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labourer and friend, George Lambert. Here from time to time they partook, at two o'clock, of the hot steak dressed by Rich himself, accompanied by a “bottle of port from the tavern hard by," and these gatherings formed the nucleus out of which grew the Beefsteak Society which was founded in 1735 by Rich:
“First Rich, who this feast of the gridiron planned,
The jolly old Steakers of England.” The rules of the Society were very rigid, and the first of them was that the members should never exceed twenty-four in number. Among the original members were John Rich, George Lambert, and William Hogarth :
• Then Hogarth was a Steaker devoted and true,
Singing, Oh! the roast beef of Old England.” Among the successors to the chairs of the first twenty-four members were Theophilus Cibber, Paul Whitehead, John Wilkes
“ John Wilkes, to whom Liberty's name was so dear,
That in search of the gem he spent half his career,
With the jolly old Steakers of England ”-
" And Norfolk's great Duke, who belonged to the breed
With the jolly old Steakers of England”— George Colman, Charles Morris, the life and soul of the Society; George, Prince of Wales, who, after having expressed a desire to become a member, was obliged to wait his turn until a vacancy occurred; and the Duke of York:
“ First George, Prince of Wales, and then York's royal Duke,
For the wit of this board other pleasures forsook,
With the jolly old Steakers of England.” The Duke of Sussex was not elected till between eighteen and twentyfive years after his royal brothers, but he continued long to be a constant attendant:
“ Though last he's not least in my true sublime song,
The King was a Steaker when he was a Prince.”
Other members were John Kemble
“With loud mimic fury John Kemble would foam
With the jolly old Steakers of England”-
“ William Linley, the gentle, the simple, the kind,
With the jolly old Steakers of England”-
“ Lord Chancellor Brougham is now pensioned in clover,
Of the jolly old Steakers of England”— Sir Matthew Wood, father of Lord Hatherley, the late Lord Chancellor ; Lord Broughton, Sir Francis Burdett, Duke of Leinster, Earl of Dalhousie, Robert Liston, Sir Charles Locock, and many more clubable and distinguished men.
As the great object of the Society was the fostering of good fellowship by the eating of beefsteak, so its spirit was tangibly brought before the eyes of all in the emblematic form of a gridiron, which was to be seen on all sides. The Society's badge was a gridiron, which was engraved upon the ring, the glass, and the forks and spoons. At the end of the dining-room was an enormous grating in the form of a gridiron, through which the fire was seen and the steaks handed from the kitchen. Over this were the appropriate lines :
“If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly.”. Saturday was from time immemorial the day of dining, and of late years the season commenced in November and ended in June :
“On Saturn's day this altar burns
With festive preparation,
To pour a fit libation.” The active officers of the Society were the President of the day, whose office, as stated in the above lines, was filled by each member in turn; the Vice-President, the oldest member of the Society present; the Bishop, who sang the grace and the anthem; the Recorder, whose duty it was to rebuke everybody for offences real or imaginary; and the Boots, who was the last elected of the members and the fag of the brotherhood. It was his duty to arrive first, decant the wine, and also fetch it from the cellar. Both members and guests delighted in worry
ing poor Boots, and often summoned him to decant a fresh bottle of port at the moment when a hot plate and a fresh steak were placed before him. The Duke of Sussex filled the office for a year, and his Royal Highness was not spared by his colleagues nor allowed to shirk his duties. This shows the chief characteristic of the Society, viz., the friendly equality that existed among the members, which Mr. Arnold further illustrates as follows: “On one occasion, when a large and distinguished party had met, a wealthy and somewhat pretentious Liverpool merchant was invited as a guest by Brother Lonsdale. From something that occurred this gentleman conceived the idea that the royal and titled persons to whom he had been presented were myths, and he communicated this conviction to his host, adding that the joke was a good one, but that he had seen through it. The humour of the idea was instantly seized, and in a few seconds the Sublime Society was by tacit consent transformed into a Society of Traders. The Duke of Sussex reproached Alderman Wood for the tough steaks he had sent last Saturday. Wood retorted on his Royal Brother by protesting against the misfitting stays he bad sent his wife. Brother Burdett told Whitbread his last cask of beer was sour, who accounted for it by its having been kept too long in the Tower, &c. The suspicions of the guest were now confirmed ; and, warmed by the belief that his penetration had broken up the hoax as to a rank the members no longer cared to assume, sarcastically addressed those to whom he had been specially introduced by their real titles. His conviction was strengthened by what occurred after dinner. To shorten the table a leaf had to be withdrawn. In closing it, the President's chair, occupied by Brother the Duke of Leinster, was overbalanced, and both Duke and chair fell backwards into the grate. No one moved ; a roar of laughter succeeded the fall, in the midst of which the Duke scrambled up as best he could, replaced his chair, and resumed his seat. In relating afterwards this anecdote, the sceptical guest quoted the above incident as a conclusive proof that his friend had tried to take him in as to the quality of the persons he had been invited to meet. Why,' he said, 'they wanted me to believe the chairman was the Duke of Leinster !-as if, when he fell into the grate, had he been a real duke, they would not all have helped to pick him up!'”
