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F. had sent us. He kept the oil shop (now which I could ever call my own---situate near Davies's) at the corner of Featherstone- the road-way village of pleasant Puckeridge, buildings, in Holborn. F. was a tall grave in Hertfordshire. When I journeyed down person, lofty in speech, and had pretensions to take possession, and planted foot on my own above his rank. He associated in those days ground, the stately habits of the donor dewith John Palmer, the comedian, whose gait scended upon me, and I strode (shall I confess and bearing he seemed to copy; if John the vanity ?) with larger paces over my allot(which is quite as likely) did not rather borrow ment of three quarters of an acre, with its somewhat of his manner from my godfather. commodious mansion in the midst, with the He was also known to, and visited by, Sheridan. feeling of an English freeholder that all It was to his house in Holborn that young betwixt sky and centre was my own.
The Brinsley brought his first wife on her elope- estate has passed into more prudent hands, and ment with him from a boarding-school at Bath, nothing but an agrarian can restore it. the beautiful Maria Linley. My parents were In those days were pit orders. Beshrew the present (over a quadrille table) when he arrived uncomfortable manager who abolished them! in the evening with his harmonious charge. -with one of these we went. I remember the From either of these connexions it may be in- waiting at the door-not that which is leftferred that my godfather could command an but between that and an inner door in shelter order for the then Drury-lane theatre at -0 when shall I be such an expectant again! pleasure—and, indeed, a pretty liberal issue of —with the cry of ponpareils, an indispensable those cheap billets, in Brinsley's easy auto-play-house accompaniment in those days. As graph, I have heard him say was the sole remu- near as I can recollect, the fashionable proneration which he had received for many nunciation of the theatrical fruiteresses then years' nightly illumination of the orchestra and
was, “Chase some oranges, chase some numvarious avenues of that theatre-and he was parels, chase a bill of the play;"—chase pro content it should be so. The honour of chuse. But when we got in, and I beheld the Sheridan's familiarity-or supposed familiarity green curtain that veiled a heaven to my ima-was better to my godfather than money. gination, which was soon to be disclosed—the
F. was the most gentlemanly of oilmen ; breathless anticipations I endured ! I had seen grandiloquent, yet courteous. His delivery of something like it in the plate prefixed to the commonest matters of fact was Ciceronian. Troilus and Cressida, in Rowe's ShakspeareHe had two Latin words almost constantiy in the tent scene with Diomede—and a sight of his mouth (how odd sounds Latin from an oil- that plate can always bring back in a measure man's lips !), which my better knowledge since the feeling of that evening. The boxes at that has enabled me to correct. In strict pronun- time, full of well-dressed women of quality, ciation they should have been sounded vice projected over the pit : and the pilasters versâ—but in those young years they impressed reaching down were adorned with a glistering me with more awe than they would now do, substance (I know not what) under glass (as read aright from Seneca or Varro—in his own it seemed), resembling-a homely fancy-but peculiar pronunciation, monosyllabically elabo- I judged it to be sugar-candy-yet, to my raised rated, or Anglicized, into something like verse imagination, divested of its homelier qualities, verse. By an imposing manner, and the help it appeared a glorified candy !—The'orchestra of these distorted syllables, he climbed (but lights at length arose, those "fair Auroras !" that was little) to the highest parochial honours Once the bell sounded. It was to ring out which St. Andrew's has to bestow.
yet once again—and, incapable of the anticiHe is dead-and thus much I thought due to pation, I reposed my shut eyes in a sort of his memory, both for my first orders (little resignation upon the maternal lap. It rang wondrous talismans !-slight keys, and insig- the second time. The curtain drew up I was nificant to outward sight, but opening to me not past six years old and the play was more than Arabian paradises !) and moreover Artaxerxes ! that by his testamentary beneficence I came I had dabbled a little in the Universal History into possession of the only landed property / -the ancient part of it—and here was the court of Persia.—It was being admitted to a and grin, in stone around the inside of the old sight of the past. I took no proper interest in Round Church (my church) of the Templars. the action going on, for I understood not its I saw these plays in the season 1781-2, when import—but I heard the word Darius, and I I was from six to seven years old. After the was in the midst of Daniel. All feeling was intervention of six or seven other years (for at absorbed in vision. Gorgeous vests, gardens, school all play-going was inhibited) I again palaces, princesses, passed before me. I knew entered the doors of a theatre. That old not players. I was in Persepolis for the time, Artaxerxes evening had never done ringing in and the burning idol of their devotion almost my fancy. I expected the same feelings to converted me into a worshipper. I was awe- come again with the same occasion. But we struck, and believed those significations to be differ from ourselves less at sixty and sixteen, something more than elemental fires. It was than the latter does from six. In that interval all enchantment and a dream. No such what had I not lost! At the first period I knew pleasure has since visited me but in dreams.-- nothing, understood nothing, discriminated Harlequin's invasion followed ; where, I re- nothing. I felt all, loved all, wondered allmember, the transformation of the magistrates
Was nourished, I could not tell howinto reverend beldams seemed to me a piece of | I had left the temple a devotee, and was regrave historic justice, and the tailor carrying turned a rationalist. The same things were his own head to be as sober a verity as the , there materially; but the emblem, the reference, legend of St. Denys.
