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indeed, was such as is not to be told hundreds of men were as busy as bees working at their bikes, building lafts and galleries for spectators, by which the owners expected to make a fortune, it being certain that money at the time of a coronation, as the old song sings→ “Flies like the dust in a summer's day." However, there were sedate persons among the crowd, with whom I entered into discourse; and they told me, as indeed the matter came truly to pass, that the Babel-builders of the scaffolds were over-doing the business, for, that although great prices for seats may have been given at the old King's solemnity, the like would not happen again, the space now around the Abbey, and all the way the procession was to march, being greatly enlarged compared to what it was in former times, and so capable of accommodating a far greater multitude than of old.
This observe made me look about me; and to touch here and there on the generalities of the subject to other persons, who, having a civil look, encouraged me, though a stranger, to break my mind to them.
I fell in, among the rest, with a most creditable elderly man, something of a Quaker it would seem, by the sobriety of his attire, the colour was a brown mixture,-and he said to me that he thought the Coronation a most ill-timed proceeding, to which I replied that surely in a season of great distress throughout the kingdom, it was not well counselled.
"I don't speak of THE DISTRESSES," said he, in a dry manner, "because that is what should be-the landlords in parliament cannot expect to have high rents and regular paying tenants if they reduce their customers to half pay. But it is the Queen, sir-the Queen's case is what makes it most imprudent-all these poor people, with their scaffolds and booths, will be ruined by it-nobody will come to see the Coronation, for it is feared there will be a riot."
"God bless you, sir, you are one of the protectors of innocence, I can see that," cried a randy-like woman, with a basket selling grozets, overhearing our conversation.-" Get about your own affairs, hussy!" exclaimed my sober-looking friend-" It is such as
you that have ruined the Queen's cause -What have you to do with her guilt or innocence, you-baggage-you ?”
The woman looked at him very severely; and as I was only a stranger in London, I thought it best to make nimble heels from the scene to another part, and before I was well away I heard her at him, banning the faintheartedness of him and all his like, for false friends to the queen.
The next I spoke to was a young genteelman, with a most methodical gravat, prejinctly tied, and I inquired at him what was his opinion. "It will be a wery fine thing; his Majesty, you see, vill go halong that there platform, vith trumpets, and the ouse of peers; then he vill come by this ere place, and get into the Habbey there, where the Harshbishop vill hanoint im vith the hoil, and put the crown hon is ead. Then he vill come back; hand hout that rection yonder, the champion, hall in armour, vill ride into the all, and challenge to single combat his Majesty's henemies."
"You may say that, now that Boney's gone," cried a pawkey young lad, who was the companion of this gentle tleman; “but, it's my opinion, the whole will be a most confounded bore. Give me a review for a show. How can old men, judges, and privy counsellors, with gouty toes, and shaking heads, make else than a caricature of solemnities ?"
"Very just," interposed a man in a suit of shabby black, of a clerical cut. "The ceremony has survived the uses which gave it sanctity in the eyes of the people. It will now pass like a pageant of the theatre, and be no longer impressive on its own account, but merely on account of the superior quantity of the silk and lace that may be shewn in the dresses. Had the spirit of the age been consulted by his Majesty, the thing would have been different. It would have been shewn in some royal act of grace and favour, such as the foundation of a noble institution, where courses of lectures might be given by men of genius and literature, qualified to do justice to the topics." I supposed the gentleman was a professor of lecturing himself; and dreading that he might open on me, I walked to another part of the edificial preparations, where I met with a man of a very sound understanding, who
described to me how the floor of the platform was to be covered with broad cloth, which both of us agreed was a most commendable encouragement of trade, on the part of his most gracious majesty; and we thought, likewise, that the expence, both by the King, and the spectators, was a spreading of money, that would augment the means of spending to those employed, and, through them, give encouragement to the dealers in all desirable commodities. The very outlay for ale and strong drink, will encourage the brewers, and the colonies, and the traders in wines, from which farmers and merchants will draw profit; and all traders so heartened, will increase the braws of their wives and families, to the great advantage of the manufacturers and those in the fancy line.
