The Project Gutenberg eBook of Modern literature: a novel, Volume 2 (of 3)

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Title: Modern literature: a novel, Volume 2 (of 3)

Author: Robert Bisset

Release date: September 5, 2022 [eBook #68916]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1804

Credits: Robert Cicconetti, Eleni Christofaki and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber’s note

Variable spelling and hyphenation have been retained. Minor punctuation inconsistencies have been silently repaired. A list of the changes made can be found at the end of the book.







Non ignota loquor.


Printed by A. Strahan,


Description of Brighton in the latter Years of the Eighteenth Century. Prospect from the Church. Ideas suggested by Ships sailing towards the Thames, the Reservoir of English Opulence, by the distant Isle of Wight, calling to us by Association, Portsmouth the Reservoir of English Strength. Brighton itself. Its Situation and Conveniences. Chief ostensible Pursuits. Bathing. Regulations suggested. Anecdotes. General Objects of Brighton Visitants. Occupations of Brighton illustrated by a Journal of a Day. Morning. Sea Beach, and Cliffs. Breakfast. Libraries, to hear the London News. Spontaneous Elocution of Newspaper Orators. Spontaneous Instructions of Newspaper Politicians. Military Spectacles on the Parade. The[iv] Steyne. Charming Women resemble Venus in Beauty, and almost in its Display. Perambulations. Historical Anecdotes of Brighton. Honoured by the Presence of Charles II. Not unworthy of that gallant Monarch: return to the Hair-Dresser: hear the Narratives of that communicative Person. Dinner, Soals, Turbot, Down Mutton excellent. Wine not so good. Walks, Tea, attend Ladies to the Steyne. Moonlight Lucubrations there. Adjourn to the Library. Toys and Dice. Hamilton becomes acquainted with Captain Mortimer, Maria’s Uncle. The Mortimers move from his Seat to Brighton. Page 1
The Party visits the Steyne. Particular Description of that Rendezvous. They repair to the Library. A Governante complains of a Milliner that had not kept her Distance. Anxiety greatest about Precedence, where there is none to settle. Our Hero meets Mr. Scribble, a voluminous and noted Author: introduces him to his Party, and invites him to Supper. Scribble harangues the Company. The Party breaks[v] up. Hamilton and Mortimer again meet with Scribble, who gives an Account of the wonderful Extent of his Erudition. He knows every thing, and writes on every Subject: instructs his Hearers that all are inferior to himself. He denies the Praise of Genius to those to whom it is universally allowed. He departs. Hamilton unfolds to Mortimer his real Talents and Abilities. Describes him as a mere Drudge and Bookmaker. Page 28
The Party repairs to the Library. Doctor Fatgoose harangues on Public Affairs. Dispute between him and Captain Mortimer. The Parade. Application of a Soldier for Leave of Absence, being engaged that Evening to preach. Granted. Scribble dines with Hamilton’s Party: entertains the Company with an Harangue about himself. His History of Jack the Giant-Killer. Scribble’s own Praises of his own History. Criticisms upon others. Mr. O’Rourke’s Admiration of Scribble, consults him on the Subject of Methodism. Visit to Shoreham. Return. Party to the Promenade[vi] Grove. Account of the Company. A charming and exemplary Lady of high Rank. A charming Lady not so exemplary. The Countess of Cockatrice. A military Nobleman who unites the Hero, Scholar, and the Statesman. Another as a Lawyer, eminent for masculine Understanding. Lord Bayleaf an old Beau: ogles the Ladies. Dialogue with the Cockatrice. Persons of lower Rank. Kit Cotton, a Citizen, retired to live upon his Fortune. His Account of his rural Prospects, from his House at Kingsland Turnpike. Page 47
O’Rourke makes a new Sally in quest of Methodistical Adventures. Party to the Theatre. Scribble there meets his Friend and Employer, Bil Nincompoop the Bookseller. They depart to sup together. Bil catechises Scribble on the various Pieces which he is manufacturing. Farther literary Plans. Dispute between the Master and Journeyman: happily composed by Punch. Excursion of Hamilton and his Party to Worthing. They meet the Methodist[vii] Errant with a Female ’Squire. Letters that waited Hamilton on his Return to Brighton. Mortimer and he repair to the Library. There find Mr. Scribble instructing the celebrated Mrs. Somerive on the Rules of Novel Writing. Page 77
Party at Captain Mortimer’s. Mrs. Somerive one of the Company. Conversation. Discussion of that Lady’s Orphan of Pembroke. Succession of Songs, and their Effects on the different Sentiments and Feelings. A Letter in a Woman’s Hand is brought to Hamilton, while sitting by Maria. Uneasiness of the young Lady. Hamilton leaves the Company. Greatly agitated, Maria retires. Dialogue between her and Hamilton’s Sister Charlotte on Constancy. Hamilton has an Interview with his Correspondent who proves to be the Countess of Cockatrice. Accommodating Complaisance of the Lady of the Toy-Shop. Hamilton is visited by Scribble, brim-full of Joy. He announces that he is now dubbed a Doctor by[viii] the University of Aberdeen. Hamilton explains his Absence to the Satisfaction of Maria. Page 104
The Ball. Schemes of Lady Cockatrice for rendering Maria jealous. The Company adjourn to Supper. Scribble is introduced in a Dress, which he says is becoming his new Title. Description of the Doctor’s Dress, and a philosophical View of its Effects on juvenile Feelings. Attentions of Sir Edward Hamden to Miss Mortimer. Miss Primrose becomes attached to Hamilton. Hamden pays his Addresses to Miss Mortimer. Both Hamilton and Maria highly esteem the Baronet’s Character, and concert Means for explaining to him the Truth. Page 133
Doctor Scribble becomes acquainted with the Baronet, and undertakes to instruct him in his Parliamentary Duty. He expounds to him his own (Doctor Scribble’s) Talents and Erudition: shews the Baronet a Specimen of Tours,[ix] in the Memoirs of his Excursion to Berkshire: proposes to write Speeches for Sir Edward: declares himself far superior to Charles Fox. Hamden declines the oratorial Help of Doctor Scribble. The Baronet joined by Hamilton, whom he is obliged to leave abruptly. Evening Walk of Hamilton to Shoreham Bridge: learns that a dispersed Gang of Smugglers has commenced Footpad Robberies. Nevertheless he sets out on his Return. A dismal Report reaches Brighton; and is heard by Maria. Frantic Grief of the young Lady. John Mortimer repairs to the Downs, which is said to be the Scene of the Catastrophe: finds Stillness and Solitude: perceives a Figure approach: he hears a Voice. Consternation and Dread. The Figure passes on. Mortimer returns to his Father and Uncle. A Voice is heard at the Window calling John Mortimer. They conceive it the Voice of their murdered Friend. Morning opens. Despair of Maria. Mortimer receives a Visit, which renews his Consternation. At length convinced of his Mistake, the Mystery is solved. Hamilton explains the Adventure. Heroism of a Soldier of the 42d. Joined with[x] the Valour of Hamilton, saved Hamden from being murdered. Gratitude of the Baronet. His Wound mends but slowly. Maria’s Concern entirely dispelled. The Mortimers and Hamiltons return to London. Page 159
Hamilton resumes his literary Pursuits: engages in Criticism. Indulgence of young and gallant Reviewers to fair Writers. Miss Lacecap, the Milliner, brings a Novel for Hamilton’s Inspection. Her Reason for writing. Story of the Maze of Marbles taken from Pyramid and Thisby. Praises of Sentiment. Remarks on the Word “Error.” Introduction of the Marvellous to English Works of Amusement. Page 197
Hamilton engages in a great Work. John Mortimer obtains an Appointment on the Continent. Hamden arrives in Town, and renews his Addresses to Maria. He conceives that Hamilton is to become the Husband of Miss Primrose. She and her Mother entertain[xi] the same Opinion. The Countess of Cockatrice promotes this Report. Her Ladyship’s Reasons. Motives, Objects, and progressive Rise of a Toad-Eater, illustrated in the Case of Mrs. Dicky. She is employed by the Countess of Cockatrice, to prevent the Marriage between Hamilton and Maria. Countess of Cockatrice proposes to give a Masquerade, and instructs the Toad-Eater for the Occasion. Dinner-Party at Mrs. Dicky’s. She sees Masks in the Evening. The Masquerade. The Labours of the Countess and the Toad-Eater rendered abortive. Page 225
Interview of Hamilton with Doctor Scribble and Mr. Lawhunt. Scribble praises German Literature; and imputes his own super-eminent Excellence to his Imitation of Germans. Mr. Lawhunt’s Account of his own Avocations. Scheme of Dr. Scribble and him for naturalizing German Plays and Novels. A Specimen of one of these Works translated by Dr. Scribble. Hurlobothrumbo, a Tragedy, with Music, Ghosts, Ghouls, &c. Farther Samples of German Literature. New Mode of making[xii] Love. Friendly Condescension of an Earthquake. Specimens of the Morality of German Plays. Apprehensions of Lawhunt from Visitors worse than Ghosts. Hasty Departure. Our Hero meets Strongbrain. William’s Estimate of Dr. Scribble. Page 265
Interview between Hamilton and Hamden. Hamilton unbosoms himself. Liberal and generous Conduct of Sir Edward. The Baronet undertakes to conciliate the elder Mortimers. Disappointment and Regret of these Gentlemen, but they at length consent. Preparations for the Marriage of Hamilton and Maria. Schemes of the Countess of Cockatrice for preventing the Nuptials. Agents of Defamation. Blackball undertakes a Chain of slanderous Paragraphs against Maria. Defamation. Skilful Progression of Calumny. Discovered by Hamilton. With the Assistance of Sir Edward he pursues and ferrets the Author, whom full Confession respites from the Pillory. Hamilton is united to his Maria. Page 301




Brighton is situated on a declivity descending from the South Downs, a ridge of hills, which rising near the east coast of Kent, runs along the Channel to Hampshire, where gradually declining into woodlands, it at last terminates in fertile valleys. There are three approaches to the town from London; two winding between the hills by Lewes and Cuckfield; the third across the ridge by Henfield. From the last, as you come near the town, the prospect is extremely[2] striking on every side. You have been contemplating the Downs, which appeared like a line of bulwarks, guarding the rich and beautiful vale of Sussex. Before you, opens to your view the sea, which serves as a grand fence to the power, property, and independence of England, with a distant view of ships wafting from the various quarters of the globe wealth, the remuneration of industry. Pursuing these to the left, you attend them beyond Beachyhead, carrying riches towards London, their principal emporium. Turning your eyes next to the right, you descry the Isle of Wight, which naturally suggests the idea of Portsmouth; and of British strength securing British opulence. Descending, under you is the town of Brighton, which, beginning in an eminence, declines towards the south-east in a regular and gradual sweep to the[3] Steyne, a beautiful lawn, bounded by the cliff. Thence it again rises along the cliff with a gentle ascent to the eastward. An amphitheatrical range of hills protects the town from the boisterous assaults of the north and north-easterly winds; on the west, extensive cornfields gradually and beautifully slope, from the Downs towards the sea.

The chief ostensible object of visiting Brighton being sea-bathing, that operation commences the employment of the morning; and the whole beach is covered with persons, either preparing for the immersion, or enjoying themselves with the salutary air of the sea.

When the tide is up, the water comes very near the cliff; and the bathing would, to scrupulous minds, appear offensive to decency; but rigid strictness being totally unsuitable to the pursuits of Brighton relaxation, this objection,[4] whatever it might be in theory, has evidently no practical weight. The ladies seem far from averse to the contemplation; and the cliffs are never more the scenes of female resort. Here indeed a young miss may learn more in a week than a boarding-school, with even the assistance of a circulating library, could teach her in a year. Objects seen, as the poet well observes, are much more impressive than those heard as subjects of discourse.

“Segniùs irritant animos, demissa per aures,
Quàm quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.”

Were this public exposure disagreeable to the visitants of Brighton, it might be easily prevented by a police vigilant in the execution of duty. Men might be compelled to confine their bathing to an early hour in the morning, and to keep in the wake of the machines, especially[5] in shallow water. But it may be questioned, whether this reform would answer the beneficial purpose of drawing out more ladies to enjoy the morning sea; at least, it has not been heard that any of them have been frightened by the present mode of exhibition. Gentlemen, it must be allowed, are in this particular so far correct, that they rarely bathe so publicly but at an early hour; but footmen, grooms, and persons of the same rank, choose to display themselves, without any machines, at the middle of the day, when the company naturally assemble on the beach to cool themselves by the sea-breeze.

The presentments before that scene of elegant resort, the marine library, are little less inconsistent with decency, than if the exhibitions were made on the Steyne, to the company collected under Mr. Gregory’s piazzas. A librarian[6] lately endeavoured to remove this spectacle, but by a very inadequate mode. To prevent these men from shewing themselves naked to the ladies, he attempted to take away all their clothes. Baffled in an essay, which, if successful, was so little calculated to remove the evil, he was seized by the exhibitors, and plunged into the element which they had left. The suffering incurred by his meritorious regard for decency did not, it is said, excite the sympathy and compassion which might have been expected. Many did not stick to say, that he deserved it by his officiousness in endeavouring to avenge insults offered to female delicacy, of which female delicacy itself by no means complained.

Whatever individual diversities of character are to be found at Brighton, in one quality all the visitors agree, that[7] is idleness. Tradesmen, merchants, scholars, lawyers, senators, and statesmen; in short, men accustomed to close application and constant industry at their respective homes, here do nothing. To such, relaxation must be useful, by affording them fresh vigour when they return to their employments. But to mere fine gentlemen, and other habitual loungers, who have nothing to do, at least do nothing at any time, or in any place, it is doubtful if it can afford the same recreation. To them its variety is merely local; the whole change is removal from the banks of the Thames to the coast of the Channel; from lounging uselessness in Bond-street, to lounging uselessness on the Steyne.

The inhabitants, though successfully busy, are engaged in occupations administering to idleness. If they do work, their labour is by no means productive,[8] and adds nothing to the useful stock of the community. Their chief manufactures are toys; their principal commerce is gambling; every shop in Brighton, the bookseller’s, the fruiterer’s, the coal-merchant’s, the milliner’s, the tallow-chandler’s, the perfumer’s, the apothecary’s, and the undertaker’s, is a toy-shop, and a gambling shop.

From bathing, the visitors return to breakfast, when just and high praises are bestowed on the excellent bread, and the no less excellent butter that comes from the Sussex valleys and Downs, enhanced by the keen appetite which the healthy air produces. Exquisite honey also convinces the visitors that the Georgics of Sussex are favourable to bees, as well as to pasturage and agriculture. The rest of the morning is passed either in the toy shops and walks of Brighton, or in land and water[9] excursions to the neighbouring towns and villages. The days not devoted to peregrinations have an uniformity so great, that a diary of one may almost serve for an account of the whole season. The hours from seven to nine are usually spent in bathing and walking on the beach and cliff; from nine till ten is occupied by breakfast, and waiting the arrival of the post; letters not only of business, but of amusement, and even of frivolity, serving to relieve unoccupied minds from vacuity. At ten we set out in quest of food and of knowledge. Attended by the cook, we betake ourselves to the market, to examine the price and quality of fish and of meat. Having provided for dinner, and thus made dispositions for preserving ourselves, we next with laudable patriotism proceed to inquire into the means of preserving our country. Having concluded our dispatches to the kitchen, we cross over to[10] the library, to peruse the London Evening papers, and give judgment on the conduct of the various cabinets of Europe. Reading and thinking being burdens too heavy to be borne by most of the Brighton visitors, we are fortunate enough to meet in the library gentlemen most generously disposed to relieve us from the trouble of both. Some accomplished person, eminent for his elocution, with benevolence the more meritorious, because unsolicited, undertakes to pronounce aloud the contents of these repositories of intelligence; employing dignity of emphasis, he reads a paragraph about fashionable dresses with a solemnity of diction that might suit the recitations of Adam’s prayer in Paradise Lost; perhaps too, while displaying the splendour of his genius in his oratorial powers, he may also exhibit the exquisiteness of his taste in the brilliant[11] which plays from his finger, or the cravat which he adjusts while enforcing delivery by the graces of action: though he reads much, he does not read all. Anxious expectants press for a perusal of his omissions. One old gentleman, after ogling the ladies, is impelled by sad recollection, to examine the generous offers of those worthy and philanthropic persons, who undertake to brace the relaxed nerves, renovate age, and invigorate debility. A smart youth, in boots and buckskin breeches, seeking moral perfection, reads its description, in an account of a bald filly, free from vice. A young lady, pale and pensive, earnestly searches for a consolatory address to those who dread the consequences of an unguarded moment.

The text being finished, next comes the comment. While committees are formed to discuss the merits of a ball,[12] or a gala, celebrated by the dispensers of news, to criticise the poetry of a song, copied from a new play, or rather to read and repeat the criticisms already given, to fill up the blanks in a newly published intimation of crim. con. to guess who and who are together, with digressive annotations concerning those who probably have been together; some grave doctor contemning the announced virtues of horses, or vices of wives, undertakes to expound the politics of the day; being unanimously appointed by himself, to inform and instruct the company. In a voice loud, solemn, and authoritative, as when arrayed in his canonicals, he pronounces the peremptory creed of Saint Athanasius, he says; “Let me tell you, the ruin of this country is disregard for authority; there is a restless spirit in the people to think for themselves, without duly venerating[13] their priests; the people have nothing to do with the laws but to obey them: all the distress of Europe arises from the multitude pretending to inquire and reason on subjects beyond their capacity: I have little hope of the happy restoration of the crown and mitre, to that splendour and power which are justly due to them, until the multitude shall be re-taught a becoming reverence for their spiritual superiors.” After this exordium (intended to over-awe his hearers into an humble submission to whatever petitions he may be pleased to advance), the self-created preceptor proceeds to unfold to us the various secrets of the London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Petersburgh cabinets; the views and intentions of the belligerent powers; and expounds to us the state of the whole political hemisphere.


By half-past eleven, the affairs of Europe being settled, the drum and trumpet summon us from the diurnal exercise of the politician, to the diurnal exercise of the soldier. From the Steyne we walk up to the parade, and in the now well-known sounds of “Handle arms, ease arms;” our own parish, and our own corps, is recalled to our minds. From this sweet recollection of our own warlike progress and achievements, returning to contemplate the exhibitions before us, we admire the readiness, ability, and skill with which the soldiers perform their evolutions. Not a few of us conclude, that the military instructor who teaches them to handle arms, knows his business better than the political instructor in the library, who professes to handle the counsels of statesmen.


Returning to the Steyne, instead of the spectacles, we have now time and opportunity to observe its late spectators. A more lovely groupe is rarely to be seen; most charming women, with complexions freshened by healthy air and exercise, their nerves braced by that element, from which sprang the fair deity whom many of them equal in attractive beauty; their thoughts free from the anxious cares of the evening, when the momentous dice are to agitate the heart of eager expectants of a toy. Their breasts and their eyes are animated by the sound of martial music, and the sight of martial men; while they themselves, like Venus, not only possessing but displaying charms, nearly approach to that state in which statuaries exhibit the bewitching divinity: with charms so transparent, who does not wish for a nearer approach? the soft complacency of their lovely countenances,[16] affords to sprightly youth the reasonable hope, that they do not produce dainties like the banquet that drew the eyes of the hapless Tantalus, destined only for his sight, but withheld from his other senses. The Brighton fair come not to inflict such torments of the damned.

From the Steyne we walk along the beach, or perhaps crossing the Downs, view the tomb-stones: here we learn that Charles the Second, of amorous memory, chose, when escaping from the usurper, as the last English stage of his flight, a place destined in future ages, as a testimony of honour for his memory, to imitate the example of morals which he set his subjects. Mingling incidental with appropriate history, we call to mind exploits not unworthy of Charles himself: recapitulate the feats of the Taylor of Brighton; and, perhaps, inquire whether, though residing[17] in England, he was not a native of Ireland. Descending, we are received by the hair-dresser, whose narratives call our attention from former to recent occurrences. From him we learn what fair lady has most highly extolled and most liberally rewarded the lovely Jem[1]; who had been the greatest gainers and losers by dice, cards, and billiards; what new converts were made to methodism, with the causes and circumstances of their conversion; in what new instances love inflamed religious zeal.

Dinner soon after making its appearance, introduces the praises of Brighton foals and turbots, mixed with severe censures against the Brighton fishmongers, who though not an hundred yards from the landing-place, where they purchase their wares from the fishermen, exact a profit of cent. per cent. from[18] the consumer. We now project schemes for repressing extortion by combination; but as the execution of such projects would require activity, and activity is no part of a Brighton visitor’s purpose, we talk against extortioners, but suffer them to go on in the old way. Our eulogiums on the Down mutton are chequered by reproaches of the porter and ale, and followed by severe invectives against the Brighton wine; invectives very unpatriotic, because a native of our own country. Owing partly to the quality of that beverage, and partly to a restless disposition, often arising from idleness, we are very moderate as to quantity, and sit a very short time at table. While our ladies repair to their toilets to make dispositions for the evening campaign, we stroll towards the chalybeate wells, or, taking the opposite direction, proceed to the race-ground[19] and signal post. Returning, we find our fair friends arrayed to their minds. After tea, we accompany them to the place of destined resort for finishing the amusements of the day; perhaps to the theatre, where resorting for amusement, and not for criticism, we have a very good chance of being pleased. Contemplating the company, we find dress no more intended to cover than undress. We see the boxes quite a miniature of London, containing a number of people, the greater part of whom have met to converse, to look at one another and themselves, attending as little to the stage almost as if it were a pulpit, from which the preacher was inculcating moral virtue; unless there be a song, or a Harlequin, when the spectators are as attentive as if they had been listening to a methodistical hymn, or a methodistical preacher, fervently inculcating the pleasures of spiritual love.[20] Perhaps the grove has been our choice, wherein the scenery of Vauxhall is happily imitated, and also some of the amusements. Here, too, for those who prefer retirement to company, there are dark walks. On chosen evenings of supreme felicity, there are balls; which, presenting beaux and belles dressed at each other, dancing at each other, talking and simpering at each other, ogling at each other, squeezing at each other, and making assignations with each other, we shall pass over, as neither in the present operation, or future effects, containing any thing peculiar to Brighton, or which does not happen when ever beaux and belles join in so exhilarating a pastime. Perhaps, indeed, the bracing air may increase their spirits and animation, and give more elasticity to their movements.

But on common evenings dedicated to neither of the recreations which we[21] have just mentioned, we accompany our fair party to the grand fashionable rendezvous on the Steyne. After promenading on this delightful spot, hearing important and interesting remarks on this one’s dress, and that one’s face, and t’other one’s ancles, and listening to the music, first of the librarian’s concert, and afterwards of a solo from a blind fidler, we adjourn to the library. There the morning papers, now arrived from London, afford Mr. Spout another opportunity of displaying his elocution; and Dr. Fatgoose his political wisdom: but both now attract not the attention which their morning efforts excited. The indolent indifference of early hours now give place to the anxious cares of the night. Now the librarian is considering the chances of the dice, preparing for the principal business of a Brighton trader; in short, he is collecting[22] his troops, and making his dispositions for commencing the gaming, encouraged not merely by the probable hope, but the undoubted certainty that whoever may be entitled to the victory, he himself shall obtain the spoils. As the general principle of gambling is to acquire our neighbour’s property without giving him an equivalent, raffling, as practised at the watering places, especially at Brighton, is dexterously calculated for picking the pockets of visitors, in order to fill the pockets of the inhabitants; and, indeed, is to Brighton shopkeepers a greater source of revenue than any other craft which they exercise, with all the benefit of monopoly and extortion. The raffle-holder gains without any risk: his profits are always twofold, and by a little additional dexterity of fraud, may be threefold. In the first place, the article[23] to be disposed of is a toy, which if sold in the shop, (or called for gentility’s sake the library,) would at the retail price fetch about double prime cost. But the subscription for the raffle is, in the second place, at least double the retail amount: this is the second profit. Thirdly, by the prescribed œconomy of Brighton raffles, the subscribers do not all throw together, but at different times, as they happen to be present. By adding a fictitious name, a librarian can easily pretend that the name in question has thrown the winning number. Thus, for instance, if a netting-box cost the raffle-holder one guinea, if sold according to the rate of Brighton profits, it might fetch no more than two guineas, but by raffle it will produce four; so that if the real winner should be too sharp for the fictitious name to come in, the holder has, at the worst,[24] three guineas of clear profit, besides the daily and almost hourly return of his money. Every subscription for one shilling adds six-pence certain to the gambling branch of the librarian’s revenue, besides three-pence more to the mercantile part, in the exorbitant profits on the disposal of his goods. In the best frequented raffle-rooms, 10l. a-day are subscribed, affording to the owner, besides his profit on his stock, 30l. a-week for gambling without risk.

Raffling occupies the chief concern of the evening till about nine o’clock, when the various parties move either homewards, or to some appointment or assignation, according to their situation and dispositions.

Such was the substance of Hamilton’s account of the general state and manners of Brighton: we shall now proceed to the[25] particular incidents and occurrences which regarded him or his party.

The Hamiltons found a commodious house at Russel-place, commanding a very extensive prospect, that comprehended Anchorfield, the cottage that now held Maria Mortimer. Having spent the morning after his arrival in surveying the place, Hamilton rode over to the seat of Captain Mortimer, who was prepossessed in his favour by the accounts of his brother and nephew, and insisted on his staying to dinner; an invitation which he most readily accepted. In the course of their conversation, his host said, he recollected that when he was midshipman aboard the Lion man of war, in 1759, there was a land-officer of his name, a very brave and handsome fellow, who, with a party of soldiers, was aboard their ship; and that the night proposed for[26] ascending the heights of Abraham, he had charge of a boat, in which Hamilton was the first man that jumped ashore, and went up the precipice with Colonel Howe. “I am told,” he added, “he very much distinguished himself. I afterwards saw him once or twice, but never have heard of him since the peace.” Hamilton, pleased with these praises, informed him, that the Hamilton in question was his father. “By George, now I recollect it, you are extremely like one another, and a fine youth he was: I remember that after the town was taken, as he walked through the streets, the French girls used to admire him so. I can tell you a comical story upon that subject:”—but the entrance of a visitor interrupted the projected narrative. Hamilton, in the course of the day, made great progress in the good graces of the old naval hero. At the instance[27] of William, strongly seconded by the younger Mortimer, and not opposed by Maria, the Captain agreed to spend a fortnight at Brighton, and the next day a house was found in the vicinity of Mr. Hamilton.



