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round to the admiration of all people, The Silent Comedy, a dance representing the love and jealousy of rural swains, after the manner of the Great Turk's mimick dances performed by his mutes; a lad that tumbles to the admiration of all beholders; a young woman that dances with six naked rapiers, to the wonderful divertisement of all spectators; a young man that dances after the Morocco fashion, to the wonderful applause of all beholders; a nurse-dance, by a woman and two drunkards, wonderful diverting to all people; a young man that dances a hornpipe the Lancaster way extraordinary finely; a lad that dances a Punch, extraordinary pleasant and diverting; a grotesque dance, called the Speaking Movement, shewing in words and gestures the humours of a musick booth, after the manner of the Venetian Carnival; and a new Scaramouch, more civil than the former, and after a far more ingenious and divertinger way!'
Excellent well, somniferous John! worthy disciple of St. Bartlemy.
Green, at the 'Nag's Head and Pide Bull,' advertises eight comical and diverting' exhibitions; hinting that he hath that within which passeth shew;' but declines publishing his other ingenious pastimes in so small a bill.' Yet he contrives to get into this small bill' nearly as much puff as his contemporaries. His pretensions are as superlative as his Scaramouches, and quite as diverting. A young man dances with twelve naked swords,' and 'a young woman with six naked rapiers, after a more pleasant and far ingenuiser fashion than had been danced before.'
These Bartholomew Fair showmen are sadly deficient in gallantry. With them the gentlemen' always take precedence of the ladies.' The Smithfield muses should have taught them better manners.
Manager Crosse at the Signe of the George,' advertises a genuine Jim Crow, a black lately from the Indies, who dances antic dances after the Indian manner.' In those days the grinning and sprawling of a greasy ebony buffoon were very properly confined to the congenial timbers of Bartlemy fair!
Was the 'young gentlewoman with six naked rapiers' ubiquitous, or had she rivals in the Rounds? But another lady, no less attractive, invites our steps, and points to yonder' booth-where,
'By His Majesty's permission, next door to the King's Head in Smithfield, is to be seen a woman-dwarf,† but three foot and one inch‡ high, born in Somersetshire, and in the fortieth year of her age.' And, as if we had not seen enough of strange creatures alive,' mark the following advertisement :'
'Next door to the Golden Hart, in Smithfield, is to be seen a live Turkey ram. Part of him is covered with black hair, and part with white wool. He hath horns as big as a bull's; and his tail weighs sixty pounds! Here is also to be seen alive the famous civet cat, and
*Managers Crosse, Powell, Luffingham, &c. Temp. Queen Anne and George I. 'One seeing a Dwarfe at Bartholomew Fair, which was sixteen inches high, with a great head, a body, and no thighs, said he looked like a block upon a barber's stall:-"No," says another, "when he speaks, he is like the Brazen Head of Fryer Bacon's."-The Comedian's Tales, 1729.
A few seasons after appeared The wonderful and surprising English dwarf, two feet eight inches high, born at Salisbury in 1709; who has been shown to the Royal Family, and most of the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain.'-See her curious portrait.
one of the holy lambs, curiously spotted all over like a leopard, that us'd to be offered by the Jews for a sacrifice. Vivat Rex.'
This Turkey ram's tail is a tough tale, even for the ad libitum of Smithfield Rounds! Such a tail wagged before such a master must have exhibited the two greatest wags in the fair.
The Roots were underground, or planted in a cool arbour, quaffing— not Bartlemy 'good wines,' (doctors never take their own physic!)-but genuine nutbrown. Certes their dancing-days were over; for Root's booth' (temp. Geo. I.) was now tenanted by Powell, the puppet-showman, and one Luffingham; who, fired with the laudable ambition of maintaining the laughing honours of their predecessors, issued a bill, at which we cry What next?' as the sailor did when the conjuror blew his own head off.