While we were thus speaking on the beneficial consequences of the coronation, a most termagant rioter came up, bawling one minute, "The Queen for ever!" and then turning his tongue in his cheek, and roaring, " God save the King!" I really thought the rank and dignity of both their majesties suffered greatly by this proceeding, and I wonder the ministers did not, by a proclamation, forbid all such irrever ence anent the characters of the King and Queen. Saying this to a stiff and dry man, of a pale metaphysical look, and a spare habit of body, he said to me, "that the coronation did not concern personalities, but was a solemn recognition of the monarchical principle in the Constitution, and that they were vulgar fools who considered it as a custom, which any sensible man confounded with two such mere puppets as the individuals we call King and Queen." Surely this was the saying of a dungeon of wit, and I would fain have gone deeper into the matter with him; but just as we were on the edge of something of a very instructive na ture, a gang of rankringing enemies of blackguard callants came bawling among us, and I was glad to shove myself off in another direction.
The first place where I again fell in with other conversible visitants was near to a side-door of WestminsterHall, where I was greatly chagrined to find two public-houses within the same -what would our provost think of even one change-house within the entrance of the new court-houses? and here were
two, roaring full of strangers and wayfaring people, within the very bounds and precincts of the coronation palace! I there forgathered with a batch of decent looking folk, moralizing on the scene. Some thought the booths and benches were very handsome; and certainly such of them as were hung with the red durant, and serge and worsted fringes, might deserve a com-> mendation, as they could not but prove to the profit of business; but as for those that were ornamented with paper and paintings, though they might cast a show of greater splendour, they were undoubtedly of a very gaudy nature, and not at all suitable to the solemn occasion of a Royal Coronation.
When I had, by this itinerancy of the preparations, pacified my curiosity, I returned homeward to the house of Mrs Damask to get a cup of tea, and to consult with her as to what was best to be done about getting admittance to the Hall or the Abbey; for by this time it was growing dark, and there was but the Wednesday between and the day fixed, which made me resolve, as I did upon her advice, to postpone all serious thoughts of business until after the ceremony,-people's heads being turned, and nobody in a state to talk with sobriety on any other matter or thing.
While we were thus conversing, and the tea getting ready, a chaise, with a footman behind it, came to the door, and a knocking ensued with the knocker that was just an alarm to hear,and who should this be but that worthy man Doctor Pringle, in his gudeson's, the Captain Sabre's, carriage, come to assist me how I could best see the show. "Knowing," said he, “ Mr Duffle, that you are a man of letters, and may be inclined to put out a book on the Coronation, I couldna but take a pleasure in helping you forward to particulars. Mrs Pringle herself would have come with me; but this being the first night with her dochter Rachel, who is not so near her time as we expectit, she couldna think of leaving her, so I came by myself to let you know, that we have a mean in our gude-son to get tickets baith to see the Hall and the Abbey,- -so you may set yourself easy on that head. But, Mr Duffle, there's a great impediment, I doubt, to be overcome; for it's ordered by authority, that gentlemen are
to be in Court dresses, and I fear ye'll think that o'er costly, being so far from your own shop, where you could get the cloth at the first hand; over and above which, the Coronation is so near, that I doubt it is not in the power of nature for any tailor to make the garb in time."
I need not say how well pleased I was with this complimentary attention of Doctor Pringle; and when I told him of Mr Solomon and the old-fa shioned clothes, we had a most jocose laugh about the same; and he said, that, as soon as I had taken my tea, we would go together in the Captain's carriage to Mr Solomon's shop, and get a suit of Court clothes for me. As for the Doctor, he stood in no need of such vanity; having brought up his gown and bands with him, in case of being obligated to preach any charity sermons, as he was in his legacy visit to London, and he was told, that elergymen were to be admitted in their gowns. "Indeed," said the Doctor, "Rachel wrote to her mother of this when she pressed us to come to see the Coronation, which was the cause of Mrs Pringle putting the gown in the portmanty; but, you know, if I preach in another's pulpit, there is never an objection to lend either gown or bands."
The Doctor then went to the window, and, opening the same, said to the coachman, that he might put up his horses for a season at a change house, and come back in half an hour; but I could discern that the flunkies were draughty fellows, though they seemed to obey him; for when they, at the end of the time, came back with the carriage for us, the horses were reeking hot, and when we stepped in, to go to Mr Solomon's at Charing Cross, the first thing the Doctor laid his hand on was a lady's ridicule, and how it could have come into the car riage was past all comprehension. But the footman took charge of it, and said he knew the owner, so the Doc tor gave it to him; but when I came to reflect at leisure on this, I thought it was very soft of the Doctor to give up without an examination.
