The Expedition of Humphry Clinker
Tobias Smollett

Part 2 out of 8

find the matter grow more serious -- You perceive what an agreeable
task it must be, to a man of my kidney, to have the cure of such
souls as these. -- But, hold, You shall not have another peevish
word (till the next occasion) from

BATH, April 28.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.


I think those people are unreasonable, who complain that Bath is
a contracted circle, in which the same dull scenes perpetually
revolve, without variation -- I am, on the contrary, amazed to find
so small a place so crowded with entertainment and variety.
London itself can hardly exhibit one species of diversion, to
which we have not something analogous at Bath, over and above
those singular advantages that are peculiar to the place. Here,
for example, a man has daily opportunities of seeing the most
remarkable characters of the community. He sees them in their
natural attitudes and true colours; descended from their
pedestals, and divested of their formal draperies, undisguised by
art and affectation -- Here we have ministers of state, judges,
generals, bishops, projectors, philosophers, wits, poets,
players, chemists, fiddlers, and buffoons. If he makes any
considerable stay in the place, he is sure of meeting with some
particular friend, whom he did not expect to see; and to me there
is nothing more agreeable than such casual reencounters. Another
entertainment, peculiar to Bath, arises from the general mixture
of all degrees assembled in our public rooms, without distinction
of rank or fortune. This is what my uncle reprobates, as a
monstrous jumble of heterogeneous principles; a vile mob of noise
and impertinence, without decency or subordination. But this
chaos is to me a source of infinite amusement.

I was extremely diverted last ball-night to see the Master of the
Ceremonies leading, with great solemnity, to the upper end of the
room, an antiquated Abigail, dressed in her lady's cast-clothes;
whom he (I suppose) mistook for some countess just arrived at the
Bath. The ball was opened by a Scotch lord, with a mulatto
heiress from St Christopher's; and the gay colonel Tinsel danced
all the evening with the daughter of an eminent tinman from the
borough of Southwark. Yesterday morning, at the Pump-room, I saw a
broken-winded Wapping landlady squeeze through a circle of peers,
to salute her brandy-merchant, who stood by the window, propped
upon crutches; and a paralytic attorney of Shoe-lane, in
shuffling up to the bar, kicked the shins of the chancellor of
England, while his lordship, in a cut bob, drank a glass of water
at the pump. I cannot account for my being pleased with these
incidents, any other way, than by saying they are truly
ridiculous in their own nature, and serve to heighten the humour
in the farce of life, which I am determined to enjoy as long as I

Those follies, that move my uncle's spleen, excite my laughter.
He is as tender as a man without a skin; who cannot bear the
slightest touch without flinching. What tickles another would
give him torment; and yet he has what we may call lucid
intervals, when he is remarkably facetious -- Indeed, I never knew
a hypochondriac so apt to be infected with good-humour. He is the
most risible misanthrope I ever met with. A lucky joke, or any
ludicrous incident, will set him a-laughing immoderately, even in
one of his most gloomy paroxysms; and, when the laugh is over, he
will curse his own imbecility. In conversing with strangers, he
betrays no marks of disquiet -- He is splenetic with his familiars
only; and not even with them, while they keep his attention
employed; but when his spirits are not exerted externally, they
seem to recoil and prey upon himself -- He has renounced the waters
with execration; but he begins to find a more efficacious, and,
certainly, a much more palatable remedy in the pleasures of
society. He has discovered some old friends, among the invalids
of Bath; and, in particular, renewed his acquaintance with the
celebrated James Quin, who certainly did not come here to drink
water. You cannot doubt, but that I had the strongest curiosity
to know this original; and it was gratified by Mr Bramble, who
has had him twice at our house to dinner.

So far as I am able to judge, Quin's character is rather more
respectable than it has been generally represented. His bon mots
are in every witling's mouth; but many of them have a rank
flavour, which one would be apt to think was derived from a
natural grossness of idea. I suspect, however, that justice has
not been done the author, by the collectors of those Quiniana;
who have let the best of them slip through their fingers, and
only retained such as were suited to the taste and organs of the
multitude. How far he may relax in his hours of jollity, I cannot
pretend to say; but his general conversation is conducted by the
nicest rules of Propriety; and Mr James Quin is, certainly, one
of the best bred men in the kingdom. He is not only a most
agreeable companion but (as I am credibly informed) a very honest
man; highly susceptible of friendship, warm, steady, and even
generous in his attachments, disdaining flattery, and incapable
of meanness and dissimulation. Were I to judge, however, from
Quin's eye alone, I should take him to be proud, insolent, and
cruel. There is something remarkably severe and forbidding in his
aspect; and, I have been told, he was ever disposed to insult his
inferiors and dependants. -- Perhaps that report has influenced my
opinion of his looks -- You know we are the fools of prejudice.
Howsoever that may be, I have as yet seen nothing but his
favourable side, and my uncle, who frequently confers with him,
in a corner, declares he is one of the most sensible men he ever
knew -- He seems to have a reciprocal regard for old Squaretoes,
whom he calls by the familiar name of Matthew, and often reminds
of their old tavern-adventures: on the other hand, Matthew's eyes
sparkle whenever Quin makes his appearance -- Let him be never so
jarring and discordant, Quin puts him in tune; and, like treble
and bass in the same concert, they make excellent music together --.
T'other day, the conversation turning upon Shakespeare, I could
not help saying, with some emotion, that I would give an hundred
guineas to see Mr Quin act the part of Falstaff; upon which,
turning to me with a smile, 'And I would give a thousand, young
gentleman (said he) that I could gratify your longing.' My uncle
and he are perfectly agreed in their estimate of life; which Quin
says, would stink in his nostrils, if he did not steep it in

I want to see this phenomenon in his cups; and have almost
prevailed upon uncle to give him a small turtle at the Bear. In
the mean time, I must entertain you with an incident, that seems
to confirm the judgment of those two cynic philosophers. I took
the liberty to differ in opinion from Mr Bramble, when he
observed, that the mixture of people in the entertainments of
this place was destructive of all order and urbanity; that it
rendered the plebeians insufferably arrogant and troublesome, and
vulgarized the deportment and sentiments of those who moved in
the upper spheres of life. He said such a preposterous coalition
would bring us into contempt with all our neighbours; and was
worse, in fact, than debasing the gold coin of the nation. I
argued, on the contrary, that those plebeians who discovered such
eagerness to imitate the dress and equipage of their superiors,
would likewise, in time, adopt their maxims and their manners, be
polished by their conversation, and refined by their example; but
when I appealed to Mr Quin, and asked if he did not think that
such an unreserved mixture would improve the whole mass? 'Yes
(said he) as a plate of marmalade would improve a pan of

I owned I was not much conversant in high-life, but I had seen
what were called polite assemblies in London and elsewhere; that
those of Bath seemed to be as decent as any; and that, upon the
whole, the individuals that composed it, would not be found
deficient in good manners and decorum. 'But let us have recourse
to experience (said I) -- Jack Holder, who was intended for a
parson, has succeeded to an estate of two thousand a year, by the
death of his elder brother. He is now at the Bath, driving about
in a phaeton and four, with French horns. He has treated with
turtle and claret at all the taverns in Bath and Bristol, till
his guests are gorged with good chear: he has bought a dozen
suits of fine clothes, by the advice of the Master of the
Ceremonies, under whose tuition he has entered himself. He has
lost hundreds at billiards to sharpers, and taken one of the
nymphs of Avon-street into keeping; but, finding all these
channels insufficient to drain him of his current cash, his
counsellor has engaged him to give a general tea-drinking to-morrow
at Wiltshire's room. In order to give it the more eclat,
every table is to be furnished with sweet-meats and nosegays;
which, however, are not to be touched till notice is given by the
ringing of a bell, and then the ladies may help themselves
without restriction. This will be no bad way of trying the
company's breeding.'

'I will abide by that experiment (cried my uncle) and if I could
find a place to stand secure, without the vortex of the tumult,
which I know will ensue, I would certainly go thither and enjoy
the scene.' Quin proposed that we should take our station in the
music-gallery, and we took his advice. Holder had got thither
before us, with his horns perdue, but we were admitted. The tea-drinking
passed as usual, and the company having risen from the
tables, were sauntering in groupes, in expectation of the signal
for attack, when the bell beginning to ring, they flew with
eagerness to the dessert, and the whole place was instantly in
commotion. There was nothing but justling, scrambling, pulling,
snatching, struggling, scolding, and screaming. The nosegays were
torn from one another's hands and bosoms; the glasses and china
went to wreck; the tables and floors were strewed with comfits.
Some cried; some swore; and the tropes and figures of
Billingsgate were used without reserve in all their native zest
and flavour; nor were those flowers of rhetoric unattended with
significant gesticulation. Some snapped their fingers; some
forked them out; some clapped their hands, and some their back-sides;
at length, they fairly proceeded to pulling caps, and
every thing seemed to presage a general battle; when Holder
ordered his horns to sound a charge, with a view to animate the
combatants, and inflame the contest; but this manoeuvre produced
an effect quite contrary to what he expected. It was a note of
reproach that roused them to an immediate sense of their
disgraceful situation. They were ashamed of their absurd
deportment, and suddenly desisted. They gathered up their caps,
ruffles, and handkerchiefs; and great part of them retired in
silent mortification.

Quin laughed at this adventure; but my uncle's delicacy was hurt.
He hung his head in manifest chagrin, and seemed to repine at the
triumph of his judgment -- Indeed, his victory was more complete
than he imagined; for, as we afterwards learned, the two amazons
who singularized themselves most in the action, did not come from
the purlieus of Puddle-dock, but from the courtly neighbourhood
of St James's palace. One was a baroness, and the other, a
wealthy knight's dowager -- My uncle spoke not a word, till we had
made our retreat good to the coffee-house; where, taking off his
hat and wiping his forehead, 'I bless God (said he) that Mrs
Tabitha Bramble did not take the field today!' 'I would pit her
for a cool hundred (cried Quin) against the best shake-bag of the
whole main.' The truth is, nothing could have kept her at home
but the accident of her having taken physic before she knew the
nature of the entertainment. She has been for some days
furbishing up an old suit of black velvet, to make her appearance
as Sir Ulic's partner at the next ball.

I have much to say of this amiable kinswoman; but she has not
been properly introduced to your acquaintance. She is remarkably
civil to Mr Quin; of whose sarcastic humour she seems to stand in
awe; but her caution is no match for her impertinence. 'Mr Gwynn
(said she the other day) I was once vastly entertained with your
playing the Ghost of Gimlet at Drury-lane, when you rose up
through the stage, with a white face and red eyes, and spoke of
quails upon the frightful porcofine -- Do, pray, spout a little the
Ghost of Gimlet.' 'Madam (said Quin, with a glance of ineffable
disdain) the Ghost of Gimlet is laid, never to rise again' --
Insensible of this check, she proceeded: 'Well, to be sure, you
looked and talked so like a real ghost; and then the cock crowed
so natural. I wonder how you could teach him to crow so exact, in
the very nick of time; but, I suppose, he's game -- An't he game,
Mr Gwynn?' 'Dunghill, madam.' -- 'Well, dunghill, or not dunghill,
he has got such a clear counter-tenor, that I wish I had such
another at Brambleton-hall, to wake the maids of a morning. Do
you know where I could find one of his brood?' 'Probably in the
work-house at St Giles's parish, madam; but I protest I know not
his particular mew!' My uncle, frying with vexation, cried, 'Good
God, sister, how you talk! I have told you twenty times, that
this gentleman's name is not Gwynn.' -- 'Hoity toity, brother mine
(she replied) no offence, I hope -- Gwynn is an honorable name, of
true old British extraction -- I thought the gentleman had been
come of Mrs Helen Gwynn, who was of his own profession; and if so
be that were the case, he might be of king Charles's breed, and
have royal blood in his veins.' -- 'No, madam (answered Quin, with
great solemnity) my mother was not a whore of such distinction --
True it is, I am sometimes tempted to believe myself of royal
descent; for my inclinations are often arbitrary -- If I was an
absolute prince, at this instant, I believe I should send for the
head of your cook in a charger -- She has committed felony, on the
person of that John Dory, which is mangled in a cruel manner, and
even presented without sauce -- O tempora! O mores!'

