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· The conversation at dinner consisted of little more than a repe. tition of pressings and refusings, and of challenges to drink wine, and observations upon the wine itself. The dessert, after Hull's description of his fruit, was rather a disappointment. The currants had been gathered, the gooseberries stolen, but there were still "bushels” of apples ; and the cellar afforded the juice of the grape in its best possible state ; “ hundreds” of bottles graced the board, and every disposition to do ample justice to the profusion of our Amphitryon was manifested by his much delighted guests. The conversation, so long as reason maintained her seat,' was not much more cordial or vivacious than it had been earlier in the day.
"“ Mr. Hull,” said the Sheriff, who did not understand the turn of the conversation, and did not know whether to be angry or pleased, "Have you got any coffee for us ?”—“ Coffee !” said Hull, blushing blue with exultation up to the roots of his hair, “ my dear friend, I have three thousand weight of coffee in the house-to be sure there is coffee and, eh !-something after-chasse !-I happen to knowsplendid dogs you in the city—but I think I have some Maraschino that never was equalled.”—“Have him out,” said the barrister. “Pooh, pooh ! my dear Dubs," said Hull, "you have had him out, as you call it, often enough. You and Tim there have drunk enough of it to know its quality.'
«« However, here, I suppose," said the Sheriff, "you are too fine to have such a thing as cherry-bounce ?"_“ Bounce i” exclaimed Hull, "cherry-bounce, my dear friend there's Dubs can tell you have gallons of it-make it by hogsheads--I have seven hundred pints of it in the next room”
Upon saying which, he rang the bell, and ordered the servant, first giving him a key and a caution, to bring forth sundry bottles of the boasted beverage-for let it always be remembered that Hull's cases of what might be thought bounce-were all as genuine as this of the cherry-bounce-he had all the things he talked of; but his magnificence in the way of provision was what one certainly was not prepared for ; and therefore, until a certain number of cherry. brandy bottles had been produced by way of ratification, it seemed almost impossible to believe the extent of his preparations for conviviality. Up stairs we went,—the Sheriff, of course, taking prece. dence,—and there we had our coffee, our chasse, and a little tranquil. lity ; and during this pause the Sheriff next whom I was placed, began to talk to me. Our tête-à-tête was interrupted by the facetious Ďuberly, who, believing that the Sheriff was a saint, asked him wheth. er he had any objection to a rubber. Before his answer was given, Hull, who watched his worship with an almost Koo-too-ing kindness, came up, and drawing off the barrister, said to him, “ Dubs, Dubs, don't be childish. No cards here on a Sunday.”—“No,” said Duberly, “ I am sure we shall have none ; for you have none in the house."--" None !” exclaimed Hull, as usual. “ No cards ! Come come, Tim, you know better than that. I have got two hundred and fifty packs in this very room !”
A sort of doubtful murmur ran through the party, and the poet said something of speaking by the card,” when Hull, getting rather angry at being doubted, proceeded to unlock a closet in the room, and the moment the door was opened, at least twenty packs of entirely new cards tumbled out upon the floor. The astonishment was general. “My dear friend,” said Hull, “ you ought to know me bet.
ter. I never
say what isn't true, I bought these cards two years ago-best cards you ever played with. I never buy inferior articles -got them in a lump-two hundred and fifty packs-told you soyou may count 'em, Dubs--I see you laughing, Tim-you may laugh --count 'em as you would benefit tickets- eh—Tim-pooh, poohdon't tell me,'
* Whether we did or did not play cards I really do not now recol. lect ; I remember laughing until I almost cried at some delightful imitations of the action. We had anchovy toasts and broiled bones, and all the incentives to dissipation, in which we speedily engaged ; punch, and all other destructive and delightful drinks, were introduc. ed ; the actor became more and more agreeable, for he was not only the most agreeable of actors, but the most intellectual of all comedians I ever met with ; the editor seemed pacified ; Dubs was delighted ; and the poet concluded the sports of the evening by pulling off his wig, and throwing it at the inimitable favourite of the theatre. Then all became noise and confusion, mirth and mystification ; and when I opened my eyes in the morning, I found myself as thirsty as a cro. codile, with a tremendous headache, and pains in all my joints, the sure result of excess committed in my early life.
Mr. Hill had the entrée to both Houses of Parliament, the theatres, and almost all places of public resort. He was to be met with at the private view of the Royal Academy, and every kind of exhibition. So especially was he favoured, that it has been recorded by a wag that, when asked whether he had seen the new comet, he replied · Pooh, pooh! I was present at the private view !