By the time we got to Mr Solomon's shop, it was full of strangers, on the same errand as ourselves, and it was long before we could be served. At last, however, the Doctor and me were
persuaded by the man to take a skyblue silk suit, richly flowered, with an embroidered white satin waistcoat, adorned with glass buttons. I would fain myself have had one of the plain cloth sort, such as I saw the generality of gentlemen preferring, but I was overly persuaded, particularly by the man offering me the loan for a guinea less than the others were let for. The Doctor, too, in this was partly to blame; for he greatly insisted, that the gayer the apparel the more proper it was for the occasion,-although I told him, that a sky-blue silk dress, with great red roses and tulips, and glass buttons, was surely not in any thing like a be coming concordance with the natural douceness of my character. However, persuaded I was; and we brought the dress away,-sword, and cockit-hat, with all the other parapharnalia,-and the Doctor and me had great sport at my lodgings about the spurtle-sword, for we were long of finding out the way to put it on, for it was very incommodious to me on the left side, as I have been all my days Katy-handed. Indeed, we were obligated to call up both Mrs Damask and the footman to instruct us; and I thought the fellow would have gone off at the head with laughing, at seeing and hearing the Doctor's perplexity and mine. However, we came to a right understanding at last; and the Doctor wishing me good-night went home to his gudeson's, with a promise to come down to me betimes in the morning.
After he was departed, I began to consider of the borrowed dress, and I was not at all satisfied with myself for the gaiety thereof; I thought also that it must surely be one very much out of fashion, or it would never have been so much pressed upon me at a moderate rate.But Mrs Damask thought it most handsome, so submitting my own judgment to the opinion of others, I reasoned myself into contentment, and getting a mutchkin of London porter in, and a partan, which to me was dainties, I made a competent supper, and retired to my bed, where I slept as comfortable as could be till past eight o'clock_next morning, when I rose and had my breakfast, as I had bargained with Mrs Damask, for the which I was to pay her at the rate of seven shillings per week, a price not out of the way,
considering London and the Coronation time, when, as was understood at Glasgow, every thing was naturally expected to be two prices.
By the time I had got my breakfast, and was in order to adventure forth, Captain Sabre's carriage, with the Doctor and Mrs Pringle, came to the door, to take me out with them to show me the curiosities of London. But before going, Mrs Pringle would see my court dress, which she examined very narrowly, and observed "it must have cost both pains and placks when it was made, but it's sore worn, and the right colour's faded.-How somever, Mr Duffle, it will do vastly well, especially as few ken you."
This observe of Mrs Pringle did not tend to make me the more content with my bargain, but I was no inclined to breed a disturbance by sending back the things, and I could no bear the thought of a law-plea about hiring clothes to look at the King.
Mrs Pringle having satisfied her curiosity with my garments, we all went into the carriage, and drove to a dress maker's, where she had dealt before, to get a new gown and mutch for the Coronation. The mantua-maker would fain have persuaded her to have taken a fine glittering gauze, spangled and pedigreed with lace and gum flowers, but Mrs Pringle is a woman of a considerate character, and was not in a hurry to fix, examining every dress in the room in a most particular manner, that she might, as she told me, be able to give an explanation to Nanny Eydent of the Coronation fashions. She then made her choice of a satin dress, that would serve for other times and occasions, and adhered to it, although the mantua-making lady assured her that satin was not to be worn, but only tissues and laces; the mistress, however, made her putt good, and the satin dress was obligated to be sent to her, along with a bonnet, that would require the particularity of a millinder's pen to describe.
When we had settled this matter, we then drove home to Captain Sabre's, to hear about the tickets, where I got one, as being a literary character, to the box set apart for the learned that were to write the history of the banquetting part of the solemnity, and it was agreed that I was to be at the door of admittance by three o'clock in
the morning; the Doctor and Mrs Pringle were provided, by the Captain's means, with tickets both for the Hall and Abbey, he himself was to be on guard, and Mrs Sabre, being big with bairn, and thereby no in a condition to encounter a crowd, was to go with a party of other married ladies, who were all in the like state, to places in the windows of a house that overlooked the platform, so that nothing could be better arranged, not only for me to see myself, but to hear what others saw of the performance in those places where I could not of a possibility be.