In the evening, the party repaired to the Steyne, which they found almost covered with company, met to enjoy the cool sea-breeze, by the clear rays of a harvest moon, to display themselves, criticise others, and various purposes, according to their age, condition, circumstances, or inclination. Here were lords and baronets, squires and merchants, soldiers and sailors, physicians and counsellors, and dignitaries; here were apothecaries, attorneys, and curates; here were tradesmen and mechanics, and shopmen and journeymen; all with their respective fair, from the duke to the barber, the duchess to the sempstress, all on a footing of equality,[29] under the general denomination of gentlemen and ladies. Here if a fastidious grandee might feel indignant at being elbowed or jostled by a shoemaker or taylor, the liberal and enlightened patriot would rejoice in the consideration, that these were all effects of a free and equitable constitution, which assures to the industrious and skilful the fruits of their labour, enables them to compensate the toils of their arduous exertions by occasional relaxation, and braces their bodies and invigorates their minds for future efforts beneficial to themselves and the public. But a grandee is not the person most likely to feel or express displeasure at this temporary intermixture of ranks; those are often the aptest to stand upon points of precedence and dignity, who really have none to support. An earl may with safety venture to walk from the Pavillion to Fisher’s[30] with his taylor, without any apprehension of being supposed the equal of that taylor; but if a retired soap-boiler or oilman were to allow Mr. Snip the same liberty, the case would be very different; they might be presumed to be companions of the said taylor; which would derogate from their supposed dignity, and would be more heinously offensive to their respective wives. Jealousy is most commonly the result of conscious deficiency; thence those are the most apprehensive of contamination from persons whom they regard as low, who are really in their situation or sentiments the most low themselves. This was the view in which the Hamiltons, Wentbridges, and Mortimers, regarded the present amalgamation. They beheld honest vulgarity of manners as an object of sportive humour, when mingled with affectation, but reserved contempt[31] for meanness of conduct. Having enjoyed themselves for an hour in this promenade, they retired into the library, where, after having reconnoitred their fellow-visitors, and recollected various faces they had seen on the Steyne, Mrs. Hamilton was joined by two ladies, whom she recognized as neighbours, with whom she had a slight acquaintance. These were Mrs. Pompous, who had formerly kept a boarding-school near Mile-End, and her daughter, miss, now an unwilling votary of the goddess Diana, and who had received, unasked, the boon prayed for by Daphne, and would not, like that famed nymph, have fled, even if the suitor had not been an Apollo. Mrs. Pompous had, after her retirement from tuition, betaken herself to Southampton Buildings, that she might be near her brother, a topping hosier by the top of Shoe Lane. These[32] ladies declared themselves very much dissatisfied with Brighton, because there was so many low people there. “Them,” observed the veteran teacher, “are kind of creatures that one wishes to purtect or sarve, but not to meet cheeck by jowl, when one comes to elegant society. Wilhelmina and I were quite asheamed just now to meet Miss Furbelow, the mantuamaker, who, though she knows our condition in life, had the folly to come up and speak to us as frankly and freely as if she had been our own equals.” “I do not think, mamma,” said miss, “that it was intentional presumption in the girl, but rather the thoughtless ignorance of what is due to the diversity of ranks in social life. You will observe, Mrs. Hamilton,” continued miss in the true imperative tone of preceptorial habit, “that there are different orders, situations, and professions in[33] every well constituted society.” “A very just observation,” said our hero. Thus encouraged, she went on: “Now, I do think, that such diversity of condition should be attended to, either at private parties, or at public places; for instance, it might happen that Miss Furbelow, (proceeded Miss Pompous,) and any of us might meet in a party, one would behave civilly, and even with affability and condescension to such a person; but then, she ought to know her distance.” Here Captain Mortimer inquired how this Miss Furbelow conducted herself in company? The answer came from Mrs. Hamilton, “Very properly and genteelly.” “Is she the servant or dependent of the persons with whom she happens to associate?” “Neither.” “Then I cannot see,” said the captain, “why she is to receive affability or condescension from those with whom she is on a footing of[34] perfect equality.” Miss, accustomed to have her dictates received as oracular truths, was much displeased with this contradiction, and answered, with angry solemnity, “that these were antediluvian notions, fit for the time of Queen Bess, not for the present.” The captain assured her, “that with regard to Queen Bess, as she called her, she was totally mistaken, both in fact and history; that degradation of useful professions befitted the remains of feudal ideas of those times much better than the enlightened wisdom of the present ages.” Miss retorted, “that he was totally wrong, and knew nothing of history when he talked so.” The captain, though acute, intelligent, and liberal, had not that perfectly fashionable polish which can completely command and disguise passions: he answered the last observation contemptuously, but desisted from farther contest. A person[35] coming up, heartily shook our hero by the hand, and expressed his joy at seeing him. This was a little man, seemingly about thirty, five feet and an inch in height, tolerably well proportioned, so as in person to be an abridged edition of a man, but with a countenance grave and solemn. Without relaxing the serious turn of his features, he said to Hamilton, “I am so happy to meet you, we shall have such food for remark and observation.” “Ah! my friend Scribble,” said Hamilton, “I had no expectations of meeting you in this place; we shall have such criticism and satire, now that you are here: but come, Dicky, go home and sup with us, and give some account of yourself.” He accordingly introduced him to his mother, and the other party in general, but more particularly to his friend John Mortimer. After they had reached their[36] house, taking John and Scribble into a back-parlour, he very gravely presented Mortimer to Dicky; “This is Mr. Mortimer, a young friend of mine, of abilities and literature, that will be very happy to avail himself of an opportunity of being known to a gentleman of Mr. Scribble’s immense, valuable, and diversified stores.” Scribble kindly answered, “he should be extremely happy by his communications to benefit the gentleman. Are you, sir, engaged in any work? because, if you are, whatever the subject may be, I shall lay you down the rules of composition.” Mortimer thanked him, but assured him, that, for the present, he had no such production in contemplation. Being now summoned to supper, Mr. Scribble, conceiving it incumbent on him to be spokesman of the company, opened upon sea-bathing, and professing a profound[37] knowledge of the animal system, in a preaching tone, expatiated on its process in the invigoration of the nerves. Coming from operation to result and effects, he very learnedly summed up the narratives and arguments of his harangue: “The salt-water contributes at once to purification, and to tension, and also to elasticity; the votaries of bathing have in every movement a pleasing bound, and an efficacious vigour. Every act of the animal œconomy in which they may be engaged is performed more completely and satisfactorily. All these I could illustrate to demonstration, but a few may suffice.” Mrs. Hamilton, not knowing what the nature of the elucidation might be, proposed to suspend the subject for the present, and a more general conversation was introduced, which lasted till the party separated. Next morning Scribble, after[38] bathing, met Hamilton on the west cliff; Mortimer soon after joining them, they took a walk along the cliff, when Hamilton praised the infinite treasures of knowledge, human and divine, that Scribble possessed: “Come, now Dicky, astonish Mortimer here, by a frank account of your studies.” “A detail,” replied Dick, “would be tedious; but since you insist upon it, I will give you a short sketch of what I have read, or treated in publications, or, in short, what I know.” “What you know and can write upon,” said Hamilton; “to speak generally and concisely, every thing; nothing comes wrong to Dicky.” “That is too much,” said Scribble, vouchsafing a smile; “but I certainly have considered and discussed a good many subjects; physics and metaphysics, history and poetry, criticism and compilation, divinity and morality, legislation and[39] political œconomy, the law of nature and of nations, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and finance, botany, chymistry, mineralogy, electricity, geology, geography, nosology, and medicine, have all exercised my pen.” Mortimer uttering interjections, expressing his admiration and surprize, Scribble, farther to transport his wonder, went on: “Though neither a physician, nor a surgeon, I am more deeply skilled in midwifery than any professed practitioner of the obstetric art. Though not called to the bar, I know better than Erskine how counsellors ought to plead. Though no clergyman, I know how men of that profession ought to preach.” “Mr. Scribble’s extraordinary merit,” said Hamilton, “is the cause of no less extraordinary envy. Nothing that he brings out has the reception which transcendent merit and abilities deserve.[40] The malignancy of critics abuses his works, and the public most foolishly and unfortunately countenances all his detractors.” “So they do,” said Scribble, “they are all in a confederacy against me.” “The public,” observed Hamilton, “has acted extremely ungratefully to my friend here. If you were to collect all that his indefatigable activity has written, you would find it more than the labours of some of our ancient divines. Nay, I really do not believe, that Saint Cyril himself wrote more against the Nestorian heresy, though he contributed seven folio volumes to orthodoxy, than Mr. Scribble’s reservoir of erudition has done to attack heretics in literature, who, as he observes, abound so much in the present day; and,” continued our hero, “it is not on one subject, but on all that he writes; my friend here is not more meritorious for[41] his genius than his courage. There’s no subject but Dicky will venture upon; I am convinced, if it were proposed to him, he would undertake to make out the longitude, or to solve all the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt.” “But for all this,” said Scribble, “I am subject to the grossest defamation.” “Do you know,” said Hamilton, “what the impudent fellows say of poor Scribble?” “I cannot conceive,” replied Mortimer, “what is even possible to be said against such genius and erudition.” “Oh! the invention of malice will say any thing.” “Why, what do they say?” said Dick, somewhat irritated. “Insolent scoundrels,” said Hamilton; “Well, I will tell you, Scribble, that we may have a laugh at their folly.” “Ay, do,” said the other. “Why, it was only t’other evening I called at the club, and the conversation turned upon[42] the merits of my friend Dicky Scribble here: I said nothing: but one said, ‘he’s a special fellow; he’s a good raker; he has industry; and has got together some scraps on a great variety of subjects: he is superficial in all:’ here, I thought it incumbent on me to take your part; ‘I certainly (said I) think Mr. Scribble a man of extraordinary genius.’ Strongbrain was there; he looked in my face, and laughed. ‘Hamilton, you do not think him a man of extraordinary genius.’ Angry as I was at being so contradicted, I could not help laughing also.” “Laughing,” said Scribble angrily; “you, as my friend, should have knocked him down.” “By the lord, I must have then knocked down all the meeting, for they all agreed with him.” “Hamilton, you over-rate that Strongbrain; I think very little of him, I must say, you yourself require a good deal[43] of care to form your judgment, Now you think highly of Robertson and Hume, and such men as those, you are quite led by prevailing opinion; that is always the way with men of no great reach of abilities; whereas men of real talents differ in their opinion from every body else.” Hamilton not recollecting he was the aggressor, and that this remark was provoked by his satirical report, was so far irritated, as to proceed in humbling poor Scribble’s arrogance. “Yes,” said our hero, “one instance of that kind of extraordinary genius is John Dennis, who, when all the world allowed praise to Addison and Pope, endeavoured to prove that neither of them possessed any genius. Zoilus too was another extraordinary personage, who endeavoured to prove that Homer was no poet.” “All that,” said Scribble, “is mere common-place: I tell you, that[44] persons now looked up to for literature and ability, are admired without reason, and I can surpass them all myself; and will surpass them all too.” “Come, come,” said Hamilton, “don’t be angry now, I was only telling you what I heard; but we shall not touch any more on your genius and learning; it is a tender point: I know your works excel most of the age; and I dare say, every body else thinks so too, only they say the contrary to vex you.” Easily persuaded, that others thought as highly of him as he did of himself, Scribble swallowed these declarations, and soon after departed to attend an appointment. “Who is this?” said Mortimer. “Scribble,” answered his friend, “is one of that numerous class who, without genius or philosophy, set up in the trade of authorship. He is, however, much better qualified than many of the fraternity;[45] he has received a classical education, is master of arts, has been bred to the English bar, but, finding he could get no employment, harangues against all the counsellors who receive briefs, especially Erskine, Gibbs, and Garrow; although he has not laid the foundation of erudition in either physical or moral sciences, he has raked together a great quantity of detached and miscellaneous facts, and as he has formed a decent, though stiff and pedantic style, he can write common-place observations on most subjects that occur; and while he confines himself to skimming the surface, he does well enough, and is very useful drudge in any periodical publication; but that won’t serve the fellow, he must write books forsooth. His parts are middling, but his head has got a wrong twist, common sense presides not in his brain. Dicky would shine! To a man[46] that seeks literary distinctions, without great powers and acquirements, an obvious tract is singularity. Scribble is a great controverter of established opinions: He does not gainsay them by any ingenuity of hypothesis, but by simple contradiction. He is also a great exclaimer against established, or rising characters, especially in literature; that springs, partly from envy, but chiefly from vanity and self-conceit, or rather from an envy proceeding from vanity and self-conceit.” “What kind of books does he write?” said Mr. Mortimer, “I never heard of his name.”—“He is not eminent, but still he is noted.”—“But his books,” rejoined Mr. Mortimer, “what are they? scissars and paste, I suppose.”—“No; that they ought to be: scissars and paste is the resource of book-manufacturers, without invention or wisdom; but[47] Scribble tries originals, and often spends more time and pains in speaking, (for he is a great coffee-house declaimer,) or in writing paradoxical nonsense, than might by compilation furnish a good-looking fair book for his worthy friend Billy Nincompoop.” “Who the devil is Billy Nincompoop?”—“An undertaker-general in the book-manufactory line. I shall give you some account of him another time: all I can now say is, that he has more journeymen at work than any mailer-manufacturer either at Birmingham or Manchester, and a great deal of work they do, and often very dirty work it is. Billy keeps a very sooty forge.”

The youths now returned to breakfast; soon after they accompanied the ladies to the Steyne, and the sun being very warm, they retired into the library, where they found a tall corpulent divine, with his bib and apron,[48] and a large bushy wig, expounding the operations of the Austrians upon the Danube, and describing, as well as he could, the siege of Belgrade; the Emperor Joseph, he instructed the company, was a profound politician, and a consummate general: he was also, he firmly believed, a zealous friend to the protestant religion; witness his efforts for suppressing monasteries, and other repositories of popery.—Captain Mortimer said, “he could not perceive much of his wisdom there; his innovations were rash and precipitate, and appeared to be more for the sake of plunder than conversion; that the effect was revolt among his most industrious and flourishing subjects.” “They are insolent and audacious,” repeated the dignitary, in a pompous and sonorous tone, which with many served to fill up the chasm of argument; “subjects ought[49] not to question the will of their rulers. A prince is responsible for his conduct only to that being from whom he derives his power,” “Pretty doctrine that in a free country,” (said the captain, somewhat iritated by the dictatorial manner of the self-sufficient priest,) “God forbid it should ever prevail in Britain. But Britain out of the question, it is totally erroneous in its application to the people of the Netherlands, whose first executive magistrate, Joseph, was on specified terms. Joseph has broken the conditions, therefore his subjects have a right to be off the bargain.” “That is an irreverend and seditious way of speaking.” “Irreverend and seditious,” said the captain, “who are you that dare use such language to a gentleman, merely because he won’t take your solemn sounding nonsense, for sense and argument.” Hamilton seeing the choler of his naval[50] friend, found means, by sliding into the conversation, to soften matters; and though no friend to public argumentation, yet, desirous of gratifying Maria’s uncle, he took a comprehensive survey of the conduct of Joseph, proved him to be the mere creature of imitation, who totally misunderstood his models: that to follow Frederick in the fashion of the times, he was an infidel; but contrary to the wise caution of his Prussian neighbour, manifested his infidelity in practical policy, and wished to destroy ecclesiastical establishments, the best preservers of civil and social order. In his present war with Turkey, he was the mere tool of Catherine, and was exhausting the resources of his country, to promote projects totally useless to his own dominions, and merely instrumental to the ambition of the Empress. But if the war had been wise in its origin, it[51] was feeble and inefficient in its execution. “In short,” said Hamilton, “in the internal administration that drove subjects to revolt, and in the external policy that engaged without provocation in a war to aggrandize another, I should think there are strong objections to Joseph as a consummate politician; and in the military conduct of four disciplined armies, repulsed by an undisciplined militia of barbarians that were enabled to invade and lay waste their fertile provinces, and alarm their capital, there are objections to the character of Joseph as a consummate general. But these, I dare say, the knowledge and ratiocinative powers of the reverend gentleman will, no doubt, satisfactorily solve.” The doctor, who both in the pulpit and out of it, had been accustomed to preach, but not to hear or to reason, did not think proper to reply to[52] this answer, but strutted out of the library. Not so Dicky Scribble, who had some time before joined the party, and eagerly listened in hopes of an argument which might display his logic and his eloquence, and co-operate with a paragraph that was to appear in a London morning paper that would reach Brighton that evening, announcing among the arrivals Richard Scribble, Esq. the celebrated author. With these views and expectations he accosted our hero. “Mr. Hamilton, hem, I have heard with great pleasure, hem, your very ingenious argument, and I am not surprised that your eloquence overwhelmed an ordinary hearer, hem, but bestowing every praise on the brilliancy of your remarks, you will give me leave to question their logical force, hem. I will undertake to prove that the Emperor Joseph is a very wise man, hem.” “I[53] know you will, my good friend, undertake to prove that or any thing else, but respite your wisdom and erudition for the present, we are going to the parade. You that are a man of taste and refinement are friendly to gallantry and a polite attention to the ladies.” “Undoubtedly,” said Scribble, and to give a practical proof of his elegant address, on which he very much plumed himself, he made his best bow to Miss Mortimer, begged he might have the honour of her company, and while she was humming the South Downs, in unison with the band, he entertained her, or at least himself, with a dissertation on the different modes in which different nations, in ancient and modern times, treated women. Captain Mortimer at this time was praising and thanking our hero for his powerful assistance against the parson; but however he said, “it was not difficult,[54] it was a first rate, full rigged, against a hulk; but this little cock-boat, Dicky, as you call him, to be sure he makes a great noise, but it is like the guns on a rejoicing day, all powder and no ball.” Having contemplated the military evolutions, after the corps were dismissed, they were joined by an officer with whom John Mortimer was acquainted. This gentleman was presently accosted by one of the soldiers of the light infantry corps, who requested leave of absence from the evening parade. His commander questioned him about his business, not approving of the excursions of soldiers in the dusk; but to the surprise of himself and the rest of his company, was answered that his engagement was to preach the gospel. The captain at the intercession of the party, permitted the desired absence for a pastime not very usual among soldiers.[55] Mr. Scribble would have opened an argument to prove that such preachers might do more harm than good, but found no one disposed either to refute his reasonings, or listen to his wisdom. The party being engaged to dine with the Mortimers, Mr. Scribble was asked. The fish consisted of turbot and foals. Here Dicky had, or at least took, an opportunity of holding forth upon ichthyology, which learned term, he in deference to the ladies, explained, and endeavoured to account for the scarcity of cod, haddocks, &c. on the coast of Sussex. He informed the company that he thought very little of Buffon’s Natural History, and that he had thoughts of writing on the subject himself, to detect and expose the other, and to remedy his defects. “It is a pleasing and instructive subject, but has never been hitherto properly treated, that is one of the[56] desiderata in literature, which I am afraid it will be reserved for myself to fill.” “There are so many chasms,” said Hamilton, “which your benevolence proposes to supply, that I am apprehensive you will hardly be able to bear the laborious task.” “Oh! I have a very strong mind. One work much wanting is a history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. You, sir,” appealing to Dr. Wentbridge, “will admit that Gibbon’s religion is not of the best.” “Most readily,” replied the doctor. “In his views and arrangement,” rejoined Dicky “I will demonstrate that he is extremely defective, that he is narrow, uncomprehensive, and confused.” “The eviction of such a proposition, would convey a new truth to my mind,” said the doctor; “but so important a subject requires a written treatise.” “That I intend.” “Have you written any thing historical, sir?” “O, yes,[57] from authentic records and documents that I found in an old chest near Glastonbury-abbey, I composed in seven volumes, quarto, a true, and impartial, history of Jack the Giant-killer, including cotemporary heroes. I have the satisfaction to say before this good company, that more profound views of human nature are no where to be found, but envy, that corrosive passion, blasted the tree at its birth, else it would have been a goodly child, which in its mature vigour, would have reflected honour on its happy and delighted parent. How do you like my figure?” “Very much,” said Hamilton, “it is very fine, and for mixture, Burke himself mixes.” “Perhaps you mean that as a compliment, my good friend,” said Scribble, who during dinner had drank wine with every individual in the company, and afterwards had not been sparing,[58] “but I do not think very highly of him. On any subject that he has undertaken, I will undertake to write better. Name the subject, it is all one to Scribble. I have in agitation a new theory on the sublime and beautiful, which will astonish the world. Longinus, Addison, Burke, Gerrard, Hutchinson, Hogarth, psha, they do very well to pass on superficial people, but I believe I must take the subject in hand myself.” “How do you like the eloquence of Mr. Fox,” said Dr. Wentbridge. “Why, tolerably well his speaking, eloquence you cannot call it. Fox is a good sensible man enough, but no orator.” “What is an orator,” said Dr. Wentbridge. “What is an orator,” replied our sage, “ask your nephew there. Hamilton, you remember my speech at the forum.” Mr. Pitt being now proposed as a toast, Scribble having first filled and drunk a[59] bumper, half shut his eyes, curled up his nose, looked contemptuous and great. “I think nothing of Pitt’s ability, a superficial young man. If I had been prime minister, now you would have seen the country in a very different situation; men of letters and wisdom should have been the sole governors. I should not have employed a copying clerk in an office, unless he could speak Greek; moreover, unless he was conversant in metaphysical, physical, and moral erudition and science. Not a letter should have been written of which a Cicero could be ashamed. The epistles upon plain business should have been attuned to Cicero in harmony, and swelled to Cicero in magnificence. How do you like my phraseology, is it not worthy of the subject?” “Highly,” said the doctor, “but as to the matter of fact, Cicero’s letters upon business have neither[60] the tone, nor the swell that you mention, they are clear and plain narratives, with apposite observations, and strong reasoning, expressed in language simple and energetic, but totally unadorned.” “I know,” said Scribble, rather shortly, “what Cicero’s letters are.” Wentbridge not deigning to enter into a contest with this gentleman, the subject dropped. Besides himself, Mr. Scribble had one admirer in the company, this was Mr. Roger O’Rourke, who regarded him as a phenomenon of wisdom and learning, pledged his bumpers, and as they adjourned to tea, took occasion to pay him a compliment, and ask his advice. “By Jasus, Mr. Scribble, you are the cleverest fellow I ever see in my life, unless it was Counsellor Magpie at Dundalk assizes, when I was tried for horse——I mane when I was a witness for horse-stealing; but he did bother[61] them all so, by Jasus he got it all his own way, and proved an allby, and that made us all snug: I mane made the prisoners snug. I after that took to the dancing line, and then to the Gospel; but my father-in-law, and my friend Mr. Hamilton here would have me give up the preaching, because it led me to bad courses, and to be sure, to confess the truth honestly, a methodist preacher has such temptations among the dear cratures, that flesh and blood cannot stand it. The saints are so warm and so loving, then there are so bewitching opportunities; there is the love feast, the holy kiss, and the spiritual communion in the dark; the evening meetings in the conventickles, and tickle they do sure enough. Even an Englishman with all his prudence, or a Scotchman with all his gravity, but much more, a poor boy from Ireland must give way. For when man and woman meet alone,[62] Mr. Scribble, they are dangerous kind of combustibles: and then there is that faith without works gives such encouragement. Its all as one as if I was to live as I pleased at an ale-house, and tell the landlord I believe you to be a very good sort of a man. He, every time I ran up a score, would take a wet cloth and wash the chalk. By Jasus he would not want customers. Now, sir, as you appear to be a man of great sense, I wish to consult you on a point of conscience and sacrecy. You see, sir, to confess the truth, my wife, the large fat lady with the red hair, that set opposite to you, is none of the handsomest, and besides, as Louis XV. Emperor of Germany observed, toger perde[2], which it seems in their language is, too much of one thing is enough. What with the bathing and sea air, and the bracing and one thing or another, and looking at the sweet creatures[63] in the face, I have a great mind to take to the methodism again. I am sure I could be more populous than that light infantry man. If you would speak a good word for me to young Mr. Hamilton, for he rules the roast with the old boy, just to let me have a small excursion while they stay at Brighton, I shall, as in duty bound, both in my sermons and out of them, praise your works.” Scribble having further conversation in the course of the evening with Mr. O’Rourke, concluded that with some training in orthography and grammar, he might be improved into a spiritual writer, for his friend Billy Nincompoop, who it seems would soon want a fresh hand in the divinity branch of the manufacture; and promised to take an early opportunity of further conversing with Mr. O’Rourke. They now adjourned to the meeting of the military saint, who borrowed the[64] quaker rendezvous for that night. This preacher was deemed the best singer of martial songs in the whole regiment; upon the faith of that perfection he acted also as precentor. He got very well through the performance, bating that he once fell into the tune of “The top sail shivers in the wind,” and in endeavouring to get out of it, he got hold of “The black joke.” He however succeeded in pitching his voice for the next stave by humming the serious and melancholy ditty, “There came a ghost to Margaret’s door,” and got at last into a proper strain of psalmody. The discourse had nothing particular in it to distinguish it from any other methodist sermon, consisting merely of cant, mysticism, soft love imagery, melodious inanity, chequered with the terrible pictures of the punishment of unbelievers, when in possession of the devil. The sermon included[65] a very particular detail of roasting in hell-fire, which, next to the amorous parts, gave the highest satisfaction to the devotees. Towards the end of his discourse, he took occasion to compare Brighton to Sodom and Gomorrah, and exhorted them speedily to depart from such a scene of wickedness: he should lead them to the right way. The drum-major, who happened to be present, hearing this declaration, took it into his head that the preacher intended to desert, seized him as he was descending from a bench; but finding on examination that the orator had only been speaking by types and similitude, he suffered him to depart in peace. From the chapel, Mr. Scribble prevailed on the company, though it was late, to look in at the library, hastily proceeded to the reading table, and taking up the Humbug, call out, “How shameful it is in those news-writers, that[66] a man of any eminence cannot move from one place to another, but they must make it public.” “What is the matter, Richard,” said Hamilton. “Read that paragraph.” We learn from Brighton that the celebrated Richard Scribble, Esq. delights and astonishes the frequenters of the rooms and libraries by the brilliancy of his wit, and the depth of his erudition. “It is astonishing how the Humbug could know that already,” said Hamilton, “last night was your first in the library, and however witty and wise you might appear, I cannot account for your fame reaching London in time for the morning press, but by enchantment.” Soon after the company parted for the evening.

The next day, a water excursion was proposed for Shoreham. On their way, their pilot poured out his maledictions against Mr. Pitt, for having so completely[67] suppressed smuggling, that as the waterman phrased it, there was now no opportunity for honest industry. Having arrived at this ancient borough, and viewed the rope-works and other curiosities, the conversation turned from the commercial state, to the political history of this noted repository of electors. Some of the company animadverting severely on the gross corruption of 1768, Mr. Scribble undertook to prove that corruption was necessary to the existence of executive government; but, he was interrupted in his dissertation, by notice from the watermen, that they must immediately return, or that they would lose the tide: they accordingly returned to Brighton. That Evening they spent at the Promenade Grove, where there was a great deal of company, and most fortunately, our hero’s party was joined by Mr. Chatter, the apothecary, intelligencer[68] general of the place. Several ladies entered the room, one of whom was strikingly beautiful in her face; of a most expressive countenance; of a fine stature, and exquisite form; Hamilton being at some distance, his sister asked Mr. Chatter who that was? “The wife of a valiant soldier, pretty miss, who assisted Wolfe at Quebec; forced the city to surrender; became a viscount on the death of his father; a famous hand for wit and humour; was lord-lieutenant of Ireland; great favourite with the whole nation; did not call for coffee too soon after dinner; eldest son became an earl while he was viscount;—said a good thing upon that. His son regretting that he had a higher title than his father. I don’t care, George, which title you have, so long as you don’t get hold of mine; but the viscount is lately made a marquis. She is a charming woman—the[69] marchioness,” said Miss Hamilton; “she is an excellent wife, mother, and mistress of a family, pretty miss, a pattern to her rank and sex. If all were to take example by her, Doctors’ Commons would starve; but I do not suppose you know any thing of them sort of things yet, miss.” Miss Mortimer now observed a lady of a fine shape, with a most fascinating countenance, and applying to Mr. Chatter, this communicative person very readily gave her information, prefaced with a hem, and the hem accompanied with a shrug of the shoulders, “that’s a lady of quality too, very different from the marchioness; she is the countess of a Cockatrice, evil tongues don’t stick to say;——but my lord is a good, easy man, not at all exceptious, and if he is pleased, nobody else has a right to be displeased. She has daughters grown up and married,—that is one[70] of them a little behind that lady with the rolling eye; she seems already to have a good modest assurance of her own too. O Lord, there is little Tommy Titmouse, the famous coachman.” “Poor Titmouse,” said Hamilton, “he is a good-natured little creature, and encourages the breed of horses; therefore, he is not so totally useless as one is apt to think.” “Observe,” said Mortimer, “that tall military figure; that is a nobleman, who unites the hero, the scholar, the statesman, the philanthrophist, and the finished gentleman,—such as English nobility ought to be. That also is a lord, who is speaking to him.” “What, he with the strong, black, bushy eyebrows?” said Miss Mortimer. “That,” said Hamilton, “is a man of as powerful a masculine understanding, as most that have ever sitten in the house of peers, or occupied the highest offices in the[71] state.” There now entered a slim, middle-sized gentleman-like man: evidently an old beau, wishing to appear young, who was immediately accosted by the fascinating countess above-mentioned, “and is Great Bayleaf come to enliven Brighton with his gaiety and gallantry.” His lordship, with the fashionable inattention of the manners of the time, made no direct answer; but, looking through a spyglass at Miss Mortimer;—“fine girl that, Cockatrice, is she one of us?” “Of us, no; one of the canaille I suppose; a fine fellow that; that squires her though;” “well enough for a trooper,” said the peer; “but perhaps, such are to your ladyship’s taste;” “and perhaps such girls may be to yours; but, take my word for it, such a youth would be much more to their’s.” “I admit the competency of your ladyship, to deliver judgment on the case, and sustain your[72] verdict; he shall be a fine fellow, since you will have it so. But, who are all here? Who of us.” “Of you, Peers of England—pillars of the State: there is, as you see there, the lord chancellor, and the lord chief justice Norland, to engage with your ladyship on constitutional law, and state politics. Lord Carolina to engage you on warfare and literature.—I saw two or three of the bishops here too; they will afford an opportunity of opening your stores on divinity.” “Aye, aye,” said Bayleaf, “what you say of learning and divinity reminds me of a piece of news I just heard. I find my Lord Cockatrice is turning author;” “What is he about to write?” “A commentary on the patience of Job.” “Well,” said Bayleaf, “your friend George Bonmots, who has been your partner in other concerns, seems to be letting you into a partnery of his wit;[73] but, I much question whether your capital be sufficient.” “But your ladyship has not yet answered my question:—Who of our friends are at Brighton?” “Oh! abundance; there is my Lord Spindle, Viscount Ogle, Sir Billy Butterfly, Tommy Titmouse, the Lady Leerwell, the Dowager Dimple, the Countess of Cockdie, Lady Frances Faro, Sir John Jockey, and an old friend of your house, his new-married lady, and various others, whom I have not time now to recount.” During this dialogue, a plump, sturdy, rosy-cheeked person made up to Mr. Chatter, who received him with much heartiness. “Ah, my good friend, Kit Cotton, who thought of seeing you at Brighton?” “Being now less off business, and a gemman, I have come down a bit to see your doings.” “So you have left off business.”[74] “Yes; I have retired into the country now, for the benefit of air and exercise. I bought a nice house by Kingsland turnpike, near the brickfield, within sight of the great cow-keeper’s yard. Charming prospect I have on the one side to Ballspond and Hoxton; on another, to Hackney fields, all the way over to the Cat and Shoulder of Mutton. We are just upon the road, and there is a power of coaches that passes us every day; so it is very pleasant to sit at the window and count them. I know to a minute when every stage coach should pass, for I was always pretty cute, and obsarves what is going forewood.” “But why are you in mourning; no family misfortune I hope?” “Oh yes, our Deborah have left me a widower; but, as the parson says, the will of Providence must be done. Daughter Peg now keeps house.[75] It was she that made me come down here, for, says she, father, now you be come on in the world, and a gemman; it is right you should put yourself forwood among other great gentlefolks. I was agreeable, and proposed Margate; but Peg said, says she, Margate be well enough for the ribble rabble Canille, says she; but won’t do for those who have pretensions to gentility, says she. Most of our old neighbours are gone there that I used to keep company with before I left off business; and my daughter Peg says they won’t do for people of condition. This is a good smartish place enough, not much worse than White Conduit House; but for one thing, is bad. I axed the waiter for some baccar, he laughed, and told me, as how no smoking was allowed here.” Mr. Cotton being departed, Scribble was disposed to entertain[76] the party with a dissertation on the tendency of habit, to determine the sentiments and characters of men; but the commencement of a favourite song postponed his erudition.



