LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 13: Finance

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
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Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus.
But, since life at most a jest is,
As philosophers allow,
Still to laugh by far the best is,
Then laugh on as I do now.
Laugh at all things,
Great and small things,
Sick or well, on sea or shore;
While we’re quaffing,
Let’s have laughing—
Who the devil cares for more?

Finance is a dry subject, and one which, except on the single instance described in the last chapter, I never liked. Indeed I had always a sort of dread of figures after I lost my precocious aptitude for them (see vol. i.) and my blunders in attempting numbers, reckonings, or accounts have been so ludicrous, that a schoolboy of ten years old would have been whipt for making them, and they could hardly be believed to be ought but affectations of carelessness, instead of inherent stupidity, or a predestiny to be incorrect. Such matters are difficult to explain. I could perfectly understand and make myself master of the most complicated problems, but I rarely succeeded in summing up a row of cyphers, were it merely the
columns, half columns, &c., to fill a sheet of the
Gazette; and I have always been equally at sea in finding my way about localities of town or country. Many a loss, and many a perplexed travel has this want of a ready faculty cost me; and my endeavours to explain it to myself by some idiosyncratic rules have been no less troublesome than fruitless. Even phrenology could not find it out.

Well, but finance is a dry subject; and, in the present instance, I fly from it, regardless of the order of time, to give as good an account as I can of one of those symposia, which furnish a day to be marked with a white stone, and leave an impression not to be forgotten. The subjoined letter from Frederic Mansell Reynolds, written in the L. G. office, may serve as prologue* to what turned out to be a very merry play.

My dear Sir,

“I have gone through so many misfortunes, that I scarcely know how to commence the recapitulation of them.—In the first place, Lockhart does not come on Saturday; in the next place, Theodore Hook, nor Lockhart, nor Luttrell can come on Wednesday, but Theodore Hook, Luttrell, Lockhart, Lord Normanby, Coleridge, H. Harris the Covent Garden proprietor, and Tom Hill can come on Monday week.—Now, my dear Jerdan, my fate is in your hands, I stand before you like a criminal at the bar, and await your decision—I shall call for it at half-past four, when I understand you will be here.

“Yours truly,
F. M. R.

* I may notice that I was indebted to Mansell Reynolds, the son of the dramatist, author of “Miserrimus,” &c., and editor-of the “Keepsake Annual,” for my introduction to a subsequent pleasant acquaintance with Wordsworth, respecting whom I will add a few words to this miscellaneous chapter.


“Let mo tell you it is no easy task to get up a dinner at this time of the year—mind you wait for me—I shall he here rather before the half hour.”

Flattered by being invited to be the key-stone of such an arch, it may readily be supposed that I did not stand in the way of its immediate completion. Reynolds had hired, for the autumn months, the upper portion of a small gardener’s cottage at Highgate, a shell of a place, the first floor of which supplied two little cabins, just big enough for coziness, fun, and revel. The party was at last disappointed of Lord Normanby, and instead of Henry Harris, his brother, Captain Harris, the member for Boston came, and we sat down to dinner,
Eight precious souls, and all resolved
To dash through thick and thin.
I never saw
Hook, often as I have seen him in his hours of exuberant humour, in such glorious “fooling” as on this occasion. From his entrance to his departure his countenance beamed with overflowing mirth, and his wonderful talent seemed to be more than commonly excited by the company of Coleridge, whom, I think, he had never met—at any rate never met with his legs under the same mahogany before.

