sleepy
little town by the Ouse. What!--the captivating letter-writer, the
inventor of the immortal 'John Gilpin,' the delightful 'diva-gator' of
the 'Task' and the tea-urn, the kindly proprietor of those 'canonized
pets of literature,' Puss and Bess and Tiney--how, upon such a theme,
could one excusably utter things harsh or censorious! It is impossible
to picture him, when the curtains had fallen over those two windows,
that looked upon the three-cornered market-place at Olney,--his head
decorated (it may be) with the gaily ribboned cap which had been worked
for him by his cousin Lady Hesketh, * his eyes milder than they seem in
Romney's famous portrait, and placidly reading the 'Public Advertiser'
to the click-click of Mrs. Unwin's stocking-needles,--without being
smitten by a feeling of remorse. And opportunity for the expression of
such remorse arrives pleasantly with an old-fashioned _octavo_ which
supplies the pretexts for a palinode in prose.

     * A writing-cap worn by Cowper, his watch, a seal-ring given
     to him by his eousin Theodora (his first love), and a ball
     of worsted which he wound for Mrs. Unwin, were among the
     relics exhibited in the South Gallery of the Guelph
     Exhibition of 1891. The exhibitors were the Rev. W. Cowper
     Johnson, and the Rev. W. Cowper Johnson, jun.

Its title, 'writ large,' is 'Cowper, illustrated by a Series of Views,
in, or near, the Park of Weston-Underwood, Bucks;' and it is lavishly
4 embellished' with those mellow old plates which denote that steel had
not yet supplanted copper. The artists and engravers were James Storer
and John Greig, topographical chalcographers of some repute in the
days of conventional foregrounds, and trees that look like pressed-out
patterns in seaweed. But the 'picturesque' designs give us a good idea
of the landscape that Cowper saw when he walked from Silver End at
Olney to his friends the Throckmortons (the 'Mr. and Mrs. Frog' of his
letters) at Weston House. Here is the long bridge of 'The Task,'=

```'That with its wearisome, but needful length,

```Bestrides the wintry flood'=

between Olney and Emberton; here, bosomed in its embowering trees,
the little farmhouse called the 'Peasant's Nest.' Here, again, in the
valley, and framed between the feathery branches of the shrubbery, is
the spire of Olney Church, from which one may almost fancy that=

````'the sound of cheerful bells .

```Just undulates upon the list'ning ear;'=

here, standing out whitely from the yews and evergreens of The
Wilderness, the urn with the epitaph of Neptune. Farther on (a lovely
little landscape) is the clump of poplars by the water (not _the_
poplars of the poem: those were already felled) which the poet mistook
for elms; and here, lastly, is Cowper's own cottage at Weston, which,
with its dormer windows, and its vines and jasmines, might have served
as a model for Randolph Caldecott or Kate Greenaway. And, behold!
('blest be the art that can immortalize!') here is Mrs. Unwin in a
high waist entering at the gate, while Cowper bids her welcome from the
doorway.

Of Olney itself there are not many glimpses in the little volume. But
the vignette on the title-page shows the tiny 'boudoir' or summerhouse,
'not much bigger than a sedan chair,' which stood--nay, stands
yet--about midway between the red-brick house on the market-place
and what was once John Xewton's vicarage. It is still, say the latest
accounts, kept up by its present owner, and its walls and ceiling are
covered with the autographs of pious pilgrims. In Storer's plate you
look in at the open door, catching, through the window on the opposite
side, part of the parsonage and of the wall in which was constructed the
gate that enabled Cowper at all times to communicate with his clerical
friend. Its exact dimensions are given as six feet nine by five feet
five; and he must have been right in telling Lady Hesketh that if she
came to see him they should be 'as close-pack'd as two wax figures in
an old-fashioned picture-frame.' A trap-door or loose board in the floor
covered a receptacle in which the previous tenant, an apothecary,
had stored his bottles; and here, 'in the deep-delved earth,' one of
Cowper's wisest counsellors, the Rev. William Bull of Newport Pagnell,
the 'Carissimus Taurorum' of the letters, the=

`````'smoke-inhaling Bull,

````Always filling, never full,'=

was wont to deposit his pipes and his tobacco. 'Having furnished it with
a table and two chairs,' says Cowper, * here I write all that I write in
summer time, whether to my friends or the public. It is secure from all
noise, and a refuge from all intrusion, for intruders sometimes trouble
me in the winter evenings at Olney, but (thanks to my boudoir!) I can
now hide myself from them.'

The summer-house, * it has been stated, is still standing.

     * Since this paper was first written, the summer-house, the
     garden, and the 'Guinea Orchard'--a strip of field which
     came between Cowper's garden and that of the Parsonage--have
     been sold by auction, the purchaser being a local butcher.
     The sale took place in February, 1896.

But of another favourite haunt of Cowper, which preceded and co-existed
with it, there are now no traces. This was the greenhouse.=

```''T is a bower of Arcadian sweets,

````Where Flora is still in her prime,

```A fortress to which she retreats

````From the cruel assaults of the clime'--=

he writes in his favourite rocking-horse metre, and most conventional
language, bidding his Mary remark the beauty of the pinks which it
has preserved through the frosts; and in mid-July, when the floor was
carpeted, and the sun was excluded by an awning of mats, it became
'the pleasantest retreat in Olney.' 'We eat, drink, and sleep, where we
always did,' he says to Newton; 'but here we spend all the rest of our
time, and find that the sound of the wind in the trees, and the singing
of birds, are much more agreeable to our ears than the incessant barking
of dogs and screaming of children,' from both of which, it may be
observed, they suffered considerably in the front of the house. Two
years later he tells Mr. Unwin that 'our severest winter, commonly
called the spring, is now over, and I find myself seated in my favourite
recess, the greenhouse. In such a situation, so silent, so shady, where
no human foot is heard, and where only my myrtles presume to peep in at
the window, you may suppose I have no interruption to complain of, and
that my thoughts are perfectly at my command. But the beauties of the
spot are themselves an interruption, my attention being called upon by
those very myrtles, by a double row of grass pinks, just beginning to
blossom, and by a bed of beans already in bloom; and you are to consider
it, if you please, as no small proof of my regard, that, though you have
so many powerful rivals, I disengage myself from them all, and devote
this hour entirely to you.'

Later still--a year later--he writes to Newton: 'My greenhouse is never
so pleasant as when we are just upon the point of being turned out of
it. The gentleness of the autumnal suns, and the calmness of this latter
season, make it a much more agreeable retreat than we ever find it in
the summer; when, the winds being generally brisk, we cannot cool it by
admitting a sufficient quantity of air, without being at the same time
incommoded by it. But now I sit with all the windows and the door wide
open, and am regaled with the scent of every flower, in a garden as full
of flowers as I have known how to make it. We keep no bees, but if I
lived in a hive, I should hardly hear more of their music. All the bees
in the neighbourhood resort to a bed of mignonette, opposite to the
window, and pay me for the honey they get out of it by a hum, which,
though rather monotonous, is as agreeable to my ear as the whistling of
my linnets. All the sounds that Nature utters are delightful, at least
in this country.' But he goes on, nevertheless, to except the braying of
an ass; and from another letter it seems that the serene quietude of
his bower was at times invaded by the noise of a quadruped of this kind
(inimical to poets!) which belonged to a neighbour.

It was in passing from the greenhouse to the barn that Cowper
encountered the viper, whose prompt taking off gives motive and point
to that admirable little _lusus poeticus_,--as Mr. Grimshawe
condescendingly calls it,--the 'Colubriad,' and other memories cluster
about this fragment paradise. Here 'lived happy prisoners' the two
goldfinches celebrated in 'The Faithful Bird;' here he wrote 'The Task,'
and, according to Mr. Thomas Wright, of Olney, it is to the stimulating
environment of its myrtles and mignonette that we owe, if not the germ,
at least the evolution, of 'John Gilpin.' Every one knows how, in the
current story, Lady Austen's diverting narrative of the way in which
a certain citizen 'of famous London town' rode out to celebrate the
anniversary of his marriage, gradually seduced her listener from the
moody melancholy which was fast overclouding him 'into a loud and hearty
peal of laughter.' It 'made such an impression on his mind that at night
he could not sleep; and his thoughts having taken the form of rhyme, he
sprang from bed, and committed them to paper, and in the morning brought
down to Mrs. Unwin the crude outline of "John Gilpin." All that day and
for several days he secluded himself in the greenhouse, and went on with
the task of polishing and improving what he had written. As he filled
his slips of paper he sent them across the Market-place to Mr. Wilson,
to the great delight and merriment of that jocular barber, who on
several other occasions had been favoured with the first sight of some
of Cowper's smaller poems. This version of the origin of "John Gilpin"
differs, we are aware, from the one generally received, which represents
the famous ballad as having been commenced and finished in a night; but
that the facts here stated are accurate we have the authority of Mrs.
Wilson; moreover, it has always been said in Olney that "John Gilpin"
was written in the "greenhouse," and that the first person who saw the
complete poem, and consequently the forerunner of that noble army who
made merry over its drolleries, was William Wilson the barber.' *

     * Wright's 'Cowper,' 1892, pp. 311, 312. Wilson was a man of
     considerable intelligence, and a local 'character.' When in
     1781 he joined the Baptists, he declined to dress Lady
     Austen's hair on Sundays. Consequently she was obliged to
     call him in on Saturday evenings, and more than once had to
     sit up all night to prevent the disarrangement of her
     'head.'

Cowper has been styled by a recent editor the best of English
letter-writers, a term which Scott applied to Walpole, and it has been
applied to others. Criticism loses its balance in these superlatives.
To be the best--to use a schoolboy illustration--is to have the highest
marks all round. For epistolary vigour, for vivacity, for wit, for
humour, for ease, for simplicity, for subject--can you give Cowper the
highest marks? The answer obviously must be 'no.' Other writers excel
him in subject, in wit, in vigour. But you can certainly give him high
marks for humour; and you can give him very high marks for simplicity
and unaffectedness. He is one of the most unfeigned, most easy, most
natural of English letter-writers. In the art of shedding a sedate
playfulness over the least promising themes, in magnifying the
incidents of his 'set gray life' into occurrences worthy of record, in
communicating to his page all the variations of mood that sweep across
him as he writes, he is unrivalled. Mandeville christened Addison a
parson in a tye-wig; Cowper (at his best) is a humourist in a nightcap.
It would be easy to select from his correspondence passages that show
him in all these aspects--morbid and gloomy to Newton, genial and
friendly to Hill and Unwin, confidential and caressing to Lady Austen
and Lady Hesketh. But it is not uncommon for him to vary his tone to
each of these, for which reason we close with an epistle to that austere
friend and monitor who has perhaps been credited with a more baleful
influence over his hypochondriac correspondent than is strictly borne
out by the evidence. The reader may be told, since he must speedily
discover it, that the following letter from Cowper to John Newton, like
the title-page of Lowell's 'Fable for Critics,' is in rhymed prose:

My very dear Friend,--I am going to send, what when you have read, you
may scratch your head, and say, I suppose, there's nobody knows whether
what I have got be verse or not;--by the tune and the time, it ought
to be rhyme, but if it be, did you ever see, of late or of yore, such a
ditty before?

I have writ 'Charity,' not for popularity, but as well as I could,
in hopes to do good; and if the Reviewer should say 'to be sure the
gentleman's Muse wears Methodist shoes, you may know by her pace and
talk about grace, that she and her bard have little regard for the taste
and fashions, and ruling passions, and hoidening play, of the modern
day; and though she assume a borrowed plume, and now and then wear a
tittering air,'tis only her plan to catch, if she can, the giddy and
gay, as they go that way, by a production on a new construction: she
has baited her trap, and hopes to snap all that may come with a sugar
plum.'--His opinion in this will not be amiss;'tis what I intend, my
principal end, and, if I succeed, and folks should read, till a few are
brought to a serious thought, I shall think I am paid for all I have
said and all I have done, though I have run many a time, after a rhyme,
as far as from hence to the end of my sense, and by hook or crook, write
another book, if I live and am here, another year.

I have heard before of a room with a floor laid upon springs, and such
like things, with so much art in every part, that when you went in you
was forced to begin a minuet pace, with an air and a grace, swimming
about, now in and now out, with a deal of state, in a figure of eight,
without pipe, or string, or any such thing; and now I have writ, in a
rhyming fit, what will make you dance, and, as you advance, will keep
you still, though against your will, dancing away, alert and gay, till
you come to an end of what I have penn'd, which that you may do, ere
Madam and you are quite worn out with jigging about, I take my leave,
and here you receive a bow profound, down to the ground, from your
humble me.--W. C.



XVII. THE QUAKER OF ART.

|ABOVE the chimney-piece in the Study at Abbotsford, and therefore on
Sir Walter's right-hand as he wrote, hung--nay, hangs, if we may
trust the evidence of a photograph before us--a copy of the
Schiavonetti-cum-Heath engraving of Thomas Stothard's once-popular
'Canterbury Pilgrims.' With its dark oblong frame and gold
corner-ornaments, it must still look much as it did on that rainy August
morning described in Lockhart, when one of Scott's guests, occupied
ostensibly with the last issues of the Bannatyne Club, sat listening in
turn to the patter of the drops on the pane, and the 'dashing trot'
of his host's pen across the paper to which he was then committing the
first series of the 'Tales of a Grandfather.' The visitor (it was
that acute and ingenious John Leycester Adolphus whose close-reasoned
'Letters to Richard Heber' had practically penetreated the mystery
of the 'Waverley Novels') specially noticed the picture; and he also
afterwards recalled and repeated a characteristic comment made upon it
by Scott, with whom it was evidently a favourite, in one of those brief
dialogues which generally took place when it became necessary to consult
a book upon the shelves. Were the procession to move, remarked Sir
Walter, the prancing young 'Squire in the foreground would be over his
horse's head in a minute. The criticism was more of the riding-school
than the studio; and too much might easily be inferred from it as to
the speaker's equipments as an Art-critic. For Art itself, we are told,
notwithstanding his genuine love of landscape and natural objects, Scott
cared nothing; and Abbotsford was rich rather in works suggestive and
commemorative, than in masterpieces of composition and colour.
'He talked of scenery as he wrote of it,' says Leslie in his
'Recollections,' 'like a painter; and yet for pictures, as works of art,
he had little or no taste, nor did he pretend to any. To him they were
interesting merely as representing some particular scene, person,
or event, and very moderate merit in their execution contented him.'
Stothard's cavalcade, progressing along the pleasantly undulated
background of the Surrey Hills, with its drunken Miller droning on his
bagpipes at the head, with its bibulous Cook at the tail, and between
these, all that moving, many-coloured pageant of Middle-Age society upon
which Geoffrey Chaucer looked five hundred years ago, must have been
thoroughly to his liking, besides reaching to a higher artistic standard
than he required. To one whose feeling for the past has never yet been
rivalled, such a picture would serve as a perpetual fount of memory and
association. He must besides have thoroughly appreciated its admitted
accuracy of costume, and it would not have materially affected his
enjoyment if the Dick Tintos or Dick Minims of his day had assured
him that, as a composition, it was deficient in 'heroic grasp,' or had
reiterated the stereotyped objection that the Wife of Bath was far too
young-looking to have buried five lawful husbands.

