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unfathomable schemer! O you warrior invincible ! O you beautiful smiling Judas! What master would you not kiss or betray? What traitor's head, blackening on the spikes on yonder gate, ever hatched a tithe of the treason which has worked under your periwig?
We have brought our Georges to London city, and if we would behold its aspect, may see it in Hogarth's lively perspective of Cheapside, or read of it in a hundred contemporary books which paint the manners of that age. Our dear old Spectator looks smiling upon the streets, with their innumerable signs, and describes them with his charming humour. “Our streets are filled with Blue Boars, Black Swans, and Red Lions, not to mention Flying Pigs and Hogs in Armour, with other creatures more extraordinary than any in the deserts of Africa.” A few of these quaint old figures still remain in London town. You may still see there, and over its old hostel in Ludgate Hill, the "Belle Sauvage" to whom the Spectator so pleasantly alludes in that paper ; and who was, probably, no other than the sweet American Pocahontas, who rescued from death the daring Captain Smith. There is the "Lion's Head," down whose jaws the Spectator's own letters were passed; and over a great banker's in Fleet Street, the effigy of the wallet, which the founder of the firm bore when he came into London a country boy. People this street, so ornamented, with crowds of swinging chairmen, with servants bawling to clear the way, with Mr. Dean in his cassock, his lacquey marching before him ; or Mrs. Dinah in her sack, tripping to chapel, her footboy carrying her ladyship's great prayer-book ; with itinerant tradesmen, singing their hundred cries (I remember forty years ago, as boy in London city, a score of cheery, familiar cries that are silent now). Fancy the beaux thronging to the chocolate-houses, tapping their snuff-boxes as they issue thence, their periwigs appearing over the red curtains. Fancy Saccharissa, beckoning and smiling from the upper windows, and a crowd of soldiers brawling and bustling at the door-gentlemen of the Life Guards, clad in scarlet, with blue facings, and laced with gold at the seams ; gentlemen of the Horse Grenadiers, in their caps of sky-blue cloth, with the garter embroidered on the front in gold and silver; men of the Halberdiers, in their long red coats, as bluff Harry left them, with their ruff and velvet flat caps. Perhaps the King's Majesty himself is going to St. James's as we pass. If he is going to Parliament, he is in his coach-and-eight, surrounded by his guards and the high officers of his crown. Otherwise his Majesty only uses a chair, with six footmen walking before, and six yeomen of the guard at the sides of the sedan. The officers in waiting follow the King in coaches. It must be rather slow work.
Our Spectator and Tatler are full of delightful glimpses of the town life of those days. In the company of that charming guide, we may go to the opera, the comedy, the puppet-show, the auction, even the cockpit: we can take boat at Temple Stairs, and accompany Sir Roger de Coverley and Mr. Spectator to Spring Garden—it will be called Vauxhall a few years hence, when Hogarth will paint for it. Would you not like to step back into the past, and be introduced to Mr. Addison ?-not the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq., George I.'s Secretary of State, but to the delightful painter of contemporary manners; the man who, when in good-humour himself, was the pleasantest companion in all England. I should like to go into Lockit's with him, and drink a bowl along with Sir R. Steele (who has just been knighted by King George, and who does not happen to have any money to pay his share of the reckoning). I should not care to follow Mr. Addison to his secretary's office in Whitehall. There we get into politics. Our business is pleasure, and the town, and the coffee-house, and the theatre, and the Mall. Delightful Spectator ! kind friend of leisure hours ! happy companion ! true Christian gentleman! How much greater, better, you are than the King Mr. Secretary kneels to !
