« AnteriorContinuar »
ried.reThey told her he was only fifty-four. seks Fifty-four”, said she, “my husband is but two and forty, and I think him the oldest man in the world,',14 > os 10)[94211 PM, 41; 10 43-4) y
A very capital story is told in another letter by Walpole of him self. The play-goers being tired of pantomimics, clamoured greatly every night against them. Fleetwood, the Drury-Lane' manager, was determined to go on with these performances, and one night, when Walpole was in the boxes, there came into the pit a number of beargarden bruisers to knock down every body that hissed. The people in the pit drove the ruffians out, and presently the curtain rose, dis! covering the stage crowded with the villains, who were armed with bludgeons. Walpole acknowledges that he flew into a passion, and when one of the actors came forward and began his address Fleetwood”-he (Walpole) called out " is an impudent fellow which produced thunders of applause. “What was still better," he continues, " while my shadow of a person was dilating to the consistence of a hero, one of the chief ring-leaders of the riot coming under the box where I sat, and pulling off his hat, said, "Mr. Walpole, what would you please ito have us do next?' It is impossible to des scribe to you the confusion into which this apostrophe threw me. I sank down into the box, and have never since ventured to set my foot into the play-house.". 1 The following night, the uproar was repeated, with considerable additions, and nothing was heard throughout the theatre, but cries of, "Where is Mr. Walpole?" The affair entertained the town for some time.
Amongst the fashions of the period, to which we advert, Walpole mentions the making of conundrums; and after characterising them as a species of silly composition, presents us with the most renowned one with which he happened to be acquainted “Why is my uncle Horace like two people conversing? Because he was both teller and duditor."! Interspersed with some notices of the foreign campaigns in which England was now engaged, we have now and then some curious anecdote illustrative of character and manners. He tells a good story of the Earl of Bath, of that day. The earl owed a tradesman eight hundred pounds, and would never pay him: the mån determined to persecute him till he did; and one morning followed him to Lord Winchiilsea's, and sent up word that he wanted to speak with him. Lord Bath came down, and said, “Fellow, what do you want with me?"-"My money,” said the man, as loud as ever he could bawl, before all the servants. He bade him come i the next morning and then would not see him. The next Sunday the man followed him to church, and got into the next pew: lie leaned over, and said, “My money; give me my money.” My lord went to the end of the pew; the man too; “Give me my money." The sermon was on Avarice, and the text, “Cursed are they that heap up riches.” The man groaned ont “ O Lord!” pointed to my Lord Bath-in short, he persisted so much, and"
drew the eyes of all the congregation, that my Lord Bath went baty and paid him directly, id) I bas ytrot brs ont tud ei brisdeud ya
An Old Bailey case of the same period is still better, and betrays a state of mental corruption, liwhich in the present time we lean scarcely expect to rival. A maid-servänt was tried in the court just mentioned for coining. The prosecutor, her mistress, deposed, that having been left a widow several years ago, with four children, and no possibility of maintaining them, she had taken to coining? that she used to buy old pewter pots, out of each of which she made as many shillings, &c. as she could put off for three pounds; and that by this practice she had bred up her children, bound them out apprentices, and set herself up in a little shop, by which she got a comfortable livelihood; that she had now given over coining, and indicted
her maid as accomplice. The maid in her defence said, that when her mistress hired her, she told her, that she did someu thing up in a garret, into which she must never inquire; that all she knew of the matter was, that her mistress had often given her moulds to clean, which she did, as it was her duty; that indeed she had sometimes seen pieces of pewter-pots i cut, and did suspect her mistress of coining; but that she never had had or put off one single piece of bad money.” The judge asked the mistress if this was true; she answered, -- Yes; and that she believed her maidi wast as honest a creature as ever lived; but that, knowing herself in her power, she never could be at peace; that she knew, by informing, she should secure herself; and not doubting but the maid's veal in nocence would appear, she concluded the poor girl would cone to no harm.” The judge flew into the greatest rage, told her/he wished he could stretch the law to hang her; and feared her could not bring off the maid for having concealed the crime, but, however, the jury did bring her in--not guilty. ; ; , , . (15:14:06 stastne iliw rin
