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carriages, six of whom are said to be worth a plum, and some a good deal more; and if this does not constitute gentility and respectability, I should be glad to know what does. Our square, indeed, has been always reckoned remarkably select, and they who reflect upon the expense of the houses, must be well assured that they can only be tenanted by people of wit, fashion, and elegance. Let us measure purses with those who presume to turn up their noses at us, and I fancy it will be found that we can buy them all out and out.
Surely, Sir, nothing can be more illiberal than these general attacks upon particular localities, a species of loose libel in which no considerate person would indulge. If it were directed against Bedford-row indeed, or Guilford-street, I should not so much object to it, for the former could never be meant for carriage-keeping folks, or they would have made a decent approach to it; and as to Guilford-street, I can speak of my own knowledge to its containing some very low-lived people, for I had great trouble formerly in collecting my rent from a poor barrister (though I was told he was a very clever man,) who was at that time my tenant. I have, however, sold my houses in both these places. In Russell-square I am still owner of two, besides that which I occupy; and Sir Matthew Molasses, the great sugar-baker, who wishes to be as refined as the commodity he sells, has already given me notice that he means to cease being my tenant, as he cannot stand these gibes and jeers so perseveringly directed against the square. Does not this give me a ground of action against our slanderers, who, if they be not checked, will alarmingly deteriorate property in this neighbourhood? Let them come to the square any fine morning in the winter, and when they see the green, crimson, and scarlet velvet pelisses, with ermine muffs and tippets, parading on the inside, and the servants in light blue and orange liveries, with gold shoulder-knots, waiting at the gate, they must be prejudiced indeed if they will not retract their charge of vulgarity against the inhabitants.
You are most earnestly requested, Sir, to protect our interests in parliament, should they be again assailed; and as to any slanders from other quarters, we shall know how to take care of ourselves, for we reckon several lawyers and barristers among the number of the libelled. I am, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
P. S. Should any of your friends be in want of the house which Sir Matthew is about to quit, I can let them have it at twenty pounds a year less than he paid, which is dog-cheap, considering the situation.
Lower Grosvenor-street, 6th April.
MY DEAR THOMPSON, Immediately upon our return from the country we took your advice, and went to see poor Tankerville's magnificent collection of shells, on show at Sowerby's in Regent-street, with which both Kitty and Lady — were much delighted. The latter took a fancy to one of the specimens, but was told the lowest price was thirty-five guineas, at which
I need not tell you, who know her so well, that she declined becoming a purchaser.
We have heard much of the Duchess of Northumberland's jewels preparing at Rundell and Bridge's for the coronation at Rheims, particularly a ten thousand guinea necklace, and as I know you deal with them, pray send me a line certifying that the bearer and party may be indulged with a peep without any danger of their pocketing a sample. Yours ever,
Brighton, 2d April.
Surely, my dear uncle, you are the most eccentric of mortals, unless, as papa insists, you are at the present moment acting the first person singular. When every body was pouring into London, you scampered away incontinently to Hastings; and now, during the Easter holidays, quand c'est de la dernière infamie de se trouver à Londres, you remain in town, to digest the dust of the newly Macadamised roads, blown into your mouth by a sharp east wind, in such quantities as must inevitably destroy your appetite even for a dinner at the Marquis of H's in Piccadilly. By the by, what does the latter say to his new neighbour, for we have it here that the famous Mr. Rothschild has taken the house next to Lord Coventry's, which was said to have been originally built for Lord Deerhurst. The Marquis's immense and unexpected accession of fortune, upwards of half a million, (or rather his expectation of it, for he is for the present kept out of it by a single old lunatic female at Birmingham,) will hardly enable him to compete with this celebrated Croesus of the city, should the parties proceed to open rivalry. All this, however, has nothing to do with your fantastical notion of spending your Easter in town, for which I understand you offer no better plea than that you love to witness the happiness of the lower orders, which said excuse my unceremonious papa (pray acquit your dutiful niece of any participation in the rudeness,) pronounces to be nothing but a little bit of radical sentimentality.
