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in slow cadence measured it forth. In the evening I strolled to Westminster Abbey, where I (being locked in) was obliged to listen to a discourse still duller, and as ill-delivered.
As I love to speculatise upon human nature; I can not help setting down, lest I should forget it, an anecdote I heard this day from my fellow-traveller G--, which I should never have heard, had he met the reception he expected from the Paymaster, his uncle, the Provost's quondam friend. He told me, that soon after Lord Townsend's appointment to the Government of Ireland, Rigby came over to tamper with his Irish friends to oppose poor Sandes' administration. Among the rest he attacked the Provost, from whom he expected no resistance; but the Provost, having made his terms with Townsend, told him that had he applyed earlyer, his gratitude to the Duke of B. would have made him his obedient creature, but that now his honour was pawned to T., and that he could not think of forfeiting that. Rigby went so far as to tell him, he could not expect to meet the reception he formerly found from his old friends at Bloomsbury: the Provost's answer was, that he had a remedy for that in not going in futuro to England. Rigby then said “I have gone too far”; but he stayed in Ireland but another day. Soon after things took another turn, that is, the Bloomsbury faction came into play. The Provost then received a letter from Rigby, applauding his propriety of conduct, and soliciting his support of Lord Townsend's administration. What a creature is man!
- told me, that the grand hold the Provost got of Rigby's esteem was this. R- was distressed in the first career of ambition for money; his credit was low on this side of the water, he therefore wrote to the Provost, to raise him three thousand pounds as soon as possible. The Provost sent him bills for the money,
the very next week: this by some months outran so far the other's expectation, (who looked on Andrews as a man of expense,) that it created that attachment which lasted till his death, and which was, I presume, the price of the Provostship. N.B.-At the hour of one there came on a violent shower of hail, while we were in the Temple Church; which was succeeded by heavy rains, which lasted till near four : the morning haizy, and the evening likewise. MARCH the 6th. A haizy morning, and a drizzling rain at
This day (without seeking it) I saw the king in his chair, coming from Buckingham house to the Palace of St. James. I should have known him from his picture, if I had seen him in Siberia.
The 7th. I went to see Garrick in “Lusignan: " the house was full by five, tho' David appears but in one act.
This day was a good one, yet not absolutely without rain. I saw the King and Queen return from an airirg in Hyde Park.
The 8th. It rained hard from nine till two o'clook. I spent this day in strolling thro’ the town; paid a visit to Tom Orr's in the morning, and after dining alone at Dolly's, I went to the print auction, at the Piazza, Covent Garden, where I was taken in for £1 9s. 6d. for a book of 80 old heads, and six loose prints, and I deserved it, for not going to view them by daylight, for I took them to be all new. However, they are worth the money, for they will sell for double the sum in single prints.
9th. A wet morning, but cleared up in the middle of the day, but again it rained hard at night. I dined this day with my friend T-B-, whose wife is, I think, the ugliest woman I ever beheld, and at least three-score. There dined with us two old maids, her cotemporarys, the sad emblems of a single life, and a rich cit talking vulgar nonsense before dinner, and falling asleep after it; but in the evening, I was fully compensated for this woful set by the company of a blind man-Stanly, the leader of the Oratorio band in Drury lane.
This was a very agreeable person, and comely for a blind man. He sat down to cards after tea, and played with as much ease and quickness as any man I ever saw. He had the cards however marked by pricks of a pin ; I could not from my cursory examination make the key whereby he marked them. A very stormy night, -now near eleven so that we have not had twenty-four hours together fair, since I came to London.
10th. Showery from morn tò night. This day I went with my good friend Pierson, and (with Gamble) visited his agreeable sister Suky. Then went to the Museum, and engaged for Monday next at nine o'clock; visited Christie's picture auction, Pallmall, dined at Lowe's Hotel, Covent garden, and went to the Oratorio of “ Judas Maccabæus,” to see the King and Queen, and there I for the first time fell asleep, except in bed, since I came to London.
11th. It rained incessantly from the hour I awoke, that is, eight, till near twelve, that I went to bed, and how much further that night, I know not. This day I dined with the Club at the British Coffee (house), introduced by my old College friend Day. The President was a Scotch Member of Parliament, Mayne, and the prevalent interest Scottish. They did nothing but praise
. Macpherson's new history, and decry Johnson and Burke. Day humorously gave money to the waiter, to bring him Johnson's “Taxation no Tyranny.” One of them desired him to save himself the expense, for that he should have it from him, and glad that he would take it away, as it was worse than nothing. Another said it was written in Johnson's manner, but worse than usual, for that there was nothing new in it. The President swore that Burke was gone mad, and to prove it adduced this instance, that when the House was obliged, the day or two before, to call him to order, he got up again, and foaming like a play actor, he said in the words of the Psalmist, “ I held my tongue even from good words, but it was pain and grief to me; then I said in my heart that they were all liars." My friend Day however told some stories, which turned the Scotch into ridicule, (they did however laugh), and irritated the President more than once by laughing at his accent, but he had a good blow at one, (who valued himself vastly on his classical knowledge,) who describing the device on a snuff-box, pointed out a Satyr blowing his concha; this raised a loud laugh, which made the virtuoso look very silly.
