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who had received his reprieve at the gallows, and the very judge who had passed sentence of death upon him. This did not in the least disturb the harmony of the society nor embarrass any human creature present. All went off perfectly smooth, and George, adverting to an original portrait of Dean Swift, which hung in the room, told us abundance of excellent and interesting anecdotes of the Dean and himself with minute precision and an importance irresistibly ludicrous. There was also a portrait of his late lady, Mrs. Faulkner, which either made the painter or George a liar, for it was frightfully ugly, whilst he swore she was the most divine object in creation. George prosecuted Foote for lampooning him on the stage of Dublin. His counsel, the Prime Serjeant, compared him to Socrates, and his libeller to Aristophanes. This, I believe, was all that George got by his course of law, but he was told he had the best of the bargain in the comparison, and sate contented under the shadow of his laurels."
The account of Soame Jenyns is no less happy.
“A disagreement about a name or a date will mar the best story that ever was put together. Sir Joshua Reynolds luckily would not hear an interrupter of this sort ; Johnson would not hear, or if he heard, would not heed him. Soame Jenyns heard him, heeded him, set him right, and took up his tale where he had left it without
of its humour, adding only a few more twists to his snuff-box, a few more taps upon the lid of it, with a preparatory grunt or two, the invariable forerunner of the amenity that was at the heels of them. He was the man who bore his part in all societies with the most even temper and undisturbed hilarity of any man I ever knew. He into
house at the very moment you had put upon your card; he dressed himself, to do your party honour, in all the colours of the jay; his lace, indeed, had long since lost its lustre, but his coat had faithfully retained its cut since the days when gentlemen wore embroidered figured velvets, with short sleeves, high cuffs, and buckram skirts. As Nature had cast him in the exact mould of an ill-made pair of stiff stays, he followed her so close in the fashion of his coat, that it was doubted if he did not wear them; because he had a protuberant wen just under his poll, he wore a wig that did not cover above half his head. His eyes were protruded like the eyes of the lobster, who wears them at the end of his feelers, and yet there was room between one of these and his nose for another wen, that added nothing to his beauty. Yet I heard this good man very innocently remark, when Gibbon published his history, that he wondered anybody so ugly could write a book.
“ Such was the exterior of a man who was the charm of the circle, and gave a zest to every company he came into. His pleasantry was of a sort
peculiar to himself; it harmonised with everything; it was like the bread to your dinner; you did not perhaps make it the whole or principal part of your meal, but it was an admirable and wholesome auxiliary to your other viands. Soame Jenyns told you no long stories, engrossed not much of your attention, and was not angry with those who did. His thoughts were original, and were apt to have a very whimsical affinity to the paradox in them. There was a terseness in his repartees that had a play of words as well as of thought, as when speaking of the difference of laying out money upon land, or purchasing into the funds, he said ‘One was principal without interest, and the other interest without principal.'”
Although the serious part of “The Wheel of Fortune," that is to say, the whole character of Penruddock is admirably conceived and admirably written, (the recollection of John Kemble in that play can never be erased). Mr. Cumberland's power seemed to desert him whenever he attempted tragedy or verse of any sort. His lines on "Affectation," which have great merit, form the only exception that I remember to this assertion; certainly his epic of “Calvary" does not; neither does his share in the “Richard Cour de Lion," of Sir James Bland Burgess.
Why, Affectation, why this mock grimace ?
Why that soft languish? Why that drawling tone ?
Can they deceive us ? Can such mummeries move,
A great part of Mr. Cumberland's amusing work is taken up by an account of his disastrous mission in Spain, which, underfined in its object, and unsuccessful in its result, brought nothing but disappointment to the Government or the negotiator. After his return from Madrid, he fell back upon literature, and closed a long and varied life in an advanced age at Tunbridge Wells.
MRS. CLIVE, MRS. ACTON TINDAL, MISS DAY,
MRS. ROBERT DERING.
THERE never was a more remarkable contrast between the temperament of the poetess and the temperament of the woman, than that which exists between the thoughtful gravity, the almost gloomy melancholy that characterise the writings of that celebrated initial letter, the “V.” of “Blackwood's Magazine," and the charming, cheerful, light-hearted lady, known as Mrs. Clive. This discrepancy has been acknowledged before now to exist between the tastes and the tempers of nations. The French in their old day, before this last revolution, perhaps before any of their revolutions, the French of our old traditions and our old travellers, the Sternes and the Goldsmiths,