Born: Andrew M. Ramsay, author of Travels of Cyrus, 1686, Ayr; George Stephenson, engineer, 1781, Wylam, Northumberland; John Howard Payne, American actor and dramatist, 1792, New York; Schamyl, patriotic imaum of Circassia, 1797.
Died: Jeanne D'Albret, Queen of Navarre, mother of Henry IV., 1572; Secretary Maitland, 1573, Edinburgh; William Lilly, astrologer, 1681, Walton; Benedict Pictet, learned Protestant divine, 1724, Geneva; Dr. William Kenrick, 1779; Louis XVII of France, 1795, Temple, Faris; Dr. Abraham Rees, encyclopaedist, 1825, Finsbury.
Feast Day: St. Vincent, martyr, 2nd or 3rd century; Saints Primus and Felicianus, martyrs, 286; St. Pelagia, virgin and martyr, 311; St. Columba, or Columkille, Abbot and Apostle of the Picts, 597; St. Richard, Bishop of Andria, confessor, about 8th century.
A short distance from one of the wildest districts of the western coast of Scotland, opposite the mountains of Mull, only three miles to the south of Staffa, so famous for its stately caverns, lies a little island, which is celebrated as the centre from which the knowledge of the Gospel spread over Scotland, and indeed over all the North, and which, rocky and solitary, and now insignificant as it may be, was a seat of what was felt as marvellous learning in the earliest period of mediaeval civilization. Its original name appears to have been Hi or I, which was Latinized into the, perhaps, more poetical form of Iona, but it is now commonly called I-com-kill, or I of Columba of the Cells, from the saint who once possessed it, and from the numerous cells or monastic establishments which he founded.
Columba was an Irish priest and monk of the sixth century, who was earnest in his desire to spread among the ignorant pagans of the North that ascetic form of Christianity which had already taken root in Ireland. According to Bede, from whom we gather nearly all we know of this remarkable man, it was in the year 565 that Columba left his native island to preach to the Picts, the inhabitants of the Scottish Highlands. Encouraged by their chieftain, his mission was attended with success. The chieftain gave him, as a place to establish himself and his companions, the island of I, which Bede describes as in size, 'only of about five families, according to the calculation of the English,' or, as this is explained by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, five hides of land. It is now three miles in length, and not quite a mile broad. Here Columba built a church and a monastery, of which he became abbot, and collected round him a body of monks, under a rule which was remark-able chiefly for the strict enforcement of self-denial and asceticism. Their hours each day were divided between prayer, reading or hearing the Scriptures, and the labours required for producing the necessaries of life, chiefly cultivating the land, and fishing. Others were employed in writing copies of the books of the church service, which were wanted for their own use, or for the religious missions sent out amongst the neighbouring barbarians. The art most cultivated among the early Irish monks appears to have been caligraphy, and Columba himself is said to have been a very skilful penman, and, we may no doubt add, illuminator; and copies of the Psalter and Gospel, still pre-erved in Ireland, are attributed to him.
Such of Columba's monks at I as were capable, were employed in instructing others, and this employment seems to have best suited their tastes, and education became the great object to which Columba's successors devoted themselves. For ages youths of noble, and even of royal blood, flocked hither from all parts, not only of Scotland, England, and Ireland, but from Scandinavia, to profit by the teaching of the monks; at the same time, colonies of Columba's monks went forth to establish themselves in various parts of the Scottish Highlands, and the neighbouring islands, in Iceland, and even in Norway. Bede tells us that, about thirty-two years after he settled in I, or Iona, which would carry us, according to his dates, to the year 597, St. Columba died and was buried in his island monastery, being then seventy-seven years old. The 9th of June is usually assigned as the day of his death. The reputation of Iona as a seat of learning, and as a place of extraordinary sanctity, continued to increase after the death of the founder of its religious establishment, and his memory was held in the most affectionate love. His disciples, or we may say the monks of his order, who formed the Pictish church, became known by the name of Culdees, a Celtic word meaning simply monks.