12th. Fair in the morning, but the evening varied with storm, hail, and rain. This day I went to church at the Foundling Hospital, and dined with Mr. Scott, who is a Governor. I hoped to hear the charity girl, who performed on Friday at the Oratorio, but the distance was so great, I could not distinguish her voice. Here preached a gentleman who certainly had made elocution his study, but affectation was so visible, that he was disgusting; his language poor-his matter borrowed from common place. Talking with Scott and Pierson, they agreed that the lighting of the city lamps cost £2,000 a night, and that the paving of Oxford Street cost £40,000 (forty thousand); but in the latter they were misinformed, for Mr. Combe, who was concerned, told me it had not cost quite twenty thousand; but as to the lamps, they spoke partly from knowledge, and partly from calculation.
13th. Rain in the morning, but turned out a fair day. This day I walked with Mr. Scott down the Blackfriar's Road, as far as the Obelisk, to see the future city from thence.
return I saw Viny, the timber vendor, a very curious man, who with great courtesy, explained everything to us. I regretted that I did not know more of wheel carriages, &c., however, the little I did recollect, made Viny profess that he would do any thing to satisfy me. I bespoke a saddle from his maker, Clarke, upon his constructiou. I then dined at the Crown and Anchor in Sussex Street, where we were charged 3s. 10d. for a pound of cod. It is amazing, the passion our countrymen have, for appearing great in London. This very learned gentleman, Doctor Jackson, methought affected a consequence, from calling for shrimp sauce, while the waiter (I saw) was laughing at him for his brogue, and appearance. I verily believe that, if a Coleraine man was to come here, he would bespeak nothing but Salmon, merely because it is the most expensive fish in London, though he has it at home for less than a farthing per pound.
14th. The first entire fair day, since I came to London. This day I called at Mr. Thrale's, where I was received with all respect by Mr. and Mrs. Thrale.
She is a very learned lady, and joyns to the charms of her own sex, the manly understanding of ours. The immensity of the Brewery astonished me. One large house contains, and cannot contain more, only four store vessels, each of which contains fifteen hundred barrels ; and in one of which one hundred persons have dined with ease. There are beside in other houses, thirty six of the same construction, but of one half the contents. The reason assigned me that porter is lighter on the stomach than other beer is, that it ferments much more, and is by that means more spiritualised. I was half suffocated by letting in my nose over the working floor, for I cannot call it vessel ; its area was much greater than many Irish castles. Dined alone, having refused an invitation from Mr. Boyd, in order to see Garrick, and I saw him, which I could not have done, if I had stayed half an hour longer, the pit being full at the first rush. Nor was I disappointed in my expectations, tho' I cannot say he came up to what I had heard of him, but all things appear worse by being forestalled by praises. His voice is husky, and his person not near so elegant, as either Dodd's or King's; but then his look, his eye, is very superior. Lear however was not I think a character, wherein he could display himself. King's Copper Captain was nothing like Brown's, yet he was very well in it.
15th. A fair day. Dined with Archdeacon Congreve, to whom Dr. S. Johnson was schoolfellow at Litchfield.' The Doctor had visited the Archdeacon yesterday, by which accident I learned this circumstance. N.B.—Westminster, round St. John's Church, is generally two stories high, very poor-like and deserted; it seems more wretched than the worst parts of Dublin, yet I have heard Englishmen in Dublin say, that the worst parts of London equalled the best of Dublin. In the evening I went with Dr. Sims, to hear Collins lecture upon Oratory, at the Devil Tavern; and the fellow displayed good enunciation, and good sense. His ridicule of the Scots, Welsh, and Irish, was passing well. Tho' all his observations were from common place, yet the manner they were delivered
gave them weight. Speaking of the Preacher who decrys action in the pulpit, I have shewn the sad effects of emphasis misplaced; are we therefore to use no emphasis ? and are we not to use action, because action (as I have shewn) may become monstrous, but certainly action is dumb language; else the dumb could not render themselves intelligible, nor could pictures speak. This, by the way, was not the lecturer's observation, but consequently they who slight action deprive themselves of half the force of expression, and that too perhaps the most valuable; for the language of words is artificial, of action, natural; and therefore the latter is universal, while the former is only particular.
16th. A fair day. Dined with Mr. Thrale along with Dr. Johnson, and Baretti. Baretti is a plain sensible man, who seems to know the world well. He talked to me of the invitation given him by the College of Dublin, but said it, (one hundred pounds a year, and rooms,) was not worth his acceptance; and if it had been, he said, in point of profit, still he would not have accepted it, for that now he could not live out of London. He had returned a few years ago to his own country, but he could not enjoy it; and he was obliged to return to London, to those connections he had been making for near thirty years past. He told me he had several families, with whom, both in town and country, he could go at any time, and spend a month : he is at this time on these terms at Mr. Thrale's, and he knows how to keep his ground. Talking as we were at tea of the magnitude of the beer vessels, he said there was one thing in Mr. Thrale's house, still more extraordinary; meaning his wife. She
1 Life, vol. iii. pp. 43, 44.