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novelty and veracity which reminds us that we hear the testimony of an eye-witness. We should look in vain to history for such traits of character as those which our author records of stout old Lord Balmerino when under sentence of death. When the death warrant came down he was at dinner, and his lady fainted. He said, “ Lieutenant, with your dd warrant you have spoiled my lady's stomach !” In the same tone of resolution, 'at getting into the coach he said to the jailor, “ take care, or you will break my shins with this d-d axe!” -p. 31.
We have also an odd illustration of the truth of the first line in the following couplet, which begins an epigram ascribed to Johnson.
• Pitied by gentle minds Kilmarnock died,
The brave, Balmerino, were on thy side.' • It will be difficult to make you believe to what heights of affectation or extravagance my lady Townshend carries her passion for my lord Kilmarnock, whom she never saw but at the bar of his trial, and was smitten with his falling shoulders. She has been under his windows, sends messages to him, has got his dog and his snuff-box, has taken lodgings out of town for to-morrow and Monday night; and then goes to Greenwich, forswears conversing with the bloody English, and has taken a French master. She insisted on lord Hervey's promising her he would not sleep a whole night for my lord Kilmarnock, “ and in return,” says she, never trust me more if I am not as yellow as a jonquil for him.” She said gravely l'other day, " Since I saw my lord Kilmarnock, I really think no more of Sir Harry Nisbett, than if there was no such man in the world.” But of all her flights yesterday was the strongest. George Selwyn dined with her, and not thinking her affliction so serious as she pretends, talked rather jokingly of the execution. She burst into a flood of tears and rage, told him she now believed all his father and mother had said of him, and with a thousand other reproaches flung up stairs. George coolly took Mrs. Dorcas, her woman, and made her sit down to finish the bottle: “and pray, sir," said Dorcas, “ do you think my lady will be prevailed upon to let me go see the execution ? I have a friend that has promised to take care of me, and I can lie in the Tower the night before.” My lady has quarrelled with Sir Charles Windham for calling the two lords malefactors.'- p. 35.
George Selwyn's passion for attending executions is as well remembered as his wit. Mr. Walpole has preserved many ludicrous instances of both.
You know George never thinks but à la tête tranchée: he came to town t’other day to have a tooth drawn, and told the man that he would drop his handkerchief for the signal.'-p. 39.
This reminds us of another story of the same facetious person. When upbraided by a lady with the barbarity of going to see Lord Lovat's head cut off, he replied, that if he had been guilty
of impropriety to his lordship in that respect, he had done what le could to make amends, for he had gone to see it sewed on again.
The characters of those who played remarkable parts in the political drama during this correspondence are marked with characteristic touches. The hubble-bubble Duke of Newcastle, who, by dint of endless shuffling, cutting, and dealing, contrived, betwixt greatness and meanness, and without one atom of merit, to hold a conspicuous station in almost every administration of the period, is admirably sketched in one or two passages.
* Those hands that are always groping, and sprawling, and fluttering and hurrying on the rest of his precipitate person ; but there is no describing them but as Monsieur Courcelle, a French prisoner, did t'other day. Je ne sçais pas, dit il, je ne sçaurois m'erprimer, mais il a un certain tatillonage. If one could conceive a dead body hung in chains always wanting to be hung somewhere else, one should have a comparative idea of him.'-p. 17.
The conduct and appearance of the same personage at his old master George the Second's funeral is also admirably described; we are tempted to insert the whole passage, which is very striking, the grave part as well as the comic.
