« PreviousContinue »
Lord Chesterfield's, and the Duke of Bedford's. There is nothing in the latter worth looking at, but in Lord Chesterfield's everything is admirable. That elegance, of which his Lordship was such an advocate, and so shining an example, pervades the whole. The staircase. noble, and of the finest white inarble. The rooms highly finished, and rather beautiful than magnificent. The effect of looking glass panels, placed opposite to the windows of the musick room, was admirable; it apparently doubled the real dimension, and gave a sweet reflected view of Stanhope Street and Hyde Park. There was a Madona and sleeping Christ, from Guido, admirable, and finely copied by a master whom I forget. There was also a good Rubens, the subject, “ Joseph, Virgin, and Child.” Dined as umbra to Weld and Mosse with a citizen, but I'll do so no more, for there is no entertainment but meat and drink with that class of people.
APRIL 22nd. Rainy morning, the air still harsh, showery the rest of the day. Went to Cheltsea, and saw the Hospital, and tho' I had been at Ranelagh Garden, I did not know it was at Cheltsea.
23rd. Rainy almost all day, hail and thunder about three at Hampton Court. The gardens must hurt any delicate feelings with their semi-circular fish pond on the bank of the Thames. The Palace presents two suits of rooms, in which are exhibited a few good pictnres, (William the 3rd, by Godfrey Kneller; the Spanish Embassadors, &c.,) among several ordinary things, some choice tapestrys, viz., the battles of Alexander from Le Brun, and Diogenes in his tub visited by Alexander, from Salvator Rosa; the Hampton Court Beauties, by Kneller, &c. 24th. Rainy morning. Sat an hour with Dr. Johnson about
He was at breakfast with a Pindar in his hand, and after saluting me with great cordiality, he, after whistling in his way over Pindar, layed the book down, and then told me he had seen my Lord Primate at Sir Joshua's, and “I believe,” says he, “ I have not recommended myself much to him, for I differed widely in opinions from him, yet I hear he is doing good things in Ireland.” I mentioned Skelton to him as a man of strong imagination, and told him the story of his selling his library for the support of the poor. He seemed much affected by it, and then fell a rowling and muttering to himself, and I could hear him plainly say after several minutes pause from conversation, “Skelton is a great good man.” He then said, “I purpose reading his
Ophiomachis,' for I have never seen anything of his, but some allegoric pieces which I thought very well of.” He told me he had seen Delany when he was in every sense gravis annis, “but he was [an] able man,” says he, “his ‘Revelation examined with candour' was well received, and I have seen an irtroductory preface to a second edition of one of his books, which was the finest thing I ever read in the declamatory way."
He asked me whether Clayton was an English or Irish man.
“ He endeavoured to raise a hissy among you,” says he, “but without effect I believe.” I told him one effect in the case of the parish clerks. His indignation was prodigious. Aye,” says he,
“ these are the effects of heretical notions upon vulgar minds.”
25th. Fair and softer. Dined in Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, with Mr. Portis, an Irishman, who gave plenty of claret.
26th. Warm, viewed the exhibition by the artists, in the Strand, which is far inferior to that by the Royal Academy, Pallmall, in every thing, even in landskips and horses.
27th. Warın, or rather hot to the degree of astonishment with the folks here. Re-visited the exhibition of the Royal Academy, and am confirmed in my opinion of the grand manner of Barry’s “ Venus lamenting over Adonis.” Barret's landskips had escaped me on Tuesday, but they are superlative; Ashford copys and rivals Roberts. Dined at Mr. Weld's, Clements' Inn, where I for the first time saw Kelly the Poet, obstinately refused to go with Day to the masquerade, took leave, &c.
28th. Fair, and extremely hot for the season; set off at six from the New Church, Strand. Met several returning from the masquerade, and a lady who had been there, came piping hot in the machine to near Newbery or Spinomland, in Berkshire, where we lay, and near that town I saw turf bog, and turf cut thereon. N.B.-I saw turf also at Reading, where we dined. The country is very rich from London to this place, viz., Spinomland, yet it is so level that there is scarce a good prospect the whole way, unless Cleveden, near Maidenhead bridge, may be so called. Quere, is this place the proud alcove of Shrewsbury and love?
29th. Fair, but not so warm as yesterday, unless perhaps the bleakness of Marlborough Downs communicated itself to the air. From near Newbury to near Cottenham,' a space of near
' Qu. Chippenham ?—Editor.
thirty miles, the country is very bare of trees and herbage, it is the worst land I have seen in England, and it is certainly fuller of beggars ; for miles together the coach was pursued by them, from two to nine at a time, almost all of them children. They are more importunate than in Ireland, or even Wales.
30th. [Bath.] Heavy rain in the morning. Went to the Abbey Church, and heard a sorry discourse wretchedly delivered. Went to the Pump Room, where I met Lady Molyneux, who asked me to dinner, where I spent the pleasantest day since I came to England; for there were five or six lively Irish girls who sung and danced, and did every thing but Women are certainly more envious than men, or at least they discover it upon more trifling occasions, and they cannot bear with patience that one of their party should obtain a preference of attention; this was thoroughly exemplified this day, one of these who was a pretty little coqnet, went home after dinner to dress for the rooms, and her colour was certainly altered on returning for tea; they all fell into a titter, and one of them (who was herself painted as I conceived,) cryed out, “heavens, look at her cheeks.” If she blushed it could not be seen, but all her varnishing was to no purpose, for she met not that admiration she expected, and she came back to supper so cross and peevish, that there was no speaking to her now, as after dinner. She
sung a song of Cupid knocking at the door, which was as chaste in the language as it was bawdy in the idea, and the truckle bed is not more so, and tủough the girls, and even matrons, were kicking with laughter, she sung on with such a composed gravity, as is the just character of true humour. It is amazing what pleasure women find in kissing each other, for they do smack astonishingly.
