Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

He was servant to Mr. St. Leger, and committed the murder with the privity of the servant-maid, who was sentenced to be burned ; also of the gardener, whom he knocked on the head, to deprive him of his share of the booty.”

“ January 3.-A postboy was shot by an Irish gentleman on the road near Stone, in Staffordshire, who died in two days, for which the gentleman was imprisoned.”

“ A poor man was found hanging in a gentleman's stables at Bungay, in Norfolk, by a person who cut him down, and running for assistance, left his penknife behind him. The poor man recovering, cut his throat with the knife; and a river being nigh, jumped into it; but company coming, he was dragged out alive, and was like to remain so."

“The Honorable Thomas Finch, brother to the Earl of Nottingham, is appointed ambassador at the Hague, in the room of the Earl of Chesterfield, who is on his return home."

“William Cowper, Esq., and the Rev. Mr. John Cowper, chaplain in ordinary to her Majesty, and rector of Great Berkhampstead, in the county of Hertford, are appointed clerks of the commissioners of bankruptcy."

Charles Creagh, Esq., and Macnamara, Esq., between whom an old grudge of three years had subsisted, which had occasioned their being bound over about fifty times for breaking the peace, meeting in company with Mr. Eyres, of Galloway, they discharged their pistols, and all three were killed on the spot-to the great joy of their peaceful neighbors, say the Irish papers."

“Wheat is 26s. to 28s., and barley 20s. to 225. a quarter; three per cents., 92 ; best loaf sugar, 94d. ; Bohea, 125. to 145. ; Pekoe, 18s.; and Hyson, 355. per pound.”

“At Exon was celebrated with great magnificence the birthday of the son of Sir W. Courtney, Bart., at which more than 1,000 persons were present. A bullock was roasted whole ; a butt of wine and several tuns of beer and cider were given to the populace. At the same time Sir William delivered to his son, then of age, Powdram Castle, and a great estate."

“Charlesworth and Cox, two solicitors, convicted of forgery, stood on the pillory at the Royal Exchange. The first was severely handled by the populace, but the other was very much favored, and protected by six or seven fellows who got on the pillory to protect him from the insults of the mob."

" A boy killed by falling upon iron spikes, from a lamp-post which he climbed to see Mother Needham stand in the pillory.'

“ Mary Lynn was burnt to ashes at the stake for being concerned in the murder of her mistress.”

“ Alexander Russell, the foot soldier, who was capitally convicted for a street robbery in January sessions, was reprieved for transportation ; but having an estate fallen to him, obtained a free pardon."

“The Lord John Russell married to the Lady Diana Spencer, at Marlborough House. He has a fortune of 30,000/ down, and is to have 100,000l. at the death of the Duchess Dowager of Marlborough, his grandmother."

“ March í being the anniversary of the Queen's birthday, when her Majesty entered the forty-ninth year of her age, there was a splendid appearance of nobility at St. James's. Her Majesty was magnificently dressed, and wore a flowered muslin head-edging, as did also her Royal Highness. The Lord Portmore was said to have had the richest dress, though an Italian Count had twenty-four diamonds.instead of buttons.”

New clothes on the birthday were the fashion for all loyal people. Swift mentions the custom several times. Walpole is constantly speaking of it; laughing at the practice, but having the very finest clothes from Paris, nevertheless. If the King and Queen were unpopular, there were very few new clothes at the drawing-room. In a paper in the True Patriot, No. 3, written to attack the Pretender, the Scotch, French, and Popery, Fielding supposes the Scotch and Pretender in possession of London, and himself about to be hanged for loyalty, — when, just as the rope is round his neck, he says : “My little girl entered my bedchamber, and put an end to my dream by pulling open my eyes, and telling me that the tailor had just brought home my clothes for his Majesty's birthday.” In his "Temple Beau," the beau is dunned " for a birthday suit of velvet, 401." Be sure that Mr. Harry Fielding was dunned too.

The public days, no doubt, were splendid, but the private Court life must have been awfully wearisome. “I will not trouble you," writes Hervey to Lady Sandon, "with any account of our occupations at Hampton Court. No mill-horse ever went in a more constant track, or more unchanging circle ; so that, by the assistance of an almanac for the day of the week, and a watch for the hour of the day, you may inform yourself fully, without any other intelligence but your nemory, of every transaction within the verge of the Court. Walking, chaises, levées, and audiences fill the morning. At night the King plays at commerce and backgammon, and the Queen at quadrille, where poor Lady Charlotte runs her usual nightly gauntlet, the Queen pulling her hood, and the Princess Royal rapping her knuckles. The Duke of Grafton takes his nightly opiate of lottery, and sleeps as usual between the Princesses Amelia and Caroline. Lord Grantham strolls from one room to another (as Dryden says), like some discontented ghost that oft appears, and is forbid to speak; and stirs himself about as people stir a fire, not with any design, but in hopes to make it burn

At last the King gets up; the pool finishes; and everybody has their dismission. Their Majesties retire to Lady Charlotte and my Lord Lifford; my Lord Grantham, to Lady Frances and Mr. Clark : some to supper, some to bed ; and thus the evening and the morning make the day."