was gone !—The green curtain was no longer The next play to which I was taken was the a veil, drawn between two worlds, the unfolding Lady of the Manor, of which, with the excep- of which was to bring back past ages to present tion of some scenery, very faint traces are left a “royal ghost,”—but a certain quantity of in my memory. It was followed by a panto- green baize, which was to separate the audience mime, called Lun's Ghost-a satiric touch, I | for a given time from certain of their fellowapprehend, upon Rich, not long since dead
men who were to come forward and pretend but to my apprehension (too sincere for satire), those parts. The lights—the orchestra lights Lun was as remote a piece of antiquity as Lud -came up a clumsy machinery. The first ring, -the father of a line of Harlequins—transmit- and the second ring, was now but a trick of ting his dagger of lath (the wooden sceptre) the prompter's bell—which had been, like the through countless ages. I saw the primeval note of the cuckoo, a phantom of a voice, no Motley come from his silent tomb in a ghastly hand seen or guessed at which ministered to its vest of white patch-work, like the apparition warning. The actors were men and women of a dead rainbow. So Harlequins (thought I) painted. I thought the fault was in them ; look when they are dead.
but it was in myself, and the alteration which My third play followed in quick succession.
those many centuries,-of six short twelveIt was the Way of the World. I think I must months—had wrought in me.-Perhaps it was have sat at it as grave as a judge ; for, I re- fortunate for me that the play of the evening member, the hysteric affectations of good Lady was but an indifferent comedy, as it gave me Wishfort affected me like some solemn tragic | time to crop some unreasonable expectapassion. Robinson Crusoe followed ; in which tions, which might have interfered with the Crusoe, man Friday, and the parrot, were as genuine emotions with which I was soon after good and authentic as in the story.— The enabled to enter upon the first appearance to clownery and pantaloonery of these panto- me of Mrs. Siddons in Isabella. Comparison mimes have clean passed out of my head. I and retrospection soon yielded to the present believe, I no more laughed at them, than at the attraction of the scene; and the theatre same age I should have been disposed to laugh became to me, upon a new stock, the most at the grotesque Gothic heads (seeming to me delightful of recreations. then replete with devout meaning) that gape,
In comparing modern with ancient manners, shall confess you have not seen a politer-bred we are pleased to compliment ourselves upon man in Lothbury. the point of gallantry ; a certain obsequious- Lastly, I shall begin to believe that there is ness, or deferential respect, which we are some such principle influencing our conduct, supposed to pay to females, as females. when more than one-half of the drudgery and
I shall believe that this principle actuates coarse servitude of the world shall cease to be our conduct, when I can forget, that in the performed by women. nineteenth century of the era from which we Until that day comes, I shall never believe date our civility, we are but just beginning to this boasted point to be anything more than a leave off the very frequent practice of whip-conventional fiction ; a pageant got up beping females in public, in common with the
tween the sexes, in a certain rank, and at a coarsest male offenders.
certain time of life, in which both find their I shall believe it to be influential, when I account equally. can shut my eyes to the fact, that in England I shall be even disposed to rank it among women are still occasionally—hanged.
the salutary fictions of life, when in polite I shall believe in it, when actresses are no circles I shall see the same attentions paid longer subject to be hissed off a stage by to age as to youth, to homely features as to gentlemen.