This good-humoured sally turned the conversation into a less
disagreeable channel -- But, lest you should think my scribble as
tedious as Mrs Tabby's clack, I shall not add another word, but
that I am as usual

BATH, April 30.



I received your bill upon Wiltshire, which was punctually
honoured; but as I don't choose to keep so much cash by me, in a
common lodging house, I have deposited 250l. in the bank of Bath,
and shall take their bills for it in London, when I leave this
place, where the season draws to an end -- You must know, that now
being a-foot, I am resolved to give Liddy a glimpse of London.
She is one of the best hearted creatures I ever knew, and gains
upon my affection every day -- As for Tabby, I have dropt such
hints to the Irish baronet, concerning her fortune, as, I make no
doubt, will cool the ardour of his addresses. Then her pride will
take the alarm; and the rancour of stale maidenhood being chafed,
we shall hear nothing but slander and abuse of Sir Ulic
Mackilligut -- This rupture, I foresee, will facilitate our
departure from Bath; where, at present, Tabby seems to enjoy
herself with peculiar satisfaction. For my part, I detest it so
much, that I should not have been able to stay so long in the
place if I had not discovered some old friends; whose
conversation alleviates my disgust -- Going to the coffeehouse one
forenoon, I could not help contemplating the company, with equal
surprize and compassion -- We consisted of thirteen individuals;
seven lamed by the gout, rheumatism, or palsy; three maimed by
accident; and the rest either deaf or blind. One hobbled, another
hopped, a third dragged his legs after him like a wounded snake,
a fourth straddled betwixt a pair of long crutches, like the
mummy of a felon hanging in chains; a fifth was bent into a
horizontal position, like a mounted telescope, shoved in by a
couple of chairmen; and a sixth was the bust of a man, set
upright in a wheel machine, which the waiter moved from place to

Being struck with some of their faces, I consulted the
subscription-book; and, perceiving the names of several old
friends, began to consider the groupe with more attention. At
length I discovered rear-admiral Balderick, the companion of my
youth, whom I had not seen since he was appointed lieutenant of
the Severn. He was metamorphosed into an old man, with a wooden
leg and a weatherbeaten face, which appeared the more ancient
from his grey locks, that were truly venerable -- Sitting down at
the table, where he was reading a news-paper, I gazed at him for
some minutes, with a mixture of pleasure and regret, which made
my heart gush with tenderness; then, taking him by the hand, 'Ah,
Sam (said I) forty years ago I little thought' -- I was too much
moved to proceed. 'An old friend, sure enough! (cried he,
squeezing my hand, and surveying me eagerly through his glasses)
I know the looming of the vessel, though she has been hard
strained since we parted; but I can't heave up the name' -- The
moment I told him who I was, he exclaimed, 'Ha! Matt, my old
fellow cruizer, still afloat!' And, starting up, hugged me in his
arms. His transport, however, boded me no good; for, in saluting
me, he thrust the spring of his spectacles into my eye, and, at
the same time, set his wooden stump upon my gouty toe; an attack
that made me shed tears in sad earnest -- After the hurry of our
recognition was over, he pointed out two of our common friends in
the room: the bust was what remained of colonel Cockril, who had
lost the use of his limbs in making an American campaign; and the
telescope proved to be my college chum, sir Reginald Bently; who,
with his new title, and unexpected inheritance, commenced fox-hunter,
without having served his apprenticeship to the mystery;
and, in consequence of following the hounds through a river, was
seized with an inflammation of his bowels, which has contracted
him into his present attitude.

Our former correspondence was forthwith renewed, with the most
hearty expressions of mutual good-will, and as we had met so
unexpectedly, we agreed to dine together that very day at the
tavern. My friend Quin, being luckily unengaged, obliged us with
his company; and, truly, this the most happy day I have passed
these twenty years. You and I, Lewis, having been always
together, never tasted friendship in this high gout, contracted
from long absence. I cannot express the half of what I felt at
this casual meeting of three or four companions, who had been so
long separated, and so roughly treated by the storms of life. It
was a renovation of youth; a kind of resuscitation of the dead,
that realized those interesting dreams, in which we sometimes
retrieve our ancient friends from the grave. Perhaps my enjoyment
was not the less pleasing for being mixed with a strain of
melancholy, produced by the remembrance of past scenes, that
conjured up the ideas of some endearing connexions, which the
hand of Death has actually dissolved.

The spirits and good humour of the company seemed to triumph over
the wreck of their constitutions. They had even philosophy enough
to joke upon their own calamities; such is the power of
friendship, the sovereign cordial of life -- I afterwards found,
however, that they were not without their moments, and even hours
of disquiet. Each of them apart, in succeeding conferences,
expatiated upon his own particular grievances; and they were all
malcontents at bottom -- Over and above their personal disasters,
they thought themselves unfortunate in the lottery of life.
Balderick complained, that all the recompence he had received for
his long and hard service, was the half-pay of a rear-admiral.
The colonel was mortified to see himself over-topped by upstart
generals, some of whom he had once commanded; and, being a man of
a liberal turn, could ill put up with a moderate annuity, for
which he had sold his commission. As for the baronet, having run
himself considerably in debt, on a contested election, he has
been obliged to relinquish his seat in parliament, and his seat
in the country at the same time, and put his estate to nurse; but
his chagrin, which is the effect of his own misconduct, does not
affect me half so much as that of the other two, who have acted
honourable and distinguished parts on the great theatre, and are
now reduced to lead a weary life in this stew-pan of idleness and
insignificance. They have long left off using the waters, after
having experienced their inefficacy. The diversions of the place
they are not in a condition to enjoy. How then do they make shift
to pass their time? In the forenoon they crawl out to the Rooms
or the coffeehouse, where they take a hand at whist, or descant
upon the General Advertiser; and their evenings they murder in
private parties, among peevish invalids, and insipid old women --
This is the case with a good number of individuals, whom nature
seems to have intended for better purposes.

About a dozen years ago, many decent families, restricted to
small fortunes, besides those that came hither on the score of
health, were tempted to settle at Bath, where they could then
live comfortably, and even make a genteel appearance, at a small
expence: but the madness of the times has made the place too hot
for them, and they are now obliged to think of other migrations --
Some have already fled to the mountains of Wales, and others have
retired to Exeter. Thither, no doubt, they will be followed by
the flood of luxury and extravagance, which will drive them from
place to place to the very Land's End; and there, I suppose, they
will be obliged to ship themselves to some other country. Bath is
become a mere sink of profligacy and extortion. Every article of
house-keeping is raised to an enormous price; a circumstance no
longer to be wondered at, when we know that every petty retainer
of fortune piques himself upon keeping a table, and thinks it is
for the honour of his character to wink at the knavery of his
servants, who are in a confederacy with the market-people; and,
of consequence, pay whatever they demand. Here is now a mushroom
of opulence, who pays a cook seventy guineas a week for
furnishing him with one meal a day. This portentous frenzy is
become so contagious, that the very rabble and refuse of mankind
are infected. I have known a negro-driver, from Jamaica, pay
over-night, to the master of one of the rooms, sixty-five guineas
for tea and coffee to the company, and leave Bath next morning,
in such obscurity, that not one of his guests had the slightest
idea of his person, or even made the least inquiry about his
name. Incidents of this kind are frequent; and every day teems
with fresh absurdities, which are too gross to make a thinking
man merry.

-- But I feel the spleen creeping on me apace; and therefore will
indulge you with a cessation, that you may have no unnecessary
cause to curse your correspondence with,

Dear Dick,
Yours ever,
BATH, May 5.

To Miss LAETITIA WILLIS, at Gloucester.


I wrote you at great length by the post, the twenty-sixth of last
month, to which I refer you for an account of our proceedings at
Bath; and I expect your answer with impatience. But, having this
opportunity of a private hand, I send you two dozen of Bath
rings; six of the best of which I desire you will keep for
yourself, and distribute the rest among the young ladies, our
common friends, as you shall think proper -- I don't know how you
will approve of the mottoes; some of them are not much to my own
liking; but I was obliged to take such as I could find ready
manufactured -- I am vexed, that neither you nor I have received
any further information of a certain person -- Sure it cannot be
wilful neglect! -- O my dear Willis! I begin to be visited by
strange fancies, and to have some melancholy doubts; which,
however, it would be ungenerous to harbour without further
inquiry -- My uncle, who has made me a present of a very fine set
of garnets, talks of treating us with a jaunt to London; which,
you may imagine, will be highly agreeable; but I like Bath so
well, that I hope he won't think of leaving it till the season is
quite over; and yet, betwixt friends, something has happened to
my aunt, which will probably shorten our stay in this place.

Yesterday, in the forenoon, she went by herself to a breakfasting
in one of the rooms; and, in half an hour, returned in great
agitation, having Chowder along with her in the chair. I believe
some accident must have happened to that unlucky animal, which is
the great source of all her troubles. Dear Letty! what a pity it
is, that a woman of her years and discretion, should place her
affection upon such an ugly, ill-conditioned cur, that snarls and
snaps at every body. I asked John Thomas, the footman who
attended her, what was the matter? and he did nothing but grin. A
famous dog-doctor was sent for, and undertook to cure the
patient, provided he might carry him home to his own house; but
his mistress would not part with him out of her own sight -- She
ordered the cook to warm cloths, which she applied to his bowels,
with her own hand. She gave up all thoughts of going to the ball
in the evening; and when Sir Ulic came to drink tea, refused to
be seen; so that he went away to look for another partner. My
brother Jery whistles and dances. My uncle sometimes shrugs up
his shoulders, and sometimes bursts out a-laughing. My aunt sobs
and scolds by turns; and her woman, Win. Jenkins, stares and
wonders with a foolish face of curiosity; and, for my part, I am
as curious as she, but ashamed to ask questions.

Perhaps time will discover the mystery; for if it was any thing
that happened in the Rooms, it cannot be long concealed -- All I
know is, that last night at supper, miss Bramble spoke very
disdainfully of Sir Ulic Mackilligut, and asked her brother if he
intended to keep us sweltering all the summer at Bath? 'No,
sister Tabitha (said he, with an arch smile) we shall retreat
before the Dog-days begin; though I make no doubt, that with a
little temperance and discretion, our constitutions might be kept
cool enough all the year, even at Bath.' As I don't know the
meaning of this insinuation, I won't pretend to make any remarks
upon it at present: hereafter, perhaps, I may be able to explain
it more to your satisfaction -- In the mean time, I beg you will be
punctual in your correspondence, and continue to love your ever

BATH, May 6.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.