The King's fondness for Hanover occasioned all sorts of rough jokes among his English subjects, to whom sauer-kraut and sausages have ever been ridiculous objects. When our present Prince Consort came amongst us, the people bawled out songs in the streets indicative of the absurdity of Germany in general. The sausage-shops produced enormous sausages which we might suppose were the daily food and delight of German princes. I remember the caricatures at the marriage of Prince Leopold with the Princess Charlotte. The bridegroom was drawn in rags. George III.'s wife was called by the people a beggarly German duchess; the British idea being that all princes were beggarly except British princes. King George paid us back. He thought there were no manners out of Germany. Sarah Marlborough once coming to visit the Princess, whilst her Royal Highness was whipping one of the roaring royal children, “Ah !” says George, who was standing by, "you have no good manners in England, because you are not properly brought up when you are young.” He insisted that no English cooks could roast, no English coachman could drive; he actually questioned the superiority of our nobility, our horses, and our roast beef !

Whilst he was away from his beloved Hanover, everything remained there exactly as in the Prince's presence. There were 800 horses in the stables, there was all the apparatus of chamberlains, court-marshals, and equerries ; and court assemblies were held every Saturday, where all the nobility of Hanover assembled at what I can't but think a fine and touch. ing ceremony. I large arm-chair was placed in the assemblyrom, and on it the King's portrait. The nobility advanced, and made a bow to the arm-chair, and to the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up ; and spoke under their voices before the august picture, just as they would have done had the King Churfürst been present himself.

He was always going back to Hanover. In the year 1729, he went for two whole years, during which Caroline reigned for him in England, and he was not in the least missed by his British subjects. He went again in '35 and '36 ; and between the years 1740 and 1755 was no less than eight times on the Continent, which amusement he was obliged to give up at the outbreak of the Seven Years' war. Here every day's amusement was the same. “ Our life is as uniform as that of a monastery,” writes a courtier whom Vehse quotes. “ Every morning at eleven, and every evening at six, we drive in the heat to Herrenhausen, through an enormous linden avenue; and twice a day cover our coats and coaches with dust. In the King's society there never is the least change. At table, and at cards, he sees always the same faces, and at the end of the games retires into his chamber. Twice a week there is a French theatre ; the other days there is play in the gallery. In this way, were the King always to stop in Hanover, one could make a ten years' calendar of his proceedings ; and settle beforehand what his time of business, meals, and pleasure would be.”

The old pagan kept his promise to his dying wife. Lady Yarmouth was now in full favor, and treated with profound respect by the Hanover society, though it appears rather neglected in England when she came among us. In 1740, a couple of the King's daughters went to see him at Hanover ; Anna, the Princess of Orange (about whom, and whose husband and marriage-day, Walpole and Hervey have left us the most ludicrous descriptions), and Maria of Hesse Cassel, with their respective lords. This made the Hanover court very brilliant. In honor of his high guests, the King gave several fetes, among others, a magnificent masked ball, in the green theatre at Herrenhausen--the garden theatre, with linden and box for screen, and grass for a carpet, where the Platens had danced to George and his father the late sultan. The stage and a great part of the garden were illuminated with colored lamps. Almost the whole court appeared in white dominoes, “like," says the describer of the scene, “like spirits in the Elysian fields. At night, supper was served in the gallery with three great tables, and the King was very merry. After supper dancing was resumed, and I did not get home till five o'clock by full daylight to Hanover. · Some days afterwards we had, in the opera-house at Hanover, a great assembly. The King appeared in a Turkish dress ; his turban was ornamented with a magnificent agraffe of diamonds; the Lady Yarmouth was dressed as a

sultana ; nobody was more beautiful than the Princess of Hesse." So, while poor Caroline was resting in her coffin, dapper little George, with his red face and his white eyebrows and goggle-eyes, at sixty years of age, is dancing a pretty dance with Madame Walmoden, and capering about dressed up like a Turk! For twenty years more, that little old Bajazet went on in this Turkish fashion, until the fit came which choked the old man, when he ordered the side of his coffin to be taken out, as well as that of poor Caroline's who had preceded him, so that his sinful old bones and ashes might mingle with those of the faithful creature. (strutting Turkey-cock of Herrenhausen! O naughty little Mahomet ! in what Turkish paradise are you now, and where be your painted houris ? So Countess Yarmouth appeared as a sultana, and his Majesty in a Turkish dress wore an agraffe of diamonds, and was very merry, was he? Friends ! he was your father's King as well as mine—let us drop a respectful tear over his grave.

He said of his wife that he never knew a woman who was worthy to buckle her shoe ; he would sit alone weeping before her portrait, and when he had dried his eyes, he would go

off to his Walmoden and talk of her. On the 25th day of October, 1760, he being then in the seventy-seventh year of his age, and the thirty-fourth year of his reign, his page went to take him bis royal chocolate, and behold! the most religious and gracious King was lying dead on the floor. They went and fetched Walmoden; but Walmoden could not wake him. The sacred Majesty was but a lifeless corpse. The King was dead ; God save the King! But, of course, poets and clergymen decorously bewailed the late one. Here are some artless verses, in which an English divine deplored the famous departed hero, and over which you may cry or you may laugh, exactly as your humor suits :

“ While at his feet expiring Faction lay,

No contest left but who should best obey ;
Saw in his offspring all himself renewed ;
The same fair path of glory still pursued ;
Saw to young George Augusta's cares impart
Whate'er could raise and humanize the heart;
Blend all his grandsire's virtues with his own,
And from their mingled radiance for the throne-
No farther blessings could on earth be given-
The next degree of happiness was-heaven!”

If he had been good, if he had been just, if he had been pure in life, and wise in council, could the poet have said much more? It was a parson who came and wept over this grave, with Walmoden sitting on it, and claimed heaven for the poor

« AnteriorContinuar »