Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

two letters, the one bearing date the roth, the | 500l. a year on him. 'And who are you?' other the 13th, of this present month, both asked Johnson, that talk thus liberally?' containing great information and amusement, I am,' said the other, 'Sir Thomas Robfor which I promise to pay at sight my sin-inson, a Yorkshire baronet.' 'Sir,' recerest thanks and acknowledgments. Witplied Johnson, ‘if the first peer of the ness my hand, realm were to make me such an offer, I would show him the way down-stairs.'"

CHESTERFIELD.

He hints, however, that Robinson is not a good hand at business. He writes to him:

Since you are your own steward, do not cheat yourself, for I have known many a man lose more by being his own steward than he would have been robbed of by any other. Tenants are always too hard for landlords, especially such landlords as think they understand those matters and do not; which, with submission, may be your case.

Horace Walpole was surprised at learning of the long correspondence that had existed between the two men, for "he thought that Lord Chesterfield only used Long Sir Thomas as a butt to shoot wit at." How good a butt he must have been is shown by the following story told of him by Sir John Hawkins :—

Sir Thomas Robinson was a man of the world, or rather of the town, and a great pest to persons of high rank or in office. He was very troublesome to the Earl of Burlington, and when in his visits to him he was told that his Lordship was gone out, would desire to be admitted to look at the clock, or to play with a monkey that was kept in the hall, in hopes of being sent for in to the Earl. This he had so frequently done that all in the house were tired of him. At length it was concerted among the servants that he should receive a summary answer to his usual questions; and, accordingly, at his next coming the porter, as soon as he had opened the gate, and without waiting for what he had to say, dismissed him with these words: "Sir, his Lordship is gone out, the clock stands, and the monkey is dead."

66

The showing down-stairs seems only conditional, and perhaps Long Sir Thomas was allowed to stay, for it was some years after this that Boswell found the two men together in friendly talk. Dr. Maxwell, the assistant preacher at the Temple, records how he was one day present when Robinson objected that the Irish corn laws might be prejudicial to the corn trade of England. "Sir Thomas,' said Johnson, 'you talk the language of a savage. What, sir, would you prevent any people from feeding themselves, if by any honest means they can do it?"" The comparison with a savage must have cut him to the quick. Mrs. Thrale describes "the profusion of words and bows and compliments that he made," while, according to Horace Walpole, "he was alpraise seems to have been ironical, for he ways propriety itself." Yet Walpole's gives it when he is recording one of his blundering speeches. In another letter dated October 22, 1741, writing of a ball which the baronet was going to give, "to a little girl of the Duke of Richmond's," he says, There are already two hundred invited, from miss in bib and apron to my lord chancellor in bib and mace." A few days later he describes the party at some length: "There were an hundred and ninety-seven persons at Sir Thomas's, and yet it was so well conducted that nobody felt a crowd. He had taken off all his doors, and so separated the old and the young that neither were inconvenMon-ienced with the other. The ball began at eight; each man danced one minuet with his partner, and then began country dances. There were four-and-twenty couple, divided into twelve and twelve'; each set danced two dances, and then retired into another room, while the other set took their two, and so alternately.. We danced till four, then had tea and coffee, and came home." A month later he writes of a second ball, also given by Sir Thomas, at which he got a violent headache, and with good reason too. ball broke up at three; but Lincoln, Lord Holderness, Lord Robert Sutton, young Churchill, and a dozen more grew jolly, stayed till seven in the morning, and drank thirty-two bottles." Robinson must have been given to hospitality, for eleven

Dr. Doran, in his "Life of Mrs.
tagu," whose cousin Robinson was, quotes
some lines which show that he had the
reputation of a parasite:-

You I love, my dearest life,
More than Georgey does his wife;
More than Carlisle those who cheat him,
More than Long Tom those who treat him.
Hawkins describes him further as 66
a
specious but empty man, whose talent was
flattery."
Lord Chesterfield, he says, sent
him to Johnson "to apologize for his lord-
ship's treatment of him, and to make him
tenders of his future friendship and pa-
tronage. He was profuse in his commen-
dations of Johnson and his writings, and
declared that, were his circumstances
other than they were, himself would settle