Their first religious house of any importance on the mainland was Abernethy, the church of which is said to have been built in Columba's lifetime, and which became the principal seat of royalty and episcopacy in the Pictish kingdom. St. Andrew's, also, was a foundation of the Culdees, as well as Dunkeld, Dunblane, Brechin, and many other important churches. From the particular position held by Columba towards his disciples in all parts, when Culdee bishoprics were established, all the bishops were considered as placed under the authority of the abbots of Iona, so that these abbots were virtually the Metropolitans of the Scottish church. In the ninth century the Danes, who ravaged with great ferocity the Scottish coasts, repeatedly visited Iona, and so completely destroyed its monks and their monastery, that the island itself disappears from history, until the twelfth century, when, in the reign of William the Lion, it was re-occupied by a convent of Cluniac monks. Long before this the Culdees had lost their character for sanctity and purity of life, and they were now so much degenerated that the Scottish King David I. (who reigned from 1124 to 1153), after an ineffectual attempt to reform them, suppressed the Culdees altogether, and supplied their place with monks and canons of other orders, but chiefly of that of St. Augustine.
JOHN HOWARD PAYNE
Thousands have had their tenderest sympathies awakened by the almost universal song of ''Home, sweet home,' without knowing that its author's name was John Howard Payne, and that it was first sung in a once popular, but now forgotten, melodrama, entitled Clari; or, the Maid of Milan. Payne was a native of America, born in 1792. Early turning his attention to the stage, he soon became a popular actor, and writer of dramatic pieces, both in England and his native country. Few persons have been so greatly loved by so large a circle of private friends. Dying at Tunis, where he latterly filled the office of United States consul, he was buried in the Christian cemetery of St. George, where a monument has been erected over his grave by his 'grateful country,' expressive of his merits as a poet and dramatist, and stating that he died in the American consulate of the city of Tunis, 'after a tedious illness,' on the 1st of April 1852.
An amusing proof of the singular popularity of Mr. Payne's song was afforded, soon after its first appearance, by a Dumbartonshire clergy-man of the Established Presbyterian Church. He was preaching upon the domestic affections -he had wrought himself up a good deal-finally, forgetting all the objections of his cloth to stage matters, he recited the whole of the verses of ' Home, sweet home,' to the unutterable astonishment of his congregation.
SCHAMYL, IMAM OF CIRCASSIA
It was in 1834 that Schamyl succeeded to that leadership among his countrymen in which he has acquired such distinction. Some tragical circumstances occurring about that time served first to impress the Circassians that in their new leader they had found one possessing a charmed life. The prestige which invested him was enhanced by his extremely reserved habits and isolated mode of life. He was consequently enabled to keep in check the best of the Russian generals, and came off conqueror in a hundred fights. His passionate love for his mountain home and freedom, claimed the sympathy of all Europe; such heroism is one of the finest traits in history, though, perhaps, his fall may be necessary for the march of civilization.
The greatest blow he ever received until the last was the capture of his son, nine years of age, by the Russians. Schamyl offered ransom and prisoners in exchange, but in vain. After the lapse of fifteen years, he made an incursion into the Russian territory, and carried off two Georgian princesses, who occupied a high rank at the court, and this time the exchange was accepted; though it was believed that Djammel-Eddin renounced civilization to return to barbarism with deep regret. Three years after he died.
Schamyl was not only a great warrior, but also a great legislator: he worked long hours in his private room surrounded by books and parchments; then he would leave home for a fortnight, and go from camp to camp preaching the Koran to his people, and rousing their love of independence. On his return, his people rushed to meet him, singing verses from their holy book, and accompanying him home. Scarcely had he dismounted, when his children, to whom he was passionately attached, were in his arms. He had three wives, but never would permit them to be distinguished above the other women of the encampment.
Each day he received the Nails who came on business, treating them with hospitality but simplicity. He himself always ate alone and with great sobriety; bread, milk, honey, rice, fruit, and tea composed his meals. He was adored by his people, and from one end of the Caucasus to the other his name was a talisman. His morals were of the utmost purity, and he put to death any offender with the strictest severity.
At the time of Schamyl's capture he was sixty-two years of age, and it is astonishing that at that period his eye should have retained the quickness and penetration of earlier years; incessantly seeking to read the depths of the soul, and to guess the most secret thoughts of those about him. Always distrustful amidst his devoted soldiers, whom he had learnt to fascinate completely, he yet killed any of them whom he doubted, before his suspicions were changed in-to certainty, and many an innocent life was sacrificed for his repose. After the example of the dervishes, Schamyl dyed his beard with henna; his hands, small and well-shaped, were attended to with the greatest care. His headdress was formed of a lamb-skin cap, surmounted by voluminous folds of a muslin turban. He wore a tunic, on the front of which was placed a cartouche-box, and for arms he carried a Circassian poniard and a sword; the blades of both were of the most costly description.