The next morning, Mr. O’Rourke again applied to Scribble, to interpose on his behalf for leave of absence. Hamilton, who really was somewhat ashamed of having such a figure in their parties, was not much averse to the proposition; he conversed on the subject with his uncle and cousin; the former of whom cared little about the preacher; the latter, though averse to his absence, yet afraid, that by being crossed, he might relax into his former practices, judged it most expedient to consent. Accordingly, he set off that very afternoon on the road to Lewes, and was, by appointment, joined by a female devotee, with whom[78] he had made acquaintance at Brighton, and who agreed to accompany him in his spiritual peregrination. This evening was spent at the theatre. Here, as usual, they were joined by Mr. Scribble, who, at the end of the first act, was very cordially accosted by a strange looking figure that entered the box. This was a tall thin man, with a pale countenance, goggling grey eyes, and a remarkably long nose. Scribble returned the address with great pleasure. “My dear friend, Mr. William Nincompoop, to what do I owe the unexpected happiness of seeing you so far from home? I thought you had spared no time for pleasure;” “I don’t spare time for pleasure now, I have come upon business,” whispered Nincompoop; “but come and sup with me at the tavern, and I will tell you all about it.” Scribble accepted this invitation, and when the play was finished,[79] the bookseller and the author set off to Hicks’s. When they were seated, Nincompoop opened: “My valued friend, Scribble, I know I can depend on you in whatever you undertake, and on your recommendation and advice, as well as your services; I prefer you to any of my authors, for your readiness to undertake any thing. Let me see,” said he, “what you are all doing for me at present. First, there is biography, the history of Katerfelto and his black cat;” “yes, I reckon that one of the best things I ever wrote;” “the life of the noted Charles Price, hanged for forgery; the life and adventures of Hawke the highwayman, and of Macdonald the thief-catcher; but take care of borrowing from the Newgate Calendar. Secondly, travels; tour through Ireland, including picturesque descriptions;” “yes, I got through the bog of Allen in Bunhill-row, and here at[80] Brighton I am at the lake of Killarney;” “very well. Thirdly, metaphysics.—How comes your treatise on?” “I have already proved, that Locke, Hutchinson, Berkeley, Hume, and Reid, are blockheads, and I am now demonstrating, that nobody knows any of the matter but myself.” “Very well. Fourthly, divinity. How are you proceeding against Horseley and Priestley?” “Demonstrating that both know nothing about the matter, and as before, that no one knows any thing about the subject but myself.” “Fifthly, mathematics. How goes your essay upon the Cycloid?” “It’s not quite so far advanced, really,” “I must begin another hand,” said Nincompoop. “Sixthly, Ethics. What are you doing against Paley?” “I demonstrate him to be a fool, and myself only thoroughly to understand the subject; but history is my sheet anchor.”[81] “Do you think you would have time to do any thing for me there?” “Oh yes,” “I want a smart history; I don’t care on what subject,—or two or three.” “Suppose a second edition of my Jack the giant killer, or to make it a more general title, the history of British Giants. I have got some valuable materials about Gog and Magog myself,” “I should like something more modern. Could you cut me out from the gazettes and magazines, a good dashing original history of the American war?” “Oh yes, if I cannot write a better history than Hume, Robertson, or Gibbon, I will promise never to write another line.” “Do not make rash vows,” said Billy, “for you would assuredly break them.” “Another very clever man is strongly recommended to me as a capital hand for the military part.” “Aye, who’s that,” “Spontoon, drum-major of militia, now,[82] I am told, at Brighton. I think if he do the military part, and you the rest, it will be a capital job. I shall agree on the usual terms; three half crowns a sheet, thirty shillings a volume for books to be broken up;” “but I must have an additional six-pence per sheet for flour paste.” “I dont like to find the flour; it would be establishing a bad precedent for my other authors, and would stand me in a sack of flour each quarter; besides they might be making puddings as well as books. No; all my authors must find their own scissars and paste; you know the workman at every craft finds his own tools; and the master only finds the materials. I must hear of no charge for paste:” “well, be it so, we shall not out about that, let’s see about Spontoon to-morrow.” “Scribble,” resumed Nincompoop, “do you know of any good hand at methodist sermons and hymns?”[83] “Oh yes, I can undertake them myself.” “No; you have enough in hand already.” “Well then, there is a tall Irishman, called O’Rourke, I think he might be brought to do; he is gone a-preaching now; a good sharp fellow, but I rather doubt if he can spell.”—“Spell indeed, what does that signify? If I were to employ no authors, but those who could spell, I would not do one quarter of my present business,” “and you do a great deal, my respectable patron.” “Aye, how do I do so much business? Why by not being nice, either in my subject or my writing.” “I will introduce you to that young man that you saw with me; a decent enough youth.” “Oh, Hamilton you mean; I know him by sight; he is a very able writer I am told.” “Who tells you so?” says Scribble. “The booksellers, the public, the world.” “The booksellers, the[84] public, the world, are a parcel of ignorant blockheads. I tell you, Hamilton is not a clever fellow, and you, and whoever says he is,” continued Scribble, “only shew their own ignorance.” Scribble was warm with liquor, otherwise he would never have ventured to talk so cavalierly to his supreme employer in the book manufactory. Nincompoop was a cunning fellow; regarded his own set of authors merely as productive journeymen, and, as many saleable books could be compiled without learning or genius, the chief qualifications he sought, in the usual routine of his business, were laborious drudgery, and readiness of raking. He could not distinguish between pains-taking dullness, and real ability: and therefore prized Mr. Scribble. Proud and irritable, however, he replied disdainfully to his journeyman: “I will not suffer such language from[85] any man; no, if instead of being a common literary hack, a jade of all work, he had the powers and learning of Dr. Strongbrain.” Scribble, too intoxicated for prudence, screamed with rage, “let me tell you, sir, I am superior to a hundred Strongbrains put together.” Nincompoop, who was perfectly sober, and extremely quick in surveying his own interest, recollecting the serviceableness of Scribble’s manufacturing talents, resolved to avoid a quarrel; and, by unsaying all that he had said, imputing it to the hastiness of his temper, and asserting his thorough conviction, that Scribble far surpassed Strongbrain, and every other literary man, he pacified the enraged author, called for a fresh bowl, and spent the remainder of the evening in friendly conversation, that was ended, by Dicky’s falling from his chair on the carpet, where he slept without disturbance till the following[86] morning. This day, a party was proposed to Worthing; and to the great pleasure of the ladies, Scribble not being to be found, was not of the company. Even Hamilton himself, though from his satirical humour, he relished occasional meetings with the vanity, self-conceit, and absurdity of Dicky; yet, tired of him a daily dish, and agreed with the rest in thinking him, to use the fashionable language of that time, a shocking bore. Arriving at the pleasant village of Worthing, they repaired to the inn of the celebrated Mr. Hogsflesh; where, while the elderly part of the company took a short walk on the sands, the two young gentlemen and ladies directed their steps towards an eminence on the right, which, as they heard, commanded a prospect that included Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It was near the end of September, and a very charming day. The[87] scene was rural and solitary, being a succession of fields, leading to a small and scattered village, containing a venerable old church, which, at different turnings of the path, presented several points of picturesque aspect.

When a young gentleman and a young lady, and another young gentleman and young lady, respectively, brothers and sisters, happen to be members of the same company, custom and politeness require that the chief attention should not be shewn to the nearest relation. Our youthful perambulators, on this occasion, found no difficulty in obeying those rules. John Mortimer prevailed on Miss Hamilton to take hold of his arm, while his fair sister graciously vouchsafed the same honour to our hero. Mortimer was already deeply impressed with the charms of his friend’s sister, nor was she altogether insensible to the charms of her friend’s[88] brother. In such a disposition, there was no great chance that the parties should find their walk tedious. Mortimer had as yet made no declaration of his sentiments, so that Charlotte could hear him without any consciousness of impropriety; and, as his conversation was very pleasing, she could not help listening with complacency. Hamilton had often and strongly urged his passion, and though he had not obtained any literal and verbal avowals of mutual affection, yet in the softness of Maria’s smiles, and the bewitching glances of her eyes, he received such testimonies, as he could not easily misinterpret. The respective couples were so much occupied themselves, that they did not attend to each other. By some means, Hamilton and our heroine seeing a path lead off to a still more pleasant scene, directed their steps thither. Their friends, not observing[89] this movement, kept straight forward. Hamilton and his lady now found themselves in a sloping copse, through which there was a narrow track, forming a vista, terminated by the church. This sequestered retirement, which might have excited ideas of love in the bosoms of two agreeable young persons that had been before unengaged, could not fail to promote them in hearts that already glowed so warmly. Our hero, the whole of whose expressions both of tongue, voice, and countenance, had been even more than ever impressive during this short excursion, had quite enchanted and dissolved the heart of Maria. All her darting quickness of penetration, the brilliancy of genius, appeared to suspend their wonted operation on her countenance and manners. Every look and tone spoke the tenderness of love. Gentle pressure of her fair hand, while he[90] held it in his, progressively led to farther caresses, and encircling the charming creature in his eager arms, he had imprinted a glowing kiss on her pouting lips, which her unsuspicious innocence had not chid from the object of impassioned love and undoubting confidence. The reception favoured repetition. Our hero had almost forgotten every consideration but one, that he had in his arms her whom he thought the loveliest of women; when suddenly a voice struck their ears, uttering the following words: “This way, honey; come, my dear girl, here is an opening through the bushes;” and presently Mr. O’Rourke made his appearance. He started at the sight of Hamilton, who was now walking on; but his companion having joined him, he saw concealment was impracticable, and without regarding the young lady’s presence, he began to try his hand at an[91] apology. “The lady with me,” he said, “is a young person that, like himself, was of the methodistical sect: and having heard me preach privately at Brighton, was so pleased with me, that she agreed to accompany me in my public ministry.” Our hero made no comment upon this defence, but wishing the preacher success in his labours, departed. Maria, though from the innocent purity of her heart, not altogether sensible of the dangerous situation in which she had been, blushed deeply at the consciousness of the dalliance which she had permitted. Hamilton, skilled in its tendency and progressive effects, and loving Maria with a passion as honourable as ardent, on recollection and reflection, rejoiced at an intervention, which had tantalised him at the moment. But he was more than ever eager for an immediate marriage, and with impassioned earnestness,[92] entreated the consent of Miss Mortimer, that he might instantly apply to her father. Maria could hardly constrain herself to refuse, but from an apprehension that he might think she had been too easily won, and be lessened in the esteem which, next to his love, it was her chief wish to secure, she withheld her consent. She, however, blessed him with a full acknowledgment, that he was master of her affections, and as soon as prudence and propriety would admit, she would either be his wife, or remain unmarried. Now having doubled the village, they beheld their friends at a considerable distance, in the ascent of the hill; and Maria, before they rejoined the other couple, had time to recover from the agitation which her acknowledgment and other occurrences of the day had occasioned. Having reached the summit, they participated with their[93] companions, in the extensive and grand prospect which opened to the West, comprehending the channel, the Isle of Wight, Arundel, Chichester, and the Downs, until gradually flattening, they are lost in the forests of Hampshire. Having regaled themselves with contemplating these objects, they returned, well appetized for regaling themselves with the dainties which Mr. Hogsflesh had promised to furnish, and though their friends at the inn rather complained of their separation from the rest of the company, and their long stay, yet on their return, good humour was resumed. The contents of Mr. Hogsflesh’s larder were excellent, and of his cellars equally good. In the evening, they set off for the captain’s house, and having spent the following day at this villa, the second morning returned to Brighton. Hamilton, on his arrival, found several letters; one was from a[94] bookseller of great eminence and liberality, offering very considerable terms, if he would undertake a work of magnitude, on a subject which the bookseller specified. Our hero being a man of real genius, erudition, and science, would write upon no subject which he did not understand, and was not an undertaker-general in the trade of book-making. The subject in question, he was conscious he knew, and equally conscious, that whatever he did know, he could communicate clearly, forcibly, and impressively, to the public. He therefore resolved to accept the offer, and having imparted the proposal to his mother and his friend John, he answered in the affirmative. Having concluded this important treaty, he perused his other letters, two of which were from fair correspondents; the first in the well known hand of Mrs. Blossom, containing an intimation[95] that she was urging the squire to take her to Brighton, and expressing the happiness which she anticipated from a meeting with her beloved Hamilton. The third epistle was also in a woman’s hand, but disguised, and contained a request of an interview on the Downs, near the well. On looking on the date, however, he found that the proposed time was passed; there being no postmark on this epistle, he made some inquiries of the servants, and learned that it had been brought by a porter, and that the same had repeatedly called to inquire if Mr. Hamilton was returned. The fourth letter proved to be from the worthy apostle, Mr. O’Rourke, and was conceived in the following terms:

“Honoured Sir and Dare Couzen,
Arundale, September 28th, 1789.

Having promised Mrs. O’Rourke her a few lines, I think it my humble[96] duty to write you a few lines in the blank cover. I am here by the providence of God, propagating, as the phrase is, the Gospel in humble imitation, as St. Patrick and St. Whitfield did before me. This Arundale is a nice plaash, with a great call of hulliness and sprituous devotion: the girls are dainty bagooragh bits, and seem well disposed to the communion of saints. Plase take no notice to my wife as you see me yesterday, as she might take the thing wrong up; with my best respects to Miss Mortimer, who is a sweet companion for a woody walk. I have not yet preached in public at this plaash; but performed in private at the house of Mr. Deputy Dowlass. After sarvice, we had a very comfortable love-feast; there was roast goose and apple sauce, as well as the other rarities of the season. Wishing you and your party equally good[97] fare, and praying that you may all, through this wale of tears and of trials, provide food for your souls. I am your humble servant to command,

Roger O’Rourke.”

Though at most of this composition our hero smiled; yet, the allusion to the walk in the grove, he did not relish, and was not without alarm lest the gross conception of the writer might misinterpret the matter. While he was ruminating on this subject, a female servant, with a simper, informed him, that the porter who had before made inquiries was now below, to ask if he was returned; but brought no message. In the evening, the young ladies staid at home, to prepare for a ball that was to be given in a day or two. The elderly part played a rubber at whist; Hamilton and Mortimer took a stroll to the library. At the door, they heard the voice of that worthy author, Richard[98] Scribble, exerted in a loud tone, that they soon found to be preceptorial; and entering, observed, that his back was towards them, while he accosted a lady of a pleasing countenance, expressing intelligence and sensibility, but tinged with a pensiveness that approached to melancholy. The interesting sadness of her countenance they ascribed, though, as they afterwards learned, unjustly, to some disappointment in love. The gleams of transient mirth, that occasionally shot across her visage, they justly imputed to the absurdities which the speaker was uttering. Approaching to the orator, unobserved, they heard him pouring forth the following words: “Yes, ma’am, as I have before observed, I have read your novel really with a good deal of pleasure, and I must say, there are traits of genius in it; and if you will suspend a future publication, until you see a treatise[99] that I myself am composing, on novel-writing, you may be enabled to make very important improvements in your materials, disposition, and expression. I shall demonstrate, that the art of novel-writing is hitherto unknown. Both Johnson and myself think meanly of Fielding; there Johnson is right: but Johnson thinks highly of Richardson; I don’t, there Johnson is wrong. Richardson is a poor paltry writer, without any of that knowledge or exhibition of sentiment, which the philologist erroneously ascribes to him. I have not the honour to be personally known to you, madam; but on announcing my name, I trust I shall immediately be recognized by any member of the republic of letters. I am Mr. Richard Scribble, author of the history of Jack the giant-killer, whose fame, I dare say, may have reached your ears.” “I[100] am sorry,” said the lady, “I never had the pleasure of hearing of it.” “No!” said Dicky; “you surprise me, ma’am. I will venture to say, it is a history that contains views, neither to be found in Hume, Robertson, or Gibbon.” The lady answered, “I have not the least doubt of it, sir.” At this reply, our hero perceiving that the lady comprehended Mr. Scribble, burst out into a laugh. Scribble turning about angrily, to his great surprise saw that Hamilton was the laugher, and was sitting close by him. “Hamilton,” said Scribble, “is it you that are making so boisterous a noise? You seem to form your manners on the model of Squire Western, whose character you so greatly admire; though, as I have often demonstrated, it contains not one particle of humour, but to please the very grossest taste and conception.”[101] “Oh yes, I can imitate Squire Western,” said Hamilton; then gravely assuming an expression of anger, and looking at Scribble in the face, “What, dost thee open upon me? If thee dost begin to babble, I shall whip thee in presently.” Scribble, not perfectly understanding this quotation, and afraid its last part might be intended literally, thought proper to draw in his horns, and immediately assured Hamilton he meant no offence. The lady, happening to recollect the passage, turned to Hamilton, and said, “Fie, brother, Mr. Supple is a man of sense.” “There,” said our hero, “the comparison breaks.” Hamilton, who had learned who the lady was, now entered into conversation. “I see,” said he, “madam, you are a stranger to the valuable Mr. Richard Scribble; had you ever been in company[102] with him, you would not have failed to have known what he has written; and if it should be of consequence to be known at all, I must confess, such a nomenclator is not unnecessary.” Hamilton now, with all the elegant politeness of which he was so completely master, begged pardon for the question he was going to ask; whether he was not right in a conjecture that he had formed, that the lady whom he was now accosting, was Mrs. Somerive, author of the Orphan of Pembroke? She answered in the affirmative; and Hamilton, as far as delicacy would admit, expressed his admiration of the performance, and in such terms as convinced his fair auditor, that he was well acquainted with the work, and that his judgment could thoroughly comprehend and appreciate its merits. Mortimer now joined in the conversation,[103] and, as they inquired, whether she often frequented the library on an evening, she told them, when she was unengaged, she did: that the following day she should not be there; but probably might the day after. Soon after, they departed.



The next morning, the gentlemen informed the young ladies, that they had become acquainted with one of their favourite novelists, and that they hoped soon to make them acquainted. This evening she will not be there. “This evening,” said Miss Mortimer, “we could not be at the library, as my uncle is to have a party to dinner.” Nothing important happened till the hour of appointment; when our hero, repairing to the captain’s, found, to his great pleasure, that one of the guests was his new acquaintance, Mrs. Somerive. The conversation during dinner, whether the party consist of genius or no genius, generally[105] turns on one subject; nor was the present an exception; foals, turbot, and Down mutton, being the chief topics discussed. The fruits and wines having passed the same ordeal of criticism, the conversation took a more liberal and enlarged range, and entered on such literary subjects, as were within the knowledge of the fair members of the party. Among these were included novels, which, though one of the first writers of the age was present, the Captain, more naturally benevolent, than artificially polite, introduced. “My good friend Mrs. Somerive,” said he, “though I always could see that you had great abilities, and knew much more than most young ladies of your age; but I did not think you would have been an author.” A cloud was beginning to overcast the countenance of the lady at these words; but her recollection and good sense presently dispelled it; and the Captain,[106] who had not remarked this expression, proceeded; “I often in fine weather, at sea, read books of amusement, and sometimes on shore; I have lately read your Orphan of Pembroke, which my niece Maria here agrees with me in admiring very highly; but there is one of the characters that she likes beyond all others,—he that proves the hero of the piece; the Sea Captain. But do not you think he is rather too refined for our service? To be sure, young men are now better prepared than they were in my time, and I will honestly confess, they are as far before us in point of civilization, as——what shall I say, Hamilton? Help me out with a simile.” “Why, sir, as you are before Smollet’s Tom Bowling, Trunnion, Hatchway, and Tom Pipes; the difference, you will please to observe, is chiefly in the manners, and keeps pace with the progressive[107] improvement of general society in Britain. The hearts of the former are equally brave and benevolent with those of the latter. The humanized and accomplished character, to which you allude, is a gallant and generous British seaman, acting from the same benignant motives, in the circumstances in which he is placed, from which the rough virtues of his predecessors would have exerted themselves. In affording his protection to the helpless infant of his unfortunate sister, he acts from benevolence, and seeks beneficence: so did Tom Bowling. In exerting himself to relieve distress,—to rescue a meritorious character from confinement, he acts from benevolence, and seeks beneficence; so did Hatchway and Pipes, in endeavouring to release Peregrine. He procured the promotion of professional merit, from the same principle that Trunnion purchases[108] a commission for Gauntlet; but the British naval officer of 1789, has an understanding, improved by cultivation and manners, softened by commixture with elegant and enlightened society. In both cases, the picture is just; in the former, it represents an original, namely, a diamond of the first water, rough from the mine; in the second, after undergoing the highest polish.” “Besides,” said young Mortimer, “the seaman of Mrs. Somerive was farther mildened by the tenderest of passions, which sailors certainly feel as strongly as other men; and what man, enamoured of such an object as the Fair Orphan of Pembroke, would not be softened, even if he had been naturally less benignant?” At this remark, Miss Hamilton, who had been by her admirer frequently compared to this very heroine, could not avoid blushing; which Mrs. Somerive perceiving,[109] and struck with a resemblance, easily comprehended the case; and as Hamilton, in many respects, resembled the hero of her work, after a little observation, she was at no loss to account for the peculiar predilection of Maria for that character. Dr. Wentbridge observed, that he was particularly struck with the wise and beneficial tendency of the work. In a noble family, two of the children, a sister and a brother, had received boundless indulgence; which, acting on very different dispositions, the one vain, selfish, and illiberal, the other generous and elevated, produced catastrophes, of the former, disgraceful; the latter, lamentable; but both resulting directly from preposterous education. A third sister participating of the generous and noble spirit of her brother, but having undergone, in her childhood and youth, restraint and direction, improves her talents[110] by instruction, guides benignity of disposition by prudence, and adorns beauty by apposite accomplishments; she is rewarded for her virtues, by the heart and hand of a man of rank, fortune, and merit; and becomes the sole comfort of her father, in his declining years, bent down by affliction, for the fatal effects of his conduct towards his more favoured children. “The character of the father himself,” Hamilton observed, “displays strong discrimination; he is of naturally good intentions, and respectable capacity; but in his counsels and conduct, not possessing that firmness, without which, ability and disposition can, neither in private or public life, regularly and steadily produce beneficial effects. He is governed by talents beneath his own, one of the greatest sources of error and defect in conduct. Wanting stability of principle, he is in a state[111] of oscillation, between the suggestions of his own benignant dispositions, the imperious dictates of a weak and illiberal wife, and the artful insinuations of an attorney without talents, but by dint of cunning and sycophancy arrived at wealth and importance. In the adoption, contrary to his own judgment and approbation, of the policy which the mean and selfish heart of this person recommends, he has to look for the occasions which call into fatal action the respective characters of his son and daughter.” “I think,” observed young Mortimer, “that the nobleman in question is not without a resemblance to a minister of considerable talents, benevolent and patriotic intentions; who, wanting firmness, and complying with men far inferior to himself, permitted unexampled corruption, entailed on the nation an immense burden of debt without[112] producing any benefit in return.” “John,” said the captain, “the American war, in which either the rash counsels or feeble plans of that administration involved this country, has produced one advantageous effect: it has demonstrated, that if the whole world unite to attack England, England can resist and repel the whole world.” “Bravo,” said a lieutenant, who had hitherto taken little part of the conversation, “my brave commander.” “Come then, Jack,” replied the commander, “suppose, if the ladies have no objection, you sing, Rule, Britannia.” Mrs. Somerive, who, though highly pleased with the criticism upon her performance, yet feeling some uneasiness that she should monopolize the whole attention, was the first to second this motion; and he performed in a very masterly style. This introduced successive requests from[113] the ladies. The lieutenant sang two or three other songs, at the end of each of which, the captain proposed some appropriate bumper toast; by this time, as he shewed a very bountiful example of hospitality, Mrs. Somerive, fearing he might go too far, proposed retiring to the drawing room; a movement, which it had not occurred to Maria herself to suggest. “Nay, you must not go,” said the host, “till we have a chorus of Hearts of Oak; Jack there can sing it to admiration, and I can bear a bob myself.” Mrs. Somerive, seeing no wish in the younger part of the company of either sex for early separation, desisted. The song, notwithstanding rather too much vociferation on the side of the captain, was executed to the satisfaction of the company; when the laird of Etterick, turning to his nephew, said, “Willie, you are half a Scotchman, and descended[114] from an honourable Scotch family; the lairds of Etterick are equal to any gentlemen in the country for descent, and we live, as your father used to observe, in the Scottish Arcadia, the scene of pastoral poetry:—come, sing us a Scottish song.” The company joining in this request, our hero began with Tweedside; and doing justice to the melody of that charming air, he dwelt with an emphasis of peculiar tenderness on the name of Mary. Maria feeling this indirect address, wished to turn our hero’s voice to less interesting subjects, and with a bewitching smile, asked him to favour them with a martial song. “Do, dear William,” said his mother; “but do not let it be one song,” and here the tears filled her eyes. William, affected by the allusion to an air, which he knew was the delight of his revered father, requested his friend[115] Mortimer to sing, promising he should go on next. The penetration of Mrs. Somerive saw that a tender string had been touched, and her feeling heart was affected. Mrs. Hamilton now proposed to withdraw, saying, she would hear William’s other song after tea. The ladies retired, and Miss Mortimer was very expeditious, both in ordering and announcing coffee. Meanwhile, the captain had promoted a very quick circulation of the bottle, and begun a round of toasts, which he insisted should be completed, before any of the gentlemen should leave him. Dr. Wentbridge and his venerable father claimed a privilege of exemption, by all allowed to belong to their cloth, though very frequently not claimed, and was suffered to join the female part of the company. Before this round was over, Etterick had become remarkably facetious, cracked[116] jokes, and told comical stories; but his countenance, though somewhat exhilarated, still retained the characteristic gravity of a long Scottish face. He also entered into narratives, which, in point of subject, formed a great contrast with the seriousness of voice and manner. His composure of countenance did not arise from a desire of enhancing the mirth by apparent sedateness, but from habitual cast of muscles. Their young companions left the three old gentlemen to themselves; Hamilton, though not intoxicated, was in that state, which, without much disordering the understanding, opens the heart. Accosting Mrs. Somerive, he asked her, whether she, who was such an exquisite judge, and perfect exhibitor of beauty, had ever seen, or could conceive any object, more lovely and fascinating than his charming Maria? But she resembles[117] Sophia Western more than any of your beauties; she has the taste and genius of your heroine; the understanding of her first friend, with all the fascinating softness of your hero’s younger sister. Maria, wishing to shift the subject of conversation from herself, made some remark on the one who first appeared likely to prove the hero, and wished it had been possible to have carried on the story without his death; but I don’t see how it could have been managed. “I could have been very well pleased,” said Hamilton, “if that fiery youth had wreaked his vengeance on the villainous attorney and his two sons.” Maria now, at the request of Hamilton, favoured them with a song, which happened to be “One day I heard Mary say,” which she performed with exquisite taste and pathos, and appeared[118] to our hero to dwell with peculiar softness on the words, “I’ll never leave thee;” Hamilton thought he had never seen her so bewitching, and whispered to her, that he could live no longer without her; and that unless she consented to be immediately his, his reason, if not even his life, must pay the price of the delay. “Could you bear, my beloved Maria, to see me a miserable lunatic or a lifeless corpse?” “In the one or the other, I should follow you,” replied she, in a still softer whisper. At this time, a letter was brought to Hamilton, which Maria could not help perceiving to be in a woman’s hand. Our hero seeing it to be the same writing as he had received the day before from an unknown lady, put it into his pocket; but the servant telling him that a porter waited for the answer,[119] he went out, leaving poor Maria pale and trembling. Opening the letter, Hamilton read the following words:

“Charming youth,

Will you, at eleven this evening, be on the Steyne, and meet a lady, neither old, ugly, nor disagreeable? Your appearance bespeaks you a man of honour; I need say no more.


