cious nature, — all, especially, revolted the even and polished
and quiescent character of my maternal parent. The little ex-
travagances of my childhood seemed to her pure and inexperi-
enced mind the crimes of a heart naturally distorted and evil ;
my jesting vein, which, though it never, even in the wanton-
ness of youth, attacked the substances of good, seldom respected
its semblances and its forms, she considered as the effusions of
malignity; and even the bursts of love, kindness, and benev-
olence, which were by no means unfrequent in my wild and
motley character, were so foreign to her stillness of tempera-
ment that they only revolted her by their violence, instead of
affecting her by their warmth.
ISTor did she like me the better for the mutual understand-
ing between my uncle and myself. On the contrary, shocked
by the idle and gay turn of the knight's conversation, the
frivolities of his mind, and his heretical disregard for the
forms of the religious sect which she so zealously espoused,
she was utterly insensible to the points which redeemed and
ennobled his sterling and generous character ; utterly obtuse
to his warmth of heart, — his overflowing kindness of disposi-
tion, — his charity, — his high honour, — his justice of princi-
ple, that nothing save benevolence could, warp, — and the
shrewd, penetrating sense, which, though often clouded, by
foibles and. humorous eccentricity, still made the stratum of
his intellectual composition. Nevertheless, despite her pre-
possessions against us both, there was in her temper some-
thing so gentle, meek, and unupbraiding, that even the sense
of injustice lost its sting, and one could not help loving the
softness of her character, while one was most chilled by its
frigidity. Anger, hope, fear, the faintest breath or sign of
passion, never seemed to stir the breezeless languor of her
feelings ; and quiet was so inseparable from her image that I
have almost thought, like that people described by Herodotus,
her very sleep could never be disturbed by dreams.
Yes ! how fondly, how tenderly I loved her ! What tears,
secret but deep, bitter but unreproaching, have I retired to
shed, when I caught her cold and unaffectionate glance!
How (unnoticed and uncared for) have I watched and prayed
and wept without her door when a transitory sickness or
suffering detained her within ; and how, when stretched my-
self upon the feverish bed to which my early weakness of
frame often condemned me, — how have I counted the mo-
ments to her punctilious and brief visit, and started as I
caught her footstep, and felt my heart leap within me as she
approached! and then, as I heard her cold tone and looked
upon her unmoved face, how bitterly have I turned away with
all that repressed and crushed affection which was construed
into sullenness or disrespect! mighty and enduring force
of early associations, that almost seems, in its unconquerable
strength, to partake of an innate prepossession, that binds
the son to the mother who concealed him in her womb and
purchased life for him with the travail of death ! — fountain
of filial love, which coldness cannot freeze, nor injustice em-
bitter, nor pride divert into fresh channels, nor time, and the
hot suns of our toiling manhood, exhaust, — even at this mo-
ment, how livingly do you gush upon my heart, and water
with your divine waves the memories that yet flourish amidst
the sterility of years !
I approached the apartments appropriated to my mother : I
knocked at her door; one of her women admitted me. The
Countess was sitting on a high-backed chair, curiously
adorned with tapestry. Her feet, which were remarkable
for their beauty, were upon a velvet cushion; three hand-
maids stood round her, and she herself was busily employed
in a piece of delicate embroidery, an art in which she emi-
'' The Count, Madam ! " said the woman who had admitted
me, placing a chair beside my mother, and then retiring to
join her sister maidens.
"Good day to you, my son," said the Countess, lifting her
eyes for a moment, and then dropping them again upon her
" I have come to seek you, dearest mother, as I know not,
if, among the crowd of guests and amusements which sur-
round us, I shall enjoy another opportunity of having a pri-
vate conversation with you: will it please you to dismiss your
women ? "
My mother again lifted up her eyes. ''And why, my son ?
surely there can be nothing between us which requires their
absence ; what is your reason ? "
"I leave you to-morrow, Madam: is it strange that a son
should wish to see his mother alone before his departure ? "
"By no means, Morton; but your absence will not be very
long, will it ? "
"Forgive my importunity, dear Mother; but will you dis-
miss your attendants ? "
"If you wish it, certainly; but I dislike feeling alone,
especially in these large rooms; nor did I think being un-
attended quite consistent with our rank: however, I never
contradict you, my son," and the Countess directed her
women to wait in the anteroom.
" Well, Morton, what is your wish ? "
"Only to bid you farewell, and to ask if London contains
nothing which you will commission me to obtain for you ?"