When he introduced his military code into the mountains, he instituted an order of chivalry to reward his brave murides, which he called the 'Sign of courage.' It was composed of three degrees; the insignia were of engraved silver: the first, in the form of a crescent, bore for its device a sabre, with the inscription: 'This is the mark of the brave.' Through this they must pass to the second, which was a disk with the figures cut through, a sabre with the device: He who is thinking of the consequences is wanting in courage.' The third and highest was like the second, with a sabre, a pistol, and the Arabic words: 'He who is thinking of the consequences is wanting in bravery. Be devoted, and you shall be saved.'
Schamyl was not prodigal of his rewards, so that his people were very proud of these distinctions, and often sacrificed their lives in the hope of gaining them; those few that have been brought to Europe have been taken from the breasts of the dead, and are only to be found in the private arsenals of the Russian Emperor.
It was reserved for Prince Bariatinsky to conquer the unconquered chieftain: a cordon was drawn around the mountains, and Schamyl took refuge in his strong aoul of Gounib, provisioned and fortified for two years, and situated on a plateau in the form of a triangle, with a narrow road up to each corner. The Russians managed to climb up the rocks, and came unexpectedly on the Circassians; a terrible combat ensued, and Schamyl saw that resistance had become useless. He was much surprised when he found that his life was to be spared, and when he reached St. Petersburg, and saw its magnificence, he understood for the first time what a powerful enemy he had had to oppose, and wondered how a prince with such fortresses could attach so much importance to the possession of the rock of Gounib.
Admitted to the highest society, he was dazzled with the costumes and diamonds of the ladies; I was far from expecting,' said he, 'to find Mahomet's paradise on earth.' One evening when he met with the French ambassador, he spoke to him of Abd-el-Kader. Hearing that the Arab chief had struggled as long as himself, but with superior forces, his face lighted up, because he felt he had done more: 'We have had the same fate,' he remarked. 'It is true,' was the answer, 'but he who has once been great will always be great.'
The Emperor Alexander granted him a pension sufficient for the comfortable maintenance of himself and his family, and a residence in a town which the government chose for him.
William Lilly was the last of the great English astrologers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He was born, as he tells us in his autobiography, at Diseworth in Leicestershire, on the 1st of May 1602, and received a tolerably good school education. In 1620, he went to London to seek service, which he obtained in the family of a Leicestershire man in the City, who had realized some property by business, the nature of which seems to be rather uncertain. It was said that he had been a tailor, and hence some of Lilly's enemies in after years reproached the astrologer with having been originally of that calling, though he denies it, and assures us that his duties in this family were of a much more menial character.
At length, after the death of his master, Lilly married the young widow, and thus became a moneyed man. He appears to have had what we may perhaps call a taste for astrology, and had apparently picked up acquaintance with many of the pretenders in that science, and towards the year 1632 began to study it earnestly. About the year 1641 he set up as a regular practitioner. The political troubles in which the country was then involved, and the general agitation which resulted from them, opened a great field for those who speculated on popular credulity. They began to foretell and give information and advice upon public events, and were soon employed as instruments and agents by the rival parties. Lilly tells us that he first leaned towards the king's party, but that, having been treated in an insulting manner by the other astrologers who prophesied on that side, he deserted and became a confirmed Roundhead, and, as he says, he afterwards 'prophesied all on their side.' His prophecies, for the publication of which he had established an almanack which bore the title of Merlinus Anglicus, were indeed so many political weapons in the hands of the party leaders, and were used with very considerable effect. Butler, who is understood to have intended to picture Lilly under the character of Sidrophel, alludes to the use which was thus made of his prophecies
Do not our great reformers use
This Sidrophel to forbode news?
To write of victories next year,
And castles taken, yet i' th' air?
Of battles fought at sea, and ships
Sunk, two years hence? the last eclipse?
A total o'erthrow given the king
In Cornwall, horse and foot, next spring?
And has not he point-blank foretold
Whats'e'er the close committee would?
Made Mars and Saturn for the cause,
The Moon for fundamental laws?