handsome, to coarse complexions as to clear I shall believe in it, when Dorimant hands —to the woman, as she is a woman, not as she a fish-wife across the kennel ; or assists the
is a beauty, a fortune, or a title. apple-woman to pick up her wandering fruit, I shall believe it to be something more than which some unlucky dray has just dissipated, a name, when a well-dressed gentleman in a
I shall believe in it, when the Dorimants in well-dressed company can advert to the topic humbler life, who would be thought in their of female old age without exciting, and intending way notable adepts in this refinement, shall to excite, a sneer :—when the phrases “ antiact upon it in places where they are not quated virginity,” and such a one has “ known, or think themselves not observed stood her market," pronounced in good comwhen I shall see the traveller for some rich pany, shall raise immediate offence in man, or tradesman part with his admired box-coat, to woman, that shall hear them spoken. spread it over the defenceless shoulders of
Joseph Paice, of Bread-street-hill, merchant, the poor woman, who is passing to her parish and one of the Directors of the South-Sea on the roof of the same stage-coach with him, company - the same to whom Edwards, the drenched in the rain—when I shall no longer Shakspeare commentator, has addressed a fine see a woman standing up in the pit of a sonnet- - was the only pattern of consistent London theatre, till she is sick and faint with gallantry I have met with. He took me under the exertion, with men about her, seated at his shelter at an early age, and bestowed some their ease, and jeering at her distress ; till pains upon me. I owe to his precepts and one, that seems to have more manners or con- example whatever there is of the man of science than the rest, significantly declares business (and that is not much) in my com“ she should be welcome to his seat, if she were position. It was not his fault that I did not a little younger and handsomer.” Place this profit more. Though bred a Presbyterian, dapper warehouseman, or that rider, in a circle and brought up a merchant, he was the finest of their own female acquaintance, and you gentleman of his time. He had not one system
of attention to females in the drawing-room, her situation had a right to expect all sort of and another in the shop, or at the stall. I do civil things said to her ; that she hoped she not mean that he made no distinction. But could digest a dose of adulation, short of he never lost sight of sex, or overlooked it in insincerity, with as little injury to her humility the casualties of a disadvantageous situation. most young women : but that
- a little I have seen him stand bareheaded-smile if before he had commenced his compliments you please—to a poor servant girl, while she she had overheard him by accident, in rather has been inquiring of him the way to some rough language, rating a young woman, who street-in such a posture of unforced civility, had not brought home his cravats quite to the as neither to embarrass her in the acceptance, appointed time, and she thought to herself, nor himself in the offer, of it. He was no “ As I am Miss Susan Winstanley, and a young dangler, in the common acceptation of the lady--a reputed beauty, and known to be a word, after women : but he reverenced and fortune,–I can have my choice of the finest upheld, in every form in which it came before speeches from the mouth of this very fine him, womanhood. I have seen him-nay, smile gentleman who is courting me—but if I had not — tenderly escorting a market-woman, been poor Mary Such-a-one (naming the milwhom he had encountered in a shower, exalt- liner ),-and had failed of bringing home the ing his umbrella over her poor basket of fruit, cravats to the appointed hour— though perthat it might receive no damage, with as haps I had sat up half the night to forward much carefulness as if she had been a Countess. them—what sort of compliments should I have To the reverend form of Female Eld he would received then ?--And my woman's pride came yield the wall (though it were to an ancient to my assistance ; and I thought, that if it beggar-woman) with more ceremony than we were only to do me honour, a female, like can afford to show our grandams. He was myself, might have received handsomer usage : the Preux Chevalier of Age ; the Sir Calidore, and I was determined not to accept any fine or Sir Tristan, to those who have no Calidores speeches, to the compromise of that sex, the or Tristans to defend them. The roses, that belonging to which was after all my strongest had long faded thence, still bloomed for him claim and title to them." in those withered and yellow cheeks.