'At Root's booth, Powell from Russell Court, and Luffingham from the Cyder Cellar, in Covent-Garden, now keep the King Charles's Head, and Man and Woman fighting for the Breeches, in Bartholomew Fair, near Long Lane: where two figures dance a Scaramouch after a new grotesque fashion; a little boy, five years old, vaults from a table twelve foot high on his head, and drinks the King's health standing on his head, with two swords at his throat; a Scotch dance by three men and a woman; an Irishwoman dances the Irish trot; Roger of Coventry is danced by one in a countryman's habit; a cradle dance, being a comical fancy between a woman and her drunken husband fighting for the breeches; a woman dances with fourteen glasses on the back of her hands full of wine. Also several entries, as Almands, Pavans, Galliards, Gavots, English Jiggs, and the Sabbotiers dance, so mightily admired at the King's Play-house. The company will be entertained with vocal and instrumental musick, as performed at the late happy Congress at Reswick, in the presence of several princes and ambassadors.'
Here will I pause. For the present, we have supped full with Scaramouches. Six naked rapiers' at my throat all night would be a sorry substitute for the knife and fork I hope to play, after a 'more pleasant and far ingenuiser' fashion, with some plump roast partridges that the fragrant aroma of Norah Noclack's cuisine tell me are in progress. A select coterie of Uncle Timothy's brother antiquaries have requested to be enlightened on Bartlemy fair lore. Will you, my friend Eugenio, during the Saint's saturnalia, join us in the ancient Cloth quarter!' On, brave spirit! on. Rope-dancers invite thee; conjurors conjure thee; Punch squeaks thee a screeching welcome; mountebanks and posture-masters, with every variety of physiognomical and physical contortion, lure thee to their dislocations. Fawkes's dexterity of hand; the moving pictures; Pinchbeck's musical clock; Solomon's Temple; the waxwork, all alive!
'A certain officer of the Guards being at the New Theatre, behind the scenes, was telling some of the comedians of the rarities he had seen abroad. Amongst other things, he had seen a pike caught six foot long. "That's a trifle," says the late Mr. Spiller, the celebrated actor, "I have seen half a pike in England longer by a foot, and yet not worth twopence!"
From the Duke of Marlborough's Head in Fleet Street, during the fair, is to be seen the famous posture-master, who far exceeds Clarke and Higgins. He twists his body into all deformed shapes, makes his hip and shoulder-bones meet together, lays his head upon the ground, and turns his body round twice or thrice without stirring his face from the place.'-1711.
the Corsican fairy; the dwarf that jumps down his own throat!† the High German Artist, born without hands or feet; the cow with five legs; the hare that beats a drum ; the Savoyard's puppet-show; the mummeries of Moorfields,|| and a long and ludicrous etcetera, urge thee forward on thy ramble of two centuries through Bartholomew fair, which, like
'Th' adventure of the Bear and Fiddle
As the Laureat closed his manuscript, the door opened, and who should enter but Uncle Timothy.
Ha! my good friends, what happy chance has brought you to the
* The Corsican Fairy, only thirty-four inches high, and weighing but twenty-six pounds, well-proportioned, and a perfect beauty. She is to be seen at the corner of Cow-Lane, during Bartholomew fair.'-1743.
+Lately arrived from Italy, Signor Capitello Jumpedo, a surprising dwarf, not taller than a common tobacco-pipe. He will twist his body into ten thousand shapes, and then open wide his mouth, and jump down his own throat! He is to be spoke with at the Black Tavern, Golden Lane.' January 13, 1749. This is the renowned 'Bottle Conjuror.' Some such deception was practised either by himself, or an imitator at Bartholomew Fair.
Mr. Matthew Buchinger, twenty-nine inches high, born without hands or feet, June 2, 1674, in Germany, near Nuremberg. He has been married four times, and has eleven children. He plays on the hautboy and flute; and is no less eminent for writing and drawing coats of arms and pictures, to the life, with a pen. He plays at cards, dice, and nine-pins, and performs tricks with cups, balls and live birds.' Every Jack has his Jill; and as a partner, not in a connubial sense, my little Plenipo! we couple thee with The High German Woman, born without hands or feet, that threads her needle, sews, cuts out gloves, writes, spins fine thread, and charges and discharges a pistol. She is now to be seen at the corner of Hosier Lane, during the time of the fair.'-Temp. Geo. II.
