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THE KING OF CLUBS.
Lunæ 27°, die Novembris, 1820. This day was fixed for his Majesty's first Drawing-room. The measure had been adopted in consequence of the anxiety expressed by several ladies of beauty and fashion, for a sight of the “ King of Clubs.” Indeed the curiosity he had excited among all ranks of persons was beyond parallel, insomuch that measures were obliged to be attentively taken, to prevent too overpowering a crowd. It would be tedious to relate the usual interesting particulars of the “Morning Post,” viz, where the carriages were to stop, and what dresses were to be worn, &c. I shall therefore throw up my own pen, and give you the sentiments of some of the visitors upon the subject. Allow me then to unfold to you some
Arthur Mannering, Esq., Eton College, to F. Golightly, Esq.
Hon. C. Seymour's, Marlow.
What have you not lost, my dear Golightly, by your abominable plan of rusticating! They tell me you have got all the characters at Rawsdon Court to the life; but upon the word of one of your disciples, you may peep into Rawsdon Court 364 days out of the 365, and not find a tenth part of the characters which attended his Majesty's Drawing-room yesterday.
I managed to link my arm in that of Gerard Montgomery, for I wished to see as much as possible of the arcana of the Club. The room was tremendously full at an early hour. The company was tolerably select. A vast quantity of sans-culottes endeavoured to force a passage into the presence of Majesty. O'Connor pleaded for their admission, affirming that their rascality and cudgels confirmed their claims to the title of “ Knaves of Clubs.” Hodgson bristled up upon this, and “averred” they were all impostors. La Canaille was finally ejected.
Twelve o'clock beheld honest P. C. seated in the President's chair, (I beg his pardon--the Throne) receiving the homage of his Subjects. His Majesty opened the transactions of the morning with an harangue, in which he stated, that as he did not intend to regulate his Drawing-room by the example of
any other Prince in Christendom, any person, who had a claim to urge, or a petition to prefer, might make use of that opportunity.
Gerard and I situated ourselves near the Throne, in order to see the presentations. Gerard, by-the-bye, contrived to make us both conspicuous by spouting. I could fill a folio if I had time;-as it is, I shall content myself with a brief list of a few of our Visitors.
Thomas Heavyside, a thin spare young man, presented an address from the “ Operative Rhymers” of Eton. Gerard looked in a terrible passion, and muttered something about “ Genius” and “Plodding,” which nobody understood.
Andrew Caustic petitioned for the post of Head Physician.
A lively cousin of yours, Fanny Harrison, occasioned much merriment by presenting a petition to be appointed—“ Queen of Clubs.” The petition set forth that the petitioner was eminently calculated for the Throne to which she aspired, and concluded by referring to her cousin, (you, my dear Golightly) for a certificate of her proficiency in the “ Management of a Club." I shrewdly suspect old Perry will have no objection to grant the request.
But by far the greatest sensation was excited by the appearance of two personages, whom we have long known by fame, but have now for the first time actually seen. Towards the end of the ceremony, two elderly gentlemen were presented under the names of Gregory Griffin, and Solomon Grildrig, Esqrs. You see by this, that there is no reason for crediting the reports of their death which have been so long received. Grildrig I believe is the younger man of the two; nevertheless Griffin had the livelier and sprightlier air about him. They both promised to attend the Club Dinner the first opportunity, and paid many compliments to our good friend Courtenay, whose good-natured face manifested unusual satisfaction at the congratulations of his celebrated predecessors. Perry went through the whole ceremony very properly, and with a very royal air. I must break off abruptly, or I shall be too late at the Terrace.
Miss Maria Lely, Windsor, to her sister, Mrs. S. Crawford, London. My dear Sophy, I am just come from the Drawing-room. My head is too flurried to give you any thing like a connected account. There was an immense crowd. - That ugly creature Lady Norris was there with such a costume! I can't conceive for my part what it is that makes people admire her. .
Well! but do you know Sophy I kissed his Majesty's hand, and he made me a speech, but I forget what it was; and I was introduced to Robert Musgrave, who talks so much about horses, (such a horrid, impertinent-looking fellow you never saw)—and to Allen le Blanc, who is the ugliest 'man I ever saw next to your husband; and to Martin Sterling, who is tolerable, only he frowns rather too much; and to Gerard Montgomery, who is the most delightful man I have seen since Capt. Mellish sailed to Minorca.
Gerard is the author of Godiva, and the Sonnets about Mary.-(You know my name is Mary.)
Well! but Sophy! I wish you to send me down a great packet of gloves and lace, and every thing that you can conceive, for I can get nothing here. The natives are quite horrid.
I was dressed quite plain. White leno, trimmed with point lace-Headdress, feathers, and pearls (pearls suit my complexion you know Sophy.)
There were two old men who I understand were great authors in their day. They looked mighty wise and clever, but not a quarter so merry as the “ King of Clubs.” They had very extraordinary names, which I don't remember.
I had a little confabulation with Joseph Lozell, but I hate him : he has a regular vocabulary of his own, and the word “No” is certainly struck out of it. You know, Sophy, and your husband knows, that none of us can live without contradiction. Mr. Lozell is a sad puppy.
Talking of puppies, Sophy-little Venus is terribly indisposed. That great awkward creature, Lady Diana, trod on its toe as we were coming away yesterday, and the poor thing has been dying ever since : you must send down some of that stuff that did the dear creature so much good when it caught the fever in town last winter. Gerard wrote an Impromptu about Venus's · misfortune, which I lost at Mr. Knight's, when I went to inquire about “The Etonian, No. II.” I dare say it will be in print by and by.