So then Mrs Blackerby's affair has proved a false alarm, and I
have saved my money? I wish, however, her declaration had not
been so premature; for though my being thought capable of making
her a mother, might have given me some credit, the reputation of
an intrigue with such a cracked pitcher does me no honour at all
In my last I told you I had hopes of seeing Quin, in his hours of
elevation at the tavern which is the temple of mirth and good
fellowship; where he, as priest of Comus, utters the inspirations
of wit and humour -- I have had that satisfaction. I have dined
with his club at the Three Tuns, and had the honour to sit him
out. At half an hour past eight in the evening, he was carried
home with six good bottles of claret under his belt; and it being
then Friday, he gave orders that he should not be disturbed till
Sunday at noon -- You must not imagine that this dose had any other
effect upon his conversation, but that of making it more
extravagantly entertaining -- He had lost the use of his limbs,
indeed, several hours before we parted, but he retained all his
other faculties in perfection; and as he gave vent to every
whimsical idea as it rose, I was really astonished at the
brilliancy of his thoughts, and the force of his expression. Quin
is a real voluptuary in the articles of eating and drinking; and
so confirmed an epicure, in the common acceptation of the term,
that he cannot put up with ordinary fare. This is a point of such
importance with him, that he always takes upon himself the charge
of catering; and a man admitted to his mess, is always sure of
eating delicate victuals, and drinking excellent wine -- He owns
himself addicted to the delights of the stomach, and often jokes
upon his own sensuality; but there is nothing selfish in this
appetite -- He finds that good chear unites good company,
exhilerates the spirits, opens the heart, banishes all restraint
from conversation, and promotes the happiest purposes of social
life. But Mr James Quin is not a subject to be discussed in the
compass of one letter; I shall therefore, at present, leave him
to his repose, and call another of a very different complexion.

You desire to have further acquaintance with the person of our
aunt, and promise yourself much entertainment from her connexion
with Sir Ulic Mackilligut: but in this hope you are baulked
already; that connexion is dissolved. The Irish baronet is an old
hound, that, finding her carrion, has quitted the scent -- I have
already told you, that Mrs Tabitha Bramble is a maiden of forty-five.
In her person, she is tall, raw-boned, aukward, flat-chested,
and stooping; her complexion is sallow and freckled; her
eyes are not grey, but greenish, like those of a cat, and
generally inflamed; her hair is of a sandy, or rather dusty hue;
her forehead low; her nose long, sharp, and, towards the
extremity, always red in cool weather; her lips skinny, her mouth
extensive, her teeth straggling and loose, of various colours and
conformation; and her long neck shrivelled into a thousand
wrinkles -- In her temper, she is proud, stiff, vain, imperious,
prying, malicious, greedy, and uncharitable. In all likelihood,
her natural austerity has been soured by disappointment in love;
for her long celibacy is by no means owing to her dislike of
matrimony: on the contrary, she has left no stone unturned to
avoid the reproachful epithet of old maid.

Before I was born, she had gone such lengths in the way of
flirting with a recruiting officer, that her reputation was a
little singed. She afterwards made advances to the curate of the
parish, who dropped some distant hints about the next
presentation to the living, which was in her brother's gift; but
finding that was already promised to another, he flew off at a
tangent; and Mrs Tabby, in revenge, found means to deprive him of
his cure. Her next lover was lieutenant of a man of war, a
relation of the family, who did not understand the refinements of
the passion, and expressed no aversion to grapple with cousin
Tabby in the way of marriage; but before matters could be
properly adjusted, he went out on a cruise, and was killed in an
engagement with a French frigate. Our aunt, though baffled so
often, did not yet despair. She layed all her snares for Dr Lewis,
who is the fidus Achates of my uncle. She even fell sick upon the
occasion, and prevailed with Matt to interpose in her behalf with
his friend; but the Doctor, being a shy cock, would not be caught
with chaff, and flatly rejected the proposal: so that Mrs Tabitha
was content to exert her patience once more, after having
endeavoured in vain to effect a rupture betwixt the two friends;
and now she thinks proper to be very civil to Lewis, who is
become necessary to her in the way of his profession.

These, however, are not the only efforts she has made towards a
nearer conjunction with our sex. Her fortune was originally no
more than a thousand pounds; but she gained an accession of five
hundred by the death of a sister, and the lieutenant left her
three hundred in his will. These sums she has more than doubled,
by living free of all expence, in her brother's house; and
dealing in cheese and Welsh flannel, the produce of his flocks
and dairy. At present her capital is increased to about four
thousand pounds; and her avarice seems to grow every day more and
more rapacious: but even this is not so intolerable as the
perverseness of her nature, which keeps the whole family in
disquiet and uproar. She is one of those geniuses who find some
diabolical enjoyment in being dreaded and detested by their

I once told my uncle, I was surprised that a man of his
disposition could bear such a domestic plague, when it could be
so easily removed. The remark made him sore, because it seemed to
tax him with want of resolution -- Wrinkling up his nose, and
drawing down his eye-brows, 'A young fellow (said he) when he
first thrusts his snout into the world, is apt to be surprised at
many things which a man of experience knows to be ordinary and
unavoidable -- This precious aunt of yours is become insensibly a
part of my constitution -- Damn her! She's a noli me tangere in my
flesh, which I cannot bear to be touched or tampered with.' I made no
reply; but shifted the conversation. He really has an affection
for this original; which maintains its ground in defiance of
common sense, and in despite of that contempt which he must
certainly feel for her character and understanding. Nay, I am
convinced, that she has likewise a most virulent attachment to
his person; though her love never shews itself but in the shape
of discontent; and she persists in tormenting him out of pure
tenderness -- The only object within doors upon which she bestows
any marks of affection, in the usual stile, is her dog Chowder; a
filthy cur from Newfoundland, which she had in a present from the
wife of a skipper in Swansey. One would imagine she had
distinguished this beast with her favour on account of his
ugliness and ill-nature, if it was not, indeed, an instinctive
sympathy, between his disposition and her own. Certain it is, she
caresses him without ceasing; and even harasses the family in the
service of this cursed animal, which, indeed, has proved the
proximate cause of her breach with Sir Ulic Mackilligut.

You must know, she yesterday wanted to steal a march of poor
Liddy, and went to breakfast in the Room without any other
companion than her dog, in expectation of meeting with the
Baronet, who had agreed to dance with her in the evening -- Chowder
no sooner made his appearance in the Room, than the Master of the
Ceremonies, incensed at his presumption, ran up to drive him
away, and threatened him with his foot; but the other seemed to
despise his authority, and displaying a formidable case of long,
white, sharp teeth, kept the puny monarch at bay -- While he stood
under some trepidation, fronting his antagonist, and bawling to
the waiter, Sir Ulic Mackilligut came to his assistance; and
seeming ignorant of the connexion between this intruder and his
mistress, gave the former such a kick in the jaws, as sent him
howling to the door -- Mrs Tabitha, incensed at this outrage, ran
after him, squalling in a tone equally disagreeable; while the
Baronet followed her on one side, making apologies for his
mistake; and Derrick on the other, making remonstrances upon the
rules and regulations of the place.

Far from being satisfied with the Knight's excuses, she said she
was sure he was no gentleman; and when the Master of the
Ceremonies offered to hand her into the chair, she rapped him
over the knuckles with her fan. My uncle's footman being still at
the door, she and Chowder got into the same vehicle, and were
carried off amidst the jokes of the chairmen and other populace --
I had been riding out on Clerkendown, and happened to enter just
as the fracas was over -- The Baronet, coming up to me with an
affected air of chagrin, recounted the adventure; at which I
laughed heartily, and then his countenance cleared up. 'My dear
soul (said he) when I saw a sort of a wild baist, snarling with
open mouth at the Master of the Ceremonies, like the red cow
going to devour Tom Thumb, I could do no less than go to the
assistance of the little man; but I never dreamt the baist was
one of Mrs Bramble's attendants -- O! if I had, he might have made
his breakfast upon Derrick and welcome -- But you know, my dear
friend, how natural it is for us Irishmen to blunder, and to take
the wrong sow by the ear -- However, I will confess judgment, and
cry her mercy; and it is to be hoped, a penitent sinner may be
forgiven.' I told him, that as the offence was not voluntary of
his side, it was to be hoped he would not find her implacable.

But, in truth, all this concern was dissembled. In his approaches
of gallantry to Mrs Tabitha, he had been misled by a mistake of
at least six thousand pounds, in the calculation of her fortune;
and in this particular he was just undeceived. He, therefore,
seized the first opportunity of incurring her displeasure
decently, in such a manner as would certainly annihilate the
correspondence; and he could not have taken a more effectual
method, than that of beating her dog. When he presented himself
at our door, to pay his respects to the offended fair, he was
refused admittance, and given to understand that he should never
find her at home for the future. She was not so inaccessible to
Derrick, who came to demand satisfaction for the insult she had
offered to him, even in the verge of his own court. She knew it
was convenient to be well with the Master of the Ceremonies,
while she continued to frequent the Rooms; and, having heard he
was a poet, began to be afraid of making her appearance in a
ballad or lampoon. -- She therefore made excuses for what she had
done, imputing it to the flutter of her spirits; and subscribed
handsomely for his poems: so that he was perfectly appeased, and
overwhelmed her with a profusion of
compliment. He even solicited a reconciliation with Chowder;
which, however, the latter declined; and he declared, that if he
could find a precedent in the annals of the Bath, which he would
carefully examine for that purpose, her favourite should be
admitted to the next public breakfasting -- But, I, believe, she
will not expose herself or him to the risque of a second
disgrace -- Who will supply the place of Mackilligut in her
affections, I cannot foresee; but nothing in the shape of man can
come amiss. Though she is a violent church-woman, of the most
intolerant zeal, I believe in my conscience she would have no
objection, at present, to treat on the score of matrimony with an
Anabaptist, Quaker, or Jew; and even ratify the treaty at the
expense of her own conversion. But, perhaps, I think too hardly
of this kinswoman; who, I must own, is very little beholden to
the good opinion of

BATH, May 6.


You ask me, why I don't take the air a-horseback, during this
fine weather? -- In which of the avenues of this paradise would you
have me take that exercise? Shall I commit myself to the high-roads
of London or Bristol, to be stifled with dust, or pressed
to death in the midst of post-chaises, flying-machines, waggons,
and coal-horses; besides the troops of fine gentlemen that take
to the highway, to shew their horsemanship; and the coaches of
fine ladies, who go thither to shew their equipages? Shall I
attempt the Downs, and fatigue myself to death in climbing up an
eternal ascent, without any hopes of reaching the summit? Know
then, I have made divers desperate leaps at those upper regions;
but always fell backward into this vapour-pit, exhausted and
dispirited by those ineffectual efforts; and here we poor
valetudinarians pant and struggle, like so many Chinese gudgeons,
gasping in the bottom of a punch-bowl. By Heaven it is a kind of
enchantment! If I do not speedily break the spell, and escape, I
may chance to give up the ghost in this nauseous stew of
corruption -- It was but two nights ago, that I had like to have
made my public exit, at a minute's warning. One of my greatest
weaknesses is that of suffering myself to be over-ruled by the
opinion of people, whose judgment I despise -- I own, with shame
and confusion of face, that importunity of any kind I cannot
resist. This want of courage and constancy is an original flaw in
my nature, which you must have often observed with compassion, if
not with contempt. I am afraid some of our boasted virtues maybe
traced up to this defect.

Without further preamble, I was persuaded to go to a ball, on
purpose to see Liddy dance a minuet with a young petulant
jackanapes, the only son of a wealthy undertaker from London,
whose mother lodges in our neighbourhood, and has contracted an
acquaintance with Tabby. I sat a couple of long hours, half
stifled, in the midst of a noisome crowd; and could not help
wondering that so many hundreds of those that rank as rational
creatures, could find entertainment in seeing a succession of
insipid animals, describing the same dull figure for a whole
evening, on an area, not much bigger than a taylor's shop-board.
If there had been any beauty, grace, activity, magnificent dress,
or variety of any kind howsoever absurd, to engage the attention,
and amuse the fancy, I should not have been surprised; but there
was no such object: it was a tiresome repetition of the same
languid, frivolous scene, performed by actors that seemed to
sleep in all their motions. The continual swimming of these
phantoms before my eyes, gave me a swimming of the head; which
was also affected by the fouled air, circulating through such a
number of rotten human bellows. I therefore retreated towards the
door, and stood in the passage to the next room, talking to my
friend Quin; when an end being put to the minuets, the benches
were removed to make way for the country-dances; and the
multitude rising at once, the whole atmosphere was put in
commotion. Then, all of a sudden, came rushing upon me an
Egyptian gale, so impregnated with pestilential vapours, that my
nerves were overpowered, and I dropt senseless upon the floor.

