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Mrs. Adams to Lucy Cranch-A London "Rout."
up with her chemise. This is one of the doctor's most intimate friends, with whom he dines once in every week, and she with him. She is rich, and is my near neighbor; but I have not yet visited her. Thus, you see, my dear, that manners differ exceedingly in different countries. I hope, however, to find amongst the French ladies manners more consistent with my ideas of decency, or I shall be a mere recluse.
You must write to me and let me know all about you; marriages, births, and preferments, every thing you can think of. Give my respects to the Germantown family; I shall begin to get letters for them by the next vessel. Good night. Believe me, Your most affectionate aunt,
XXXVI.--A LONDON "ROUT."
Mrs. Adams to Mrs. Cranch.
LONDON, April 6th, 1786.
MY DEAR SISTER: Although I was at a stupid rout at the Swedish Minister's last evening, I got home about twelve, and rose early this morning to get a few things ready to send out by Lyde. When a body has attended one of these parties you know the whole of the entertainment. There were about two hundred persons present last evening. Three large rooms full of card-tables; the moment the ceremony of courtesying is past, the lady of the house asks you, "Pray, what is your game; whist, cabbage, or commerce?" And then the next thing is to hunt round the room for a set to make a party; and, as the company are coming and going from eight till two in the morning, you may suppose she has enough to employ her from room
Mrs. Adams to Lucy Cranch-A London "Rout."
The lady and her daughter last night were almost fatigued to death, for they had been out the night before till morning, and were toiling at pleasure for seven hours, in which time they scarcely sat down. I went with a determination not to play, but could not get off; so I was set down to a table with three perfect strangers, and the lady who was against me stated the game at half a guinea apiece. I told her I thought it full high; but I knew she designed to win, so I said no more, but expected to lose. It, however, happened otherwise; I won four games of her. I then paid for the cards, which is the custom here, and left her to attack others; which she did at three other tables, where she amply made up her loss. In short, she was an old experienced hand, and it was the luck of the cards rather than skill, though I have usually been fortunate, as it is termed; but I never play when I can possibly avoid it, for I have not conquered the disagreeable feeling of receiving money for play. But such a set of gamblers as the ladies here are! and such a life as they lead! Good Heavens! were reasonable beings made for this? I will come and shelter myself in America from this scene of dissipation, and upbraid me whenever I introduce the like amongst you. Yet here, you cannot live with any character or consequence unless you give in some measure into the
Mr. Adams is gone to accompany Mr. Jefferson into the country, to some of the most celebrated gardens. This is the first tour he has made since I came abroad; since which time we have lived longer unseparated than we have ever done since we were married. Adieu. Your sister,
Mrs. Barbauld to Miss Taylor-Life at the Wells. Donkey Riding, Etc.
XXXVII.-LIFE AT THE WELLS-DONKEY RIDING, &c.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS, Aug. 7th, 1804.
I may call you dear Susan, may not I? dear Susan, may not I? if not better, yet more familiarly and at my ease under that appellation than under the more formal one of Miss Taylor, though you have now a train to your gown, and are, I suppose, at Norwich invested with all the rights of womanhood. I have many things to thank you for; in the first place for a charming letter, which has both amused and delighted us. In the next place I have to thank you for a very elegant veil, which is very beautiful in itself, and receives great additional value from being the work of your ingenious fingers. I have brought it here to parade with upon the Pantiles, being much the smartest part of my dress. O that you were here, Susan, to exhibit upon a donky! I cannot tell whether my orthography is right, but a donky is the monture in high fashion here; and I assure you, when covered with blue housings and sleek, it makes no bad figure; I mean a lady, if an elegant woman, makes no bad figure upon it, with a little boy or girl behind, who carries a switch, meant to admonish the animal, from time to time, that he is hired to walk on, and not to stand still. The ass is much better adapted than the horse to show off a lady; for this reason, which may perhaps not have occurred to you, that her beauty is not so likely to be eclipsed; for you must know that many philosophers, amongst whom is, are decidedly of opinion that a fine horse is a much finer animal than a fine woman; but I have not yet heard such a preference asserted in favor of the ass -not our English asses at least-a fine Spanish one, or a zebra perhaps.
Lord Byron to Mr. Murray—An Italian Lady and Sir Humphrey Davy.
It is the way to subscribe for every thing here to the library, etc.; and among other things, we were asked on the Pantiles to subscribe for eating fruit, as we pass backwards and forwards. "How much?" Half a crown." "But for how long a time?" "As long as you please.” "But I should soon
eat half a crown's worth of fruit."
"O, you are upon honor."
There are pleasant walks on the hills here, and picturesque views of the town, which, like Bath, is seen to advantage by lying in a hollow. It bears the marks of having been long a place of resort, from the number of good and rather old built houses, all let for lodgings; and shady walks and groves of old growth. The sides of many of the houses are covered with tiles; but the Pantiles, which you may suppose I saw with some interest, are now paved with freestone.
We were interested in your account of Cambridge, and glad you saw not only buildings but men. With a mind prepared as yours is, how much pleasure have you to enjoy from seeing! That all your improvements may produce you pleasure, and all your pleasures tend to improvement, is the wish of,
Your ever affectionate friend,
XXXVIII.—AN ITALIAN LADY AND SIR HUMPHREY DAVY.
Lord Byron to Mr. Murray.
RAVENNA, May 8th, 1820. Sir Humphrey Davy was here last fortnight, and I was in his company in the house of a very pretty Italian lady of rank, who, by the way of displaying her learning in presence of the great chemist, then describing his fourteenth ascension of Mount Vesuvius, asked "if there was not a similar volcano in
Dr. Chalmers to his Daughter-Presentation of Scotch Commissioners to William IV.
Ireland?" My only notion of an Irish volcano consisted of the Lake of Killarney, which I naturally conceived her to mean ; but on second thoughts, I divined she alluded to Iceland and to Hecla, though she sustained her volcanic topography for some time with all the amiable pertinacity of "the feminine." She soon after turned to me, and asked me various questions about Sir Humphrey's philosophy; and I explained as well as an oracle his skill in gasen safety-lamps, and ungluing the Pompeian MSS. "But what do you call him," said she. "A great chemist," quoth I. "What can he do?" repeated the lady. "Almost any thing,” said I. "Oh, then, mio caro, pray beg him to give me something to dye my eyebrows black. I have tried a thousand things, and the colors all come off, and besides, they don't grow; can't he invent something to make them grow?" All this with the greatest earnestness, and what you will be surprised at, she is neither ignorant nor a fool, but really well educated and clever. But they speak like children when first out of their convents; and after all, this is better than an English bluestocking.
I did not tell Sir Humphrey of this last piece of philosophy, not knowing how he might take it. Davy was much taken with Ravenna, and the primitive Italianism of the people, who are unused to foreigners-but he only stayed a day.
XXXIX.-PRESENTATION OF THE SCOTCH COMMISSIONERS TO WILLIAM IV.
Dr. Chalmers to His Daughter.
LONDON, October 28th, 1830. MY DEAR MARGARET : This is the big and busy day. Got up at seven. Went out to order the loan of a court hat, which