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inquiring the occasion of that garb of woe, I was informed it was on account of his father's death. I had no sooner received this intelligence, than he was accosted by an elderly gentleman, who I remembered was one of the father's oldest friends, and understood, from their conversation, had been appointed one of the executors. “ Sad loss !” said the stranger, after some minutes' conversation. "Sad loss, indeed!"echoed young Wilding, turning up his eyes like a dying magpie, and heaving a deep sigh “ Sad loss, indeed, sir ! so kind, so generous, so affectionate ! so every thing that a father should be ! But he has paid the debt of nature ;-he has gone, and left me behind, to mourn his loss !" and he drew his hand across his eyes.
“ Your father, young man,” replied the other, was a good man, a kind man, a moral man, a religious man, a careful man,-one who always kept an eye to the main chance,--that's the only way to succeed in the world now-a-days ! but I am happy to see he has left behind a son so affectionate,--a son who is aware of the father's worth, who is sensible of the loss which he has sustained,--and who, I hope, will imitate his example!"-"I do feel his loss,” exclaimed the young man, placing his hand to his heart ; and he said much more to the following import :
“ 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage,
Our companion, however, had no sooner left us, than Wilding burst out into a loud fit of laughter. “ There he goes," exclairned he, “ there he goes, a damn'd old scurvy rascal ! he and my old dad did well to go hand in hand,to lay their plans and scrape up cash together ;--but the old fellow is one of the executors, and I must keep up appearances !” “ Well, Jack," said I, “ I hope you have now got a comfortable independence, sowed
your wild oats, and turned a sober steady fellow!" Another loud laugh burst forth from my companion, “Why, on that point,” said Jack, “ I cannot say inuch; but go with me to the Opera to-night, and I'll convince you. The old gentleman has gone at last.-rest his soul,—though he was tough to the last, --and I have popt into his fortune ;-the scrapings of fifty years, -sixty thousand pounds, my hoy, ha, ha, ha! How dad would stare if he saw in what maner his boy Jack was spending his cash! I verily believe he wanted to take his money with him ; for even in his last moments he held fast the keys of his money. chest; nor would he relinquish his hold, till he was dead, ha, ha! Come and call upon me,--happy to see you or any other friend, - live at the Albany,-ha, ha, ha! Good bye--for there goes one of my sweet birds!” pointing to a fashionably dressed female on the other side, to whom he ran across, took her arn, and walked off in triumph.
(From the Percy Anecdotes, part 36.)
A LORD AT HIS EASE.
A Marquis of Winchester, who lived in the reign of Charles the Second, used to dine at six or seven in the evening, and to continue the meal until the same hour in the morning; during which time he sometimes drank, sometimes listened to music, conversed, or smoked ; while the rest of the company were not expected to follow his example, but had their free choice to go or come, sit or rise, sleep or eat and drink. The dishes and bottles were never removed from table. When morning' came, the Marquis would hunt or hawk, if the weather was fair ; if not, he would dance; go to bed at eleven, and repose until evening, when he rose to begin the same round of debauch again.
“ A tavern," says an old writer, “ is a common consumption of the afternoon, and the murderer or maker-away of a rainy day. To give you the total reckoning of it, it is the busy man's recreation, the idle man's business, the melancholy man's sanctuary, the stranger's welcome, the Inns of Courts man's entertainment, the scholar's kindness, and the citizen's county. It is the study of sparkling wits, and a cup of canary their book.”
A considerable change has taken place in the manners of the people in regard to taverns. Formerly they were the general place of resort for men of genius, rank, and fortune; and even Princes did not disdain to visit them. The Boar's Head, was celebrated
for having been the place where our Fifth Harry, when Prince of Wales, revelled with Falstaff, and all “ the merry men of Eastcheap.” It was in this tavern, that Henry's brothers, the Princes Thomas and John, revelled a whole night in 1410, when their attendants got into an affray, which could not be appeased without the inteference of the Mayor and Sheriff, and the principal citizens.
Of little less antiquity than the Boar’s Head, is the White Hart it Bishopsgate-street, which some few years ago bore on its front the date of its erection in 1489.
In the time of Shakespeare, the places principally honoured by genius, were the Sun and Moon Tavern, Aldersgate-street; the Devil Tavern, in Fleet-street, close to Temple-bar; and the famous one called the Mermaid, which was situated in Cornhill. There, as Beaumont tells us,
“ hath been shewn
Right witty; though but downright fools, more wise." Among other well frequented taverns of the metropolis of former days, few were more renowned than the White Rose (the symbol of the York party), in old Palace-yard, Westminster, which stood near the chapel of our lady, behind the altar of the Abbey Church.
