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double row of horses, wincing under the curry combs of grooms and postillions, over and above the hazard of being obstructed or overturned by the carriages, which are continually making their exits or their entrances. I suppose after some chairmen have been maimed, and a few lives lost, by these accidents, the corporation will think, in earnest, about providing a more safe and commodious passage." The remark as to the "few lives lost" reminds one of Sydney Smith's familiar saying about the desirability of locking railway carriages. The inn mentioned above was the "Bear," at which,' in Anstey's delightful epistles, Mr. Simkin and his party alighted:
We all are a wonderful distance from home!
If I recollect aright, Pepys too stayed at the "Bear;" in any case, the animal was a celebrity at Bath. I am afraid, however, it has rather taken us out of our way.
Nash, as we were saying, introduced order into the existing disorder, and having once tasted of the pleasures of autocracy proceeded to establish his power on a firm basis. "His dominion," as Goldsmith says "was extensive and secure, and he determined to support it with the strictest attention. But in order to proceed in everything like a king he was resolved to give his subjects a law, and the following rules were accordingly put up in the Pump-room." We need not reproduce these leges convivales. Although Nash" undoubtedly designed them for wit," they are a trifle stupid, devoid of the humour which made Ben Jonson's famous code classical. Some of the suggestions in them point to a decidedly primitive state of society, e.g., gentlemen, on the conclusion of a dance, are to offer their partners an orange; they are to eschew hunting boots in the ball-room, while ladies are not to appear in aprons; dancing is to commence at seven o'clock and end punctually at eleven; finally, for the modest sum of two guineas, a subscriber can be admitted to all the balls and promenades of the season. On some occasions Nash found considerable difficulty in enforcing his decrees. An obdurate duchess infringed the enactment against aprons; the Princess Amelia tried (unsuccessfully) to prolong the dancing after eleven; country squires of the Sir Boreas Blubber type refused to be balked of their boots and spurs. Their resistance, however, provoked Nash to verse-poets, we know, always are "cradled into poetry by wrong "—and the following stanzas decided the matter:
FONTINELLA'S INVITATION TO THE ASSEMBLY.
Come one and all to Hoyden Hall,
Mind manners and rules:
We Hoydens do decency slight.
Come Trollops and Slatterns,
As Hogs-Norton Squires in boots?
That, of course, was conclusive. The squires were simply satirised into shoes. A wiser provision was the rule that no swords should be worn in the ball-room. Till Nash appeared on the scene duels had been of frequent occurrence. From Goldsmith's pages, as from Anstey's letters, we get a pleasant, or at least interesting, picture of life at an English watering-place temp. George II. Some of the customs of the time were decidedly curious. Thus the arrival of visitors was always hailed by the ringing of the Abbey bells. Mr. Simkin was much impressed by his reception :
No city, dear mother, this city excels,
In charming sweet sounds of fiddles and bells ;
I thought, like a fool, that they only would ring
For a wedding, or judge, or the birth of a king;
But I found 'twas for me that the good-natur'd people
Rung so hard that I thought they would pull down the steeple:
So I took out my purse, as I hate to be shabby,
And paid all the men when they came from the Abbey.
The bathers began the day early. Mr. Simkin hears a noise in the rooms of the hotel "as soon as 'twas light"; the chairmen had arrived to conduct Miss Tabitha to the bath. Mr. Simkin follows them, and then sketches for us the bath-house:
'Twas a glorious sight to behold the fair sex
During the boiling process the ladies were attired in flannels. The scene must have been rather like the one described by Mark Twain in the Tramp Abroad. After the bath came a concert, at which, however, people talked, as I suppose people always have talked, and always will talk while music is going
For they come to the pump, as before I was saying,
And talk all at once while the music is playing.
"Your servant, Miss Fitchet -" Good morning, Miss Stole."
My dear Lady Riggle, pray how is your throat?
Your ladyship knows that I sent you a scrawl
Last night, to attend at your ladyship's ball."
"Oh, Fitchet, don't ask me-good heavens, preserve
I wish there was no such thing as a nerve;
You'll come to the rooms, all the world will be there."
It was the fashion to give public breakfasts. At one of them Mr. Simkin met a variety of distinguished people :
There was Lady Greasewrister
Her Ladyship's sister;
Lord Cram and Lord Valter,
Sir Brandish O'Culter,
And old Lady Mouzer,
And the great Hanoverian Baron Pamouzer.
Lord Ragamuffin (" lately created," you know) was the host, and The company made a most brilliant appearance,
And ate bread and butter with great perseverance.