The Rain, the Bull, and Goat, declare
Against the Book of Common Prayer?
The Scorpion take the protestation,
And Bear engage for reformation?
Made all the royal stars recant,
Compound, and take the covenant?
As Lilly's prophecies greatly encouraged the soldiers, he naturally gained favour with the chiefs of the army, and there is good reason for believing that he was patronized and befriended by Cromwell. The Presbyterians, who looked upon astrology with aversion, and classed it with witchcraft, took advantage of some expressions in his almanacks which seemed to reflect upon the parliament, and sought to bring him under the vengeance of that body, when it was in its greatest power, but he found no less powerful protectors.
During the Protectorate, Lilly's position was a flourishing and no doubt a lucrative one, and he appears to have become rich. He bought some of the confiscated estates of royalists. Towards the close of the Protectorate, he prophesied the Restoration, and thus made his peace with the government of Charles II, or more probably he was considered too insignificant an object to provoke the vengeance of the triumphant royalists. He was, however, compelled to surrender the estates he had purchased. Nevertheless, Merlinus Anglicus, which had become the most celebrated almanack of the day, was now distinguished for its loyalty.
The only instance, however, in which the court seems to have taken any notice of Lilly, arose out of a remarkable prophecy in his almanack for 1666, which seemed to foretell the great fire of London in that year. As the fire was at first ascribed to a plot against the country, Lilly was suspected of knowing something of the conspiracy, and was arrested and closely examined, but his innocence was sufficiently evident. From this time he sank into comparative obscurity, and, probably finding that astrology and almanack-making were no longer profitable, he obtained a licence and began to practise as a physician.
He died at an advanced age on the 9th of June 1681. He left an autobiography, addressed to the credulous Elias Ashmole, which is at the same time a curious record of the manners and sentiments of the time, and a remarkable picture of the self-conceit of its author. Lilly's almanack, Merlinus Anglicus, continued to be published under his name long after his death; but no new astrologer arose to take the position he had once held, for the flourishing days of astrology were over.
THE PARKS AND THE MALL-THE BEAUX
It would be an interesting task to trace the history of London fashionable life through the last two centuries, and even a short sketch of it cannot be otherwise than amusing and instructive. Some might, indeed, consider it a history of frivolous things and frivolous sentiments; but when we look back to the past, setting aside the curiosity always felt in contemplating manners or customs which are new to us, even frivolous things have their meaning in tracing the continual movement of the public mind and intelligence.
Our 'modish' forefathers in London two or three generations ago lived much more out of doors than is the custom with fashionable society now-a-days. Spring Garden, the Mulberry Gardens, the Mall, the Park, were places of constant resort from early in the forenoon till late at night, and in addition to these there were continually masquerades, ridottos, &c., where the company was at least nominally more select. The masquerades, too, differed only from the public walks in the circumstance that in the former people dressed in characters, for it was the custom to wear masks everywhere; and intrigue was carried on and kept up quite as much in the promenade of the Park or the Mall, as in the masquerade itself. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as in the middle ages, May was the gay month in society, and its gaiety was usually carried through the month following. May and June were the fashionable months of the year. It was with the first of May that the season in London was considered as commencing, and on that day, proverbially, the parks and the Mall began to fill. Poor Robin's Almanack for 1698 remarks, at the beginning of May
Now at Hide Park, if fair it be,
A show of ladies you may see.
And the same joking prognosticator, for an earlier date (1669), says of the same month,-'The first day of this month (if the weather be fair), Jupiter being in his exaltation, prognosticates great resort of people to Hide Park, Spring Garden,' &c.
The style of fashionable life which continued during a great part of the last century took its rise after the Restoration, and appears to have been carried on with greatest freedom from the reign of Charles II to that of George II. Among the earlier places of fashionable resort was Spring Garden, celebrated in the journal of Pepys, in the time of the former of these monarchs, when it was the favourite place of promenade and intrigue. Arbours, where refreshments might be had, were distributed about the garden; and in Howard's comedy of the English Mounsieur, published in 1674, it is spoken of as 'a place will afford the sight of all our English beauties.' This play contains a good picture of the society in Spring Garden at that time; indeed, we shall find nowhere so vivid and striking a picture of fashionable life in England during the period mentioned above, as in the contemporary comedies, which we shall accordingly take as our principal guides in the following remarks.
