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a Gentleman-Rattler tapped his cane against the floor or the panneling of his pew. The signal was followed by the other members, and the interruption was continued, gradually increasing till there was such a fluttering of fans and a rattling of canes as to produce conviction on the mind of the preacher that the sooner he pronounced the word “ finally the sooner there would be peace in the church. It would not be very unreasonable to call such conduct unseemly - even vulgar. The Rattling Club, however, had very august precedent for their proceedings. In as far as the eccentric young Queen Christina of Sweden set the example, she may be fairly looked upon as the founder of the Rattlers. In her own royal chapel, as well as in any ordinary church where she happened to be present before she passed over to the Church of Rome, Christina used to give decent attention to the sermon till she thought she had taken as much as would do her good. At that point she would slightly rap with her fan on the top of the back of the chair which always stood before her own in the Chapel Royal, or on any hard substance which happened to be near her, when she was being sermon-vexed in other places. If the preacher neglected to attend to this signal, her Majesty declared open warfare against him, and rattled away with her fan with increasing intensity till she had silenced the pulpit, or (if the preacher continued to pour forth his volleys) till she raised the siege and retreated in vexation. Let us mention here, by the way, that in the early intolerant age of the Reformation which followed the intolerable era of Popery in England, people were compelled (under serious penalties) to go to church whether they were Reformers or Romanists. Many of the latter attended the Protestant service rather than pay the fine, and yet preserved their consistency; and you may fancy the mirth in some old country-house, where the solemn knight and his lady, and the laughing daughters with their haughty brothers, as soon as they heard the church-bells ring, proceeded to stuff wool into their ears, and then went to sermon with a joyous conviction of being unable to hear a word of it.
Let us now fancy ourselves standing in Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, in the year 1711. We are in front of the Land Bank, which had lately come to grief, and the street was not of the high estate it had been when lords smoked their pipes at its windows, and could smell the haycocks that were in St. Pancras Fields. Let us describe what took place. There was a going in and out, and a standing on the steps, and a gathering of increased numbers, and an universal cheerful gossiping, save on the part of Mr. Ferrers, who was dumb. Passengers stopped to look at these men, and were not slow to recognise the most eminent among the wellnigh five dozen standing or moving about the door, or going in and out. People from Drury Lane knew their neighbour Mr. Vertue, who was talking apart to a little knot of
listeners-engravers like himself. There was Michael Dahl, talking a good deal about his Swedish patroness Queen Christina, and still more about his claims to be director of an Academy of Painting. At these claims his hearers may be taken to have smiled, especially if their eye happened to fall on a well-dressed, courteous gentleman, who passed into the house bowing to all who greeted him. There was not a child in Queen Street who could not recognise in him the great Sir Godfrey Kneller. Sir Godfrey was probably greeted most warmly by Laguerre, who had glorified the knight's house at Wbitton with more simple taste than usually distinguished Laguerre. Thornhill stood near the latter, and looked on him with no more perceptible air of triumph than a modest artist could help, who had been substituted for the other in the task of painting the Life of St. Paul within the dome of the metropolitan church. Richardson too was there, and his colleagues respected him as an artist who, if Kneller and Dahl were but away, would be at the head of portraiture in England. A laughing group stood round Richardson ; be was narrating to them his own great story, which has been so often retold with other heroes of the tale : “The gentleman was singularly annoyed that his friend should declare that his Rubens was only a copy. He said to me: 'I will knock any man's brains out who will call it a copy! My dear Mr. Richardson, come down to my house, and give me your candid opinion !'” We may fancy that merry and wise Richardson tripping up the steps laughingly, stopping, perhaps, in the hall to talk with two gentlemen, brothers, one of whom exhibits to him, and to smiling Baptist Monnoyer, some paintings on fans which excite his generous unreserved admiration. It is Mr. Godfrey, behind whose marvellously-decorated fans-on which figured landscapes created to make love in the beauties of the time of Anne and the first two Georges used to feign to blush and hide confusion which they did not feel.
