« PreviousContinue »
better plan, but it was perfectly agreed that without one or other, there was always a rawness perceptible. Coffee, like tea, especially when drunk with milk or cream, should be well stirred. I do not recollect anything further to add.
A MISTAKE TURNED TO ACCOUNT.
I was once dining in company with some old members of parliament now dead, who related a number of anecdotes, of which I recollect only this:
Mr. Pitt, once speaking in the House of Commons in the early part of his career, of the glorious war which preceded the disastrous one, in which we lost the colonies, called it “ the last war.” Several members cried out, “the last war but one!" He took no notice, and soon after, repeating the mistake, he was interrupted by a general cry of “the last war but one! the last war but one !"7" I mean, Sir,” said Mr. Pitt, turning to the speaker and raising his sonorous voice, “I mean, Sir, the last war that Britons would wish to remember;"—whereupon the cry was instantaneously changed into an universal cheering, long and loud.
CHANGES OF FORTUNE.
When the late Lord Erskine was Lord Chancellor, he invited the gentleman who told me the following anecdote, to breakfast with him. While they were conversing, a servant brought in a letter, which Lord Erskine read with considerable emotion. After a pause, he said it was from one of the French princes, without naming which, and added, that it was to solicit his assistance on the occasion of some embarrassment. He then remarked upon the very extraordinary change which a few years had brought about in their respective fortunes. first time I saw the writer of this letter,” he continued,
at Versailles. I was then a poor ensign on my way to join my regiment, which was lying in Minorca. As I was travelling to Paris in a public vehicle, one of the passengers, who held some inferior situation in the palace, offered to procure me an opportunity of seeing the court, and there I beheld this prince figuring in the most brilliant manner as one of the most distinguished men in Europe. I was then in the lowest rank in one profession, and am now at the head of another of a totally different nature, and he, in exile and in poverty, is supplicating my aid.” As I am upon the subject of the reverses of princes, I will present my readers, to many of whom I have no doubt it will be new and interesting, with an extract from Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, in which he gives an account, as he had it from the king himself, of Charles the Second's escape after the battle of Worcester, in which he was defeated by Cromwell. This battle was fought at the.end of September, and it was after it that Charles concealed himself in the oak, and not, as is commonly supposed, on the twentyninth of May, which is the anniversary of his restoration. The king's relish for the homeliest fare, his extreme suffering, and his humble guide's encouragement to him to persevere, are curious, and possess an interest beyond fiction.
“When the night covered them, (that is, a body of Scote tish cavalry,) the king found means to withdraw himself with one or two of his own servants, whom he likewise discharged, when it began to be light; and after he had made them cut off his hair, he betook himself alone into an adjacent wood, and relied only upon Him for his preservation, who alone could, and did, miraculously deliver him.
After the king had cast himself into the wood, he observed another man who had gotten upon an oak near the place where the king had rested himself, and had slept soundly. The man upon the tree had first seen the king, and knew him, and came down to him, and was known to the king, being a gentleman of the neighbouring county of Staffordshire, who had served his late majesty during the war, and had now been one of the few who resorted to the king after his coming to Worcester. His name was Careless, a Catholic, who had had a command of foot, about the degree of a captain, under the Lord Loughborough. He persuaded the king, since it could not be safe for him to go out of the wood, and that as soon as it should be fully light, the wood itself would probably be visited by those of the country, who would be searching to find those whom they might make prisoners, that he would get up into that tree where he had been. The king thought it good counsel ; and with the other's help climbed into the tree, and then helped his companion to ascend after him; where they sat all that day, and securely saw many who came purposely into the wood to look after them, and heard all their discourses, how they would use the king himself, if they could take him. The day being spent in the tree, it was not in the king's power to forget that he had lived two days with eating very little, and two nights with as little sleep; so that when the night came, he was willing to make some provision for both, and he resolved, with the advice and assistance of his companion, to leave the blessed tree; and when the night was dark, they walked through the wood into those enclosures which were the farthest from any highway, and making a shift to get over hedges and ditches, after walking at least eight or nine miles, which were the more grevious to the king by the weight of his boots, (for he could not put them off, when he cut off his hair, for want of shoes,) before morning they came to a poor cottage, the owner whereof, being a Roman Catholic, was known to Careless. He greater if they stayed together; and therefore that Careless should presently be gone, and should within two days send an honest man to the king to guide him to some other place of security, and in the mean time his majesty should stay upon the hay-mow. The poor man had nothing for him to eat, but promised him good buttermilk; and so he was once more left alone, his companions, how weary soever, departing from him before day, the poor man of the house knowing 'no more than that he was a friend of the captain's and one of those who had escaped from Worcester. The king slept very well in his lodgings till the time that his host brought him a piece of bread, and a great pot of butter-milk, which he thought the best food he had ever eaten. The poor man spoke very intelligently to him of the country, and of the people who were well or ill affected to the king, and of the great fear and terror that possessed the hearts of those who were best affected. He told him that he himself lived by his daily labour, and that what he had brought him was the fare he and his wife had, and that he feared if he should endeavour to procure better, might draw suspicion upon him, and people might be apt to think he had somebody with him that was not of his own family. However, if he would have him get some meat, he would do it; but if he could bear the hard diet, he should bave enough of the milk, and some of the butter that was made with it. The king was satisfied with his reason, and would not run the hazard of a change of diet: he only desired the man that he might have his company as often and as much as he could give it him, there being the same reason against the poor man's discontinuing his labour as the alteration of his fare.
and as soon he knew one of them, he easily concluded in what condition they both were; and presently carried them into a little barn full of hay, which was a better lodging than he had for himself. But when they were there, and had conferred with their host of the news and temper of the country, it was agreed that the danger would be the
“ After he had rested upon this hay-mow, and fed upon this diet two days and two nights, in the evening before the third night, another fellow, a little above the condition of his host, came to the house, sent from Careless to conduct the king to another house, more out of any road near which any part of
the army was like to march. It was about twelve miles that he was to go, and was to use the same caution he had done the first night, not to go in any common road, which his guide knew well how to avoid. Here he new dressed himself, changing clothes with his landlord. He had a great mind to have kept his own shirt, but he considered that men are not sooner discovered by any mark in disguise, than by having fine linen in ill clothes, and so he parted with his shirt too, and took the same his poor host had then on. Though he had foreseen that he must leave his boots, and his landlord had taken the best care to provide an old pair of shoes, yet they were not easy to him when he first put them on, and in a short time after grew very grievous to him. In this equipage he set out from his first lodging in the beginning of the night, under the conduct of his guide, who guided him the nearest way, crossing over hedges and ditches that they might be in least danger of meeting passengers. This was so grievous a march, and he was so tired, that he was even ready to despair, and to prefer being taken and suffered to rest, before purchasing his safety at that price. His shoes had, after a few miles, hurt him so much that he had thrown them away, and walked the rest of the way in his ill stockings, which were quickly worn out, and his feet, with the thorns in getting over hedges, and with the stones in other places, were so hurt and wounded, that he many times cast himself upon the ground with a desperate and obstinate resolution to rest there till the morning, that he might shift with less torment, what hazard soever he ran. But his stout guide still prevailed with him to make a new attempt, sometimes promising that the way should be better, and sometimes assuring him that he had but little farther to go; and in this distress and perplexity, before the morning, they arrived at the house designed, which though it was better than that which he had left, his lodging was still in the barn, upon straw instead of hay, a place being made as easy in it as the expectation of a guest could dispose it. Here he had such meat and