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I was no sooner come into Grays-Inn walks, but I heard my friend upon the terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great vigour, for he loves to clear his pipes in good air (to make use of his own phrase) and is not a little pleased with any one who takes potice of the strength which he still exerts in his morning hems.
I was touched with a secret joy at the sight of the good old man, who before he saw me was engaged in conversation with a beggar-man that had asked an alms of him. I could hear my friend chide him for not finding out some work; but at the same time saw him put his hand in his pocket and give him six-pence.
Our salutations were very hearty on both sides, consisting of many kind shakes of the hand, and several affectionate looks which we cast upon one another. After which the knight told me my good friend his chaplain was very well, and much at my
Gray's Inn Gardens formed for a long time a fashionable promenade. The chief entrance to them was Fulwood's Rents, now a pent-up retreat for poverty; yet, in Sir Roger's day, no place was better adapted for “clearing his pipes in good air;” for scarcely a house intervened thence to Hampstead. A contemporary satirist (but who can scarcely be quoted without an apology) affords a graphic description of this promenade ;—“I found none but a parcel of Superannuated Debauchees huddled up in cloaks, frieze coats, and wadded gowns, to preserve their old carcasses from the sharpness of Hampstead air; creeping up and down in pairs and leashes no faster than the hand of a dial or a county convict going to execution; some talking of law, some of religion, and some of polities.—After I had taken two or three turns round, I sat myself down in the Upper Walk, where just before me on a stone pedestal was fixed an old rusty horizontal dial with the gnomon broke short off.” * The upper walk was the Terrace mentioned by the “Spectator.” Round this sun-dial, seats were arranged in a semicircle.
Gray's Inn Gardens were resorted to by less reputable characters than the beggars whom good Sir Roger scolded and relieved. Expert pickpockets and plausible ring-droppers found easy prey there on crowded days. In the plays of the period, Gray's Inn Gardens are repeatedly men. tioned as a place of assignation for clandestine lovers.—*
* Ward's London Spy, vol. i. p. 884.
service, and that the Sunday before, he had made“ a most incom. parable sermon out of Doctor Barrow. I have left,' says he,' all my affairs in his hands, and being willing to lay an obligation upon him, have deposited with him thirty marks, to be distributed among his poor parishioners.'
He then proceeded to acquaint me with the welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which he put his hand into his fob, and presented me in his name with a tobacco stopper, telling me that Will had been busy all the beginning of the winter in turning great quantities of them; and that he made a present of one to every gentle. man of the country who has good principles, and smokes. He added, that poor Will was at present under great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the law of him for cutting some hazel sticks out of one of his hedges. .
Among other pieces of news which the knight brought from his country seat, he informed me that Moll White was dead; and that about a month after her death the wind was so very high, that it blew down the end of one of his barns. But for my part,' says Sir Roger, 'I do not think that the old woman had any hand in it.'
He afterwards fell into an account of the diversions which had passed in his house during the holydays, for Sir Roger, after the laudable custom of his ancestors, always keeps open house at Christmas. I learned from him, that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season, that he had dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours, and that in particular he had sent a string of hog's puddings with a pack of cards to every poor family in the parish. 'I have often thought,' says Sir Roger, ‘it happens very well that Christmas should fall out in the middle of
* Had made. The archness of making a sermon out of Dr. Barror, will escape those who do not know that to make a sermon is the common phrase for preaching.-H.
the winter. It is the most dead uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheer, warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my small beer, and set it a running for twelve days to every one that calls for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pye upon the table, and am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole even. ing in playing their innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend Will Wimble is as merry as any of them, and shews a thousand roguish tricks upon these occasions.'
I was very much delighted with the reflection of my old friend, which carried so much goodness in it. He then launched out into the praise of the late act of parliament for securing the church of England,' and told me with great satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take effect : for that a rigid dissenter, who chanced to dine at his house on Christmas day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his plumb-porridge.
After having dispatched all our country matters, Sir Roger made several inquiries concerning the club, and particularly of bis old antagonist Sir Andrew Freeport. He asked me with a kind of smile, whether Sir Andrew had not taken the advantage of his absence, to vent among them some of his republican doctrines; but soon after gathering up his countenance into a more than ordinary seriousness, “ Tell me truly,' says he, don't you think Sir Andrew had a hand in the pope's procession'? — but with
! The 10th Anne, cap. 2., “An Act for preserving the Protestant religion by better securing the Church of England as by law established," &c. It was known popularly as the act of “Occasional Conformity:"_*
? Each anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession (Nov. 17) was for many years celebrated by the citizens of London in a manner expres. sive of their detestation of the Church of Rome. A procession-at times
out giving me time to answer him, “Well, well,' says he, ' I know you are a wary man, and do not care to talk of public matters.'
