LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 14: Past Times

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
‣ Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH

The days gone by—from shore to shore
Their ever-lengthening shadows spread;
On, on, till Time shall breathe no more,
And Earth itself be with the dead:
Each brief unnoticed minute bears
The mandate of its God on high;
And death and silence are the heirs
Of days gone by—of days gone by!—Swain.

I have already mentioned my accession to the staff of the “Morning Post,” and I subsequently reported nearly three sessions for the “British Press,” so that my apprenticeship in this line filled, with a few vacations, almost the customary term of seven years. Within that period I had migrated from furnished residences in Craven Street, Strand, and Curzon Street, May Fair, to a roomy, old, and old-fashioned unfurnished house in Old Brompton, called Cromwell Cottage, a short distance from Gloucester Lodge, the last abode of Mr. Canning, in which domicile I lived for several years.

Cromwell House, close by, and said to derive its name from being one of the secret sleeping-places of the Protector in the vicinity of London, was inhabited by an amiable family of the name of Dakin, nearly related to the Prebendary of Westminster; and several of my other
neighbours were “noticeable” people.
Blanshard, the comic performer, had a cottage at hand; and a larger house was occupied by Mrs. Hedgeland, now the wife of a tea grocer, better known as Isabella Kelly, the authoress of some popular novels, and the mother of Sir Fitzroy Kelly, the present Solicitor-general. The eminent lawyer was then a very pretty, smart, boy, with a younger brother equally attractive in his smaller way, and a sister. Mrs. Hedgeland, as well as the latter, is still, I believe, alive, and better provided for than in not very distant bygone years, though enjoying an annuity from the Lonsdale family, in which she was a governess. The second son became enamoured of the stage, and whilst his legal brother rose to wealth and distinction, afforded another melancholy example of the folly of reliance upon desultory pursuits, instead of learning a profession or a business. Under the assumed name of Keppell he tried his fortune in Romeo, and I think also essayed his powers in America, but without success; and, after suffering great mortifications, he died prematurely with an almost broken heart. His person was small, but his proportions and countenance well suited to the part of the devoted Italian lover; nor were his endowments of a mediocre order, but fortune did not smile upon him, he was hardly ever known beyond a very limited circle, and is now forgotten. As a memorial of him, I add a letter respecting his debut, as I remember, at the Queen’s Theatre, near Tottenham Court Road, and which failed to make a sufficient impression upon the public.

“8, Charlotte-street, Fitzroy-square.”
My dear Sir,

“Availing myself of your kind permission, I enclose to you one of my announcements, and I have only to add, in reference to what I said on Sunday, that as this
is my first appeal to a London audience, and with the rank I hold in the theatre, it is a matter of pride (independent of any feeling of interest) that my house should be a good one. I do not know why it is, because you have done me former favours, that I am to presume on your adding to them,—though, as
Sterne tells, ‘we water a twig, because we have planted it,’—but any influence you will use in my behalf on this occasion, I shall most gratefully remember ) and with your numerous connexion you have amply the power: but the Pit of our house is the most material part of it, and if I fail at all, it is there I fear. But, enough! I will enclose to you any number of tickets you think you can disperse, and you will of course feel at liberty to return what are not used.

“Allow me to remain, with my best thanks for your good-nature towards me, on this and other matters,

“My dear sir,
“Your faithful and obliged servant,

“P. S.—Waylett has promised to play for me, although her own benefit is advertised as her last night. She has permitted mo to advertise that she consents to play for my benefit, being positively her last night.”

Among other pleasant neighbours we reckoned a family of Rapers, who tenanted the cottage once inhabited by the famed Miss Gunnings. Adjoining were the Woods, a merry and agreeable Northumbrian race; the second very pretty daughter, now the dowager Mrs. Compton, of Carham, a lovely spot on the Tweed, near the site of my vignette; and Mr. Vincent Dowling, so generally known for his talents in the periodical press, and as the acknowledged supreme
chronicler of the Fancy World and Life in London. He was my tenant in a cottage standing in the same garden, and called the Bath, from an ancient and very cold accommodation of that sort, in a small orchard adjoining the dwelling.
Miss Glossop, afterwards a favourite cantatrice on the stage, was also a neighbour. The whole of this little suburban locality bore traces of having been of some note in former times. I dug up statues and other pieces of sculpture; and I had reason to believe that if Oliver Cromwell did not, Chief Justice Hale did, occupy Cromwell House; which was the very building for a ghostly romance, and, in point of fact, haunted in my time so as to create considerable alarm, but, happily, on investigation, discovered to have nothing supernatural in the noises, nor so fearful to the servant maids as was at first supposed. Old Noll’s fetch and the other Hale fellow well met, were exorcised, and the place restored to tranquillity.