• Do you know, I had the curiosity to go to the burying t’other night; I had never seen a royal funeral ; nay, I walked as a rag of quality, which I found would be, and so it was, the easiest way of seeing it. It is absolutely a noble sight. The prince's chamber, hung with purple, and a quantity of silver lamps, the coffin under a canopy of purple velvet, and six vast chandeliers of silver on high stands, had a very good effect. The ambassador from Tripoli and his son were carried to see that chamber. The procession, through a line of foot-guards, every seventh man bearing a torch, the horse-guards lining the outside, their officers with drawn sabres and crape sashes on horseback, the drums muffled, the fifes, bells tolling, and minute guns,-all this was very solemn. But the charm was the entrance of the abbey, where we were received by the dean and chapter in rich robes, the choir and almsmen bearing torches; the whole abbey so illuminated, that one saw it to greater advantage than by day; the tombs, long aisles, and fretted roof, all appearing distinctly, and with the happiest chiaro scuro. There wanted nothing but incense, and little chapels here and there, with priests saying mass for the repose of the defunct; yet one could not complain of its not being catholic enough. I had been in dread of being coupled with some boy of ten years old; but the heralds were not very accurate, and I walked with George Grenville, taller and older to keep me in countenance. When we came to the chapel of Henry the Seventh, all solemnity and decorum ceased; no order was observed, people sat or stood where they could or would; the yeomen of the guard were crying out for help, oppressed by the immense weight of the coffin ; the bishop read sadly, and blundered in the prayers; the fine chapter, man that is born of a woman, was chaunted, not read; and the anthem, besides being immeasurably tedious, would have served as well for a nuptial. The real serious part was the figure of the duke of Cụmberland, heightened by a thousand melancholy circumstances. He had a dark brown adonis, and a cloak of black cloth, with a train of five yards. Attending the funeral of a father could not be pleasant: his leg extremely bad, yet forced to stand upon it near two hours;. his face bloated and distorted with his late paralytic stroke, which has affected too one of his eyes, and placed over the mouth of the vault, into which, in all probability, he must bimself so soon descend; think how unpleasant a situation! He bore it all with a firm and unaffected counte
* This grave scene was fully contrasted by the burlesque Duke of N
He fell into a fit of crying the moment he came into the chapel, and flung himself back in a stall, the archbishop hovering over him with a smelling-bottle; but in two minutes his curiosity got the better of his hypocrisy, and he ran about the chapel with his glass to spy who was or was not there, spying with one hand, and mopping his eyes with the other. Then returned the fear of catching cold; and the Duke of Cumberland, who was sinking with heat, felt himself weighed down, and, turning round, found it was the Duke of N
standing upon his train to avoid the chill of the marble.'—pp. 222, 223.
The description of the figure and demeanour of our revered monarch when he first appeared as sovereign among the circle of his nobles, we now read with a natural feeling of the melancholy contrast. He was the first of the Brunswick line who united with the dignity of his situation the frank manner of an English gentleman. How his example has been followed since his retirement reminds us of the lines which Shakspeare places in the mouth of the gallant and graceful Henry V.
• This is the English not the Turkish court,
But Harry Harry.' * For the king himself, he seems all good-nature, and wishing to satisfy every body; all his speeches are obliging. I saw him again yesterday, and was surprised to find the levee room had lost so entirely the air of the lion's den. This sovereign don't stand in one spot, with his eyes fixed royally on the ground, and dropping bits of Gernian news; he walks about and speaks to every body. I saw him afterwards on the throne, where he is graceful and genteel, sits with dignity, and reads his answers to addresses well.-p. 222.
There are readers to whom Henry Fielding may be a more interesting personage than princes, or statesmen, or men of fashion. The following anecdote of his vie privée is more remarkable than pleasing. Rigby and Bathurst had carried a servant of the latter, who had attempted to shoot him, before poor Fielding in his degrading vocation of a trading justice.
• He sent them word he was at supper, that they must come next morning. They did not understand that freedom, and ran up, where they found him banquetting with a blind man, a w- and three Irishmen, on some cold mutton and a bone of han, both in one dish, and the dirtiest cloth. He never stirred nor asked them to sit. Rigby, who had seen him so often come to beg a guinea of Sir C. Williams and Bathurst, at whose father's he had lived for victuals, understood that dignity as little, and pulled themselves chairs, on which he civilized.'— pp. 58, 59.