Spring Garden was gradually abandoned as the fashionable world threw itself more entirely into the parks. Hyde Park had been long frequented, chiefly by carriages and equestrians; but St. James's Park was nearer to the town, and with its no less celebrated promenade of the Mall, presented the further advantage of being near to the palace, and it thus became not unfrequently the lounge of the king and of the courtiers. There was great freedom in society at that time; and people who were sufficiently well-dressed accosted each other without hesitation, and without requiring any of the formalities of introduction. Thus the Park was a place of general conversation; persons of either sex ' joked' each other, sometimes rather practically, talked nonsense, (sometimes) sense, employed wit and sarcasm as well as flattery on each other, flirted (though they might be perfect strangers), and intrigued. The promenaders were so much at their ease, that they even sung in the Park. The Park and the Mall were frequented every day, and not only at all hours, but far into the night, though there were certain hours at which they were more crowded with company than at other times. Company was not wanting there even at an early hour in the forenoon. In the comedy of Feigned Friendship, two ladies, one disguised as a young man, are introduced in the Mall early, and meet an acquaintance who addresses them
Townley: G'morrow to your ladyship. You would not lose the fine morning.
Lady G: But did not expect so good company as Mr. Townley.
Townley: Small want of that, I believe, madam, while this gentleman is with you.
Lady G: Truly we have pass'd an hour or two very divertingly. The Mall afforded us a large field of satyr, and this spark, I thank him, has managed his province much to my satisfaction. He comes up just to your pitch of malice and wit. I fancy your humours be very suitable. I must have you acquainted.
One of the fashionable hours in the Park was that between twelve and one, being the hour pre-ceding dinner. The ordinary dinner hour of good society appears to have been two o'clock, although at the beginning of the last century, very fashion-able people had already adopted five. In Congreve's Way of the World, printed in 1700, a turn in the Park before dinner is spoken of as a common practice:
Mirabell: Fainall, are you for the Mall?
Fain: Ay, I'll take a turn before dinner.
Witwood: Ay, we'll all walk in the park; the ladies talked of being there.
Seven o'clock in the evening was the next fashionable hour. The late dinner was then over, and ' modish' people again sought the open air. In the contemporary plays, gentlemen are introduced making appointments with the other sex for this hour. Hence the evening promenade was productive of a large amount of scandal. The first scene of the second act of Wilkinson's comedy of Vice Reclaimed, printed in 1703, is laid in St. James's Park in the morning. Two ladies begin their conversation as follows:
Annabella: 'Tis an inviting morning, yet little or no company.
Lucia: So much the better. I love retirement. Besides, this place is grown so scandalous, 'tis forfeiting reputation to be seen in an evening.
Yet, with the gayer part of fashionable society, the evening appears to have been the favourite time in the Park. It included a good portion of the night. In Durfey's Marriage Hater Matched, Lady Hockley says of her dog, 'I carried him to the Park every night with me.' In Shadwell's comedy of The Humorist, a wit asks a lady in a tone of surprise, '0 madam, where were you that I missed you last night at the Park?' And in Wycherley's Gentleman Dancing Master, Mistress Flirt, making conditions of marriage, insists upon having her coach, adding, 'Nor will I have such pitiful horses as cannot carry me every night to the Park; for I will not miss a night in the Park, I'd have you to know.'
There were various spots in or about the Park which obtained a reputation in the annals of gallantry. Barn Elms, near its south-west corner (St. James's Park was then much more extensive than at present) was a locality famed for duelling and love-making; and Rosamond's Pond, near it, and surrounded with pleasant trees, was not only a well-known place of meeting for lovers, but had a more melancholy celebrity for the number of disappointed maidens who committed suicide in it. On the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace were the famed Mulberry Gardens, which had usurped the place of Spring Garden, and which, like it, had their shady tortuous walks and their arbours fitted up for refreshments and intrigues. The Mulberry Gardens often furnished scenes to the contemporary stage. They were entered from the Park, and were open till a late hour in the night. People talk of enjoying ' the garden by moonlight; 'and some of the female characters in. Shadwell's Humorist (1671), give us the following description:
Frisks: 0 me, madam! why does not your ladyship frequent the Mulberry Garden oftener? I vow we had the pleasantest divertisement there last night.