Apropos of Dwarfs-William Evans, porter to King Charles the First, who was two yards and a half in height, ‘dancing in an antimask at court, drew little Jeffrey the dwarf out of his pocket, first to the wonder, then to the laughter of the beholders.' Little Jeffrey's height was only three feet nine inches. But even the gigantic William Evans, and George the Fourth's tall porter, whom we remember to have seen peep over the gates of Carlton House, were nothing to the modern American, who is so tall as to be obliged to go up a ladder to share himself!
§ Ben Jonson, in his play of Bartholomew Fair, mentions this singular exhibition having taken place in his time, and Strutt gives a pictorial description of it, copied from a drawing in the Harleian collection (6563) said to be upwards of four centuries old.
|| Moorfields, spite of its 'melancholy Moor-Ditch,' was formerly a scene of great traffic and merriment. It was famous for
'Hills and holes, and shops for brokers,
'The Flying Horse, a noted victualling-house in Moorfields, next that of the late Astrologer Trotter, has been molested for several nights past, stones, and glass bottles being thrown into the house, to the great annoyment and terror of the family and guests.'-News Letter of Feb. 25, 1716.
business abode and town Tusculum of the Boskys for half-a-dozen generations of Drysalters?"
Something short of assault and battery, fine and imprisonment.' And Mr. Bosky, after helping Uncle Timothy off with his great coat, warming his slippers, wheeling round his arm-chair to the chimney-corner, and seeing him safely seated, gave a ludicrous detail of our late encounter at the Pig and Tinder-Box.
The old-fashioned housekeeper delivered a note to Mr. Bosky, sealed with a large black seal.
An ominous looking affair
remarked the middle-aged gentle
'A death's head and cross-bones!' replied the Laureat of Little Britain. "Ods, rifles and triggers! if it should be a challenge from the Holborn Hill Demosthenes.'
'A challenge! a fiddlestick!' retorted Uncle Tim, he's only "tame cheater!" Every bullet that he fires I'll swallow for a forcedmeat ball.'
Mr. Bosky, having broken the black seal, read as follows:
'Mr. Marmaduke Merripall presents his respectful services to Benjamin Bosky, Esq., and begs the favour of his company to dine with the High Cockolorum Club of associated Undertakers at the Death's Door, Battersea Rise, to-morrow, at four. If Mr. Bosky can prevail upon his two friends, who received such scurvy treatment from a fraction of the Antiqueeruns, to accompany him, it will afford Mr. M. additional pleasure.'
An unique invitation!' quoth Uncle Tim. dulge the High Cockolorums, and go by all means.'
Gentlemen, you must in
Mr. Bosky promised to rise with the lark, and be ready for one on the morrow; and, anticipating a good day's sport, we consented to accompany him.