Hamilton was very far from being a man of intrigue; but, on the other hand, was not a perfect Sir Charles Grandison; besides, he was now elevated with wine, and not indisposed to a frolic; and having a ready invention, he immediately devised a scheme for disengaging himself from his mother and sister: he wrote the lady that he should attend so sweet an invitation; but that, as he was[120] engaged with a family party, he requested that she would send a message by a different porter, earnestly desiring his company at the Coffee-house, in the name of Richard Scribble, esq. The lady, who highly relished every kind of artifice, had this stratagem completely executed. Hamilton having returned to the ladies, observed marks of uneasiness in Maria’s face, and that though Mrs. Somerive was entertaining her with that mixture of sense, feeling, and humour, which he knew to be most agreeable to the taste of his mistress; she lent a very constrained attention. Mrs. Hamilton now proposed to go home, and as she was rising for that purpose, a servant informed her son that Mr. Scribble was at the Coffee-house, and very earnestly requested to see Mr. Hamilton, on most particular business. “My compliments, and I will be with him[121] presently.” He accordingly departed. “It is very strange what that foolish fellow could want with my son at such an hour.” Maria was entirely of the same opinion as to the strangeness of Hamilton’s going out, though she had a different conception of the cause; she well knew that Hamilton very thoroughly despised the book manufacturer, and reckoned his particular businesses frivolous nonsense; she therefore conjectured that he was going upon some other business, arising from the letter she had seen him receive. Brooding over this idea, resentment and grief filled her susceptible bosom, which finding herself unable to contain, she hastily withdrew, and sending an apology to the ladies, ran to her own apartment, and threw herself upon the bed in an agony of tears. Mrs. Somerive comprehended the case, and, that the young lady might not be[122] disturbed, withdrew; but her friend, Charlotte Hamilton, would not depart without seeing Maria; she repaired to her room, and inquiring into her illness, for some time could obtain no answer. At last, Maria informed her of her suspicions, and their grounds. Charlotte endeavoured to convince her that she must certainly be mistaken; and besides, from what she had read and heard, it was possible for a man to be passionately fond of one woman, though he might pay some attention to another. “What, though he intrigues with another?” said Maria. “Yes,” said Charlotte; “at least so Fielding and Smollett tell us, and they knew human nature very well.—Do not you remember Upton, my dear?” “Yes; but did Jones leave his Sophia in order to meet another?” “Do not you,” replied Charlotte, “remember the grove where there was the[123] battle with Thwackum?—Do not you remember Roderic Random and Nannette?” “Why, Charlotte,” said Maria, half smiling, “you have stored your memory with the best passages.” “Poogh,” said Charlotte, “one cannot help remembering what one reads.” “But,” said Maria, “the cases are not in point; these were all accidents, and might be forgiven; the present is certainly an assignation,—and an assignation, to keep which, he leaves me:” here she again burst into tears. Charlotte wishing to comfort her friend, proposed to stay with her all night, which was thankfully accepted.

Meanwhile, our hero repaired to the Steyne, and there met two females; one of whom he found to be the Countess of Cockatrice, and accompanied her to the house of a fat woman that sold toys, in the adjacent part of North-street, while[124] her husband exercised divers other professions in another quarter. The attendant, who was the lady’s own waiting maid, went into the parlour with the plump hostess, and her lord and master, who was supping very sociably with his consort, perfectly reconciled to the exercise of her immediate occupation, or any other that should help to fill his pockets. The lady, with the gentleman, went to the drawing-room. As the subject of conversation had nothing in it of any importance to the public, our hero never detailed it to us, and therefore, we cannot detail it to our readers. We trust, however, should any countesses be in that number, the security and innocence belonging to that illustrious rank will convince them, that in conference with a right honourable lady, nothing but what was right honourable could pass. Our hero, about[125] one, returned. The next morning, at breakfast, inquiring where his sister was, he learned that she had stayed with Maria, who was taken ill.—“Taken ill?” said Hamilton, alarmed,—“my beloved Maria ill?” and without waiting for any answer, ran out. Etterick was breakfasting in his room, and his daughter attending him; so that with Mrs. Hamilton, there were only her father and brother. “I have suspected,” said she, “from the first time that I saw them together, that William and Maria Mortimer are fondly attached to each other. She is a charming girl; but William, who is so very fine a youth, might certainly do a great deal better in the way of fortune.” “He certainly might,” said Doctor Wentbridge; “and besides, he is a youth of great talents, and might so connect himself, as to be the means of rising in the state.—What say[126] you, father?” “I say, that what you both say is true; he might acquire riches, as you, daughter, observe; or power, as you, son, observe; but is he thereby to attain happiness? besides, neither of you have practised as you preach: you, Eliza, married a man you loved, though of small fortune, and would not marry a suitor that you did not love, though of great fortune; you, Edward, not having succeeded with the lady that you did love, would not marry at all, even though you once had opulence in your power;—I acted upon the same principle, and was happy.” “What then, sir, would you wish your grandson to marry this young lady?” “Not immediately; I would wish him called to the bar first; though I must confess, I should like very well to see a great grandchild before I die.” “As we are on the subject of love,” said Dr. Wentbridge, “I[127] think young Mortimer is well affected to Charlotte; that would be a very good marriage for our girl, sister, and I should rather see a great grandson to you, father, in that way, than by so early a marriage of my nephew.” “Mortimer,” said Mrs. Hamilton, “is only a year older; besides, you know he is going abroad as secretary to our ambassador in France.” “I think,” said Wentbridge, “of late, he does not seem to relish that appointment, and frequently enlarges upon the pleasures of agriculture, and a country life. I observe, both he and my nephew are particularly bent on ingratiating themselves with the captain, who is the supreme director of the Mortimer family.”

While the venerable vicar and his children were thus entertaining themselves about his grand-children, our hero had reached the house that contained his[128] adored Maria; he found his sister and young Mortimer in the parlour, and inquiring with the most tender anxiety for Maria, learned that she was somewhat better, but did not think she would be well enough to go to the ball that evening; “but, cannot I see her?” “She will be down in half an hour.” At this time the door opened, and Mr. Richard Scribble was announced, who entered the room with a face of joy and exultation. “Congratulate, my dear Hamilton.”—“Congratulate you on what?” Scribble took out a card, and presenting it, Hamilton read—“Dr. Scribble,”—“Who the devil made you a doctor?” “The learned university of Aberdeen; but not without expence: it costs three pounds six shillings and eight pence,—I have got the news by this very post.” “Dr. Scribble, I congratulate not only you, but the university of Aberdeen itself,[129] that has got such an accession to its doctorial dignitaries.” “What became of you,” replied Scribble, “yesterday, that I did not see you the whole day?” Charlotte looked in her brother’s face. “Yesterday,” said Mortimer, “did not you spend the evening together?” “No,” answered the doctor. John perceiving our hero colour, saw that there was some mystery. Soon after, Charlotte went out, and sending for her brother, explained the real cause of Maria’s indisposition, and the whole circumstances, as have been already narrated. “Now, I dare say you know me too well, to suppose I wish to dive into any secrets; but for the peace of Maria, whom I know you love to distraction, give some account respecting the letter, that may be satisfactory; even a little invention may be excuseable for such a purpose.” “Invention,” said Hamilton, “is not necessary; the[130] letter came from a female that I did not know, and from whom I found a letter, on our return from Worthing. I went out, merely to explain to her, without offending her pride, that, however amiable she might be, it was totally impossible for me to make any return to her partiality; I saw her in company with her confidant, and found her to be a lady of great fortune. She was very much affected; but said, that since it was so, she would immediately leave this place, and bury herself in the country.” This story imposed on the unsuspicious Charlotte, and she hastily ran to report it to Maria, who, wishing it true, was the more easily persuaded; her eyes brightened; she soon descended, and found our hero alone in the drawing-room. She confessed she had been extremely affected and angry; but he now tasted, on her charming lips, the sweets[131] of reconciliation. While he held her encircled in his enraptured arms, he implored her to consent to an immediate marriage. Her denials were fainter than formerly, and at last she promised, that, whenever he could procure the consent of her friends, hers should not be wanting; but, she begged him not to be too precipitate. “My beloved William is at present in great favour with my father and uncle, and perhaps, by cautious and skilful management, you may prevail on them to make us happy.” The last words she spoke with inexpressible softness, and downcast eyes. William pressed her in his arms, and ardently kissing her, exclaimed, “Why propose time and delay? By Heavens I cannot live without you! I will immediately apply to your father and uncle; and though my fortune be by no means such as, on account of my beloved Maria,[132] I could wish; yet, with my efforts, it will be sufficient to command independence.” Maria had almost yielded to his intreaties, when the entrance of Mrs. and Miss Hamilton put a stop to the conversation, and the rest of the day was spent in consultations and dispositions for the approaching ball.



Hamilton and Maria, Mortimer and Charlotte, danced together the first two dances. A gentleman, who had for some time regarded Miss Mortimer with fervent admiration, now requested the honour of her hand. This was a very graceful and elegant person;—Sir Edward Hamden, a man about seven and twenty. Having danced with Miss Mortimer, he sat by her during the remainder of the evening; paid her compliments at once very warm and appropriate, while his countenance expressed the ardour of passion. Hamilton, at this time, had been accosted by the Countess of Cockatrice, who whispered him,—“Why do not you ask me to dance with[134] you?” Hamilton observed, “Not having the honour of being in public known to your ladyship, I have foreborne an application that I did not know would have been well received.” She archly answered, “No application that so handsome a youth can make, can be ill received by a lady of any sensibility.” Our hero thus challenged, could not avoid acceptance, and the attention that politeness required, necessarily compelled his absence from Maria. As he danced down, all the ladies of her own circle tittered, and whispered, “Cockatrice, as usual, has taken care to provide herself with one of the handsomest beaus which the place affords.” Indeed the fair of the age, who united the bloom of youth with the graces of beauty, were exceeded by this middle-aged matron in the efficacy and effect of attractions. At forty she could distance the most charming girl of twenty; for her age had not impaired[135] the force of charms so much, as experience improved skilful and efficacious direction. Having both the soar, and the eye of an eagle, while in pursuit of the very highest game, she would pounce upon lower, and having succeeded, resume the chace. Her desire of conquest, like Cæsar’s, combined emulation with ambition; to supplant another was the second wish of her soul. She had seen at the Grove our hero and his fair companion, was struck with the manly gracefulness of his figure, the dignified beauty of his countenance, and also readily perceived that the young lady that was with him entertained a similar opinion. Thoroughly acquainted with the various channels of intelligence, and having, in the worthy hostess of North-street and her no less worthy spouse, and many others, agents for every purpose either of truth or falsehood that she chose to discover or[136] disseminate, she the following day had learned more particulars than she had conjectured. The desire of embroiling a couple of lovers added spurs to other motives for courting the acquaintance of our hero. To be sure he was far removed beneath the rank of one object that the Cockatrice wished to fascinate, but he was a gentleman destined, she understood, to be a counsellor; and though the good humour of her lord precluded any apprehensions that she could have occasion for the professional efforts of a legal orator in justificatory eloquence, she might have occasion for a champion that might conduct offensive efforts against the insolent assailants of a right honourable reputation. These, however, were distant considerations. Our hero was a very handsome finely proportioned young fellow. The bearer of such accomplishments, whatever his rank and[137] condition might be, carried with him a passport to the Cockatrice’s favour. She used every effort in her power to convey to Miss Mortimer an idea that our hero was paying his devoirs to herself. She so contrived her positions, that Maria might see her face without seeing Hamilton’s. When he spoke on the most common topics of the evening, she assumed the expression of a downcast blushing girl, receiving the soft declarations of a man whom she loved, but afraid to discover her tenderness. Poor Maria, though far superior to the Cockatrice in real ability and comprehensive penetration, yet as far inferior to her in the labyrinths of artifice, was actually persuaded that her lover was caught by the enchantress. She could not herself attend to either time or figure, but with difficulty making her way down the dance, hastily retired to her seat. That dance being[138] over, Hamilton was flying to his Maria, but stopped by Captain Mortimer, who was conversing with a middle-sized slender gentleman, of a very bold and animated countenance. Hamilton soon found him to be a naval officer, who, though scarcely thirty years of age, had already highly distinguished himself, and was looked on as one of the most promising hopes of the British navy. Mortimer having introduced Hamilton and this gentleman to each other, said, “Hamilton, this is as brave an officer as ever stepped between stem and stern. You, they tell me, are a fine writer; who knows but you may yet have to celebrate his atchievements when an admiral? By the Lord, I have no doubt but my friend here, if he live and have an opportunity, will equal your Rodney, Hawke, Russel, or any other of his country.” The captain, not recollecting that, highly[139] deserved as his eulogia might be, they were not altogether seasonable in the presence of their subject, persevered in illustrating them by particulars. His brother captain took the first opportunity of leaving Mortimer, and our hero was obliged to listen while the captain proceeded. Meanwhile the countess had directed her steps to the spot where Sir Edward Hamden sat with Miss Mortimer. Perfectly acquainted with the baronet, “Pray,” she said, “Hamden, do you know who that charming youth is that danced with me?” “I understand his name is Hamilton,” replied Hamden. “What a graceful figure, what a bewitching countenance, what eyes, and such a look as he has with him: it is well for me that I am past my teens, and not a susceptible romantic girl.” “That you are out of your teens,” said my Lord Bayleaf, who had come to reconnoitre Miss Mortimer, “and past romantic[140] love, we most readily admit; but that you are also out of your susceptibility, I should rather be disposed to doubt.” “Hamden,” said her ladyship, “Do you know that Bayleaf, as he finds age growing on, and former amusements gone off, is going to set up for a wit. He was hard at it last Friday, and has since been in training; he only ventures twice a week yet, perhaps as he improves he may get on to thrice. But,” proceeded the lady, “he applies his old tastes to his jokes, he takes them at second hand.” “In the subject, does your ladyship mean?” says Bayleaf. “No,” says she, “but in the execution.” But here, his lordship being called aside to give judgment on the genealogy of a horse, the countess resumed the praises of Hamilton; and particularly celebrated the turn of his aspect towards an agreeable woman. “Your ladyship’s attractions,” said Hamden,[141] “would soften the looks of any man.” “Really, I have not the vanity to think that my ladyship’s attractions had entirely engrossed him, he seems to have a habit of making love, and conveyed stolen glances at two or three others. I think Miss Louisa Primrose, and that forward young pout, Lady Betty Ogle, will pull caps about him. I am told he is a young man of small fortune. Primrose is mistress of a plumb, so indeed I told Hamilton. With so very pretty a girl it would be a God-send.” “What,” said Hamden, “is your ladyship going to turn match-maker?” “Oh no,” said she, “but I have taken a great fancy to this young man, and intend to make him a protegée, and I think I could not do better for him.” The very young lady in question, with her mother, now accosted Captain Mortimer, who had formerly been captain in Admiral Primrose’s own[142] ship, and was well known to his widow, and also acquainted with the daughter; and Mortimer, who was extremely fond of Hamilton, and desirous of extending his acquaintance and connections, introduced him to Louisa; and as the last dance of the second set was now ending, Hamilton could not avoid asking the young lady to be his partner in the two next. Politeness having compelled our hero to remain a few minutes with his new acquaintance, he found on going to look for Maria, that she had left the room, and before her return, the dance was called. It being Miss Primrose’s dance, the first object that struck Maria on re-entering the room was, Hamilton leading a pretty, sweet, interesting girl through the mazes of a strathspey country dance, to the enlivening strains of Lucy Campbell. By her uncle, who now joined her, she was told, that the young lady dancing with Mr. Hamilton was[143] the only daughter of his old friend Admiral Primrose. This intelligence, combined with what Lady Cockatrice had said, by no means tended to relieve the anxieties of the evening. Miss Primrose, an agreeable and engaging girl, joined with a delicate face and figure, had a simplicity of aspect and manner, that added an impressive interest to her other charms. She was pleased with the music, the dance, and above all, the attention of her partner; and blue eyes, beaming softness, glistened with delight. Though only eighteen, she had repeated offers of marriage, but from none that made any impression on her heart. She was struck with the elegance of Hamilton; and though not altogether tinder, instantaneously to catch the fire of love, she could not help regarding him with great complacency; which the vigilant eyes of Maria observed, and her imagination[144] exaggerated. Nor were doubts concerning the man whom she loved, the only disagreeable sensations Maria had that evening to experience. She was obliged to hear overtures to addresses from a man that she did not love, and indeed, till that evening, had never seen. This was Sir Edward Hamden,—in person and manners equal to most men, in conversation intelligent, animated, and engaging. But his various accomplishments were little regarded by Maria, whose heart was totally occupied by another object. Though he did not professedly make love, yet the language of his tongue, and much more of his eyes, was infinitely too warm from a stranger to an occasional partner for the evening, unless he intended farther acquaintance. She also observed that he had found out her father, uncle, and brother, and paid them respectively great attention; and,[145] her fancy ranging into the probable motives of the baronet’s conduct, and the probable consequences, she foreboded unhappiness. At length our hero was able to rejoin his Maria, and observing an expression of uneasiness, he endeavoured to learn its cause. He enquired with such a manifestation of tender concern, as gradually lessened the effect, and she became convinced that his absence from her, and attention to others, were merely the effects of unavoidable incidents, and resumed her usual cheerfulness. At supper, Sir Edward Hamden found means to place himself in the party of the Mortimers, which the captain also prevailed on Mrs. Primrose and her fair daughter to join. While they enjoyed themselves, a waiter who knew Hamilton, said, “there is a gentleman, sir, enquiring, at which table you are supping.” “Who is it,” said Hamilton. “I do not know,[146] sir, I rather fancy he is a physician, but here he is, sir,” when Hamilton turning about, beheld a little figure in black, with a large bag wig, and a sword hanging by his side; and it was almost a minute before he recollected him to be Dr. Scribble. “Doctor,” says he in surprise, “What is the meaning of all this metamorphose?” Maria, at this address, turning to survey the doctor, burst out into a fit of laughter which soon pervaded the whole company. The face, naturally diminutive, was half covered by the wig which came down to his cheek bones, the bag overspreading his slender back and shoulders, rendered their flimsy contexture more visible: the coat having very large flaps, made that part of the person which these peculiarly affected, form a striking contrast with the short and tiny limbs, from the close grasp of the silks, smaller, if possible, in appearance than[147] reality. Offended at a mirth of which he himself was so evidently the object, he, with much solemnity, opened a speech, in which he expressed his confidence that there was nothing ludicrous and ridiculous in his appearance, that he trusted both his dress and deportment would be uniformly such, as was most compatible with the dignity to which he was now elevated. “My appearance, I will be bold to say, befits my character.” “Character,” said Captain Mortimer, “I do not know what the devil character it befits, unless it be Captain Mirvan’s full-dressed monkey in Evelina.” But our hero and young Mortimer, to prevent the doctor from attending to this remark upon his archetype, made some little motion and bustle to procure him room at table; and, while, the company were conversing upon the occurrences of the evening, the doctor[148] thought it a good opportunity of delivering a dissertation upon the nature and tendency of the ancient dances, and in the course of his illustrations, entered upon the Ionicos motus of the lyric bard. The baronet, who before had enjoyed the lectures of this spontaneous instructor, now joined with the other gentlemen in traversing this part of the elucidation. Before the doctor would take the hint, the company broke up for the night.

The next day, Hamilton went early to enquire for his Maria, and after he had sat half an hour with the family, Sir Edward Hamden was announced, who having paid his respects to Maria, and the rest of the company, entered into an easy conversation with the gentlemen, cautiously adapting its range to the inclinations of the persons whom he addressed. With the captain he discoursed upon naval history; with the squire, upon agriculture,[149] and country sports; with the young gentlemen, on moral science and literature; with the ladies, on taste, belle-lettres, music, painting, fashionable manners and diversions; and, Dr. Wentbridge making his appearance, he spoke of the question between the church and the dissenters. After he had taken his leave, all the company agreed that he was a very pleasing man. Wentbridge, who knew something of his connections, informed them he was a gentleman of great fortune, and much esteemed for his abilities and character. Captain Mortimer now reminded Hamilton, that out of politeness, he ought to ask for his fair partner Miss Primrose. Maria could have wished that her uncle had spared this admonition, but no objection could possibly be started by her, or indeed by any other, and accordingly he went to pay his respects. The mother,[150] he found, was gone abroad, but that the young lady was at home. Miss Primrose had been deeply impressed by the charms of our hero, and had not discovered his attachment to another. On hearing his name announced, fallacious hope, in its usual way, following wish, she ascribed his early enquiries to a more potent motive than mere fashionable politeness. Under these impressions, she descended to the drawing-room with more haste, and received him with more animation than a stranger could have excited merely as her partner at a ball. Our hero entered into conversation with her, and found a great portion of good sense, united with amiable dispositions, and thought her a very engaging and interesting girl. Soon after his departure, meeting Captain Mortimer, he expressed himself in terms of great approbation and esteem on the subject of Miss Primrose, which the captain misunderstanding, conceived[151] that Hamilton was enamoured of the lady in question; and knowing that in point of pecuniary emolument, it would be very advantageous to him, he resolved to promote it to the utmost of his power. The following day, repairing to Mrs. Primrose’s house, he, after spending some time in conversation on other subjects, found means to turn the discourse upon Hamilton, his great abilities and accomplishments, and the prospects of aggrandizement which these afforded, and took occasion to mention the high terms in which he had spoken of Miss Primrose. In this interference the old captain’s motives were honourable and pure. He knew nothing of the mutual affection that subsisted between Hamilton and Maria. He thought highly of our hero’s character and prospects. Fortune thus obtained, would enable him, he thought, to rise to great consideration[152] and importance in the state. On the other hand, his virtues and accomplishments rendered him worthy of Miss Primrose, and the happiness of both parties would, he conceived, be thus promoted by an union. Captain Mortimer was a man of an ardent mind, and whatever he desired, he strongly desired. On his friend’s account he was as anxious for the completion of this project, as if he himself had been to derive from it the highest benefit; and in his zeal he made his advances without communicating with Hamilton himself. The great point, he concluded, was to gain Miss Primrose, as Hamilton could not fail, in the captain’s opinion, to accede with joy to a scheme which would make his fortune. Mrs. Primrose and the captain reciprocally dined at each other’s houses. Miss Primrose became daily fonder of our hero, cultivated a close intercourse with[153] his sister, and also with her friend Miss Mortimer, whom she repeatedly saw in company with Hamilton, without suspecting their mutual love. This absence of apprehensions on that subject, was not entirely owing to the simple naïvete of Louisa’s character, but also to other circumstances.

Within a few days after the ball, Sir Edward Hamden publicly made his addresses to Maria Mortimer, and both her father and uncle thinking her affections unengaged, with much pleasure expressed their approbation of the offer, and rather too hastily announced their conviction, that it could not fail to be agreeable to Miss Mortimer. Maria, though unalterably resolved to be either the wife of Hamilton, or of none; yet apprehending as both her father and uncle were very positive, and even violent in their opinions and resolutions, a very disagreeable[154] contest with those whom she most highly valued, did not peremptorily avow her sentiments. When the proposition was made, she declared her very high opinion of the proposer’s merit, but that she never would marry a man upon so short an acquaintance, and without being more thoroughly acquainted with his character. Her uncle and father regarded these declarations as the mere effects of coyness and coquetry, which they supposed would soon give away to the accomplishments of the baronet, to interest and to ambition. They both, therefore, the captain especially, encouraged the baronet to perseverance, and assured him of success. These girls, the captain would remark, do stand so shilly shally, and will pretend to object to what they have most a mind to. Hypolita, whom we saw the other evening at the play, is the picture of the larger half of them;[155] but you see she comes after her lover at last. Hamilton immediately informed by Maria of the offer that was made, after an interchange of the most solemn love and constancy, proposed to declare his passion publicly; but Maria, alarmed at the consequences which such a proceeding might produce, prevailed on him to forbear it for the present, at the same time agreed to abide by it should urgency arise to violence. Her purpose at present was to work on the honour and generosity of the baronet, of whom she entertained a very high opinion, and to induce him to desist from an application which would be fruitless. Hamilton, finding her heart completely his own, and that he was the ultimate end of her conduct, agreed to the means which she proposed, though not altogether the same which he himself would have chosen. John Mortimer, though sufficiently desirous[156] of the aggrandizement of his sister, if attainable consistently with her happiness, yet had either observed or learned the state of her heart and affections so fully, as to be convinced that her happiness depended upon his friend Hamilton. But knowing the eagerness of his father and uncle that Maria should become lady Hamden, he observed a strict neutrality, determined to let the matter take its course, and perfectly aware what course it would most probably take.—Captain Mortimer not suspecting any difficulty, considered the affair as entirely settled, and described it as such in various places, especially at Mrs. Primrose’s. He also continued his high commendations of his friend Hamilton, and thereby so fanned the passion of poor Louisa, that her heart was gone before she suspected any danger. Meanwhile the baronet was very urgent in his addresses. Maria[157] firmly and decisively told him, that she never could be his; but as she always deported herself with her habitual politeness, and with the respectful attention due to his character, he contrary to his usual discernment, drew from her manners inferences concerning intentions, and, misapprehending her dispositions, supposed that she affected the rejection in order to enhance the value of acceptance, or, that pride contributed its share to her professed determination of refusal, and that she forebore immediately yielding, least it might be imputed, either by him or by the world, to his rank and fortune. As he farther knew her, he discovered the vigour of her understanding, and the independence of her soul; that she was not to be obtained by wealth or distinction, and that she was not to be bought, but to be won. His own person and accomplishments were such as afforded him[158] a fair prospect of success with any woman that was unengaged; and not having discovered the state of Maria’s heart, he trusted that he would be ultimately successful. He was extremely struck with Hamilton, whose genius and erudition, his own enabled him to appreciate, and whose knowledge and conversation might be useful to him in his parliamentary exertions. Hamilton, too proud to court rank in the baronet, respected talents, the appearance and reputation of honour and patriotism, and did not reject his advances; and increasing his esteem, as his acquaintance grew towards intimacy, he, as a man of honour, resolved to seek a favourable opportunity of opening the situation of his own and Maria’s affections.



