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principal staircase. Flaxley is in the Forest of Dean ; and it is remarkable that “the Man of Ross,” who died two years before. Mrs. Boevey, and whose life in many respects so much resembled hers, was so near a neighbour ; Ross being within about ten miles of Flaxley.
" THE LADIES' LIBRARY." The frontispiece to volume three of this work represents a young lady dressed in widow's weeds, opening a book upon a table, upon which also is a skull; her admirers, in long wigs and swords, are thronging round the door. This is a portrait of Mrs. Boevey. The Ladies' Library is believed not to have been the work of Sir Richard Steele, though it, bears his name: it is thought to have been compiled by the granddaughter of Jeremy Taylor, who married Sir Cecil Wray. Steele got into a hot dispute about this work, through performing a kindly office for the lady. It contained long extracts from Jeremy Taylor's works, then the copyright of one Meredith: he worried Steele, who firmly and finally replied in this admirable letter:
October 26, 1714, St. James's-street. SIR,
I have a second letter from you. The style of the first was very harsh to one whom you are not at all acquainted with ; but there were suggestions in it which might give excuse for being out of humour at one whom you might, perhaps, think was the occasion of damage to you. You mentioned also an orphan, which word was a defence against my warm reply ; but since you are pleased to go on in an intemperate way of talk, I shall give myself no more trouble to inquire about what you complain, but rest satisfied with doing all the good offices I can to the reverend author's grandchild, now in town. Thus, leaving you to contend about your title to his writings, and wishing you success, have justice on your side ; I beg you will give me no more ill-language, and you will oblige, sir, your humble servant,
RICHARD STEELE. *
BEAU FIELDING. The eccentric Beau Fielding, who died in Scotland-yard, London, at the beginning of the last century, was thought worthy of record by Sir Richard Steele, as an extraordinary instance of the effects of personal vanity upon a man not without wit. Before he left England to follow the fortunes of James II., “Handsome Fielding,” as he was called, appears to have been
• Notes and Queries, No. 297.
insane with vanity. On his return, he added, to the natural absurdities of that passion, the indecency of being old; but this only rendered him the more perverse in his folly. He always wore an extraordinary dress: sometimes he rode in an open tumbril, of less size than ordinary, the better to display the nobleness of his person ; and his footmen appeared in liveries of yellow, with black feathers in their hats, and black sashes. When people laughed at him, he refuted them, as Steele says, “ by only moving." Sir Richard adds he saw him one day stop and call the boys about him, to whom he spoke as follows:
“Good youths,-go to school, and do not lose your time in following my wheels: I am loth to hurt you, because I know not but you are all my own offspring. Why, you young dogs, did you never see a man before ?” “Never such a one as you, noble General," replied a truant from Westminster. Sirrah, I believe thee: there is a crown for
Swift puts him in his list of Mean Figures, as one who" at fifty years of age, when he was wounded in a quarrel upon the stage, opened his breast, and showed the wound to the ladies, that he might move their love and pity ; but they all fell a-laughing."
During the height of his magnificence, he carried his madness so far, according to Steele, as to “call for his tea by beat of drum ; his valet got ready to shave him by a trumpet to horse ; and water was brought for his teeth, when the sound was changed to boots and saddle.”—See Tatler, Nos. 50 and 51.
STEELE'S VISIT TO DON SALTERO'S AT CHELSEA.
Near the close of the seventeenth century, (in 1695,) one Salter, a barber, opened at No. 18, Cheyne-walk, Chelsea, a coffee-house and museum, which continued to exist almost to our own time. Hans Sloane contributed largely to the gimcracks of the collection; and Vice-Admiral Munden, who had been long on the coast of Spain, where he had acquired a fondness for Spanish titles, named the keeper of the house Don Saltero, and his house itself as Don Saltero's.
The place, however, would, in all probability, have attained little beyond its local fame, had not Sir Richard Steele immortalized the Don and Don Saltero’s in the Tatler, No. 34, June 28, 1709, wherein he tells us that he was convinced of the necessity of travelling to know the world by his journey for fresh air, no farther than the village of Chelsea, of which he fancied that he could give an immediate description, from the Five Fields, where the robbers lie in wait, to the coffeehouse where the literati sit in council. But he found, even in a place so near town as this, there were enormities and persons of eminence, whom he before knew nothing of; illustratively adds :-
When I came into the coffee-house, I had not time to salute the company, before my eyes was diverted by ten thousand gimcracks round the room, and on the ceiling. When my first astonishment was over, comes to me a sage of thin and meagre countenance; which aspect made me doubt whether reading or fretting had made it so philosophic; but I very soon perceived him to be of that sect which the ancients call 'gingivistæ; in our language tooth-drawers. I immediately had a respect for the man; for these practical philosophers go upor a very rational hypothesis, not to cure but take away, the part affected. My love of mankind made me very benevolent to Mr. Salter; for such is the name of this eminent barber and antiquary.