Our host had replenished his sideboard with fine wines from his father’s cellars and wine merchants in town; but having, unluckily, forgotten port, a few bottles of black-strap had been obtained for the nonce from the adjacent inn at Highgate; and sooth to say it was not of the first quality. To add to this grievance, the glasses appertaining to the lodgings were of a diminutive capacity, and when they came to be addressed to champagne and hock, were only tolerable and not to be endured. Thus, in the midst of dinner, or rather
more towards its close, we were surprised by
Hook’s rising, and asking us to fill bumpers to a toast. It was not difficult to fill these glasses, and we were pledged to follow the example of our leader in draining them. In a brief but most entertaining address he described the excellent qualities of Reynolds, and above all his noble capacity for giving rural dinners, but,—there was always a but, not a butt of wine, but a but, a something manqué. On this occasion it was but too notorious in the size of these miserable pigmies, out of which we were trying to drink his health, &c. &c. &c. The toast was drunk with acclamation, and then followed the exemplary cannikin clink, hob-nobbing, and striking the poor little glasses on the table till every one was broken save one, and that was reserved for a poetical fate. Tumblers were substituted, and might possibly contribute their share to the early hilarity and consecutive frolic of the night; for ere long Coleridge’s sonorous voice was heard declaiming on the extraordinary ebullitions of Hook—“I have before in the course of my time met with men of admirable promptitude of intellectual power and play of wit, which as Stillingfleet tells
The rays of wit gild wheresoe’er they strike;
but I never could have conceived such amazing readiness of mind, and resources of genius to be poured out on the mere subject and impulse of the moment.” Having got the poet into this exalted mood, the last of the limited wine-glasses was mounted upon the bottom of a reversed tumbler, and, to the infinite risk of the latter, he was induced to shy at the former with a silver fork, till after two or three throws, he succeeded in smashing it into fragments, to be tossed into the basket with its perished brethren. It was truly hang-up philosophy, and, like all such scenes, may
perhaps appear somewhat wantonly absurd in description (for the spirit which enjoyed them cannot exist in the breasts of readers); but this exhibition was remembered for years afterwards by all who partook of it; and I have a letter of
Lockhart’s* alluding to the date of our witnessing the roseate face of Coleridge, lit up with animation, his large grey eye beaming, his white hair floating, and his whole frame, as it were, radiating with intense interest, as he poised the fork in his hand, and launched it at the fragile object (the last glass of dinner), distant some three or four feet from him on the table!—
So full of shapes in fancy,
That it alone is high fantastical.

Grave folks wonder at those who are, as Shakspere hath

* This letter is so interesting in other literary respects, that I venture to indulge myself and readers with it here:—

“I have not as yet seen or heard anything of the ‘New Grandpapa Tales,’ but will send them over the moment I get them, and no doubt my copy will be a very early one.

“I have no news. Do you know that the King has bought all Wilkie’s Spanish pictures, seven in number, and two of the Italian. This munificence will re-establish David, and ought to be celebrated in prose and in rhyme.

“Your ‘Literary Gazette’ comes to me every Saturday morning, and proves an agreeable breakfast-table friend. Have you seen the Edinburgh one? I fear it is very poor stuff.

Mr. Moore, as you will perceive, is very indignant with F. M. Reynolds for putting in extempore without his consent. The poet asserts in a letter to Murray that they offered him six hundred guineas for the benefit of his name in the ‘Keepsake,’ and that he declined the offer. Whether was Heath or Moore most mad? Our tumbler-shying was nothing to this.’

“Yours truly,

Sir Thomas Lawrence has just finished a most admirable painting, a full-length of Mr. Southey, for Mr. Peel’s great gallery at Whitehall.

Sir Thomas’s contemporary portraits are now getting into their proper places in the long gallery at Windsor Castle. One caravan the other morning conveyed Lord Eldon, Mr. Pitt, and Sir Walter Scott from Russell-square to their regal destination.”

it, “wise enough to play the fool,” and it is to be hoped the party here met might plead some share of that foundation for their apology. Be that as it may,
Hook, after dinner, gave us two of his usual extemporised songs, one of them characterising all the “present company,” no one excepted, and few, if any, were spared the satirical lash; so cleverly applied, that Captain Harris could not credit that the whole was not preconcerted by Mr. Lockhart, Hook, and I (Hook and Eye!) Piqued by the suspicion, Hook dared him to name a subject for an impromptu song, and of all the impracticable subjects that could be imagined, he gave him “Cocoa-nut Oil!!” I must notice that it was suggested by the refusal of a lamp, charged with that material (just then being publicly puffed, as the best of all flame-feeders), to burn, and its having been sent from the table to liquify before the kitchen fire whilst candles took its duty; and upon these untoward incidents the song instantly proceeded. Having heard
When I was a maiden of bashful fifteen
improvised on a somewhat similar occasion, such as not unfrequently occurred at the jocund board of
Mr. Fred. Hodgson, it is high praise to state that Hook never excelled this effort—effort? they never seemed efforts to him. He commenced with a landscape of the Mauritius with the cocoa tree as its principal feature; he painted the natives dancing by moonlight beneath its beautiful foliage; he described the various uses of its fruits, wood, fibres, and sap, and out of the latter extracted his oil. Then came the lampooned lamp, with all its ludicrous pretensions and mishaps, the impudence of trading puffery, and the weakness of the individual who had been taken in by it. And all this in versification, which might have been taken in short-hand, and published
verbatim. “Think of that Master Ford,” and your astonishment and admiration will be nearly as great as were the astonishment and admiration of Captain Harris, largely shared even by those who were best acquainted with the Improvisator’s most successful displays of that marvellous faculty.
Coleridge was in the seventh heaven, and varied the pleasures of the evening by some exquisite recitation, as well as humorous stories of Southey, Wordsworth, and other brother bards.