The original oil-sketch from which the 'Canterbury Pilgrims' was
engraved, is now in the National Gallery, having been bought some years
ago, with Hogarth's 'Polly Peachum,' at the dispersal of the Leigh
Court Collection. It is not, however, by his more ambitious efforts
that Stothard is most regarded in our day. Now and then, it may be, the
Abbotsford engraving, or 'The Flitch of Bacon,' or 'John Gilpin,' makes
fitful apparition in the print-shop windows; now and then again, in some
_culbute générale of the bric-à-brac_ merchant, there comes forlornly to
the front a card-cable contrived adroitly from the once famous Waterloo
Shield. But it is not by these, or by the huge designs on the staircase
at Burleigh ('Burleigh-house by Stamford-town'), or by any of the
efforts which his pious biographer and daughter-in-law fondly ranked
with Raphael and Rubens, that he best deserves remembrance. Time,
dealing summarily with an unmanageable inheritance, has a trick of
making rough and ready distinctions; and Time has decided, not that he
did these things ill, but that he did other things better--for instance,
book illustrations. And the modern collector is on the side of Time.
Stothard as a colourist (and here perhaps is some injustice) he
disregards: Stothard as a history-painter he disavows. But for Stothard
as the pictorial interpreter of 'David Simple' and 'Betsy Thoughtless,'
of 'The Virtuous Orphan' and the 'Tales of the Genii,' of 'Clarissa' and
'Sir Charles Grandison,' or (to cite another admirer, Charles Lamb) of
that 'romantic tale'=

```'Where Glunis and Gawries wear mysterious things,

```That serve at once for jackets and for wings,'--=

to wit, 'The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins,' * he cares very
much indeed. He is not surprised that they gained their designer the
friendship of Flaxman; and if he is not able to say with Elia,--=

```'In several ways distinct you make us feel,--

```Graceful as Raphael, as Watteau genteel,'--=

epithets which, in our modern acceptation of them, sound singularly
ill-chosen, he can at least admit that if his favourite is occasionally
a little monotonous and sometimes a little insipid, there are few
artists in England in whose performances the un-English gift of grace is
so unmistakably present. **

     * Coleridge is also extravagant on this theme in his 'Table
     Talk.' 'If it were not for a certain tendency to
     affectation, scarcely any praise could be too high,' he
     says, 'for Stothard's designs [to Peter Wilkins].'

     * * Strangely enough he set little more by this quality, but
     apparently valued himself more for his 'correctness' ('Bryan
     Waller Procter,' Bell, 1877, pp. 83-90).

Fifty years ago there were but few specimens of Stothard's works in the
Print Room of the British Museum, and even those were not arranged so as
to be easily accessible. To-day, this complaint, which Pye makes in that
miscellany of unexpected information, his 'Patronage of British Art,'
can no longer be renewed. In the huge Balmanno collection, a labour of
five-and-twenty years, the student may now study his Stothard to his
heart's content. Here is brought together his work of all sorts, his
earliest and latest, his strongest and his feeblest, from the first
tentative essays he made for the 'Lady's Magazine' and Hervey's 'Naval
History' to those final designs, which, aided by the supreme imagination
of Turner, did so much to vitalise the finicking and overlaboured blank
verse of his faithful but fastidious patron at St. James's Place.=

```'Of Roger's "Italy," Luttrell relates,

```It-would surely be dished, if 'twere not for the plates,'=

said the wicked wits of 1830; and the sarcasm has its parallel in the
'Ce poëte se sauve du naufrage de planche en planche,' which the
Abbé Galiani applied to Dorât embellished by Marillier and Eisen. But
Stothard did many things besides illustrating Samuel Rogers. Almanack
heads and spelling-books, spoon-handles and decanter labels,--nothing
came amiss to his patient industry. And in his book illustrations he
had one incalculable advantage,--he lived in the silver age of
line-engraving, the age of the Cooks and Warrens and Heaths and Findens.

Shakespeare and Bunyan, Macpherson and Defoe, Boccaccio and
Addison,--most of the older classics passed under his hand. It is the
fashion in booksellers' catalogues to vaunt the elaborate volumes he did
in later life for the banker poet. But it is not in these, nor his more
ambitious efforts, that the true lover of Stothard finds his greatest
charm. He is the draughtsman of fancy rather than imagination; and he
is moreover better in the mellow copper of his early days than the 'cold
steel' of his decline. If you would view your Stothard aright, you must
take him as the illustrator of the eighteenth-century novelists, of
Richardson, of Fielding, of Sterne, of Goldsmith, where the costume in
which he delighted was not too far removed from his own day, and where
the literary note was but seldom pitched among the more tumultuous
passions. In this semidomestic atmosphere he moves always easily and
gracefully. His conversations and interviews, his promenade and garden
and tea-table scenes, his child-life with its pretty waywardnesses, his
ladies full of sensibility and in charming caps, his men respectful and
gallant in their ruffles and silk stockings,--in all these things he
is at home. The bulk of his best work in this way is in Harrison's
'Novelist's Magazine,' and in the old double-column edition of the
essayists, where it is set off for the most part by the quaint and
pretty framework which was then regarded as an indispensable decoration
to plates engraved for books. If there be anything else of his which the
eclectic (not indiscriminate) collector should secure, it is two of the
minor Rogers volumes for which the booksellers care little. One is the
'Pleasures of Memory' of 1802, if only for Heath's excellent engraving
of 'Hunt the Slipper;' the other is the same poems of 1810
with Luke Clennell's admirable renderings of the artist's
quill-drawings,--renderings to rival which, as almost faultless
reproductions of pen-and-ink, we must go right back to Hans
Lutzelburger, and Holbein's famous 'Dance of Death.'

There is usually one thing to be found in Stothard's designs which many
of his latter-day successors, who seem to care for little except making
an effective 'compo,' are often in the habit of neglecting. He is
generally fairly loyal to his text, and honestly endeavours to interpret
it pictorially. Take, for example, a sketch at random,--the episode of
the accident to Count Galiano's baboon in Sharpe's 'Gil Blas.' You need
scarcely look at Le Sage; the little picture gives the entire
story. There, upon the side of the couch, is the Count in an
undress,--effeminate, trembling, almost tearful. Beside him is his
wounded favourite, turning plaintively to its agitated master, while the
hastily summoned surgeon, his under lip protruded professionally, binds
up the injured limb. Around are the servants in various attitudes of
sycophantic sympathy. Or take from a mere annual, the 'Forget-me-not' of
1828, this little _genre_ picture out of Sterne. Our old friend Corporal
Trim is moralizing in the kitchen to the hushed Shandy servants on
Master Bobby's death. He has let fall his hat upon the ground, 'as if a
heavy lump of clay had been kneaded into the crown of it.' 'Are we not
here now,' says Trim, 'and are we not gone! in a moment.' Holding her
apron to her eyes, the sympathetic Susannah leans her hand confidingly
upon Trim's shoulder; Jonathan the coachman, a mug of ale upon his
knee, stares--with dropped chin--at the hat, as if he expected it to do
something; Obadiah wonders at Trim; the cook pauses as she lifts the lid
of a cauldron at the fire, and the 'foolish fat scullion'--the 'foolish
fat scullion' who 'had been all autumn struggling with a dropsy' and
is still immortal--looks up inquiringly from the fish-kettle she is
scouring on her knees. It is all there; and Stothard has told us all of
it that pencil could tell.

In the vestibule at Trafalgar Square is a bust of Stothard by Baily,
which gives an excellent idea of the dignified yet deferential old
gentleman, who said 'Sir' in speaking to you, like Dr. Johnson, and
whose latter days were passed as Librarian of the Royal Academy. Another
characteristic likeness is the portrait, now in the National Portrait
Gallery, which was engraved by Scriven in 1833 for Arnold's 'Library of
the Arts,' and once belonged to Samuel Rogers. The story of Stothard's
life has little memorable but the work that filled and satisfied it.
Placid, placable, unpretentious, modestly unsolicitous of advancement,
labouring assiduously but cheerfully for miserable wage, he seems to
have existed at equipoise, neither exalted nor depressed by the extremes
of either fortune. He was an affectionate father and a tender husband;
and yet so even-pulsed that on his wedding-day he went as üsual to the
drawing-school; and he bore more than one heart-rending bereavement with
uncomplaining patience. For nearly forty years he lived contentedly in
one house (28, Newman Street) with little change beyond an occasional
country excursion, when he would study butterflies for his fairies'
wings, or a long walk in the London streets and suburbs, when he
would note at every turn some new gesture or some fresh group for his
ever-growing storehouse of imagination. It is to this unremitting habit
of observation that we owe the extraordinary variety and fecundity
of his compositions; to the manner of it also must be traced their
occasional executive defects. That no two men will draw from the
living model in exactly the same way, is a truism. But the artist,
who, neglecting the model almost wholly, draws by preference from his
note-book, is like a man who tells a story heard in the past of which
he has retained the spirit rather than the details. He will give it the
_cachet_ of his personal qualities; he will reproduce it with unfettered
ease and freedom; but those who afterwards compare it with the original
will find to their surprise that the original was not exactly what they
had been led to expect. In a case like the present where the artist's
mind is so uniformly pure and innocent, so constitutionally gentle
and refined, the gain of individuality is far greater than the loss of
finish and academic accuracy. If to Stothard's grace and delicacy we
add a certain primness of conception, a certain prudery of line, it is
difficult not to recognize the fitness of that happy title which was
bestowed upon him by the late James Smetham. He is the 'Quaker of Art.'



XVIII. BEWICK'S TAILPIECES.

|BETWEEN the years 1767 and 1785, travellers going southward to
Newcastle along the right bank of the Tyne must frequently have
encountered a springy, well-set lad walking, or oftener running, rapidly
in the opposite direction. During the whole of that period, which begins
with Thomas Bewick's apprenticeship and closes with the deaths of his
father and mother, he never ceased to visit regularly the little farm at
Cherryburn where he was born.=

````'Dank and foul, dank and foul,

````By the smoky town in its murky cowl,'=

is the Tyne at Newcastle, where he lived his working life; but at
Ovingham, where he lies buried, and whence you can see the remains of
his birthplace, it still flows=

`````'Clear and cool,

```By laughing shallow, and dreaming pool,'=

like the river in the 'Water-Babies,' and one can easily conceive with
what an eagerness the country-bred engraver's-apprentice must have
turned, in those weekly escapes from the great, gloomy manufacturing
city, to the familiar sights and sounds of nature which had filled his
boyhood with delight. To his love for these things we are indebted for
his best work; it was his intimate acquaintance with them that has kept
his memory green; and, even when he was an old man, they prompted some
of the most effective passages of those remarkable recollections which,
despite their _longueurs et langueurs_, present so graphic a picture of
his early life. 'I liked my master,' he says; 'I liked the business; but
to part from the country, and to leave all its beauties behind me, with
which I had been all my life charmed in an extreme degree,--and in a way
I cannot describe,--I can only say my heart was like to break.' And then
he goes on to show how vivid still, at a distance of sixty years, was
that first scene of separation. 'As we passed away, I inwardly bade
farewell to the whinny wilds, to Mickley bank, to the Stob-cross hill,
to the water-banks, the woods, and to particular trees and even to the
large hollow old elm, which had lain perhaps for centuries past, on the
haugh near the ford we were about to pass, and which had sheltered the
salmon-fishers, while at work there, from many a bitter blast.'

As an artist on wood, as the reviver of the then disused art of
Xylography--a subject hedged round with many delicate and hairsplitting
controversies--it is not now necessary to speak of Bewick. Nor need
anything be said here of his extraordinary skills--a skill still
unrivalled--in delineating those 'beautiful and interesting aerial
wanderers of the British Isles,' as he styles them in his old-fashioned
language, the birds of his native country. In both of these respects,
although he must always be accomplished, he may one day be surpassed.
But as regards his vignettes or tailpieces ('tale-pieces' they might
be called, since they always tell their story), it is not likely that
a second Bewick will arise. They were imitated in his own day; they are
imitated still--only to prove once more how rare and exceptional is the
peculiarly individual combination that produced them. Some of his own
pupils, Luke Clennell, for instance, working under his eye and in his
atmosphere, have occasionally trodden hard upon his heels in landscape;
others, as Robert Johnson, have caught at times a reflex of his
distinctive humour; but, as a rule, a Bewick tailpiece of the best
period is a thing _per se_, unapproachable, inimitable, unique; and they
have contributed far more--these labours of his play-time--to found his
reputation than might be supposed. If you ask a true Bewickian about
Bewick, he will begin by dilating upon the markings of the Bittern, the
exquisite downy plumage of the Short-eared Owl, the lustrous spring
coat of the Starling, the relative and competitive excellences of the
Woodcock and the White Grouse; but sooner or later he will wander off
unconsciously to the close-packed pathos of the microscopic vignette
where the cruel cur is tearing at the worried ewe, whose poor little
knock-kneed lamb looks on in trembling terror; or to the patient,
melancholy shapes of the black and white horses seen vaguely through the
pouring rain in the tailpiece to the Missal Thrush; or to the excellent
jest of the cat stealing the hypocrite's supper while he mumbles his
long-winded grace. He will tell you how Charles Kingsley, the brave and
manly, loved these things; how they fascinated the callow imagination of
Charlotte Brontë in her dreary moorland parsonage; how they stirred
the delicate insight of the gentle, pure-souled Leslie; and how Ruskin
(albeit nothing if not critical) has lavished upon them some of the most
royal of his epithets. *

     * Mr. Ruskin--it may be hinted--expounding the tailpieces
     solely by the light of his intuitive faculty, has sometimes
     neglected the well-established traditional interpretations
     of Bewick's work.

'No Greek work is grander than the angry dog,' he says, referring to
a little picture of which an early proof, on the old rag-paper held
by collectors to be the only fitting background for a Bewick, now lies
before us. A tramp, with his wallet or poke at his side, his tattered
trousers corded at the knees, and his head bound with a handkerchief
under his shapeless hat, has shambled, in his furtive, sidelong fashion,
through the open gates of a park, only to find himself confronted by a
watchful and resolute mastiff. He lifts his stick, carved rudely with
a bird's head, the minute eye and beak of which are perfectly clear
through a magnifying glass, and holds it mechanically with both hands
across his body, just as tramps have done immemorially since the days
of the Dutchman Jacob Gats, in whose famous 'Emblems' there is an almost
similar scene. The dog, which you may entirely cover with a shilling,
is magnificent. There is not a line in its body which does not tell. The
brindling of the back, the white marking of the neck and chest--to say
nothing of the absolute moral superiority of the canine guardian to
the cowering interloper--are all conveyed with the strictest economy of
stroke. Another tailpiece, to which Ruskin gives the adjective 'superb,'
shows a man crossing a river, probably the Tyne. The ice has thawed into
dark pools on either side, and snow has fallen on what remains. He
has strapped his bundle and stick at his back, and, with the foresight
taught of necessity in those bridgeless days, is astride upon a long
bough, so that if by any chance the ice gives way, or he plumps into
some hidden fissure, he may still have hope of safety. From the bows
of the moored ferryboat in the background his dog anxiously watches his
progress. When its master is safe across, it will come bounding in his
tracks. The desolate stillness of the spot, the bleak, inhospitable look
of the snow-clad landscape, are admirably given. But Bewick is capable
of even higher things than these. He is capable of suggesting, in these
miniature compositions, moments of the keenest excitement, as, for
example, in the tailpiece to the Baboon in the second edition of the
'Quadrupeds.' A vicious-looking colt is feeding in a meadow; a little
tottering child of two or three plucks at its long tail. The colt's eye
is turned backward; its heel is ominously raised; and over the North
Country stile in the background a frightened relative comes rushing. The
strain of the tiny group is intense; but as the little boy was Bewick's
brother, who grew up to be a man, we know that no harm was done.
Strangely enough, the incident depicted is not without a hitherto
unnoticed parallel. Once, when Hartley Coleridge was a child, he came
home with the mark of a horse hoof impressed unmistakably upon his
pinafore. Being questioned, he admitted that he had been pulling hairs
out of a horse's tail; and his father could only conclude that the
animal, with intentional forbearance, had gently pushed him backward. *

     * Hartley Coleridge grew up to write sympathetically, in his
     papers entitled 'Ignoramus on the Fine Arts,' of these very
     tailpieces. In them, he says, Bewick is 'a poet--the silent
     poet of the waysides and hedges. He unites the accuracy and
     shrewdness of Crabbo with the homely pathos of Bloomfield.'
     (Blackwood's Magazine, October, 1831.)