The Don was famous for his punch, and his skill on the fiddle. “Indeed,” says Steele, "I think he does play the Merry Christ-Church Bells' pretty justly; but he confessed to me, he did it rather to show he was orthodox than that he valued himself upon the music itself.” The Don drew teeth and wrote verses; he has described his museum in several stanzas—here is the happiest :
Monsters of all sorts here are seen ;
Strange things in nature as they grew 80 ;
And fragments of the fam’d Bob Crusoe. Steele plunges into a deep thought why barbers should go further in hitting the ridiculous than any other set of men. He then maintains that Don Saltero is descended in a right line, not from John Tradescant, as he himself asserts, but from the memorable companion of the Knight of Mancha :
And I hereby certify all the worthy citizens who travel to see his rarities, that his double-barrelled pistols, targets, coats-of-mail, his sclopeta, and sword of Toledo, were left to his ancestor by the said Don Quixote, and by the said ancestor to all his progeny down to Saltero. Though I go thus far in favour of Don Saltero's great merit, I cannot allow a liberty he takes of imposing several names (without my licence) on the collection he has made, to the abuse of the good people of Eny. land ;* one of which is particularly calculated to deceive religious persons, to the great scandal of the well-disposed, and may introduce heterodox
* 'Among the curiosities presented by Admiral Munden was a coffin, containing the body or relics of a Spanish Saint who had wrought miracles.
opinions. He shows you a straw hat, which I know to be made by Madge Peskad, within three miles of Bedford ; and tells you “It is Pontius Pilate's wife's chambermaid's sister's hat.' To my knowledge of this very hat it may be added, that the covering of straw was never used among the Jews, since it was demanded of them to make bricks without it. Therefore this is really nothing but, under the specious pretence of learning and antiquities, to impose upon the world. There are other things which I cannot tolerate among his rarities, as, the china figure of the lady in the glass case; the Italian engine for the imprisonment of those who go abroad with it; both which I hereby order to be taken down, or else he may expect to have his letters-patent for making punch superseded, be debarred wearing his muff next winter, or ever coming to London without his wife. *
Among the oddities, too, was “A wooden shoe, that was put under the Speaker's chair in the reign of King James II. [in allusion to popery, slavery, and wooden shoes] ; a Staffordshire almanack in use when the Danes were in England; a starved cat found between the walls of Westminster Abbey, when repairing." A catalogue was published, of which there were printed more than forty editions. Smollett, the novelist, is among the donors. The curiosities were shown in the coffeeroom till August, 1799, when the collection was mostly sold or dispersed; a few gimcracks were left until about 1825, when we were informed on the premises, they were thrown away. The house is now a tavern,-The Don Saltero's Coffee House.—See also, Tatler, Nos. 195 and 226.
PORTRAITS OF STEELE. Among the pictures at the Hall of the Stationers' Company is an admirable portrait of Steele; he wears a velvet cap, and his collar is open ; this picture is from the collection of the Earl of Oxford, and is said to have been painted by Kneller ; it was presented to the Company by John Nichols.
We have also Kneller's portrait of Steele in the Kit-Kat Collection.
* Babillard says, that Salter had an old grey muff; and that by wear. ing it up to his nose, he was distinguishable at the distance of a quarter of a mile. His wife was none of the best, being much addicted to scolding; and Salter, who liked his glass, if he could make a slip to London by himself, was in no haste to return.
BIRTH OF FOOTE. SAMUEL FOOTE, " the English Aristophanes," was born in the ancient town of Truro, in 1720, of good family. His father was an active Cornish magistrate, receiver of fines for the Duchy, and a joint commissioner of the Prize-office. sat some time in Parliament for Tiverton, in the adjoining county of Devon. His mother was the daughter of Sir Edmund Goodere, Bart., who represented the county of Hereford for many years; and who, by marriage with the granddaughter of the Earl of Rutland, had connected with his own family the not less ancient stock of the Dinelys, of Charlton, in Worcestershire.
The house in which Foote is said to have been born at Truro,is now the Red Lion Hotel ; but Polwhele, also a native, mentions another house in which the humourist first saw the light. He received his early education at the grammarschool of the town.
FOOTE'S BOYHOOD. Through his Worcestershire family connexion, young Sam was placed in the free grammar-school at Worcester, where had been educated another celebrated wit, Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras. Foote was a remarkably quick, observant lad, and a favourite with his master, Dr. Miles. At this early period, his humour, “native and to the manner born,” showed itself, and led to his being much talked of. In the school he was foremost in barr gs-out, and evinced that restless spirit by which he was characterized throughout his life. He is even said to have experimented with an artificial earthquake for the amusement of his schoolfellows. Still more striking was his natural bent for mimicry of grown-up people, and making fun of them-particularly his superiors. Arthur Murphy found a tradition remaining in the school at