A great many fashionables were present: Theodosia, one of the heroines of the “Windsor Ball,” staid away; I believe she was afraid of the PunchBowl; by-the-bye, Lemonade was substituted, out of compliment to the Ladies. Corinna was there; I thought she would have been offended by the abovementioned paper, but I hear she thinks herself complimented. I send you the few names which I picked up in the room; I suppose you will see the list at greater length in to-morrow's Morning Post :
Messrs.-Griffin, Hodgson, Grildrig, Sterling, Le Blanc, Bloomfield, M'Farlane, Musgrave, Swinburne, Norris, Heavyside, O'Connor, Caustic, Lozell, Oakley, Mannering, &c. &c.
I think I did pretty well to learn so much in one morning. I shall see you in Portman-square, on the sixth day of next month, till when, believe me, your's very affectionately,
SUCCESS OF N°. 11.
Martis, 28. Novembris, 1820. The Club met at the usual hour, when the names were called over, and Mr. Courtenay proceeded to open the business of the evening.,
“Gentlemen,-In calling your attention to the success of our second Number, I feel I have little else to do but to repeat the congratulations I offered you upon the reception of our first. The partiality of our schoolfellows has again overlooked the numerous defects of the work, and has again been more anxious to find subjects for praise than to invent topics for disapprobation. I have no doubt that this partiality and disposition to be pleased will continue, and this idea has been my principal reliance in every difficulty. (Hear! hear! hear !)
“ I have now to lay before you, Gentlemen, an application from a Correspondent, which will show you the high estimation in which the “ King of Clubs” is held in foreign courts, I mean the Courts of Law. Mr. Secretary Hodgson will read to you an Extract from the Letter of an Undoubted Old Etonian.'"
Verily, Peader, I did essay to comply with the President's desire, but, inasmuch as I was somewhat perturbed by the suddenness of the order, my hand had some difficulty in extracting the letter of our friend the Lawyer from the contents of the Green Bag ; for the first letter I opened began thus,-“Mr. C. Knight begs leave to inform Mr. P. Courtenay,” &c.; and the exordium of the second was,-“ Lady Emily Fitz-Hardinge presents her compliments to Mr. Courtenay, and requests," &c.; my third choice, however, was right, and I proceeded to read an extract from the letter as follows :
“ The First Number had afforded me unmixed gratification, and I am such a voluptuary in Eton matters, that I earnestly looked for an increase of my pleasure. The Table of Contents promised me no disappointment, and, flinging a large bundle of papers, a porter's load, superscribed · Instructions for Counsel to amend Bill,' to the extreme verge of my Chambers, armed with my paper-cutter, I opened the Pleadings. By the way, Sir, I should inform you, for the benefit of Long Chamber, that the tables are turned in London; and that we cut the sheepskin to get at the woolsack, not the wool to get at the sheep. By this you will perceive that I am a member of the learned profession of the Law; and I would beg to hint, that in the event of the situation not being promised, I shall be glad to accept the dignified appointment of Attorney-General to his Majesty the King of Clubs.' But while you continue so moderate in your language, and so unpersonal in your topics, I am afraid you will not excite any enemies or provoke any libels, and then what will become of my ex-officio informations, ready cut and dried ?”—The remainder of the letter consists principally of compliments, which deserve our warmest thanks, but which it would not become us to publish.)
Various were the jests sported by the Members of the Club upon the foregoing passage; but having been accused of a disposition to pun, I will not repeat the whole of them,
Mr. MUSGRAVE “could have no opinion of a coachman who stood in need of instructions to mend his Way-bill,-he hoped such a person would never be appointed—the Guard.”
Mr. GOLIGHTLY observed, that if our friend “ cut ” Sheepskin, he would never sit on the Woolsack.
Sir F. WENTWORTH begged leave to protest against ex-officio Informations. -(Order, order. No Politics.)
The President informed the Meeting, that the office of Attorney-General had been already conferred upon his brother, Mr. M. Courtenay; but “An Undaunted Old Etonian,” was welcome to that of Solicitor-General. (A laugh.)
This topic having been dismissed, Mr. Golightly introduced another, in the following manner :
“Sir, I wish I could give my assent to the assertion of our friend, as to the unpersonality of our last Number. I think that if you look at the Essay on Wordsworth's Poetry, you will find some contradiction to his opinion. It is not my wish to say any thing offensive to my Hon. Friend, Mr. Gerard Montgomery; but I must take advantage of this opportunity to express my dissent from almost every argument and opinion he has adduced. I must protest against any agreement with his ideas upon this subject, and hope that the opinion of Gerard Montgomery will not be considered as the opinion of the King of Clubs.”-(Hear, hear, hear.)
The Hon. GERARD MONTGOMERY was not aware of the objectionable passages to which his Hon. Friend had alluded. He had no idea that his single opinion could be taken for the opinion of the Members collectively ; and he had particularly guarded against any such mistake by the usage of the single “T,” instead of the Editorial “We.”
The PRESIDENT was sure that if any thing had been sent to the Press, of the nature hinted at by Mr. Golightly, it would be attributed by the world to its right sources-Youth and Inexperience.. .
SERIA MISTA JOCIS. Mr. STERLING stated, that he had heard many complaints made of the frivolous style which pervaded the labours of the “ Etonian.” The Hon. Gentleman observed, that it was currently reported that it was the intention of the Editor of the work to decline all articles which manifested the least approach to a serious or instructive manner. He (Mr. S.) hoped these reports were groundless, for in the event of their proving true, he should feel himself compelled, however reluctantly, to retire from an undertaking to which he could be of no service whatever.
Mr. PEREGRINE COURTENAY rose to repel with astonishment the charge which had been brought against him. He was sure such a report could only have originated with some one who, from motives of prejudice or malignity, was hostile to the Publication. He was sensible of the general levity of the