In due season the feast of souls and the flow of tumblers told their tale; and it must be confessed that some of us were a trifle uproarious. It so happened that the name of the gardener was M’Pherson; and his busy wife, plying her utmost care in getting the dinner up from the kitchen below (we had an experienced waiter from Brompton for the dining-room), had been rather frightened by the catastrophe of the glasses and the festive cheering and shouting of the hilarious party. Towards the close, Mistress M’Pherson was the topic assigned to Hook for his last song, and he sung it! Now I have mentioned that it was a shell of a cottage, and consequently Mrs. Mac was an astonished auditress of this unique composition, which had such an effect upon her nerves, that she bolted from her domicile to seek her sister to stay with her, and (together with the foresaid waiter), take care of her till her husband came home. Of this, however, I was not aware till later in the night, when it cost me a threat of watch-house; for Lockhart, Hook, and I, returned in the same carriage, and after leaving my companions in the Regent’s Park and Cleveland-row, I resolved on walking home, attended by my neighbour the waiter, who had availed himself of the coachbox; and as we wended our way up Piccadilly, amused me by describing the scenes in the inferior regions whilst we
were at high jinks above. His account of the terror which seized Mrs. M’Pherson, so tickled my diaphragm, that I burst into laughter more uncontrollable than any previous fit, and laid hold of the iron railing to support me in having my cachinnation out, when lo and behold, I was pulled up by a Charley, with “Hollo, sir, you must not laugh in that way there at this time of night” (it was morning), and it showed great self-possession that I managed to steer safely home at last, and live to record this day of memorable enjoyment.

Gaiety such as this, still enriched with intellectual fruits, and, though apparently approaching in description the limit where excess would begin, far short of Milton’s “riot and ill-managed merriment,” sheds a bright halo, like an evening sun, over the clouds of life, and teaches us the wisdom of the preacher, that there is a time to laugh and (a better time it is too than) a time to cry.

A friend has reminded me of another lesser dining-bout, and, as his note is very short, I add it.

The merry party assembled at Hook’s, in Cleveland Row. It consisted of the gifted Wilson Croker, the eccentric Dean of Patcham—Cannon, the versatile C. Mathews, the laughter-loving F. Yates, the gentle Allan Cunningham, the —— Jerdan, (I modestly suppress the epithet), and a sprightly noble Lord, William Lennox, who has since, as a novelist, hit off the characters of the host on that occasion, and Edward Cannon as well, perhaps better than any other writer. The dinner in the “Tuft Hunter,” in which Hook figures as a principal character, and the scene at Newbury with Hook and Cannon, in “Percy Hamilton,” prove that his lordship was studying the peculiarities of those he has since so cleverly portrayed in the above-mentioned novels. But to our dinner, or, as the French say, “revenons à nos moutons.” At first the conversation was quiet, no
one liked to break the ice; Hook squibbed off a few pleasantries, and Cannon attempted a joke which flashed in the pan. But as the well iced champagne went round, a thaw followed. Mathews told a story, which told; Yates followed, and was tolerably successful; still no “keen encounter of wit” had taken place, and we all began to fear there was too great a concentration of talent for any one to take the lead. Cannon, sitting next to Lord W. Lennox, whispered aloud, “Dead slow.” “Slow—sloe-juice, you mean,” responded Hook; “no reflections on my wine; Dean, a glass of portums.” “Delighted.” Another pause. Cannon again tried a joke. We must here premise that the Dean’s jests will not, in many cases, bear printing; it was the knowing way in which they were uttered that made them tell. The conversation turned on the
Duke of Cumberland, and a question asked who he had married. “Don’t you know?” said Cannon. “The Princess de Psalms (Salms), good enough for Hymn (him).” A small laugh. It was rather odd that amongst the company present, the one not the most likely to say the best thing should have carried off the éclat. We mean no reflection on the noble lord; his powers of conversation were great, he was quick at repartee, but as a jester he was not so high up. Hook had placed some crape round the print of Peel, for some vote he disapproved of; at dinner some one appealed to him to take it off; he consented, and, amidst a dead silence, a voice which had scarcely been heard during dinner, exclaimed, “Nothing like a tory for getting a brother tory out of his crape (his scrape).” “Who’s the chiel?” asked Allan Cunningham. “Lord W. Lennox,” I responded. “Happy idea,” said Croker; “a glass of wine, Lord William.”

