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manager; I shall crown all with informing you of the particulars of a late achievement, that will give him an everlasting renown. About two months ago, a gentleman of a good fortune had a mind to buy some considerable employment in the court, and sent a solicitor to negotiate this affair with don Guzman's agent, who, after one or two meetings, told hiin the vicechamberlain's employment was to be disposed of, the person who now enjoyed it being wholly out of favour with the queen *; that the choice of his successor was in don Guzman's power ; that seven thousand pounds was the price, whereof four thousand was to be given to a lady who was fostersister to the queen ; two thousand to the present vicechamberlain, in consideration of his being turned out; and the remaining thousand to be divided between the great don and the two small agents: this was the result, after several meetings, after two or three hampers of wine had been sent to Saint James's, and some guineas given to facilitate the putting off a bargain, which, as pretended, was begun for the employment, to another person. This matter went so far, that notes were interchangeably given between the two agents and their principal, as well relating to the thousand pounds which was to be divided among them, as to the main sum.'. Our projector was likewise very curious to know, whether the new vicechamberlain could speak French, which, he said, was absolutely necessary to his office; whether he was well fashioned, had a genteel manner, and polite conversation ; and directed, that the person himself should, upon an appointed day, be seen walking in
* Thomas Coke, esq., was at that time viccchamberlain.'
the the garden before St. James's house, that the lady, the queen's fostersister, might judge of his mien, whether he were a sightly man, and, by his appearance, qualified for so great an employment. To carry the imposture farther, one Sunday, when, in the lord chamberlain's * absence, Mr. vicechamberlain led her majesty to chapel, don Guzman, being there with his solicitor, said to him, with an expressive sneer, and a sort of rapture, “ Ah, sir, 66 what happiness! I am ravished to think of it. I « wish your friend was here now, to see the vice“ chamberlain handing the queen: I would make « him give the other thousand pounds for his em“ ployment."
These are the circumstances of this story, as near as I can remember. How the ingenious don could have got off clean from this business, I cannot possibly imagine : but it unfortunately happened, that he was not put to the trial of showing his dexterity; for the vicechamberlain,, by what means I could never yet learn, got a little light into the matter. He was told that somebody had been treating for his place, and had information given him where to find the solicitor of the person who was to succeed him. He immediately sent for the man : who (not conceiving himself to be engaged in a dishonest action, and therefore conscious of no guilt) very freely told him all that he knew; and, as he had good reason, was as angry at the cheat put upon him and his friend, as the vicechainberlain himself; whereupon poor don Guzman and his two agents were, at Mr. vicechamberlain's request, examined before a prin
* Charles Talbot, duke of Shrewsbury.
cipal secretary of state, and their examinations taken in writing. But here I must with shame confess, that our hero's behaviour was much below his character; he shuffled and dodged, denied and affirmed, contradicted himself every moment, owned the facta yet insisted on his honour and innocency. In short, his whole demeanour was such, that the rawest stockjobber in Exchange alley would blush to see it. It is true, he hath since in some manner recovered his reputation; he talks boldly wherever he comes, as if he were the party injured, and as if he expected satisfaction ; and, what is still more heroical, goes on in his old trade of disposing places, though not of such great consideration.
How the affair will end, I cannot tell; the vicechamberlain, between generosity and contempt, not being hitherto very forward in carrying it to a formal prosecution ; and the rest of the court contenting themselves, some with laughing, and some in lifting up their eyes with admiration.
However, I think the matter well deserves to be recorded, both for the honour of the manager, and to let you and the world know that great abilities and dexterity are not confined to Exchange alley.
I am, sir,