About the year 1810, having sustained a severe loss by a speculation in indigo, he retired from business upon the remains of his property to his chambers in the Adelphi. In his earlier days he joined in some of the jokes and hoaxes practised by Mathews and others. We subjoin the following account, written by himself, of a frolic in which Mathews represented at an inn at Dartford a Spanish Ambassador. He called it his . Recollections of His Excellency the Spanish Ambassador's visit to Captain Selby, on board the Prince Regent, one of his Majesty's frigates stationed at the Nore, by the Interpreter.'
• The party hired a private coach, of large capacity, and extremely showy, to convey them to Gravesend as the suite of Mathews who personated an ambassador from Madrid to the English Government. Four horses, richly caparisoned, were attached to the carriage, driven by two smart lads, who were intrusted with the secret by the payment
of liberal fee. The drivers proved faithful to their promise. When they arrived at the posting-house at Dartford, one of the drivers dismounted, and communicated to the innkeeper the character of the nobleman (Mathews) inside the coach, and that his mission to London had been attended with the happiest result. The report spread through Dartford like wildfire, and in about ten minutes the carriage (having by previous arrangement been detained) was surrounded by at least two hundred people, all with cheers and gratulations anxious to gain a view of the important personage, who, decked out with nearly twenty different stage-jewels, representing sham orders, bowed with obsequious dignity to the assembled multitude. It was settled that the party should dine and sleep at the Falcon Tavern, Gravesend, where a sumptuous dinner was provided for his excellency and suite. Previously, however, to dinner-time, and to heighten the joke, they promenaded the town and its environs, followed by a large congregation of men, women, and child
ren at a respectful distance, all of whom preserved the greatest decorum. The interpreter (Mr. Hill) seemed to communicate and explain to the ambassador whatever was of interest in their perambulation. On their return to the inn the crowd gradually dispersed. The din. ner was served in a sumptuous style, and two or three additional waiters, dressed in their holiday clothes, were hired for the occasion.
“ The ambassador, by the medium of his interpreter, asked for two soups, and a portion of four different dishes of fish, with oil, vinegar, mustard, pepper, salt, and sugar, in the same plate, which apparently to the eyes of the waiters, and their utter astonishment and surprise, he eagerly devoured. The waiters had been cautioned by one of the suite not to notice the manner in which His Excellency ate his din. ner, lest it should offend him, and their occasional absence from the room gave Mathews or his companions an opportunity of depositing the incongruous medley in the ashes under the grate—a large fire having been purposely provided. The ambassador continued to mingle the remaining viands during dinner in a similar heterogeneous way. The chamber in which His Excellency slept was brilliantly illuminated with wax.candles, and in one corner of the room a table was fitted up, under the direction of one of the party, to represent an oratory, with such appropriate apparatus as could be best procured. A private sailing-barge was moored at the stairs by the fountain early the next morning, to convey the ambassador and his attendants to the Prince Regent at the Nore. The people again assembled in vast numbers to witness the embarkation. Carpets were placed on the stairs to the water's edge, for the state and comfort of His Excellen cy; who, the instant he entered the barge, turned round, and bade a grateful farewell to the multitude, at the same time placing his hand upon his bosom, and taking off his huge cocked hat. The captain of the barge, a supremely illiterate, good humoured cockney, was introduced most ceremoniously to the ambassador, and purposely placed on his right hand. It is impossible to describe the variety of absurd and extravagant stratagems practised upon the credulity of the cap. tain by Mathews, and with consummate success, until the barge arrived in sight of the King's frigate, which, by a previous understanding, recognised the ambassador by signals. The officers were all dressed in full uniform, and prepared to receive him. When on board, the whole party threw off their disguises, and were entertained by Captain Selby with a splendid dinner, to which the lieutenants of the ship were invited. After the banquet, Mathews in his own character kept the company in a high state of merriment by his incomparable mimic powers for more than then ten hours, incorporating with admirable effect the entire narrative of the Journey to Gravesend, and his 'Acts and Deeds,' at the Falcon. Towards the close of the feast, and about half an hour before the party took their departure, in order to give the commander and his officers a touch of his quality,' Mathews resumed his ambassadorial attire, and the captain of the barge, still in ignorance of the joke, was introduced into the cabin, between whom and His Excellency an indescribable scene of rich burlesque was enacted. The party left the ship for Gravesend at four o'clock in the morning, Mathews, ' in his habit as he lived,' with the addition only of a pair of spectacles, which he had a peculiar manner of wearing to conceal his identity, even from the most acute observer. Mathews again resumed his station by the side of the captain, as a person who had left the frigate for a tempo.
rary purpose. The simple captain recounted to Mathews all that the Spanish ambassador had enacted, both in his transit from Gravesend to the Nore, and whilst he (the captain) was permitted to join the festive board in the cabin, with singular fidelity, and to the great amusement of the original party, who during the whole of this am. bassadorial excursion never lost their gravity, except when they were left to themselves. They landed at Gravesend, and from thence departed for London, luxuriating upon the hoax until they reached home, and for many a year after.