If you will not run down to us upon our account, prythee come upon your own, pour vous désennuyer, for I promise you the amusements of the polite are quite as entertaining, and perhaps a little more polished, than those of the worthy vulgarians who scamper down the hill in Greenwich Park upon Easter Monday. To induce you to come I will tell you who is not here. Not the wealthy widow, whose affair with Lord B is toujours en train, of which the best proof I can tell you is that when he was escorting her lately on some shopping excursion in London, he was heard to scold the coachman for not cleaning the carriage properly, which assuredly smacks of authority: and it is moreover rumoured that all " poor dear Tommy's" old-fashioned plate has been sent to Rundell and Bridge to be modernised and receive the ducal family's crest. Secondly, you will not encounter old General who is always pestering you to make up the trio of "O Lady Fair," and the "Redcross Knight," whereof he learnt to growl the bass about twenty years ago, and has got no further since. And thirdly, you will not be congealed by the cold countenance and rustling flounces of Lady
Bab, with her dress so rigorously "tenu à quatre epingles," as the French say, and looking after all as if she had modelled herself upon one of the coloured prints in La Belle Assemblée or Ackerman's Repository.
Are you not delighted with my negative list? so will you be with my affirmative one; but I will only pour this into your proper ear when you come, for it is too long and precious to be committed to paper. Come then, my dear uncle, sans façon; and without supposing that I shall have had any share in attracting you hither, I will sing you the "Venite per me," (for I have got a capital piano of Moss's,) and play you Bocha's divertimento of the " Pietosa a miei lamenti,” and May's variations to "Di tanti palpiti,” and Rossini's" Aurora che sorgerai," all which I know you like; and we will sing together every thing for which you have a fancy, from the Maltese Mariner's Hymn, "O beata virgine," to Matthews's " Possum up a gum tree." Does not all this tempt you?
Do not write, but bring us word whether it be true that D'Egville and Andrews of Bond-street mean to get up another French theatre next season, in opposition to that in Tottenham-street, and to begin their performances at the Argyle Rooms. Inspect also the northern wall of the Opera-house with your own eyes, that you may give us a faithful report of its condition.
Be pleased to consider this an official letter, as I have it in command from the Earl and Countess to invite you down. If you do not hold yourself amenable to authority, do prythee, my dear uncle, yield to the entreaty of one who loves you, and come down to oblige
Your affectionate niece,
P. S. Country nieces are as importunate as country cousins, so I have one more commission for you, videlicit, to learn whether Beethoven and Von Weber are actually coming over, and when.
Oxford Market, 1st April, 1825. As I have had the honour of serving you with poultry for three years, and never had no complaints, except a turkey and two or three fowls as wasn't sweet, owing to the uncommon muggy weather last season, I think I'm a rights to ask you to stand my friend in Parliament in opposing this here new Poultry Association. Hang me if I didn't think it was a hoax when Jos. Davis, the cheesemonger told me of it this morning, for it's the first of April you know, and Jos. is an uncommon droll hand. However he showed me a quiz against the new company in the newspapers, saying they supposed the present situation of Turkey had occasioned it to be got up, and recommending the Directors to get their lame ducks from the Foreign Stock Exchange, where they are to be had cheap, and to beware of long bills, although they might deal in woodcocks; so you see, Sir, Jos. Davis wasn't making game of me, though I know he's a wag, and loves a merry thought.
'Od rabbit the people, what would they have? One would think we
sold nothing but guinea-fowls, and pluck'd our customers as close as we do our chickens, but the whole thing is a fowl attack upon our reputations. Poultry can't be no cheaper nohow. You must recollect, Sir, that since giblet soup has gone out of fashion, we can't get rid of our insides as we used to do. I'm obliged sometimes to hawk my liver and lights about till they wont keep no longer, and sell 'em for cats' meat after all, which of course goes against one's gizzard. Then feathers is uncommon heavy, and gets cheaper every day; and in the summer time things gets soon blown and spoilt, so that we're obliged to throw away what we can't sell half-price to the taverns and sausage makers. I suppose the hot weather 's called dog days, because them animals comes in for such a lot of tainted meat and poultry and other good things at that time. If people wants crammed fowls they must pay for 'em, for we can't get nothing for nothing now-a-days, and bran and pollard was riz again last week, and besides, it's the farmers and breeders in the country runs away with all the profit, not the London poulterers.
