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It was here that Gay was domesticated and petted by his affectionate patrons, the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry, and in this house he died. To Pope he writes, about two years before his death. “My melancholy increases, and every hour threatens me with some return of my distemper. Not the divine looks, the kind favours and expressions of the divine Duchess, nor the inexpressible goodness of the Duke, can in the least cheer
The drawing-room no more receives light from those two stars; there is now, what Milton says is in hell, “darkness visible. Oh that I had never known what a court was!"* How beautifully has Pope done justice to the affectionate friendship of the Duchess of Queensberry !
Blest be the great, for those they take away,
In Cork Street, which runs parallel with Saville Row, died the gifted and amiable Dr. Arbuthnot, the courtly physician of Queen Anne, and the friend of Pope, Gay, Bolingbroke, and Swift; and in this street, also, the well-known General Wade had a house, which was designed by Lord Burlington. It was wittily said of it, that it was too small to live in, and too large to append to a watch-ribbon ; indeed, so inconvenient was its interior, and so
Biog. Brit. Art. Gay.
fantastic its exterior, that Lord Chesterfield observed, “since the General could not live in it, he had better hire the opposite house in order to look at it.” No vestige of it now remains. In Cork Street Dr. Johnson was a frequent visitor at the house of Mr. Diamond, an apothecary. About the year 1752, he used to dine there nearly every Sunday, accompanied by his blind protégée, Mrs. Williams the poetess.
* Boswell's “ Life of Johnson.”
ST. JAMES'S STREET.
ST. JAMES'S STREET.
CLUB8.-COLONEL BLOOD, COCOA TREE TA
VERN.—THATCHED HOUSE. DEATH OF GIBBON.-BYRON.
St. James's STREET, styled in 1670, the “Long Street," appears to have grown into a regular street between the last days of the Protectorate and the early part of the reign of Charles the Second; and, it is almost needless to add, derived its name from the neighbouring palace of St. James's. It has continued, almost from the days of the merry monarch to the present time, to be the nucleus of fashionable society, and the lounging-place of the witty and the gay. In the days of Queen Anne, it was scarcely less celebrated for the gifted society which frequented its exclusive chocolate-houses, than it is at the present time for the fashionable clubs which are its principal characteristics ;—the latter, unfortunately, preserving the worst qualities which distinguished the society of the last century, without either the dignity of its talent, or the fascination of its wit.
It is rather remarkable, that two of the most fashionable clubs of our own time,—the “Cocoa Tree,” and “White's,”—should have sprung from