“ Whatever Mathews did in this way must always in description appear comparatively tame. All who recollect his performances on his own stage must freely admit this. To be fully appreciated, it was necessary to hear and see him; but the outline given of this adventure will be easily filled up by the imagination of those who knew him. The pen can but mark the field of action, and place him in the front of the battle."
Mr. Hill* was the youngest looking man of his age we ever re. member. So remarkable was this, that by one of his facetious friends it was declared that the registry of his birth was destroyed during the great fire of London; and the late Mr. James Smith would hu. morously relate his adventures as Goldstick in the reign of Elizabeth. These good-natured jokes Mr. Hill would enjoy ; indeed, he affected to keep his age a secret. He was a remarkably early riser, and perhaps to this cause may be attributed the cheerful and green old age that he enjoyed.
The proximate cause of his death was a severe cold taken in a damp bed at Rouen during the autumn, from which he never quite rallied. About a fortnight ago he had a fall in his room, and broke his arm ; supposed by some to have been in consequence of a fit. This we are assured was not the fact. He died without a struggle, breathing his last as if falling into a tranquil slumber. His death was but the quiet repose of exhausted nature, her works were worn out, and ceased to act. His physician's remark to him was I can do nothing more for you, I have done all I can. I cannot cure age.”
Thus has passed away from us one of the most cheerful and kindest-hearted of men. Of him it may be truly said that in proportion as he was known so he was beloved. Our good old friend, farewell!
BY HAL WILLIS.
O bel amour, o bel amour.-La GriseTTE. In former times bells were deemed a protection against the approach or influence of evil spirits; and no wonder, for there is a soothing charm in tintinnabulary music which seldom fails in at least dissipating low spirits.
What an electric effect has the dinner-bell on the gastronomic sym. pathies of the hungry guest !-what pleasing visions arise and float before his fancy! Like race-horses on the turf, every one starts for the -plate ; and, although no one runs the risk of endangering his own neck, the joints of his host suffer materially. It is really a substantial
He is said to have been the original whence Mr. Poole drew his humorous cha. racter, Paul Pry; if so, the harmless foible of Mr. Hill has been very highly coloured by the dramatist.
sound. Verily the whole company looks like a sailing-match, in which every guest is a-cutter !
Who has not listened to the sweet tinkling of the horse-bells on a calm summer's evening, as the heavy waggon crawls like a moving mountain along some pleasant green lane? Cynics will allow that, in this instance, there is beauty even in bells—upon the wain!
Reader hast thou never heard the tinkling of the sheep-bells on the South Downs? If thou hast not, go thither, and thou wilt confess the music is as sweet :-as the mutton. The hills are old, madam, and past your age ;* but the lambs have
innocence and sportiveness But here the comparison ends, and you behold the differ. ence between lamb and ewe!
Apropos of sheep, we remember a young Frenchman once asking, with great simplicity, if bell-wether were the English of beau tems!
Blue bells are pretty ; but somehow they invariably remind us of blue-stockings, whom we frequently wish were dumb-belles, that our arms might be exercised in lieu of our patience!
The dustman's bell is, perhaps, the only one among the bell.fry that is discordant to our ears. There is an abrupt coarseness—a harsh clamorousness-in the expression of its large, lolling tongue, that affrights us from our morning dreams. There is as much difference in its ring' from the pleasant dinner-bell, as there is be. tween the : wedding ring' and the 'ring pugilistic.'
• What a comparison ! Can any two things be more dissimilar ?'
Excuse us, gentle reader, they are not so widely different as you imagine. Are not both rings formed for the same purpose ?--an engagement between two parties !
O! what a pleasing change is rung upon the muffin-bell and the postman's !
The first is as merry as the chirping cricket on the hearth, singing a duet with the tea-kettle.
Our memory instantly recalls Cowper's beautiful lines, and we 'wheel the sofa round' with a feeling of cosy comfort.
The 'man of letters' has exchanged his ' rap.rap!' for a bell; and belles and beaux are laid under the contribution of two “raps't for the conveyance of their billets.
The lover places his scented billet-doux, and the man of belles. lettres his epistle to his correspondent in his hands, with the assur. ance of safety and despatch.
Multiform and welcome is the sound to all but the tardy procras. tinator ; to whom it is really an alarm-bell !
Maids run up the area-steps, like 'spirits summoned from the vasty deep,' with their thimble.sealed letters to their cousins,' at the signal, and with a tremulous hand present the tributary penny through the railing, fearful of their mistress's 'railing should they be observed.
From all bell ringers the postman certainly bears the bell.'
• Pasturage.—Printer's Devil.
+ Rap, a halfpenny. He has not a rap!' is a received phrase, and is as well understood in St. James's as in the less elegant $t. Giles's.