Strick: Ay, I was there, madam Frisk, and the garden was very full, madam, of gentlemen and ladies that made love together till twelve o'clock at night, the prettyly'st: I vow 'twould do one's heart good to see them.
Theo: Why that's a time for cats to make love in, not men and women.
In the reign of George I, the elegant scenes of the London parks were transferred for a few weeks in autumn to Tunbridge Wells. There, it is stated, 'after prayers, all the company appear on the walks in the greatest splendour, music playing all the time; and the ladies and gentlemen divert themselves with raffling, hazard, drinking of tea, and walking, till two, when they go to dinner.' There was no ceremony. 'Every gentleman is equally received by the fair sex upon the walks.' 'You engage with the ladies at play
without any introduction.' 'At night, on the walks, there is all manner of play till midnight.' The tourist who gives us this account calmly adds: 'I believe there is no place in the world better to begin an intrigue in than this, nor than London to finish it.'''
From an early period in this history of fashionable life, we have illustrations of its external features in contemporary prints; and, farther on, caricatures and satirical prints contribute their aid. We are thus enabled to give a few cuts, representing groups of the elegant loungers of the parks at successive periods.
The first, taken from a large contemporary view of a public ceremony, represents a group of fashionables of the male sex in the reign of William III.
The second cut is of a rather later date, and represents a gentleman and lady meeting in the fashionable promenade of perhaps the earlier part of the reign of George I.
While the tone of the comedies and novels of the hundred years succeeding the Restoration leave us in no doubt as to the laxity of fashionable morals, it stands in curious contrast to this fact that the external aspect of the beau monde was decidedly formal. The gait of both men and women was artificial; their phrases of compliment wholly wanted natural ease and grace. A gentleman walking with a lady generally carried his hat in his hand or under his arm (the wig being the protection he trusted to for the comfort of his poll). Take, as an indication of this practice, a conversation between Sylvia and Courtley, in Otway's Soldier's Fortune, 1681:
Silv: In next place, whene'er we meet in the Mall, I desire you to look back at me.
Court: Which if I chance to do, be sure at next turning to pick up some tawdry fluttering fop or another.
Silv: That I made acquaintance with all at the musique meeting.
Court: Right, just such another spark to saunter by your side with his hat under his arm.
Of the freedoms taken on the promenades there is no want of illustrations. In Cibber's Double Gallant (1707), the jealous husband, Sir Solomon, says:
I'll step into the park, and see if I can meet with my hopeful spouse there! I warrant, engaged in some innocent freedom (as she calls it), as walking in a mask, to laugh at the impertinence of fops that don't know her; but 'tis more likely, I'm afraid, a plot to intrigue with those that do.
Masks were, as already stated, in common use among the lady promenaders, who, under cover of this disguise, assisted by a hood and scarf which helped to conceal their person, were enabled to carry on conversations and to follow adventures on which they would hardly have ventured uncovered. In Dilke's comedy of The Pretenders (1698), Sir Bellamore Blunt, who is a stranger to London fashionable society, is astonished at the forward manner of the young Lady Ophelia
Sir Bell: Why so? where are you going then?' Ophelia. (aside) I'll soon try his reality; may you be trusted, sir?
Sir Bell: Indeed, I may, madam.
Ophelia: Then know I'm going to my chamber, to fetch my mask, hood, and scarf, and so jaunt it a little.
Sir Bell: Jaunt it! What's the meaning of that?
Ophelia. Why, that's to take a hackney coach, scour from playhouse to playhouse, till I meet with some young fellow that has power enough to attack me, stock enough to treat and present me, and folly enough to be laughed at for his pains.
London society was haunted by two rather considerable classes of what we may perhaps term parasites, the Beaux and the Wits, of which the latter were by far the most respectable, because many of those who pretended to literary talent or taste, and frequented the society of the wits, were men of wealth, or at least easy circumstances. The beaux might also be divided into two classes, those who were beaux by mere vanity and affectation, and those who were adventurers in the world, who appear to have been by far the more numerous class. These lived upon society in every possible manner, and were especially the attend-ants on the gambling-table. The Park was the resort of the beaux, while the wits frequented the coffee-houses, and both met in the theatres. A beau, or as he was otherwise called, a fop or a spark, affected the most extravagant degree of fashion in his clothing, and he spent much of his time in the hands of his hairdresser and perfumer. He affected also grand and new words, and fine set phrases, in this emulating the character of the wit. He was known by two signs especially, the care bestowed upon his wig, and the skilful manner in which be displayed his snuff-box-for without a snuff-box nobody could be a beau. In Cibber's Double Gallant (1707), a lady, speaking of a monkey, says:
Now, I think he looks very humorous and agreeable; I vow, in a white periwig he might do mischief; could he but talk, and take snuff, there's ne'er a fop in town wou'd go beyond him.
