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their own houses; they make sumptuous entertainments, and treat with the richest wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. The substantial tradesman, who was wont to pass his evenings at the ale-house for fourpence-halfpenny, now spends three shillings at the tavern, while his wife keeps cardtables at home; she must also have fine clothes, her chaise, or pad, with country lodgings, and go three times a week to public diversions. Every clerk, apprentice, and even waiter of a tavern or coffee-house, maintains a gelding by himself, or in partnership, and assumes the air and apparel of a petitmaître. The gayest places of public entertainment are filled with fashionable figures, which, upon inquiry, will be found to be journeymen-tailors, serving-men, and abigails, disguised like their betters. In short, there is no distinction or subordination left. The different departments of life are jumbled together. The hod-carrier, the low mechanic, the tapster, the publican, the shopkeeper, the pettifogger, the citizen, and courtier, all tread upon the kibes of one another. Actuated by the demons of profligacy and licentiousness, they are seen everywhere, rambling, riding, rolling, rushing, jostling, mixing, bouncing, cracking, and crashing in one vile ferment of stupidity and corruption. All is tumult and hurry; one would imagine they were impelled by some disorder of the brain, that will not suffer them to be at rest. . . .

The diversions of the times are not ill suited to the genius of this incongruous monster called the public. Give it noise, confusion, glare, glitter; it has no idea of elegance and propriety. What are the amusements at Ranelagh? One half of the company are following one another's tails, in an eternal circle, like so many blind asses in an olive-mill, where they can neither discourse, distinguish, nor be distinguished; while the other half are drinking hot water, under the denomination of tea, till nine or ten o'clock at night, to keep them awake for the rest of the evening. As for the orchestra, the vocal music especially, it is well for the performers that they cannot be heard distinctly. Vauxhall is a composition of baubles, overcharged with paltry ornaments, ill conceived and poorly executed, without any unity of design or propriety of disposition. It is an unnatural assemblage of objects, fantastically illuminated in broken masses, seemingly contrived to dazzle the eyes and divert the

imagination of the vulgar. Here a wooden lion — there a stone statue; in one place a range of things like coffee-house boxes, covered a-top; in another, a parcel of ale-house benches; in a third, a puppet-show representation of a tin cascade; in a fourth, a gloomy cave of a circular form, like a sepulchral vault, half lighted; in a fifth, a scanty slip of grass-plot that would not afford pasture sufficient for an ass's colt. The walks, which nature seems to have intended for solitude, shade, and silence, are filled with crowds of noisy people, sucking up the nocturnal rheums of an aguish climate; and through these gay scenes a few lamps glimmer like so many farthing candles. . . .

June 8.

I am pent up in frowsy lodgings, where there is not room enough to swing a cat, and I breathe the steams of endless putrefaction; and these would undoubtedly produce a pestilence, if they were not qualified by the gross acid of seacoal, which is in itself a pernicious nuisance to lungs of any delicacy of texture; but even this boasted corrector cannot prevent those languid, sallow looks, that distinguish the inhabitants of London from those ruddy swains that lead a country life. I go to bed after midnight, jaded and restless from the dissipations of the day. I start every hour from my sleep, at the horrid noise of the watchmen bawling the hour through every street, and thundering at every door; a set of useless fellows, who serve no other purpose but that of disturbing the repose of the inhabitants. And by five o'clock I start out of bed in consequence of the still more dreadful alarm made by the country carts and noisy rustics bellowing green peas under my window. If I would drink water, I must quaff the mawkish contents of an open aqueduct, exposed to all manner of defilement, or swallow that which comes from the river Thames, impregnated with all the filth of London and Westminster; . . . composed of all the drugs, materials, and poisons used in mechanics and manufactures, enriched with the putrefying carcases of beasts and men, and mixed with the scourings of all the washtubs, kennels, and common sewers within the bills of mortality..

It must be owned that Covent Garden affords some good fruit; which, however, is always engrossed by a few individuals

of overgrown fortune, at an exorbitant price, so that little else than the refuse of the market falls to the share of the community; and that is distributed by such filthy hands as I cannot look at without loathing. . . . I need not dwell upon the pallid, contaminated mash which they call strawberries, soiled and tossed by greasy paws through twenty baskets crusted with dirt, and then presented with the worst milk, thickened with the worst flour into a bad likeness of cream. But the milk itself should not pass unanalyzed, the produce of faded cabbageleaves and sour draff, lowered with hot water, frothed with bruised snails, carried through the streets in open pails, exposed to foul rinsings discharged from doors and windows, overflowings from mud-carts, spatterings from coach-wheels, dirt and trash chucked into it by roguish boys.