It may be curious to note down some of the odd clubs that existed in 1745, viz. The Virtuoso's Club; the Knights of the Golden Fleece; the Surly Club; the Ugly Club; the Split-Farthing Club; the Mock Heroes Club; the Bean's Club; the Quack's Club; the Weekly Dancing Club; the Bird-Fancier's Club; the Chatter-wit Club; the Small-coal Man's Music Club; the Kit-cat Club; the Beefsteak Club; all of which, and many more, are broadly enough described in 'A Humorous Account of all the Remarkable Clubs in London and Westminster.' In 1790, among the most remarkable clubs were, The Odd Fellows; the Humbugs (held at the Blue Posts, Russell Street, Covent Garden,); the Sansonic Society; the Society of Bucks; the Purl-Drinkers; the Society of Pilgrims (held at the Woolpack, Kingsland Road,); the Thespian Club; the Great Bottle Club; the Je ne scai quoi Club (held at the Star and Garter, Pall Mall, and of which the Prince of Wales, and the Dukes of York, Clarence, Orleans (Philip Egalité), Norfolk, Bedford, &c. &c. were members,); the Sons of the Thames Society (meeting to celebrate the annual contest for Dogget's Coat and Badge); the Blue-Stocking Club; and the No pay, no liquor Club, held at the Queen and Artichoke, Hampstead Road, where the newly-admitted member, having paid his fee of one shilling, was invested with the inaugural honours, viz. a hat fashioned in the form of a quart pot, and a gilt goblet of humming ale, out of which he drank the healths of the brethren. In the present day, the Author of Virginius has conferred classical celebrity on a club called The Social Villagers,' held at the Bedford Arms, a merrie hostelrie at Camden Town,
Where wit and good wine, the laurel and vine,
Supper was announced, and we sat down to that social meal. In a day-dream of fancy, Uncle Timothy re-peopled the once convivial chambers of the Falcon and the Mermaid, with those glorious intelligences. that made the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. the Augustan age of England. We listened to the wisdom, and the wit, and the loud laugh, as Shakspeare and rare Ben,"* in the full confidence of friendship, exchanged thoughts that breathe, and words that burn,' so beautifully described by Beaumont in his letter to Jonson.
'What things have we seen
Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been
As if that every one from whom they came
Travelling by the swift power of imagination, we looked in at Will's and Button's; beheld the honoured chair that was set apart for the use of Dryden; and watched Pope, then a boy, lisping in numbers, regarding his great master with filial reverence, as he delivered his critical aphorisms to the assembled wits. Nor did we miss the BirchRod that the bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown' hung up at Button's to chastise 'tuneful Alexis of the Thames' fair side,' his own back smarting from some satirical twigs that little Alexis had liberally laid on! We saw St. Patrick's Dean 'steal' to his pint of wine with the accomplished Addison; and heard Gay, Arbuthnot, and Bolingbroke, in witty conclave, compare lyrical notes for the Beggars' Opera-not forgetting the joyous cheer that welcomed King Colley' to his midnight troop of titled revellers, after the curtain had dropped on Fondlewife and Foppington. And, hey presto! comfortably seated at the Mitre, we found Doctor Johnson, lemon in hand, de
"Shakspeare was god-father to one of Ben Jonson's children, and after the christ'ning, being in a deepe study, Jonson came to cheere him up, and ask't him why he was so melancholy? considering a great while what should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my No, faith, Ben, (says he,) not I, but I have been god-child, and I have resolv'd at last."-"I pr'y the, what?" says he.-"I' faith, Ben, I'le e'en give him a douzen good Lattin spoones, and thou shalt translate them."L'Estrange, No. 11. Mr. Dun.-Lattin was a name formerly used to signify a mixed metal resembling brass. Hence Shakspeare's appropriate pun, with reference to the learning of Ben Jonson.
Many good jests are told of 'rare Ben.' When he went to Basingstoke, he used to put up his horse at the Angel,' which was kept by Mrs. Hope. and her daughter, Prudence. Journeying there one day, and finding strange people in the house, and the sign changed, he wrote as follows:
'When Hope and Prudence kept this house, the Angel kept the door;
At another time he designed to pass through the Half Moon in Aldersgate Street, but the door being shut, he was denied entrance; so he went to the Sun Tavern at the Long Lane end, and made these verses:
'Since the Half Moon is so unkind,
The Sun my money now shall have,
That he was often in pecuniary straights the following extracts from Henslowe's papers painfully demonstrate. July, 1597, in Redey money, the some of fower powndes, to be payd agayne when so 'Lent un to Bengemen Jonson, player, the 28 of ever ether I, or any of me, shall demande yt.-Witness E. Alleyn and John Synger.' -Lent Bengemyne Jonson, the 5 of Janewary, 1597-8, in redy mony, Vs.' the some of