You may easily conceive what a clamour and confusion this
accident must have produced, in such an assembly -- I soon
recovered, however, and found myself in an easy chair, supported
by my own people -- Sister Tabby, in her great tenderness, had put
me to the torture, squeezing my hand under her arm, and stuffing
my nose with spirit of hartshorn, till the whole inside was
excoriated. I no sooner got home, than I sent for Doctor Ch--,
who assured me I needed not be alarmed, for my swooning was
entirely occasioned by an accidental impression of fetid effluvia
upon nerves of uncommon sensibility. I know not how other
people's nerves are constructed; but one would imagine they must
be made of very coarse materials, to stand the shock of such a
torrid assault. It was, indeed, a compound of villainous smells,
in which the most violent stinks, and the most powerful perfumes,
contended for the mastery. Imagine to yourself a high exalted
essence of mingled odours, arising from putrid gums,
imposthumated lungs, sour flatulencies, rank armpits, sweating
feet, running sores and issues, plasters, ointments, and
embrocations, hungary-water, spirit of lavender, assafoetida
drops, musk, hartshorn, and sal volatile; besides a thousand
frowzy steams, which I could not analyse. Such, O Dick! is the
fragrant aether we breathe in the polite assemblies of Bath -- Such
is the atmosphere I have exchanged for the pure, elastic,
animating air of the Welsh mountains -- O Rus, quando te aspiciam!-
-- I wonder what the devil possessed me --

But few words are best: I have taken my resolution -- You may well
suppose I don't intend to entertain the company with a second
exhibition -- I have promised, in an evil hour, to proceed to
London, and that promise shall be performed, but my stay in the
metropolis shall be brief. I have, for the benefit of my health,
projected an expedition to the North, which, I hope, will afford
some agreeable pastime. I have never travelled farther that way
than Scarborough; and, I think, it is a reproach upon me, as a
British freeholder, to have lived so long without making an
excursion to the other side of the Tweed. Besides, I have some
relations settled in Yorkshire, to whom it may not be improper to
introduce my nephew and his sister -- At present, I have nothing to
add, but that Tabby is happily disentangled from the Irish
Baronet; and that I will not fail to make you acquainted, from
time to time, with the sequel of our adventures: a mark of
consideration, which, perhaps, you would willingly dispense with

Your humble servant,
BATH, May 8.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.


A few days ago we were terribly alarmed by my uncle's fainting at
the ball -- He has been ever since cursing his own folly, for going
thither at the request of an impertinent woman. He declares, he
will sooner visit a house infected with the plague, than trust
himself in such a nauseous spital for the future, for he swears
the accident was occasioned by the stench of the crowd; and that
he would never desire a stronger proof of our being made of very
gross materials, than our having withstood the annoyance, by
which he was so much discomposed. For my part, I am very thankful
for the coarseness of my organs, being in no danger of ever
falling a sacrifice to the delicacy of my nose. Mr Bramble is
extravagantly delicate in all his sensations, both of soul and
body. I was informed by Dr Lewis, that he once fought a duel with
an officer of the horseguards, for turning aside to the Park-wall,
on a necessary occasion, when he was passing with a lady
under his protection. His blood rises at every instance of
insolence and cruelty, even where he himself is no way concerned;
and ingratitude makes his teeth chatter. On the other hand, the
recital of a generous, humane, or grateful action, never fails to
draw from him tears of approbation, which he is often greatly
distressed to conceal.

Yesterday, one Paunceford gave tea, on particular invitation --
This man, after having been long buffetted by adversity, went
abroad; and Fortune, resolved to make him amends for her former
coyness, set him all at once up to the very ears in affluence. He
has now emerged from obscurity, and blazes out in all the tinsel
of the times. I don't find that he is charged with any practices
that the law deems dishonest, or that his wealth has made him
arrogant and inaccessible; on the contrary, he takes great pains
to appear affable and gracious. But, they say, he is remarkable
for shrinking from his former friendships, which were generally
too plain and home-spun to appear amidst his present brilliant
connexions; and that he seems uneasy at sight of some old
benefactors, whom a man of honour would take pleasure to
acknowledge -- Be that as it may, he had so effectually engaged the
company at Bath, that when I went with my uncle to the
coffeehouse in the evening, there was not a soul in the room but
one person, seemingly in years, who sat by the fire, reading one
of the papers. Mr Bramble, taking his station close by him,
'There is such a crowd and confusion of chairs in the passage to
Simpson's (said he) that we could hardly get along -- I wish those
minions of fortune would fall upon more laudable ways of spending
their money. -- I suppose, Sir, you like this kind of entertainment
as little as I do?' 'I cannot say I have any great relish for
such entertainments,' answered the other, without taking his eyes
off the paper -- 'Mr Serle (resumed my uncle) I beg pardon for
interrupting you; but I can't resist the curiosity I have to know
if you received a card on this occasion?'

The man seemed surprised at this address, and made some pause, as
doubtful what answer he should make. 'I know my curiosity is
impertinent (added my uncle) but I have a particular reason for
asking the favour.' 'If that be the case (replied Mr Serle) I
shall gratify you without hesitation, by owning that I have had
no card. But, give me leave, Sir, to ask in my turn, what reason
you think I have to expect such an invitation from the gentleman
who gives tea?' 'I have my own reasons (cried Mr Bramble, with
some emotion) and am convinced, more than ever, that this
Paunceford is a contemptible fellow.' 'Sir (said the other,
laying down the paper) I have not the honour to know you; but
your discourse is a little mysterious, and seems to require some
explanation. The person you are pleased to treat so cavalierly,
is a gentleman of some consequence in the community; and, for
aught you know, I may also have my particular reasons for
defending his character' -- 'If I was not convinced of the contrary
(observed the other) I should not have gone so far' -- 'Let me tell
you, Sir (said the stranger, raising his voice) you have gone too
far, in hazarding such reflections'.

Here he was interrupted by my uncle; who asked peevishly if he
was Don Quixote enough, at this time of day, to throw down his
gauntlet as champion for a man who had treated him with such
ungrateful neglect. 'For my part (added he) I shall never quarrel
with you again upon this subject; and what I have said now, has
been suggested as much by my regard for you, as by my contempt of
him' -- Mr Serle, then pulling off his spectacles, eyed uncle very
earnestly, saying, in a mitigated tone, 'Surely I am much
obliged -- Ah, Mr Bramble! I now recollect your features, though I
have not seen you these many years.' 'We might have been less
strangers to one another (answered the squire) if our
correspondence had not been interrupted, in consequence of a
misunderstanding, occasioned by this very --, but no matter -- Mr
Serle, I esteem your character; and my friendship, such as it is,
you may freely command.' 'The offer is too agreeable to be
declined (said he); I embrace it very cordially; and, as the
first fruits of it, request that you will change this subject,
which, with me, is a matter of peculiar delicacy.'

My uncle owned he was in the right, and the discourse took a more
general turn. Mr Serle passed the evening with us at our
lodgings; and appeared to be intelligent, and even entertaining;
but his disposition was rather of a melancholy hue. My uncle says
he is a man of uncommon parts, and unquestioned probity: that his
fortune, which was originally small, has been greatly hurt by a
romantic spirit of generosity, which he has often displayed, even
at the expence of his discretion, in favour of worthless
individuals -- That he had rescued Paunceford from the lowest
distress, when he was bankrupt, both in means and reputation --
That he had espoused his interests with a degree of enthusiasm,
broke with several friends, and even drawn his sword against my
uncle, who had particular reasons for questioning the moral
character of the said Paunceford: that, without Serle's
countenance and assistance, the other never could have embraced
the opportunity, which has raised him to this pinnacle of wealth:
that Paunceford, in the first transports of his success, had
written, from abroad, letters to different correspondents, owning
his obligations to Mr Serle, in the warmest terms of
acknowledgement, and declared he considered himself only as a
factor for the occasions of his best friend: that, without doubt,
he had made declarations of the same nature to his benefactor
himself, though this last was always silent and reserved on the
subject; but for some years, those tropes and figures of rhetoric
had been disused; that, upon his return to England, he had been
lavish in his caresses to Mr Serle, invited him to his house, and
pressed him to make it his own: that he had overwhelmed him with
general professions, and affected to express the warmest regard
for him, in company of their common acquaintance; so that every
body believed his gratitude was liberal as his fortune; and some
went so far as to congratulate Mr Serle on both.

All this time Paunceford carefully and artfully avoided
particular discussions with his old patron, who had too much
spirit to drop the most distant hint of balancing the account of
obligation: that, nevertheless, a man of his feelings could not
but resent this shocking return for all his kindness: and,
therefore, he withdrew himself from the connexion, without coming
to the least explanation or speaking a syllable on the subject to
any living soul; so that now their correspondence is reduced to a
slight salute with the hat, when they chance to meet in any
public place; an accident that rarely happens, for their walks
lie different ways. Mr Paunceford lives in a palace, feeds upon
dainties, is arrayed in sumptuous apparel, appears in all the
pomp of equipage, and passes his time among the nobles of the
land. Serle lodges in Stall-street, up two pair of stairs
backwards, walks a-foot in a Bath-rug, eats for twelve shillings
a-week, and drinks water as preservative against the gout and
gravel -- Mark the vicissitude. Paunceford once resided in a
garret; where he subsisted upon sheep's-trotters and cow-heel,
from which commons he was translated to the table of Serle, that
ever abounded with good-chear; until want of economy and
retention reduced him to a slender annuity in his decline of
years, that scarce affords the bare necessaries of life. --
Paunceford, however, does him the honour to speak of him still,
with uncommon regard; and to declare what pleasure it would give
him to contribute in any shape to his convenience: 'But you know
(he never fails to add) he's a shy kind of a man -- And then such a
perfect philosopher, that he looks upon all superfluities with
the most sovereign
contempt. Having given you this sketch of squire Paunceford, I
need not make any comment on his character, but leave it at the
mercy of your own reflection; from which I dare say, it will meet
with as little quarter as it has found with

Yours always,
BATH, May 10.

To Mrs MARY JONES, at Brambleton-hall.


We are all upon the ving -- Hey for London, girl! -- Fecks! we have
been long enough here; for we're all turned tipsy turvy -- Mistress
has excarded Sir Ulic for kicking of Chowder; and I have sent O
Frizzle away, with a flea in his ear -- I've shewn him how little I
minded his tinsy and his long tail -- A fellor, who would think for
to go, for to offer, to take up with a dirty trollop under my
nose -- I ketched him in the very feet, coming out of the
housemaids garret. -- But I have gi'en the dirty slut a siserary. O
Molly! the sarvants at Bath are devils in garnet. They lite the
candle at both ends -- Here's nothing but ginketting, and wasting,
and thieving and tricking, and trigging; and then they are never
content -- They won't suffer the 'squire and mistress to stay any
longer; because they have been already above three weeks in the
house; and they look for a couple of ginneys a-piece at our going
away; and this is a parquisite they expect every month in the
season; being as how no family has a right to stay longer than
four weeks in the same lodgings; and so the cuck swears she will
pin the dish-clout to mistress's tail; and the house-maid vows,
she'll put cowitch in master's bed, if so be he don't discamp
without furder ado -- I don't blame them for making the most of
their market, in the way of vails and parquisites; and I defy the
devil to say I am a tail-carrier, or ever brought a poor sarvant
into trouble -- But then they oft to have some conscience, in
vronging those that be sarvants like themselves -- For you must no,
Molly, I missed three-quarters of blond lace, and a remnant of
muslin, and my silver thimble; which was the gift of true love;
they were all in my workbasket, that I left upon the table in the
sarvants-hall, when mistresses bell rung; but if they had been
under lock and kay, 'twould have been all the same; for there are
double keys to all the locks in Bath; and they say as how the
very teeth an't safe in your head, if you sleep with your mouth
open -- And so says I to myself, them things could not go without
hands; and so I'll watch their waters: and so I did with a
vitness; for then it was I found Bett consarned with O Frizzle.
And as the cuck had thrown her
slush at me, because I had taken part with Chowder, when he fit,
with the turnspit, I resolved to make a clear kitchen, and throw
some of her fat into the fire. I ketched the chare-woman going
out with her load in the morning, before she thought I was up,
and brought her to mistress with her whole cargo -- Marry, what
do'st think she had got in the name of God? Her buckets were
foaming full of our best bear, and her lap was stuffed with a
cold tongue, part of a buttock of beef, half a turkey, and a
swinging lump of butter, and the matter of ten mould kandles,
that had scarce ever been lit. The cuck brazened it out, and said
it was her rite to rummage the pantry; and she was ready for to
go before the mare: that he had been her potticary many years,
and would never think of hurting a poor sarvant, for giving away
the scraps of the kitchen. I went another way to work with madam
Betty, because she had been saucy, and called me skandelus names;
and said O Frizzle couldn't abide me, and twenty other odorous
falsehoods. I got a varrant from the mare, and her box being
sarched by the constable, my things came out sure enuff; besides
a full pound of vax candles, and a nite-cap of mistress, that I
could sware to on my cruperal oaf -- O! then madam Mopstick came
upon her merry bones; and as the squire wouldn't hare of a
pursecution, she scaped a skewering: but the longest day she has
to live, she'll remember your

Humble sarvant,
BATH, May 15.