In describing the tailpiece to the Baboon, we omitted to mention one
minor detail, significant alike of the artist and his mode of work. The
presence of a strayed child in a field of flowers is not, perhaps,
a matter which calls urgently for comment. But Bewick leaves nothing
unexplained. In the shadow of a thicket to the left of the spectator is
the negligent nurse who should have watched over her charge, but who, at
this precise moment of time, is wholly engrossed by the attentions of
an admirer whose arm is round her waist; Nor is it in those accessories
alone which aid the story that Bewick is so careful. His local colouring
is scrupulously faithful to nature, and, although not always an actual
transcript of it, is invariably marked by that accuracy of invention
which, as some one said of Defoe, 'lies like truth.' Nothing in
his designs is meaningless. If he draws a tree, its kind is always
distinguishable; he tells you the nature of the soil, the time of year,
often the direction of the wind. Referring to the 'little, exquisitely
finished inch-and-a-half vignette' of the suicide in the 'Birds,' Henry
Kingsley (of whom, equally with his brother Charles, it may be said, in
the phrase of the latter, _Il sait son Bewick_) notes that the miserable
creature has hanged himself 'in the month of June, on an oak bough,
stretching over a shallow trout stream, which runs through carboniferous
limestone.' _Sero sed serio_ is the motto which Bewick has written under
the dilapidated, desperate figure, whose dog, even as the dog of Sikes
in 'Oliver Twist,' is running nervously backwards and forwards in its
efforts to reach its pendent, motionless, strangely silent master. These
legends and inscriptions, characteristic of the artist, are often
most happily effective. Generally, like the _Justissima Tellus_ of the
vignette of the ploughman, or the _Grata sume_ of the spring at which
Bewick himself, on his Scotch tour, is drinking from the 'flipe' of his
hat, they simply add to the restful or rural beauty of the scene; but
sometimes they supply the needful key to the story. In the tailpiece to
the Woodchat, for example, a man lies senseless on the ground. His eyes
are closed, and his hat and wig have fallen backward. Is he dead, or in
a fit, or simply, drunk? He is drunk. On a stone hard, by is the date
'4 June, 1795,' and he has obviously been toasting the nativity of his
Majesty George the Third.

But clearness of message, truth to nature, and skill in compressed
suggestion are not Bewick's sole good qualities. He does not seem to
have known much of Hogarth--perhaps the Juvenalian manner of that great
graphic satirist was not entirely to his taste--but he is a humourist to
some extent in Hogarth's manner, and, after the fashion of his day, he
is a moralist. He delights in queer dilemmas and odd embarrassments. Now
it is a miserly fellow who fords a river with his cow to save the bridge
toll. The water proves deeper than he expected; the cow, to whose tail
he is clinging, rather enjoys it; her master does not. Now it is an old
man at a standstill on an obstinate horse. It is raining heavily, and
there is a high wind.

He has lost his hat and broken his stick, but he is afraid to get down
because he has a basket of excited live fowl on his arm. Occasionally
the humour is a little grim, after the true North Country fashion. Such
is the case in the tailpiece to the Curlew where a blacksmith (or is it
a tanner?) looks on pitiless at the unhappy dog with a kettle dangling
at its tail; such, again, in the vignette of the mischievous youngster
who leads the blind man into mid-stream. As a moralist, Bewick is never
tired of exhibiting the _lachrimo rerum_, the brevity of life, the
emptiness of fame. The staved-in, useless boat; the ruined and deserted
cottage, with the grass growing at the hearthstone; the ass rubbing
itself against the pillar that celebrates the 'glorious victory;' the
churchyard, with its rising moon, and its tombstone legend, 'Good Times,
bad Times, and all Times got over,' are illustrations of this side of
his genius. But the subject is one which could not be exhausted in many
papers, for this little gallery is Bewick's 'criticism of life,' and
he had seventy-five years' experience. His final effort was a ferryman
waiting to carry a coffin from Eltringham to Ovingham; and on his
death-bed he was meditating his favourite work. In a lucid moment of
his last wanderings he was asked of what he had been thinking, and he
replied, with a faint smile, that he had been devising subjects for some
new Tailpieces.



XIX. A GERMAN IN ENGLAND.

|WHEN, in 1768, the yet undistinguished the world his 'Journal of a Tour
to Corsica,' Gray wrote to Horace Walpole from Pembroke College that
the book had strangely pleased and moved him. Then, with the curious
contempt for the author which that egregious personage seems to have
inspired in so many of his contemporaries, Gray goes on: 'The pamphlet
proves what I have always maintained, that any fool may write a most
valuable book by chance, if he will only tell us what he heard and saw
with veracity.' This is an utterance which suggests that sometimes even
the excellent critic Mr. Gray, like the Sage of Gough Square, 'talked
James Boswell of Auchinleck gave to laxly.' At all events this
particular example scarcely illustrates his position. There was more
than mere veracity in Boswell's method. Conscious or unconscious, his
faculty for reproducing his impressions effectively, and his thoroughly
individual treatment of his material, are far more nearly akin to genius
than folly. Nor could his success be said to be a matter of chance,
since on two subsequent occasions--in the 'Tour to the Hebrides' and
the 'Life of Johnson'--he not only repeated that success, but carried
further towards perfection those fortunate characteristics which he
had exhibited at first. Walpole, if we may trust the title-page of
the 'little lounging miscellany' known as 'Walpoliana,' reported his
friend's dictum with greater moderation. 'Mr. Gray the poet has often
observed to me, that, if any person were to form a Book of what he had
seen and heard himself, it must, in whatever hands, prove a most useful
and entertaining one.' As a generalisation, this leaves nothing to be
desired. That the unaffected record of ordinary experiences,
'honestly set down,' is seldom without its distinctive charm, needs no
demonstration; and when lapse of time has added its grace of remoteness,
the charm is heightened. These considerations must serve as our excuse
for recalling a half-forgotten 'pamphlet'--as Gray would have styled
it--which points the moral of his amended aphorism far better than
Boswell's 'Tour.'

The narrative of Charles P. Moritz's 'Travels, chiefly on Foot, through
several Parts of England,' belongs to 1782. It was first published at
Berlin in 1783, and the earliest English version is dated 1795. The
second edition (now before us) came two years later, and other issues
are occasionally met with in booksellers' catalogues; besides which,
John Pinkerton, the compiler of the 'Walpoliana' above mentioned,
included the book in the second volume of his 'Collections of Voyages,'
et.c., and Mayor also reprinted it in vol. ix. of his 'British Tourist.'
*

     * It is also included, with some omissions, in Cassell's
     excellent 'National Library.'

The English translator was a 'very young lady,' said to be the daughter
of an unidentified personage referred to by the author: the editor, who,
in a copious preface, testifies, among other things, to the favourable
reception of the work in Berlin and Germany generally, remains
anonymous. Moritz himself, the writer of the volume, was a young
Prussian clergyman, enthusiastic about England and things English, who
came among us 'to draw Miltonic air' (in Gay's phrase), and to read his
beloved 'Paradise Lost' in the very land of its conception. He stayed
exactly seven weeks in this country, three of which he spent in London,
the rest being occupied by visits to Oxford, Birmingham, the Peak, and
elsewhere. What he sees, and what he admires (and luckily for us he
admires a great deal), he describes in letters to one Frederic Gedike, a
professorial friend at Berlin.

His first communication, dated 31st May, depicts his progress up the
Thames, which he regards as greatly surpassing even 'the charming banks
of the _Elbe_.' Then he disembarks near Hartford, whence, with two
companions, he posts to London, behind a round-hatted postilion 'with a
nosegay in his bosom.' He is delighted with the first view he gets of an
English soldier, 'in his red uniform, his hair cut short and combed back
on his forehead, so as to afford a full view of his fine broad manly
face.' He is interested also to see two boys engaged in the national
pastime of boxing; and he marvels at the huge gateway-like sign-posts
of the village inns. Passing over Westminster Bridge, he does not, like
Wordsworth, burst into a sonnet, but he is impressed (as who would not
be!) by that unequalled _coup d'oil_. 'The prospect from this bridge
alone,' he says, 'seems to afford one the epitome of a journey, or a
voyage in miniature, as containing something of everything that most
usually occurs on a journey.' Presently, a little awed by the prodigious
greatness and gloom of the houses (which remind him of Leipzig), he
takes lodgings in George Street, Strand, with a tailor's widow, not very
far, as he is pleased to discover, from that Adelphi Terrace where once
'lived the renowned _Garrick_.' To his simple tastes his apartments,
with their leather-covered chairs, carpeted floors and mahogany tables,
have an air of splendour. 'I may do just as I please,' he says, 'and
keep my own tea, coffee, bread and butter, for which purpose [and here
comes a charming touch of guilelessness!] my landlady has given me a
cupboard in my room, which locks up.' With one of his landlady's sons
for guide, he makes the tour of St. James's Park (where you may buy milk
warm from the cow), and he experiences for the first time 'the exquisite
pleasure of mixing freely with a concourse of people, who are for the
most part well dressed and handsome.' His optimism finds a further
gratification in the 'sweet security' (the expression is not his,
but Lamb's) which is afforded 'from the prodigious crowd of carts and
coaches,' by the footways on either side of the streets; and he explains
to his 'dearest Gedike' the mysteries of giving the wall. He thinks
London better lighted than Berlin (which implies little short of
Cimmerian darkness in that centre of civilization!), and he waxes
sorrowful over the general evidence of dram-drinking and the sale of
spirituous liquors. 'In the late riots [i.e. the Gordon Riots of 1780],
which even yet are hardly quite subsided, and which are still the
general topic of conversation, more people have been found dead near
empty brandy-casks in the streets, than were killed by the musket-balls
of regiments, that were called in.'

Another thing which strikes him as foreign to his experience is the
insensibility of the crowd to funerals. 'The people seem to pay as
little attention to such a procession, as if a hay-cart were driving
past.' Among more pleasurable novelties, are the English custom of
sleeping without an eiderdown, and the insular institution of 'buttered
toast,' which, incredible as it may sound, appears to have been still an
unknown luxury in the land of Werther. *

     * Another of his remarks is of special interest in our day:--

     'That same influenza, which I left at Berlin, I have had the
     hard fortune again to find here; and many people die of it'
     (the italics are ours). Elsewhere he says that the Prussian
     quack Katterfelto--Cowper's=

```'Katerfelto, with his hair on end.

```At his own wonders wondering for his bread,'=

     whose advertisements were then in every paper, attributed
     the epidemic to a minute insect, against which, of course,
     he professed to protect his patients. Walpole's
     correspondence contains references to the same visitation.
     It was, he writes, 'universal,' but not 'dangerous or
     lasting.' 'The strangest part of it,' he tells Mann in June,
     'is, that, though of very short duration, it has left a
     weakness or lassitude, of which people find it very
     difficult to recover.'

On the second Sunday after his arrival he preaches at the German Church
on Ludgate Hill for the pastor, the Rev. Mr. Wendeborn, who resides
'in a philosophical, but not unimproving retirement' at chambers in New
Inn,--and he visits the Prussian Ambassador, Count Lucy, with whom, over
a 'dish of coffee,' he has a learned argument upon the pending dispute
'about the _tacismus_ or _stacismus_.' Then he pays à visit to Vauxhall.
Comparing great things with small, he straightway traces certain
superficial resemblances between the Surrey Paradise and the similar
resort at Berlin,--resemblances' which are enforced by his speedy
discovery of that chiefest glory of the English gardens, Roubiliac's
statue of Handel. The Gothic orchestra, and the painted ruin's at the
end of the walks (sometimes used by flippant playwrights as similes for
beauty in decay) also come in for a share of his admiration; and he is
particularly impressed by Hayman's pictures in the Rotunda. 'You here,'
he adds, speaking of this last, 'find the busts of the best English
authors, placed all round on the sides.

Thus a Briton again meets with his Shakespeare, Locke, Milton, and
Dryden in the public places of his amusements; and there also reveres
their memory.' He finds further confirmation of this honoured position
of letters in the popularity of the native classics as compared with
those of Germany, 'which in general are read only by the learned; or, at
most, by the middle class of people. The English national authors are
in all hands, and read by all people, of which the innumerable editions
they have gone through, are a sufficient proof.' In Germany 'since
Gellert [of the Fables], there has as yet been no poet's name familiar
to the people.' But in England even his landlady studies her 'Paradise
Lost,' and indeed by her own account won the affections of her husband
(now deceased) 'because she read Milton with such proper emphasis:'

Another institution that delights him is the second-hand bookseller,
at whose movable stall you may buy odd volumes 'so low as a penny; nay,
even sometimes for an half-penny a piece.' Of one of these 'itinerant
antiquaries' he buys the 'Vicar of Wakefield' in two volumes for
sixpence.

After Vauxhall follows, as a matter of course, a visit to the equally
popular Ranelagh. Like most people, the traveller had expected it to
resemble its rival, and until he actually entered the Great Room, was
grievously disappointed. 'But,' he continues, 'it is impossible to
describe, or indeed to conceive, the effect it had on me, when, coming
out of the gloom of the garden, I suddenly entered a round building,
illuminated by many hundred lamps, the splendour and beauty of which
surpassed everything of the kind I had ever seen before. Everything
seemed here to be round; above, there was a gallery, divided into boxes,
and in one part of it an organ with a beautiful choir, from which issued
both instrumental and vocal music. All around, under this gallery, are
handsome painted boxes for those who wish to take refreshments. The
floor was covered with mats; in the middle of which are four high black
pillars, within which are neat fire-places for preparing tea, coffee,
and punch; and all around also there are placed tables, set out with all
kinds of refreshments. Within [he means 'without'] these four pillars,
in a kind of magic rotundo, all the _beau-monde_ of London move
perpetually round and round.' This, as may be seen by a glance at Parr's
print of 1751 after Canaletto, or the better-known plate in Stowe's
'Survey' of 1754, is a fairly faithful description of the Ranelagh of
Walpole and Chesterfield. After a modest _consommation_, which, to his
astonishment, he finds is covered by the half-crown he paid at the door,
he mounts to the upper regions. 'I now went up into the gallery, and
seated myself in one of the boxes there: and from thence, becoming,
all at once, a grave and moralizing spectator, I looked down on the
concourse of people who were still moving round and round in the fairy
circle; and then I could easily distinguish several stars, and other
orders of knighthood; French queues and bags contrasted with plain
English heads of hair, or professional wigs; old age and youth,
nobility and commonalty, all passing each other in the motley swarm. An
Englishman who joined me, during this my reverie, pointed out to me, on
my inquiring, princes, and lords with their dazzling stars; with
which they eclipsed the less brilliant part of the company.' His next
experiences are Of the House of Commons. Here he had like to have
been disappointed from his unhappy ignorance of an enlightened native
formula. Having made his way to Westminster Hall, a 'very genteel man in
black' informed him he must be introduced by a member, an announcement
which caused him to retire 'much chagrined.' Something unintelligible
was mumbled behind him about a bottle of wine, but it fell on alien
ears. As soon as he returned home, his intelligent landlady solved the
difficulty, sending him back next day with the needful _douceur_, upon
which the 'genteel man,' with much venal urbanity, handed him into a
select seat in the Strangers' Gallery. The building itself strikes him
as rather mean, and not a little resembling a chapel. But the Speaker
and the mace; the members going and coming, some cracking nuts and
eating oranges, others in their greatcoats and with boots and spurs; the
cries of 'Hear,' and 'Order,' and 'Question,' speedily absorb him.
On his first visit he is fortunate. The debate turns on the reward to
Admiral Rodney for his victory over De Grasse at Guadaloupe, and he
hears Fox, Burke, and Rigby speak. 'This same celebrated Charles Fox,'
he says, 'is a short, fat, and gross man, with a swarthy complexion, and
dark; and in general he is badly dressed. There certainly is something
Jewish in his looks. But upon the whole, he is not an ill-made nor an
ill-looking man: and there are many strong marks of sagacity and fire in
his eyes.... Burke is a well-made, tall, upright man, but looks elderly
and broken. Rigby is excessively corpulent, and has a jolly rubicund
face.'