You can have foreign testimony about old-world London, if you like; and my before-quoted friend, Charles Louis, Baron de Pöllnitz, will conduct us to it. “A man of sense,” says he, or a fine gentleman, is never at a loss for company in London, and this is the way the latter passes his time. He rises late, puts on a frock, and,
leaving his sword at home, takes his cane, and goes where he pleases. The park is commonly the place where he walks, because 'tis the Exchange for men of quality. 'Tis the same thing as the Tuileries at Paris, only the park has a certain beauty of simplicity which cannot be described. The grand walk is called the Mall; is full of people at every hour of the day, but especially at morning and evening, when their Majesties often walk with the royal family, who are attended only by a half-dozen yeomen of the guard, and permit all persons to walk at the same time with them. The ladies and gentlemen always appear in rich dresses, for the English, who, twenty years ago, did not wear gold lace but in their army, are now embroidered and bedaubed as much as the French. I speak of persons of quality ; for the citizen still contents himself with a suit of fine cloth, a good hat and wig, and fine linen. Everybody is well clothed here, and even the beggars don't make so ragged an appearance as they do elsewhere." After our friend, the man of quality, has had his morning or undress walk in the Mall, he goes home to dress, and then saunters to some coffee-house or chocolate-house frequented by the persons he would see.
“For 'tis a rule with the English to go once a day at least to houses of this sort, where they talk of business and news, read the papers, and often look at one another without opening their lips. And 'tis
very well they are so mute : for were they all as talkative as people of other nations, the coffee-houses would be intolerable, and there would be no hearing what one man said where they are so many. The chocolate-house in St. James's Street, where I go every morning to pass away the time, is always so full that a man can scarce turn about in it."
Delightful as London city was, King George I. liked to be out of it as much as ever he could ; and when there, passed all his time with his Germans. It was with them as with Blucher, 100 years afterwards, when the bold old Reiter looked down from St. Paul's, and sighed out, “Was für Plunder!” The German women plundered ; the German secretaries plundered; the German cooks and intendants plundered; even Mustapha and Mahomet, the German negroes, had
a share of the booty. Take what you can get, was the old monarch's maxim. He was not a lofty monarch, certainly : he was not a patron of the fine arts : but he was not a hypocrite, he was not revengesul, he was not extravagant. Though a despot in Hanover, he was a moderate ruler in England. His aim was to leave it to itself as much as possible, and to live out of it as much as he could. His heart was in Hanover. When taken ill on his last journey, as he was passing through Holland, he thrust his livid head out of the coach-window, and gasped out, “Osnaburg, Osnaburg!” He was more than fifty years of age when he came amongst us: we took him because we wanted him, because he served our turn; we laughed at his uncouth German
ways, and sneered at him. He took our loyalty for what it was worth ; laid hands on what money he could ; kept us assuredly from Popery and wooden shoes. I, for one, would have been on his side in those days. Cynical, and selfish, as he was, he was better than a king out of St. Germains with the French King's orders in his pocket, and a swarm of Jesuits in his train.
The Fates are supposed to interest themselves about royal personages ; and so this one had omens and prophecies specially regarding him. He was said to be much disturbed at a prophecy that he should die very soon after his wife; and sure enough, pallid Death, having seized upon the luckless Princess in her castle of Ahlden, presently pounced upon H. M. King George I., in his travelling chariot, on the Hanover road. What postilion can outride that pale horseman? It is said, George promised one of his lefthanded widows to come to her after death, if leave were granted to him to revisit the glimpses of the moon; and soon after his demise, a great raven actually flying or hopping in at the Duchess of Kendal's window at Twickenham, she chose to imagine the king's spirit inhabited these plumes, and took special care of her sable visitor. Affecting metempsychosis—funereal royal bird! How pathetic is the idea of the Duchess weeping over it! When this chaste addition to our English aristocracy died, all her jewels, her plate, her plunder went over to her relations in Hanover. I wonder whether her heirs took the bird, and whether it is still flapping its wings over Herrenhausen ?
The days are over in England of that strange religion of kingworship, when priests flattered princes in the Temple of God; when servility was held to be ennobling duty; when beauty and youth tried eagerly for royal favour ; and woman's shame was held to be no dishonour. Mended morals and mended manners in courts and people, are among the priceless consequences of the freedom which George I. came to rescue and secure. He kept his compact with his English subjects; and if he escaped no more than other men and monarchs from the vices of his age, at least we may thank him for preserving and transmitting the liberties of ours. In our free air, royal and humble homes have alike been purified; and Truth, the birthright of high and low among us, which quite fearlessly judges our greatest personages, can only speak of them now in words of respect and regard. There are stains in the portrait of the first George, and traits in it which none of us need admire ; but, among the nobler features, are justice, courage, moderation-and these we may recognize ere we turn the picture to the wall.