The Countess again raised her eyes from her work. "I
am greatly obliged to you, my dear son; this is a very deli-
cate attention on your part. I am informed that stomacliers
are worn a thought less pointed than they were. I care not,
you well know, for such vanities; but respect for the mem-
ory of your illustrious father renders me desirous to retain a
seemly appearance to the world, and my women shall give
you written instructions thereon to Madame Tourville; she
lives in St. James's Street, and is the only person to be em-
ployed in these matters. She is a woman who has known
misfortune, and appreciates the sorrowful and subdued tastes
of those whom an exalted station has not preserved from like
afflictions. So you go to-morrow : will you get me the scis-
sors ? They are on the ivory table yonder. When do you
return ? "
" Perhaps never ! " said I, abruptly.
" iSTever, Morton ; how singular — why ? "
"I may join the army, and be killed."
" I hope not. Dear, how cold it is : will you shut the win-
dow ? pray forgive my troubling you, but you ivould send
away the women. Join the army, you say ? It is a very dan-
gerous profession; your poor father might be alive now but
for having embraced it; nevertheless, in a righteous cause,
under the Lord of Hosts, there is great glory to be obtained
beneath its banners. Alas, however, for its private evils!
alas, for the orphan and the widow! You will be sure, my
dear son, to give the note to Madame Tourville herself ? Her
assistants have not her knowledge of my misfortunes, nor
indeed of my exact proportions ; and at my age, and in my
desolate state, I would fain be decorous in these things, —
and that reminds me of dinner. Have you aught else to say,
Morton ? "
"Yes!" said I, suppressing my emotions, "yes, Mother!
do bestow on me one warm wish, one kind word, before we
part: see, — I kneel for your blessing, — will you not give it
"Bless you, my child, — bless you! look you now; I have
dropped my needle ! "
I rose hastily, bowed profoundly (my mother returned the
courtesy with the grace peculiar to herself), and withdrew.
I hurried into the great drawing-room, found Lady Keedle-
ham alone, rushed out in despair, encountered the Lady Has-|
selton, and coquetted with her the rest of the evening. Vain
hope! to forget one's real feelings by pretending those one
The next morning, then, after suitable adieux to all (Gerald
excepted) whom I left behind; after some tears too from my
uncle, which, had it not been for the presence of the Lady
Hasselton, I could have returned with interest; and after a
long caress to his dog Fonto, which now, in parting with that
dear old man, seemed to me as dog never seemed before, I
hurried into the Beauty's carriage, bade farewell forever to
the Rubicon of Life, and commenced my career of manhood
and citizenship by learning, under the tuition of the prettiest
coquette of her time, the dignified duties of a Court Gallant
and a Town Beau.
THE HERO IN LONDON. ^- PLEASURE IS OFTEN THE SHORTEST,
AS IT IS THE EARLIEST ROAD TO WISDOM, AND WE MAY
SAY OF THE WORLD WHAT ZEAL-OF-THE-LAND-BUSY SAYS
OF THE PIG-BOOTH, " WE ESCAPE SO MUCH OF THE OTHER
VANITIES BY OUR l^ARLY ENTERING."
It had, when I first went to town, just become the fashion
for young men of fortune to keep house, and to give their
bachelor establishments the importance hitherto reserved for
the household of a Benedict.
Let the reader figure to himself a suite of apartments, mag-
nificently furnished, in the vicinity of the court. An ante-
room is crowded with divers persons, all messengers in the
various negotiations of pleasure. There, a French valet, —
that inestimable valet, Jean Desmarais, — sitting over a small
fire, was watching the operations of a coffee-pot, and convers-
ing, in a mutilated attempt at the language of our nation,
though with the enviable fluency of his own, with the various
loiterers who were beguiling the hours they were obliged to
wait for an audience of the master himself, by laughing at
the master's Gallic representative. There stood a tailor with
his books of patterns just imported from Paris, — that modern
Prometheus, who makes a man what he is ! Next to him a
tall, gaunt fellow, in a coat covered with tarnished lace, a
night-cap wig, and a large whip in his hands, comes to vouch
for the pedigree and excellence of the three horses he intends
to dispose of, out of pure love and amity for tlie buyer. By
the window stood a thin starveling poet, who, like the gram-
marian of Cos, might have put lead in his pockets to prevent
being blown away, had he not, with a more paternal precau-
tion, put so much in his works that he had left none to spare.