If the hind should come again, before we be gone, pray send me
the shift and apron, with the vite gallow manky shoes; which
you'll find in my pillowber -- Sarvice to Saul --

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, Bart. of Jesus college, Oxon.

You are in the right, dear Phillips; I don't expect regular
answers to every letter -- I know a college-life is too
circumscribed to afford materials for such quick returns of
communication. For my part, I am continually shifting the scene,
and surrounded with new objects; some of which are striking
enough. I shall therefore conclude my journal for your amusement;
and, though, in all appearance, it will not treat of very
important or interesting particulars, it may prove, perhaps, not
altogether uninstructive and unentertaining.

The music and entertainments of Bath are over for this season;
and all our gay birds of passage have taken their flight to
Bristolwell, Tunbridge, Brighthelmstone, Scarborough, Harrowgate,
&c. Not a soul is seen in this place, but a few broken-winded
parsons, waddling like so many crows along the North Parade.
There is always a great shew of the clergy at Bath: none of your
thin, puny, yellow, hectic figures, exhausted with abstinence,
and hardy study, labouring under the morbi eruditorum, but great
overgrown dignitaries and rectors, with rubicund noses and gouty
ancles, or broad bloated faces, dragging along great swag
bellies; the emblems of sloth and indigestion.

Now we are upon the subject of parsons, I must tell you a
ludicrous adventure, which was achieved the other day by Tom
Eastgate, whom you may remember on the foundation of Queen's. He
had been very assiduous to pin himself upon George Prankley, who
was a gentleman-commoner of Christchurch, knowing the said
Prankley was heir to a considerable estate, and would have the
advowson of a good living, the incumbent of which was very old
and infirm. He studied his passions, and flattered them so
effectually, as to become his companion and counsellor; and, at
last, obtained of him a promise of the presentation, when the
living should fall. Prankley, on his uncle's death, quitted
Oxford, and made his first appearance in the fashionable world at
London; from whence he came lately to Bath, where he has been
exhibiting himself among the bucks and gamesters of the place.
Eastgate followed him hither; but he should not have quitted him
for a moment, at his first emerging into life. He ought to have
known he was a fantastic, foolish, fickle fellow, who would
forget his college-attachments the moment they ceased appealing
to his senses. Tom met with a cold reception from his old friend;
and was, moreover, informed, that he had promised the living to
another man, who had a vote in the county, where he proposed to
offer himself a candidate at the next general election. He now
remembered nothing of Eastgate, but the freedoms he had used to
take with him, while Tom had quietly stood his butt, with an eye
to the benefice; and those freedoms he began to repeat in common-place
sarcasms on his person and his cloth, which he uttered in
the public coffeehouse, for the entertainment of the company. But
he was egregiously mistaken in giving his own wit credit for that
tameness of Eastgate, which had been entirely owing to prudential
considerations. These being now removed, he retorted his repartee
with interest, and found no great difficulty in turning the laugh
upon the aggressor; who, losing his temper, called him names, and
asked, If he knew whom he talked to? After much altercation,
Prankley, shaking his cane, bid him hold his tongue, otherwise he
could dust his cassock for him. 'I have no pretensions to such a
valet (said Tom) but if you should do me that office, and
overheat yourself, I have here a good oaken towel at your

Prankley was equally incensed and confounded at this reply. After
a moment's pause, he took him aside towards die window; and,
pointing to the clump of firs, on Clerken-down, asked in a
whisper, if he had spirit enough to meet him there, with a case
of pistols, at six o'clock tomorrow morning. Eastgate answered in
the affirmative; and, with a steady countenance, assured him, he
would not fail to give him the rendezvous at the hour he
mentioned. So saying, he retired; and the challenger stayed some
time in manifest agitation. In the morning, Eastgate, who knew
his man, and had taken his resolution, went to Prankley's
lodgings, and roused him by five o'clock.

The squire, in all probability, cursed his punctuality in his
heart, but he affected to talk big; and having prepared his
artillery overnight, they crossed the water at the end of the
South Parade. In their progress up the hill, Prankley often eyed
the parson, in hopes of perceiving some reluctance in his
countenance; but as no such marks appeared, he attempted to
intimidate him by word of mouth. 'If these flints do their office
(said he) I'll do thy business in a few minutes.' 'I desire you
will do your best (replied the other); for my part, I come not
here to trifle. Our lives are in the hands of God; and one of us
already totters on the brink of eternity' This remark seemed to
make some impression upon the squire, who changed countenance,
and with a faultering accent observed, 'That it ill became a
clergyman to be concerned in quarrels and bloodshed' -- 'Your
insolence to me (said Eastgate) I should have bore with patience,
had not you cast the most infamous reflections upon my order, the
honour of which I think myself in duty bound to maintain, even at
the expence of my heart's blood; and surely it can be no crime to
put out of the world a profligate wretch, without any sense of
principle, morality, or religion' -- 'Thou may'st take away my life
(cried Prankley, in great perturbation) but don't go to murder my
character. What! has't got no conscience?' 'My conscience is
perfectly quiet (replied the other); and now, Sir, we are upon
the spot -- Take your ground as near as you please; prime your
pistol; and the Lord, of his infinite mercy, have compassion upon
your miserable soul!'

This ejaculation he pronounced in a loud solemn tone, with his
hat off, and his eyes lifted up; then drawing a large horse-pistol,
he presented, and put himself in a posture of action.
Prankley took his distance, and endeavoured to prime, but his
hand shook with such violence, that he found this operation
impracticable -- His antagonist, seeing how it was with him,
offered his assistance, and advanced for that purpose; when the
poor squire, exceedingly alarmed at what he had heard and seen,
desired the action might be deferred till next day, as he had not
settled his affairs. 'I ha'n't made my will (said he); my sisters
are not provided for; and I just now recollect an old promise,
which my conscience tells me I ought to perform -- I'll first
convince thee, that I'm not a wretch without principle, and then
thou shalt have an opportunity to take my life, which thou
seem'st to thirst after so eagerly.'

Eastgate understood the hint; and told him, that one day should
break no squares: adding, 'God forbid that I should be the means
of hindering you from acting the part of an honest man, and a
dutiful brother' -- By virtue of this cessation, they returned
peaceably together. Prankley forthwith made out the presentation
of the living, and delivered it to Eastgate, telling him at the
same time, he had now settled his affairs, and was ready to
attend him to the Fir-grove; but Tom declared he could not think
of lifting his hand against the life of so great a benefactor -- He
did more: when they next met at the coffeehouse, he asked pardon
of Mr Prankley, if in his passion he had said any thing to give
him offence; and the squire was so gracious as to forgive him
with a cordial shake of the hand, declaring, that he did not like
to be at variance with an old college companion -- Next day,
however, he left Bath abruptly; and then Eastgate told me all
these particulars, not a little pleased with the effects of his
own sagacity, by which he has secured a living worth 160l. per

Of my uncle, I have nothing at present to say; but that we set
out tomorrow for London en famille. He and the ladies, with the
maid and Chowder in a coach; I and the man-servant a-horseback.
The particulars of our journey you shall have in my next,
provided no accident happens to prevent,

Yours ever,
BATH May 17.



I shall to-morrow set out for London, where I have bespoke
lodgings, at Mrs Norton's in Golden-square. Although I am no
admirer of Bath, I shall leave it with regret; because I must
part with some old friends, whom, in all probability, I shall
never see again. In the course of coffeehouse conversation, I had
often heard very extraordinary encomiums passed on the
performances of Mr T--, a gentleman residing in this place, who
paints landscapes for his amusement. As I have no great
confidence in the taste and judgment of coffeehouse connoisseurs,
and never received much pleasure from this branch of the art,
those general praises made no impression at all on my curiosity;
but, at the request of a particular friend, I went yesterday to
see the pieces, which had been so warmly commended -- I must own I
am no judge of painting, though very fond of pictures. I don't
imagine that my senses would play me so false, as to betray me
into admiration of any thing that was very bad; but, true it is,
I have often overlooked capital beauties, in pieces of
extraordinary merit. -- If I am not totally devoid of taste,
however, this young gentleman of Bath is the best landscape-painter
now living: I was struck with his performances in such a
manner, as I had never been by painting before. His trees not
only have a richness of foliage and warmth of colouring, which
delights the view; but also a certain magnificence in the
disposition and spirit in the expression, which I cannot
describe. His management of the chiaro oscuro, or light and
shadow, especially gleams of sunshine, is altogether wonderful,
both in the contrivance and execution; and he is so happy in his
perspective, and marking his distances at sea, by a progressive
series of ships, vessels, capes, and promontories, that I could
not help thinking, I had a distant view of thirty leagues upon
the back-ground of the picture. If there is any taste for
ingenuity left in a degenerate age, fast sinking into barbarism,
this artist, I apprehend, will make a capital figure, as soon as
his works are known.

Two days ago, I was favoured with a visit by Mr Fitzowen; who,
with great formality, solicited my vote and interest at the
general election. I ought not to have been shocked at the
confidence of this man; though it was remarkable, considering
what had passed between him and me on a former occasion -- These
visits are mere matter of form, which a candidate makes to every
elector; even to those who, he knows, are engaged in the interest
of his competitor, lest he should expose himself to the
imputation of pride, at a time when it is expected he should
appear humble. Indeed, I know nothing so abject as the behaviour
of a man canvassing for a seat in parliament -- This mean
prostration (to borough-electors, especially) has, I imagine,
contributed in a great measure to raise that spirit of insolence
among the vulgar; which, like the devil, will be found very
difficult to lay. Be that as it may, I was in some confusion at
the effrontery of Fitzowen; but I soon recollected myself, and
told him, I had not yet determined for whom I should give my
vote, nor whether I should give it for any. -- The truth is, I look
upon both candidates in the same light; and should think myself a
traitor to the constitution of my country, if I voted for either.
If every elector would bring the same consideration home to his
conscience, we should not have such reason to exclaim against the
venality of p--ts. But we all are a pack of venal and corrupted
rascals; so lost to all sense of honesty, and all tenderness of
character, that, in a little time, I am fully persuaded, nothing
will be infamous but virtue and public-spirit.