When these and others were assembled in the old bank, they numbered sixty-two. Every man came with his guinea ready for the treasurer. It was to be the annual subscription. Each member had also with him a list of twelve names, whom he voted for as directors for one year. Michael Dahl insinuated his right to be governor, but, saving Dahl's vote, Kneller was unanimously elected ; and with his quietly moving into the chair of that club, was the first Academy of Painting established in England.
The jealousy of Dahl, and a few individual affectations, marred some of the good that the Academy might have accomplished. In the second year, the Swedish favourite of Queen Anne and her husband, Prince George of Denmark, withdrew, because Kneller was still preferred to bim as governor or president. The Academy Club elected new members, with or without their consent. At that time there was a French painter in London, named Berchet. He had painted panels and ceilings in England from the time of the latter years of Charles the Second; and when De la Fosse was over here, he must have been proud, if he was not jealous, of his pupil. If there be an old painted panel yet in the house that was the Duke of Schomberg's, in Pall Mall, it is possibly a portion of the decoration of the house, and is, in such case, Berchet's work. The belles and gallants of the day flocked to Ranelagh, to gaze at the summerhouse so daintily tricked out by Berchet's delicate pencil. Now, he was painting small mythological pieces, in oils ; and the “ Academicians," deeming him worthy of being a member, elected him. Berchet (by letter) “excused himself, being not well and tysicky, and could not bear the smoke of the lamp.” His infirmity did not leave him, neither did his industry. He had just put his name at the foot of 'A Bacchanalian,' his last work, when the pencil dropped for ever from his hand, and Berchet's occupation was gone.
We pass from Art to Fashionable Eccentricity. When squires were squires in England, and came up to London to see a little life, a club was founded for them in St. James's Street, which was (and is) called Boodle's, but which was long familiarly known as · The Topboot and Worsted Stocking Club. To rival Boodle's dinners, or Almack's, was not a difficult matter, since they seem to have consisted of uncouth legs of mutton, roasted geese, and buttered apple-pies. Something better than mere squirearchy must have been among the members, for Gibbon was one, and a hundred years ago the great historian wrote his letters there. It was the poor cookery of Boodle's that probably gave rise to the 'Sçavoir Vivre Club,' the palates of whose members could not bear, nor their stomachs digest, the mutton, geese, and apple-pies of the club, which still exists. The 'Sçavoir Vivre showed that they knew how to live, by composing or importing new dishes, and they showed that they knew how to dress, by creating the most eccentric of costumes. Among their imported dishes was maccaroni. It became such a favourite dish at the club, and was so invariably brought to table, that the clubbists themselves became celebrated as Maccaronies.' In dress they wore a toy cocked hat, gold-laced, buttoned and tasseled over hair fashioned into a foretop above the head, side-curls, and a clubbed tail. Tight striped silk breeches, and an equally tight coat and waistcoat, kept them together. Their tasseled canes were as long as those still carried by state footmen when they ride behind a carriage going to court on a drawingroom day. Like Tiddy Bob, they had a watch in each fob, with cablechains, and a pound of seals at the end of them. Their white neckcloths displayed a front bow as large as a cauliflower; and they daintily walked about in white silk stockings and diamond-buckled shoes, in all weathers. In any sense, for a Maccaronie to wear a greatcoat
was to confess his unworthiness of being a member of the august brotherhood. As equestrians, they figured in the park on little ponies, and looked as if they lacked strength to get on anything higher. The female Maccaronies carried heads top-heavy with hair of their own and other peoples—hat, feathers, and a world of knicknackery. Their dress clung almost as closely to the body as the gentlemen's to theirs. But they dragged after them a long, long gold-embroidered train, the very thought of which reminds us of the poet's line:
“Hæc nunc auratà cyclade verret humum.” The Maccaronies and the Maccaroniesses, as they were called, turned days, nights, hours, and seasons, topsy-turvy; and the former, to show that they were men, ran foot-races on Sundays in Kensington Gardens, very lightly clad, and putting in peril their little lives, by exhaustion of the little breath they carried in their little bodies. Having established maccaroni as a dish to be thenceforward known in every household of taste, they died out, and men knew them no more.