The gloomy manners of puritanism gave a severe check to these temples of jollity; but the restoration of Charles revived their popularity. The cavaliers and adherents of the Royal party, for joy of that event, were, for a time, incessantly drunk ; and from a picture of their manners in Cowley's Comedy of the “ Cutter of Coleman-street," it may be collected, that taverns were places of much more frequent resort than churches or conventicies. When the phrenzy of the time was, however, abated ; taverns, especially those in the City, became places for the transaction of almost all descriptions of business. There accounts were settled, conveyances executed ; and there attorneys sat as at the inns in the country on market days, to receive their clients. In that space near the Royal Exchange, which is encompassed by Lombard, Gracechurch, part of Bishopsgate, and Threadneedle-streets, the number of taverns exceeded twenty; and on the site of the Bank, there stood no less than four. At the Crown, which was one of them, it was not unusual, in the course of a single morning, to draw a butt of mountain (120 gallons) in gills.
How much taverns were frequented by the literati in the early part of the last century, the Spectator, the Tatler, and other British
essayists, bear abundant evidence; and there is little doubt but many of these papers were produced at a tavern, or originated in the “ wit eombats” that frequently took place. Although Sir Richard Steele was extravagant in his uxoriousness, yei who has not admired that passage in one of his lctters to his wife, written from a tavern, in which he assures her that he will be with her so within half a bottle of wine ?"
The change that has taken place in respect to the company frequenting taverns is supposed to be owing to the increased expence; but extravagant charges of tavern keepers in Queen Ann's time were not less deserving of complaint than they are now.
The Duke of Ormond, who gave a dinner to a few friends at the Star and Garter, Pall-mall, was charged twenty-one pounds six shillings and eight-pence, for four dishs and four, that is, first and second courses, without wine or dessert.
Until the time of Admiral Vernon, the British sailors had their allowance in brandy or rum, served out to them unmixed with water. This plan was found to be attended with inconvenience on some occasions; and the Admiral, therefore, ordered, that in the feet he commanded, the spirit should be mixed with water before it was given to the men. This innovation, at first, gave great offence to the sailors, and rendered the Commander very unpopular. The Admiral, at that time, wore a grogam coat, and was nicknained “ Old Grog." This name was afterwards given to the mixed liquor he compelled them to take ; and it has since universally obtained the name of grog:
The passion for old wine has been sometimes carried to a very ridiculous excess; for the “thick crust,” the “ bee's wing,” and the several other criterions of the epicure, are but so many proofs of the decomposition and departure of some of the best qualities of the wine. Had the man that first fille: the celebrated Heidelburg tun been placed as sentinel, to see that no other wine was put into it, he would have found it much better at twenty-five or thirty years old, than at one hundred or one hundred and fifty, had he lived so long, and been permitted now and then to taste it.
At Bremen there is a wine cellar called the Store, where five hogsheads of Rhenish wine have been preserved since the year 1625. These five hogsheads cost 1200 francs. Had this sum been put out to compound interest, each hogshead would now be worth above a thousand millions of money; a bottle of this precious wine would cost 21,799,480 francs ; and a single wine glass, 2,723,808 francs.
THE UNLUCKY MISTAKE.
The story in the Dublin papers of the " Unlucky Mistake,” respecting bed-chambers, brings to our recollection an anecdote somewhat similar which we have heard from a relative of one of the parties in the affair :-Among the early correspondents of the Websters of Leadenhall-street, (the grand uncles of the present Sir David Wedderburn Webster) was an eminent chemist of Plymouth, of the name of Cookworthy, one of the Society of Friends. Friend Cookworthy was as distinguished for simplicity of heart and manners, as for knowledge and talents : and being much beloved by all who knew him, had been for many years an inmate of the house in Leadenhall-street, on his annual visits to London. On the evening of his arrival, on one of those occasion, when, far advanced in life, considering himself, as he was reckoned, completely at home with the family, he took up his candle with his wonted familiarity, soon after Mrs. Webser had retired, and observing that he did not need a guide to his chamber, as he supposed it was the same as he had been used to, he wised Mr. W. good night, and went up stairs. On his way, however, having got into one of those reveries to which he was not unaccustomed, he stopped at the first door that presented itself, and having opened it, saw, to his atonishment, Mrs. Webster at her toilette. Disconcerted at his mistake, and rallied by the lady for his bold attempt upon her chamber, he proceeded on, and finally found repose in his proper quarters. The “ unlucky mistake” having been the subject of joke the following day, he remarked that evening, it was not likely he should commit the like error again, and retiring before any other of the party, he speedly went to bed. Before, however, he had fallen asleep, he was disturbed by the opening of the room door, and raising himself in bed to see who had intruded upon his chamber, beheld, to his surprise and joy, the lady on whose retirement he had intruded the preceding night. Elated at her mistake, as he supposed it, he clapped his hands while exclaiming,
66 who has made a mistake now? who has made a mistake now ?”—“Why, you, Mr. Cookworthy," replied Mrs. Webster, “ unless you have acted from design. Last night you entered my bed-chamber, and to night you have got into my bed !” The worthy old man sunk down in utter confusion ; and these instances of his abberation, his friends, whenever they were disposed to rally him, took care he should not forget.