We now arrive at one of the most interesting epistles in the wholel of the volumes; it bears the date of the 1st of August, 1746, and was written immediately after the author had left Westminster hall, having witnessed the trial of the rebel Scotch lords. The whole, he informs us, was conducted with great solemnity, with, however, some exceptions; for, when the lords went out to consult, the pri-. soners were left at the bar, amidst the idle curiosity of the crowdza and even with the witnesses who had appeared against them: None of the royal family were present. The chancellor, the Earl of Hardwicke, acted as lord high steward; but though a most comely personage, with a fine voice, his behaviour was meanzo curiouslys searching for occasion to bow to the minister that is no peer, and consequently applying to the other ministers, in a manner, for their orders; and not even ready at the ceremonial. To the prisoners he was peevish; and instead of keeping up to the humane dignity lofl the law of England, whose character it is to point out favour to them criminal, he crossed them, and almost scolded at any offer they 1 made towards defence,
ot botni? ara
The first appearance of the prisoners shocked the authot, sand their behaviour melted him. The following is Walpoles descriph tion of the prisoners. i odwaldoa bisielle sedi to 19" Raid
**Lord Kilmarnock and Lord Cromartie are both past forty, but look younger. Lord Kilmarnock is tall and slender, with an extreme fine person : his behaviour a most just mixture between dignity and submiss sion; if in anything to be reprehended, a little affected, and his hair top exactly dressed for a man in his situation; but when I say this, it is not to find fault with him, but to show how little fault there was to be found. Lord Cromartie is an indifferent figure, appeared much dejected, and rather sullen : he dropped a few tears the first day, and swooned as soon as he got back to his cell. For Lord Balmerino, he is the most natural brave old fellow I ever saw: the highest intrepidity, even to indifference. At the bar he behaved like a soldier and a man ; in the intervals of form, with carelessness and humour. He pressed extremely to bave his wife, his pretty Peggy, with him in the Tower. Lady Cromartie only sees her husband through the grate, not choosing to be shut up with him, as she can
big with child and very handsome; so are their daughters. When they were to be brought from the Tower in separate coaches, there was some dispute in which the axe must go-old Balmerino cried, 'Come, come, put it with me.SAt the bar, he plays with his fingers upon the axe, while he talks to the gentleman-gaoler; and one day somebody coming up to listen, he took the blade and held it like a fan between their faces. During the trial, a little boy was near him, but not tall enough to see; he made room for the child and placed him near himself?-Vol. ii. p. 229. ' gn11391725 1 2781 am It is observed by Walpole, that Serjeant Skinner, who stated the case for the Crown, made the most absurd speech imaginable pand when the chief witnesses had been examined, the old herd shook each cordially by the hand. Another very extravagant piece of conduct was that of the Solicitor-General Murray, who, when the Lords retired to their own chamber to consult, thought proper in the most insolent manner to go up to Lord Balmerino, and him asked how he could have given the House of Lords so much trouble, when his solicoitrhad informed him that his plea must fail. The noble defendant inquired of the bye-standers who this insolent person was, and being informed as to his name and station, said " Oh Murray! I am extremely glad to see you; I have been with several of your relations; the good lady your mother was of great use to us at Perth. They call me Jacobite, continued the Earl, I am no more a Jacobite than any
that tried me; but if the Great Mogul had set up his standard, I should have followed it, for I could not starve.” The truth was, that Kilmarnock, though possessed of no less than four earldoms, was destitute of even the means of subsistence, and at the time when he espoused the cause of the Pretender, he had been but just deprived of the pension given him by Sir Robert Walpole, and in that of the only resource he had in the world. The result of these famous (trials, it would be superfluous to state. Walpole gives an account of the execution, but he confesses that he did not see it, so roma
At the trial of Lord Lovat, in the next year, which lasted six days, Walpole was a constant attendant. He gives a most horsitt ble character of that ill-fated nobleman, who, he says, was a mixture of tyranny and pride with yillainy. In his own domain, continues the author, Lovat governed despotically, either burning or plundering the lands and houses of his open enemies, or taking off his secret ones by the assistance of his cook, who was his poisoner in chief. He had two servants, who married without his consent: he said,04 You shall have enough of each other," and stowed them ia dungeon, that had been a well, for three weeks. When he came to the Tower, he told them, that if he were not so old and infirm, they would find it difficult to keep him there. They told him they had kept much younger : “Yes,” said he, but they were inexperienced ; they had not broke so many gaols as I have." At his own house he used to say, that for thirty years of his life he never saw a gallows but it made his neck ache. 11:37 210
During the latter days of his trial Lovat added to villainy and pid hopocrisy a shocking buffoonery; and when asked if he had any thing to say to one of the witnesses who were examined agains him, he replied --"No, but that he was his humble servant, and wished him joy of his young
wife.” Lovat submitted his head to the hatchet without passion, affectation, buffoonery, or tímidity; and died, professing himself a Jansenist. od Several letters follow, containing some very interesting particulars respecting the proud Duke of Somerset, a description of a grand masquerade at Ranelagh, and a curious series of criticisms on one of Lord Bolingbroke's works.