Pastor Moritz repeated his visits to the Parliament House, frankly
confessing that he preferred this entertainment to most others; and,
indeed, it was a shilling cheaper than the pit of a theatre. When, after
his tour in the country, he came back to London, he seems at once
to have gravitated to Westminster, for he gives an account of the
discussion on the Barré pension which followed the death of Lord
Rockingham in July. He heard Fox, with great eloquence, vindicate his
resignation; he heard Horace Walpole's friend, General Conway; he heard
Burke, in a passion, insisting upon the respect of the house; he heard
the youthful Pitt, then scarcely looking more than one-and-twenty, rivet
universal attention. A little earlier he had been privileged to witness
that most English of sights, the Westminster election in Covent Garden,
with its boisterous _finale_. 'When the whole was over, the rampant
spirit of liberty, and the wild impatience of a genuine English
mob, were exhibited in perfection. In a very few minutes the whole
scaffolding, benches, and chairs, and everything else, was completely
destroyed; and the mat with which it had been covered torn into ten
thousand long strips or pieces, or strings; with which they _encircled_
or inclosed multitudes of people of all ranks. These they hurried along
with them, and everything else that came in their way, as trophies of
joy; and thus, in the midst of exultation and triumph, they paraded
through many of the most populous streets of London.'

To the British Museum he paid a flying visit of little more than an
hour, with a miscellaneous and 'personally conducted' party,--a visit
scarcely favourable to minute impressions. But of the Haymarket Theatre,
to which he went twice (Covent Garden and Drury Lane being closed
as usual for the summer months), he gives a fairly detailed account.
Foote's 'Nabob' was the play on the first night; that on the second, the
'English Merchant,' adapted by the elder Colman from the 'Ecossaise' of
Voltaire. With this latter he was already familiar in its German dress,
having seen it at Hamburg. On both occasions the performance wound up
with O'Keeffe's once-famous ballad farce of 'The Agreeable Surprise.'
That excellent bur-letta singer, John Edwin, took the part of 'Lingo'
the schoolmaster (which he had created), * to the entire satisfaction
of Moritz, who thought him, with his '_Amo, amas_, I love a lass,' etc.,
and his musical voice, 'one of the best actors of all that he had seen,'
notwithstanding that Jack Palmer (Lamb and Goldsmith's Palmer!) acted
the Nabob.

     * There is a print of Edwin in this character after a
     picture by Alefounder. He was also a favourite 'Croaker' in
     the 'Good Natur'd Man.'

But if he was pleased with the acting, he was not equally impressed by
the audience. The ceaseless clamour of the upper gallery and the steady
hail of missiles were anything but agreeable. 'Often and often whilst I
sat here [i.e. in the pit], did a rotten orange, or pieces of the peel
of an orange, fly past me, or past some of my neighbours, and once one
of them actually hit my hat, without my daring to look round, for fear
another might then hit me on my face.' Another passage connected with
this part of the entertainment illustrates the old fashion of sending
the lackeys to keep their masters' places: 'In the boxes, quite in a
corner, sat several servants, who were said to be placed there, to keep
the seats for the families they served, till they should arrive; they
seemed to sit remarkably close and still, the reason of which, I was
told, was their apprehension of being pelted, for, if one of them dares
but to look out of the box, he is immediately saluted with a shower of
orange peel from the gallery.'

Over the descriptions of St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey we must pass
silently, in order to accompany the tourist on his road to Derbyshire,
to the 'natural curiosities' of which, after some hesitation, he felt
himself most at tracted. Equipped with a road-book, he set out by
stage-coach from the White Hart (in the Strand) for Richmond, intending
thence to pursue his journey on foot. According to his own account, he
must have travelled in just such' another vehicle as that depicted in
Hogarth's 'Country Inn-Yard,' and have shared the curiosity, so often
felt by admirers of that veracious picture, and afterwards amply
gratified in his own case, as to the method by which passengers managed
to 'fasten themselves securely on the roof.' Luckily the coach met
neither highwayman nor footpad. At Richmond he alighted, and is properly
enthusiastic, almost dithyrambic, over 'one of the first situations in
the world.' He even got up to see the sun rise from Richmond Hill, with
the usual fate of such premature adventurers, a clouded sky. Then he set
out on foot by Windsor to Oxford. But he speedily discovered that, in
a horse-riding age, a pedestrian was a person of very inferior
respectability; and though--modelling himself upon the Vicar of
Wakefield--he was careful to invite the landlords to drink with him, he
found himself generally treated with pity or contempt, which, when he
sat down under a hedge to read Milton, almost changed into a doubt of
his sanity. At most of the inns they declined to give him house-room,
though, finally, he was allowed to enter 'one of those kitchens which I
had so often read of in Fielding's fine novels,' where, just as in
those novels, presently arrives a showy post-chaise to set the servile
establishment in a bustle, although the occupants called for nothing but
two pots of beer. After a vain attempt to obtain a night's lodging at
Nuneham, he picks up a travelling companion in the shape of a young
parson, who had been preaching at Dorchester and was returning to
Oxford. His new ally takes him to the time-honoured Mitre, where he
finds a great number of clergymen, all with their gowns and bands on,
sitting round a large table, each with his pot of beer before him.' A
not very edifying theological discussion ensues, which is too long
to quote, and poor Parson Moritz is so well entertained that he has a
splitting headache next morning. His further fortunes cannot be detailed
here. From Oxford he goes to Stratford-on-Avon, then to Lichfield and
Derby, and so to his destination, 'the great cavern near Castleton, in
the high Peake of Derbyshire,' which he describes at length. He returns
by Nottingham and Leicester, whence, still enthusiastic, but a little
weary of his humiliations on foot, he takes coach to Northampton,
mounting to the top, in company with a farmer, a young man and 'a
black-a-moor.' This eminence proving as perilous as it looked, he creeps
into the basket, in spite of the warnings of the black. 'As long as we
went up hill, it was easy and pleasant. And, having had little or no
sleep the night before, I was almost asleep among the trunks and the
packages; but how was the case altered when we came to go down hill;
then all the trunks and parcels began, as it were, to dance around me,
and everything in the basket seemed to be alive; and I every moment
received from them such violent blows, that I thought my last hour was
come. I now found that what the black had told me was no exaggeration;
but all my complaints were useless. I was obliged to suffer this torture
nearly an hour, till we came to another hill again, when, quite shaken
to pieces and sadly bruised, I again crept to the top of the coach, and
took possession of my former seat.' No wonder he concludes his part
of his experiences with a solemn warning to travellers to take inside
places in English post coaches. With his return to London his narrative
practically ends. But the rapid sketch here given of it affords no
sufficient hint of the abundance of _naïf_ detail, of simple enthusiasm
and kindly wonderment, which characterize its pages. To complete the
impression given, we should be able to suppose the writer resting
contentedly from a solitary literary effort, and ending tranquil days as
a kind of German Dr. Primrose, telling grandchildren, such as Chodowiecki
drew, how he once saw Goldsmith's monument in the great Abbey by the
Thames, and heard Pitt speak in the Parliament House at Westminster.
But this is to reckon without the all-recording pages of the 'Allgemeine
Deutsche Biographie,' and that harsh resolvent, Fact. For the future
of Pastor Charles P. Moritz was not at all in this wise. Besides his
letters to his 'dearest Gedike,' he wrote many other works, including
a 'psychological romance' and 'Travels in Italy;' became a Fine-Art
Professor; married late in life, but not happily; left no family; and,
last of all, had been dead two years when the translation which has
formed the subject of these pages was first introduced to English
readers.



XX. OLD VAUXHALL GARDENS.


```'In gay Vauxhall now saunter beaux and belles,

```And happier cits resort to Sadler's Wells.'=

|THUS sings one of Sylvanus Urban's poets, describing the pleasures of
Spring in the London of George the Second. In the epithet 'happier'--an
epithet probably suggested by the not very profound observation that
the middle classes as a rule took their pleasure less sadly than mere
persons of quality--there is 'the least little touch of spleen.' But the
social distinction implied between the fashionable gardens on the Surrey
side of the water and the more popular place of entertainment from which
the tired dyer and his melting wife are trudging wearily in Hogarth's
'Evening' is practically preserved in the advertisements to be found,
between May and August, in the newspapers of the time. Sadler's Wells is
specific in its attractions,--its burletta or its rope-dancer: Vauxhall,
on the contrary, with a disdainful reticence,--a _superbia quosita
mentis_ befitting the 'genuine and only Jarley,'--shortly sets forth
that its 'Evening Entertainments' will begin on such a date; that the
price of admission is one shilling; and that the doors will open at
five. After this notification it continued, at rare intervals, to repeat
that the gardens were at the service of the public; but made no more
definite sign. Obviously the thing to do was to go. With the help of a
few old pamphlets and descriptions, it is proposed to invite the reader
to make that expedition, and to revive, if it may be, some memory of a
place, the traces of which are strewn broadcast over the literature of
the last century. It is true that Vauxhall Gardens survived to a date
much later than this. But it was Vauxhall 'with a difference,' and
the Vauxhall here intended is Vauxhall in its prime, between 1750 and
1790,--the Vauxhall of Horace Walpole and the 'Connoisseur,'--of Beau
Tibbs and the pawnbroker's widow,--of Fielding's 'Amelia' and Fanny
Burney's 'Evelina.'

In 1750, the customary approach to this earthly paradise was still along
that silent highway of the Thames over which, nearly forty years
before, Sir Roger de Coverley and Mr. Spectator had been rowed by the
wooden-legged waterman who had fought at La Hogue. There was, indeed, a
bridge built or being built at Westminster; but more than half a
century was to elapse before there was another at Vauxhall. This little
preliminary boating-party, especially to the accompaniment of French
horns, must have been one of the delights of the journey, although, if
we are to believe a Gallic poet who addressed a copy of verses upon 'Le
Vauxhall de Londres' to M. de Fontenelle, '_le trajet du fleuve fatal_'
was not without its terrors to would-be visitors. Goldsmith's Mrs.
Tibbs, at all events, had 'a natural aversion to the water,' and when
Mr. Matthew Bramble went, he went by coach for fear of cold, while the
younger and bolder spirits of his party took ship from Ranelagh in 'a
wherry, so light and slender' that, says poetical Miss Lydia Melford,
they looked like 'fairies sailing in a nutshell.' They were four in the
boat, she nevertheless adds, beside the oarsman; and if this paper were
to be illustrated by fancy pictures the artist's attention might be
particularly invited to that very fantastic fairy, Mrs. Tabitha Bramble,
who, we are told, 'with her rumpt gown and petticoat, her scanty curls,
her lappet-head, deep triple ruffles and high stays,' was (in Lady
Griskin's opinion) 'twenty good years behind the fashion.' What the
waterman charged, the fair Lydia does not tell us; but he probably asked
more than usual for so exceptional a cargo. Meanwhile, the old rates
shown in the 'Court and City Registers' of the time are moderate enough.
From Whitehall Stairs, the favourite starting-place, the cost of a pair
of oars was sixpence; from the Temple eightpence. For sculls you paid no
more than half.

When, after passing Lambeth Palace on the left,--and possibly receiving
from neighbouring boats some of those flowers of rhetoric to which
Johnson once so triumphantly retorted,--you reached Vauxhall Stairs,
your experiences were still, in all probability, those of Lydia Melford
and her friends. There would be the same crush of wherries and confusion
of tongues at the landing-place, and the same crowd of mudlarks and
loafers would come rushing into the water to offer their unsolicited
(but not gratuitous) services. Once free of these, a few steps would
bring you to the unimposing entrance of the garden,--a gate or wicket in
the front of an ordinary-looking house. Here you either exhibited
your ticket, or paid your shilling; hurried, not without a throb of
anticipation, down a darkened passage; and then, if you were as young
and unsophisticated as Fanny Bolton in 'Pendennis,' probably uttered
an involuntary exclamation of wonder as, with a sudden sound of muffled
music, the many-lighted inclosure burst upon your view. There seems
to be no doubt as to the surprise, heightened of course by the mean
approach, and the genuine fascination of this first impression. The tall
elms and sycamores, with the coloured lamps braced to the tree-trunks
or twinkling through the leaves, the long ranges of alcoves with their
inviting supper-tables, the brightly-shining temples and pavilions, the
fading vistas and the ever-changing groups of pleasure-seekers, must
have combined to form a whole which fully justified the enthusiasm of
contemporaries, even if it did not, in the florid language of the old
guide-books, exactly 'furnish the pen of a sublime and poetic genius
with inexhaustible scenes of luxuriant fancy.'

The general disposition of the gardens was extremely simple and, in Miss
Burney's opinion, even 'formal.' Opposite you, as you entered, was the
Grand Walk, extending the entire length of the inclosure for a distance
of 900 feet, and terminated, at the farther end, by a gilded statue
of Aurora, apparently 'tip-toe on the mountain tops.' For this was
afterwards substituted 'a Grand Gothic obelisk,' at the corners of which
were painted a number of slaves chained, and over them the inscription:=

`````Spectator

`````Fastidiosus

`````Sibi Molestus=

Beyond the end of this walk was a sunk-fence or _ha-ha_ which separated
the gardens from the hayfields then adjoining it. Parallel to the Grand
Walk ran the South Walk with its triumphal arches; next to this again
was the covered alley known indifferently as the Druid's or Lovers'
Walk, made rather for 'whispering lovers' than for 'talking age;' and
last came a fourth walk open at the top. Other walks, the chief of which
was the Cross Walk, traversed the garden from side to side; and in the
quadrangle formed by the Grand Walk, the Cross Walk, the South Walk,
and the remaining side of the grounds, was a space of about five acres.
This, which lay to the right of the entrance, was known as the Grove.

The chief feature of the Grove was its open-air orchestra, at first
no more than a modest structure bearing the unambitious title of the
'rustic music-house.' But about 1758, this made way for a much more
ornate building 'in the Gothic manner,' having, like its predecessor,
pavilions beneath for the accommodation of supper-parties. Above, it
contained a magnificent organ, in front of which, encircling an open
space for the singers, were ranged the seats and desks of the musicians.
This second orchestra, which was lavishly ornamented with niches and
carvings, was surmounted by the ostrich plumes of the Prince of Wales.
The decorations were modelled in a composition said to be known only to
the 'ingenious architect,' a carpenter named Maidman, and the whole was
painted 'white and bloom colour.' Immediately behind the orchestra was a
building described as 'a Turkish tent,' with a carved blue and gold dome
supported on eight internal Ionic, and twelve external Doric columns.
This was profusely embellished, both within and without, by rich
festoons of flowers. A good idea of the orchestra in its renovated form
may be gathered from a little plate by Wale, in which the supper-tables
are shown laid out in front. These for a long time were covered with red
baize, an arrangement that added greatly to the general effect, which
was further enhanced by arches of coloured lamps and other contrivances.
There is a tinted design by Rowlandson--one indeed of his most popular
efforts--depicting a motley group in front of the orchestra during
the performance of Mrs. Weichsell, and numbering among the crowd of
listeners the Prince of Wales, 'Perdita,' the Duchess of Devonshire,
Lady Duncannon, and other distinguished personages. In a supper-box at
the side are Johnson, Boswell, Goldsmith, and Mrs. Thrale.

The musical performances in the orchestra generally began at six.
At first they were wholly instrumental, and confined to 'sonatas and
concertos.' In time, however, songs were added to the programme; and
later still these were diversified by catches and glees, which generally
came in the middle and at the end of the sixteen pieces to which the
entertainment was restricted. Before the introduction of glees and
catches, it was the practice to wind up with a duet or trio, accompanied
by a chorus. In the old Vauxhall song-books may be studied the species
of lyric which was trilled or quavered nightly from the Gothic aviary
in the Grove. There is not much variety in these hymns to 'Jem of
Aberdovey' or 'Kate of Aberdare, and the prevailing tone is abjectly
sentimental. A favourite form was the 'Rondeau,' a much more rudimentary
production than the little French plaything now known by that name, and
characterized chiefly by its immoderate use of the refrain.=