May 1st. Fair, I believe, tho' I heard there was rain. I went to Spring Gardens in the morning, and to the ball at the new rooms in the evening. It was very splendid, for the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland were expected, but the Duke having sprained his leg at the last did not come, but there was the Duke and Duchess of Grafton, and Lady Georgina Fitz Roy, so like the pictures of Charles the 2nd, that every body cognised the likeness, when I pointed it out to them. Lord Mahon and his Lady, Lord Chatham's daughter. The beauties were Miss Haywood, the most exquisitely pretty, for a fair complexion I
She saw me admire, and she would even come and sit beside me, yet so innocently sweet was her manner, that it seemed angelic. Miss Wroughton, that I think is the name, was rather the brunette beauty, but she discovered such sensibility of mind, and had so much beauty, that I fancy upon acquaintance, I should prefer her to Miss Haywood. Miss Mackenzy, niece to Lord Galway, was a most elegant figure, but had not that sweetness of countenance the two charming English girls possessed, yet her air and mien was in a grander gusto. Miss Waller, from Ireland, was taller, but not to be compared in my eye, to any of the three, yet she is preferred by some. There were four men in the room from one to four inches taller than myself, but whether they were English, Irish, or Scotch, I know not. N.B.--Mrs. Hodges, Miss Luttrell, and Lord Thomas Clinton were there, and Mr. Garrie, greater than all, to say nothing of Billy Madden, who some time ago, being put in the chair to compromise some dispute between the room partys, and finding them difficult to be prevailed on, he got up and danced them a hornpipe, which put them at once into a good temper.
May 2nd. Fair and hot; walked out to see Mrs. Anderson, she seems, poor woman, oppressed with affliction. Dined with Larman, where I met a Mr. Goddard, a country clergyman, very like Dean Langton, who would scarce believe me that I was an Irishman ; and in the evening I walked with him to see the baths, hospital, Minerva's head, &c., which he was desirous I should see before I left Bath. I find it would be an easy matter to scrape up acquaintances enow here, for I was asked to dinner for the whole week, so that I was nearly tempted to stay for at least another week.
May 3rd. A very light rain about eight o'clock ; came to Bristol, from thence to the Hot Wells. The waters have little of the mineral taste, and nothing so warm as those of Bath. By the
way, Bath itself is not so strong, at least of the sulphur, as Bellnassuttock or Swadlinbar; but Clifton, and about the Well is romantically pretty for England, all of which, except about Bath and Bristol, are quite level. Around Bath are much steeper bills than about Ballynure, but the hills and the valleys also are much larger. The steeples of Bristol are elegant, inodern, gothic. The cloysters round the College, i.e., I
suppose the Collegiate Church (now the Cathedral,) are in part remaining, and the College gate is in grand style. College Green is pleasant, and the view of Clifton and the environs is very fine, but not in so superlative a degree as I have heard represented. May 4th. Set off from Bristol; the morning so foggy I could not see the country till we came to Newport, the breakfast stage. The country from thence to Gloucester is a cold, wet, clay, almost all under grazing, and tho' well planted, yet it is a dreary tract, with few houses, and those like waste offices : but from Gloucester to Tewksbury the looks of the country improve; and from Tewkesbury to Worcester is by far the most beautiful I have seen in England. It is not like the country round London, a dead flat; nor like that round Bath, all hill and dale; but there is a wide plain along the banks of that fine river, the Severn, and rising hills interspersed, till at length the prospect terminates in mountains of a very varied outline, so that here we have the first, second, and third distances, essential to all first rate landskips. Worcester is a pleasant looking town or rather city, with twelve or thirteen churches, besides the meeting houses of non-conformists. Here is a great manufactory of gloves, and another of carpeting ; it seems a thriving town, not like Gloucester, which is evidently declining; there being therein but six churches now, whereas there were once twelve, but the Cathedral or College as they call it, is magnificently beautiful; the gothic ornaments are of the airiest sort, but if it be the lightest church without, it is the heaviest within I ever saw ; the cylindrical pillars in the body of the church, are massive beyond all proportion. I cannot close this day's article, without observing, that the city of Bristol afforded fewer pretty women than I could have expected, nay, in truth, they all seemed rather ordinary; whereas in Tewksbury and Worcester the people are in general comely, they nearest answer the descriptions Mr. Addison, or any other fond Englishman, gives of his own country. Here also I observe the greatest (indeed the only) courtesy I have met with from the vermin of Inns, all which however, I attribute to the army which constantly lyes here, and to the officers who (I see) frequent this house. The tone of servitude was here so submissive, so unlike England, and so like Ireland, that I was driven to account for it in the manner I have done, like causes, like effects. N.B.—At Bristol this morning, when a passenger made to go into the coach, the boot-catch took a hold of the man's hand, saying, you sha'nt open that door; then he leaned his back against the door, telling him he must wait till the clock hath struck four.