Culture (with a big C) was fashionable even in those days, and lectures of the Social Science order were given in the morning at which it was the mode to be present. They were (says Goldsmith)" upon the arts and sciences, which are frequently taught there in a pretty superficial marner, so as not to tease the understanding, while they afford the imagination some amusement." In the afternoon people devoted themselves to killing time in divers ways, and the evening saw them at the assembly rooms or the theatre. The latter, by the way, was erected in 1705. Anstey, curiously enough, does not mention it. It witnessed, however, a good many celebrated first appearances Abingdon, Siddons, Henderson, King, and many others, all making their bow to the public on the Bath stage. When the present theatre there was built I do not know. However, if Anstey forgets the theatre, he does full justice to the ball-room. It must have been a brilliant scene, under the tutelage of its presiding lord and master, the great Nash. Here is Anstey's description, in some of his best and easiest
But lo! on a sudden what multitudes pour
From Cambrian mountains, from Indian shore;
Bright maidens, bright widows, and fortunate swains,
And they who their flocks in fair Albion feed,
For him not enough at a ball to preside,
The unwary and beautiful nymph would he guide;
Ry man, by perfidious man, is betrayed;
The last few lines have carried us rather away from the ballroom, but they seemed to me worth quoting as a genuine testimony to the kindly generosity of Nash-his best qualityand as confirming what Goldsmith had said of him.
Having glanced at the little world over which he ruled, it is time for us to return to the history of the monarch himself, a monarch, we may remark, who both reigned and governed. It was in 1738 that Nash's fortunes reached their highest point. The Prince of Wales graciously visited Bath in that year, and at his departure presented his royal rival with a snuff-box. The compliment, of course, had to be returned, and soon after we find Nash busy over the erection of an obelisk to commemorate the visit. An inscription was required, and Nash applied to Pope. The latter's reply is characteristic in its fine assumption of modesty. He owns himself "unequal to the task; for even granting it possible to express an impossible idea, I am the worst person you could have pitched upon for this purpose, who have received so few favours myself from the great that I am utterly unacquainted with what kind of thanks they like best. Whether the P- most loves poetry or verse I protest I do not know; but this I dare venture to affirm, that you can give him as much satisfaction in either as I can." Obviously this was all very graceful and pleasant in its mingled self-depreciation and flattery. But Nash was not to be put off with compliments -probably Pope did not mean him to be-and eventually Pope complied, begging, however, that his name might not be mentioned, and even expressing alarm lest the clerks in the post-office should recognise his handwriting, a point which Johnson notes in his Lives, as admirably illustrating the ridiculous length to which the poet's vanity too often carried him. When the lines did come they proved to be as commonplace a perforinance as one could well conceive. However, Nash's object was gained: the obelisk was there, with an inscription from the first poet of the day, and it all served as a very excellent piece of self-advertisement. During the next two or three years Nash's glory was at its zenith. If the Prince had given him a snuff-box, the nobles had to follow suit; and the "middling gentry"-to borrow Goldsmith's elegant phrase -were not to be outdone; and so all the world showered their snuffy offerings on the monarch. To crown all, the Corporation of Bath placed a full-length statue of him in the pump-room, and chose for it, with the nice sense of humour characteristic of such bodies, a position between (risum teneatis) the busts of
Newton and Pope. Such an exquisite piece of absurdity deserved to be commemorated, and Chesterfield partially rose to the occasion in the following epigram:
The statue placed the busts between
Nash had all that his heart could desire-his levee, his flatterers, his buffoons, his good-natured creatures to laugh at his rather feeble mots, and, of course, his dedicators. The latter included some rather equivocal littérateurs. There was a certain highwayman who wrote a volume exposing (from personal experience) the ways and wickednesses of "the road," as people say in the last century novels. He signed his preface from Taunton Gaol. Another of Nash's admirers was a Professor of Cookery (name, alas! unknown), who prefaced that curious and instructive little volume-"The Complete Preserver, or a new method of preserving fruits, flowers, and other vegetables, either with or without sugar, vinegar, or spirits"—we make no apology for giving the full title of this admirable opus-with a slightly efflorescent address to the "Very Honourable Richard Nash, Esq.-an address which began on this wise-" As much as the oak exceeds the bramble, so much do you exceed the rest of mankind in benevolence, charity, and every other virtue that adorns, ennobles, and refines the human species." If the polite arts of cookery and highway-robbery were thus adequately represented, poetry and music did not lag behind. A musician (name, alas! unknown as before) salutes Nash as "the great encourager of all arts as "the friend and
benefactor of all mankind "-and as various other excellent things, while poetical "Addresses to," "Lines to," epigrams, etc.,
* Cunningham in his editions of Goldsmith's works has the following note:"I find this epigram for the first time in the Gentleman's Magazine of February, 1741 (p. 102), and find what appears to be the original of it in a volume of poems by Jane Brereton, published in 1744! The last four stanzas run :—
Newton, if I can judge aright,
All wisdom does express;
His knowledge gives mankind new light,
Pope is the emblem of true wit,
The sunshine of the mind;
Read o'er his works for proof of it,
You'll endless treasures find.
Nash represents man in the mass,
The picture plac'd the busts between,
Wisdom and wit are little seen,
But Folly's at full length.