G. H--, who is really an enthusiast in patriotism, and
represented the capital in several successive parliaments,
declared to me t'other day, with the tears in his eyes, that he
had lived above thirty years in the city of London, and dealt in
the way of commerce with all the citizens of note in their turns;
but that, as he should answer to God, he had never, in the whole
course of his life, found above three or four whom he could call
thoroughly honest: a declaration which was rather mortifying than
surprising to me; who have found so few men of worth in the
course of my acquaintance, that they serve only as exceptions;
which, in the grammarian's phrase, confirm and prove a general
canon -- I know you will say, G. H-- saw imperfectly through the
mist of prejudice, and I am rankled by the spleen -- Perhaps, you
are partly in the right; for I have perceived that my opinion of
mankind, like mercury in the thermometer, rises and falls
according to the variations of the weather.

Pray settle accompts with Barnes; take what money of mine is in
his hands, and give him acquittance. If you think Davis has stock
or credit enough to do justice to the farm, give him a discharge
for the rent that is due, this will animate his industry; for I
know that nothing is so discouraging to a farmer as the thoughts
of being in arrears with his landlord. He becomes dispirited, and
neglects his labour; and so the farm goes to wreck. Tabby has
been clamouring for some days about the lamb's skin, which
Williams, the hind, begged of me, when he was last at Bath.
Prithee take it back, paying the fellow the full value of it,
that I may have some peace in my own house; and let him keep his
own counsel, if he means to keep his place -- O! I shall never
presume to despise or censure any poor man, for suffering himself
to be henpecked; conscious how I myself am obliged to truckle to
a domestic demon; even though (blessed be God) she is not yoked
with me for life, in the matrimonial waggon -- She has quarrelled
with the servants of the house about vails; and such intolerable
scolding ensued on both sides, that I have been fain to appease
the cook and chambermaid by stealth. Can't you find some poor
gentleman of Wales, to take this precious commodity off the hands

BATH, May 19.



Give me leaf to tell you, methinks you mought employ your talons
better, than to encourage servants to pillage their masters. I
find by Gwyllim, that Villiams has got my skin; for which he is
an impotent rascal. He has not only got my skin, but, moreover,
my butter-milk to fatten his pigs; and, I suppose, the next thing
he gets, will be my pad to carry his daughter to church and fair:
Roger gets this, and Roger gets that; but I'd have you to know, I
won't be rogered at this rate by any ragmatical fellow in the
kingdom -- And I am surprised, docter Lews, you would offer to put
my affairs in composition with the refuge and skim of the hearth.
I have toiled and moyled to a good purpuss, for the advantage of
Matt's family, if I can't safe as much owl as will make me an
under petticoat. As for the butter-milk, ne'er a pig in the
parish shall thrust his snout in it, with my good-will. There's a
famous physician at the Hot Well, that prescribes it to his
patience, when the case is consumptive; and the Scots and Irish
have begun to drink it already, in such quantities, that there is
not a drop left for the hogs in the whole neighbourhood of
Bristol. I'll have our butter-milk barrelled up, and sent twice
a-week to Aberginny, where it may be sold for a half-penny the
quart; and so Roger may carry his pigs to another market -- I hope,
Docter, you will not go to put any more such phims in my
brother's head, to the prejudice of my pockat; but rather give me
some raisins (which hitherto you have not done) to subscribe

Your humble servant,
BATH, May 19.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.


Without waiting for your answer to my last, I proceed to give you
an account of our journey to London, which has not been wholly
barren of adventure. Tuesday last the 'squire took his place in a
hired coach and four, accompanied by his sister and mine, and Mrs
Tabby's maid, Winifrid Jenkins, whose province it was to support
Chowder on a cushion in her lap. I could scarce refrain from
laughing when I looked into the vehicle, and saw that animal
sitting opposite to my uncle, like any other passenger. The
squire, ashamed of his situation, blushed to the eyes: and,
calling to the postilions to drive on, pulled the glass up in my
face. I, and his servant, John Thomas, attended them on

Nothing worth mentioning occurred, till we arrived on the edge of
Marlborough Downs. There one of the four horses fell, in going
down hill at a round trot; and the postilion behind, endeavouring
to stop the carriage, pulled it on one side into a deep rut,
where it was fairly overturned. I had rode on about two hundred
yards before; but, hearing a loud scream, galloped back and
dismounted, to give what assistance was in my power. When I
looked into the coach, I could see nothing distinctly, but the
nether end of Jenkins, who was kicking her heels and squalling
with great vociferation. All of a sudden, my uncle thrust up his
bare pate, and bolted through the window, as nimble as a
grasshopper, having made use of poor Win's posteriors as a step
to rise in his ascent -- The man (who had likewise quitted his
horse) dragged this forlorn damsel, more dead than alive, through
the same opening. Then Mr Bramble, pulling the door off its
hinges with a jerk, laid hold on Liddy's arm, and brought her to
the light; very much frighted, but little hurt. It fell to my
share to deliver our aunt Tabitha, who had lost her cap in the
struggle, and being rather more than half frantic, with rage and
terror, was no bad representation of one of the sister Furies
that guard the gates of hell -- She expressed no sort of concern
for her brother, who ran about in the cold, without his periwig,
and worked with the most astonishing agility, in helping to
disentangle the horses from the carriage: but she cried, in a
tone of distraction, 'Chowder! Chowder! my dear Chowder! my poor
Chowder is certainly killed!'

This was not the case -- Chowder, after having tore my uncle's leg
in the confusion of the fall, had retreated under the scat, and
from thence the footman drew him by the neck; for which good
office, he bit his fingers to the bone. The fellow, who is
naturally surly, was so provoked at this assault, that he saluted
his ribs with a hearty kick, exclaiming, 'Damn the nasty son of a
bitch, and them he belongs to!' A benediction, which was by no
means lost upon the implacable virago his mistress -- Her brother,
however, prevailed upon her to retire into a peasant's house,
near the scene of action, where his head and hers were covered,
and poor Jenkins had a fit. Our next care was to apply some
sticking plaister to the wound in his leg, which exhibited the
impression of Chowder's teeth; but he never opened his lips
against the delinquent -- Mrs Tabby, alarmed at this scene, 'You
say nothing, Matt (cried she); but I know your mind -- I know the
spite you have to that poor unfortunate animal! I know you intend
to take his life away!' 'You are mistaken, upon my honour!
(replied the squire, with a sarcastic smile) I should be
incapable of harbouring any such cruel design against an object
so amiable and inoffensive; even if he had not the happiness to
be your favourite.'

John Thomas was not so delicate. The fellow, whether really
alarmed for his life, or instigated by the desire of revenge,
came in, and bluntly demanded, that the dog should be put to
death; on the supposition, that if ever he should run mad
hereafter, he, who had been bit by him, would be infected -- My
uncle calmly argued upon the absurdity of his opinion, observing,
that he himself was in the same predicament, and would certainly
take the precaution he proposed, if he was not sure he ran no
risque of infection. Nevertheless, Thomas continued obstinate;
and, at length declared, that if the dog was not shot
immediately, he himself would be his executioner -- This
declaration opened the flood-gates of Tabby's eloquence, which
would have shamed the first-rate oratress of Billingsgate. The
footman retorted in the same stile; and the squire dismissed him
from his service, after having prevented me from giving him a
good horse-whipping for his insolence.

The coach being adjusted, another difficulty occurred -- Mrs
Tabitha absolutely refused to enter it again, unless another
driver could be found to take the place of the postilion; who,
she affirmed, had overturned the carriage from malice
aforethought -- After much dispute, the man resigned his place to a
shabby country fellow, who undertook to go as far as Marlborough,
where they could be better provided; and at that place we arrived
about one O'clock, without farther impediment. Mrs Bramble,
however, found new matter of offence; which, indeed, she has a
particular genius for extracting at will from almost every
incident in life. We had scarce entered the room at Marlborough,
where we stayed to dine, when she exhibited a formal complaint
against the poor fellow who had superseded the postilion. She
said he was such a beggarly rascal that he had ne'er a shirt
to his back, and had the impudence to shock her sight by shewing
his bare posteriors, for which act of indelicacy he deserved to
be set in the stocks. Mrs Winifred Jenkins confirmed the assertion,
with respect to his nakedness, observing, at the same time, that
he had a skin as fair as alabaster.

'This is a heinous offence, indeed (cried my uncle) let us hear
what the fellow has to say in his own vindication.' He was
accordingly summoned, and made his appearance, which was equally
queer and pathetic. He seemed to be about twenty years of age, of
a middling size, with bandy legs, stooping shoulders, high
forehead, sandy locks, pinking eyes, flat nose, and long chin --
but his complexion was of a sickly yellow; his looks denoted
famine, and the rags that he wore could hardly conceal what
decency requires to be covered -- My uncle, having surveyed him
attentively, said, with an ironical expression in his
countenance, 'An't you ashamed, fellow, to ride postilion without
a shirt to cover your backside from the view of the ladies in the
coach?' 'Yes, I am, an please your noble honour (answered the
man) but necessity has no law, as the saying is -- And more than
that, it was an accident. My breeches cracked behind, after I had
got into the saddle' 'You're an impudent varlet (cried Mrs Tabby)
for presuming to ride before persons of fashion without a shirt' --
'I am so, an please your worthy ladyship (said he) but I am a
poor Wiltshire lad -- I ha'n't a shirt in the world, that I can
call my own, nor a rag of clothes, and please your ladyship, but
what you see -- I have no friend nor relation upon earth to help me
out -- I have had the fever and ague these six months, and spent
all I had in the world upon doctors, and to keep soul and body
together; and, saving your ladyship's good presence, I han't
broke bread these four and twenty hours.'

Mrs Bramble, turning from him, said, she had never seen such a
filthy tatterdemalion, and bid him begone; observing, that he
would fill the room full of vermin -- Her brother darted a
significant glance at her, as she retired with Liddy into another
apartment, and then asked the man if he was known to any person
in Marlborough? -- When he answered, that the landlord of the inn
had known him from his infancy; mine host was immediately called,
and being interrogated on the subject, declared that the young
fellow's name was Humphry Clinker. That he had been a love
begotten babe, brought up in the work-house, and put out
apprentice by the parish to a country black-smith, who died
before the boy's time was out: that he had for some time worked
under his ostler, as a helper and extra postilion, till he was
taken ill of the ague, which disabled him from getting his bread:
that, having sold or pawned every thing he had in the world for
his cure and subsistence, he became so miserable and shabby, that
he disgraced the stable, and was dismissed; but that he never
heard any thing to the prejudice of his character in other
respects. 'So that the fellow being sick and destitute (said my
uncle) you turned him out to die in the streets.' 'I pay the
poor's rate (replied the other) and I have no right to maintain
idle vagrants, either in sickness or health; besides, such a
miserable object would have brought a discredit upon my house.'

'You perceive (said the 'squire, turning to me) our landlord is a
Christian of bowels -- Who shall presume to censure the morals of
the age, when the very publicans exhibit such examples of
humanity? -- Heark ye, Clinker, you are a most notorious offender --
You stand convicted of sickness, hunger, wretchedness, and want --
But, as it does not belong to me to punish criminals, I will only
take upon me the task of giving you a word of advice. Get a shirt
with all convenient dispatch, that your nakedness may not
henceforward give offence to travelling gentlewomen, especially
maidens in years.'

So saying, he put a guinea into the hand of the poor fellow, who
stood staring at him in silence, with his mouth wide open, till
the landlord pushed him out of the room.

In the afternoon, as our aunt stept into the coach, she observed,
with some marks of satisfaction, that the postilion, who rode
next to her, was not a shabby wretch like the ragamuffin who had
them into Marlborough. Indeed, the difference was very
conspicuous: this was a smart fellow, with a narrow brimmed hat,
with gold cording, a cut bob, a decent blue jacket, leather-breaches,
and a clean linen shirt, puffed above the waist-band.
When we arrived at the Castle, on Spin-hill, where we lay, this
new postilion was remarkably assiduous in bringing in the loose
parcels; and, at length, displayed the individual countenance of
Humphry Clinker, who had metamorphosed himself in this manner, by
relieving from pawn part of his own clothes, with the money he
had received from Mr Bramble.