Excellent trick of the times, when ten guineas can purchase
every virtue under the sun, and when an author thinks to
vindicate the sins of his book by proving the admirable quali-
ties of the paragon to whom it is dedicated. ^ There with an
air of supercilious contempt upon his smooth cheeks, a page,
in purple and silver, sat upon the table, swinging his legs to
and fro, and big with all the reflected importance of a billet-
doux. There stood the pert haberdasher, with his box of sil-
ver-fringed gloves, and lace which Diana might have worn.
At that time there was indeed no enemy to female chastity
like the former article of man-millinery: the delicate white-
ness of the glove, the starry splendour of the fringe, were ir-
resistible, and the fair Adorna, in poor Lee's tragedy of
"Caesar Borgia," is far from the only lady who has been
killed by a pair of gloves.
Next to the haberdasher, dingy and dull of aspect, a book-
hunter bent beneath the load of old works gathered from stall
and shed, and about to be re-sold according to the price ex-
acted from all literary gallants who affect to unite the fine
gentleman with the profound scholar. A little girl, whose
brazen face and voluble tongue betrayed the growth of her
intellectual faculties, leaned against the wainscot, and re-
peated, in the anteroom, the tart repartees which her mis-
tress (the most celebrated actress of the day) uttered on the
stage ; while a stout, sturdy, bull-headed gentleman, in a gray
surtout and a black wig, mingled with the various voices of
the motley group the gentle phrases of Hockley-in-the-Hole,
from which place of polite merriment he came charged with
a message of invitation. "While such were the inmates of the
anteroom, what picture shall we draw of the salon and its
1 Thank Heaven, for the honour of literature, nous avons change tout
cela ! — Ed.
A table was covered with books, a couple of fencing foils, a
woman's mask, and a profusion of letters; a scarlet cloak,
richly laced, hung over, trailing on the ground. Upon a slab
of marble lay a hat, looped with diamonds, a sword, and a
lady's lute. Extended upon a sofa, loosely robed in a dress-
ing-gown of black velvet, his shirt collar unbuttoned, his
stockings ungartered, his own hair (undressed and released
for a brief interval from the false locks universally worn)
waving from his forehead in short yet dishevelled curls, his
whole appearance stamped with the morning negligence which
usually follows midnight dissipation, lay a young man of
about nineteen years. His features were neither handsome
nor ill-favoured, and his stature was small, slight, and some-
what insignificant, but not, perhaps, ill-formed either for ac-
tive enterprise or for muscular effort. Such, reader, is the
picture of the young prodigal who occupied the apartments I
have described, and such (though somewhat flattered by par-
tiality) is a portrait of Morton Devereux, six months after
his arrival in town.
The door was suddenly thrown open with that unhesitating
rudeness by which our friends think it necessary to signify
the extent of their familiarity; and a young man of about
eight-and-twenty, richly dressed, and of a countenance in
which a dissipated nonchalance and an aristocratic hauteur
seemed to struggle for mastery, abruptly entered.
''What! ho, my noble royster," cried he, flinging himself
upon a chair, "still suifering from St. John's Burgundy!
Fie, fie, upon your apprenticeship ! — why, before I had served
half your time, I could take my three bottles as easily as the
sea took the good ship ' Revolution, ' swallow them down with
a gulp, and never show the least sign of them the next
morning ! "
" I really believe you, most magnanimous Tarleton. Provi-
dence gives to each of its creatures different favours, — to one
wit, to the other a capacity for drinking. A thousand pities
that they are never united ! "
"So bitter, Count! — ah, what will ever cure you of
sarcasm ? "
"A wise man by conversation, or fools by satiety."
" Well, I dare say that is witty enough, but I never admire
fine things of a morning. I like letting my faculties live till
night in a deshabille; let us talk easily and sillily of the
affairs of the day. Imprimis, will you stroll to the New Ex-
change ? There is a black eye there that measures out ribbons,
and my green ones long to flirt with it."
"With all my heart — and in return you shall accompany
me to Master Powell's puppet-show."
" You speak as wisely as Solomon himself in the puppet-
show. I own that I love that sight : 't is a pleasure to the
littleness of human nature to see great things abased by mim-
icry; kings moved by bobbins, and the pomps of the earth
personated by Punch."
"But how do you like sharing the mirth of the ground-
lings, the filthy plebeians, and letting them see how petty are
those distinctions which you value so highly, by showing
them how heartily you can laugh at such distinctions your-
self ? Allow, my superb Coriolanus, that one purchases pride
by the loss of consistency."