A companionable man will undoubtedly put up with many inconveniences for the sake of enjoying agreeable society. A facetious friend of mine used to say the wine could not be bad where the company was agreeable, a maxim which, however, ought to be taken cum grano salis. But what is the society of London, that I should be tempted for its sake to mortify my senses, and compound with such uncleanness as my soul abhors? All the people I see are too much engrossed by schemes of interest or ambition, to have any room left for sentiment or friendship. Even in some of my old acquaintance, those schemes and pursuits have obliterated all traces of our former connection. Conversation is reduced to party disputes and illiberal altercation; social commerce to formal visits and card playing. If you pick up a diverting original by accident, it may be dangerous to amuse yourself with his oddities; he is generally a Tartar at bottom, a sharper, a spy, or a lunatic. Every person you deal with endeavors to over-reach you in the way of business. You are preyed upon by idle mendicants, who beg in the phrase of borrowing and live on the spoils of the stranger; your tradesmen are without conscience, your friends without affection, and your dependents without fidelity. . . .

Lydia Melford to Letitia Willis

LONDON, May 31.

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MY DEAR LETTY: . . . About five weeks ago we arrived in London, after an easy journey from Bath; during which, how

ever, we were overturned, and met with some other little incidents which had like to have occasioned a misunderstanding betwixt my uncle and aunt. But now, thank God, they are happily reconciled; we live in harmony together, and every day make parties to see the wonders of this vast metropolis, which, however, I cannot pretend to describe, for I have not yet seen one hundredth part of its curiosities, and I am quite in a maze of admiration. The cities of London and Westminster are spread out to an incredible extent. The streets, squares, rows, lanes, and alleys are innumerable. Palaces, public buildings, and churches rise in every quarter, and amongst these iast St. Paul's appears with the most astonishing preeminence. They say it is not so large as St. Peter's at Rome, but for my own part I can have no idea of any earthly temple more grand and magnificent.

But even these superb objects are not so striking as the crowds of people that swarm in the streets. I at first imagined that some great assembly was just dismissed, and wanted to stand aside till the multitude should pass; but this human tide continues to flow, without interruption or abatement, from morn till night. Then there is such an infinity of gay equipages, coaches, chariots, chaises, and other carriages, continually rolling and shifting before your eyes, that one's head grows giddy looking at them, and the imagination is quite confounded with splendor and variety. Nor is the prospect by water less grand and astonishing than that by land: you see three stupendous bridges, joining the opposite banks of a broad, deep, and rapid river, so vast, so stately, so elegant, that they seem to be the work of the giants; betwixt them the whole surface of the Thames is covered with small vessels, barges, boats, and wherries, passing to and fro; and below the three bridges such a prodigious forest of masts, for miles together, that you would think all the ships in the universe were here assembled. All that you read of wealth and grandeur in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments and the Persian Tales, concerning Bagdad, Diarbekir, Damascus, Ispahan, and Samarcand, is here realized. Ranelagh looks like the enchanted palace of a genie, adorned with the most exquisite performances of painting, carving, and gilding, enlightened with a thousand golden lamps that emulate the noonday sun; crowded with the great, the

rich, the gay, the happy, and the fair, glittering with cloth of gold and silver, lace, embroidery, and precious stones. While these exulting sons and daughters of felicity tread this round of pleasure, or regale in different parties and separate lodges, with fine imperial tea and other delicious refreshments, their ears are entertained with the most ravishing delights of music, both instrumental and vocal. . .


At nine o'clock in a charming moonlight evening, we embarked at Ranelagh for Vauxhall, in a wherry so light and slender that we looked like so many fairies sailing in a nutshell.

The pleasure of this little excursion was, however, damped by my being sadly frighted at our landing, where there was a terrible confusion of wherries, and a crowd of people bawling and swearing and quarreling; nay, a parcel of ugly-looking fellows came running into the water, and laid hold on our boat with great violence, to pull it ashore, nor would they quit their hold till my brother struck one of them over the head with his cane. But this flutter was fully recompensed by the pleasures of Vauxhall, which I no sooner entered, than I was dazzled and confounded with the variety of beauties that rushed all at once on my eye. Imagine to yourself, my dear Letty, a spacious garden, part laid out in delightful walks, bounded with high hedges and trees, and paved with gravel; part exhibiting a wonderful assemblage of the most picturesque and striking objects, - pavilions, lodges, groves, grottoes, lawns, temples, and cascades, porticoes, colonnades, and rotundas, adorned with pillars, statues, and paintings; the whole illuminated with an infinite number of lamps, disposed in different figures of suns, stars, and constellations, the place crowded with the gayest company, ranging through those blissful shades or supping in different lodges on cold collations, enlivened with mirth, freedom, and good humor, and animated by an excellent band of music. . .

Winifred Jenkins to Mary Jones

LONDON, June 3.

O Molly! what shall I say of London? All the towns that ever I beheld in my born days are no more than Welsh barrows and crumlecks to this wonderful sitty! Even Bath itself is but a fillitch; in the naam of God one would think

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