And here I should narrate, much to the credit of the Londoners, that nothing could exceed the civility with which I was treated in the house of Captain Sabre, not only by himself and the others present; for many ladies and gentlemen, who knew he was to be on guard, and how, through his acquaintance, we had been favoured in tickets, came in to inquire particu lars, and to talk about the Coronation, and whether the Queen really intend ed to claim admittance. In a like company in Glasgow I would have been left at the door, but every one was more attentive to me than another, on understanding I was the Mr Duffle of Blackwood's Magazine. The Captain insisted on my taking an early family dinner, saying they had changed their hour to accommodate the Doctor, and the Doctor likewise pressed me, so that I could not in decency refuse, having, as I have mentioned, postponed all business till after the Coronation. In short, it is not to be told the kindness and discretion which I met with.
In the afternoon, the Doctor, Mrs Pringle, and me were sent out again in the carriage to see the preparations and the scaffolding, and it was just a miracle to hear the Doctor's wonder ment at the same, and the hobbleshaw that was gathering around. As for Mrs Pringle, she was very audible on the waste and extravagance that was visible every where, and said, that although a pomp was befitting the occasion on the King's part, the pomposity of the scaffoldings was a crying sin of vanity and dissipation.
When we had satisfied ourselves, and I had pointed out to them the circumstantials which I had gathered the night before, they conveyed me to the
house of Mrs Damask, where I had my lodgment, and we bade one another good night; for although it was yet early, we agreed that it would be as well for us to take, if possible, an hour or two's rest, the better to withstand the fatigue and pressure of the next day; and accordingly, when I went up stairs, I told Mrs Damask of that intent, and how I would like, if it could be done, that she would have the kettle boiling by times, for me to have a bite of breakfast by three o'clock in the morning, which she very readily promised to do, having other lodgers besides me that were to be up and out by that time.
Thus have I related at full length, to the best of my recollection, all the
preliminary and prefatory proceedings in which I was concerned about the Coronation; the ceremonies and solemnities of which I will now go on to tell, setting down nought that is not of a most strict veracity, having no design to impose upon the understanding of posterity, but only a sincere desire to make them, as well as the living generation, acquaint with the true incidents and character of that great proceeding, the like of which has not been in this country in our time, if it ever was in any other country at any time, to the end and purpose that the scene and acting thereof may have a perpetuity by being in the pages of my writings.
PART III. THE CORONATION.
I HAD but an indifferent night's rest; for the anxiety that I suffered, lest I should oversleep myself, prevented me in a great degree from shutting my eyes. So I was up and stirring before" the skreigh o' day;" and I was in a manner out of the body at Mrs Damask, who had not the breakfast ready so soon as I had hoped she would. It was more than a whole quarter of an hour past three o'clock in the morning before I got it and was dressed; and when I was dressed, I durst not almost look at myself in the looking-glass, with my broidered garments of sky-blue, the sword, and the cockit hat, I was such a figure. Judge, then, what I felt when I thought on going out into the streets so like a phantasy of Queen Anne's court. Luckily, however, another gentleman in the house, who had likewise got a ticket and dress, was provided with a coach for the occasion, and he politely offered me a seat; so I reached the Hall of Westminster without any inordinate trouble or confusion.
Having been shewn the way to the gallery where I was to sit, I sat in a musing mood seeing the personages coming in, like a kirk filling. A murmuring was heard around, like the sough of rushing waters, and now and then the sound of an audible angry voice. As the dawn brightened, the Hall was lightened; and the broad patches of white, and red, and other
colours, that seemed like bales and webs of cloth in the galleries fornent me, gradually kithed into their proper shape of ladies and gentlemen.
I now took my old Magazine out of my pocket, and began to make comparisons; but for a time I was disturbed by ladies coming into the gallery, and sitting down beside me, talking much, and very highly pleased.
The performance of the day began by sixteen queer looking men, dressed into the shape of Barons, rehearsing how they were to carry a commodity over the King's head, called a canopy. It was really a sport to see in what manner they endeavoured to march, shouldering the sticks that upheld it, like bairns playing at soldiers. Among this batch of curiosities, there was pointed out to me a man of a slender habit of body; that was the great Mr Brougham, and a proud man, I trow, he was that day, stepping up and down the Hall, with a high head, and a crouse look, snuffing the wind with a pride and panoply just most extraordinar to behold.
By and bye, the nobles, and counsellors, and great officers, and their attendants, a vast crowd, all in their robes of state, and a most gorgeous show they made,-came into the Hall, followed by the King himself, who entered with a marvellous fasherie, as I thought it, of formalities, and so he seemed, or I'm mistaken, to think