"The

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

would be, indeed, a sad falling off. It was perhaps in remembrance of the glorious position which he for this one day held that he was buried in that abbey which had seen him in all his greatness. There can be little doubt that Fielding has a laugh at him in the account that he gives of the cudgel with which Joseph Andrews came to the rescue of Parson Adams, when he was attacked by the squire's hounds. "It was a cudgel which his father had of his grandfather, to whom.a

for a present in that day when he broke three heads on the stage. . . . On its head was engraved a nose and chin, which might have been mistaken for a pair of nutcrackers. The learned have imagined it designed to represent the Gorgon; but it was, in fact, copied from the face of a certain long English baronet of infinite wit, humor, and gravity."

[ocr errors]

years later Walpole writes: "Did you hear | For a Duke of Normandy to affect a desire Captain Hotham's bon-mot on Sir Thomas of playing with a nobleman's monkey Robinson's making an assembly from the top of his house to the bottom? He said he wondered so many people would go to Sir Thomas's, as he treated them all de haut en bas." On one occasion Walpole attacks him in words which might be taken as a motto by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments. Robinson had persuaded the possessor of Pope's garden "to improve it." It is a pity," continues Walpole, "that they who love to display taste will not be content with showing their genius without making almighty strong man of Kent had given it terations, and then we should have more samples of the styles of different ages." Long Sir Thomas may have thought that he had some kind of a family claim to taste, for his brother was Archbishop Robinson of Armagh, whose name is inscribed on the Canterbury Gate of Christchurch, Oxford, as the chief contributor to the restoration of that part of the house. Richard Cumberland, the dramatist, speaks of him as a prelate "who left many noble monuments of his munificence in brick and stone." He was as long as his brother, if not indeed longer; for Cumberland calls him "a colossal man.' Another brother, Sir William, imitated the archbishop in everything, even in the size of his shoes. "With the pleasing consciousness of putting on the same traternal shoe, he had not by many degrees the same foot to put into that enormous case, and so was fain to shove it on before him, like a boat upon dry land." Though his constitution was altogether different, "yet he followed step by step the same regimen, observed the same diet, took the same physic, swallowed the same number of rhubarb pills, and fought off the bile with raw eggs and mutton broth, mixed up with Muscavado sugar." Cumberland describes how the archbishop used to go to the cathedral of Armagh in a chariot drawn by six horses, with three footmen behind, and how he entered by the great western door in high prelatical state. In person he was one of the finest men that could be seen. Perhaps Long Sir Thomas was somewhat stately too, for he was selected at the coronation of George III. to represent "in proper mantle " the Duke of Normandy. In the procession he and a knight who represented the Duke of Aquitaine, following next to the Archbishop of Canterbury, advanced just in front of the queen. We hope that it was before he acted this noble part that he paid his calls on the Earl of Burlington.

Southey five-and-thirty years after his death visited Rokeby Hall, which had once been his property. 'Long Sir Thomas," he writes, "found a portrait of Richardson in the house. Thinking Mr. Richardson a very unfit personage to be suspended in effigy among lords, ladies, and baronets, he ordered the painter to put him on the star and blue riband, and then christened the picture Sir Robert Walpole. This, however, is not the most extraordinary_picture in the room. That is one of Sir T.'s intended improvements, representing the river, which now flows over the finest rocky bed I ever beheld, metamorphosed by four dams into a piece of water as smooth and as still as a canal, and elevated by the same operation so as to appear at the end of a smooth-shaven green."

With this anecdote our store is exhausted. We live, however, in the hope that further researches may be rewarded by further discoveries, and that we may some day or other be able to write a continuation of the history of Long Sir Thomas Robinson.

From St. James's Gazette.