Meanwhile the baronet was almost constantly with him and Mortimer; and becoming acquainted with Dr. Scribble, and having a genuine taste for humour, he entered thoroughly into the character of arrogant emptiness, and literary scrap-writing. The doctor was very vain of this acquaintance, as in discourse with his friend Nincompoop, or with any of his fellow journeymen employed on Nin’s manufactures, he could talk of “my friend the baronet,” as I observed to Sir Edward, who was greatly struck with the depth of the observations. Scribble had taken it into his head that no employment could be more suitable to his capacity and fulness, than making[160] speeches for members of parliament. One day, as the Baronet was walking alone on the Steyne, expecting our hero and the Mortimers, the Doctor accosted him, and, after the first salutations, requested the honour of some private discourse. Accordingly, they walked along Eastcliff, and the doctor began: “Sir Edward Hamden, I deem myself happy in the honour of your acquaintance, and should rejoice very much in an opportunity of rendering myself beneficial to a young gentleman, whom I think destined to be an orator and a statesman.” “Sir,” said Sir Edward, “praise from Dr. Scribble, must be always adequately valued, by every one who has discernment to appreciate his character, which is too strongly marked, not to be easily comprehended.” “Sir,” said the doctor, “you do me infinite honour; you have heard of me then before;—you[161] have, I presume, read my history of Jack the giant killer.” “Oh! undoubtedly;” “which part of it do you think most striking?” “It is all so conspicuous,” replied the baronet, “that I find it difficult to select one part, more characteristic of the author, than another: which do you think the best yourself?” “Why, I think the dissertations upon dress, and especially shoe-strings in the time of the ancient Britons, is one of the most profound; but the most pathetic, is the Hero’s Adventure in the house of the two giant misers; I think that is fully equal to Livy’s story of the Horatii and Curatii, far surpassing any modern historian. This hero’s reception from his uncle, is chiefly to be admired, for exhibiting my powers of moral precept and inculcation. An insolent reviewer charged me with borrowing from Mother Goose’s tales, especially from Bluebeard,[162] and Little Thumb and the Ogre, but it was all false. History, however, is not my only fort; indeed I can write every thing, for instance, what a fuss there is about that fellow Moore’s Travels; I can write travels better than he;—I have brought you a specimen of a new work I am bringing out for Mr. Nincompoop, the famous bookseller. It’s title is, A curious and interesting Tour to Maidenhead; back by Windsor, Stains, Sunbury, Hampton-Court, Kingston, Twickenham, and home by Richmond. I flatter myself, you will find novelty, ingenuity, and humour.” Accordingly, the Baronet read: “Tuesday, June 24th, we set off on horseback from the Black Bear-inn, Piccadilly, before Six; when we passed St. James’s church, the clock wanted seven minutes; meet turnip carts coming to market; arrive before the Duke of Queensberry’s house;—fine[163] prospect of St. James’s park and the Surrey hills.” “You see I make observations as I go along, sir.” “Arrive at the turnpike—find it is exactly six; compare our watches with the clocks;—we have taken seven minutes from St. James’s church. N. B. A wise man rides more slowly over the stones, than on the road. Proceed on our tour—arrive at Knightsbridge; to the left, there turns off a new street, called Sloane-street, from Sir Hans Sloane.—N. B. He was a great naturalist.” “Biography, you observe, sir,” said the doctor. “Oh yes,” answered the baronet. “Another road turns off to Fulham;—Latin pun on two soldiers went to Putney: ‘Ibant tinctores animæ duo ponere juxta. Explanation: duo two, animæ soul, tinctores diers, ibant went, ponere to put, juxta nigh,’ A little farther on, is the pound,”—“Yes,” said the doctor,[164] “curiosities.” “Beyond Knightsbridge, Hyde Park wall,—crowds of strawberry girls in the foot-path;—meet long coaches. N. B. That road a great thoroughfare;—Kensington George II. died here.” “I give my companion a sketch of his history: Holland-house not in the modern style of building;—dissertation upon architecture;—my companion observes I know every thing. Attending too earnestly to my subject, run against a carter—scoundrel hits me with his whip;—I turn about and swear at him. He comes back;—I ride on.” Dipping into another page, the Baronet found “Brentford, said to be a royal city; entrance not remarkable for royal magnificence.” “You observe,” said the Doctor, looking with arch sarcasm, “my friend advises me, as a great antiquarian, to write the history of the monarchs of Old and New Brentford. Sion-house,[165] my remarks on the Percies, and the battle of Chevy Chase. Approach Smallberry-green; inform my companion of my extreme intimacy with Sir Joseph Banks; my comrade happens to know him a little. Observe a person before his house, whom he insists to be, I, not to be Sir Joseph;—I ride on—my companion certainly mistaken.” The Baronet, rather tiring of this, turned over a good many pages, and found “Chertsea, St. Ann’s hills, house of Charles James Fox,—Fox no orator.” “Original discovery,” said the Doctor, “hem.” “I perfectly agree with you sir, it is,” “The world is totally mistaken in him.” “Demonstrate to my companion, that I surpass Fox in every thing;—comrade hard-headed won’t be convinced,—less agreeable than I thought him.” The Baronet skipping again, dipped into “Hampton Fishery, they catch[166] Gudgeons here; I observe they also catch Gudgeons in town. Bon mots for you,—I excel in wit, as much as in philosophy.” “That I can perceive,” said the Baronet; “I see, sir, this is just such a performance, as I should have expected from Dr. Scribble.” “Since you do me the honour to entertain so very high an opinion of my abilities; how happy I should be, in devoting them to your information and instruction. I should, with much pleasure, sir, on any important question, make such speeches, as would astonish the senate, if you were to speak them.” “That sir, I am convinced you could,” “and in any manner that you chuse.” “I am very happy in imitating Burke; but that’s not difficult; Burke is, after all, only shallow. I could enliven a speech with better wit than Sheridan’s;—indeed, that’s no great matter. His School for[167] Scandal, that the world so much admired, is but a poor performance; I, myself, could far surpass it, were I to descend to writing for the stage, but that I despise.” “Did you never write for the stage, doctor?” “I once wrote a tragedy.” “What was the subject?” “The death of Colebrand, or the history of Guy, Earl of Warwick.” “And how was it received, doctor?” “Whatever I write, has numberless enemies;—they had the insolence to damn it. Pit, boxes, galleries, all hired to join against poor Guy;—there was a great deal of nature and of wit in the dialogue, for it made them laugh a good deal; but it was damned. The whole world were in a confederacy against me; but I wrote and published an address, which proved every one that spoke or hissed against me, to be a dunce.” “How did you prove that,[168] doctor?” “How did I prove that;—how do I prove any thing? but by giving my own judgment, that it is so. I declare they were all dunces, and God confound them all for dunces. They had the insolence to say Dr. Scribble was a dunce;—the whole audience called out, Dicky was a dunce:—could flesh and blood bear it? Was it not a libel?—I believe Lord Mansfield would declare it so.” Without attending to this legal illustration, the doctor proceeded; “I published a work a few days after, proving them all to be in a conspiracy against me, for my superior genius; but to return, I again proffer you, Sir Edward, my political services.” “Doctor Scribble,” replied the Baronet, “I have a just sense of the importance of your offer; but I am sorry, that I cannot think of shining by a borrowed light, and must make the best of my own powers and knowledge;—but[169] there comes your friend Sir Joseph, shall we go and meet him?” “Not at present,” said the Doctor, “being engaged very particularly on the other side of the town.” Sir Edward now joined the other baronet, and after the common salutations, “I have just parted with your friend, Dr. Scribble.” “My friend!” returned Sir Joseph, “I do not know him;—I know there is such a man, and that he pretends to be a kind of an antiquarian.” “I thought you had been extremely intimate,” said Sir Edward. “Oh no, I have not the least acquaintance with the man.” Not long after the baronet was joined by our hero, and communicated the discourse that had passed between him and Dr. Scribble. Our hero was amused by the oratorial propositions of this learned person; but soon forgot the doctor and all his concerns, in subjects that concerned himself[170] much more nearly. Sir Edward and he happening to pass near the lodgings of Miss Primrose, the baronet expressed his opinion, that the young lady was passionately in love with Hamilton; that she was a charming girl; would bring him an ample fortune; and he was assured that Hamilton might soon obtain a seat in parliament, and must rise to distinguished eminence. “I hope, Hamilton,” he continued, “that my beloved Mortimer will cease to be so insensible, at least so inflexible, as I have now experienced; how happy, my dear friend, for short as is our acquaintance, so I consider you, if our respective nuptials could take place at the same time; and if the two families continued to cultivate the intimacy that their respective masters would wish. Your inamorata and mine appear extremely attached to each other,” Our hero thinking the[171] present a favourable opportunity of opening his mind to Sir Edward, proposed to walk a short way from town, “wishing,” he said, “to have the pleasure of a very particular conversation.” The baronet, not doubting that our hero wished to give him his confidence, particularly on the subject of Miss Primrose, and equally desirous of consulting with him concerning Miss Mortimer, most readily agreed; and they were preparing to take a turn to the race ground, when a servant came to inform Sir Edward, that a gentleman, whom he named, and who was of great consequence, in the county represented by the baronet, had called at his lodgings, and was very desirous of seeing him immediately. Sir Edward accordingly went in quest of him, and found it was necessary, for the present, to relinquish the engagement with Hamilton. That day the Mortimers, old[172] and young, had gone to the captain’s cottage, which the old gentleman wished to visit, in order to give directions, and was to return in the evening. Our hero, after dinner, strolled along the Arundel road, not without secret hopes of meeting the company, of which his beloved Maria was one. The Mortimer family, by taking a different road, did not meet with our hero, and having returned to Brighton, learned that Hamilton had taken an afternoon-walk, and was not returned. John concluded he had met with some engagement, and his own family conceiving the same opinion, the Mortimers and Hamiltons parted for the night, and the former had supped, and were preparing to go up stairs to bed, when the servant, a simple country lad, ran into the parlour with terror and consternation, and addressing his master, exclaimed, “Oh, zir, this be a terrible[173] pleace; there is a murder just done by the church; the two poor gentlemen that comes so often here, the baronight.” “Who,” said Captain Mortimer, “and ’Squire Hamilton, are lying a corpse.” Maria, in the most terrible apprehensions, from the exordium of this narration, at its conclusion, fell lifeless on the ground. The captain and his brother, both imputing this paroxysm of grief to her love for Hamden, recommended to young Mortimer the care of his sister; ran towards the place which the servant mentioned, hoping that the accounts might be false; yet, in their agitation, took no pains to examine the man, as to the source and particulars of his information. Mortimer, with the assistance of Maria’s maid, at length brought her to her senses, but only to open to her visions of despair. She instantly conceived that Hamilton had unbosomed[174] himself to his rival, and that the pride of disappointment overpowering the generosity of the baronet’s disposition, they had quarrelled and fought, and that she was the cause of her beloved Hamilton’s death. She called on his name in the phrenzy of desperation; vowing, that she would follow him, and be buried in the same grave. Mortimer, though extremely anxious to inquire more particularly into the fate of his friend, could not leave his sister, who exhibited symptoms of distraction, that he was afraid might terminate in insanity. A physician being immediately sent for, and hearing the case, administered a composing draught, which gave to Miss Mortimer a temporary oblivion of her grief. Young Mortimer now sallied forth, anxious to learn the particular circumstances of the death of his friend; wishing, yet fearing, to mingle[175] his sorrow with the grief of Charlotte; he betook himself, to the house of Mrs. Hamilton. Approaching the door, all was dark; listening in expectation to catch the sounds of mourning, all was still, and wore the appearance of sleep undisturbed; perhaps it was the tranquillity of exhausted nature, obtaining some repose, after the paroxysms of lamentation; should he interrupt the short intermission of woe, soon enough would mother and sister be fully awake to the sense of irretrievable loss. Now he would indulge the melancholy pleasure of contemplating his fallen friend, so soon to be mingled with primeval dust. The clock had struck twelve; it was the gloomy stillness of departing October, without a breath of wind, or any sound to be heard, except the hollow murmur of the becalmed sea. As Mortimer walked up the Downs, to[176] the reported scene of his friend’s assassination, he reached the church, there expecting to find a crowd, seeking or bearing the corpse. He thought he heard voices at a distance;—he moved towards the place whence they issued; a tall figure approached by the pale and twinkling light of the fading stars; it appeared, either to his senses or fancy, to resemble the murdered Hamilton. Mortimer, though a young man of vigorous understanding, sound and rational piety, without any consciousness of superstition, yet, believing in the immortality of the soul, could see no impossibility in the appearance of disembodied spirits: what was possible, though not probable, might exist. He was riveted to the spot; from the approaching figure a voice issued, “Keep your distance, as you value your life.” The voice was Hamilton’s; he could not disobey the awful intermination;[177] strong as his nerves were, they were not a match for his sensations; the figure passed on,—Mortimer sank to the ground; at length recovering, he, with slow and trembling steps, crept homewards: meeting a watchman at the outskirts of the town, he begged for his arm and assistance, and was conducted to his house; entering, he found his father and uncle just returned, after a search entirely unsuccessful: still leaning upon the watchman’s shoulder, with his knees tottering, his face staring, wild, and bloodless, he presented himself to his astonished friends. “Good Heavens! what is the matter?” said his father. “I have seen him,” replied he, in a hollow voice. “Seen whom?” said his uncle. “My dear deceased friend, William Hamilton.” The hearers eagerly inquired, when, where, how: before he[178] could answer, there was a tap at the parlour window;—one light only glimmered on the table, in crowding too near which, some person overturned it, and it blew out; the tap was repeated, and a voice, pronouncing John Mortimer, was distinctly heard: the company, which had received the addition of Hodge, the footman, made no answer; a soft knock was heard at the street-door,—no attention was paid; the watchman declared his inability to return alone to his station, and the dawning morn found them all assembled in the same spot. The reflection of John at length operating, he imputed his apprehensions to some accidental resemblance, and he retired to rest;—after broken and confused slumbers, finding it in vain to hope for comfortable sleep, he was preparing to rise about ten, when the voice of his[179] sister assailed his ears, calling, with phrenzy, upon her murdered Hamilton. As he was hastily equipping himself, he heard a loud scream at the door of his apartment, which quickly opened, and there appeared the very image which he had seen on the Downs the night before. Gazing intently, he faultered, “you certainly are Hamilton’s apparition.” “Apparition!” replied the figure; when the voice of Maria through a thin partition assailed his ears:—“my only love,—my murdered Hamilton, I will follow him to the grave.” Mortimer was staring on his visitant, but on the last words that issued from the next room, hastily rushed thither. Maria perceiving the spectre, stretched out her hands, but sank into insensibility. Mortimer rushed in, saw his sister again lifeless, and heard from the spectre the mildest tones of[180] impassioned love; still, under the impression which had been conveyed so deeply the former night, he approached the figure—not without fear and trembling; but the spectre asking him, in a tone at once calm and pathetic, what caused the illness of his beloved Maria, and happening accidentally to touch him, John was convinced it was not only a visible, but a tangible spirit. “Good Heavens!” said Mortimer, “my dearest friend, Hamilton, you you—are are alive.” The figure, without answering this application, continued addressing Maria, who, opening her eyes, and again beholding Hamilton, relapsed into insensibility. At this instant, Charlotte Hamilton hastily entering the room, said to him, “Good God, William, what a strange report there is through the town, that you were murdered[181] last night, and that your ghost appeared near the church.” Mortimer, eagerly taking hold of the figure that stood before him, and feeling the same hard muscular arms, and examining him with an accuracy that evidently surprized the object of scrutiny; “do you know, Hamilton, I thought you was dead: this notion operated so strongly upon me, that I was convinced I had seen your ghost.” “But,” replied the other, “my dearest Charlotte, administer to my beloved angel.” “The same idea,” said Mortimer, now more master of himself, “operated upon my sister.” Charlotte now reminded them of their being in Maria’s apartment, in circumstances, which from her suggestion, they first recollected; and on seeing marks of re-animation, before Maria could again distinguish her lover, they withdrew. Mortimer,[182] satisfied that his identical friend was now by his side, alive and well, before he thought of entering on the particulars of the report, or it’s foundations, somewhat impressed with the apprehensions of his sister, that a fatal quarrel had taken place between Hamilton and Hamden; “poor Hamden,” he said, “was an amiable and accomplished man, and I lament his death.” “Death,” said Hamilton, “I do not think his wound is dangerous.” “I am surprized, my dear friend,” said Mortimer, “that being to have such an encounter, you did not apply to me.” “How could I?” said the other, “when it was so unexpected.” “Did you fight with sword or with pistols?” “First sword, and then pistols.” “Did you wound Sir Edward with a ball?” “I wound Sir Edward,” said Hamilton, “what do you[183] mean?” At this instant a note was brought to our hero, which opening, he read as follows:

“My brave deliverer,

I am just able to inform you, that the Surgeon this morning pronounces me out of danger; but, as writing somewhat pains me, I can only say, that I owe my life to you. Your most grateful

Edward Hamden.”

Hamilton having shewed Mortimer this letter, he informed him of the circumstances, which it seems were as follow:

Being now the end of October, and the evenings soon closing in, night overtaking him, first reminded him of the expediency of returning; finding, however, that he was not far from Shoreham-bridge, where there was a[184] comfortable inn, he walked thither, and ordered some coffee, which was brought him in a public room; there were several persons in the apartment, and the conversation happened to turn upon footpad-robberies, which, though in that neighbourhood very unusual before, had taken place the preceding evening near Arundel, and were ascribed to part of a gang of smugglers, whose contraband goods had been seized a few nights before, by the custom-house officers, and a party of dragoons. The banditti being thereby ruined, and desperate, had taken to a course, with which the fraternity is well acquainted. Two or three very suspicious fellows had passed eastwards in the dusk of the evening; our hero hearing this account, thought it would be necessary for him, in his return, to be cautious, and resolved to take the upper, instead of the lower road, because,[185] though solitary, he thought it less dangerous than a path that led along the precipitate cliffs; conscious of his own strength and courage, and generally walking with a strong sword-cane, he resolved to take his chance. A little before his departure, he observed one person in company eyeing him, rather sternly; he returned the examination, and saw, that in point of muscular strength, there could be little danger, if he had to encounter this fellow alone; and the person going out, he soon after sallied forth, that he might pass him, before he could be far enough from the houses to attempt an attack, or could join companions who were likely to be on the road; at a shed near the house, he saw sitting on a bench, a tall stout soldier, in the Highland dress, with the forty-second regiment on his buttons; he asked him which way he was bound;[186] the other answered in a Scotch accent, for Brighton, please your honour; I am come from Hilsea barracks, with a message from the Colonel to Captain Malcolm Macniel of our regiment. Hamilton informing him he himself was going to Brighton, said he would be very glad of his company; the soldier, with much pleasure, embracing this proposal, they set off. Hamilton, thoroughly confiding in the honest and intrepid countenance of his companion, asked him if he saw a fellow pass a little before he spoke; the other answered in the negative; but said, that though he had nothing to lose himself, hearing there were smugglers and footpads on the road between Hilsea and Arundel, he had brought a bayonet as well as a broad-sword, and that either of them were at his honour’s service. Hamilton thanked him; but said, he trusted[187] the sword which he had would be sufficient, if there was any danger. When they had walked about half a mile, they heard a whistle; they moved cautiously, but firmly on. A little after, two villains sprang upon our hero, and presenting pistols, demanded his money and watch. The soldier, whom not expecting, they had not observed, advancing softly with his bayonet, ran it into one of the ruffians; the other fired a pistol, which luckily missing Hamilton, he wrested it from his hand, and felled the villain to the ground. Searching the ruffians, the conquerors found two brace of pistols on each, all loaded except the one that had been fired; of these they possessed themselves, as a further security upon the road; and leaving the fallen assailants, resolved to proceed with all possible dispatch to the first inhabited place, to procure assistance, which might at once[188] attend to the wounds of the robbers, and secure their persons. With this intent they walked forward till they came to a cross road that turns to the north; and they were in a declivity, descending into a hollow between two hedges: here they heard a voice, calling, kill him; moving softly forward, they saw a postchaise standing, and heard a person praying they would spare his master. “I will be d—— if we do,” said the voice that they had first heard; the soldier whispered “Let us proceed, sir, by surprise, as we once did in America, when six of us at night pretending to be a large party, took twenty prisoners;” and immediately called out, “surround the fellows—fire,” Hamilton obeyed the order; two men were wounded at the first round, the others being still three in number; but supposing their adversaries twice as many, ran different ways. Our hero[189] now coming to a gentleman that was lying on the ground, called to his servant and the postillion to assist in carrying him to a house, whilst they should watch against the return of the robbers; The servant, on hearing the voice of Hamilton, immediately said to him with great eagerness, “Oh sir, you are a friend of my poor master!” “Who is he?” The other answered, “Sir Edward Hamden.” “Good Heavens!” said our hero, “I left him at Brighton only a few hours ago.” Endeavouring to stop the blood, they directed the postboy to run for assistance to an adjoining farm-house, as it would be impossible for him to bear the jolting of the chaise. Help was immediately procured, and the wounded gentleman was carefully borne to the hamlet. Hamilton having some slight knowledge of surgery, found[190] means, with the assistance of the farmer’s wife, to stop the further effusion of blood, and a messenger was dispatched for the most skilful surgeon in Brighton; but with strict orders not to mention the name of the gentleman, least his friends should be prematurely alarmed. The surgeon soon arrived, and found that the wound did not proceed from a ball, as had been apprehended, but from a cutlass; and that, though the patient was faint from loss of blood, there would be no danger, unless from a fever, the prevention of which would be the chief object of his regimen and medicinal applications; it was necessary in the first place, to keep the patient quiet. Leaving the room for that purpose, Hamilton had now an opportunity of learning the circumstances of the accident, which were briefly these: After parting with[191] Hamilton, Sir Edward had joined the gentleman that was in quest of him, found that he was about to leave Brighton upon county business of considerable importance to Sir Edward’s interest, but in which the baronet could not appear himself. Sir Edward, to converse fully on the subject, accompanied him the first stage on his road to town, and having dined with him at Henfield, returned in the evening; the postboy having taken the circuitous, instead of the direct road, they were met by six fellows, who surrounded the chaise, demanding his money: Hamden at first offered them his purse; they insisted also for his watch; this having descended to him from his father, he was reluctant to part with it, and pledged his honor, that the following morning he would pay one hundred guineas to any person that they[192] should send to Sir Edward Hamden, and that no questions should be asked. One or two of the fellows, who were young in the gang, proposed to accept this offer; but the more experienced villains regarding it as a present evasion, and future trap, not only refused to consent, but were enraged against the proposer; and while he still urged his request, one of the most desperate called, “d—— your palaver, I’ll put an end to that,” and fired into the carriage. The Baronet, conceiving that their intention was now to murder him, determined it should not be with impunity, returned the fire, which brought the ruffian to the ground; all the fellows had not pistols, and though those that had used them, yet, fortunately, the Baronet escaped; and while two kept the servant-boy, and another the postillion, the two[193] remaining fellows pulled Hambden out of the carriage; one of them hit him with a cutlass, and they were about to perpetrate the murder, when the intervention of Hamilton and his gallant comrade effected his delivery. The messenger that had sent the surgeon, though expeditious in executing that part of his commission, had not equally attended to the charge of secrecy; going in to take a social pot with one of his acquaintances, he had given a most tremendous account of the exploit that had been atchieved; he said, several gentlemen, however, had been murdered; he did not know the names of the rest, but two were Hambden and Hamilton. After this information, he left his friend, and returned home; the other quickly joining a party of acquaintances, informed them of the dreadful doings that had[194] been going on on the Church Downs, (for he brought the scene two miles nearer to Brighton) and that Sir Edward Hambden and Mr. Hamilton and six more were murdered; as it was yet hardly ten, the news soon spread through the whole place, and among others, reaching the footman of Mr. Mortimer, had caused the dreadful alarm which we have seen. Hamilton, having waited till Sir Edward’s wound was dressed, had returned to town, and seeing a man at so late an hour, had used the words which John imputed to the spirit of his murdered friend. Having perceived a light in Mr. Mortimer’s house, and heard the voice of John, he had knocked at the door, tapped at the window, called on his friend’s name, and thereby caused such consternation: thus the mystery was solved, and the ghost, like[195] other ghosts, proved to be flesh and blood.

Just as Hamilton had finished his narrative, they heard, in the adjoining room, Maria eagerly addressing her friend Charlotte: “Do not flatter my hope, my dear Charlotte, but is my William alive?” “Alive? he is, and has never been hurt.” Hamilton, regardless of his dear Maria’s situation, rushed into her apartment, and in a fond embrace, enjoyed the delight with which she received him, as if recovered from the dead: her father and uncle were soon informed of the actual circumstances of the encounter, and with the sincerest pleasure, learned that both Hamilton and Hamden were alive, and in no danger.

Hamden was brought to Brighton in a litter, and gradually recovered.[196] During his convalescence, our hero and Maria thought it would be unwise to explain to him the footing on which they were, and the time arrived for leaving Brighton before any eclaircissement took place.



Being returned to London, our hero chiefly devoted himself to literary pursuits, and especially to the work which he had engaged to execute. As he had now advanced considerably in reputation, many applied to him for his judgment concerning literary works, and on other subjects. Female authors brought him their novels and dissertations, and some of them appeared willing to submit to any terms he chose to prescribe, provided Hamilton would give a favourable review of the productions of their brain. They cared little what their other works might be, if their literary works underwent a favourable investigation. In reviewing the publications of men, Hamilton[198] was very fair and impartial. But the effusions of female pens he generally regarded with an eye of indulgence; and, indeed, a critic must be very austere, who, when an agreeable young woman brings her intellectual offspring for his inspection, will very severely scrutinize every part. Observations may be common-place, but a kiss of the fair deliverer’s sweet lips, might convince even Aristarchus himself, that actions in which there is little novelty, may still be very pleasing. Perhaps there may be a small forgetfulness in such matters as nominatives and verbs, relatives and antecedents; whom where a pedantic grammarian might require who, or it may be spelling somewhat different from the formal stiffness of Dr. Johnson, or some little inadvertencies in the way of geography, chronology, or history, such as that the Earl of Essex commanded an expedition against[199] Calais in Henry Vth’s wars; Algernon Sidney lived in the time of Queen Elizabeth; or that Admiral Hawke defeated the Spanish armada at La Hogue; or any little trifling mistake of that kind. The sweet smile of harmony and good humour will atone for a false concord. Our hero, in his criticisms upon the productions of ladies, shewed, that with him at least, the age of chivalry was not gone.

It was now the month of December, when one morning Hamilton was told a young woman wanted to speak to him. “I have seen her before,” said the servant; “I remember her shop-woman to Miss Edging the milliner.” “Oh, I suppose she must want you, Charlotte?” “Very probably,” said Charlotte; “I expect a cap home.” “No, miss, the cap will not be ready till to-morrow morning; it is my master she wants.” Our hero accordingly attended in the[200] drawing-room, and saw a very pretty little girl about twenty, who somewhat flurried, and blushing, begged pardon for the great liberty she had taken; “but when business is slack,” she said, “during summer, I have been doing a little in the novel line; and Mr. Nincompoop, who keeps the eminent press for that kind of larning, and who is a most capital judge, has been pleased to think very well of it, and now it is published. But they tell me that it is of great consequence to have it well spoken of in the Reviews. Having, therefore, the honour of serving your mother and sister, and having, I believe, given them satisfaction, particularly in bonnets (for Miss Hamilton is very partial to my bonnets); I have even had the honour of lacing cravats for you, sir: therefore, sir, I thought you would excuse my freedom in begging a merciful criticism. I am a[201] young beginner, sir, and I hope you will make allowances.” “He must be a very insensible critic,” said our hero, “that could see so very sweet a girl, and be disposed to severity.” “Oh, sir, you gentlemen do flatter so:” and now our hero, pulling a table before them, requested Miss Lacecap to sit down upon the sofa, that they might with the more convenience look over the work together. On the sofa accordingly did our author and our critic sit. Miss pulled out two volumes, one of which our author opening, read the title page, which was as follows: “The Maze, of Marvels: or, the Loves of Carolino and Athalia.” “Very pretty soft names your hero and your heroine.” “I am happy to have your approbation, sir. I have an abstract of the plot written, sir.” Accordingly she produced a paper. “I have to observe, sir, that what put the plot in my[202] head first, was reading a book called Ovid, I believe Dryden is the author, where there was a very pretty affecting story, called, ‘Pyramid and Thisby.’ I dare say you know the story?” “Yes, I recollect something of it.” “Now, sir, I think a great deal in a story is a pretty name.”

“Story—Carolino and Athalia often see one another at a windore, and being both extraordinary handsome, they fall in love with each other; but their parents being rival shopkeepers, is not friends, and so they are against the lovers, and they are obliged to whisper secretly through a crany in the wall of the back-yard. Accordingly they lament that they cannot be oftener together and nearer, and agree to have an assignation in a church-yard, when the neighbours should be in bed.” “A church-yard!” said our hero; “is not that a melancholy scene for a meeting of lovers?” “Oh, no. In the story-book[203] Pyramid meets with Thisby in a church-yard, near a great lord’s tomb, for it seems lords did not then bury in the church. To be understood, I suppose, the church-yard to be near town, at Mary-le-bone, for instance; so off they set out to meet. Athalia gets first to the place.” “Do not you think that makes Carolino very ungallant?” “Oh no, sir. You see Carolino is her first love, and she has been to boarding school, and reads novels and love-stories, and is therefore the more coming. Thisby, in the story, gets to the church-yard before Pyramid; it is as it were more a novelty to her.” “A most excellent comment upon Ovid’s Thisbe,” said our hero. “Yes Sir,” said the young lady, simpering; “that same Ovid knew our sect.” By this time, in the progress of criticism, our Longinus’s hand happened to have doubled the fair Sappho’s neck, with its[204] course directed onwards, and his lips had reviewed hers in a kiss. When after an “a fie, sir,” in which the smiling eyes did not correspond with the chiding tongue, she went on; “Athalia is flustrated, on finding Carolino not there; but in a few minutes he comes, a little afraid at being in the dark alone in so dismal a place, and whistling ‘Lango Lee,’ to keep himself in courage.” “Do you think that a natural circumstance?” “Oh, yes, I once knew an instance myself: A gentleman belonging to the guards (but interrupting the instance)——the bravest man in the world might be afraid of apparitions.” “Certainly, no hero that was to meet with so lovely a girl as you, in a sweet solitary retirement, could be under the influence of fear.” “No, sir, Carolino and Athalia are not afraid after they do meet; then they have something else to think of. But we will go on with the[205] story if you please, sir.” “Carolino and Athalia meet at the gate of the Mary-le-bone burying-ground, by the light of the moon, and they embrace one another with the warmest affection, and reciprocate the sweet strains of love; when a watchman, almost at their ears, calls past twelve o’clock.” Here the author observed, “I did not know, sir, how to bring in a lion, because them kind of beastesses are not to be found in the fields; but only at Exeter Change, and the Tower.” “Why, my fair friend, you observe probability much better than many of your sister novelists, and perhaps a watchman might occur to your fancy as a more probable intruder into such a tender scene than a lion.” “Oh yes, sir, but let us go on.” “The lovers, to escape the questions of the watchman, cross the New Road into the fields near the Jews Harp. For several months the fond lovers[206] have interviews, but ah the cruelty of destiny! poor Athalia finds a change in her shape, which a cruel and unfeeling world is so malignant as to censure. She is likely to be a mother without being a wife.” “Poor Athalia!” said the critic; “but one comfort to her is, her case is not singular.” “Alas! no,” said the author; and here she sighed, and was in some little agitation; but our hero either not noticing, or not appearing to notice her, proceeded, and read in the synopsis “a pathetic letter of Athalia to Carolino, on discovering her condition.” Hamilton turned to the place, and read as follows:

“My beloved Carolino,

How shall I communicate to you the fatal secret; alas! I am betrayed. I will not reproach you. I am betrayed into mistake by the soft sensibility of too[207] tender a heart. I cannot reproach you; I can only blame myself, and a worthless and malignant world. Ah! why (as the king of German moralists observes so strongly) should that be reckoned dishonourable in event which proceeds from no malevolent intention? Why should the indulgence of the sweetest of affections be reckoned a crime? Why should it be deemed shameful to obey the impulses of nature? Ah! when shall the corruptions of society suffer actions to be estimated according to the divine sentiments of the “Virgin of the sun,” even after the title ceased to be applicable. When, like Clara and Lindor, shall we look on such incidents as innocent and even laudable. I need not say, shall we look, but shall a worthless and wicked world look upon such occurrences in the right point of view. Oh! sentiment, thou source of every thing that is great, and noble, and[208] refined, how are thy rights violated! It was only last night, just as I had returned from meeting him that is so dear to my soul, my mother, I found, had discovered the sacred secret of my heart: alas, to be a secret no longer, for to her it was not long confined. These human monsters, these foes to all fine sentiment, these repressors of all delicate feeling!” “Who can these be,” said our hero. “Oh, sir,” said the author, “do not you know who it means. I thought that one of the best parts of my descriptions: but you will see as you go along.” Our hero still not discovering, she said in a half whisper, “I mean, sir, the parish officers, but I did not know how far they could with propriety be mentioned in a pathetic scene. Perhaps you would object to their introduction after interviews of sentimental love and tenderness.” “Their introduction,” said our hero, “frequently[209] takes place after scenes of sentimental love: but let us go on with the letter. And they say that these brutes in human shape, are endeavouring to get hold of my charming Carolino, because he has felt the delicacy of refined sentiment for his Athalia,—because we have loved beyond vulgar rules. Oh, my Carolino, elude their search, and when safe beyond their jurisdiction, inform your doating Athalia.”

