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ed, and of whose abilities he had such a high opinion. The family at Black-Bourton at this time consisted of Mrs Elers, her mother Mrs Hungerford, and four grown up young ladies, besides several children. The eldest son, an officer, was absent. The young ladies, though far from being beauties, were handsome ; and though desti tute of accomplishments, they were notwithstanding agreeable, from an air of youth and simplicity, and from unaffected good nature and gaiety. The person who struck me most at my introduction to this family group was Mrs Hungerford. She was near eighty, tall, and majestic, with eyes that still retained uncommon lustre. She was not able to rise from her chair without the assistance of one of her grand-daughters ; but when she had risen, and stood leaning on her tortoise-shell cane, she received my father, as the friend of the family, with so much 'politeness, and with so much grace, as to eclipse all the young people by whom she was surrounded. Mrs Hungerford was a Blake, connected with the Norfolk family. She had for. merly been the wife of Sir Alexander Kennedy, whom Mr Hunger. ford killed in a duel in Blenheim Park. Why she dropped her title in marrying Mr Hungerford I know not, nor can I tell how he persuaded the beautiful widow to marry him after he had killed her hus. band.-In the history of Mrs Hungerford there was something mysterious, which was not, as I perceived, known to the younger part of the family. I made no inquiries from Mr Elers; but I observed, that she was for a certain time in the day invisible. She had an apartment to herself above stairs, containing three or four rooms; when she was below stairs, we used to make a short way from one side of the house to the other, through her rooms, which occupied nearly one side of a quadrangle, of which the house consisted. One day, forgetting that she was in her room, and her door by accident not having been locked, I suddenly entered: I saw her kneeling before a crucifix, which was placed upon her toilette ; her beautiful eyés streaming with tears, and cast up to Heaven with the most fervent devotion; her silver locks flowing down her shoulders; the rea mains of exquisite beauty, grace, and dignity, in her whole figurc. I had not, till I saw her at these her private devotions, known that she was a catholic; nor had I, till I saw her tears of contrition, any reason to suppose that she thought herself a penitent. The scene struck me, young as I was, and more gay than young-her tears seemed to comfort, not to depress her and for the first time since my childhood I was convinced, that the consolations of religion are fully equal to its terrors. She was so much in earnest, that she did not perceive me; and I fortunately had time to withdraw without having disturbed her devotions.' I. 83-90.
We may add another anecdote, connected with the place rather than the person.
- Mr Lenthall (descended from the Speaker Lenthall) lived at Burford, within a few miles of Black-Bourton. This gentleman, who was a very good master, had a very good butler. One morning the butler came to his master with a letter in his hand, and rubbing his forehead in that indescribable manner which is an introduction to something which the person does not well know how to communicate, he told Mr Lenthall, that he was very sorry to be obliged to quit his service." Why, what is the matter, John? has any body offended you? I thought you were as happy as any man could be in your situation ?”
”-“ Yes, please your honour. that's not the thing; but I have just got a prize in the lottery of 3000l., and I have all my
life had a wish to live for one twelvemonth like a man of two or three thousand a year ; and all I ask of your honour is, that, when I have spent the money, you will take me back again into your service. “ That is a promise,” said Mr Lenthall, “ which I believe I may safely make, as there is very little probability of your wishing to return to be a butler, after having lived as a gentleman.”
• Mr Lenthall was however mistaken. John spent nearly the amount of his ticket in less than a year. He had previously bought himself a small annuity to provide for his old age ; when he had spent all the rest of his money, he actually returned to the service of Mr Lenthall; and I saw him standing at the sideboard at the time when I was in that country. I. 116-118.
Mr E. fell in love with one of the Miss Elers, and married her at Gretna Green before he was twenty-obtained his father's forgiveness-kept terms at the Temple—and diverted himself with mechanics and reading at a small house in Berkshire. Here and in London he now became acquainted with Sir Francis Blake Delaval, the most celebrated man of wit, fashion, and gallantry about town at the accession of the late King; and we are accordingly presented with about fifty pages of anecdotes about his electioneering-his theatricals-his conjuring and his gambling-the greatest part of which appears to us to have very little interest.