I hope, Sir, you won't take any shares in the new Company, for you may depend upon it, if they go to undersell us, they will all be dish'd and cut up. We are not going to be pigeon'd and henpeck'd without a struggle; and for my own part, I am determined to stand by the regular trade to the last chicken in my shop, and go within a hare's breadth of ruin, rather than be browbeaten an bamboozled by this new Company.
If once they can get their bill in, they will soon try to make head against us; but I hope, Sir, you will skewer us against their designs, and enable us to come off with a claw, which will be a great feather in your cap, and I'm sure all the regular trade will ever after be most happy to serve you. I am respectfully, Sir,
Your humble servant to command,
P. S. My wife's father, Mr. Steele, the butcher, has three votes, besides interest, for your borough in Sussex, and the new Parliament's a coming on uncommon sharp.
P. S. Beg to inclose my little account to Lady Day, which shall be happy to receive when convenient, as money runs uncommon short just now.
Park, 8th April, 1825.
MY DEAR THOMPSON, In spite of the sun-shine, with its Judas-like smiles, I know too well the treacherous character of an east wind to venture up to London, when Wigmore-street is o'ercanopied with all the smoky abominations, wafted from Redriffe and Wapping. Thank Heaven, we have every year less of these odious breezes, and more of the west and south-west; so at least I am informed by our vicar, who for forty years past has sent an atmospherical register to that compendium of other equally interesting facts, the Gentleman's Magazine. The present, to be sure, is an unmerciful spell, intended, I suppose, as a set-off against the four months of south-westers which blustered over our heads at the close of last year. As a commercial country we are perhaps en
titled to these trade winds, for such they may fairly be called; but the breezes will do well to reflect, that if they begin to give themselves airs, (I deprecate a pun,) we shall cut them altogether, and betake ourselves wholly to steam navigation. I shall certainly not go up till the second reading of the Catholic Bill, when I have promised Burdett my vote, and I am happy to learn from you that the popular oppo sition to the measure is confined to a few stray chalkings of "No Popery," and "Spirit of Luther, arise !" which are to be seen upon the walls by the side of "Hunt's Matchless." Ignorance and intolerance have lost a good portion of the hold they possess'd upon the public mind in 1780, when some anti-papal inscription was necessary for the protection of every house, and old Delphini the clown, willing to conciliate all parties, made the ludicrous mistake of chalking-"No religion" upon his door.
I am nothing surprised at what you write about the Duke's brother and the quondam actress, for we have not had a Countess from the stage for these four or five years. and the occurrence is overdue. Besides this affair of the wealthy widow, there are the nuptial negotiations between Lord W. L and Miss P-, Lord H— and Miss L, and another to which you allude as a matter of notoriety in London, though it has not yet penetrated the innocent bowers of Park. As to the capricious foolery of the pea-green gentleman and the Foote, one advancing and the other receding, like the man and woman of a weather-glass, I am really sick of the subject, and shall be glad when the next six months are over, by which time he will probably have spent all his money, and have sunk into that obscurity from which nothing but his booby extravagance and this ridiculous amour have raised him.
And now, my dear Thompson, ad rem—to business, for I always keep the most important part of my letters to the last. Know then that I have received a missive from "La belle Harriette," of the Rue St. Honoré at Paris, recommending me to buy out, as she intends to honour me with a niche in one of the forthcoming numbers of her memoirs; which epistle I forthwith inclosed in a blank cover and returned to its rascally writer. Had not Ellice very wisely sent his to the newspapers, I should have adopted that course, as the best method of exposing a new and most villainous mode of extorting money. All my knowledge of this wench is confined to my having once dined in her company, a circumstance of which I am now sincerely ashamed, and should hesitate to mention it to any one but yourself. I am not a saint, nor a rigorist of any sort, as you well know, but I do take credit to myself for having refused, upon principle, to purchase or even to read any portion of this creature's detestable and malignant ribaldry. To suppress such infamous pandering to the vitiated taste of the vulgar, you must destroy its market. There are people who exclaim-"[ detest the principle, but one cannot resist seeing one's friends quizz'd.” Surely this is as odious as it is false and contemptible. They do not detest the principle, or they would not encourage it by purchasing. Acquit me of a Charles Surface-ism when I declare that in my opinion "the man who" confesses such a worse than womanish curiosity, such a base hankering after tittle-tattle and scandal uttered by the vilest beings in existence, against those whom he professes to respect, would