But besides what I may enumerate as constant resident neighbours, there was an occasional summer occupant of a retired cottage on the other side of Cromwell House from me, and nearer town, who had a frequent visitor whom it was no small gratification to meet in the privacy of a very limited, very confidential, and very social circle. The amphytrion was Mr. Peake, the father of the humourous and facetious Dick (whom much I esteemed) and treasurer of Drury Lane Theatre; and his guest was Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who, after business was got through somehow or other, or anyhow, turned about, and to old Brompton, with renovated gusto, to pleasure. It was truly delectable; but no body could describe what it was. It was an abandonment of self, and a charm cast on all around. There was none of the prepared wit for which Moore gives him credit, but a natural overflow of racy conversation and anecdote. The most
extraordinary conversations men whom I have known were
Sheridan, Sydney Smith, Canning, and Theodore Hook; but they were all as dissimilar to each other, as if the realm of wit and humour were peopled by quite different races, “Black, White, Mulatto, and Malay,” who all spoke different languages, saw with different eyes, and fancied with different imaginations and peculiarities of mind. Sheridan charmed, Canning fascinated, Sydney Smith entertained, and Theodore Hook amazed you. Sheridan threw himself into your arms and upon your heart with such apparently boundless confidence, that you could not help considering yourself, at once, a trusted friend; and on many and many a trying occasion did he reap the benefit of this implanted feeling. This is not, however, the place to dissect character; and though anticipating time by a quarter of a century (having spoken of the elder, and the second Sheridan in my preceding pages) I will not leave the name without adding a few words of a third, Francis or Frank, the son of Tom, whose early loss, in my opinion, deprived it of another lustre which would have shone brightly in a family constellation, brilliant alike in the male and female stars. Frank Sheridan was a warm-hearted, generous youth, and though playfully pictured by his relative as
“The fine young English gentleman,
One of the modern times:”
had stuff in him, like the fifth Henry, to make these wild-oat foibles only the foils to his mature and shining light. I have read poetry of his composition which well deserved preservation; and a full comedy, written when barely of age, was proof how richly he inherited the genius of the author of the
School for Scandal. Respecting this drama I have a note to the writer from poor Tyrone Power, who observes, “I long to see your comedy. As your grandfather said of himself, I say of you, ‘You have it in you, and, confound you, it must and shall come out.’” As the rest of this note touches on theatrical matters, and is a fair specimen of Power’s clever off-hand manner, I make no excuse for copying it here. It is addressed from America to the Garrick Club, London, and runs thus:

Dear Francis,

“I beg you will receive the bearer of this billet kindly, even for love of us; his name is Maywood, he is a manager, and an honest man; a Scotchman, and a liberal man; a player, and a gentleman; and you know rarely these accidents combine. Moreover, he’s jocose, bibulous, musical; and, above all, my friend. I’ve ask’d Mills* to get him on the club as a stranger; urge the matter, Lord Mulgrave will do it. Your letter from Jamaica came duly to hand, and old Com. Gen. Forbes has our thanks. Herbert is gone to Italy. Eh! at New York I found his cousin; what doing, think you? Why, teaching Latin and editing a magazine. I would that George were capable of anything like this, and one would not mind his going to the devil for a while. I hope you will find our other friends yet unchanged, and lively. Give my love to everybody, and write to me about home, and everywhere

“Believe me, “Your’s, dear Sheridan,

I append the letter from Frank, which enclosed this scrap, and which will serve to show that our “fine young English gentleman” was quite alive to affairs which required notice or correction, and where friends were concerned.

* Mr. Francis Mills, a first-rate dramatic connoisseur, fine judge of the arts, and pleasant and accomplished gentleman.—J.

My dear J.,—

“If you will read the report of the Literary Fund dinner in the ‘Morning Post’ of Monday, you will see that the writer (who, from the folly and malevolence of the article, I take to he L * * *) has stated that Lord Mulgrave sat still, &c., when the Queen’s health was proposed. Now you know that after the King’s salubrity has been eulogised in a becoming quantity of cheers, no one’s health is drank uproariously except such as are present at the dinner—this was intended, and ought to have been the case when Adelaide’s health was drank. But there were people present (and I heard before the feast that there were to be), who wished to turn the hilarity of the evening into a political squabble. Hence that foolish piece of spite, in its appropriate journal, “The Morning Post.” The Queen (God bless her!), whose taste in literature is undoubted, spells through its columns every day; nor did she omit to do so last Monday; the consequence was, that she complained of Lord Mulgrave’s neglect in cheering, as it was there asserted. He is annoyed at this, and wishes it to be contradicted, as he behaved most loyally on the occasion, the only mistake being that which I mentioned, of not thinking it necessary to depart from the established rules of toast-giving. Therefore do you, like a good soul, in your report of the dinner to-morrow, take up your goosequill in his defence, and state how absurd and mischievous the report must have been: so shall you acquire κυδος and thanks. I enclose a slip of correspondence, which I have just received from our friend Tyrone, and have put his friend’s name down for the club; so add to your favours by shoving your name under mine.


“Yours affectionately,
“Friday, 13th June, 1834.”