"Ah, Devereux, you poison my enjoyment by the mere word
'plebeian ' ! Oh, what a beastly thing is a common person! —
a shape of the trodden clay without any alloy ; a compound of
dirty clothes, bacon breaths, villanous smells, beggarly cow-
ardice, and cattish ferocity. Pah, Devereux! rub civet on
the very thought ! "
" Yet they will laugh to-day at the same things you will,
and consequently there would be a most flattering congeni-
ality between you. Emotion, whether of ridicule, anger, or
sorrow ; whether raised at a puppet-show, a funeral, or a bat-
tle, — is your grandest of levellers. The man who would be
always superior should be always apathetic."
"Oracular, as usual. Count, — but, hark, the clock gives
tongue. One, by the Lord! — will you not dress ? "
And I rose and dressed. We passed through the anteroom;
my attendant assistants in the art of wasting money drew up
in a row.
" Pardon me, gentlemen, " said I (" gentlemen, indeed ! "
cried Tarleton), "for keeping you so long, Mr. Snivelship,
your waistcoats are exquisite : favour me by conversing with
my valet on the width of the lace for my liveries ; he has my
instructions. Mr. Jockelton, your horses shall be tried to-
morrow at one. Ay, Mr. Rymer, I beg you a thousand par-
dons ; I beseech you to forgive the ignorance of my rascals in
suffering a gentleman of your merit to remain for a moment
unattended to. I have read your ode; it is splendid, — the
ease of Horace with the fire of Pindar ; your Pegasus never
touches the earth, and yet in his wildest excesses you curb
him with equal grace and facility : I object, sir, only to your
dedication; it is too flattering."
"By no means, my Lord Count, it fits you to a hair."
"Pardon me," interrupted I, "and allow me to transfer the
honour to Lord Halifax; he loves men of merit; he loves also
their dedications. I will mention it to him to-morrow:
everything you say of me will suit him exactly. You will
oblige me with a copy of your poem directly it is printed,
and suffer me to pay your bookseller for it now, and through
your friendly mediation ; adieu ! "
"Oh, Count, this is too generous."
"A letter for me, my pretty page? Ah! tell her ladyship
I shall wait upon her commands at Powell's : time will move
with a tortoise speed till I kiss her hands. Mr. Fribbleden,
your gloves would fit the giants at Guildhall : my valet will
furnish you with my exact size ; you will see to the legitimate
breadth of the fringe. My little beauty, you are from Mrs.
Bracegirdle: the play shall succeed; I have taken seven
boxes; Mr. St. John promised his influence. Say, therefore,
my Hebe, that the thing is certain, and let me kiss thee : thou
hast dew on thy lip already. Mr. Thumpen, you are a fine
fellow, and deserve to be encouraged; I will see that the next
time your head is broken it shall be broken fairly : but I will
not patronize the bear; consider that peremptory. What,
Mr. Bookworm, again! I hope you have succeeded better
this time : the old songs had an autumn fit upon them, and
had lost the best part of their leaves; and Plato had mortgaged
one half his "Republic," to pay, I suppose, the exorbitant
sum you thought proper to set upon the other. As for Diog-
enes Laertius, and his philosophers — "
"Pish!" interrupted Tarleton; "are you going, by your
theoretical treatises on philosophy, to make me learn the
practical part of it, and prate upon learning while I am sup-
porting myself with patience ? "
"Pardon me! Mr. Bookworm; you will deposit your load,
and visit me to-morrow at an earlier hour. And now,
Tarleton, I am at your service."
GAT SCEXES AND CONVERSATIONS. THE NEW EXCHANGE AND
THE PUPPET-SHOW. THE ACTOR, THE SEXTON, AND THE
"Well, Tarleton," said I, looking round that mart of mil-
linery and love-making, which, so celebrated in the reign of
Charles II., still preserved the shadow of its old renown in
that of Anne, — "well, here we are upon the classical ground so
often commemorated in the comedies which our chaste grand-
mothers thronged to see. Here we can make appointments,
while we profess to buy gloves, and should our mistress tarry
too long, beguile our impatience by a flirtation with her mil-
liner. Is there not a breathing air of gayety about the place ?