From the letter he returned to the story: “Carolino betakes himself to sea, and according to the song, ‘Syrens in every port he finds;’ but being a brave fellow, and becoming an able seaman, rises in his profession; in a year or two is made a captain, and takes a Spanish prize; his share of which is about two hundred thousand pounds. He purchases a fine estate, and is made a lord. In all this time he forgets sentiment and poor Athalia;[210] but she adheres to sentiment and elevation of mind. She incurs great distress, advertises in the newspapers for the protection of a man of honour and sentiment: finds one in a worthy gentleman who benignantly undertakes the causes of distressed fellow-creatures, persecuted by the rigidity of the law. From this protector, she passes to one of his clients, who is extricated from the danger by which he is threatened, and afterwards accompanies a friend of his on his travels. Returning after a great variety of adventures, she still solicits and obtains patronage; and while under her succession of guardians, she cherishes her exalted sentiments, and preserves her mind constant to her first lover.” “In short,” says our hero, “Athalia appears to be like a ship, which having one captain, has a great number of lieutenants, that in turns super-intend the quarter-gallery in his absence.”[211] “I hope, however, the captain comes on board at last.” “Oh, yes sir, I bring it all right before the end.” “She comes home; finds her boy, who, as the great Rousseau directs, had been sent to the Foundling, a fine youth of eighteen, enlisted in the guards; but totally ignorant of his parents. She makes herself known, and promises in a few days to inform him who was his father. The very next evening he rescues a gentleman from robbers. The gentleman takes him to his house, and behold, it is discovered that he is his own father Carolino, now earl of Muscadello, Baron Bobadilio. Finding his Athalia is still alive, he instantaneously repents, and has a tender interview, in which she acknowledges all her mistakes, at least as many of them as she can remember. The earl finds that her heart and sentiment had been uniformly true to him, recovers all his former love,[212] marries her, and procures an act for the legitimation of his son, who is thenceforth my Lord Bobadilio: is first a great rake, but after continuing three years in that capacity, falls in love with Lady Bella Rosebud, marries her, and becomes instantly eminent for virtue and religion. The earl and countess of Muscadello, my lord and my lady Bobadilio, vie with each other in holiness, wisdom, and goodness. Carolino and his Athalia, when they behold the children of their beloved Bobadilio sporting before them, contemplate with delight the Mazes of Marvels, and see sentiment triumphant, and bless the happy night when they first met at Mary-le-bone burying ground, and crossed into the fields between the Jews-harp and old Mother Red-cap’s.” “Now for the moral. It is in the last sentence, sir; that is the right place you know, sir, for the moral.” “So your sister novelists seem to think, and[213] with many of them it is certainly the only place.”

“Hence we may learn that the highest perfection of human nature is sentimental refinement; that endowed with this gift, though youth may fall into those mistakes[3] from which humanity can never[214] be free, and to which sentimental susceptibility is peculiarly exposed from its exquisite fineness, yet the heart will regain its purity and elevation, and after the rectification of venial mistakes, resplendant brilliancy of character will ensue. Cultivate then, my dear young friends, above all excellencies, sentimental refinement.”


“Well, sir,” said miss rising, making a curtsey, “How do you approve of my work?” “It is like yourself, lovely and charming.” “Would you have the goodness, sir, to write a review of it?” “I can refuse nothing to so fair an applicant, I could be the Carolino myself to such an Athalia.” He now thought he heard some one on the outside of the door, and did not doubt but female curiosity in the person of the maid might be listening to what was going forward; he accordingly suspended some part of his remarks, and made an appointment for the evening, by which time, he said, he should do full justice to the subject; and after again very closely reviewing her lips, he asked if she would not see his mother and sister, and they parted. Our hero accordingly set about the review, which he executed to the following purport. “It was avowedly and evidently[216] the work of the young beginner, but displayed considerable genius. Led by fancy, more than experience and actual knowledge, the author had too much given way to the marvellous; but on the whole, it far surpassed the usual productions of Mr. Nincompoop’s press,” This review, with a favourable analysis, and the best specimens that could be selected, our critic carried to the fair author, who was very much gratified.

About this time a new species of writings began to make its appearance in works of fancy, and professed imitation of life and manners. Le Sage and Fielding had carried the exhibition of human nature and passions, the manners and characters of the times, to a degree of perfection that has not been equalled, and scarcely could be surpassed. Miss Burney pursuing the same track, but possessing greater originality of genius, introduced[217] an extensive variety, not resembling Fielding in detail, but like him, copying from life—excelling in strength of delineation and in humour of colouring. Less comprehensive in range, but acute in observation, picturesque in description, interesting in tale, impressive in character, and pathetic in incident, situation, and feeling, Charlotte Smith headed a different species of just representers of conduct, character, and passion. From the strong, but somewhat coarse and farcical satire of a Roderic and honest Strap, to the delicate tenderness of Adelina, Emeline, and Godolphin, the various classes of the comic epopee, appear to have been exemplified by masterly writers, all adhering to existing or probable archetypes. The Recess and Emma Corbet, verging to the province of Melpomene rather than Thalia, are still imitations[218] of probability. Genius, ardent after novelty, will sometimes leave an old road, not because it may not lead it to its journey’s end, but because it is old. There was at this time a great disposition to literary innovation, that shewing itself on subjects of serious reasoning, religion, morality, and politics, was also manifest in works of amusement. Conception far out-went actual existence and experience. The object of ingenuity appeared to be to enchain and petrify by astonishment more than to allure by pleasure, impel by profit, or guide by wisdom. There was a very prevalent disposition to question established truths, and to transcend admitted probabilities; and while serious pretenders to philosophy proposed new principles and rules for governing social and political man, literary dispensers of amusement also[219] chalked out a new system of tales and exhibitions, and instead of the probable, frequently substituted the marvellous. Some persons of great genius began, and others followed this style of writing. The Eloise of Rousseau rendered it very popular on the continent. It glided along all the eccentricities and easy extravagance of the French ingenuity, and was dragged through all the studied wildness of German labour. Genius relieved the marvellous by the probable, introduced its fanciful beings in circumstances which, diminishing or overpowering the incredible, gave full force to the appearance; while pains-taking dulness never failed to introduce such adjuncts and appendages as broke the spell, and shewed the improbable absurdity. Shakespeare could manage a ghost; but if he introduced a ghost, he brought such a being[220] discovering a foul and unnatural murder, not amusing himself with a tune on an organ. This new style of writing, or old romance revived, generated or regenerated in France or Switzerland, received its clothing from the literary taylors of Germany; and a ponderous garbit was containing the heavy armour and escutcheons, and heraldic blazonry of the feudal times, and the motly patch-work of modern illuminism. It obtained from its uncouth enormity, the name of the Gigantesque. If dexterity or skill happened, at any time, to betake themselves to this species of exhibition, they excited a horror and amazement, which, for a time, might suspend the faculties of the reader, but the gross improbability soon dispelled the deception; but it was reserved for English genius so to temper the marvellous with the probable, and so to mingle[221] both with the pleasing and pathetic, as to hurry on the reader wherever the writer chose. Such were the reflections of our hero, when the “Romance of the Forest” was first sent for his critical examination. The able and inventive author chusing a different tract from a Burney and a Smith, and accommodating herself to the growing taste for the gigantesque, admitted it with the modifications of judgment in her scenery and machinery, but did not chuse it as the ground-work of her story. The actual tale is natural, and during the age and manners which she describes, is probable. No object is actually presented which was not within the compass of known existence at the time. The impressions though arising from imaginary beings, were natural in the characters and state of mind represented. An innocent and inexperienced girl, dejected with the consciousness of[222] her destitute situation, conceiving herself the victim of villany and treachery, where she for a time had experienced protection, torn from the man that she loved, and apprehensive of violation from the man that she hated, in a vast and desolate edifice, which she had recently discovered to be the scene of murder, hearing noises at the still hour of midnight, is perfectly consonant to nature, in apprehending a visitation from the apparitions of the dead. The fears which disturb the marquis, and drive him from the abbey, the scene of conscious murder, is perfectly consonant to the feelings of enormous guilt. La Motte vacillating between the depravity of habitual indulgence ripened into profligacy, and the remains of honourable and virtuous feelings, by temporary impulse driven to crime, but by the remnants of humanity held from hardened atrocity, is a character[223] at once natural and instructive, and very forcibly pourtrays the proclivity of pleasurable vice. The passions, characters, and manners, are in this production natural, striking, and impressive; the fable in its principal constituents, sufficiently probable to interest the reader in the fortunes of the actors; the descriptions of external nature, perhaps too exuberant; but it is the exuberance of genius prompted by taste and sensibility, exquisitely susceptible of the beauties of nature; she cannot restrain her fancy from expatiating on subjects which have afforded to herself so delightful sensations and images. Her marvellous is not improbable. Such were the critical reflections of our hero on his examination of this novel, together with the taste of the times, when it made its appearance. He predicted, however, that attempted imitation, by inferior genius, would inundate[224] the public with monstrous fictions, bearing no resemblance to any thing that ever existed in any age or country, and as it afterwards appeared, he was not mistaken in his prophecies.



Our Hamilton employed the winter in Parliamentary attendance, literary criticism, and the commencement of the great work which he had undertaken.

The hours that he could possibly spare from the imperious calls of engagement and duty, were chiefly enjoyed in the company of his beloved Maria. Captain Mortimer having business that required his frequent attendance at the admiralty, found it necessary for several months to reside in London, and his brother being obliged to return to Yorkshire, earnestly requested and obtained permission for Miss Mortimer to remain with him in town. Besides his fondness of the company[226] of his niece, the captain had another reason which, without mentioning to her, he communicated to his brother. Sir Edward Hamden, though by his wound unable to follow Miss Mortimer to London, had declared to her father and uncle, that the first use he should make of his recovery, would be to throw himself at her feet. Sir Edward’s wound, though never dangerous, had been more serious than was first apprehended, and the cure was tedious, procrastinated perhaps by the irritation of his impatience, and January arrived before he was able to reach London. Hamilton earnestly entreated Maria to consent to his undeceiving the captain, her father, and Sir Edward, and to become immediately his. But she so strongly represented the effect which such a disappointment might have on Hamden, in his unconfirmed state of health, that he, however reluctantly, suspended[227] his application. John Mortimer, after a long attention and repeated avowals of affection for Miss Hamilton, at last obtained an acknowledgment of a return: but, aware of the eager desire of his father and uncle that he should avail himself of the appointments which he had procured, she, however contrary to her own inclinations, urged him to depart; and to add force to her instances, gave him a conditional promise, that if he complied with the wishes of his friends in going, she should comply with his on his return. His destination was Paris, a scene which before his acquaintance with Charlotte, he had long wished to behold; and which a totally new set of actors had, within a few months, rendered a different spectacle from what it exhibited at any former period. It was the beginning of February, however, before he supposed all the proper dispositions[228] made for his mission, which was principally commercial with an eventual opening to some political trusts.

Hamilton found the wound inflicted by the assassins upon Hamden, tolerably healed, but the wound from the bright eyes of Maria, more deep than ever. He renewed his addresses, but though Maria received him with the respect due to his rank and virtues, and the compassion excited by his sufferings, yet she continued firmly to assure him, that his suit could never be successful. Being repeatedly urged, she, with much reluctance, and downcast looks, confessed that her heart was irretrievably engaged by another, who possessed it long before she had the honour of being known to him. She did not doubt but he would immediately discover who the other was, but she was mistaken. Of Hamilton he had no conception, and it may seem surprising,[229] that to a man of his penetration this was the case; but it was so. The truth was, Captain Mortimer, from the warmth of his friendship, eager for the marriage of Hamilton with Miss Primrose, had passed from wish to hope, and from hope to conviction, and publicly talked of it as a matter certain. The report was current through Brighton. It had been, by officious curiosity and gossiping impertinence, repeatedly introduced before the young lady herself, and it was easily discerned that she listened with confusion, but not with displeasure. Her mother, loving the daughter for her child’s own sake, and not regarding her as a mere instrument of her own vanity and ambition, was resolved in the most momentous action of her life to consult her happiness, and not the increase of wealth, which she did not want, or the acquisition of title, which might not augment her solid comfort and enjoyment; and not to oppose[230] her union with any gentleman of sense, honour, and character, who might win her daughter’s affections. She had soon discovered Louisa’s partiality for Hamilton, and having made particular enquiries, learned that though of small fortune, he was a man of amiable and estimable character, with talents and acquirements which must throw a lustre on any connection that he might form, and adorn any situation he might be called to fill. She was therefore not averse to the wishes of her daughter, and when an opportunity offered, expressed her very high opinion of the gentleman in question. She had seen Hamilton and her daughter twice or thrice in company together, when our hero, much interested by the engaging simplicity of Louisa, and totally unconscious of her sentiments respecting himself, paid her every attention which benignant disposition and[231] moral approbation can prompt in a discerning and polite man towards a young, beautiful, and lovely woman, without any mixture of love. The mother in a great degree, and the daughter much more, had misconstrued these attentions, and neither of them doubted that the increased intercourse that would probably take place during the winter, would produce a declaration. Various engagements with which the daughter would have gladly dispensed, but which the mother thought it necessary to fulfil, detained them till February between Brighton, Bath, and the country; and no explanation having taken place, it was believed by Sir Edward Hamden, and by others, except those in Hamilton’s secrets, that Miss Primrose was to bestow her hand and fortune on Mr. Hamilton.

The Countess of Cockatrice, who still[232] kept up her acquaintance with our hero, was not without some knowledge of the truth, but was desirous, for various reasons, that a matrimonial connexion might be formed between our hero, and the great heiress Miss Mortimer. She had studiously sought an opportunity of knowing Maria, and though that young lady had declined her advances, and avoided intimacy, yet they had repeatedly met at public places. Cockatrice, herself discerning, discovered ability and penetration in Maria, and heard the same accounts from others, whom she instructed to enquire and examine, much more than opportunity had enabled her to discover herself. To seduce the affections of married men, had nothing in it repugnant to the countess’s moral creed, either speculative or practical. It was indeed not to be expected, that she who so little regarded her duty to her husband, would[233] care for the duty of another man to his wife. If Hamilton married Maria, the wife might be a formidable and overpowering rival, but if he should wed the fortune of Miss Primrose, it would, she apprehended, be no difficult matter to retain a superior interest in his heart. Besides, the countess, though a votary of love, coupled it as often as possible with ambition and interest, including pecuniary convenience. Like Lady Townly, she much oftener wanted money than her husband gave it, or indeed could give it. Drafts were returned from bankers, not honoured; also those visitations known by the name of executions, were familiar to Cockatrice’s house; and though too common to be much regarded on their own account, yet they were aukward and troublesome. The agents, of John Doe and Richard Roe, though officers, were not deemed pleasing companions even by[234] ladies. No visitants could be more likely to excite among many of the guests, disagreeable recollections, or still more disagreeable forebodings, and so to break the harmony of the company. But what was worse than executions for the past, was the refusal of credit for the future. The insolence of tradesmen often demurred at sending in goods where there was no chance of being paid; and thus the brilliancy of galas, the splendour of dress and equipage, must fall infinitely short of right honourable taste and conceptions. For all these, and many other good reasons, money was a very useful commodity, and if it could be acquired along with love, all the better. Now Hamilton by marrying Miss Primrose, would command a great sum of ready money, and as the countess proposed to have the sway over Hamilton, her dominion would also extend to the cash, which he[235] would receive from the fond affection of the heiress, and she might have the lucrative situation of co-partnery with the husband in the property of the wife, as a set off against her co-partnery with the wife, in the affections of the husband, proposing in the last case that the nominal chief of the firm should not be the acting partner. One objection the lady foresaw to the accomplishment of this scheme: without certainly knowing, she strongly suspected that Hamilton was very deeply attached to Maria, but measuring his sentiments by her own, she made little doubt that the very fine person of Maria was the sole object of his love. She well knew that Hamden was rapturously enamoured of Miss Mortimer, and readily guessed the reason of the young lady’s coldness. Entertaining apprehensions that Hamilton was so fond of Maria, that to gratify his inclinations he might marry[236] her, she considered whether, without disappointing the lover, it might not be possible to supersede the necessity of the ceremony. It appeared to the ready invention of this notable contriver, a very feasible project, that though Hamilton and Maria were not, she thought, rich enough to marry one another with prudence, they might love as much as they pleased; and then might respectively marry the heiress and the baronet for convenience, and might even manifest their affection after such nuptials had taken place. The countess, as we have seen, never wanted agents well fitted for carrying a project into execution. There was a widow lady of a moderate income, who having for several years lived respectably in a circle of acquaintances fitted to her rank, had at a watering place made some great acquaintances, and became unfortunately smitten with the charms of fashion and high life.[237] By complaisance and subserviency she endeavoured to obtain that place in fashionable circles, which her fortune little enabled her to fill. When John or Richard were out of the way or otherwise employed, Mrs. Dicky used to call at the milliner’s, explain and enforce my lady’s orders, or any other little odd jobs that might be wanted. For these good services and attentions, she was to have free egress and regress to the breakfast table, and in due time was admitted to dinner when there was nobody but themselves, or perhaps grand mama and the young men with their governor come home from Eton, with the sweet and charming Lady Selina, and the angelic Aurora, who though not twelve years old, had such wonderful wit and accomplishments, and could perform so divinely on the piano forte; knew God Save the King from Rule Britannia, and even could[238] make out part of a lesson. To praise so extraordinary endowments, was one part of Mrs. Dicky’s province, and if no company was expected for the evening, she was to make one in the drawing-room to whistle to the bird, to play with Pompey, and celebrate his beauty; or while my lord, my lady, and their eldest son and daughter played a rubber at whist, to take a round game with the younger honourables, the governor and governante. Advancing in promotion, Mrs. Dicky became a member of larger parties, when my lord’s sister, Lady Betty, and her husband Sir Ralph, came to pay a visit, and two or three cousins of the family made up an evening party. Now Mrs. Dicky, instead of belonging to a light infantry detachment at a round table, was stationed as a corps of reserve to bring up the rear at Cassino or Whist was sometimes asked, to cut in if nobody[239] else was to be had, and even has had the honour of holding my lady’s own cards. Nor did her honours rest here; while my lady and her party went to the opera with their elder hopes, Mrs. Dicky became chaperon to the governante and the younger ladies, when with the governor and the younger lords they went to the theatre to contemplate the ingenuity of Harlequin, and admire the wisdom of mother Shipton triumphant. Ascending higher in the ladder of fashion, Mrs. Dicky rose at last to a seat in my lady’s own carriage, in which, like a lion retreating she faced those that pursued; and would accompany her lady to Hyde Park, nay, even to the opera itself. For such a consummation of glory, gratitude required very great efforts. Mrs. Dicky would abase herself to any humiliation, that she might thereby be exalted. She would do homage to Mrs. Pinup, my lady’s[240] maid, or to Mr. Secondhand, my lord’s gentleman, that she might thereby have a favourable report with my lady and my lord. She was the willing and humble agent of this my lady and my lord, and that my lady and my lord; adapting her expressions, sentiments, and conduct to her right honourable patrons, whatsoever they might be. With the duchess of Whiglove, abusing secret influence; and the countess of Placehunt, exclaiming against the coalition. Without ill-nature, retailing scandal to the countess of Backbite, and without benevolence, informing Lady Generous of a distressed widow and fatherless children. Among other acquaintances that Mrs. Dicky had made in the fashionable world, was the countess of Cockatrice, for whom she had made assignations, managed appointments, spread stories, deposited jewels, arranged the substitution of Dovey’s[241] paste, and rendered various other services; in short, shewed herself willing, by any means in her power, to earn the favour of the countess. Cockatrice having arranged her plans, instructed Mrs. Dicky to make an acquaintance with Captain Mortimer, and gave her a clue by which she might be favourably received by the honest and unsuspicious seaman. Having learned that an officer of whom Mrs. Dicky had some slight knowledge, had been lately one of the captain’s lieutenants, she instructed her to call on the captain and make particular enquiries, speak highly in praise of the youth, who she had learned was a great favourite with the captain, and find some means of becoming acquainted with Maria. Mrs. Dicky executed the commission with such dexterity the very next evening, that Mortimer, pleased with the interest she took in his young[242] friend Bowsprit, introduced her to Maria, and engaged her to dine the following day. Hamilton, who was one of the party, thought Mrs. Dicky a good passable common-place woman, of whom if he had never again heard, he would have never again thought. In a few days the countess of Cockatrice was to give a masquerade, to which she sent tickets for our hero and three more, desiring he would bring his friend Captain Mortimer and his niece, and also Miss Hamilton. Our hero was not desirous that either of the ladies should be present on such an occasion, but the captain over-ruled his objections. Charlotte, however, resolving to partake of no such amusement in the absence of her beloved Mortimer, resolutely refused to go. On the day of the masquerade they were engaged to dine at Mrs. Dicky’s, who was in the evening to see masks before they went to Cockatrice’s[243] house. The dinner was appointed at so unfashionable an early hour as four o’clock, and by the countess’s assistance, without great shew, consisted of every delicacy that the season afforded, with various ingredients adapted to the occasion. Besides the hostess, Hamilton, the uncle and niece, there was one gentleman, who, both by precept and example, strongly recommended the wines, and during dinner, the captain and he were very free with the madeira. Mrs. Dicky persuaded Miss Mortimer to join her and the rest of the party in two glasses of champaign, and afterwards to taste a highly-flavoured liqueur. In the course of the afternoon, she prevailed on her to take a glass or two of wine more, so that she had somewhat exceeded her usual quantity, and a good deal more, as she afterwards found, in the quality. The fruits were of the finest flavour, and[244] Maria remarked that in the grapes there was something delicious and peculiar. The gentleman who acted as landlord possessed a great degree of colloquial pleasantry; and he, together with the wine, set the brilliant genius and wit of our hero agoing. Maria was also very much animated, and several bright sallies escaped from her lips, while the penetrating sparkling of her eyes even outwent the lively and forcible sayings of her tongue. The ladies did not retire till coffee was announced. In this beverage the young lady found also a flavour at once exquisite and peculiar; and after it was finished, the hostess, with an urgency so polite, that she could not resist it without an appearance of rudeness, prevailed on her to drink another glass of liqueur. From this apartment they ascended to the drawing-rooms which, by the removal of a folding-door, made one, and though not[245] large, being splendidly illuminated, it added to the animation and spirits of the now volatile Maria. Mrs. Dicky now thought that the company of Hamilton and Maria might be mutually agreeable, and ascended to the second floor, where a temporary drawing-room had been made for the purpose; she accordingly sent for Hamilton, wishing, she said, to explain to him the mode and arrangement of a reception of masqueraders, which would begin in the course of an hour. Having learned their intended dresses, she had ordered them to be brought at eleven, by which time the masks would be gone; meanwhile the dominos would suffice. After some immaterial conversation, a servant having asked to speak to Mrs. Dicky, she requested them to excuse her for a few minutes, and departed. Hamilton had drank so much wine, as to animate sentiment and impulse, while[246] it suspended reflection; Maria was also much more enlivened than he had ever seen her; her eyes darted fire, and when turned to Hamilton, glistened with undissembled love. He swore he had never seen her so exquisitely charming. She answered, “my dearest William, I can return the compliment: I never saw you so lovely and so graceful.” The reply to this answer was obvious; the fondest caresses and endearments succeeded; but though prudence was asleep, honour, though somewhat inclined to slumber, was not altogether overwhelmed, and fear, perhaps, proved as effectual a sentinel. Apprehensions of the arrival of their hostess were unfounded, as she had no intention of interrupting their conversation; but this forbearance our hero did not know. Soon after, the masks began to make their appearance, and several characters[247] were well supported. One of the best was a Scotchman, carrying two snuff-mills, respectively replenished with snuff of very different qualities and operations, which he described; “the one (he said) is constitutional, and the other innovation snuff. The first has a pleasant wholesome scent, and diffuses an agreeable animation over the active faculties; the second is very highly flavoured, but so pungent and strong, as to tear and overpower the olfactory nerves; it is a composition of hartshorn and sal volatile, with the strongest rue.” Hamilton tried a pinch of each; the first was mild and relishing. “Ye had better be sparing of the other, or it will set your nose a bluding; it has already had that effect over the water; an’ if I dinna mistaak, it will gar their noses blude a great deal mair, if they go on with it; and may bee it’s strength may strain it’s votaries,[248] till they burst blude veshels.” “Are there any so foolish, as to indulge in a scent so very pernicious?” “Oh yes, there are fules eneugh in the warld: it is not, however, that the quality is altogether so noxious, as the quantity or the unskilful application; there are cases in which it will du vara well; for instance, in habits that are vara relaxed; it may gee a better tone to the feebres; in a palsy, it is the only specific; but on the contrary, if there is any thing faverish, it rapidly increases inflammation.” “What are its effects upon a person in vigorous health?” “When ane is weel, he is a damned fule to be dabbling in medicines.” So saying, he was departing, when returning back, “let me gee you ae bit o’ advice before I gang; if you be naturally a little paper-sculled and scatter-brained, have nothing to do with the innovation snuff, or it will make[249] you as mad as a March hare, and you will do sic a devilish deal of mischief, that it will be necessary to blude you and drench you, and chain you to the bed-post; and sometimes to divert the wildness of your phrenzy, your keeper may let you amuse yourself with a rattle; even if you come back to your senses, he will keep you confined for twa razons; first, because it is his interest; and secondly, because if you got loose again, your indignation would certainly gar you dash the fallow’s brains out.” “But if it have so maddening effects,” said Hamilton, “how am I to submit to a keeper?” “Oh, he’ll first flatter and cajole you, till he get you to take the strait waistcoat; by degrees he’ll bind you to a post, and afterwards chain you to the ground.” Having thus described innovation snuff, it’s progressive operations and ultimate result, he set[250] off to other hearers. Our hero next met a groupe, consisting of a representative and constituents, a lawyer and his client, and many others, breathing kindness, with a Harlequin Touchstone bringing their professions to the test of truth. The representative was accosting his electors immediately after the return; “Gentlemen,” said he, with his hand on his breast, “language is inadequate to the task of expressing the grateful feelings of my heart, at this auspicious moment, that this ancient and honorable borough of Braywell has conferred on me the inexpressible happiness of supporting it’s interests; I shall not lavish words in a multiplicity of professions, but shall briefly, yet I hope clearly, describe the line of conduct which I am determined unalterably to pursue; I shall (here Harlequin applied to his touchstone) bawl against the minister until he[251] gives me a place, and then bawl for him through thick and thin; as to you, you stupid blockheads—you gentlemen, forsooth, with blue aprons, I consider you merely as steps for me to rise upon, and when I am once up, you and your borough may go to the Devil.” “I think,” said our hero, “the representative has expressed himself briefly and clearly.” An attorney was expatiating to his client, on his extraordinary disinterestedness, and eager anxiety for the service of any one who should commit a cause to his management; “for it is ever a rule with me (Harlequin touched the stone) to split attendance into as many subdivisions as possible, so as to multiply the six-and-eight-pences, by calling, and inspecting, and attending, and advising, and engrossing, and instructing, and every other item to long billing, and the client may”—(here[252] the speech was not concluded). Next came, in the most engaging and humble smiles, a courtier, booing to the great man for a place; “I consider myself as peculiarly fortunate in having the honor to be patronized by the virtues and talents of a statesman, who (Harlequin was not idle) is one of the damnedest noodles that ever a poor applicant was obliged to flatter; a mere despicable nay and yea retainer of ministry; an impartial adherent to whatever side is uppermost.” Next two came forward, one with the most ardent expressions of affection; “My dearest friend, intimate companion of my infancy and youth, with what delight I received an obligation from my oldest and most beloved of comrades; your superior talents formed and arranged our plans, and enforced our pretensions, with a vigour of reasoning, and an energy of[253] eloquence, which would have been certainly successful, if they had been carried into execution; but the failure was our fault, not yours. Oh! that I had an opportunity of testifying my grateful affection.” The other replied, “an opportunity now occurs; I have a particular occasion for two hundred pounds, with which, I need not say, I know you, who have two thousand a year, can, and I have as little doubt, will, supply me.” This application seemed to supersede the necessity of the touchstone. “Two hundred pounds!” said he, faultering; “really I am extremely sorry I could not spare so large a sum; I have been at very great expence, and have many calls, imperious and indispensible, for (Harlequin moved) I have thoughts of making alterations in my dog-kennel; I am about to purchase a couple of brace of hounds, I intend to[254] give a grand gala, and” (here Harlequin made the other speak) “where frivolous amusement or silly vanity interferes, the friendship of an insipid heart, governed by a weak head, is at an end.” A lover now came forward, expressing the most passionate fondness and adoration for his mistress, declaring that his happiness depended solely upon the return she made to the most ardent and honorable passion that ever inflamed a human breast; “it is the most earnest desire of my soul, (Harlequin touched the stone) to pursue my own gratification, by bringing you to misery and ruin.” A methodist preacher was sufficiently characteristical; he whined and canted, made love to the women, procured contributions for charitable purposes, and kept the greater part to himself. The lady of the house now coming up, brought with her a domino,[255] who, she said, knew most of the people in the room, and was very well qualified for giving an account of them. “Observe,” said the domino, “that mask so gorgeous in apparel, and resplendent with jewels.” “The very large woman with the red hair, you mean?” “The same; that is a great nabobess, just returned from the banks of the Ganges; her husband, a journeyman druggist in Spitalfields, fell in love with her as she used to carry beer from her father’s, at the sign of the Pewter Pot, and they married; an uncle of Mr. Pestle having become a great merchant at Calcutta, sent for his nephew, who accepted the invitation; went out; was taken into the business; in a short time the uncle died, Pestle got his fortune, became a great man, sent for his wife, who obeyed the summons, and became as great a woman;[256] but in the midst of her splendour, retained all her vulgarity, which her airs and pomposity rendered more glaringly conspicuous: as a considerable portion of the society in Calcutta is genteel, she was a laughing-stock among the parties, and as she was extremely arrogant, not a few attempts were made to mortify her to a sense of her intrinsic insignificance; she was very desirous of sinking her origin, but the Pewter Pot being known, that was quite impracticable; they were now returned with a large fortune, tried to get into fashionable society, and did not find it altogether impracticable, as there are gentry and nobility, who, without relishing the company of Mrs. Pestle, had no objection to the company of her husband’s money, which by flattering my lady’s vanity, some of them find means to borrow; but whoever would gain or keep her favour, must[257] carefully abstain from mentioning the Pewter Pot.” The company now began to leave the house of Mrs. Dicky, and before twelve they were all departed, except our hero and heroine; they had both to make some change in their dress, before they joined the masks at Cockatrice-house. Captain Mortimer had returned home, and gone to bed, the only scene for which he now, with three bottles of wine under his belt, was fit; Mrs. Dicky was departed, and not a soul there was in all the house, but one single servant, at midnight, except Hamilton and Maria. William having descended to make some inquiry about his carriage, found that the only person, except Miss Mortimer and himself, in the house, was an elderly domestic, whom he had interrupted in a comfortable sleep by the kitchen fire, and who appeared disposed to return again to the arms of Morpheus.[258] He now rejoined Maria, who was dressed with simple, but most attractive loveliness, as a Nun, while William had from some whim taken it into his head to act the part of Ovid. The master of the art of love, at midnight, alone, even with a Nun herself, was dangerous company, tending to demonstrate the fragility of vows. Maria’s flutter had been increased rather than diminished, by the scenes of the masquerade; Mrs. Dicky had prevailed on her to take some lemonade, which most unaccountably had the same peculiarity of flavour that she had experienced in the fruit, liqueurs, wine, and coffee. Hamilton having taken her hands, the same kind of conversation insensibly revived, which the coming of masks had, above two hours before, interrupted; Maria was extremely agitated, and when our hero clasping her in his arms, pressed her to[259] his bosom, and declared his ardent wishes that she were his wife;—“nay, my dearest Maria, you are my wife, and as a husband,”—here followed impassioned kisses, which poor Maria, with a quick sigh, returned. One sentiment only seemed to predominate, and the project of Cockatrice was on the eve of success, when a noise in an adjoining apartment startled Hamilton, and approaching the door, he heard a man’s voice, saying, “take care of your footing, hold the ladder firm at the bottom.” Immediately comprehending the case, he whispered to Maria to keep still, put out the light, and having seen the key on his side, very softly locked the door. There was still the remains of a fire, in which a poker happened to be left; this weapon he snatched, and taking it for granted that some little time would elapse before the ruffians could enter, he softly conducted Maria[260] to the stair; just as they had got down a few steps, they observed the other door open, and a fellow come out with a dark lanthern; they were now in the turn of the winding, so that the fellow did not perceive them, but he returned again into the room. Our couple stole down by the light of the lamp to the street-door, where a coach was waiting for them; the watchman was passing, and at the desire of our hero, sprung his rattle. The sound of this instrument alarmed the villains, and one of them being before the rest, was running out at the street-door, when our hero’s poker saluting him in the face, arrested his steps. Several watchmen now entered the house, and searched, but could find no one, till reaching the upper room, they found a window open, and saw a ladder moving, and the fellows in the back yard. It would have been easy, by descending[261] immediately, to have secured them; but as these nocturnal guards had the usual deliberation and caution, before they had got down, the ruffians were gone. Maria meanwhile, partly from fear, and partly from reviewing the other events of the night, was in such agitation and tremor, that in attempting to reach the coach, she fainted in her lover’s arms. An hotel being luckily within a few doors, she was carried there, and being, by the care and assiduity of the hostess, recovered, the coach was ordered to Captain Mortimer’s instead of the masquerade; to the surprize of his mother and sister, Hamilton returned about two, though they did not expect him till several hours after.