A newly-elected member was brought into the room blindfolded, accompanied by the Bishop, who was ready to receive the oath of alle giance, which was as follows: "You shall attend duly, vote impartially, and conform to our laws and orders obediently. You shall support our dignity, promote our welfare, and at all times behave as a worthy member in this Sublime Society. So Beef and Liberty be your reward.” Before taking the oath the Recorder delivered a charge to the new member, dwelling on the solemnity of his obligations.
The Society, during its existence, changed its place of meeting
several times. For seventy years Covent Garden Theatre was its home, but on the destruction of that building in 1808 it moved to the Bedford Coffee House, where it remained till the Old Lyceum was ready for it in 1809. Here it remained till the house was burnt in 1830, when it returned to the Bedford Coffee House, and remained there till 1838, in which year a suite of rooms was ready to receive it in the new Lyceum, which formed its last home. The most successful institutions will fail at last, and changed times had their effect upon the prosperity of this Society. One by one the old members fell off, and the new ones were not animated by the same spirit as their
predecessors. The greatest blow the Society received was caused by the loss of its treasurer, Henry Frederick Stephenson, who died in 1858:
"Our Stephenson's gone, whose bright fancy gave birth
'Mid the jolly old Steakers of England.” The final struggle for existence was a short one, and, after making changes that pleased no one, the Society expired in 1867 with only eighteen members on the list. Two years after, its effects, which consisted of portraits, silver, furniture, and other property, were sold by Messrs. Christie for £659 10s. 3d.
Thus ended in comparative obscurity a distinguished club which lived through a large portion of two centuries, and connected its name with some of the best known men of the country; so that its history forms
A joyful theme for Britons free,
A French “ Claimant" in the Eighteenth Century.
While the great Tichborne case, yet in its earlier stages, engrossed the attention of the reading public to all but entire exclusion of other topics, prior cases of disputed identity were rummaged out of law reports and causes célebres, and thence brought back to the glare of publicity, for the sake of general information, useful precedent, mere amusement, or juristic comparison. Though many have thus had their cobwebs brushed away, yet one seems to have been passed over unnoticed, although some of its principal scenes were enacted in sight of Shakspeare's Cliff, and its hero or victim strutted the first act of his many-staged life in England, and died at so late a date as 1835, after a long career of notoriety as a dramatist and novelist.
Guillaume Charles Antoiné Pigault-Lebrun, the once famous author of the Barons de Felsheim' and 'Monsieur Botte,' the boon librarian of King Jérôme of Westphalia, the Rabelais and Aristophanes of the Napoleonic era, found himself, in the last but one decade of the last century, in a similar predicament to the great Tichborne claimant, claiming and failing to recover his name and civil status.
Born at Calais in 1753, he was sent to London at the early age of sixteen into the office of a merchant named Mr. Crawfurd; but the pursuit of commercial knowledge was uncongenial to his tastes, and he devoted only part of histime and mind to the mastery of double entry and the rules of exchange. In fact, when starting for India as purser in one of his master's ships, he was accompanied by his master's daughter, whom he had persuaded to elope with him. Prompt Nemesis overtook the guilty pair ; a storm drove the ship ashore, when the poor "stowaway” girl was drowned, and her lover barely escaped with his life.
Fearful of Mr. Crawfurd's anger, he made his way back to Calais, not suspecting that there he would meet a sterner judge than the parent whom he thus had bereft of his child-his own father. Mr. Pigault de l’Epinoy, a magistrate in the Calais Court of Justice, seems to have been throughout his life a hard, uncompromising moralist, who enacted at home the same rigorous law which it was his official duty to administer elsewhere. He enforced against his thoughtless boy those strict principles of discipline and authority which he had hitherto dealt among delinquents not of bis own flesh and bloodprocuring a lettre de cachet, and shutting him up in the Calais gaol for two years.
At the expiration of his period of punishment, the youthful votary