The Eccentrics entered into the present century. The Keep-theLine Club was one of the brilliant, fashionable, and shortlived clubs of the first quarter of the present century. Its members consisted of wits, artists, actors, authors, gentlemen, and peers. It had two purposes-enjoyment and preservation of temper, by putting it to the hardest trials. One of the rules was, that whenever a member was insulted by another, however grossly, the insulted person should rise and offer his best thanks to the offender. A witty fellow might here find good opportunity for his wit, if he only knew how to avail himself of opportunity. Another rule imposed a fine of a dozen of claret to the club, on the member who published any literary composition of his own.
Samuel Rogers, Topham, Miles Peter Andrews, Merry, Morton, Reynolds, Fitzgerald, Horace Smith, Boaden, Kenney, and others, paid the fine willingly whenever it was fairly due. The penalty was once demanded of Wilson (the surgeon), and of John Tufton. The first had issued an advertisement announcing a course of lectures; Tofton had addressed an electioneering handbill to his constituents. Both publications were pronounced to be literary. The authors had not only to pay the penalty in claret, but to profess their unfeigned delight at its being imposed on them.
While the Keep-the-Line loved fun, others loved athletics. The Mary-le-bone Cricket Club of the olden days did not at all resemble what it afterwards became when known as Lord's. In its early age, there was as much difficulty in passing a ballot successfully, as in the most exclusive clubs of the present day. The members included players from every degree in the peerage, members of the House of Commons, and gentlemen of large landed property. The costume of the club was skyblue! and their chief object-even before cricketing
was the performance of practical jokes. One of the latter was played by the bacchanalian Duke of Richmond on Fred Reynolds the dramatist. The Duke put Reynolds on horseback, and rode with him to a match on Moulsey Hurst. The steed ridden by Reynolds was from Astley's, and the Duke led the way by where a body of soldiers was exercising with gun, drom, and trumpet. The circus war-horse immediately became dramatic, going through a course of unparalleled performances, which he concluded by flinging his skyblue rider. But there were, besides the practical jokers, serious and accomplished cricketers. For bowling, David Harris; for batting, Tom Walker; and for wicket-keeping, sharp-eyed Hammond, had no equal except in Lord Frederick Beauclerc, who excelled each in his speciality, and could beat everybody at all three.
In those days, the Mary-le-bone Club had no particular ground. From May to September they moved from place to place, encamping here and bivouacking there by day, and taking their ease in their inn by night. Hospitality varied this course very pleasantly. Sir Horace Mann, the King of Cricket, kept open house for the club at his sent near Maidstone, or at his marine residence at Margate. This hospitality did not cause him to be respected by the practical jokers. Some of the jokes lacked decency; and we do not see much fun in the emptying a man's box of its snuff and filling it with hellebore, to make him sneeze a hundred times for one! It was a rule that no offence was to be taken at the roughest of those jokes, but it was not always in the power of a man to seem delighted at them. We quite sympathize with Miles Peter Andrews, who, being asked why he looked serious when everybody was laughing loudly at a jest perpetrated by the most convivial of the members, answered—“My dear sir, I can see no fun in a man who owes me three guineas !"
The hospitality of Mann to the club was, if possible, exceeded by that of Richard Leigh, whose welcomes to the members at Wilmington were feudal in their sumptuousness. His good taste and liberality were manifested in many ways. His musical gatherings were exquisite treats. His love for athletic sports was shown in his zeal at getting up cricket-matches. The eccentric Duchess of Gordon, who had married two dukes and a marquis to her three daughters, once said aloud to Richard Leigh: “I am the first, but you are the second match-maker in England, Mr. Leigh.”
One of the droller incidents of the club-matches was long remembered. Reynolds, who was but an amateur, was one day called upon to go in for a member who was too ill to play. He went to the wicket with a feeling of fright, as if he stood in front of a loaded pistol levelled at him, when he saw that the formidable Harris was about to bowl. In his own words, he says: “My terrors were so much increased, by the mock pity and sympatby of Hammond, Beldam, and