In the account of his own pursuits in the minor branches of antiquity, landscape-gardening, and literature, which Walpole made the subject of his study, these letters are equally lively and instructive. He had indeed in these particulars, as in others, lowered and restrained his natural taste and genius by drawing a tacit comparison between his own labours and improvements upon the Liliputian scale of Strawberry Hill and the gigantic productions of nature and art elsewhere, and giving a preference to the former out of habit perhaps, as much as personal vanity. His taste was exquisite, but degraded and narrowed by the limited sphere in which it was exercised; he lost sight of truth and simplicity, and by imitating in little that which derived its character and importance from existing on a grand scale, his buildings have come to resemble the make-believe' architecture of children. Thus he lost his sense of the magnificent, and saw in Blenheim only Vanbrugh's quarries, ' a place as ugly as the house, and the bridge that, like the beggars at the Duchess's gate, begged but a drop of water, and was refused. We own, therefore, we tremble at the consequences of his transformations when he describes himself as a travelling Jupiter at Philemon's cottage, at a friend's family seat, where he demolished the paternal intrenchments of walls and gardens, to substitute Kent-fences and white rails of his own designing, and completed the landscape with the transformation of a cottage into a church, by the elevation of a steeple upon one end of it!
Yet with this acquired rather than natural incapacity of estimating the picturesque sublime, Walpole's descriptions of the old mansions which he visited, with his enthusiasm for their towers and turrets, halls and battlements, chapels and china-close wainscot cabinets and enamelled pairs of bellows, ' for such there were,' (p. 322,) place every scene he chooses to represent in a lively manner before the reader's
eyes. The reader will easily conceive that it is not in the letters of Horace Walpole engaged either in the whirlwind of fashionable dissipation, or in the limited and somewhat selfish enjoyment of his own trivial though elegant pursuits, that he is to look for moral maxims. His observations on human life, however, whenever such happen to drop from his pen, are marked by strong sense
and knowledge of mankind. When he tells us that “moral reflexions are the livery one likes to wear after real misfortune, or cautions us ' against beginning a course of civility with those who are indifferent to us, because at length we cannot help showing that we are weary of them, and consequently give more offence than if we had never attempted to please
them,' we recognize the keen penetrating man of the world. But our most useful lesson will perhaps be derived from considering this man of the world, full of information, and sparkling with vivacity, stretched on a sick bed, and apprehending all the tedious languor of helpless decrepitude and deserted solitude.
.I am tired of the world, its politics, its pursuits, and its pleasures, but it will cost me some struggles before 1 submit to be tender and careful. Christ! can I ever stoop to the regimen of old age? I do not wish to dress up a withered person, nor drag it about to public places ; but to sit in one's room, clothed warmly, expecting visits from folks I don't wish to see, and tended and flattered by relations impatient for one's death! let the gout do its worst as expeditiously as it can; it would be more welcome in my stomach than in my limbs.'—p. 363.
There still remains another view, in which these letters may be regarded as the entertaining and lively register of the gay
and witty who have long fluttered and flirted over the fashionable stage till pushed off by a new race of persifleurs and titterers. The following is a diverting instance of the tale of the day, narrated by one man of fashion for the benefit of another.
• You must know then,—but did you know a young fellow that was called handsome Tracy? He was walking in the park with some of his acquaintance, and overtook three girls; one was very pretty; they followed them, but the girls ran away, and the company grew tired of pursuing them, all but Tracy. (There are now three more guns gone off; she must be very drunk.) He followed to Whitehall gate, where he gave a porter a crown to dog them : the porter hunted them-he the porter. The girls ran all round Westminster, and back to the Haymarket, where the porter came up with them. He told the pretty one she must go with him, and kept her talking till Tracy arrived, quite out of breath, and exceedingly in love. He insisted on knowing where she lived, which she refused to tell him; and after much disputing, went to the house of one of her companions, and Tracy with them. He there made her discover her family, a butterwoman in Craven-street, and engaged her to meet him the next morning in the park; but before night he wrote her four love-letters, and in the last offered two hundred pounds a-year to her, and a hundred a-year to Signora la Madre. Griselda made a confidence to a staymaker's wife, who told her that the swain was certainly in love enough to marry ber, if she could determine to be virtuous and refuse his offers. Aye,” says she, “ but if I should, and should lose him by it.” However the measures of the cabiVOL. XIX. NO. XXXYJE.