OLD AGE IN ANIMALS. STATISTICIANS assure us that the mean duration of life in man has increased by fully seven years in the last half-century. Whether our domesticated animals share in this advance is a point not easily as

certainable; though they must certainly | ago had a ring through its lower jaw, on benefit from the greater care generally which it was recorded that the bearer was bestowed upon them, and from the in- placed in a particular water in 1618. This creased efforts made to understand and appears hardly credible; but there is little supply their wants. The ancients were doubt that many carp have lived for upinclined to attribute length of days to such wards of a hundred hears. beasts or birds as they specially venerated; but fabulous as many of their assumptions doubtless were, they yet seem to have been founded upon a true recognition of the classes or types of animals which often attain to a great age.

[ocr errors]

Ravens, parrots, and among fishes the carp, have in modern times gone far to justify the former belief in their longevity. There is at the present time in the Zoological Gardens of Philadelphia a cockatoo known to be above eighty-five years old, the bird being still sprightly and thriving very garrulous and very cross." Until some two years ago the oldest inhabitant of our own collection was a black Vassa parrot from Madagascar, whish died after a residence of fifty-four years in the Regent's Park gardens. This was an adult bird when received there, but its age at that time was unknown. Another parrot died last year in Paris at the reputed age of one hundred and three years; and since it was handed down by will to several successive owners, its longevity may be accepted as a fact fully established. In France ravens have been known to live more than a hundred years; and there is one well-authenticated instance of an octogenarian pelican. Geese are naturally a long-lived family, and there are several records of birds attaining to sixty or seventy years. A skylark is known to have lived twenty-four years in a cage; and the death of a ring-dove was lately chronicled which had lived twenty-six years in confinement.

A notice lately appeared of the death of a brown water-spaniel at the age of twenty-eight years. She had belonged to the same owner from a puppy, and died literally of "sheer old age.' A few months before, a cat died at the age of twenty-two years and two months. These are very unusual ages, though it is probable that some individuals have lived still longer. Herbivorous animals are generally thought to outlive carnivorous ones; and of the former class those dedicated to labor appear to furnish the largest number of instances of longevity. Two years ago a donkey died at Cromarty that was known to be at least one hundred and six years old. It could be traced back to the year 1779, when, at an unknown age, it came into the hands of the then Ross of Cromarty; and it lived in the same family, "hale and hearty,' " until a kick from a horse ended its career. No horse is known to have attained to anything like such an age as this; but a few have lived to ages varying from forty to fifty years. A famous old barge-horse died at Warrington in his sixty-second year; and the oldest horse known in New York was, until quite recently, doing steady work there at thirtyeight years of age. A few months ago, also, a mule forty-six years old died at Philadelphia.

Obviously there can be but few reliable data for determining the average ages of wild animals; and our nearest approximations must be founded upon the observation of similar creatures in a state of captivity. Some of the reptiles undoubtedly live very long. Gilbert White, who had personal knowledge of a tortoise thirty years old, records the tradition of another supposed to be a hundred. Our knowledge of the duration of certain forms of insect life is very inadequate; and it was a genuine surprise to most of us to hear that Sir John Lubbock had been on friendly terms with a queen ant" for fourteen years.

66

Carp are commonly regarded as the patriarchs of fresh-water fish, though there is no actual proof that they outlive the members of some other species. Last year the famous lake on the Duke of Newcastle's estate at Clumber, which had not been emptied for two hundred years, was drained off, when thousands of pike were found, some of which from their enormous size were probably of unusual age; but in the absence of means of identification it is impossible to speak positively on this Of all aged animals the horse and the point. The extreme tameness and docil- dog appeal most nearly to human symity of carp led to the fashion of keeping pathies. It is not merely that they have them as pets, in which condition particular been our faithful servants and friends, but individuals came under closer scrutiny; there is a gravity, and almost a dignity, in and the records of very aged fish-from their bearing which is very touching. one to two hundred years old-are nu- Many agencies are now at work for teachmerous. One taken in Germany a yearing the policy as well as the duty of kind

ness to animals; and of these, the sight profit. The care of our four-footed friends of an old servitor loyally bestowed in pad- in their declining years may furnish many dock or kennel is not the least instructive. valuable hints for the treatment of their Nor need a charge of this kind be without still serviceable fellows.

legendary Malström, is the Saltström, which
is also a tidal current running through the
narrow inlet by which the Indre Saltenfjord,
a considerable inland lake, communicates with
the sea.
Hardwicke's Science-Gossip.