I think the lady discovered both generosity, He was never married, but in his youth he and a just way of thinking, in this rebuke paid his addresses to the beautiful Susan which she gave her lover; and I have someWinstanley — old Winstanley's daughter of times imagined, that the uncommon strain of Clapton—who dying in the early days of their courtesy, which through life regulated the courtship, confirmed in him the resolution of actions and behaviour of my friend towards perpetual bachelorship. It was during their all of womankind indiscriminately, owed its short courtship, he told me, that he had been happy origin to this seasonable lesson from the one day treating his mistress with a profusion lips of his lamented mistress. of civil speeches—the common gallantries—to I wish the whole female world would enterwhich kind of thing she had hitherto mani- tain the same notion of these things that Miss fested no repugnance— but in this instance Winstanley showed. Then we should see with no effect. He could not obtain from her something of the spirit of consistent gallantry; a decent acknowledgment in return. She and no longer witness the anomaly of the rather seemed to resent his compliments. He same man-a pattern of true politeness to a could not set it down to caprice, for the lady wife-of cold contempt, or rudeness, to a sister had always shown herself above that littleness. -the idolater of his female mistress--the disWhen he ventured on the following day, parager and despiser of his no less female finding her a little better humoured, to expos- aunt, or unfortunate — still female — maiden tulate with her on her coldness of yesterday, cousin. Just so much respect as a woman she confessed, with her usual frankness, that derogates from her own sex, in whatever conshe had no sort of dislike to his attentions ; dition placed—her handmaid, or dependantthat she could even endure some high-flown she deserves to have diminished from herself compliments ; that a young woman placed in on that score ; and probably will feel the
diminution, when youth, and beauty, and female character as upon a foundation; and advantages, not inseparable from sex, shall | let the attentions, incident to individual prelose of their attraction. What a woman should | ference, be so many pretty additaments and demand of a man in courtship, or after it, is ornaments—as many, and as fanciful, as you first-respect for her as she is a woman ;-and please—to that main structure. Let her first next to that—to be respected by him above all lesson be with sweet Susan Winstanley—to other women. But let her stand upon her reverence her sex.
THE OLD BENCHERS OF THE INNER TEMPLE.
I was born, and passed the first seven years , urchins, my contemporaries, who, not being of my life, in the Temple. Its church, its halls, able to guess at its recondite machinery, were its gardens, its fountain, its river, I had almost almost tempted to hail the wondrous work as said—for in those young years, what was this magic! What an antique air had the now king of rivers to me but a stream that watered almost effaced sun-dials, with their moral our pleasant places ?—these are of my oldest inscriptions, seeming coevals with that Time recollections. I repeat, to this day, no verses which they measured, and to take their reve. to myself more frequently, or with kindlier lations of its flight immediately from heaven, emotion, than those of Spenser, where he holding correspondence with the fountain of speaks of this spot.
light! How would the dark line steal imperThere when they came, whereas those bricky towers,
ceptibly on, watched by the eye of childhood, The which on Themmes brode aged back doth ride, eager to detect its movement, never catched, Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers, nice as an evanescent cloud, or the first arrests There whylome wont the Templer knights to bide,
of sleep! Till they decayed through pride.
Ah! yet doth beauty like a dial-hand Indeed, it is the most elegant spot in the me- Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived ! tropolis. What a transition for a countryman What a dead thing is a clock, with its ponvisiting London for the first time—the passing derous embowelments of lead and brass, its from the crowded Strand or Fleet-street, by pert or solemn dulness of communication, unexpected avenues, into its magnificent ample compared with the simple altar-like structure, squares, its classic green recesses ! What a
and silent heart-language of the old dial! It cheerful, liberal look hath that portion of it, stood as the garden god of Christian gardens. which, from three sides, overlooks the greater Why is it almost everywhere vanished? If garden ; that goodly pile
its business-use be superseded by more Of building strong, albeit of Paper high to
elaborate inventions, its moral uses, its confronting with massy contrast, the lighter, beauty, might have pleaded for its conolder, more fantastically shrouded one, named tinuance. It spoke of moderate labours, of of Harcourt, with the cheerful Crown-office pleasures not protracted after sun-set, of temRow (place of my kindly engendure), right perance, and good hours. It was the primitive opposite the stately stream, which washes the clock, the horologe of the first world. Adam garden-foot with her yet scarcely trade- could scarce have missed it in Paradise. It polluted waters, and seems but just weaned was the measure appropriate for sweet plants from her Twickenham Naiades ! a man would and flowers to spring by, for the birds to give something to have been born in such apportion their silver warblings by, for flocks places. What a collegiate aspect has that fine to pasture and be led to fold by. The shepElizabethan hall, where the fountain plays, herd“ carved it out quaintly in the sun ;” and, which I have made to rise and fall, how many turning philosopher by the very occupation, times ! to the astoundment of the young provided it with mottoes more touching than