Maria having, in the morning, leisure and opportunity to reflect on every thing that had passed, with most grateful delight, dwelt on the approach of the robbers,[262] which had saved her from a much greater evil than any their mere depredations could have effected; she compared the various circumstances; the conduct of Mrs. Dicky, in repeatedly leaving her and Hamilton alone, and revolved in her mind, the particulars which she could not avoid imputing to design; at the same time, she could conjecture at no feasible motive; she, however, ascribed no blame to Hamilton; the raptures which he had expressed, she with shame and confusion acknowledged to herself, were, in a great degree, transcripts of her own. Her chief apprehension was, that she had lessened herself in his opinion, by not repelling, instead of permitting such advances: even Hamilton himself, when he coolly considered the last night’s adventure, had too much real love for Miss Mortimer, not to rejoice at the event. He[263] repaired early to the house of the Captain, and found Maria at breakfast, alone. She received him with downcast looks, and her ingenuous nature could not forbear shewing, that she considered herself as having deviated from propriety, and was fearful of having, in some measure, impaired his esteem; he said nothing of the occurrences at Mrs. Dicky’s, but his very avoidance of the subject affected Maria, as her anxiety construed it into an impression, that the reflection must give her pain;—an impression that would imply that she had so acted, as naturally to excite displeasure with herself. Hamilton having at length discerned her actual feelings, soon dispelled every fear of a diminution of his esteem; and after a very long and tender conversation, she consented that he should apply to her father and uncle; but first, it was agreed that he should[264] immediately open the case to Hamden, to prevent that amiable and worthy gentleman from suspecting any deception or duplicity; and accordingly he, without loss of time, set out in quest of the Baronet.



As Hamilton was proceeding to the house of the Baronet, he met his worthy and respected friend, Dr. Scribble, in company of the no less respectable bookseller, whom he had once seen, Mr. Jeffery Lawhunt. The Doctor, with eager warmth, ran to take hold of Hamilton, whom he had not seen for several weeks, and declared himself extremely happy in the interview. Lawhunt and he were about a project, in which the assistance of Hamilton would, the Doctor said, be of great use to them; and he proposed that they should immediately form an appointment. Our hero, besides the business about which he was[266] employed, had no curiosity to interfere in any publication, in which Jeffery was to be the pecuniary, and Scribble the literary manager. Scribble, however, pressed him very much. Hamilton replied he was engaged to meet Sir Edward Hamden upon business, and that, uncertain how long time that might occupy, he could fix no appointment. At this instant, a carriage passing, a voice called the name of Hamilton, and turning about, he beheld the subject of his conversation. Hamilton informed him, that he was on his way to his house, and wished for a long conversation. Hamden told him he was going out of town, by an appointment, at that time; but would either visit, receive, or meet him, the following morning, at any hour he should name. This matter being arranged, the Baronet departed, and Scribble and his companion, who had heard[267] what passed, and understood that he was unengaged, insisted on his listening to their project; and at length, overcome by their importunity, he consented. Accordingly, walking to the outskirts of the town, they reached a coffee-house, which Hamilton found was to be the scene of their deliberations. They were no sooner arrived than Scribble proposed, seconded by Lawhunt, that they should give directions for dinner. Hamilton, though vexed at the prospect of losing time, in company that promised so little information, instruction, or benefit, yet, not wishing to shock Scribble, by shewing the real estimation in which he held his discourse, consented to continue one of the party; they took possession of a back parlour; down they sat, and opened the business. Scribble commenced with a dissertation on the wonderful benefits that must accrue to[268] British literature, from foreign works, and especially from the modern erudition of Germany. “There,” said Dicky, “they bestow due pains on investigating the valuable secrets of nature; thence are derived our most accurate knowledge on accoustics, acroatics, astrology, astronomy, anatomy, beatifics, botany, chemistry, drill-husbandry, excrescences, eclipses, electricity, in short, why need I enumerate particulars of all knowledge, philosophy, and art, ancient and modern; they have brought illuminism to it’s present wonderful height; they have their Weishaup, and their numberless other enlightened sages, upon morals and politics; then they have their novels, and poems, and plays, manifesting such new views of substances, modes, and relations, shewing God, nature, and man, in lights in which the dullness and ignorance[269] of British genius and erudition never before represented such objects; and they possess that perseverance and industry, which I hold to be the chief constituent of genius. It is a mistake, that intellectual superiority depends upon any natural gift, it is merely the result of exercise and effort; but this subject you will see fully illustrated in my preface to my history of Jack the giant-killer; for instance, as I there admit, I, myself, was not naturally very greatly beyond my cotemporaries. It was my ardent desire of literary excellence, that stimulated me to the extraordinary efforts which have raised me so far to transcend ordinary men; but this is a digression, though tending to illustrate my praises of the Germans, for their meritorious industry: and here let me remark one conspicuous superiority of German over British diligence,[270] in literary subjects; our countrymen, adhering to the absurd doctrine of utility, are loth to apply with equal diligence to all subjects; for instance, a common reviewer would not bestow equal minuteness of attention on the wings and abdomen of a bee, as on the fate of a nation. How different a German, who will employ as profound research, in investigating the various members of a fly, as the powers and qualities of the human understanding and heart; this is, indeed, a minuteness of inquiry, in which I vouchsafe to copy the Germans, both in criticism and in original composition, as you may have observed in various reviews, which bear themselves to be mine, and also in my other writings; but most of all in “my essay upon cats,” including my scheme for improving their moral habits, and teaching them to be more attentive to decency[271] and silence, when inspirited by omnipotent nature; also in my history of Jack the giant-killer: but as I admire German learning to imitation, I think it my bounden duty to naturalize as great a quantity of that valuable erudition, as my time and engagements will admit. A more munificent patron of learning is no where to be found, than this worthy gentleman, Mr. Jeffery Lawhunt.” “Oh yes,” said Jeffery, “I am very fond of encouraging larning, and do all I can for it, except during the term, when I am so construpated by lawyers, that I have no time. Never man was so tormented, yet,—it is not my fault; if they let me alone, I let them alone. I hardly ever am plaintiff, unless indeed it be in filing bills but always defendant. If I happen to give an acceptance, and can employ my money to more advantage than paying it, is[272] not it extremely hard that I must be sued? I have lost at least five thousand pounds, where I should have gained with costs; but juries and judges are so unreasonable, and will hear what even strangers say of me, sooner than what my own intimates say, and confirm with an oath. I very lately lost, by an arbitration, a great sum, though I thought I had every thing cut and dry: I spoke to my brother the fruiterer to come as a witness; he did so, and brought his man with him. This evidence was a hollow thing; but what do you think of the arbitrator,—a counsellor too? Merely because my brother happened, out of forgetfulness, to say something contrary to what he had said before; from that time, I am convinced, he did not pay any regard to what he said.” “How do you know that, Mr. Lawhunt?” said Hamilton. “How do I know it,”[273] replied the other, “because my brother swore point blank I did not owe the plaintiff one hundred pounds, and the arbitrator gave an award of seven hundred, and did not that prove how little they regarded Ned’s evidence?” addressing Hamilton. “Undoubtedly it did,” replied our hero. “But what was worse than that,” said Jeffery, “there was my own foreman, a good obliging fellow as ever lived, that would not stick at a trifle; he and I had a great deal of talk before, and we settled about his evidence. The first day he was called, it was on a Saturday; I remember he was very clear—all for me; plaintiff’s counsel did not ask him a single question. On the Sunday he dined with me; we were quite jocose.” “Dingwal,” said I, (his name is Donald Dingwal) “you did very well yesterday; but get through as well to-morrow, and we[274] will do.” “Why,” says he, “that Chiswick, Farragan’s council (Farragan was the plaintiff, a damned Scotch Highlander; ‘perhaps you know him, sir.’ ‘Oh, very well,’ said Hamilton) was not at all captious.” “With that I agreed; but what do you think? Chiswick was laying a trap all the time. Dingwal having finished what we had agreed, Chiswick began that damned cross-questioning, and dodged and winded the poor fellow so about, that on the Monday, as ill luck would have it, the poor man swore the direct contrary to what he had done on the Saturday. Chiswick had not lain by for nothing, and from the award, it was evident that the arbitrator believed my friend Dingwal against me, though he would not believe him for me. However, I cannot blame Dingwal; he had the good will, and if it had not been for Chiswick’s cross-questioning,[275] would have been a most serviceable witness; and I must say, I before found him very obliging in his testimony; he went through like a hero when he was not so cross-examined. In the instance that I have just mentioned, I lost my cause; so you see I have had trials and tribulations in this world; nevertheless, I am a man of great property, and can afford to pay for a good commodity, in the literary line, as much as any man.” Mr. Lawhunt having favoured his two companions with this biographical sketch, then proceeded to business. “Dr. Scribble here,” says Mr. Lawhunt, “we all know to be a man of very extraordinary genius and larning. He has been a mentioning to me a plan of translating German books, of plays and histories, and philosophers, and luminies, and other pastimes, which he thinks would make very clever[276] books; and if any one can do the job, he is the hand; but I need not mention him to you,—you know Dr. Scribble.” “Yes, yes,” says Dicky, “he knows me.” “That I do,” replied Hamilton, “most thoroughly.” “And I will venture to say,” rejoined Scribble, “that he has a just value for me.” “That you may safely affirm,” said the other. “But,” continued the Doctor, “what we particularly want with you, is to do us justice in the reviews and conversation, by speaking very highly of the work. I have already written a specimen; it is the translation of a play, one of the finest that ever entered into the human imagination to conceive; it is the story of Hurlobothrumbo, a Spanish hero, who sets off to the war with the Moors in Andalusia, with four attendants; he overcomes fifteen thousand, enters the city of the enemy alone, encounters[277] twenty thousand, formed in a hollow square, in one of their narrow streets.” “Very well,” said Hamilton, “that’s a good idea.” “He couches his lance, charges the first five thousand that extended across the lane; defeats them; takes the city by storm.” “That was a great hero,” said Jeffery. “Yes,” said Scribble, “I will defy any writer but a German to think of such a hero.” “Oh do not,” said Hamilton, “disparage our own country too much;—what think you of Drawcansir?” “You know, Hamilton,” said Scribble, with much pomposity, “I do not like jesting upon serious subjects; I have often given my admonitions upon that topic.” “Which I hold in due estimation,” replied Hamilton. “But you do not always attend to them,” rejoined Scribble, a little sharply. “That does not contradict my position,” said the other.[278] Scribble taking this as a compliment, proceeded, “Hurlobothrumbo sets all the prisoners free, returns to his own country, finds his mistress confined in a castle, guarded by a thousand giants, with one more enormous and fierce than all the rest, breaks through seven iron gates, kills the head giant, and five hundred more. The five hundred and second, with the other four hundred and ninety-eight, disheartened by the fall of their master and companions, yield to the heroic conqueror. He learns that his old father is somewhere confined in a dungeon, that nobody knows where but the ghost of a female, that at midnight amuses herself with playing a pibrach upon a Scotch bagpipe, accompanied by two others, performing on the hurdy-gurdy and the Jew’s harp. It is said, by the now subjected giants, to be reported, that the head ghost will answer[279] no questions, unless a tune is hit to her mind. Various airs had been tried, but to no effect. The hero swears he will venture, though a hundred ghosts assail. Midnight arrives, and a dark and gloomy night it is. Hurlobothrumbo goes to the oratory, which all know is the favourite walk[4] of ghosts, and there he meets the three apparitions; the head one in a white silk negligee and petticoat; the other two in muslin. The lady begins Rothie Murcus’s rant, that convinces Hurlo that she is fond of Scotch music, which he, having met among the Moors with a Highland fidler from Strathspey, thoroughly understands. Fortunately there is a fiddle at hand; he answers Rothie Murcus by Money Musk; the ghosts fall a dancing, from which he conceives a good omen. The head lady strikes up Nancy[280] Dawson, and makes a motion for him to join in the reel. The intrepid Hurlo foots it with the head spectre, playing all the while; the hobgoblins, warm with the exercise, sit down upon a bench. The hero regales them with Moggy Lawder; Hobgoblina, delighted with this melodious air, rises, and is making a very low curtsey; but sinking too much, falls to the ground; quickly starting up, she speaks:

My boy has won: behold your granny’s ghost;
Your hapless father is in durance vile;
But now by thee his son shall be releas’d.
Art thou the image of my grand-mamma?
Said Hurlo to the dame, who answered, yes.
And these the spectres of thy virgin aunts,
At least maids deem’d:—Alas! not justly deem’d,
For ah confessors are most dangerous men,
So may Grizzelda from experience say:
An Alguazil was chaste Susannah’s love.
The maidens interrupted Mother Mum;
Methinks a goblin need not be a blab;
Revolve the wisdom of the English sage,
Deliver’d after the dire fall of rug,
In Molly’s garret, to his rival Jones;
Acts there are most fitting to be done,
Which are not fitting to be made a boast;
Therefore, again, we say good Mother, mum,
The proverb calls, dead men tell no tales,
(To the virgins thus replied their mam)
But must dead women also hold their tongues,
And e’en when frailties of friends are known?
’Tis very hard; but since it must be,—mum”

“I think, doctor, your ghosts speak blank verse.” “Oh yes, you would not have a ghost speak plain prose, would you?” “But when the Moors had Andalusia, how came the ladies to be acquainted with Tom Jones, which was not written for several centuries after? Are you not out in chronology?” “Pshaw, who the devil ever expected chronology in German literature; you might as well expect history, geography, or probability, which would entirely destroy the gigantesque.” “I admit[282] the justness of your remark, and stand corrected; but proceed, if you please, with your story.” “Thrumbo, the old lady, and the maidens, sally forth in quest of the father; the hero encounters no obstacles but iron bars, which he cracks like walnut-shells, until he reaches the kernel. The five hundred and one giants supposed dead, rise to the tune of ‘Up and war them a’ Willie,’ and by the enchanting melody, are made virtuous and holy. Hurlothrumbo marries his beloved Aldonazina, and with marriage and reformation the piece concludes.” “Well,” said Jeffery, “how do you like this production, Mr. Hamilton?” Before he could answer, “I will venture to speak for him,” said Dr. Scribble, “such a treat he has rarely enjoyed. This is a sample of our German plays, which must prove a most valuable accession to English dramatic literature,[283] and poetry in general. Would your Murphys or your Vanburghs, and your Steeles and your Congreves, your Homes, your Rowes, your Southerns, or your Otway, equal this work?” “I dare say,” said Hamilton, “no production of theirs would ever resemble it; even Sheridan himself, if he were to try his hand, would not make it so pure; he certainly has astonishing genius, but I doubt if he were to try this German mode, with all his brilliancy of fancy, if he could make so unique a performance, and resolutely exclude from every scene and passage, nature, truth, and probability. This production, in it’s beginning, middle, and end, is thoroughly consistent. The incidents are all of a credibility, so nearly equal, that if the fancy can stretch so far as to take in one, it may swallow all the rest. The single captor of a strongly fortified town[284] might vanquish a thousand giants, crack iron bars like walnuts, or dance Rothie Murcus with his deceased grandmother.” “Yes,” said Scribble, “your criticism is right; it is the pure gigantesque.” “But how comes the German author to be so well acquainted with Scotch and English tunes?” “Oh, the tunes I introduce myself, in order to accommodate them to a British audience. I have several others in hand; in one, there is a new way of making love, or rather of introducing a lover to his mistress; and how do you think it is contrived?” “Faith I cannot say; though in this age of innovation, I should not be surprized, if a scheme were devised for making love after the fashion of the Irish sociables.” “But will you hear how they meet? A youth falls in love with a nun; she is closely guarded in the convent; he wishes an interview, but[285] how is it to be effected? He tries to bribe the servants; it will not do; to scale the walls—too steep and high; to get a rope-ladder, narrowly escapes being caught, but succeeds at last by——the ministration of an earthquake. There comes a convulsion so delicate and nice, as to make a chasm large enough for the lovers, without being seen by any body else.” “A most civil and accommodating earthquake, indeed,” said Hamilton. “The lovers meet every night, and continue in an adjoining grove till morning, and often repeat their interviews. The effects of the earthquake become daily more visible: but the morality is marvellous and gigantesque, as well as the fable. When it is obvious that poor Miss experiences the consequences of sentimental susceptibility, and is taken to task by the rest of the sisterhood, she admits the fact, but[286] denies guilt. She had found her lover a very pleasant youth; it was agreeable to benevolence to make such a youth happy, especially when she could make herself happy to boot; forms were mere inventions of priests, to subjugate the best and most delightful feelings of nature to their controul. Was it a crime, to add to the number of mankind? Here you have the liberal and expanded morality of the German drama. I could give you various instances of the superlative excellence of modern Germanic literature, on subjects of property, establishments, religious institutions, and many other topics; but the present samples shew the nature, objects, and character of the works which I wish to translate. Do not you think the infusion of German productions will tend very much to improve the literature and science of Britain, physical, moral, and political?”[287] Hamilton made it a rule not to enter into disputes with persons, from whose knowledge and arguments he was sure he could derive neither valuable information nor instruction, and thence he had usually abstained from argumentation with Dr. Scribble. In the present instance, conceiving that there was no ground of apprehension that such incongruous absurdities could be favourably received by the vigorous and discriminating understandings of Englishmen, he thought that the publication would be perfectly harmless, would be little read, make no impression, and be speedily forgotten. For rapidly steering a literary bark to the gulph of oblivion, he knew no one could be better qualified than Dr. Scribble; indeed his very name had a Lethean effect, as it precluded the perusal of works, which a sight of the title-page associated[288] with the idea of nonsense. “Do you mean,” said our hero, “to put your name to it, Doctor?” “Oh certainly,” inter-posed Lawhunt, “we must have the Doctor’s name.” “Yes,” said the Doctor, “my name will have it’s weight; I believe I have published more volumes than any man of my age.” “Especially,” remarked Hamilton, “first editions.” Lawhunt happening at this instant to go out, the Doctor said, “I do not like those kind of sneering animadversions, I have often hinted so.” “Come come, Scribby, do not be angry now.” “Nothing galls me so much as any reflection upon my talents; I should rather you would think me wicked than dull; I have been always labouring not to be thought dull.” “And an up-hill work it is,” said Hamilton. “Now, sir, I will not bear that,” said Scribble, “curse me if I do.” “Do not let it[289] get into a passion?” said Hamilton. “I must say you are an impertinent, insolent fellow,” replied Scribble. “Harkee, sir,” rejoined Hamilton, “whatever opinion I have entertained of you myself, I have religiously forborne delivering my sentiments, so as to affect your employment; the same forbearance I will now observe. Before this man, Lawhunt, I shall still abstain from expressing that opinion; but even from you, contempt will not suffer the insolent expressions that you have dared to use, or let them pass without suitable chastisement; till to-morrow morning I give you to think of the subject.” The courage of poor Scribble was much on a par with his bodily strength and mental abilities. He was beginning to make an apologetic speech, when Jeffery entered in considerable agitation, saying, he had seen a glimpse of two men that[290] he did not want to meet; he therefore requested Scribble to settle for him, as he could not wait to call for a bill, and before the other could answer, departed with great expedition, by a door that opened into a lane. The fact, it seems, was, in returning to the parlour, he had, through the glass door of the coffee-house, seen two persons reconnoitring the boxes. One of the persons he well knew, and in company with whom he had oftener been than he wished. Fortunately recollecting that one door of the back parlour afforded an escape by the lane, he had bolted that which communicated with the passage, so as to obstruct pursuit; and he had not been gone two minutes, when a rough voice called at the door, “open.” The waiter, comprehending the case, ran round the other way, and told the gentlemen, for God’s sake, if they were[291] afraid of bailiffs, to make haste away. They both assured him they were under no apprehensions. “Then sir,” said he, “if the other gentleman is safe, we had better open the door; but let us lock this door to keep back pursuit.” A very thundering knock with a foot now forced open the door, which was slight. Hamilton started from his seat, and as one fellow entered, in an angry tone demanded who they were, and what they wanted? “We want Lawhunt, and you are he,” said one of them, collaring Hamilton. Though the fellow was strong, yet the other was much stronger, and at one blow felled his assailant to the ground. The master had, meanwhile, been occupied with another gentleman, whom he had discovered in a corner box in the coffee-room, when the waiter, with much exultation, roared out, “By the Lord, the gentleman is[292] mauling the catchpole.” The master hearing this intelligence, ran to the assistance of his follower, without considering his own engagement, and finding him prostrate at Hamilton’s feet, rashly attacked the conqueror, and in a few moments experienced the same fate. The room was now filled with spectators, and the fellows being brought to their senses, intimated a disposition, jointly, to assail an antagonist, to whom they had been, severally, so unequal; and to some menacing words, Hamilton coolly replied, “that they were the aggressors, he believed, in a mistake; but if they began again, he should have them severely punished, in two different actions, for forcible entrance, and assault.” The master now recollecting his acquaintance in the next room, hastily went out, and returning, called, “Jem, Jem, the prisoner is gone, let us haste away.”[293] “But,” said the landlord, who knew the gentleman that he was pursuing, “you shall not hasten away, you have made a riot in my house, and one of you has broken open a lock;” and calling two watchmen, who were in waiting for the purpose, he gave charge of the two prisoners. The event of this business was fatal to the catchpole; the person arrested had writs in the office against him for two thousand pounds, on account of a security, into which he had been villainously trepanned. He had procured an appointment at Hamburgh, and was preparing that very night to set off for Yarmouth, and a chaise was in waiting to carry him to the first stage, to join the mail, when he conceived all his prospects blasted by the arrest; but when the fellow left him, he hastily entered his carriage, and drove at full speed to Stratford; reached Yarmouth;[294] and found the packet just sailing. The bailiffs being detained in captivity till the next morning, for want of bail, were not able to take measures for pursuit, till it was too late. Proof was easily found by the plaintiff, that the defendant had actually been in custody; accordingly, recourse was had upon the sheriff,—the bailiff of course was ruined; to escape the Fleet, took to the highway, and from the Drop left a lesson to the brotherhood, to refrain from brutal execution of just and beneficial laws.

But to return from this episode. Dr. Scribble was much alarmed with the thoughts of Hamilton’s displeasure, and frightened, even to tremor, after beholding his terrible prowess; to avert his anger, he was willing to make the humblest concessions. Commencing a penitent and deprecatory speech, he was suddenly interrupted by our hero,[295] who, shaking him cordially by the hand, told him to think no more of it, assuring him, that he should not himself, and acknowledged that he had rather been the aggressor, by his strictures upon Dr. Scribble’s talents and erudition. Quite delighted with this explanation, Scribble’s eyes sparkled; “and so you allow me, my dear Hamilton, to have extraordinary genius and learning.” “Yes, yes, I do; but suppose we have coffee, we have had wine enough,” “Oh, not yet,” says Scribble; “we must have another bottle for our reconciliation.” Hamilton never exceeded a bottle from choice; yet, when conviviality invited, could drink double the quantity, without intoxication; and now consented. They enjoyed themselves very sociably, conversing chiefly upon the adventure of the catchpoles; Scribble assuring Hamilton, he could have encountered[296] any of them with a small sword; but he believed they would have been an over-match for him at boxing. Without investigating this question, Hamilton said, he thought the most important part of the adventure to Scribble, was the object of the pursuit. “Do you think that this fellow, Lawhunt, can pay you for so voluminous a work as this must prove?” Scribble, archly winking, went and shut the door, which happened to be ajar: “Oh no, he will not be able to go through with it; but let him begin it, that’s enough, it will not be lost, Billy Nincompoop will take it up—Billy’s the man. If any one starts an idea, Bill out with his tablets—down with it—makes it his own. If any one broaches a new book, Billy out with another upon the same subject, like an opposition stage-coach, so that you will see that Nincompoop will be the chap[297] for German literature. I have engaged with this stupid beast, Lawhunt, for two volumes, and have got bills in advance.” “It would appear,” observed Hamilton, “from his own acknowledgement, that his bills are not very punctually honoured,” “Oh, I made allowance for that in our bargain; he agreed to fifty per cent more than any body else could give.” “How did you manage that with him, Doctor?” “Very easily; I shall suppose a work worth a guinea per sheet.” “Very moderate indeed.” “Oh it’s very good pay; if it were such as I would do for Bill for one guinea, I would ask Lawhunt two; he knowing nothing of the matter, being a low mechanic, and addicted to hagling, would chiefly bend his thoughts to beating me down. I, after much difficulty, would give up first half-a-crown, then another half-crown, at last, well, my good friend,[298] Jeffery, you are an honourable man, but lower than the half guinea, by God, I will not go. He agrees, chuckling all the while, in the idea of having cheated me of half-a-guinea per sheet, and I have the odd fifty per cent. to meet the law expences that may occur in the recovery.” Scribble having thus explained his mode of bargaining, to his own thorough satisfaction, the conversation took a turn to some topic of the day, that required reference to an evening paper, in quest of which our hero proceeded to the coffee-room, when a voice called Hamilton, and turning, he beheld his admired friend, Dr. William Strongbrain. Telling him he was engaged in the next room with Doctor Scribble, “Scribble,” repeated Strongbrain, “a poor stupid animal; how the devil can you associate with that fellow?” “Never mind his stupidity now; but[299] come in for half an hour with us to the other room.” Strongbrain having agreed to this invitation, Hamilton recalled an order, which he had just given for coffee, and desired another bottle of Port to be substituted in it’s place. Strongbrain had been dining in a party, and like our hero, was exhilirated, without any approach to intoxication. Doctor Scribble was farther advanced: perceiving Strongbrain enter with Hamilton, Dr. Scribble ran up, took him by the hand, and expressed the pleasure he had in meeting with a man of so great ability; “I understand you are engaged in criticism, politics, history, and philosophy, and really your works, in several respects, meet my approbation. Let me recommend to you some essays that I am writing, and it will greatly improve your views, your arrangement, and language.” One of the predominant companionable[300] qualities of Strongbrain, was good humour; the preceptorial directions, therefore, of Dr. Scribble, excited a good-natured smile; but no angry or indignant sensation. Scribble was suffered to talk, and grew greater and greater with every glass that he swallowed, till at last his greatness had a fall under the table. Having consigned the learned Doctor to the care of the waiter, Hamilton and Strongbrain departed to their respective homes.



