Page images
PDF
EPUB

E'er since, distracted doth she roam,

All human habitation scorning;
The field, the wild wood is her home,

There lone she wanders night and morning.
Her sad employ is still the same-
She weaves the garland's poppy'd flame,
Or wildly calls on Henry's name,

Distracted, crazy Ellen!

And oft she doth the darkness brave,

While mortals rest so sound and weary,
To strew fresh flowers o'er Henry's grave,

Beneath the yew-tree, black and dreary;
And wails her sorrows to the moon,
Queen of the night, the maniac's noon! .
Fix'd, gazing on that heav'n, where soon..

Shall end the cares of Ellen!

[ocr errors]

Yes, hapless maid, thy woes e'er long,

Death shall destroy, thy cares allaying;
And thou, Elysian fields among,

With peace and Henry shall be straying.
Remov'd from every mortal ill,
Eternal love thy cup shall fill,
For thee each heav'nly joy instil,

And make thee blest, oh! Ellen.

TUNBRIDGE WELLS, 1748.

“Veniunt spectentur ut ipsa. » Ojid.

“ To be themselves a spectacle, they come." .... What say you to me hÉRE, Miss H- * I, a bad traveller, cannot sit a horse--come hither to drink the waters for health sake-propose but three weeks, have been here one last Friday—this is my situation.

Tunbridge in high season, a place devoted to amusement.--Time entirely at coñmand, though not hanging beavy; impossible indeed it should.-Vehicles, whether four-wheeled or four-legged, at will; riding a choice..

.... I had rather be in a desert than in a place so public and so giddy: But these waters were almost the only thing in medicine that I had not tried; and as my disorders seemed to increase; I was willing to try themt. Hitherto, I must own, without effect is the trial. But people here, who slide upon me, as I tra

* The following sketch of Tunbridge wells was addressed by Richardson to Miss Highmore, one of his fair correspondents; and the daughter of a painter of eminence at a time when the arts were at a very low ebb in England, the reigns of George the First and the Second. He painted most of Richardson's cha. racters.

+ The health of Richardson was affected by those disorders which pass under the denomination of nervous, and are the usual consequence of bad air, confinement, sedentary employment, and the wear and tear of the mental faculties. He took tar-water, then very much in vogue, and lived for seven years upon a ve. getable diet; but his best remedy was probably his country house, and the amusements of Tunbridge, which he was accus. tomed to fiequent in the season.

verse the utmost edges of the walks, that I may stand in nobody's way, nor have my dizziness increased by the swimming triflers, tell me I shall not give them fair play, under a month or six weeks; and that I ought neither to write nor read.....

.... Here are a great number of people got together. A very full season, and more coming every day-Great comfort for me! When I say that I cannot abide them, not the diversions of the place, you must not think that I am such a stoic as to despise the amusements I cannot partake of, purely on that account; indeed I do not, and I think youth is the season of gaiety. But there is a moderation to be approved in all these, which I see not here. And methinks I would wish that wives (particularly some that I see here) would not behave as if they thought themselves unmarried coquettes, and that it were polite to make their husbands the last persons in their notices. Is it not enough for these people to find theinselves dressed and adorned at an expence, both as to quality and quantity, that would furnish out two wives and a mistress: but they must show that these dresses and ornaments are bestowed upon them to please and delight any body, rather than the person whom it should be their principal study to please; and, who, perhaps, confers, or contributes to coufer npon them, the means by which they shine, and think themselves above him! Secret history and scan. dal I love not-or I could tell you—you don't think what I could tell you.

But, waving these insidious subjects, what I could inform you, that among scores of belles, fatterers, triflers, who swim along these walks, self satisfied, and

pleased, and looking defiance to men (and to modesty, I had like to have said; for bashfulness seems to be considered as want of breeding in all I see here); a pretty woman is as rare as a black swan! and when one starts up, she is nicknamed a beauty, and old fellows and young fellows are set a-spinning after her..

Miss Peggy B was the belle when I first came down. ....yet she had been so many seasons here, that she obtained but a faint and languid attention; so that the smarts began to put her down in their lists of had. beens!.....New faces are more sought after than fine · faces. A piece of instruction lies here,—that women should not make even their faces cheap. Miss

C n ext was the triumphant toast: a lively, sweet-tempered, gay, self-admired, and, not altogether without reason, generally-admired lady.....She moved not without crowds after her. She smiled at every one, Every one smiled before they saw her, when they heard she was on the walk. She played, she lost, she wonall with equal good humour. But, alas ! she went off, before she was wished to go off. And then the fellows hearts were almost broke for a new beauty.

Behold! seasonably, the very day that she went away. entered upon the walks Miss of Hackney!Miss C- was forgot (who would wish for so transient a dominion in the land of fickledom!)—And have you seen the new beauty ?- And have you seen Miss

- was all the enquiry from smart to smartless, But she had not traversed the walk two days, before she was found to want spirit and life. Miss C was remembered by those who wished for the brilliant misa: tress, and scorned the wise-like quality of sedateness.m,

And Miss L- is now seen with a very silly fellow or two, walking backwards and forwards unmolested dwindled down from the new beauty to a very pretty girl; and perhaps glad to come off so. For, upon my word, my dear, there are very few pretty girls here. And yet I look not upon the sex with an undelighted eye, old as I am; nor with a very severe one. But modesty, humility, graciousness, are now all banished from the behaviour of these public-place frequenters of the sex. Women are not what they were. I see not but what they have as much courage as the men. The men, indeed at these public places seem to like them the better for it. No wonder, for they find the less difficulty to make parties with them, and to get into their companies.—But one secret I could tell them; that the single men who would make the best companions for life, come not on set purpose, to these public places, to chuse one. What figure do Mr. N-, Mr. W— at eighty, and Mr. Cibber at seventy-seven make, hunting after new faces, and new beauties, and with faces of high importance, traversing the walks—thinking themselves very happy, if they can obtain the notice and familiarity of a fine woman-how ridiculous ! If you have not been at Tunbridge, you may nevertheless have heard that here are a parcel of fellows, mean traders, whom they call touters, and their business touting-riding out miles to meet coaches and company coming hither, to beg their custom while here....

.... But to return to Mess. N-, W-, and Cibber*,

* Cibber was intimate with Richardson. But that intimacy'' began only after the most dissipated part of Cibber's life was

« PreviousContinue »