Of the methodists, who had just then started into being, he says, that the visible part seems to me to be nothing but stricter practice than that of our church, clothed in the old exploded cant of mystical devotion. For example, you take a metaphor; we will say, our passions are weeds; you immediately drop every description of the passions, and adopt everything peculiar to weeds; in five minutes a true methodist will talk with the greatest compunction of hoeing—this catehes women of fashion and shopkeepers. 1 Walpole, throughout these letters, never fails to notice the death of any nobleman or other persons distinguished by their rank or talents. He is a bold asserter of the truth, and seems always determined to consult its dictates. In general, these biographical sketches are particularly severe, perhaps unjust, which may be one reason why the author made arrangements for deferring their publication to a period when they could do no harm. He notices, that after the wars of George II. the disbanded sailors and soldiers turned to the high road, and for some time accounts of robberies formed almost the only materials of public news. 210 In 1750 some shocks of an earthquake were felt in London, and 3 the consternation which they universally inspired, particularly amongst the women, is admirably ridiculed by Walpole; he in
forms us, that a parson, who came into White's the morning of earthquake the first, and heard bets laid on whether it was an earthquake or the blowing up of powder-mills, went away exceedingly scandalized, and said, "I protest, they are such an impious set of people, that I believe if the last trumpet was to sound, they would bet puppet-show against Judgment."
The frantic terror of another earthquake produced such an impression, that in three days not less than seven hundred and thirty coaches were counted passing Hyde Park Corner, with whole parties removing into the country. Several women, he declares, made earthquake gowns, for sitting without of doors all night. Several noble families yielded to the fright, and went out of town.
Towards the conclusion of this work, that is, during the greater part of the third volume, the letters of Walpole are chiefly devoted to the political state of this country; and, as it was his wish to communicate the proceedings of the ministry and parliament in detail to his friend, we find that a great deal of this volume must be passed over in silence. The well-known case of Admiral Byng, we must, however, state, is the subject of several letters; and it is highly creditable to the sound sense and feelings of justice of Walpole, that he denounced at the time the condemnation of Byng, declaring that it was the result at once of the persecution of his enemies and the rage of a blinded nation. A full explanation will also be found in these letters, of the settlements of the various ministries, and the accompanying intrigues throughout the whole of the agitated period between 1750 and 1760. Amongst the miscellaneous subjects treated of in this volume is the execution of Lord Ferrers; on whose career Walpole makes some very curious remarks. Two other anecdotes under the
e same head may be added, particularly as they are stated by the author to have made “ most noise" at the period when they occurred. The first of the stories relates to a Miss Gunning, one of two very celebrated sisters in fashionable society. Duke Hamilton made love to her, at an immense assemblage at the house of Lord Chesterfield, and two evenings afterwards, being left alone with her, while her mother and sister were away, he found himself so impatient, that he sent for a parson. The Doctor refused to perform the ceremonyi without licence or ring; the Duke swore he would send for the Archbishop; at last they were married with a ring of the bed-curst tain, at half an hour after twelve at night, at Mayfair chapel, The Scotch are enraged; the women mad that so much beauty has had its effect; and, what is most silly, my Lord Coventry declares that now he will marry the other.
The other of the stories told by Walpole is connected with hisi own celebrated seat, Strawberry Hill, where there were great ci-i yil wars at the time when he wrote. It appeared that the Prin cess Emily having obtained the rangership of Richmond Parks rendered herself very unpopular, hy refusing those tickets, liberto.