The next morning, our hero, according to appointment, called upon Sir Edward Hamden, and after a considerable portion of preface and circumlocution, opened to him the state of Maria’s affections. From the general character and conduct of Hamilton, together with the various circumstances of the case, Hamden was thoroughly convinced that Hamilton possessed Miss Mortimer’s heart, before he was himself acquainted with her; that he had long before intended to disclose the truth to Hamden, but had been withheld by considerate humanity. He was convinced, that Hamilton, in every respect, had acted honourably and nobly.[302] He esteemed and admired his genius and virtues, and regarded him as the preserver of his life; still, however, Hamilton had gained the love which he had most ardently sought. His wisdom, his virtues, his liberality, candour, and gratitude, could not altogether stifle that sentiment; all his generosity could not preclude a regret, not untinctured by envy. He endeavoured to dispel the last-mentioned passion, and in the conflict of emotions, was silent and distracted; having been a considerable time in a reverie, his countenance was overcast with a gloom, which our hero imputing to displeasure, rose to withdraw. Roused by this movement, Hamden sprang from his seat, and eagerly grasping Hamilton’s hand, said, “my dearest friend, preserver of my life, forgive the temporary impulse of feelings, of which you so justly and[303] highly prize the cause; I am enraged with myself, for having for a moment suffered them to operate; but (and here he sighed, and appeared to struggle with himself) Maria cannot be mine; and why should I repine that she is to be his, whom I value above all men.” He then asked, if Hamilton thought it was in any way in his power to promote the views and interests of two persons, whom he so very highly regarded? Hamilton, with considerable solemnity, answered, “Sir Edward Hamden, I came with the highest sense of your honor, magnanimity, and generosity, and by concert with Miss Mortimer, to open confidentially, whatever regards us, to one whom we both equally esteem. I saw your agitation and temporary feelings, and therefore resolved to suspend my communication and consultation; but knowing, that strength of[304] head and of heart would soon on your side overcome present impulse, I resolved at a very early future opportunity to resume the subject; but now I see that the reasons no longer exist for postponing our application.” Hamden replying, that any advice or assistance within his power would be afforded, with gratitude for the request, Hamilton freely and candidly explained to him, that both Miss Mortimer’s father and uncle had been very anxious for her marriage with Sir Edward; that though he believed they both entertained a very favourable opinion of him, as an acquaintance and a friend, yet they would be very much disappointed by Maria’s refusal of Sir Edward, and preference of a man beneath him in rank, and so very far below him in fortune. Inferior as his property was, to what he might desire on account of his Maria, yet it[305] was sufficient to preserve independence; and his efforts, he trusted, would produce progressive improvement. Captain Mortimer had, in a great degree, the direction of his brother; both Maria and Hamilton were particularly anxious to secure his consent, which the father’s would certainly follow. Having unfolded all these circumstances in ample detail, Hamden took him by the hand, and pledged himself to use every possible argument with Captain Mortimer, and stated the topics on which he would principally insist; viz, the necessity of studying the happiness of the parties more than any other circumstance; that the happiness of Maria was inseparably attached to Mortimer, and that he would enlarge on the character and prospects of Hamilton, the fortune and station to which they might lead. Having concerted and formed his plan of[306] application, to the satisfaction of our hero, he dispatched a note to Captain Mortimer, proposing an appointment for the following day. Hamilton, after remaining with him till the evening, returned to Maria.

Sir Edward waited upon Captain Mortimer, who learned with great surprize, and greater disappointment, that all hopes of his niece of becoming Lady Hamden were at an end, and though much attached to Hamilton, he repined at his having captivated Maria. Hamden, with the most liberal generosity, praised the talents and accomplishments, face, countenance, and figure of our hero, and declared he thought it impossible for any young lady, whose heart was unengaged, to refuse his addresses, as it was for any young man unengaged, not to love Maria. “Why, to be sure, he is a very fine fellow, as handsomely[307] built as any man that ever walked a quarter-deck, or the parade at Portsmouth, and, to be sure, young girls are very much taken with the outside of a man; but still I am very sorry that Molly had given her heart to him, and wish most sincerely it had been otherwise.” Hamden proceeded to paint his prospects and abilities so strongly, that the Captain began to be more reconciled; he was, indeed, in a great degree, an optimist, and not only with ease accommodated himself to actual events, but had a sanguineness of temper, which, from most occurrences anticipated a great degree of happiness. Maria being purposely absent, Sir Edward staid most of the day with the Captain, and at length reconciled him to the proposal, and even procured his promise to use his influence with his brother. Hamden leaving the Captain, repaired to his[308] friend Hamilton, and suspecting that Maria was there, requested to see him alone. Being introduced into his library, he was immediately joined by Hamilton, who felt all the gratitude that a very high benefit can excite in a susceptible and benignant heart. Hamden could not be prevailed on to join the ladies; and candidly acknowledged, that as yet, he would rather not encounter the sight of Miss Mortimer, but that in a short time he hoped to be able to congratulate her, on being the wife of the man that she loved. In less than a week, Captain Mortimer received an answer from his brother, though he certainly wished very earnestly that his daughter had accepted the offer of Sir Edward, he would yet be guided by the opinion of his brother, and in the course of a fortnight would set off for London. In the interval, Miss Primrose, who with her[309] mother had been some weeks in town, made several overtures to cultivate an intimacy with Miss Hamilton. That young lady perceived the chief purpose of Miss Primrose; thoroughly assured of the state of William’s affections, though she could not avoid liking the amiable qualities of Louisa, without discouraging, as much as possible, avoided an intercourse, which feeding hope that was totally groundless, must eventually enhance disappointment. Our hero himself, notwithstanding his extraordinary personal charms, was far from being addicted to an easy belief of being beloved by women; nevertheless he could not avoid discovering the affections of Miss Primrose, nor even that it was approved by the mother. Thinking her a very amiable and interesting girl, he was extremely sorry that her affections were so directed; but no opportunity offered that enabled[310] him, with proper regard to delicacy and humanity, to undeceive either the daughter or the mother.

At length Mr. Mortimer arrived in town, and had repeated consultations with his brother, and also Mrs. Hamilton, who had similar objections on the score of interest. Finding opposition vain, they endeavoured to postpone the nuptials; but the eager entreaties of Hamilton, seconded by the friendship of Hamden, wrung a reluctant consent. After they did agree, the parents resolved to contribute, as far, respectively, as their pecuniary circumstances would admit, for the service of the young couple. Her father bestowed on Maria a thousand pounds; Captain Mortimer as much: Mrs. Hamilton would have given up one half of her annuity, but her son and Maria would not hear of the alienation; and Dr.[311] Wentbridge added another thousand; so that with the interest of his own property, he would have about four hundred a year, and already made about four hundred more by his literary employment, and was in a fair way of greatly increasing his emoluments; and this, with such a mind and soul as he possessed, though not rich, he was independent.

The arrangements and preparations for the intended marriage, though conducted with privacy, yet were not so secret as to escape the notice of the Countess of Cockatrice, who, for the various reasons which we have before stated, was extremely inimical to an affiance that interfered so much with her own wishes and views. She suspected that the plan, of which, Mrs. Dicky had been the instrument, was unsuccessful; her lowly minister had been received with extreme coldness, in subsequent visits to Miss Mortimer; and on[312] being officious and impertinent in her inquiries, had been refused admittance. The Countess having no means of intercourse with Miss Mortimer, nearly despaired of effecting a breach between the lovers; but her invention being extremely ready, especially where mischief was the object, she conceived a project which she thought very feasible.

There was a person, that having published several obscene and slanderous productions, took to himself the name of a bookseller. This fellow (whose name was Blackball) was peculiarly distinguished for what was some years ago denominated by the cant term of ink-making, that is, threatening to publish defamation, unless he was paid for concealment, an employment, in point of turpitude and infamy, analogous to the practice of that class of highway-robberies[313] which extorts money by threatened charges of flagitious criminality; but not like these, subjecting the perpetrator to the gallows.

The first in the calumnious line, Blackball, was in some request in the fashionable world, and well known to the Countess: To him she applied in the present case, and instructed him to hunt for anecdotes concerning Hamilton and also Miss Mortimer. The countess learned that Maria had, about three years before, been for some months a parlour boarder at a respectable school in a village in which there was another much less respectable, and which about that time had been the subject of some discussion, on account of an adventure of one of the young ladies and a Frenchman: Blackball had heard the particulars from a young teacher, an intimate friend of his, that used to convey to the[314] misses of the boarding-school such books and pictures as he was in the habit of collecting and vending; and for which the seminary in question afforded a sure and rapid sale. The story, it seems, had been hushed, and Blackball having been paid for secrecy, and also afraid if he published any thing on the subject, it might interfere with his custom, had adhered to taciturnity. On hearing the village mentioned, calling the circumstance to mind, he said, that he thought it would be no very difficult matter to confound the two schools, and attach the report in question to Miss Mortimer.—“Suppose, please your ladyship, we were to revive that story by a few smart paragraphs in the newspapers?” “How would you manage to introduce so old a story?” “Oh very easily!” said the other; “give it first as new, then acknowledge the mistake, and attack the[315] illiberality of ripping up such matters at such a time.” He entered into particulars, which he explained to the satisfaction of his right honourable employer. Accordingly the next day there appeared the following paragraph: “In a certain boarding school not a hundred miles from one of the great northern roads, a French dancing-master has been teaching one of the scholars a new step.”—Two days after, another journal had it as follows: “The young lady that has been taking French lessons, has retired towards Yorkshire to meditate upon her instructions.” Next came paragraph third: “What a dearth of intelligence and entertainment there is to be found among our brother scribes! The story of the boarding-school is more than two years old.” In another part of the same journal the affection of obsoleteness was repeated with a moral reflection on the[316] illiberality of reviving what had been almost forgotten, and a flaming metaphor about “calumny’s envenomed tooth.” The fifth article was,—“The young lady that was so shamefully traduced by a false report about a French dancing-master, has so satisfactorily cleared her character, that she is about to give her hand to a young baronet of great and increasing parliamentary eminence.—If he be satisfied, who has a right to be otherwise?” The sixth; “We can assure our readers, that Sir E. H. is not to marry Miss M——; the reasons of this change we do not undertake to explain.” Seventh,—“The boarding-school report still continues to haunt poor Miss M——r; not that she is under any dread of spectres; her disturbance is from flesh and blood.”—Eighth, in another paper, the same morning: “It has been reported that a young[317] man of high and rising literary reputation is about to lead to the altar a young lady that has for several days engrossed the attention of the public; as he is a very respectable young man, we, on his account, hope he will look before he leap. What feeling heart but must deplore the fate of Altamont, though only fictitious! how much deeper must be regret when the case is real! Alas! we fear that like Horatio’s discovery, it will be too late.” Ninth was an advertisement in the same paper: “Tomorrow morning will be published, a faithful narrative of the Yorkshire Calista, including some anecdotes of the gay and sportive Lothario; humbly dedicated to Altamont H——n, Esq. of Lincoln’s Inn; not by permission; by the profound admirer of his genius and erudition, and the friend of his virtues, Horatio. Printed for J. Blackball.


Were you, ye fair, but cautious whom ye trust,
Did you but think how seldom fools are just,
So many of your sex would not in vain,
Of broken vows and faithless men complain:
Of all the various wretches love has made,
How few have been by MEN OF SENSE betrayed!”

Meanwhile our hero had seen the first paragraphs without any emotion; but he was struck with the article that mentioned a baronet of great parliamentary abilities, inserted in a morning paper, which he happened to see in a coffee-house. He reviewed the antecedent paragraphs. Firmly assured of the dignified virtue of his Maria, he did not, for a moment, feel any uneasiness on that account; nevertheless, one afternoon, suspecting that they meant to apply to her, he was filled with rage: an evening paper just coming in mentioning Sir E. H., initials that applied to no member of parliament but Sir Edward Hamden, he had no[319] doubt but some villainous calumny was machinated against the adored mistress of his heart. He first thought of immediately interrogating the editors; but on a little cooler reflection he saw the propriety of consulting his friend, Sir Edward, and requesting him in the first instance to demand an account of the freedom used with his character, and who the young lady was who had been so disgracefully appended to his name. Sir Edward was abroad; and, though boiling with impatience, Hamilton was obliged to suspend all investigation till the next morning. Repairing home in the greatest agitation he found his mother, Charlotte, and Maria together. Having embraced Maria with impassioned violence, he recollected his resolution of concealing his partial discovery until he was able to make out the whole. He endeavoured to appear calm, but the attempt[320] was unavailing, and the effort was obvious. Maria, with the most soothing affection, entreated him to inform them what had distressed him. He at first attempted to laugh away the idea, but finding that they were not to be imposed upon, he acknowledged that there was a paragraph in a newspaper, that appeared to convey an implication concerning Sir Edward Hamden that was very injurious, and which he was determined to investigate:—to-morrow morning, after seeing his friend, he would get at the particulars. The arrival of Captain and Mr. Mortimer, prevented any farther discussion of this subject; but Maria was extremely uneasy; she thought the agitation of Hamilton much greater than even friendship for Sir Edward Hamden could produce, and could not avoid thinking that she herself was somehow [321]or other concerned. No opportunity occurred of making any enquiry that evening; she went home with her father and uncle, and immediately retired to her room, and brooding over the idea that Hamilton was distressed upon her account, she turned her imagination through the wild region of possibility, and coming to plausibilities, made a conjecture, not wide of the truth, that some attempt had been made in the public papers, in some way or other, unfavourable to her. She was conscious of no act or thought that could expose her to reproach; what could be the motive or cause of such an attempt? Bewildered in her labyrinth of possibilities, where she had no probable clue, she tormented herself with conjuring up successive phantoms of evil, and at last concluded that some rival was endeavouring to part her and her beloved Hamilton. Of the Countess of Cockatrice[322] she knew nothing as a rival.—Louisa Primrose, she was well assured, was fondly attached to Hamilton, yet she appeared a very amiable girl; could such be guilty of suborning calumny? This idea she dismissed as illiberal and unjust; but was the more distressed that she could find no other to substitute in its place. After a sleepless night she rose early, and telling her servant she was going to call on Charlotte Hamilton, with whom she often walked before breakfast, she went out. Although it was hardly seven o’clock when she arrived at Mrs. Hamilton’s, she found that William had gone out at six, and had come back about half an hour after in a very great fluster, as the servant expressed it, had gone up stairs, and after staying some time was just gone out again. Charlotte presently joined her, and the maid coming to arrange the[323] room in which they were, they moved into Hamilton’s library; there Charlotte happening accidentally to cast her eyes to the place where her brother’s pistols used to hang, perceived that the cases were empty, and without consideration remarked the circumstance to Maria. Miss Mortimer was extremely alarmed; remembering he had mentioned his intention of seeing Sir Edward early in the morning, they immediately concluded that William was engaged in some dangerous quarrel, in which his friend was to be his second; no time was to be lost; a coach was ordered immediately, and directed to drive with all speed to Sir Edward’s. It had reached the corner of Portland Street, where Maria eagerly exclaimed, “Mr. Hamilton.” William instantly joined them, and perceived the terrified countenance of both; they informed him of the cause[324] of their alarms. He assured them that it was totally groundless; that he was on his way home to wait for Sir Edward, who would be with him in half an hour; and after giving orders to the coachman, reflecting that they might hear of the slanders from some other person, he resolved and promised to inform them as soon as he was at home. Accordingly he told them of the paragraphs he had seen the preceding day, and added that as he was repairing early that morning to the house of Sir Edward, he had seen several papers, two of which contained most infamous insinuations, and one an advertisement worse than the rest. In his anger he had determined to pistol the fabricator; but his friend Sir Edward had fully convinced him of the impropriety of such a proceeding, and that a resolute coolness only could effectually investigate the villainy, and[325] bring its authors to condign punishment. By this time Mrs. Hamilton was up and breakfast was prepared, and while they were informing her of what had happened, and she making the comments of honour and rectitude upon such villainy, Sir Edward’s servant arriving told Hamilton his master was waiting at the Gray’s Inn coffee-house. They first proceeded to the house of the editor, in whose papers the most flagrant and pointed paragraphs had been inserted. Hamilton, on their way, expressed his surprize that so malignant a calumny should appear in a journal of considerable ability, and that did not require scandal to supply the want of valuable materials; besides, the editor, whom he knew very well, was a man of fair and respectable reputation. Sir Edward observed, that in the vast multiplicity of matter it must be difficult for[326] the editor of a daily newspaper to guard against the insertion of very objectionable passages. Being introduced to the gentleman in question, Sir Edward opened the business as relating to himself; Mr. Hamilton stated its other objects, branches, and connections, and very strongly represented its gross falsehood and malignant tendency. Their purpose in troubling the editor, he said, was to require the name of the author. As the language and manner of both was temperate and polite, the editor conducted himself accordingly: he declared, upon his honour, that the paragraphs of both that and the preceding day had been inserted without his knowledge; that he had been out of town the two last days, and was only arrived that morning. He had seen his paper of the day before at Salt Hill, on his way to town, and was extremely sorry to observe[327] a paragraph alluding to so respectable a member of the senate as Sir Edward Hamden. The paragraph in his paper of to-day was equally unknown to him; in itself it was insignificant, but connected with the advertisement, other paragraphs both in his and other papers, he acknowledged it appeared to be all one chain of defamation. He, himself, protested he did not know whence it proceeded; but as his paper had been one vehicle of the calumny, he would be extremely happy to trace it to its source; and added, that they themselves should dictate, as far as respected his paper, any strictures upon the slander, which they should judge expedient. Convinced that this editor was not intentionally to blame, they accepted of his apology, and Hamilton asked whether he could not see the hand writing in which the calumny had been[328] conveyed. The editor not immediately answering this proposition, our hero observed that he was convinced no writer known to or approved by the editor could have sent such defamatory libels; but an anonymous calumniator was an assassin that attacked in the dark, and ought to be made public. The editor said he had not seen the hand-writing, but that there was a general rule to withhold from persons complaining of a libel, the means of establishing the proof. Hamilton immediately answered to this,—“Mr. Editor, I must take the liberty of observing that you misconceive my meaning; we do not want the hand-writing as the means of establishing the libel. The libel, sir, is printed and published by you, you assert, and we believe, without your knowledge, and contrary to your practice. But I am determined that the libel shall undergo[329] the prosecution which its atrocity deserves; but we wish to prosecute the real author, and request from you the only means you can have, according to your statement, of giving the desired information; but I do not say I require or demand, because you have an alternative.” Hamilton now asked Sir Edward if he would go; Sir Edward answered he made no doubt but the editor would, on reflection, afford them the satisfaction which they desired. The editor asked if they could defer till the following morning pressing for a sight of the hand-writing? “I had much rather you would discover the truth in any other way; and, upon my honour, I have not seen the hand-writing. I think from the last part of the advertisement you have some kind of a clue.” “Well, sir,” said Hamilton, “I believe I comprehend you, and I shall promise not to[330] require an answer to my questions about the hand-writing, till to-morrow morning.” At this time a servant calling the editor forth, he begged to be excused for a few minutes; and on his return said, that he had just learned the insertion to have arisen from the inadvertence of the person that acted for him as editor in his absence. The hand-writing he had now seen; but would say nothing on the subject until the following day; “I have only to observe one thing, that if you should happen to suspect any individual person, perhaps by pretending to know more than you do, you may best answer your purpose.”

Hamilton and Hamden now set off to the house of Blackball, and finding that worthy person at home, desired a few minutes conversation. He, bowing very obsequiously, requested their attendance in a back parlour. Hamilton,[331] profiting by the hint of the editor, told Mr. Blackball that they had examined the paragraphs which they now presented to him, and found they were all deduceable from the same origin. “Now, Mr. Blackball, what we have to say to you is short; you will either confess yourself the author of the paragraphs in question, or stand the actions for defamation of Miss Maria Mortimer, in the paragraphs which we will prove to be from you. Will you or not?” “Gentlemen, you are very sudden,” said Blackball. Finding them, however, inexorable he fully confessed the whole. The different papers acknowledged themselves completely deceived: the countess’s scheme was entirely discomfited, and Blackball, for the present, was allowed a respite from the pillory.


Hamilton having returned, informed Maria of Blackball’s confession, but without taking any notice of the prompter.

The attempted obstacles to the marriage of our hero and heroine were now entirely removed. Old Mr. Wentbridge came to town to perform the ceremony, and was accompanied by his son the doctor. Charlotte being bridemaid, and her father giving the bride away, the nuptials were solemnized on the 17th of May, 1790, and the lovely Maria became the wife of Hamilton.


Books printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees, No. 39, Paternoster-Row.

1. ST. CLAIR OF THE ISLES; or the Outlaws of Barra; a Scottish Tradition, by Elizabeth Helme, Author of “Louisa, or a Cottage on the Moor,” &c. &c. in 4 vols. Price 14s. boards.

2. THE SWISS EMIGRANTS, A TALE, in 1 volume, 12mo, Price 4s. in boards.

“With regard to the following little Narrative, it is not necessary to give any account of the manner in which it came into the Editor’s possession, or of the circumstances which have delayed its publication so long after the time when it appears to have been written. In offering it to the world, he has been actuated chiefly by an opinion of its useful and instructive tendency. If virtue be promoted by the view of characters which rise above the ordinary standard, those exhibited in the following pages seem well calculated to produce that effect. In the first part we discover the principle of active benevolence operating in somewhat of a new direction. There may not be many who could with propriety adopt the precise manner of life which is there described; yet there are perhaps few whose characters would not be improved by imbibing some portion of the spirit which it breathes.

At the present moment also, when our independence, and our very existence as a nation, are threatened by the same restless and domineering potentate, the examples here exhibited of love for our country, and courage in defending it, may not be without their use.”

Extract from the Preface.

3. THE ADVANTAGES of EDUCATION, or The HISTORY of MARIA WILLIAMS, a Tale, for very Young Ladies, by Mrs. West, Author of “A Gossip’s Story,” “Tale of the Times,” “Infidel Father,” &c. &c., in 2 vols, 12mo. Price 7s. in boards, the second Edition.

4. WOMEN: their CONDITION and INFLUENCE in SOCIETY, by Joseph Alexander Segur, translated from the French, in 3 vols. 12mo. Price 12s. in boards.

⁂ “These Volumes exhibit entertaining anecdotes of the more distinguished females characters of France, from the earliest period of French History, to the present period—The first Volume contains General Remarks and Anecdotes of the Sex; and will afford a reasonable share of amusement.—Some of the Anecdotes are new, and related with a considerable degree of vivacity and interest.”—British Critic, November, 1803.

5. THADDEUS of WARSAW; a Novel, by Miss Porter, in 4 vols. Price 14s. in boards.

6. The INFIDEL FATHER, a Novel, by Mrs. West, Author of a “Gossip’s Story,” “Tale of the Times,” &c. 3 vols. 15s. boards.

7. A SERIES of NOVELS, from the French of Madame de Genlis, in 4 vols. 12mo. Price 18s. boards.

“These volumes are selected from the Bibliothèque des Romans, and contain such of that collection as were contributed by Madame de Genlis. That much admired author is too well known, and has been too much praised, to require another testimony from us. If the tribe of novelists would be careful to write after nature, and keep her and some other excellent models in their eye, we should not be reduced to the unpleasant necessity of condemning, as we are now forced to do, nineteen in twenty of the books that go under the title of novels.”

Crit. Rev.

8. The RIVAL MOTHERS; or, Calumny: a Novel, translated trom the French of Madame de Genlis, in 4 large vols. 12mo. Price 18s. sewed.

“The literary reputation of Madame de Genlis is so well established, that the public are readily disposed to anticipate pleasure from every new production of her cultivated mind; and we have satisfaction in acknowledging, after having perused the volume before us, that disappointment has not superseded expectation.

The narrative of the novel is pleasing and interesting, the style of these letters is sprightly and animated, bidding defiance to the foul fiend Ennui.”

Monthly Rev. Oct. 1801.

9. FOLLIES of FASHION; a Dramatic Novel, 3 vols. Price 13s. 6d. boards.

10. SOMETHING NEW; or, ADVENTURES at CAMPBELL HOUSE; by Ann Piumtre, Price 15s. boards.

11. The HISTORY of RINALDO RINALDINI, Captain of Banditti; translated from the German of Vulvius, by J. Hinckley, Esq. In 3 vols. Price 10s. 6d. boards.

“This celebrated history had an unexampled sale throughout Germany, where many large editions were printed in the course of a few months. The Adventures of Rinaldini, a real character, who lived in the early part of the present century, are truly surprising, and almost incredible. The author possesses all the fire and spirit of the German writers, and if we are now and then struck with improbabilities, bordering on fiction, we are often delighted with deeds of heroism and courage, not unworthy of a greater name than this daring Captain of Banditti.”

Monthly Mirror, Nov. 1800.

12. RIMUALDO; or, the Castle of Badajos; a Romance, by W. H. Ireland, 4 vols. 14s. boards.

“This is by no means an uninteresting story, nor ill told; and if its author, quitting the path of literary deception, can content himself with the humble fame of a novel writer, his invention and industry will entitle him to a respectable rank.”

European Mag. Oct. 1800.

13. ASTONISHMENT! a ROMANCE of A CENTURY AGO. By Francis Lathom, Esq. Author of “Men and Manners,” “Mystery,” “Midnight Bell,” &c. In 2 volumes, 12mo. Price 9s. boards.

14. MEMOIRS of a FAMILY in SWISSERLAND, founded on Facts, In 4 volumes, Price 14s. boards.

“This story has a claim to much more praise than it is in our power to bestow on the greater part of the novels that come before us. There is a great deal of virtuous sentiment breathed throughout the work; and the youthful Gertrude is an amiable character.”

Critical Rev. Oct, 1802.

Printed by A. Strahan, Printers-Street.


[1] A bathing-man under the west cliff, in great request among the fair.

[2] Meaning, perhaps, toujours perdrix.

[3] Miss Lacecap here uses a different word from many of her sister novelists when expressing the same idea. With them the favourite word is error. If a man seduces the sister, daughter, or wife of his friend, that is an error. If a woman leaves her husband for a gallant, the poor lady is in an error. Should a young lady, in the elegant periphrasis of modern novels, be a mother without being a wife, the unfortunate girl is in an error. However, I think Miss Lacecap’s phrase of mistake may answer the purpose as well, and may also suit in other kind affections as well as love. Should a person’s sentimental susceptibility, instead of your wife or your daughter, fancy your purse or your watch, and under the influence of too ardent passion, happen to put his hand into your pocket, why not call this error a mistake? Or should the same susceptibility be turned towards your cups and spoons, and should its votary with two or three more as sentimental as himself, pay your house a nocturnal visit and elope with the beloved objects, why should not this error be called a mistake? Or if one should happen to put another person’s name to a bill or bond instead of his own, soft and sentimental phraseology may also call that a mistake.

Fielding has expressed it otherwise. For instance: We do not find that Miss Maria Seagrim, the sentimental sensibility of whose heart had betrayed her into error with Will Barns, Tom Jones, and Square the philosopher, is even, by the eloquence of Parson Supple, exhibited with such courtly circumlocution. See the chapter in which that worthy clergyman informs Squire Western and Sophia of the state of the too susceptible Maria, with the penetration and facetious remarks of the squire on the occasion.

[4] See Castle Spectre, Cambrobritons, &c.


The first line indicates the original, the second the correction.

p. viii (Table of Contents)

p. xi

p. 21

p. 38

p. 110

p. 133

p. 159

p. 197

p. 179

p. 225

p. 265

p. 301

p. 302


p. 47

There is no division for Chapter XII.