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often most virtuous and useful, whom in a town we have no opportunity of knowing at all.? — Why, yes,' said Caustic; ' but the misfortune is, that those who could do the most for them seldom see them as they ought. I have heard that every body carries a certain atmosphere of its own along with it, which a change of air does not immediately remove. So there is a certain town atmosphere which a great man brings with him into the country. He has two or three laced lacquies, and two or three attendants without wages, through whom he sees, and hears, and does every thing; and Poverty, Industry, and Nature, get no nearer than the great gate of his court-yard.' – Tis but too true,' said his sister. I have several pensioners who come with heavy hearts from Lord Grubwell's door, though they were once, they say, tenants or workmen of his own, or, as some of them pretend, relations of his grandfather.'
- That's the very reason, continued the colonel ; why will they put the man in mind of his father and grandfather! The fellows deserve a horse-pond for their impertinence.'-Nay, but in truth,' replied Miss Caustic, 'my lord knows nothing of the matter: he carries so much of the town's atmosphere, as you call it, about him. He does not rise till eleven, nor breakfast till twelve. Then he has his steward with him for one hour, his architect for another, his layer out of ground for a third. After this he sometimes gallops out for a little exercise, or plays at billiards within doors: dines at a table of twenty covers; sits very late at his bottle; plays cards, except when my lady chooses dancing, till midnight; and they seldom part till sun-rise.'— And so ends,' said the colonel,
your Idyllium on my Lord Grubwell's rural occupations.'
We heard the tread of a horse in the court, and presently John entered with a card in his hand;
which his master no sooner threw his eyes on, than he said, “But you need not describe, sister; our friend may see, if he inclines it. That card (I could tell the chaplain's fold at a mile’s distance) is my lord's annual invitation to dinner. Is it not, John?'— It is my Lord Grubwell's servant, sir,' said John. His master read the card : " And as he understands the colonel has at present a friend from town with him, he requests that he would present that gentleman his lordship's compliments, and intreat the honour of his company also.'— Here is another card, sir, for Miss Caustic.— Yes, yes, she always gets a counterpart.'—' But I shan't go,' said his sister; "her ladyship has got young ladies enough to make fools of; an old woman is not worth the trouble. «Why then you must say so,' answered her brother; ' for the chaplain has a note here at the bottom, that an answer is requested. I suppose your great folks nowa-days contract with their maitre d'hotel by the head; and so they save half a crown, when one don't set down one's name for a cover.'--'But, spite of the half-crown, you must go,' said the colonel to me;
you will find food for moralizing; and I shall like my own dinner the better. So return an answer accordingly, sister; and do you hear, John, give my lord's servant a slice of cold beef and a tankard of beer in the mean time. It is possible he is fed upon contract too; and for such patients, I believe, sister Peggy, Dr. Buchan's Domestic Medicine recommends cold beef and a tankard.'
No. 33. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1785.
I MENTIONED in last
friend Cod lonel Caustic and I had aceepted an invitation to dine with his neighbour, Lord Grubwell. Of that, dinner I am now to take the liberty of giving some account to my readers. It is one advantage of that habit of observation, which, as a thinking Lounger, I have acquired, that fronı most entertainments I can carry something more than the mere dinner away. I remember an old acquaintance of mine, a jolly carbuncle-faced fellow, who used to give an account of a company by the single circumstance of the liquor they could swallow. At such a dinner was one man of three bottles, four of two, six of a bottle and a half, and so on; and as for himself, he kept a sort of journal of what he had pouched, as he called it, at every place to which he had been invited during a whole winter. My reckoning is of another sort; I have sometimes carried off from a dinner one, two, or three characters, swallowed half a dozen anecdotes, and tasted eight or ten insipid things that were not worth the swallowing. I have one advantage over my old friend; I can digest what, in his phrase, I have pouched, without a headach.
When we sat down to dinner at Lord Grubwell's, I found that the table was occupied in some sort by two different parties, one of which belonged to my lord, and the other to my lady. At the upper end of my
lord's sat Mr. Placid, a man agreeable by profession, who has no corner in his mind, no prominence in his feelings, and, like certain chemical liquors, has the property of coalescing with every
thing. He dines with every body that gives a dinner, has seventeen cards for the seven days of the week, cuts up a fowl, tells a story, and hears a story told with the best grace of any man in the world. Mr. Placid had been brought by my lord, but seemed inclined to desert to my lady, or rather to side with both, having a smile on the right cheek for the one, and a simper on the left for the other.
Lord Grubwell being a patron of the fine arts, had at his board end, besides the layer-out of his grounds, a discarded fiddler from the opera-house, who allowed that Handel could compose a tolerable chorus; a painter, who had made what he called fancy-portraits of all the family, who talked a great deal about Corregio; a gentleman on one hand of him, who seemed an adept in cookery; and a little blear-eyed man on the other, who was a connoisseur in wine. On horse-flesh, hunting, shooting, cricket, and cockfighting, we had occasional dissertations, from several young gentlemen at both sides of his end of the table, who, though not directly of his establishment, seemed, from what occurred in conversation, to be pretty constantly in waiting
Of my lady's division, the most conspicuous person was a gentleman who sat next her, Sir John who seemed to enjoy the office of her cicisheo, or cavaliere servente, as nearly as the custom of this country allows. There was, however, one little difference between him and the Italian cavaliere, that he did not seem so solicitous to serve as to admire the lady, the little attentions being rather directed from her to him. Even his admiration was rather understood than expressed. The gentleman, indeed, to borrow a phrase from the grammarians, appeared to bı altogether of the passive mood, and to consider every exertion as vulgar and unbecoming. He spoke
country, in which, if it were not for one or two fine
Besides this male attendant, Lady Grubwel] had several female intimates, who seemed to have profited extremely by her patronage and instructions, who had learned to talk on all town subjects with such ease and confidence, that one could never have supposed they had been bred in the country, and had, as Colonel Caustic informed me, only lost their bashfulness about three weeks before. One or two of them, I could see, were in a professed and particular manner imitators of my lady, used all her phrases, aped all her gestures, and had their dress made so exactly after her pattern, that the colonel told me a blunt country gentleman, who dined there one rainy day, and afterwards passed the night at his house, thought they had got wet to the skin in their way, and had been refitted from her ladyship's wardrobe. But he was mistaken,' said the colonel; they only borrowed a little of her complexion.
The painter had made a picture, of which he was very proud, of my lady attended by a group of those young friends, in the character of Diana, surrounded by her nymphs, surprised by Acteon. My lady, when she was showing it to me, made me take notice how very
like my lord, Acteon was. Sir John, who leaned over her shouider, put on as broad a smile as his goodbreeding would allow, and said it was one of the most monstrous clever things he had ever heard her ladyship say. Of
my lord's party there were some young men, brothers and cousins of my lady's nymphs, who