Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

LETTER,

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY A COMMON-COUN

CIL-MAN, AT THE TIME OF THE CORONATION.

SIR, I HAVE the honour of being a common-council.

man, and am greatly pleased with a paragraph from Southampton in yours of yesterday. There we learn, that the mayor and aldermen of that loyal borough had the particular satisfaction of celebrate ing the royal nuptials by a magnificent turtle.feast. By this means the gentlemen had the pleasure of filling their bellies, and showing their loyalty, to. gether. I must confess, it would give me some pleasure to see some such method of testifying our loyalty practised in this metropolis, of which I am an unworthy member. Instead of presenting his majesty (God bless him) on every occasion with our formal addresses, we might thus sit comfortably down to dinner, and wish him prosperity in a sir. Join of beef; upon our army levelling the walls of a town, or besieging a fortification, we might at our city-feast imitate our brare troops, and demolish the walls of a venison pasty, or besiege the shell of a turtle, with a3 great a certainty of success.

At present, however, we have got into a sort of dry, unsocial manner, of drawing up addresses upon every occasion; and though I have attended upon six cavalcades, and two foot-processious, in a single year, yet I came away as lean and hungry, as if I had been a juryman at the Old Bailey. For ny part, Mr. Printer, I don't see what is got by these processions and addresses, except an appetite; and that, thank heaven, we have all in a pretty good degree, without ever leaving our own houses for it. It is true, our gowns of mazarine blue, edged with

fur, cut a pretty figure enough, parading it through the streets, and so my wife tells me.--In fact, I generally bow to all my acquaintance, when thus in full dress; but, alas! as the proverb has it, fine clothes never fill the belly.

But even though all this bustling, parading, and powdering, through the streets, be agreeable enough to many of us; yet, I would have my brethren con. sider whether the frequent repetition of it be so agreeable to our betters above. To be introduced to court, to see the queen, to kiss hands, to smile upon lords, to ogle the ladies, and all the other fine things there, may, I grant, be a perfect show to us that view it but seldom; but it may be a troublesome business enough to those who are to settle such ceremonies as these every day. To use an in. stance adapted to all our apprehensions; suppose my family and I should go to Bartholomew fair. Very well, going to Bartholomew fair, the whole sight is perfect rapture to us, who are only specta. tors once and away; but I am of opinion, that the wire-walker and fire-eater find no such great sport in all this; I am of opinion they had as lief remain behind the curtain, at their own pastines, drinking beer, eating shrimps, and smoking tobacco.

Besides, what can we tell his majesty in all we say on these occasions, but what he knows perfectly well already? I believe, if I were to reckon up, I could not find above five hundred disaffected in the whole kingdom; and here we are every day telling his majesty how loyal we are. Suppose the addresses of a people, for instance, should run thus : • May it please your my, we are many of us worth a hundred thousand pounds, and are possessed of several other inestimable advantages. For the preservation of this money and those advantages we are chiefly indebted to your my. therefore, once more assembled, to assure your my of our fidelity. This, it is true, we have lately assured your m- -y five or six times; but we

We are,

are willing once more to repeat what can't be doubted, and to kiss your royal hand, and the queen's hand, and thus sincerely to convince you, that we shall never do any thing to deprive you of one loyal subject, or any one of ourselves of one hundred thousand pounds. Should we vot, upon reading such an address, think that people a little silly, who thus made such unmeaning professions ? Excuse me, Mr. Printer: no man upon earth has a more profound respect for the abilities of the alder. men and common-council than I; but I could wish they ald not take up a monarch's time in these good-natured trifles, who, I am told, seldoni spends a moment in vain.

The example set by the city of London will pro. bably be followed by every other community in the British empire. Thus we shall have a new set of addresses from every little borough with but four freemen and a burgess; day after day shall we see them come up with hearts filled with gratitude, lag. ing the vows of a loyal people at the foot of the throne.' Death! Mr. Printer, they'll hardly leave our courtiers time to scheme a single project for beating the French; and our enemies may gain upon us, while we are thus employed in telling our governor how much we intend to keep them under.

But a people by too frequent a use of addresses may by this means come at last to defeat the very purpose for which they are designed. If we are thus exclaiming in raptures upon every occasion, we deprive ourselves of the powers of flattery, when there may be a real necessity. A boy three weeks ago swimming across the Thames, was every minute crying out, for his amusement, ' I've got the cramp, I've got the cramp:' the boatmen pushed off once or twice, and they found it was fun; he soon after cried out in earnest, but nobody believed him, and he sunk to the bottom. • In short, sir, I am quite displeased with any on. necessary cavalcade whatever. I lope we shall soon

[ocr errors]

have occasiou to triumph, and then I shall be ready myself either to eat at a turtle-feast or to shout at a bonfire: and will either lend my faggot at the fire, or flourish my hat at every loyal health that may be proposed.

I am, Sir, &c.

A SECOND LETTER,

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY A COMMON-COUN

CIL-MAN, DESCRIBING THE CORONATION.

SIR, I

AM the same common-councilman who troubled

you some days ago. To whom can I complain but to you? for you have many a dismal correspondent; in this time of joy my wife does not choose to hear me, because, she says, I'm always melancholy when she's io spirits. I have been to see the coronation, and a fine sight it was, as I am told, to those who had the pleasure of being near spectators. The diamonds, I am told, were as thick as Bristol stones in a show.glass; the ladies and gentlemen walked along, one foot before another, and threw their eyes about them, on this side and that, per fectly like clock-work. O! Mr. Printer, it had been a fine sight indeed, if there was but a little more eating.

Instead of that, there we sat, penned up in our scaffolding, like sheep upon a market-day in Smithfield: but the devil a thing could I get to eat (God pardon me for swearing) except the fragments of a plumb-cake, that was all squeezed into crumbs in my wife's pocket, as she came through the crowd. You must know, sir, that in order to do the thing

genteelly, and that all my family might be amused at the same time, my wife, my daughter, and I took two-guinea places for the coronation, and I gave my two eldest boys (who by the by are twins, fine children) eighteen.pence apiece to go to Sudrick fair, to see the Court of the Black King of Morocco, which will serve to please children well enough.

That we might have good places on the scaffold. ing, my wife insisted upon going at seven o'clock in the evening before the coronation, for she said she would not lose a full prospect for the world. This resolution I own shocked me. •Grizzle,' said I to her, “Grizzle, my dear, consider that you are but weakly, always ailing, and will never bear sitting all night upon the scaffold. You remember what a cold you caught the last fast-day by rising but half an hour before your time to go to church, and how I was scolded as the cause of it. Besides, my dear, our daughter Anna Amelia Wilhelmina Carolina will look like a perfect fright if she sits up; and you know the girl's face is something at her time of life, considering her fortune is but small.' • Mr. Grogan,' replied my wife, Mr. Grogan, this is always the case, when you find me in spirits; I don't want to go, not I, nor I don't care whether I go at all ; it is seldom that I am in spirits, but this is always the case.' In short, Mr. Printer, what will you have on't? to the coronation we went.

What difficulties we had in getting a coach; how we were shoved about in the mob; how I had my pocket picked of the last new almanack, and my steel tobacco-box; how my daughter lost half an eye-brow, and her laced shoe in a gutter; my wife's lamentation upon this, with the adventures of a crumbled plumb-cake ; relate all these; we suffered this and ten times more before we got to our places.

At last, however, we were seated. My wife is certainly a heart of oak; I thought sitting up in the damp night-air would have killed her; I have knowo her for two months take possession of our

« PoprzedniaDalej »