It was this person who, in conjunction with Foote, carried on in disguise the mystery of a fortune-teller, with prodigious reputation and success; and is supposed to have broken ofl, and brought on, more matches in the course of a season, than all the dowagers in town. His great object, it is said, was to secure his own union with Lady Pawlet; upon the accomplishment of which, the magician suddenly disappears. It was to assist this dashing friend in obtaining early intelligence of his fate at Newmarket, that Mr Edgeworth first-conceived, or revived, the notion of a Telegraph--and actually constructed one in the year 1767, which transmitted sentences with great accuracy from stations sixteen miles apart. The catastrophe of Sir Francis is rather edifying; and therefore we shall give it in his own words--though his dying speech is a little too set and solemn, we think, to be perfectly authentic. He had a project, it seems, of aggrandizing his family by a match between his sister and
the then Duke of York; and when this was frustrated by the sudden death of the Duke, he full into low spirits.
· Though a man of great strength of mind, and of vivacity that seemed to be untameable, his health sunk under this disappointment. His friends and physician laughed at his complaints. Of Herculean strength, and, till this period, of uninterrupted health, they could not bring themselves to believe, that a pain in his breast, of which he complained, was of any serious consequence ; on the contrary, they treated him as an hypochondriac, whom a generous diet, amusement, and country air, would soon restore. He was or dered, however, to use a steam-bath, which was then in vogue, at Knightsbridge. I went with him there one day, the last I ever saw him! He expressed for me a great deal of kindness and esteem : and then seriously told me he felt, that, notwithstanding his natural strength both of body and mind, and in contradiction of the opinion of all the physicians, he had not long to live. He acknowledged that his mind was affected as well as his body.
“ Let my example,” said he, warn you of a fatal error into “ which I have fallen, and into which you might probably fall, if “ you did not counteract the propensities which might lead you into “ it. I have pursued amusement, or rather frolic, instead of turning
my ingenuity and talents to useful purposes. I am sensible,” continued he, “ that my mind was fit for greater things, than any of “ which I am now, or of which I was ever supposed to be capable. “ I am able to speak fluently in public; and I have perceived that
my manner of speaking has always increased the force of what I " have said. Upon various useful subjects I am not deficient in in“ formation ; and if I had employed half the time and half the pains " in cultivating serious knowledge which I have wasted in exerting
my powers upon trifles,-instead of making myself merely a conspi
cuous figure at public places of amusement,—instead of giving my" self up to gallantry which disgusted and disappointed me,instead " of dissipating my fortune and tarnishing my character, I should “ have distinguished myself in the senate or the army, I should have “ become a USEFUL member of society, and an honour to my family. “ Remember my advice, young man !
Pursue what is USEFUL to “ mankind; you will satisfy them, and, what is better, you will sa“ tisfy yourself.” Two mornings afterwards, he was found dead in his bed. I. 154-156.
After the loss of this dangerous patron, Mr E. amused himself with contriving sailing chariots-time-keepers-wooden horses and carriages of various descriptions—as well as in educating his eldest son upon the system of Rousseau. His coachmaking brought him into correspondence with Dr Darwin, who was also an inventor in that department; and he went at last on a visit to Lichfield, to consult him upon the plan of a new phaeton. The Doctor who, from his correspondence,
VOL. XXXIV. NO. 67.
had taken him for a professional coachmaker, was from home when he arrived; but he presented himself to Mrs Darwin, who, though at first under the same impression, with the quick tact of her sex, almost instantly discovered the mistake—which her learned husband did not suspect till several hours after his return. This visit brought Mr E., for the first time, into that society by which he was for the rest of his life most attracted, instructed, and improved—the society of the Boltons, the Watts, the Keirs, the Smalls, the Days, Sewards, and Sneyds. Through them he also got into a learned society in London, composed of Sir Joseph Banks, John Hunter, Maskelyne, Smeaton, Ramsden, and several others. Of Ranısden we are tempted to transcribe the following short anecdote.
