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Lord Orrery, in a letter to Dr. Birch, dated November, 1741, makes the following observation :
“ I look upon anecdotes as debts due to the public, which every man, when he has that kind of cash by him, ought to pay.”
J. T. SMITH.
BOOK FOR A RAINY DAY.
The Reader is requested to keep in mind that those events, which I relate of myself when “mewling in my nurse's arms,” and until my fourth year, were communicated to me by my parents, and that my statements from that period are mostly from my own memory: – Miranda proved to Prospero that she recollected an event in her fourth year.
1766. My father informed me, that in the evening of the 23rd of June, 1766, which must have been much about the time when Marylebone Gardens echoed the melodious notes of Tommy Lowe, and whilst there was “The Devil to Pay” at Richmond with Mr. and Mrs. Love,* my mother, on
* Mr. Love played Jobson, and Mrs. Love Nell.
returning from a visit to her brother, Mr. Edward Tarr, * became so seriously indisposed, that she most strenuously requested him to allow her to return home in a hackney coach, whilst he went to Jermyn Street for Dr. Hunter.t Upon that gentleman's arrival at my father's door, No. 7, in Great Portland Street, Marylebone, he assisted the nurse in conveying my mother and myself to her chamber. Although I dare not presume to suppose that the vehicle in which I was born had been the equipage of the great John Duke of Marlborough, or Sarah his Duchess, at all events I probably may be correct in the conjecture that the hack was in some degree similar to those introduced by Kip, in his Plates for Strype's edition of Stowe.
Hackney-chairs were then so numerous, that their stands extended round Covent Garden, and often down the adjacent streets; these vehicles frequently enabled physicians to approach their patients in a warm state. The forms of those to which I allude are also given in Kip's prints above-mentioned ; and who knows but that they, in their turn, have conveyed Voltaire from the theatre to his lodging in Maiden Lane.
* A convivial glass-grinder, then residing at No. 6, in Earl Street, Seven Dials, and who had, for upwards of fifty years, worn a green velvet cap.
+ In 1768 Dr. Hunter gave up his house in Jermyn Street to his brother John, and took possession of the one he had built in Windmill Street.
That sedans were of ancient use I make no doubt, as I find one introduced in Sir George Staunton's Embassy to China.* My parents, after a fire-side debate, agreed that I should have two christian names, John, after my grandfather, a Shropshire clothier, whose bust, modelled by my father, was one of the first publicly exhibited by the associated artists before the establishment of the Royal Academy; and Thomas, to the honor of our family, in remembrance of my great uncle, Admiral Smith, better known under the appellation of “ Tom of ten thousand,” of whom I have a spirited half-length portrait, painted by the celebrated Richard Wilson, the landscape painter, previous to his visiting Rome,t from
Pliny has stated that his uncle was much accustomed to be carried abroad in a chair.
+ When he resided in the apartments on the north side of Covent Garden, which had been occupied first by Sir Peter Lely, and afterwards by Sir Godfrey Kneller.
which picture there is an excellent engraving in mezzotinto, by Faber.
I have heard my mother relate, that when at Greenwich this year for the benefit of her health, an aged pie and cheesecake-woman lived there, who was accompanied through the town by a goose, who regularly stopped at her customer's door and commenced a loud cackling; but that whenever the words “ not to-day” were uttered, off it waddled to the next house, and so on till the business of the day was ended. My mother also remarked, that when ladies walked out, they carried nosegays in their hands, and wore three immense lace ruffle cuffs on each elbow.
In the month of March, this year, died Mary Mogg at Oakingham, the woman who gave rise to Gay’s celebrated ballad of Molly Mogg. In all ages
there has been a fashion in amusements, as well as in dress : grottoes, which were numerous round London, appear by the advertisements to have been places of great resort, but above all Finch's, in St. George's fields, was the favourite. The following is a copy of one of the musical announcements :