The knight then asked me, if I had seen Prince Eugene; and made me promise to get him a stand in some convenient place
sufficiently attractive for royal spectators-paraded the principal streets, the chief figure being an effigy of
"The Pope, that pagan full of pride," well executed in wax and expensively adorned with robes and a tiara. He was accompanied by a train of cardinals and jesuits; and at his ear stood a buffoon in the likeness of a horned devil. After having been paraded through divers streets, his holiness was exultingly burnt opposite to the Whig club near the Temple gate in Fleet Street. After the discovery of the Rye House plot, the pope's procession was discontinued; but was resuscitated on the acquittal of the seven bishops and dethronement of James II. Sachererel's trial had added a new interest to the ceremony; and on the occasion referred to by Sir Roger, besides a popular dread of the church being—from the listlessness of the ministers and the machinations of the Pretender—in danger, there was a very general opposition to the peace with France, for which the Tories were intriguing. The party cry of “No peace” was shouted in the same breath with “No popery."
The Whigs were determined, it was said, to give significance and force to these watch words by getting up the anniversary show of 1711 with unprecedented splendour. No good Protestant, no honest bater of the French, could refuse to subscribe his guinea for such an object; and it was said, upwards of a thousand pounds were collected for the effigies and their dresses and decorations alone; independent of a large fund for incidental expenses. The pope, the devil, and the Pretender were, it was asserted, fashioned in the likeness of the obnoxious cabinet ministers. The procession was to take place at night, and "a thousand mob” were to be hired to carry flambeaux at a crown a-piece and as much beer and brandy as would inflame them for mischief. The pageant was to open with “twenty-four bagpipes marching four and four, and playing the memorable tune of Lillibullero." Presently was to come “a figure representing Cardinal Gaulteri, (lately made by the Pretender protector of the English nation,) looking down on the ground in sorrowful posture; his train supported by two missionaries from Rome, supposed to be now in England.”—“Two pages throwing beads, bulls, pardons, and indulgences.”—“Two jack puddings sprinkling holy-water.”—“Twelve bautboy's playing the 'Green-wood tree.'”—Then were to succeed “Six beadles with protestant flails;" and, after a variety of other satirical inummers, the grand centre piece was to show itself:—“The pope under a magnificent canopy, with a right silver
where he might have a full sight of that extraordinary man, whose presence does so much honour to the British nation. He dwelt very long on the praises of this great general, and I found
fringe, accompanied by the chevalier St. George on the left and his councillor the devil on his right.” The whole procession was to close with twenty streamers displaying this couplet wrought on each,
“God bless Queen Anne, the nation's great defender,
Keep out the French, the Pope, and the Pretender." To be ready for this grand spectacle the figures were deposited at a house in Dury Lane, whence the procession was to march (“ with proper relief of lights at several stations ") to St. James' Square, thence through Pall Mall, the Strand, Drury Lane, and Holborn to Bishopsgate Street, and return through St. Paul's Church Yard to the bonfire in Fleet Street. “After proper ditties were sung, the Pretender was to have been committed to the flames, being first absolved by the Cardinal Gaulteri. After that the said cardinal was to be absolved by the pope and burnt. And then the devil was to jump into the flames with his holiness in his arms."*
Aecording, however, to the Tories, who spread the most exaggerated reports of these preparations, there were to have been certain accidents which were deliberately contrived beforehand by the conspirators. Besides the great conflagration of the sovereign pointiff, there was to have been several supplementary bonfires in the line of march, into which certain actors of the show were to fling a mock copy of the preliminary articles of peace. This was to be the signal for a general exclamation of "No peace!" Horse messengers had also been engaged--so wrote the cabinet scribesto gallop into the crowd “as if to break their necks, their hacks all foam” to cry out “the queen is dead at Hampton Court!” Lord Wharton and several noblemen of even higher rank were to disguise themselves as sailors, to mix with and incite the mob. But the grand stroke was to be dealt by the Duke of Marlborough. He was on his way from Flanders-covered, most inopportunely for his enemies, with the glory of one of his best achievements; that of having passed the strongly fortified lines drawn by the French from Bouchain to Arras. On this famous eve the duke was to have made his entry through Aldgate, and there met with the cry of * Victory, Bouchain, the lines, no peace !"
But all this was harmless as compared with the threatened sequel. On the diabolical programme were said to be inscribed certain houses that were to be burnt down. That of the Commissioners of Accounts in Essex Street was to form the first pyre, because in it had been discovered and completed Marlborough's commissorial defalcations. The lord treasurer's was to follow. Harley himself was to have been torn to pieces, as the
* From a follo ball sheet published at the time,