— does it not still smack of the Ethereges and Sedleys? "
"Right," said Tarleton, leaning over a counter and amor-
ously eying the pretty coquette to whom it belonged ; while,
with the coxcombry then in fashion, he sprinkled the long
curls that touched his shoulders with a fragrant shower from
a bottle of jessamine water upon the counter, — "right; saw
you ever such an eye ? Have you snuff of the true scent, my
beauty — foh! this is for the nostril of a Welsh parson —
choleric and hot, my beauty, — pulverized horse-radish, —
why, it would make a nose of the coldest constitution imagin-
able sneeze like a washed school-boy on a Saturday night. —
Ah, this is better, my princess: there is some courtesy in
this snuff; it flatters the brain like a poet's dedication.
Eight, Devereux, right, there is something infectious in the
atmosphere; one catches good humour as easily as if it were
cold. Shall we stroll on ? — m// Clelia is on the other side of
the Exchange. — You were speaking of the play -writers : what
a pity that our Ethereges and Wycherleys should be so frank
in their gallantry that the prudish public already begins to
look shy on them. They have a world of wit! "
"Ay," said I; "and, as my good uncle would say, a world
of knowledge of human nature, namely, of the worst part of
it. But they are worse than merely licentious : they are pos-
itively villanous; pregnant with the most redemptionless
scoundrelism, — cheating, lying, thieving, and fraud; their
humour debauches the whole moral system ; they are like the
Sardinian herb, — they make you laugh, it is true, but they
poison you in the act. But who comes here ? "
V " Oh, honest Coll ! — Ah, Gibber, how goes it with you ? "
The person thus addressed was a man of about the middle
age, very grotesquely attired, and with a periwig preposter-
ously long. His countenance (which, in its features, was
rather comely) was stamped with an odd mixture of liveli-
ness, impudence, and a coarse yet not unjoyous spirit of reck-
less debauchery. He approached us with a saunter, and
saluted Tarleton with an air servile enough, in spite of an
"What think you," resumed my companion, "we were
conversing upon ? "
"Why, indeed, Mr. Tarleton," answered Gibber, bowing
very low, " unless it were the exquisite fashion of your waist-
coat, or your success with my Lady Duchess, I know not what
"Pooh, man," said Tarleton, haughtily, " none of your com-
pliments; " and then added in a milder tone, "No, Golley, Ave
were abusing the immoralities that existed on the stage until
thou, by the light of thy virtuous example, didst undertake
to reform it."
"Why," rejoined Gibber, with an air of mock sanctity,
"Heaven be praised, I have pulled out some of the weeds
from oiir theatrical parterre — "
" Hear you that, Count ? Does he not look a pretty fellow
for a censor ? "
"Surely," said Gibber, "ever since Dicky Steele has set up
for a saint, and assumed the methodistical twang, some hopes
of conversion may be left even for such reprobates as myself.
Where, may I ask, will Mr. Tarleton drink to-night ? "
"Xot with thee, Goll. The Saturnalia don't happen every
day. Eid us now of thy company: but stop, I will do thee
a pleasure ; know you this gentleman ? "
"I have not that extreme honour."
"Know a Gount, then! Gount Devereux, demean yourself
by sometimes acknowledging Golley Gibber, a rare fellow at
a song, a bottle, and a message to an actress ; a lively rascal
enough, but without the goodness to be loved, or the inde-
pendence to be respected."
"Mr. Gibber," said I, rather hurt at Tarleton's speech,
though the object of it seemed to hear this description with
the most unruffled composure — " Mr. Gibber, I am happy and
proud of an introduction to the author of the 'Gareless
Husband.' Here is my address; oblige me with a visit at
" How could you be so galling to the poor devil ? " said T,
when Gibber, with a profusion of bows and compliments, had
left us to ourselves.
"Ah, hang him, — a low fellow, who pins all his happiness
to the skirts of the quality, is proud of being despised, and
that which would excruciate the vanity of others only flatters
his. And now for my Glelia."
After my companion had amused himself with a brief flir-
tation with a young lady who affected a most edifying demure-
ness, we left the Exchange, and repaired to the puppet-show.
On entering the Piazza, in which, as I am writing for the
next century, it may be necessary to say that Punch held his
court, we saw a tall, thin fellow, loitering under the columns,
and exhibiting a countenance of the most ludicrous discon-
tent. There was an insolent arrogance about Tarleton's good-
nature, which always led him to consult the whim of the
moment at the expense of every other consideration, espe-
cially if the whim referred to a member of the canaille whom
my aristocratic friend esteemed as a base part of the exclusive
and despotic property of gentlemen.