THE MALSTROM. In the Ciel et Terre is a short article on this popular myth; for although there is a current between the small island of Moskenes and the still smaller islet or rock of Vaerö (two of the Loffodens), which is fairly described as a Malström or millstream, the stories describing a horrible whirling chasm in the sea are pure inventions. On my first visit to this region in 1856, I innocently asked the captain of the old steam packet AN OCULIST'S TEST. In a large factory Constitutione whether we were near the dread- in which were employed several hundred perful whirlpool. He replied with cool irony sons, one of the workmen, in wielding his that, being only a Norwegian sailor that had hammer, carelessly allowed it to slip from his spent his life in the neighborhood, he could hand. It flew half way across the room, and tell me nothing about it, but referred me to struck a fellow-workman in the left eye. The English and French geography books, as the man averred that his eye was blinded by the source from which Norwegians like himself blow, although a careful examination failed to obtained all the information they possessed reveal any injury, there being not a scratch respecting it. He might subsequently have visible. He brought a suit in the courts for learned further particulars had he consulted compensation for the loss of half of his eyethe Leisure Hour of November, 1883, wherein sight, and refused all offers of compromise. there is an account of the visit of an American Under the law the owner of the factory was captain, who ran along the edge of the whirl-responsible for an injury resulting from an pool "in one of its calmer intervals." He estimates its diameter as about a mile and a half, describes it as "foaming, tumbling, and rushing to its vortex," hissing, roaring, and dashing, presenting "the most awful grand and solemn sight" he ever experienced. He was near it about eighteen minutes and in sight of it two hours. He "should not doubt that instant destruction would be the fate of a dozen of our largest ships were they drawn in at the same moment. The writer in Ciel et Terre describes the simple current to which these absurd stories have been attached in nearly the same terms as I did in "Through Norway with a Knapsack." It is simply a run of the tide through a channel with a sloping bottom. The only times when it is at all dangerous, even to a fishing-boat, is during severe storms or complete calms. In the lat ter case the boat, having no way through the water, does not answer to her helm, and therefore is at the mercy of the current, and thus may strike some of the rocks which there abound. With a gale blowing against the stream the navigation is also difficult and dangerous for sailing vessels. The name by which the current is best known in Norway is the Mosköström. There are many other similar currents in the neighborhood, the most formidable of which, far more so than the

accident of this kind, and although he be lieved that the man was shamming, and that the whole case was an attempt at swindling, he had about made up his mind that he would be compelled to pay the claim. The day of the trial arrived, and in open court an eminent oculist retained by the defence examined the alleged injured member, and gave it as his opinion that it was as good as the right eye. Upon the plaintiff's loud protest of his inabil ity to see with his left eye, the oculist proved him a perjurer, and satisfied the court and jury of the falsity of his claim. And how do you suppose he did it? Why, simply by knowing that the colors green and red combined made black. He prepared a black card on which a few words were written with green ink. Then the plaintiff was ordered to put on a pair of spectacles with two different glasses, the one for the right eye being red and the one for the left eye consisting of ordinary glass. Then the card was handed him and he was ordered to read the writing on it. This he did without hesitation, and the cheat was at once exposed. The sound right eye, fitted with the red glass, was unable to distinguish the green writing on the black surface of the card, while the left eye, which he pretended was sightless, was the one with which the reading had to be done. Pottery Gazette.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

For EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.

Single Numbers of THE LIVING AGE, 18 cents.

« ElőzőTovább »