````'Tarry awhile with me, my Love,

````O tarry awhile with me.'=

This is the artless burden of one of the 'celebrated Roundelays' sung at
Vauxhall by the celebrated Mrs. Bland (_blandior Orpheo!_) to the music
of the equally celebrated Mr. James Hook; and the 'young Shepherd by
Love sore opprest, When the Maid of his heart he fondly addrest,' can
scarcely be acquitted of needless iteration. But the music was often of
a much higher kind, and the beautiful Shakespearean songs of Dr. Arne,
'When daisies pied,' and 'Where the bee sucks,' or 'Water parted' from
the same composer's Opera of 'Artaxerxes,' alternated occasionally with
the more popular ditties which delighted the average listener. Hook (the
father of Theodore Hook), who was organist for upward of forty years,
and Arne, who often conducted, were the most assiduous composers.
Among the female singers were many vocal celebrities of the last
century,--Mrs. Vincent and Miss Brent (of whom Goldsmith writes in 'The
Bee' and 'The Citizen of the World'); the before-named Mrs. Weichsell,
fair mother of the fairer Mrs. Billington; Mrs. Mountain; and for men,
Lowe, Denman, Vernon, the 'great Dignum,' and the famous tenor Beard,
whose name, together with that of one of his gentler colleagues,
survives in Churchill's hectoring couplets:=

```'Where tyrants rule, and slaves with joy obey,

```Let slavish minstrels pour th' enervate lay;