Howsoever pleased the rest of the company were with such a
favourable change in the appearance of this poor creature it
soured on the stomach of Mrs Tabby, who had not yet digested the
affront of his naked skin -- She tossed her nose in disdain,
saying, she supposed her brother had taken him into favour,
because he had insulted her with his obscenity: that a fool and
his money were soon parted; but that if Matt intended to take the
fellow with him to London, she would not go a foot further that
way -- My uncle said nothing with his tongue, though his looks were
sufficiently expressive; and next morning Clinker did not appear,
so that we proceeded without further altercation to Salthill,
where we proposed to dine -- There, the first person that came to
the side of the coach, and began to adjust the footboard, was no
other than Humphry Clinker -- When I handed out Mrs Bramble, she
eyed him with a furious look, and passed into the house -- My uncle
was embarrassed, and asked him peevishly, what had brought him
hither? The fellow said, his honour had been so good to him, that
he had not the heart to part with him; that he would follow him
to the world's end, and serve him all the days of his life,
without fee or reward.

Mr Bramble did not know whether to chide or laugh at this
declaration -- He foresaw much contradiction on the side of
Tabby; and on the other hand, he could not but be pleased with
the gratitude of Clinker, as well as with the simplicity of his
character -- 'Suppose I was inclined to take you into my service
(said he) what are your qualifications? what are you good for?'
'An please your honour (answered this original) I can read and
write, and do the business of the stable indifferent well -- I can
dress a horse, and shoe him, and bleed and rowel him; and, as for
the practice of sow-gelding, I won't turn my back on e'er a he in
the county of Wilts -- Then I can make hog's puddings and hob-nails,
mend kettles and tin sauce-pans.' -- Here uncle burst out a-laughing;
and inquired what other accomplishments he was master
of -- 'I know something of single-stick, and psalmody (proceeded
Clinker); I can play upon the jew's-harp, sing Black-ey'd Susan,
Arthur-o'Bradley, and divers other songs; I can dance a Welsh
jig, and Nancy Dawson; wrestle a fall with any lad of my inches,
when I'm in heart; and, under correction I can find a hare when
your honour wants a bit of game.' 'Foregad! thou are a complete
fellow (cried my uncle, still laughing) I have a good mind to
take thee into my family -- Prithee, go and try if thou can'st make
peace with my sister -- Thou ha'st given her much offence by
shewing her thy naked tail.'

Clinker accordingly followed us into the room, cap in hand,
where, addressing himself to Mrs Tabitha, 'May it please your
ladyship's worship (cried he) to pardon and forgive my offences,
and, with God's assistance, I shall take care that my tail shall
never rise up in judgment against me, to offend your ladyship
again. Do, pray, good, sweet, beautiful lady, take compassion on a
poor sinner -- God bless your noble countenance; I am sure you are
too handsome and generous to bear malice -- I will serve you on my
bended knees, by night and by day, by land and by water; and all
for the love and pleasure of serving such an excellent lady.'

This compliment and humiliation had some effect upon Tabby; but
she made no reply; and Clinker, taking silence for consent, gave
his attendance at dinner. The fellow's natural aukwardness and
the flutter of his spirits were productive of repeated blunders
in the course of his attendance -- At length, he spilt part of a
custard upon her right shoulder; and, starting back, trod upon
Chowder, who set up a dismal howl -- Poor Humphry was so
disconcerted at this double mistake, that he dropt the china
dish, which broke into a thousand pieces; then, falling down upon
his knees, remained in that posture gaping, with a most ludicrous
aspect of distress. Mrs Bramble flew to the dog, and, snatching
him in her arms, presented him to her brother saying, 'This is
all a concerted scheme against this unfortunate animal, whose
only crime is its regard for me -- Here it is, kill it at once, and
then you'll be satisfied.'

Clinker, hearing these words, and taking them in the literal
acceptation, got up in some hurry, and seizing a knife from the
side-board, cried, 'Not here, an please your ladyship -- It will
daub the room -- Give him to me, and I'll carry him to the ditch by
the roadside' To this proposal he received no other answer, than
a hearty box on the ear, that made him stagger to the other side
of the room. 'What! (said she to her brother) am I to be
affronted by every mangy hound that you pick up on the highway? I
insist upon your sending this rascallion about his business
immediately' 'For God's sake, sister, compose yourself (said my
uncle) and consider that the poor fellow is innocent of any
intention to give you offence' 'Innocent as the babe unborn'
(cried Humphry). 'I see it plainly (exclaimed this implacable
maiden), he acts by your direction; and you are resolved to
support him in his impudence This is a bad return for all the
services I have done you; for nursing you in your sickness,
managing your family, and keeping you from ruining yourself by
your own imprudence -- But now you shall part with that rascal or
me, upon the spot, without farther loss of time; and the world
shall see whether you have more regard for your own flesh and
blood, or for a beggarly foundling taken from the dunghill.'

Mr Bramble's eyes began to glisten, and his teeth to chatter. 'If
stated fairly (said he, raising his voice) the question is,
whether I have spirit to shake off an intolerable yoke, by one
effort of resolution, or meanness enough to do an act of cruelty
and injustice, to gratify the rancour of a capricious woman --
Heark ye, Mrs Tabitha Bramble, I will now propose an alternative
in my turn. Either discard your four-footed favourite, or give me
leave to bid you eternally adieu -- For I am determined that he and
I shall live no longer under the same roof; and to dinner with
what appetite you may' -- Thunderstruck at this declaration, she
sat down in a corner; and, after a pause of some minutes, 'Sure I
don't understand you, Matt! (said she)' 'And yet I spoke in plain
English' answered the 'squire, with a peremptory look. 'Sir
(resumed this virago, effectually humbled), it is your
prerogative to command, and my duty to obey. I can't dispose of
the dog in this place; but if you'll allow him to go in the coach
to London, I give you my word, he shall never trouble you again.'

Her brother, entirely disarmed by this mild reply, declared, she
could ask him nothing in reason that he would refuse; adding, 'I
hope, sister, you have never found me deficient in natural

Mrs Tabitha immediately rose, and, throwing her arms about his
neck, kissed him on the cheek: he returned her embrace with great
emotion. Liddy sobbed, Win. Jenkins cackled, Chowder capered, and
Clinker skipped about, rubbing his hands for joy of this

Concord being thus restored, we finished our meal with comfort;
and in the evening arrived at London, without having met with any
other adventure. My aunt seems to be much mended by the hint she
received from her brother. She has been graciously pleased to
remove her displeasure from Clinker, who is now retained as a
footman; and in a day or two will make his appearance in a new
suit of livery; but as he is little acquainted with London, we
have taken an occasional valet, whom I intend hereafter to hire
as my own servant. We lodge in Goldensquare, at the house of one
Mrs Notion, a decent sort of a woman, who takes great pains to
make us all easy. My uncle proposes to make a circuit of all the
remarkable scenes of this metropolis, for the entertainment of
his pupils; but as both you and I are already acquainted with
most of those he will visit, and with some others he little
dreams of, I shall only communicate what will be in some measure
new to your observation. Remember me to our Jesuitical friends,
and believe me ever,

Dear knight,
Yours affectionately,
LONDON, May 24.



London is literally new to me; new in its streets, houses, and
even in its situation; as the Irishman said, 'London is now gone
out of town.' What I left open fields, producing hay and corn, I
now find covered with streets and squares, and palaces, and
churches. I am credibly informed, that in the space of seven
years, eleven thousand new houses have been built in one quarter
of Westminster, exclusive of what is daily added to other parts
of this unwieldy metropolis. Pimlico and Knightsbridge are now
almost joined to Chelsea and Kensington; and if this infatuation
continues for half a century, I suppose the whole county of
Middlesex will be covered with brick.

It must be allowed, indeed, for the credit of the present age,
that London and Westminster are much better paved and lighted
than they were formerly. The new streets are spacious, regular,
and airy; and the houses generally convenient. The bridge at
Blackfriars is a noble monument of taste and public-spirit. -- I
wonder how they stumbled upon a work of such magnificence and
utility. But, notwithstanding these improvements, the capital is
become an overgrown monster; which, like a dropsical head, will
in time leave the body and extremities without nourishment and
support. The absurdity will appear in its full force, when we
consider that one sixth part of the natives of this whole
extensive kingdom is crowded within the bills of mortality. What
wonder that our villages are depopulated, and our farms in want
of day-labourers? The abolition of small farms is but one cause
of the decrease of population. Indeed, the incredible increase of
horses and black cattle, to answer the purposes of luxury,
requires a prodigious quantity of hay and grass, which are raised
and managed without much labour; but a number of hands will
always be wanted for the different branches of agriculture,
whether the farms be large or small. The tide of luxury has swept
all the inhabitants from the open country -- The poorest squire, as
well as the richest peer, must have his house in town, and make a
figure with an extraordinary number of domestics. The plough-boys,
cow-herds, and lower hinds are debauched and seduced by the
appearance and discourse of those coxcombs in livery, when they
make their summer excursions. They desert their dirt and
drudgery, and swarm up to London, in hopes of getting into
service, where they can live luxuriously and wear fine clothes,
without being obliged to work; for idleness is natural to man --
Great numbers of these, being disappointed in their expectation,
become thieves and sharpers; and London being an immense
wilderness, in which there is neither watch nor ward of any
signification, nor any order or police, affords them lurking-places
as well as prey.

There are many causes that contribute to the daily increase of
this enormous mass; but they may be all resolved into the grand
source of luxury and corruption -- About five and twenty years ago,
very few, even of the most opulent citizens of London, kept any
equipage, or even any servants in livery. Their tables produced
nothing but plain boiled and roasted, with a bottle of port and a
tankard of beer. At present, every trader in any degree of
credit, every broker and attorney, maintains a couple of footmen,
a coachman, and postilion. He has his town-house, and his
country-house, his coach, and his post-chaise. His wife and
daughters appear in the richest stuffs, bespangled with diamonds.
They frequent the court, the opera, the theatre, and the
masquerade. They hold assemblies at their own houses: they make
sumptuous entertainments, and treat with the richest wines of
Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. The substantial tradesman, who
wont to pass his evenings at the ale-house for fourpence half-penny,
now spends three shillings at the tavern, while his wife
keeps card-tables at home; she must likewise have fine clothes,
her chaise, or pad, with country lodgings, and go three times a
week to public diversions. Every clerk, apprentice, and even
waiter of tavern or coffeehouse, maintains a gelding by himself,
or in partnership, and assumes the air and apparel of a petit
maitre -- The gayest places of public entertainment are filled with
fashionable figures; which, upon inquiry, will be found to be
journeymen taylors, serving-men, and abigails, disguised like
their betters.

In short, there is no distinction or subordination left -- The
different departments of life are jumbled together -- The hod-carrier,
the low mechanic, the tapster, the publican, the
shopkeeper, the pettifogger, the citizen, and courtier, all tread
upon the kibes of one another: actuated by the demons of
profligacy and licentiousness, they are seen every where
rambling, riding, rolling, rushing, justling, mixing, bouncing,
cracking, and crashing in one vile ferment of stupidity and
corruption -- All is tumult and hurry; one would imagine they were
impelled by some disorder of the brain, that will not suffer them
to be at rest. The foot-passengers run along as if they were
pursued by bailiffs. The porters and chairmen trot with their
burthens. People, who keep their own equipages, drive through the
streets at full speed. Even citizens, physicians, and
apothecaries, glide in their chariots like lightening. The
hackney-coachmen make their horses smoke, and the pavement shakes
under them; and I have actually seen a waggon pass through
Piccadilly at the hand-gallop. In a word, the whole nation seems
to be running out of their wits.