And in the comedy of The Relapse (1708), the counsel given to any one who wants to conciliate a beau is, 'say nothing to him, apply yourself to his favourites, speak to his periwig, his cravat, his feather, his snuff-box.' The beau is represented as aiming by these fopperies at making conquests among the ladies, and so marrying a - fortune. 'Every fop,' says one of the personages in the comedy of The Apparition (1714), 'every fop with a long wig and a snuff-box thinks he may pretend to an heiress of a thousand pounds a year.' In this character the beau was commonly accused, partly out of vanity and partly to promote his speculations on the sex, of injuring reputations by boasting of favours never received, and of forging love-letters addressed to himself, in support of his boasts. In Carlyle's comedy of The Fortune Hunters (1689), the leading characters in which are beaux of this description, the beau Shamtown is introduced in bed at five o'clock in the afternoon, soliloquizing over his useless life, confessing to the writing of billets-doux to himself in the names of amorous ladies, and lamenting over his want of success.
'Yet still,' he says, 'I kept my reputation up; wheresoe'er I came, fresh billet-doux on billet-doux were receiv'd; sent by myself, heaven knows, unto myself, on my own charges.' He subsequently produces a letter, written by himself, which he professes to have received from a lady, and which in no equivocal terms offers him an interview. That the practice was a dangerous one, we do not need the tragical case of Don Matthias in Gil Blas to assure us. Another characteristic of the beau was, that he always carried with him a pocket looking-glass. It must not be forgotten that the beaux and wits together pretended to rule the theatre, and to decide what new pieces should be approved by the public and what rejected. Hence the dramatic writers of the day, in their prologues and epilogues, often address themselves to these two classes. Thus Farquhar, in the prologue to his comedy of Sir Barry Wildair, says of the dramatic writer
He gains his ends, if his light fancy takes
St James's beaux and Covent Garden rakes.
The popular writers of those days abound in satirical descriptions of the beaux. Thus a poem entitled Islington Wells, published in 1691, speaks of a beau `bedaubed with lace,' and alludes especially to his love of fine language.
For using vulgar words and phrases,
Their mouth most inf'nitely debases,
To say they've melancholy been
Is barbarous; no, they are chagrin.
To say a lady's looks are well
Is common; no, her air is belle.
If any thing offends, the wig
Is lost, and they're in such fatigue.
In Delke's comedy of The Pretender, already quoted, we have the following description of the beau of 1678:
Sir Bellamour Blunt: What the devil dost mean by that foolish word beau?
Vainthroat: Why, faith, the title and qualifications of a beau have long been the standing mark for the random shot of all the poets of the age. And to very little purpose. The beaux bravely stand their ground still, egad. The truth on't is, they are a sort of case-hardened animals, as uncapable of scandal as they are insensible of any impression either from satyr or good sense.
Sir Bell: And prithee how must these case-hardened animals be distinguisht?
Vain: Barring reflection, I believe the best way to be acquainted with the whole tribe of 'em, wou'd be to get a general register drawn from all the perfumers' shop books in town. Or, which is more scandalous, to examine the chaulks in all the chairmen's cellars about the Pall Mall; where each morning the poor fellows sit, looking pensively upon their long scores, shaking their heads, and saying,-Ah! how many times have we trotted with such a powder'd son of nine fathers from the Chocolate-house to the play, and never yet saw a groat of his money!