```To Britons far more noble pleasures spring,

```In native notes whilst Beard and Vincent sing.'=

The broad-shouldered poet of the 'Rosciad' and the 'Apology,' it may be
added, was himself one of the constant frequenters of the garden, where
he was wont to appear, not in clerical black, as in the pit of Drury
Lane, but resplendent in a blue coat, white silk stockings, silver
shoe-buckles, and a gold-laced hat.

The 'native notes' of the orchestra, however, could only be comfortably
enjoyed in fine weather. When it rained,--and the eighteenth century
had no immunity in this respect,--the company, like Mr. Bramble, took
shelter in the Rotunda. This was a large circular saloon, entered
through a colonnade to the left of the Grand Walk. It was freely
furnished with busts, mirrors, sconces, and the like. But its chief
glory was its roof, known popularly as 'the Umbrella,' and specially
constructed for musical purposes. Profusely ornamented with gilding and
festoons, it seems to have presented something of the appearance of
a large fluted shell. When the 'new music room,' as it was at first
called, was erected, the organ and orchestra it contained fronted the
entrance through the colonnade in the Grove. By-and-by these were moved
to the left, so as to face a new room which was added to the Rotunda,
and ran forward into the garden at the back of the colonnade, parallel
to the Grove. This room, supported by elaborate columns, and lighted
from two cupolas painted with gods and goddesses, must have added
materially to the attractions of the Rotunda, when entered through it.
In course of time, the spaces between the side columns were filled
with large pictures representing national subjects, from the brush of
Hogarth's friend, the history painter, Frank Hayman. In one, Britannia
distributed laurels to Lord Granby and other distinguished officers; in
another, Clive received the homage of the Nabob; in the third, Neptune
rejoiced over Hawke's victory of 1759. But the best known, and the first
finished of the group--it was exhibited in 1761--was the surrender of
Montreal to Amherst. Whether copies of these still exist we know not;
but, to judge from its effect upon Pastor Moritz, this last, at all
events, must have had its merits.*

     * See the preceding paper, 'A German in England.'

'Among the paintings,' he says, 'one represents the surrender of a
besieged city. If you look at this painting with attention for any
length of time, it affects you so much that you even shed tears. The
expression of the greatest distress, even bordering on despair, on the
part of the besieged, the fearful expectation of the uncertain issue,
and what the victor will determine concerning those unfortunate people,
may all be read so plainly and so naturally in the countenances of the
inhabitants who are imploring for mercy, from the hoary head to the
suckling whom his mother holds up, that you quite forget yourself, and
in the end scarcely believe it to be a painting before you.'

The new room was entered through a Gothic portal or temple, which
contained portraits of George the Third and Queen Charlotte, and also
formed the starting-point of a semicircular piazza or colonnade that
swept round to a similar terminal temple at the end of the arc. Between
these two, in the middle of the semicircle, was a higher central
structure denominated in old prints the Temple of Cornus. This is said,
rather vaguely, to have been 'embellished with rays,' and had above it a
large star or sun, which, from the description, would seem to have been
illuminated at night. Inside, it was painted with a composition 'in
the Chinese taste' representing Vulcan catching Mars and Venus in the
historical net, the painter being named (not inappropriately) Risquet.
The two pavilions or alcoves immediately adjoining also contained
pictures. To the right a lady and gentleman were shown entering
Vauxhall; to the left was a presumably emblematic design of 'Friendship
on the grass, drinking.' Other boxes fitted for the accommodation of
supper-parties, but having no pictorial decorations, extended on either
side of the Temple of Cornus.

Of the terminal temples, one, as already stated, served as the porch
to the new room; its fellow at the farther end ultimately formed the
entrance to a famous and popular entertainment referred to in a former
paper, * and known indifferently as the 'Waterworks' or the 'Cascade.'

     * See ante,--'The Citizen of the World,' p. 161.

Some of the earlier references to this, or to its earliest form, are
more or less contemptuous, as the 'World,' the 'Connoisseur,' and the
'Gray's Inn Journal' all speak of it slightingly as the 'Tin Cascade.'
But, as time went on, it must have been greatly improved. Here is
Moritz's description of it in 1782: 'Lateish in the evening [i.e.
about nine o'clock], we were entertained with a sight, that is indeed
singularly curious and interesting. In a particular part of the garden,
a curtain was drawn up, and by means of some mechanism, of extraordinary
ingenuity, the eye and the ear are so completely deceived, that it is
not easy to persuade one's-self it is a deception; and that one does not
actually see and hear a natural waterfall from an high rock.' The next
sentence adds a characteristic detail: 'As every one was flocking to
this scene in crowds, there arose all at once, a loud cry of "Take care
of your pockets." This informed us, but too clearly, that there were
some pick-pockets among the crowd, who had already made some fortunate
strokes.' Ten years later still, many other details and effects must
have been added, since the descriptions speak of representations of
trees blown by the wind, of thatches torn off, of wagons and troops of
soldiers crossing bridges, etc. By this time, in fact, it was a monster
'moving picture,' of the kind which Pinchbeck and Fawkes were in the
habit of exhibiting at Bartholomew Fair. But in Goldsmith's day it was
still in the elementary stage described by Sylvanus Urban in
August, 1765, that is to say, it exhibited 'a beautiful landscape in
perspective, with a miller's house, a water-mill, and a cascade.' At the
proper moment this last presented the exact appearance of water flowing
down a declivity, rising up in a foam at the bottom, and then gliding
away.

Beyond the terminal temple which served as the approach to the
water-works a sweep of pavilions led back to the Grand Walk. In the last
of these was a picture of Gay's 'Black-Eyed Susan,' taken apparently
at that affecting moment when, returning to shore from her faithful
William, she 'waved her lily hand.' A little higher the Grand Walk was
intersected at right angles by the Grand Cross Walk, which, as already
stated, traversed the gardens. To the right this was terminated by
the Druid's Walk and a statue of Apollo; to the left, by one of the
'favourite illusions of the place, a large painting representing ruins
and running water. In this part of the garden, as far as it is possible
to make it out from the descriptions, extending on the left towards the
bottom, were, on one side, a Wilderness, on the other Rural Downs 'with
several little eminences... after the manner of a Roman camp.' These
were 'covered with turf, and pleasingly interspersed with cypress, fir,
yew, cedar, and tulip trees.' On one of these heights, the attentive
spectator soon discovered, like Pastor Moritz, the statue (in lead)
of Milton which the guide-books attribute to Roubiliac. At night this
statue was lighted with lamps. From the downs, say the old guide-books,
you had a good view of Lambeth, Westminster, and St. Paul's. It was in
this part of the garden also, from some of the bushes of the Roman
camp, that proceeded the subterranean entertainment known as the
'Fairy Music.' But this 'lodging on the eold ground,'--to quote the old
Caroline song,--was found 'prejudicial to the instruments,' probably
also to the instrumentalists, and it was eventually discontinued.

If, turning your back upon the picture of ruins and running water, you
followed the Cross Walk behind the pavilions which formed the north side
of the Grove, you came upon the South Walk, which ran parallel to the
Grand Walk. The speciality of this promenade was its 'three splendid
triumphal arches.' The vista through these arches was, at first, closed
by a pictorial representation of the Ruins of Palmyra. But the simulated
ruins themselves grew ruinous, and finally made way for 'a noble view
of architecture designed by Sand by [no doubt the brother of Hogarth's
opponent], and painted by Mortimer.' At night the same painter's work
was exhibited in the form of an illuminated transparency. Where the
South Walk ran parallel to the right side of the Grove was a further
range of pavilions, part of which formed a semicircle shaded in front by
lofty trees. In the centre of this semicircle stood, for some time, the
cynosure of Vauxhall, L. F. Roubiliac's statue of Handel, rather less
than life-size, in the character of Orpheus playing on his lyre. It was,
however, frequently moved; and its different positions are a source
of considerable mystification to the student of the old prints of the
place. In 1774, according to Smith's 'Nollekens,' it had its habitat
'under an inclosed lofty arch, surmounted by a figure [of Saint Cecilia]
playing the violoncello, attended by two boys; and it was then screened
from the weather by a curtain, which was drawn up when the visitors
arrived.' In Canaletto's view of six years later it is disporting itself
in the open, as above described; but after the new Gothic orchestra was
erected, it seems to have returned to its original retreat, and later
still had found an asylum in a new supper-room which was added to the
Rotunda. Rartolozzi is credited with a fine engraving of this statue,
which was reputed to be the first original work Roubiliac carved in
England. It did not always remain at Vauxhall, and ultimately passed
into the keeping of the descendants of the proprietor of the garden,
where, at present, we need no further follow its fortunes. *

     * For some supplementary particulars respecting this statue,
     see 'Eighteenth Century Vignettes,' 2nd series, 1894, pp.
     53-4.

As already stated, each of the four sides of the quadrangle which
enclosed the Grove was occupied by pavilions, alcoves, or booths fitted
up for the accommodation of supper-parties. These were of varying
importance, since we are expressly informed, in 'The Citizen of the
World,' that some were more 'genteel' than others, and that those in
that 'very focus of public view' affected by Goldsmith's Beau and his
lady, were appropriated more or less by persons of position. The
one that fronted the Orchestra was larger than the rest, having been
specially built for Frederick, Prince of Wales. It was decorated by
Hayman with paintings from 'The Tempest,' 'King Lear,' 'Macbeth,' and
'Henry the Fifth,' and had behind it a handsome drawing-room.

The mention of the decorations in the Prince of Wales's pavilion recalls
one of the historical attractions of the gardens,--the pictures in the
other supper-boxes. At night-time each of these was 'enlightened to the
front with globes;' and a story, which has always seemed to us a little
indefinite, traces the first suggestion of them to Hogarth. But one
of the earliest and most trustworthy of the guides--the 'Sketch of the
Spring Gardens, Vauxhall: In a Letter to a Noble Lord'--implies that
Hayman was the true originator in this matter. It is certain, however,
that Hogarth contributed specimens of his own works to the cause,
and that others were copied. According to his first annotator,
Nichols, Dayman reproduced the 'Four Times of the Day' for Vauxhall; and
in 1782 two of these, 'Evening' and 'Night,' were still there, and must
have been seen by Moritz; while in the portico of the Rotunda was an
unquestioned picture from Hogarth's own brush, Henry the Eighth and Anne
Boleyn,--names which, it was popularly whispered, but thinly veiled the
likenesses of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his mistress, Anne Vane,
not to be confused with the notorious 'Lady of Quality' of the same
surname in Smollet's 'Peregrine Pickle.' Another work claimed as
Hogarth's when, years after, obscured by dirt and slashed by sandwich
knives, the relics of the little gallery came to the hammer, was Harper
and Mrs. Clive (then Miss Raftor) as 'Jobson the Cobbler' and his
wife 'Nell' in Coffey's farce of 'The Devil to pay; or, the Wives
Metamorphosed;' but this, as well as a nautical _genre_ picture
called 'The Wap-ping Landlady,' is plainly attributed to Hayman in the
contemporary prints of Sayer. It is probable also that Hayman had the
chief hand in 'Mademoiselle Catherina,' a diminutive lady whose history
has escaped the chroniclers, and 'Building Houses with Cards,' although
the two children in the latter have certainly a look of his more
illustrious contemporary. But, on the whole, it may be concluded that
there was little of Hogarth's original work among the sea-fights,
popular games (e.g. the time-honoured pastimes of 'Bob Cherry' and 'Hot
Cockles'), and other engaging compositions which delighted the simple
soul of the pawnbroker's widow and disgusted the eclectic Mr. Tibbs,
full of Grisoni and the grand contorno. Hogarth's picture in the Rotunda
portico, coupled with his permission to reproduce his other works,
would, however, be ground enough to justify the gold ticket _In
perpetuam Beneficii memoriam_ with which he was presented by the
grateful proprietor. This ticket, which admitted 'a coachful,' that is,
six persons, was, in 1808, in the possession of Mrs. Hogarth's cousin,
Mary Lewis, in whose arms the painter died. It had passed to fresh hands
in 1825, when, with other silver passes, all said to be struck from
Hogarth's designs, and including among the rest that of George Carey,
the author of many Vauxhall songs, it was engraved for the 'Londina
Illustrata' of Wilkinson.

The greater part of the literary memories of Vauxhall Gardens cluster
round these gaily painted boxes from which, at some moment of their
careers, most of the notabilities of the day had taken their view of
'many-coloured life.' Churchill we have already seen there in his habit
as he lived; and Collins is said to have divided his attentions between
Vauxhall and the play-houses. Goldsmith and Reynolds, we know, were
frequent visitors; Johnson, according to Dr. Maxwell (and in spite of
Rowlandson), was more partial to Ranolagh. It is in Vauxhall's 'proud
alcoves' that Fielding places one of the scenes of 'Amelia;' prefacing
it with a handsome compliment to the extreme 'elegance' and 'beauty' of
the place. The account of the rudeness which his heroine and her party
suffered from Captain Trent and his companions is scarcely separable
from its context, although it conveys a graphic idea, confirmed by other
records, of the annoyances to which the more peaceable visitors were
occasionally exposed at the hands of the Georgian man-about-town. But
there is a pen-and-ink picture in Colman and Thornton's 'Connoisseur'
which, although mainly levelled at the exorbitant prices of provisions,
may be taken to depict pretty accurately the humours of an ordinary
middle-class family at Vauxhall. Mr. Rose, a tradesman, his wife, and
his two daughters, make the turn of the place, and then sit down to
supper. 'Do let us have a chick, papa,' says one of the young ladies.
Papa replies that 'they are half a crown apiece, and no bigger than
a sparrow.' Thereupon he is very properly rebuked by his wife for his
stinginess. 'When one is out upon pleasure,' she says, 'I love to appear
like somebody; and what signifies a few shillings once and away, when a
body is about it?' So the chick is ordered, and brought. And then ensues
a dialogue between the cit and the waiter, in which the former, from
the price of the sample before him, ironically estimates the price of
an entire Vauxhall ham to be about £24, and after being decorated by his
wife with a coloured handkerchief by way of bib, proceeds to eat, saying
at every mouthful, 'There goes twopence, there goes threepence, there
goes a groat.' Beef and cheese-cakes, which are also freely commented
upon, follow, and finally Mr. Rose calls for a bottle of port, the size
of which does not escape invidious comparison with the more generous
vessels of the Jerusalem Coffee House, although the contents have the
effect of soothing the critic into the unwonted extravagance of a second
pint. Then, after the old lady has observed upon the rudeness of the
gentlemen, who stare her out of countenance with their spy-glasses, and
the younger girl is speculating whether, if she | buys the words of the
last new song, she can carry home the tune, arrives the reckoning, which
is exactly thirteen shillings and twopence. The last glimpse we get of
the little party shows them leaving the gardens in a shower, Madam with
her upper petticoat thrown over her head, her daughters with turned-up
skirts, and Paterfamilias with his flapped hat tied round with a pocket
handkerchief, his coat buttoned to save his lace waistcoat, and his
wife's cardinal spread wrong side out over his shoulders to save his
coat. Thus they sally out to their hack--he lamenting half humorously,
half ruefully, that he might have spent his evening at Sot's Hole for
fourpence halfpenny, whereas Vauxhall, with the coach hire, will have
cost him 'almost a pound.' In the 'Wits' Magazine' for 784, you may see
the whole group depicted to the life after the broad, ungentle fashion
of the time.

That the cost of the refreshments was a fertile topic of discussion
is, to cite but one of many witnesses, confirmed by Miss Burney in
'Evelina;' and the popular legend that an expert Vauxhall carver could
cover the entire garden (about eleven acres) with slices from one ham,
may be accepted as corroborative evidence. Old frequenters, indeed,
pretended to remember the particular angle at which the plates had to be
carried to prevent their leaf-like contents from becoming the plaything
of the winds. But the above picture from the 'Connoisseur,' it must be
noted, is a picture of the occasional visitor,--the visitor who made but
one annual visit, which was the event of the year. The main supporters
of the place were the persons of quality, of whom Walpole gossips so
delightfully in his correspondence; and it is to his pages that one must
go for a faithful representation of High Life at Vauxhall. In one of his
letters to George Montagu, he describes, with his inimitable air of
a fine gentleman on a frolic, a party of pleasure at which he has
assisted, and which (he considers) exhibits 'the manners of the age.' He
tells how he receives a card from Lady Caroline Petersham (the Duke of
Grafton's daughter) to go with her to Vauxhall. Thereupon he repairs to
her house, and finds 'her and the little Ashe, or the Pollard Ashe,
as they call her,' having 'just finished their last layer of red, and
looking as handsome as crimson can make them.' Others of the company
are the Duke of Kingston, Lord March of Thackeray's 'Virginians,' Mr.
Whitehed, 'a pretty Miss Beauclcre, and a very foolish Miss Sparre.' As
they 'sail up the Mall,' they encounter cross-grained Lord Petersham (my
lady's husband), 'as sulky as a ghost that nobody will speak to first,'
and who declines to accompany his wife and her friends. So they march to
their barge, which has 'a boat of French horns attending,' and 'little
Ashe' sings. After parading up and down the river, they 'debark' at
Vauxhall, where at the outset they narrowly escape the excitement of a
duel. For a certain Mrs. Lloyd of Spring Gardens (afterwards married to
Lord Haddington), seeing Miss Beauclerc and her companion following Lady
Petersham, says audibly, 'Poor girls, I am sorry to see them in such bad
company,' a remark which 'the foolish Miss Sparre' (she is but fifteen),
for the fun of seeing a duel, endeavours to make Lord March resent. But
my Lord, who is 'very lively and agreeable,' laughs her out of
'this charming frolic with a great deal of humour.' 'At last,' says
Walpole,--and here we may surrender the story to him entirely,--'we
assembled in our booth, Lady Caroline in the front, with the vizor
of her hat erect, and looking gloriously jolly and handsome. She had
fetched my brother Orford from the next box, where he was enjoying
himself with his _petite partie_, to help us to mince chickens. We
minced seven chickens into a china dish, which Lady Caroline stewed over
a lamp, with three pats of butter and a flagon of water, stirring, and
rattling, and laughing, and we every minute expecting to have the dish
fly about our ears. She had brought Betty [Neale] the fruit girl, with
hampers of strawberries and cherries from Rogers's, and made her wait
upon us, and then made her sup by us at a little table. The conversation
was no less lively than the whole transaction. There was a Mr. O'Brien
arrived from Ireland, who would get the Duchess of Manchester from Mr.
Hussey if she were still at liberty. I took up the biggest hautboy in
the dish, and said to Lady Caroline, "Madam, Miss A he desires you would
eat this O'Brien strawberry;" she replied immediately.

"I won't, you hussey." You may imagine the laugh this reply occasioned.
After the tempest was a little calmed, the Pollard said, "Now, how
anybody would spoil this story that was to repeat it and say, I won't,
you jade!" In short, the whole air of our party was sufficient, as you
will easily imagine, to take up the whole attention of the garden; so
much so, that from eleven o'clock till half an hour after one we had
the whole concourse round our booth; at last they came into the little
gardens of each booth on the sides of ours, till Harry Vane took up a
bumper and was proceeding to treat them with still greater freedom. It
was three o'clock before we got home.'

Whether this 'frisk' in good society included the passage of the Dark
Walk, the chronicler has not related. But the Dark Walk, also known
as the 'Druid's,' or 'Lovers' Walk,' is almost the only feature of the
gardens which now needs to be described. Its position has already been
roughly indicated. It was formed by tall overarching trees meeting at
the top, in which, in the place's palmiest days, blackbirds, thrushes,
and nightingales made their nests. A visit to this _selva oscura_ was
the prime ambition of the more inquiring visitor to Vauxhall, either
upon the simple ground put forward by the elder Miss Rose in the
'Connoisseur' that it was '_solentary_,' or upon the more specious
excuse, advanced by the generality, that the music of the Orchestra
sounded better through the thick foliage of the trees. But the pretexts
for seeking these attractive shades were probably as inexhaustible as
Dean Aldrich's reasons for drinking, the last of which was 'any other
reason.' In Miss Burney's 'Evelina,' that delightful heroine is decoyed
into the Dark Walk by her vulgar friends, the Branghtons.

There she is insulted by a gang of rakes, and is rescued by Sir Clement
Willoughby, who, apparently under the influence of the genius of the
place, proceeds, after certain impertinences, to make her a spasmodic
declaration, plentifully punctuated with dashes in this wise,--'O Miss
Anville,--loveliest of women,--forgive me,--my--I beseech you forgive
me;--if I have offended--if I have hurt you,--I could kill myself at the
thought!' etc. Thus this 'most impetuous of men;' and thus did they make