The diversions of the times are not ill suited to the genius of
this incongruous monster, called the public. Give it noise,
confusion, glare, and glitter; it has no idea of elegance and
propriety -- What are the amusements of Ranelagh? One half of the
company are following at the other's tails, in an eternal circle;
like so many blind asses in an olive-mill, where they can neither
discourse, distinguish, nor be distinguished; while the other
half are drinking hot water, under the denomination of tea, till
nine or ten o'clock at night, to keep them awake for the rest of
the evening. As for the orchestra, the vocal music especially, it
is well for the performers that they cannot be heard distinctly.
Vauxhall is a composition of baubles, overcharged with paltry
ornaments, ill conceived, and poorly executed; without any unity
of design, or propriety of disposition. It is an unnatural
assembly of objects, fantastically illuminated in broken masses;
seemingly contrived to dazzle the eyes and divert the imagination
of the vulgar -- Here a wooden lion, there a stone statue; in one
place, a range of things like coffeehouse boxes, covered a-top;
in another, a parcel of ale-house benches; in a third, a puppet-show
representation of a tin cascade; in a fourth, a gloomy cave
of a circular form, like a sepulchral vault half lighted; in a
fifth, a scanty flip of grass-plat, that would not afford pasture
sufficient for an ass's colt. The walks, which nature seems to
have intended for solitude, shade, and silence, are filled with
crowds of noisy people, sucking up the nocturnal rheums of an
aguish climate; and through these gay scenes, a few lamps glimmer
like so many farthing candles.

When I see a number of well dressed people, of both sexes,
sitting on the covered benches, exposed to the eyes of the mob;
and, which is worse, to the cold, raw, night-air, devouring
sliced beef, and swilling port, and punch, and cyder, I can't
help compassionating their temerity; white I despise their want
of taste and decorum; but, when they course along those damp and
gloomy walks, or crowd together upon the wet gravel, without any
other cover than the cope of Heaven, listening to a song, which
one half of them cannot possibly hear, how can I help supposing
they are actually possessed by a spirit, more absurd and
pernicious than any thing we meet with in the precincts of
Bedlam? In all probability, the proprietors of this, and other
public gardens of inferior note, in the skirts of the metropolis,
are, in some shape, connected with the faculty of physic, and the
company of undertakers; for, considering that eagerness in the
pursuit of what is called pleasure, which now predominates
through every rank and denomination of life, I am persuaded that
more gouts, rheumatisms, catarrhs, and consumptions are caught in
these nocturnal pastimes, sub dio, than from all the risques and
accidents to which a life of toil and danger is exposed.

These, and other observations, which I have made in this
excursion, will shorten my stay at London, and send me back with
a double relish to my solitude and mountains; but I shall return
by a different route from that which brought me to town. I have
seen some old friends, who constantly resided in this virtuous
metropolis, but they are so changed in manners and disposition,
that we hardly know or care for one another -- In our journey from
Bath, my sister Tabby provoked me into a transport of passion;
during which, like a man who has drank himself pot-valiant, I
talked to her in such a stile of authority and resolution, as
produced a most blessed effect. She and her dog have been
remarkably quiet and orderly ever since this expostulation. How
long this agreeable calm will last, Heaven above knows -- I flatter
myself, the exercise of travelling has been of service to my
health; a circumstance which encourages me to-proceed in my
projected expedition to the North. But I must, in the mean time,
for the benefit and amusement of my pupils, explore the depths of
this chaos; this misshapen and monstrous capital, without head or
tail, members or proportion.

Thomas was so insolent to my sister on the road, that I was
obliged to turn him off abruptly, betwixt Chippenham and
Marlborough, where our coach was overturned. The fellow was
always sullen and selfish; but, if he should return to the
country, you may give him a character for honesty and sobriety;
and, provided he behaves with proper respect to the family, let
him have a couple of
guineas in the name of

Yours always,
LONDON, May 20.

To Miss LAETITIA WILLIS, at Gloucester.


Inexpressible was the pleasure I received from yours of the 25th,
which was last night put into my hands by Mrs Brentford, the
milliner, from Gloucester -- I rejoice to hear that my worthy
governess is in good health, and, still more, that she no longer
retains any displeasure towards her poor Liddy. I am sorry you
have lost the society of the agreeable Miss Vaughn; but, I hope
you won't have cause much longer to regret the departure of your
school companions, as I make no doubt but your parents will, in a
little time, bring you into the world, where you are so well
qualified to make a distinguished figure. When that is the case,
I flatter myself you and I shall meet again, and be happy
together; and even improve the friendship which we contracted in
our tender years. This at least I can promise -- It shall not be for
the want of my utmost endeavours, if our intimacy does not
continue for life.

About five days ago we arrived in London, after an easy journey
from Bath; during which, however, we were overturned, and met
with some other little incidents, which, had like to have
occasioned a misunderstanding betwixt my uncle and aunt; but now,
thank God, they are happily reconciled: we live in harmony
together, and every day make parties to see the wonders of this
vast metropolis, which, however, I cannot pretend to describe;
for I have not as yet seen one hundredth part of its curiosities,
and I am quite in a maze of admiration.

The cities of London and Westminster are spread out into an
incredible extent. The streets, squares, rows, lanes, and alleys,
are innumerable. Palaces, public buildings, and churches rise in
every quarter; and, among these last, St Paul's appears with the
most astonishing pre-eminence. They say it is not so large as, St
Peter's at Rome; but, for my own part, I can have no idea of any
earthly temple more grand and magnificent.

But even these superb objects are not so striking as the crowds
of people that swarm in the streets. I at first imagined that
some great assembly was just dismissed, and wanted to stand aside
till the multitude should pass; but this human tide continues to
flow, without interruption or abatement, from morn till night.
Then there is such an infinity of gay equipages, coaches,
chariots, chaises, and other carriages, continually rolling and
shifting before your eyes, that one's head grows giddy looking at
them; and the imagination is quite confounded with splendour and
variety. Nor is the prospect by water less grand and astonishing
than that by land: you see three stupendous bridges, joining the
opposite banks of a broad, deep, and rapid river; so vast, so
stately, so elegant, that they seem to be the work of the giants;
betwixt them, the whole surface of the Thames is covered with
small vessels, barges, boats, and wherries, passing to and fro;
and below the three bridges, such a prodigious forest of masts,
for miles together, that you would think all the ships in the
universe were here assembled. All that you read of wealth and
grandeur in the Arabian Nights' Entertainment, and the Persian
Tales, concerning Bagdad, Diarbekir, Damascus, Ispahan, and
Samarkand, is here realized.

Ranelagh looks like the inchanted palace of a genie, adorned with
the most exquisite performances of painting, carving, and
gilding, enlightened with a thousand golden lamps, that emulate
the noon-day sun; crowded with the great, the rich, the gay, the
happy, and the fair; glittering with cloth of gold and silver,
lace, embroidery, and precious stones. While these exulting sons
and daughters of felicity tread this round of pleasure, or regale
in different parties, and separate lodges, with fine imperial tea
and other delicious refreshments, their ears are entertained with
the most ravishing delights of music, both instrumental and
vocal. There I heard the famous Tenducci, a thing from Italy -- It
looks for all the world like a man, though they say it is not.
The voice, to be sure, is neither man's nor woman's; but it is
more melodious than either; and it warbled so divinely, that,
while I listened, I really thought myself in paradise.

At nine o'clock, in a charming moonlight evening, we embarked at
Ranelagh for Vauxhall, in a wherry so light and slender that we
looked like so many fairies sailing in a nutshell. My uncle,
being apprehensive of catching cold upon the water, went round in
the coach, and my aunt would have accompanied him, but he would
not suffer me to go by water if she went by land; and therefore
she favoured us with her company, as she perceived I had a
curiosity to make this agreeable voyage -- After all, the vessel
was sufficiently loaded; for, besides the waterman, there was my
brother Jery, and a friend of his, one Mr Barton, a country
gentleman, of a good fortune, who had dined at our house -- The
pleasure of this little excursion was, however, damped, by my
being sadly frighted at our landing; where there was a terrible
confusion of wherries and a crowd of people bawling, and
swearing, and quarrelling, nay, a parcel of ugly-looking fellows
came running into the water, and laid hold of our boat with great
violence, to pull it a-shore; nor would they quit their hold till
my brother struck one of them over the head with his cane. But
this flutter was fully recompensed by the pleasures of Vauxhall;
which I no sooner entered, than I was dazzled and confounded with
the variety of beauties that rushed all at once upon my eye.
Image to yourself, my dear Letty, a spacious garden, part laid
out in delightful walks, bounded with high hedges and trees, and
paved with gravel; part exhibiting a wonderful assemblage of the
most picturesque and striking objects' pavilions, lodges, groves,
grottoes, lawns, temples and cascades; porticoes, colonades, and
rotundos; adorned with pillars, statues, and painting: the whole
illuminated with an infinite number of lamps, disposed in
different figures of suns, stars, and constellations; the place
crowded with the gayest company, ranging through those blissful
shades, or supping in different lodges on cold collations,
enlivened with mirth, freedom, and good humour, and animated by
an excellent band of music. Among the vocal performers I had the
happiness to hear the celebrated Mrs --, whose voice was loud and
shrill, that it made my head ake through excess of pleasure.

In about half an hour after we arrived we were joined by my
uncle, who did not seem to relish the place. People of experience
and infirmity, my dear Letty, see with very different eyes from
those that such as you and I make use of -- Our evening's
entertainment was interrupted by an unlucky accident. In one of
the remotest walks we were surprised with a sudden shower, that
set the whole company a-running, and drove us in heaps, one upon
another, into the rotunda; where my uncle, finding himself wet,
began to be very peevish and urgent to be gone. My brother went
to look for the coach, and found it with much difficulty; but as
it could not hold us all, Mr Barton stayed behind. It was some
time before the carriage could be brought up to the gate, in the
confusion, notwithstanding the utmost endeavours of our new
footman, Humphry Clinker, who lost his scratch periwig, and got a
broken head in the scuffle. The moment we were seated, my aunt
pulled off my uncle's shoes, and carefully wrapped his poor feet
in her capuchin; then she gave him a mouth-ful of cordial, which
she always keeps in her pocket, and his clothes were shifted as
soon as we arrived at lodgings; so that, blessed be God, he
escaped a severe cold, of which he was in great terror.

As for Mr Barton, I must tell you in confidence, he was a little
particular; but, perhaps, I mistake his complaisance; and I wish
I may, for his sake -- You know the condition of my poor heart:
which, in spite of hard usage -- And yet I ought not to complain:
nor will I, till farther information.

Besides Ranelagh and Vauxhall, I have been at Mrs Cornelys'
assembly, which, for the rooms, the company, the dresses, and
decorations, surpasses all description; but as I have no great
turn for card playing, I have not yet entered thoroughly into the
spirit of the place: indeed I am still such a country hoyden,
that I could hardly find patience to be put in a condition to
appear, yet, as I was not above six hours under the hands of the
hair-dresser, who stuffed my head with as much black wool as
would have made a quilted petticoat; and, after all, it was the
smallest head in the assembly, except my aunt's -- She, to be sure,
was so particular with her rumpt gown and petticoat, her scanty
curls, her lappethead, deep triple ruffles, and high stays, that
every body looked at her with surprise: some whispered, and some
tittered; and lady Griskin, by whom we were introduced, flatly
told her, she was twenty good years behind the fashion.

Lady Griskin is a person of fashion, to whom we have the honour
to be related. She keeps a small rout at her own house, never
exceeding ten or a dozen card-tables, but these are frequented by
the best company in town -- She has been so obliging as to
introduce my aunt and me to some of her particular friends of


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