. Besides his great mechanical genius, he had a species of invention not quite so creditable, the invention of excuses. He never kept an engagement of any sort, never finished any work punctually, or ever failed to promise what he always failed to perform. The king (George III.) had bespoke an instrument, which he was peculiarly desirous to obtain ; he had allowed Ramsden to name his own time, but, as usual, the work was scarcely begun at the period appointed for delivery. However, when at last it was finished, he took it down to Kew in a post-chaise, in a prodigious hurry; and, driving up to the palace gate, he asked if His Majesty was at home. The pages and attendants in waiting expressed their surprise at such a visit : he however pertinaciously insisted upon being admitted, assuring the page, that, if he told the King that Ramsden was at the gate, His Majesty would soon show that he would be glad to see him. He was right; he was let in, and was graciously received. His Majesty, after examining the instrument carefully, of which he was really a judge, expressed his satisfaction, and, turning gravely to Ramsden, paid him this compliment upon his punctuality. -- " I have been told, Mr Ramsden,” said the King, “ that you are considered to be the least punctual of any man in England ; you have brought home this instrument on the very day that was appointed. You have only mistaken the year!” I. 191-2.
The most figuring person, however, in Mr E.'s narrative, is Mr Day-of whom we find, first and last, a very interesting and amusing account. He was unquestionably a man of extraordinary talents, and of a high and amiable character- but was as unquestionably a little mad. When he and Mr E. first met, in 1768, he was under twenty years of age, but irrevocably wedded to all the impracticable notions and systematic absurdities which characterized his after life. Though master of a large fortune, and unusually well read and ingenious, he had not merely a scorn, but an abhorrence for the refinements of polished life, and an antipathy to everything that bore the name of fashion, as a mere mask for profligacy, heartlessness, and insin
cerity; and accordingly would neither dress, talk, nor behave, like other persons of his condition. In politics, he was an ardent, but visionary and impracticable lover of liberty--a zealous and undaunted philanthropist, in theory and practice--an eloquent declaimer, and a most expert and indefatigable disputant in private conversation. Before he was of age, he resolved to educate a wife for himself; and, with this view, selected two nice girls from the Foundling Hospital, with whom, to be more out of the way of impertinent observation, he established himself for a year or two at Avignon.
Simplicity, perfect innocence, and attachment to himself, were at that time the only qualifications which he desired in a wife: and for this reason he was not anxious to cultivate the understandings of his pupils. He taught them by slow degrees to read and write. By continually talking to them. by reasoning which appeared to me above their comprehension, and by ridicule, the taste for which might afterwards be turned against himself, he endeavoured to imbue them with a deep hatred for dress, and luxury, and fine people, and fashion, and titles. At his return to England, which happened, I believe, when I was out of that country, he parted with one of his pupils, finding her invincibly stupid, or, at the best, not disposed to follow his regimen. He gave her three or four hundred pounds, which soon procured her a husband, who was a small shopkeeper. In this situation she went on contentedly, was happy, and made her husband happy, and is, perhaps, at this moment, comfortably seated with some of her grandchildren on her knees. His other pupil, Sabrina Sidney, was, at Mr Day's return from France, a very pleasing girl of thirteen. Her countenance was engaging. She had fine auburn hair, that hung in natural ringlets on her neck; a beauty, which was then more striking, because other people wore enormous quantities of powder and pomatum. Her long eyelashes, and eyes expressive of sweetness, interested all who saw her; and the uncommon melody of her voice made a favourable impression upon every person to whom she spoke. I was curious to see how my
friend's philosophic romance would end.' I. 217–218.
It ended as might have been expected. After confounding the poor child's understanding by long rhetorical disputations, and frightening her to death (if we may believe Miss Seward) by firing pistols at her petticoats, and dropping burning sealing wax on her arms, to make her familiar with pain and danger, he at last caught her with a handkerchief or a sleeve, at which he had expressed a lofty disdain and antipathy, and immediately gave up the idea of their union. He provided, however, for her comfort with his usual generosity; and, after his death, she married one of his early friends, and conducted herself with uniform judgment and propriety. He himself, soon after their separation, married a lady of great beauty and accomplishments,