love in Vauxhall's 'green retreats' 'when George was king.' Nor love
alone, apparently; for if the old descriptions are strictly accurate
in representing some of its frequenters as yelling 'in sounds fully as
terrific as the imagined horrors of Cavalcanti's bloodhounds,'
there must have been a considerable amount of more than questionable
horse-play besides; and the licensing magistrates who, in 1763, bound
the proprietors to do away with the 'dark walks,' and to appoint proper
watchmen, were no doubt well advised.

From the use of the plural 'walks,' it may be that the prohibition
also included the numerous wildernesses which occupied the north of the
inclosure,--wildernesses so intricate that, even in the prehistoric era
of the place, the most experienced mothers--to use the expressive words
of Tom Brown 'of facetious memory'--often 'lost themselves in looking
for their daughters.' And this brings us to the final item in our
catalogue, the walk which bounded the garden on the north, closing and
terminating the four great promenades that traversed it from top to
bottom. This, shaded like the rest by trees, had at each end one of the
favourite 'scenes.' That to the east was a view in a Chinese garden;
that to west, a building with a scaffold and a ladder before it, which
at a distance 'often deceived the eye very agreeably.' History has
neglected the artist of these ingenious performances. But Hayman had
begun with stage decoration, and may perhaps have executed them. Or
they may have been from the brush of George Lambert, the well-known
scene-painter of Covent Garden, who, like Hayman, was a friend of
Hogarth, and is reported to have borne his part in the beautifying of
the place.

In the foregoing sketch we have endeavoured to revive some specific idea
of the aspect of a forgotten place of amusement, rather than to produce
that indefinite patchwork of anecdote which, with a judicious sprinkling
of shoe buckles and periwigs, of hoops and gipsy-hats, so often does
duty for 'a picture of the time.' But a last word must certainly be
devoted to the proprietor and presiding spirit, Jonathan Tyers. Little
seems to be known of him before he acquired the site of the old Spring
Garden of the 'Spectator' in March, 1728, from one Elizabeth Masters, of
London, upon a thirty years' lease. Even then it must have had many of
the appurtenances of a public resort, for the deed enumerates a Ham-room
and a Milk-house, and there were already primitive alcoves in the shape
of tiled arbours entitled Royal George, Ship, Eagle, Phoenix, Checker,
and the like. Nay, there were already lofty trees which dated from the
seventeenth century and the days of an earlier possessor, the Sir Samuel
Morland of Pepys's Diary. The rent whieh Tyers paid was £250. He
added music; then by degrees the orchestra and organ, the statues, the
pictures, and the other adornments. He opened the garden in June, 1732,
with illuminations and a _Ridotto al' fresco_, at which Frederick,
Prince of Wales, was present; and the company, numbering four hundred,
wore masks, dominoes, and lawyers' gowns. Order was kept by a detachment
of footguards, and the admission ticket was designed by Jack Laguerre,
son of the Louis whose muscular saints sprawl, in Pope's verse, upon the
ceilings of 'Timon's Villa.' Payment was subsequently made at the gate;
but in 1738, apparently with a view to render the attendance somewhat
more select, a thousand silver season tickets were issued. In 1752 Tyers
purchased part of the estate out and out, and a few years afterwards
acquired the remainder. To the last day of his life he retained the
keenest interest in the place, and only a few hours before his death
caused himself to be carried into the gardens to take a parting look
at them. At his country-seat of Denbies near Dorking in Surrey, he had
another private garden, in the embellishment of which he must have found
an outlet for some otherwise obstructed eccentricity, since it contained
a representation of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where, in an
alcove, had been depicted, in two compartments, the ends of the infidel
and the Christian. According to the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' Tyers passed
through the Valley himself in July, 1767. His descendants long continued
to manage Vauxhall Gardens. Perhaps the most notable of these was his
eldest son Tom, the friend and biographer of Johnson, and the 'Tom
Restless' of the 'Idler.'



XXI. AT LEICESTER FIELDS.

|IT is with places as with persons: they often attract us more in their
youth than in their maturer years Apart from the fact that these papers
are confessedly confined to the Eighteenth Century, this threadbare
truth affords a sufficient excuse for speaking of Leicester Square by
its earlier, rather than by its existing name. And, indeed, the abiding
interest of the locality lies more in the past than in the present. Not
even the addition to the inclosure of busts and a Shakespeare fountain,
has been able to regenerate entirely the Leicester Square that most of
us remember, with its gloomy back streets,--its fringe of dingy _cafés_
and _restaurants_,--its ambiguous print and curiosity shops,--its
incorrigibly unacclimatized Alhambra, whose garish Saracenic splendours
scale and peel perpetually in London's _imber edax_. If we call anything
forcibly to mind in connection with the spot, it is a certain central
statue, long the mock of the irreverent,--a statue of the first George,
which had come of old, gilded and magnificent, from 'Timon's Villa' at
Canons, to fall at last upon evil days and evil tongues, to be rudely
spotted with sacrilegious paint, to be crowned with a fool's cap, and,
finally, to present itself to the spectator in the generally dishonoured
and dilapidated condition in which, some twenty years ago, it was
exhibited by the late John O'Connor on the walls of the Royal Academy.
But when, travelling rapidly backwards, past the Empire and the
Alhambra, past Wylde's Globe and the Panopticon, past Burford's Panorama
and Miss Linwood's needlework, we enter the last century, we are in
the Leicester Fields of Reynolds and Hogarth, of Newton and John
Hunter,--the Leicester Fields of Sir George Savile and Frederick, Prince
of Wales, of Colbert and Prince Eugene. This is the Leicester Fields of
which we propose to speak. Leicester Square and its notorieties may be
left to the topographers of the future. *

     * The name 'Leicester Square'--it is but right to say--is
     also of fairly early date. In 'A Journey through England,'
     4th cd., 1724, 1778, the writer, speaking of the space
     before Leicester House, says: 'This was till these Fourteen
     Years always called Leicester-Fields, but now Leicester-
     Square.'' There is, however, abundant evidence that the
     older name continued to be freely used throughout the
     century. For example, in 1783, Mrs. Hogarth's house is
     advertised as 'The Golden Head, in Leicester Fields;' and it
     is "at his house in Leicester Fields,' in 1792, that Malone
     makes Reynolds die.

It is in Ralph Agas his survey of 592 (or rather in Mr. W. H. Overall's
excellent facsimile) that we make our first acquaintance with the
Fields, then really entitled to their name. According to Agas, the
ground to the north-west of Charing Cross, and immediately to the east
of the present Whitcomb Street (at that time Hedge Lane) was formerly
open pasture land, occupied--in the plan--by a pair of pedestrians
larger than life, a woman laying out clothes, and two nondescript
quadrupeds, of which one is broken-backed beyond the licence of
deformity. The only erections to be discovered are the King's Mews,
clustering together for company at the back of the Cross. Sixty years
later, judging from the map known generally as Faithorne's, the locality
had become more populated.. To the right of St. Martin's Lane it is
thickly crowded with buildings; to the left also a line of houses is
springing up and creeping northward; while in the open space above
referred to stand a couple of lordly mansions. One, on a site which must
have lain to the north of the present Little Newport Street, is Newport
House, the town residence of Mountjoy Blount, Earl of Newport; the
other, which occupies ground now traversed by Leicester Place, is
Leicester House. Its garden at the back extended across the eastern
end of Lisle Street, and its boundary wall to the north was also the
southern boundary wall of the old Military Garden where King James's
son, Prince Henry of Wales--whose gallant and martial presentment you
shall see figured in the forefront of Michael Drayton's Poly-Olbion--had
been wont to exercise his troops, and make the now-discredited welkin
ring with the shooting-off of chambers, with alarums, and points of war.

Leicester House the first was built about 1632-6 by Robert Sydney, 2nd
Earl of Leicester, the father of Algernon Sydney and of that beautiful
Dorothy, afterwards Countess of Sunderland, whom Van Dyck painted and
Waller 'Petrarchized' as Sacharissa. The site (Swan Close) * was what is
known as Lammas-land, and from the Overseers' books of the Parish of St.
Martin's in the Fields, the Earl seems not only to have paid 'Lamas' for
'the ground that adjoins to the Military Wall,' but also 'for the field
that is before his house'--i.e. Leicester Fields.

     * Cunningham failed to identify Swan Close. But from a
     letter in the State Paper Office, quoted in 'Temple Bar' for
     June, 1874, it would seem that this was the aetual site of
     the building.

This latter probably extended to the present Orange Street, so that the
grounds of the old mansion may be roughly said to be bounded by the
Mews on the south, and by the Military Garden on the north. Few memories
cling about the place which belong to Lord Leicester's lifetime. When
not engaged in embassies and the like, he was absent at his other and
more famous seat of Penshurst in Kent, and Leicester House was 'To Let.'
One of the earliest of its illustrious tenants was that quondam 'Queen
of Hearts' (as Howell calls her), the unfortunate Elizabeth of Bohemia,
who, already smitten with her last illness, died there in February,
1662, after a few days' residence, 'in the arms' (says Evelyn) 'of her
nephew the King' [Charles II.]. Another tenant, some years later, was
Charles Colbert, Marquis de Croissy, the French Ambassador, a brother of
Louis the Fourteenth's famous minister and financier; and Pepys records,
under date of 21st October, 1668, that he was to have taken part in
a deputation from the Royal Society to Lord Leicester's distinguished
lessee. But having unhappily been 'mighty merry' at a house-warming of
his friend Batelier, he arrived too late to accompany the rest, and was
fain to console himself (and perhaps to do penance) by carrying his wife
to Cow Lane, Smithfield, in order to inspect a proposed new coach,
with the splendours of which 'she is out of herself for joy almost,'
although, from the sequel, it was not the one ultimately purchased.

Pepys, as will be seen, did not actually enter Leicester House, at all
events upon this occasion. His brother diarist was more fortunate.
Going in October, 1672, to take leave of the second Lady Sunderland
(Sacharissa's daughter-in-law), whose husband had already set out as
ambassador to Paris, grave John Evelyn was entertained by her Ladyship
with the performances of Richardson the fire-eater, who, in those days,
enjoyed a vogue sufficient to justify the record of his prowess in the
'Journal des Sçavans' for 1680. 'He devour'd brimston on glowing coales
before us,' says Evelyn, 'chewing and swallowing them; he mealted a
beere-glasse and eate it quite up; then taking a live coale on his
tongue, he put on it a raw oyster, the coal was blown on with bellows
till it flam'd and sparkl'd in his mouth, and so remain'd till the
oyster gaped and was quite boiled; then he mealted pitch and wax with
sulphur, which he drank downe as it flam'd; I saw it flaming in his
mouth a good while; he also tooke up a thick piece of yron, such as
laundresses use to put in their smoothing-boxes, when it was fiery hot,
held it betweene his teeth, then in his hand, and threw it about like a
stone, but this I observ'd he car'd not to hold very long; then he stood
on a small pot, and bending his body, tooke a glowing yron with his
mouth from betweene his feete, without touching the pot or ground with
his hands; with divers other prodigious feates.' *

     * 'Memoirs of John Evelyn,' etc., 1827, ii. pp. 375-6.

Lord Leicester closed a long life in 1677, and many other tenants
afterwards occupied the mansion in the Fields. Under Anne it was the
home of the German Ambassador, or 'Imperial Resident,' who lived in it
far into the reign of the first George. At this time, judging from a
water-colour bird's-eye view in the Crace Collection at the British
Museum, it was a long two-storeyed building, with attics above, a
courtyard in front, and a row of small shops or stalls extending on
either side of its entrance gate. Behind came the garden, stretching
northward, and decorated in the Dutch fashion with formal trees
and statues. Hither, on a Saturday in January, 1712, conveyed
unostentatiously in a hackney coach from Whitehall Stairs, came Eugene
of Savoy, who, by desire of the Emperor Charles VI., had just crossed
from the Hague in Her Majesty's 'Yatcht "Fubs"' (Captain Desborough),
with the intention of preventing, if possible, what Prior calls that
'vile Utrecht Treaty.' His mission was to be fruitless from the outset,
for at the Nore he was greeted with the news of Marlborough's disgrace,
and his presence in England had little or no effect upon the pending
proposals of peace. But for two months he was to be fêted and lionized
by the nobility in a way which modest warrior and discreet diplomatist
as he was--must have taxed his resources as much as a campaign in
Flanders. His admirers mobbed him on all occasions. 'I could not
see Prince Eugene at court to-day,'--writes Swift to Mrs. Johnson at
Dublin,--'the crowd was so great. The Whigs contrive to have a crowd
always about him, and employ the rabble to give the word when he sets
out from any place.' Elsewhere Swift had said--'I hope and believe
he comes too late to do the Whigs any good.' At first His Highness's
appearance prepossessed him. He is not ill-looking, 'but well enough,
and a good shape.' Later on he has revised his opinion. 'I saw Prince
Eugene at court to-day very plain. He is plaguy yellow, and literally
ugly besides.' A great Tory lady, Lady Strafford (wife of that haughty
envoy to the Hague who declined to serve with Prior in the Utrecht
negotiations) goes farther still. She calls him--her Ladyship spells
far worse than Stella--a 'frittfull creature,' and adds, 'the Ladys here
dont admire Prince Eugene, for he seemes to take very little notis
of them,'--a sentiment in which we may perhaps detect a spice of the
'_spreto injuria formho_'

Much, indeed, depends upon the point of view, political and otherwise.
To Steele, with his military instincts and quick enthusiasm, the great
Captain, who surprised Cremona and forced the trenches of Turin, comes
surrounded with an aura of hyperbole. 'He who beholds him,' he writes in
'Spectator,' No. 340, 'will easily expect from him anything that is to
be imagined or executed by the Wit or Force of Man. The Prince is of
that Stature which makes a Man most easily become all Parts of Exercise;
has Height to be graceful on Occasions of State and Ceremony, and no
less adapted for Agility and Dispatch: His Aspect is erect and compos'd;
his Eye lively and thoughtful, yet rather vigilant than sparkling: His
Action and Address the most easy imaginable, and his Behaviour in an
Assembly peculiarly graceful in a certain Art of mixing insensibly with
the rest, and becoming one of the Company, instead of receiving the
Courtship of it. The Shape of his Person, and Composure of his Limbs,
are remarkably exact and beautiful.' Burnet, as staunch a Whig as
Steele, writes more moderately, to the same effect. 'I had the honour to
be admitted at several times, to much discourse with him; his Character
is so universally known, that I will say nothing of him, but from what
appeared to myself. He has a most unaffected Modesty, and does scarcely
bear the Acknowledgments, that all the World pay him: He descends to an
easy Equality with those, with whom he converses; and seems to assume
nothing to himself, while he reasons with others: He was treated with
great respect by both Parties; but he put a distinguished Respect on the
Duke of _Marlborough_, with whom he passed most of his Time. * The Queen
used him civilly, but not with the Distinction, that was due to his high
Merit: Nor did he gain much ground with the Ministers.' **

     * It was for Marlborough, no doubt, that the Prince sat to
     Kneller. The portrait, in which he wears the Order of the
     Golden Fleece over a rich coat of armour, and holds a
     marshal'? baton, was mezzotinted by John Simon in this very
     year 1712

     ** 'History of His Own Time,' ii. (1731), pp. 589-90.

Eugene's stay at Leicester House was brief; but it must have been fully
occupied. 'Je caressais beaucoup les gens en place,' he writes in his
'Mémoires,' and it is clear that, however attentive he may have been to
his fallen comrade-in-arms of Blenheim and Oudenarde, he did not omit
to pay assiduous court to those in power. 'He has been every day
entertain'd at some great man's,' says gossiping Peter Wentworth. Lord
Portland gives him 'dinner, musick and a dancing' all at once; the Duke
of Shrewsbury has Nicolini to sing for him; the Duke of Buckingham turns
out the militia in his honour. And so forth. He, in his turn, was not
backward in responding. 'Prince Eugene,' says Lady Strafford, 'has given
an order to six ladys and six men. The ladys are the four Marlborough
daughters and the Duchess of Bolton and Lady Berkely. 'Tis a
medall--Cupid on won side with a sword in won hand and a fann in the
othere, and the othere side is Cupid with a bottle in his hand with a
sword run through it. And the motto's are in French which I dare not
write to you but the English "won don't hinder the othere" ["L'un
n'empêche pas l'autre"].' He had arrived in London on January 5, and
he returned to Holland on March 17, carrying with him nothing but the
diamond hiked sword ('very rich and genteele, and the diamonds very
white,' says Lord Berkeley of Stratton), which, at a cost of £5,000, had
been presented to him by Queen Anne. *

     * If he received royal gifts, he was also princely in his
     acknowledgments. According to Hearne (Dohle, 1889, iii.
     329), he paid twenty guineas for Joshua Barnes's quarto
     'Homer' of 1711, and fifteen guineas for Wiston's
     'Heretical Book.' he also paid thirty guineas for Samuel
     Clarke's edition of 'Caesar's Commentaries (Tonson, 1712),'
     then just published with a magnificent portrait of
     Marlborough, to whom it was dedicated. A large paper copy of
     this, sumptuously bound, fetched sixteen guineas at Dr.
     Mead's sale of 1754-5; but though it is praised by Addison
     in 'Spectator,' No. 367, as doing 'Honour to the English
     Press,' Eugene certainly gave too much. Probably he meant to
     do so. 'Je fis des présens,' he says ('Mémoires,' 1811, p.
     107); 'ear'--he adds significantly--'on achète beaucoup en
     Angleterre.'

After this Leicester House continued to be the home of the German
Resident, apparently one Hoffmann, whom Swift calls a 'puppy.' But he
had also called his predecessor, Count Gallas, a 'fool,' and too much
importance may easily be attached to these flowers of faction. 'Scandal
between Whig and Tory goes for nothing,' said Mrs. Manley of the 'New
Atalantis'--and Mrs. Manley's knowledge was experimental. About 1718,
the house, being again to let, was bought for £6,000 by George Augustus,
Prince of Wales, who had quarrelled with his father; and a residence of
the Prince of Wales it continued for forty years to come.

This was perhaps the gayest time in its history. From the precision and
decorum of St. James's, people flocked eagerly to the drawing-rooms and
receptions of Leicester House, where the fiddles were always going.
'Balls, assemblies and masquerades have taken the place of dull
formal visiting,' writes my Lord Chesterfield, 'and the women are more
agreeable triflers than they were designed. Puns are extremely in vogue,
and the license very great. The variation of three or four letters in a
word breaks no squares, inasmuch, that an indifferent punster may make a
very good figure in the best companies.' He himself was one of the most
brilliant luminaries of that brilliant gathering, delighting the Prince
and Princess by his mimicry and his caustic raillery. Another was that
eccentric Duchess of Buckingham, who passed for the daughter of James
II. by Catherine Sed-ley, Countess of Dorchester, and who always sat in
a darkened chamber, in the deepest mourning, on the anniversary of King
Charles's execution. Thus she was discovered by Lord Hervey, surrounded
by servants in sables, in a room hung with black, and lighted only by
wax candles. But the most attractive figures of the prince's Court are
the youthful maids of honour,--charming, good-humoured Mary Bellenden,
Mary Lepel (to whom a later paper of these 'Vignettes' has been
devoted), * and reckless and volatile Sophia Howe. Pope and Gay
wrote them verses,--these laughing ladies,--and they are often under
contemporary pens.

     * See 'Mary Lepel, Lady Hervey,' in 'Eighteenth Century
     Vignettes,' 1806, pp. 293-323.

Miss Bellenden married Colonel John Campbell, and became a happy wife;
the 'beautiful Molly Lepel' paired off with John, Lord Hervey, whose
pen-portrait by Pope exhausts the arts of 'conscientious malevolence,'
while poor Sophia Howe fell in love, but did not marry at all, and died
in 1726 of a broken heart.

When, in June, 1727, George II. passed from Leicester House to the
throne of England, another Prince of Wales succeeded him,--though not
immediately,--and maintained the traditions of an opposition Court.
This was Frederick, Prince of Wales. Bubb Dodington, afterwards Lord
Melcombe, was the Chesterfield of this new _régime_, and Miss Chudleigh
and Lady Middlesex, its Bellenden and Lepel. Political intrigue
alternated with gambling and theatricals. One of the _habitués_ was the
dancing master Desnoyers, whom Hogarth ridiculed; and French comedians
made holiday. 'The town,' says a historian of the Square, 'was at this
time full of gaiety--masquerades, ridottos, Ranelagh in full swing,
and the Prince a prominent figure at all, for he loved all sorts
of diversion, from the gipsies at Norwood, the conjurors and
fortune-tellers in the bye-streets about Leicester Fields, and the
bull-baits at Hockley-in-the-Hole, to Amorevoli at the Opera, and the
Faussans in the ballet. When the news came of the Duke of Cumberland
having lost the battle of Fontenoy in May, 1745, the Prince was deep in
preparation for a performance at Leicester House of Congreve's masque
of "The Judgment of Paris," in which he played Paris. He himself wrote a
French song for the part, addressed to the three rival goddesses, acted
by Lady Catherine Hanmer, Lady Fauconberg, and Lady Middlesex, the _dame
régnante_ of the time. It is in the high Regency vein:--=