Ten years later, the comedy of The Relapse introduced on the stage a picture of the aristocratic beau, in the character of Lord Foppington-a sort of Lord Dundreary of his day-who, rallied on his pretensions by a party of ladies, gives the following account of his mode of life:
I rise, madam, about ten o'clock. I don't rise sooner, because 'tis the worst thing in the world for the complection; not that I pretend to be a beau, but a man must endeavour to look wholesome, lest he make so nauseous a figure in the side-box, the ladies should be compelled to turn their eyes upon the play. So at ten o'clock, I say, I rise. Naw if I find 'tis a good day, I resolve to take a turn in the Park, and see the fine women; so huddle on my cloaths, and gett dress'd by one. If it be nasty weather, I take a turn in the Chocolate-hause, where, as you walk, madam, you have the prettiest prospect in the world; you have looking-glasses all round you But I'm afraid I tire the company.'
Berinthia: Not at all. Pray go on.
Lord Fop: Why then, ladies, from thence I go to dinner at Packet's, where you are so nicely and delicately serv'd, that, stap my vitals! they shall compose you a dish no bigger than a saucer shall cone to fifty shillings. Between eating my dinner and washing my mouth, ladies, I spend my time till I go to the play; where, till nine a clack, I entertain myself with looking upon the company; and usually dispose of one hour more in leading them ant. So there's twelve of the four and twenty pretty well over. The other twelve, madam, are disposed of intwo articles: in the first four I toast myself drunk, and in t'other eight I sleep myself sober again. Thus, ladies, you see my life is an eternal round of delights.
The ladies afterwards go on to remind him of another characteristic of the true beau
Amanda: But I thought, my lord, you beaux spent a great deal of your time in intrigues: you have given us no account of 'em yet.
Lord Fop: Why, madam as to time for my intrigues, I usually make detachments of it from my other pleasures, according to the exigency. Far your ladyship may please to take notice that those who intrigue with women of quality have rarely occasion for above half an hour at a time. People of that rank being under those decorums, they can seldom give; you a longer view than will just serve to shoot 'em flying. So that the course of my other pleasures is not very much interrupted by my amours.
The last description of the beau we shall quote belongs to a still later date. It is taken from that well-known romance, 'Chrysal,' relating the adventures of a guinea, and published in the year 1760. Chrysal became at one time the property of a town beau, of whose manners and circumstances he gives an amusing description. This beau, having pawned a laced waistcoat for three guineas, 'returned home, and changing his dress, repaired to a coffee-house at the court-end of the town, where he talked over the news of the day,' -'till he carelessly outstayed all his engagements for supper, when a Welsh-rabbit and three-pennyworth of punch made him amends for the want of a dinner, and he went home satisfied.' He made great show of finery and extravagance, but lived in private very parsimoniously, in one room, up three pairs of stairs, fronting a fashionable street, but with a back door into an obscure alley, by which he could enter unseen. He was attended only by his hairdresser, laundress, and tailor, at their appointed times. Here is a journal of one day of his life:
As he had sat up late, it was near noon when he arose, by which genteel indulgence he saved coals, for his fire was never lighted till after he was up. He then sallied out to breakfast in a tarnished lace frock and his thick-soled shoes, read the papers in the coffee house (too soon after breakfast to take anything), and then walked a turn in the Park, till it was time to dress for dinner, when he went home, and finding his stomach out of order, from his last night's debauch and his late breakfasting, he sent the maid of the house for a bason of pea-soup from the cook's shop to settle it, by the time he had taken which, it was too late for him to think of going anywhere to dine, though he had several appointments with people of the first fashion.
When this frugal meal was over, he set about the real business of the day. He took out and brushed his best cloaths, set his shirt to the fire to air, put on his stockings and shoes, and then sitting down to his toilet, on which his washes, paints, tooth-powders, and lip-salves were all placed in order, had just finished his face, when his hairdresser came, one hour under whose hands compleated him a first-rate beau. When he had contemplated himself for some time with pride of heart, and practised his looks and gestures at the glass, a chair was called, which carried him to a scene of equal magnificence and confusion.
From the brilliant appearance of the company, and the ease and self-complacency in all their looks, it should have seemed that there was not one poor or unhappy person among them. But the case of my master had convinced me what little faith is to be given to appearances, as I also found upon a nearer view that many of the gayest there were in no better a condition than he! After some time passed in conversation he sat down to cards.
The character of the beau degenerated about 1770 into that of the Macaroni. It reappeared in the Dandy of about 1816, but may be said to have since become utterly extinct. Our third and last cuts are taken from engravings of the time, and represent groups of fashionable promenaders in the reigns of George II and George III. They were among the last of those who gave celebrity to the Park and the Mall.