```'Venez, mes chères Déesses,

````Venez, calmez mon chagrin;

```Aidez, mes belles Princesses,

````A le noyer dans le vin.

```Poussons cette douce ivresse

````Jusqu'an milieu de la nuit,

```Et n'écoutons que la tendresse

````D'un charmant vis-à-vis."'=

'What signifies if Europe has a tyrant more or less, So we but pray
Calliope Our verse and song to bless'---proceeds this Anacreontic
performance; and Walpole copies out its entire five stanzas to send to
Mann at Florence. They miscarry, he says, 'in nothing but the language,
the thoughts and the poetry,'--a judgment which is needlessly severe.

In March, 1751, an end came to these lighthearted junketings, when His
Royal Highness quitted the scene almost precipitately from the breaking
of an abscess in his side, caused by the blow of a cricket-ball at
Cliveden. The Princess and her children continued to live in Leicester
Fields until 1766. Meanwhile, to the accompaniment of trumpets and
kettledrums, the old house witnessed the proclamation of George III.,
and the marriage, in its great drawing-room, of the Princess Augusta
to Ferdinand, Hereditary Prinee of Brunswick, one of the most popular
heroes ever huzzaed to by an English mob. After this last occurrence,
the only important event connected with royalty in the Fields is the
death at Savile House on 29th December, 1765, of one of the princes.
'The King's youngest brother, Prince Frederick,' writes Walpole (with
one of those Gallic affectations of phrase which roused the anger of
Macaulay) 'is dead, of a dropsy and consumption: he was a pretty and
promising boy.'

The Savile House above referred to stood next to Leicester House on the
west. Savile House, too, was not without its memories. It was here
that Peter the Great had boozed with his pot companion, the Marquis of
Caermarthen, who occupied it when the Czar made his famous visit to this
country in 1698. More than one English home bore dirty testimony to the
passage of the imperial savage and his suite, the decorous dwelling of
John Evelyn in particular, at Sayes Court, Deptford, being made 'right
nasty.' There is, however, no special record of any wrong to
Savile House beyond the spilling, down the autocratic throat, of an
'intolerable deal of sack' and peppered brandy. In January, 1718,
the house was taken by the Prince of Wales, and when, a little later,
Leicester House was vacated by Lord Gower, a communication was opened
between the two, the smaller being devoted to the royal children. It
belonged originally to Aylesbury family, and came through them to the
Saviles, one of whom was the Sir George Savile who is by some supposed
to have sat for Goldsmith's Mr. Burchell. Sir George was its tenant
in the riots of '80, when (as Dickens has not failed to remember in
'Barnaby Rudge') it was besieged by the rioters because he had brought
in the Catholic Bill. 'Between Twelve and One O'clock Yesterday morning
[June 6th]--says the 'Public Advertiser'--'a large Body [of rioters]
assembled before Sir George Savile's House in Leicester Fields, and
after breaking all the Windows, destroyed some of the Furniture.' They
were finally dispersed by a party of the Horse Grenadier Guards, but not
before they had torn up all the iron railings in front of the building,
which they afterwards used effectively as weapons of offence. Burke,
who had also supported the Bill, was only saved from a like fate by
the exertions of sixteen soldiers who garrisoned his house in Charles
Street, St. James's Square. With the later use of Savile House, as the
home of Hiss Linwood's Art Needlework, which belongs to the present
century, this paper has nothing to do.

Moreover, we are straying from Leicester House itself. Deserted of
royalty, it passed into the hands of Mr., afterwards Sir Ashton Lever
(grand uncle of Charles Lever the novelist), who transferred to it
in 1771 the miscellaneous collection he had christened the
'Holophusikon'--a name which did not escape the gibes of the
professional jester. His _omnium gatherum_ of natural objects and savage
costumes was, nevertheless, a remarkable one, still more remarkable when
regarded as the work of a single man. It filled sixteen of the rooms at
Leicester House, besides overflowing on the staircases, and included,
not only all the curiosities Cook had brought home from his voyages,
but also a valuable assortment of bows and arrows of all countries
contributed by Mr. Richard Owen Cambridge of Twickenham. *

     * See 'Cambridge the Everything,' in 'Eighteenth Century
     Vignettes,' 3rd series, 1896, p. 1847 In an outhouse of the
     'Holophusikon,' it may be added, were exhibited (stuffed)
     Queen Charlotte's elephant and female zebra--two favourites
     of royalty, which, during their lifetime, had enjoyed an
     exceptional, if not always enviable, notoriety.

Its possessor had been persuaded that his treasures which, in their
first home at Alkrington near Manchester, had enjoyed great popularity,
would be equally successful in London. The result, however, did not
justify the expectation (an admittance of 5s. 3d.. per person must
have been practically prohibitive), and poor Sir Ashton was ultimately
'obligated,' as Tony Lumpkin would say, to apply to Parliament for power
to dispose of his show, as a whole, by lottery. He estimated his outlay
at £50,000. Of 30,000 tickets issued at a guinea each, only 8,000 were
taken up. The lottery was drawn in March, 1780, and the winner was a Mr.
Parkinson, who transferred his prize to the Rotunda at the Southern
or Surrey end of Blackfriars Bridge, changing its name to the Museum
Leverianum. But it was foredoomed to misfortune, and in 1800 was
dispersed under the hammer. A few years after it had crossed the river,
Leicester House in turn disappeared, being pulled down in 1790. *

     * A house in Lisle Street, looking down Leicester Place,
     still (1897) perpetuates the name, and bears on its façade
     in addition the words, 'New Lisle Street, mdccxci.' It is
     occupied by a foreign school or schools ('Ecoles de Notre
     Dame de France').

In 1791 Lisle Street was continued across its garden; and a little later
still, Leicester Place traversed its site, running parallel to Leicester
Street, which had existed long previously, being described in 1720
'as ordinarily built and inhabited, except the west side, towards the
Fields, where there is a very good house.'

Leicester Place and Leicester Street,--like Leicester Fields
itself,--directly preserve the memory of what Pennant aptly calls the
'pouting-place of Princes.' But there are other traces of Leicester
House in the nomenclature of the neighbourhood which had grown up about
it. One of the family titles survives in 'Lisle Street'; another in
'Sidney Alley.' Bear Street again recalls the Leicester crest, a
bear and ragged staff, while Green Street (one side of which has been
recently rebuilt), according to Wheatley and Cunningham, derives its
name from the colour of the Leicester Mews, which stood to the south
of the Fields. The central inclosure seems to have been first
systematically laid out--though it had long been railed round--about
1737. Eleven years later arrived from Canons (Lord Burlington's seat at
Edgeware) that famous equestrian statue of George I., which Londoners so
well remember. At the time of its erection it was lavishly gilt, and
was one of the popular sights of the Town. By some it was attributed
to Buchard; by others to Van Nost of Piccadilly, then a fashionable
statuary (in lead) like Cheere of Hyde Park Corner. The horse was
modelled upon that by Hubert Le Sour which carries King Charles I. at
Charing Cross.

Considering its prolonged patronage by royalty, Leicester Fields does
not seem to have been particularly favoured by distinguished residents.
Charles Dibdin, the song-writer, once lived in Leicester Place, where in
1796 (on the east side) he built a little theatre, the Sans Souci; * and
Woollett, of whose velvety engravings Mr. Louis Fagan, not many years
ago, prepared an exhaustive catalogue, had also his habitat in Green
Street (No. 11), from the leads of which he was wont--so runs the
story--to discharge a small cannon when he had successfully put the last
touches to a 'Battle of La Hogue,' or a 'Death of General Wolfe.'

     * Mr. Tom Taylor ('Leicester Square,' 1874, pp. 306 and 456)
     says that Dibdin's Theatre stood nearly on the site of 'The
     Feathers,' Hogarth's house of call in the Fields. But if
     Leicester Place did not exist until 1796, and then occupied
     ground occupied six years before by Leicester House, it is
     difficult to connect Hogarth with any tavern in Leicester
     Place, as Hogarth died in 1764.

Allan Ramsay (in his youth), Barry, and John Opie all once lodged in
Orange Court (now Street); and here--at No. 13--was born, of a shoemaker
sire and a mother who cried oysters, into a life of many changing
fortunes, that strange Thomas Holcroft of the 'Road to Ruin.' In St.
Martin's Street, next door to the Congregational Chapel on the east
side, lived Sir Isaac Newton from 1710 until January 1725, or two years
before his death at Kensington. Few traditions, however, connect the
abstracted philosopher (he was nearing seventy when he came to the
Fields) with the locality, beyond his visits to Princess Caroline at the
great house opposite. *

     * A so-ealled Observatory on the roof, now non-existent, was
     for many years exhibited at Newton's. Recent authorities,
     however, contend that this was the fabrication of a later
     tenant. But it should be noted that Madame D'Arblay, who
     also lived in the house, and wrote novels in the room in
     question, seems to have had no doubts of the kind. She says
     ('Memoirs of Dr. Burney,' 1832, i. 290-1) that her father
     not only reverently repaired the Observatory when he entered
     upon his tenancy of No. 35 [in 1774], but went to the
     expense of practically reconstructing it when it was all but
     destroyed by the hurricane of 1778.

But there was one member of his household, a few years later, who must
certainly have added to the attractions of the ordinary two-storeyed
building where he superintended the revision of the second and third
editions of the 'Prineipia.' This was his kinswoman,--the 'jolie
niece' of Voltaire,--the 'famous witty Miss Barton' of the 'Gentleman's
Magazine.' At this date she was 'Superintendant of his domestick
Affairs' to Charles, Earl of Halifax, who, dying in 1715, left her
£5,000 and a house, 'as a Token'--so runs the bequest--'of the sincere
Love, Affection, and Esteem I have long had for her Person, and as
a small Recompence for the Pleasure and Happiness I have had in her
Conversation.' This, taken in connection with the fact that, since 1706,
she had been in receipt of an annuity of £200 a year, purchased in
her uncle's name, but for which Halifax was trustee, has led to the
conclusion that the relation between the pair was something closer than
friendship, and that, following other contemporary precedents, they
were privately married. * Be this as it may, Catherine Barton is also
interesting as one of the group of gifted women to whom Swift extended
the privilege of that half-patronising, half-playful, and wholly
unconventional intimacy which is at once the attraction and the enigma
of his relations with the other sex.

     * See 'Newton: his Friend: and his Niece,' 1885, by
     Professor Augustus de Morgan, which labours, with much
     digression, but with infinite ingenuity and erudition, to
     establish this satisfactory solution of a problem in which
     the good fame of Newton cannot be regarded as entirely
     unconcerned.

He met her often in London, though not as often as he wished. 'I love
her better than any-one here,' he tells Stella in April, 1711, 'and see
her seldomer.' He dines with her 'alone at her lodgings'; he goes
with her to other houses; and, Tory though he has become, endures her
vivacious Whiggery.

When, at Halifax's death, Catherine Barton, in all probability, returned
to her uncle's house, Swift had already gone back to Ireland, and there
is no reason for supposing that, although he had lodgings 'in Leicester
Fields' in 1711, he ever visited his friend in St. Martin's Street.
In August, 1717, Mrs. Barton married John Conduitt, M.P., Xewton's
successor as Master of the Mint, and when in town continued to reside
with her husband under Newton's roof. And though Halifax was dead, and
Swift in exile, and Prior 'in the messenger's hand,' there can be little
doubt that during her brief widowhood (?) and second wifehood, those
friends who had clustered about the former toast of the Kit Cats must
still have continued to visit her. The chairs of Lady Worsley and Lady
Betty Germaine must often have waited in the narrow entrance to St.
Martin's Street, while the ladies 'disputed Whig and Tory' with Mrs.
Conduitt, or were interrupted in their _tête-à-tête_ by Gay and his
Duchess. After Sir Isaac--a long while after--the most notable tenant of
the old house was Dr. Charles Burney, author of the 'History of Music,'
and of Fanny Burney. Indeed, it was in this very building--with the
unassuming little chapel on its right where 'Rainy Day' Smith had often
heard Toplady preach--that a mere girl in her teens--no, ungallant
Mr. Croker discovered her to have been actually a young woman of
five-and-twenty--wrote that 'Evelina' which, in 1778, took the Town
by storm. There were panelled rooms and a painted ceiling in the
Newton-Burney house of yore, but it could scarcely be here that the
little person whom in her graver moments Mrs. Piozzi nicknamed the 'Lady
Louisa of Leicester Square' danced round an unmetaphoric mulberry tree
with delight at her success in letters, for there are no traces of a
garden. At present, in this quiet backwater of street traffic, where
Burke and Johnson and Franklin and Reynolds all came formerly to visit
their favourite authoress, nothing is discoverable but a dingy tenement
with dusty upper windows, with a ground floor that is used as a day
school, and a front of stucco'd red brick upon which the blue tablet of
the Society of Arts has something of the forlorn effect of an order of
merit upon a shoeblack.

Turning out of St. Martin's Street on the north another tablet
is discernible in the angle of the Fields to the right upon the
comparatively modern red brick _façade_ of another school, known as
Archbishop Tenison's. Here, at one of the many signs of the 'Golden
Head,' lived William Hogarth. * The golden head in his case was rudely
carved by himself out of pieces of cork glued together, and represented
Van Dyck. To this, says Nichols, succeeded a head in plaster; and
this again, when Nichols wrote in 1782, had been replaced by a bust of
Newton. About the interior of the house very little seems to be known,
but, as it was rated to the poor in 1756 at £60, it must have been
fairly roomy. In the later days, when it formed part of the Sablonière
Hotel, before the hotel made way for the existing school, there were
traditions of a studio, probably far less authentic than those of Sir
Isaac's ob* There was even another, in Hogarth's day, in the Fields
itself. 'At the Golden Head.' on the south side (Hogarth's was on the
east), lived Edward Fisher, the mezzotint engraver, to whom we owe so
many brilliant plates after Reynolds.

Not many years after Hogarth first took the house, the square
was laid out (it had long been railed in), and he is said to have been
often seen walking in the inclosure, wrapped in his red roquelaure, with
his hat cocked on one side like Frederick the Great. His stables, when
he set up the fine coach which Charles Catton decorated for him with the
famous Cyprian crest that figures at the bottom of 'The Bathos,' were
in Nag's Head Yard, Orange Street. He had--as we know--a country box at
Chiswick; but he was at home in Leicester Fields. His friends were about
him. Kind old Captain Coram had lodgings somewhere in the neighbourhood;
Pine, the 'Friar Pine' of 'Calais Gate,' lived in St. Martin's Lane;
beyond that, in Covent Garden and its vicinity, were George Lambert the
scene painter, Saunders Welch the magistrate, Richard Wilson, Fielding,
and a host of intimates. It was in Leicester Fields that Hogarth died.
He had been driven there from Chiswick on the 25th October, 1764,
cheerful, but very weak. 'Receiving an agreeable letter from the
_American Dr. Franklin_,' says Nichols, [he] 'drew up a rough draught of
an answer to it; but going to bed, he was seized with a vomiting, upon
which he rung his bell with such violence that he broke it, and expired
about two hours afterwards in the arms of Mrs. Mary Lewis, who was
called up on his being taken suddenly ill. He is buried in Chiswick
churchyard, where some years subsequently a monument was erected to his
memory, with a well-known epitaph by Garrick. After Hogarth's death his
widow continued to keep up the 'Golden Head,' and Mary Lewis sold his
prints there. Richard Livesay, the engraver, was one of Widow Hogarth's
lodgers, and the Scotch painter, Alexander Runciman, was another. If the
house had any further notable occupants, they may be forgotten.

Mrs. Hogarth herself died in 1789. Six years before her death she had a
next-door neighbour in the Fields, who, in his way, was as illustrious
as Hogarth or Reynolds. This was John Hunter, who, in 1783, became the
tenant of No. 28, * and at once began extending it backward towards
Castle Street (now the Charing Cross Road) to receive his famous museum
of Comparative and Pathological Anatomy.

     * At present (1897) being rebuilt by the Alhambra Company as
     part of their premises.

Hogarth had then been dead for nearly twenty years; and it is unlikely
that the painter knew much of the young surgeon who was subsequently to
become so celebrated; but he was probably acquainted with his brother,
William Hunter of Covent Garden, who attended Fielding in 1754. William
Hunter had just died when John Hunter came to Leicester Fields. He
lived there ten years in the height of his activity and fame, and it
was during this period that Reynolds painted that portrait of him in a
reverie (now in the Council Room of the College of Surgeons), which was
engraved by William Sharp. He survived Sir Joshua but one year.

The house of Reynolds was at the opposite side of the Square, at No.
47, now Puttick and Simpson's auction rooms. He occupied it from 1760
to 1792. We are accustomed to think of Hogarth and Reynolds as
contemporaries. But Reynolds was in the pride of his prime when he came
to Leicester Fields, while Hogarth was an old and broken man, whose
greatest work was done. Apart from this, there could never have
been much real sympathy between them. Hogarth, whose own efforts as a
portrait-painter were little appreciated in his life time, must have
chafed at the carriages which blocked up the doorway of his more
fortunate brother; while Reynolds, courtly and amiable as he was,
capable of indulgence even to such a caricaturist as Bunbury, could
find for his illustrious neighbour, when he came to deliver his
famous Fourteenth Discourse, no warmer praise than that of 'successful
attention to the ridicule of life.' These things, alas! are the
commonplaces of literature and art. It is pleasanter to think of No.
47 filled with those well-known figures of whom we read in Boswell and
Madame D'Arblay;--with Burke and Johnson and Goldsmith and Gibbon
and Garrick;--with graceful Angelica, and majestic Siddons, and
azure-stockinged Montagu;--with pretty Nelly O'Brien and charming Fanny
Abington;--with all the crowd of distinguished soldiers, sailors,
lawyers and literati who by turns filled the sitter's chair * in the
octagonal painting-room, or were ushered out and in by the silver-laced
footmen.

     * This, with the carved easel given to him by Gray's friend
     Mason, is preserved at the Royal Academy. His palette is
     said to be in the possession of Messrs. Roberson and Co., of
     99, Long Acre.

Then there were those wonderful disorderly dinners, where the guests
were so good and the feast so indifferent; where there were always wit
and learning, and seldom enough of knives and forks; where it was an
honour to have talked and listened, and no one remembered to have dined.
Last comes that pathetic picture of Sir Joshua, when his sight had
failed him, wandering sadly in the inclosure with his green shade over
his eyes, and peering wistfully and vainly for the lost canary which had
been wont to perch upon his finger.

When Reynolds died, Burke wrote his eulogy in the very house where
his body lay. The manuscript (which still exists) was blotted with its
writer's tears. Those royal periods in which the great orator spoke of
his lost friend are too familiar to quote. But after Sir Joshua, the
interest seems to fade out of the Fields, and one willingly draws one's
pen through the few remaining names that are written in its chronicles.



NOTES:

Note 1, p. 91.--A house called Fordhook. This description is, alas! no
longer accurate; and the spot from which Fielding set out for Lisbon in
June, 1754, is now covered by 'commodious villas.'

Note 2, p. 139.--A writer of comedy with the pencil. This happy
characterization was first used by Arthur Murphy in the Gray's Inn
Journal for 9th February, 1754.

Note 3, p. 141.--The original No. 17 of the 'North Briton.' Since the
above was written, my faith in this relic has been rudely shaken. In
looking over a collection of Hogarthiana, temporarily at the British
Museum, I came upon another copy of the paper also purporting to be the
'identical' No. 17, etc. Which is the real Simon Pure? Mr. Standly's
copy (his Catalogue says at p. 84) was given by Mrs. Hogarth to [Samuel]
Ireland. But this second copy I saw, also emanated from that not wholly
unimpeachable source. Collectors will please sympathise.

Note 4, p. 211.--Bronze statue of King James the Second. This statue,
first placed in Whitehall Gardens on the 31st December, 1686 (Bramston's
Autobiography, 1845, p. 253), was transferred in 1897 to an inclosure at
the side of Gwydyr House. The present writer well remembers its forlorn
departure, prone on a trolly, with one leg stiffly extended. It has
again been moved; and now stands at the back of the Admiralty, where
it will doubtless give rise to fresh traditions as to the site of the
execution of Charles I.

Note d, p. 219.--Ink-bottles... dangling from their button-holes.
Flaxman, when he lived in Poland Street, used, in his capacity of parish
officer, to collect the watch rates. On these occasions he always
wore an ink-bottle at his buttonhole. Johnson also bustled about thus
accoutred at the sale of Thrale's brewery (Birkbeck Hill's Boswell,
1887, iv. 87).

Note G, p. 324.--Hogarth's... gold ticket. This is now in the possession
of Mr. Fairfax Murray, who bought it at the Forman sale. But recent
authorities doubt if the design was Hogarth's own.

Note 7, p. 349.--Her Majesty's 'Yatcht' 'Fubs.' This absurd name,
according to a writer in _Notes and Queries_ for 6th October, 1883,
had been given to Queen Anne's royal yacht by Charles II., in honour of
'Madam Carwell,' who was 'fubsy' or plump.

Note 8, p. 372.--Danced round an unmetaphoric mulberry tree. Miss
Burney's historic performance took place, as a matter of fact, at
Chessington, the Surrey hermitage of her friend and critic, 'Daddy'
Crisp. It was the uncontrollable outcome of her exhilaration at the
praise which, she was informed, Dr. Johnson had bestowed upon her first
novel, Evelina. 'It gave me such a flight of spirits, that I danced a
jig to Mr. Crisp, without any preparation, music, or explanation--to
his no small amazement and diversion (Diary, etc., of Madame D'Arblay,
1904-5, i. 49).


THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Eighteenth Century Vignettes" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home