Wordsworth seldom visited London, and I had only once an opportunity of seeing him at his home, when I went by
invitation from Tabley House to the Lakes and Ridal Mount. On this occasion, a lovely summer afternoon, as I sauntered towards his residence, I discovered the poet picturesquely disposed for the interview. He was seated at an oriel window opening upon the lawn, and perusing, or seeming to peruse, a huge folio volume, which rested upon his knee. No portrait-painter could have devised a finer subject for the pencil. It was Wordsworth se ipse, just on such a scene as the intense lover of nature would wish to select, and in delicious harmony with all the feelings which his genius inspired. I passed a few hours of calm delight at his tea-table and in his conversation, a contrast, I may say, to the few hours I have been describing as passed in the society of his brother bard,
Coleridge! The ideal was complete, and I might have saluted him from Burbidge, in language which has always struck me as very typical of him and his muse.
Give me the man who can enjoyment find
In brooks and streams, and every flower that grows;
Who in a daisy can amusement see,
And gather wisdom from a floating straw:
His soul a spring of pleasure might possess
Quite inexhaustible.

But Wordsworth in town was very different from Wordsworth in the country, or rather, perhaps, he was not the same person in mixed company as when tête-à-tête, or with a couple of friends. In the former case he was often very lively and entertaining. I recollect meeting him at breakfast after his being at the Italian Opera the preceding night, and his remarks on the singing and his limning of the limbs of the dancers, were as replete with shrewdness and pleasantry as anything I ever heard from the most witty and graphic lips. I was so charmed both with the matter and manner, that I wrote immediately to offer carte blanche for his correspondence, from the continent, whither he was then
on his way, for the “
Literary Gazette,” which he declined for the reasons assigned in the following letter:—

“Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, October 7th.
Dear Sir,

“Your letter of the 23rd August I did not receive till my arrival here, several weeks after it was written. My stay in London was only of a few days, or I should have been pleased to renew my acquaintance with you.

“I really cannot change my opinion as to the little interest which would attach to such observations as my ability or opportunity enabled me to make during my ramble upon the continent, or it would have given me pleasure to meet your wishes. There is an obstacle in the way of my ever producing anything of this kind, viz.—idleness, and yet another which is an affair of taste.* Periodical writing, in order to strike, must be ambitious; and this style is, I think, in the record of tours or travels, intolerable; or, at any rate, the worst that can be chosen. My model would be Gray’s Letters and Journal, if I could muster courage to set seriously about anything of the kind; but I suspect Gray himself would be found flat in these days.

“I have named to Mr. Southey your communication about Mr. Percival’s death; he received them and wrote you a letter of thanks, which by some mishap or other does not appear to have reached you.

“If you happen to meet with Mr. Reynolds, pray tell him that I received his prospectuses, (an ugly word!) and did as he wished with them. “I remain, dear Sir,

“Very sincerely yours,
W. Jerdan, Esq., Grove House, Brompton.”

* Mr. Orme wrote me to be earnest, as he thought Mr. W. “only wanted a little poetical pressing;” but I could not succeed.—W. J.


Had he complied with my wish, and written letters in the tone and spirit of the criticisms on the opera, I am sure the public would have had a variation in the style of Wordsworth which would greatly have surprised it, little anticipating that the tender poet could also be the grotesque delineator of individual peculiarities, and humourous caricaturist of social anomalies. I shall only relate one of his remarks as a sample, and I choose that most unlike his other self (i.e. the bard of simplicity and the lakes,) as a contrast to a style both in writing and conversing, which was always decorous and refined. We had gone together to the exhibition in Somerset-house, in the year when Turner hung up a little picture of Jessica, decidedly the most worthless and extravagant whim with which he ever amused himself (as I am convinced from his own mouth he frequently did, laughing in his sleeve) by foisting on these walls. “Did you ever see anything like that?” said my companion; “it looks to me as if the painter had indulged in raw liver until he was very unwell,” and it was a perfectly applicable and just critique. The picture was yellow ochre, with dabs of dirty clotted brownish-red upon it; and Jessica (oh, how unlike a pretty young Jewess!) was leaning out of a casement quite in keeping with the other colours.

Men who read much seldom think much. There is a medium in all things. In our day the reading is of the most frivolous nature, or a few may read for particular objects, but there is not one in a thousand who reads and thinks as our great teachers did from a century and a half to two centuries and a half ago.

I offer this apology for the facetious character of this chapter, which will not demand more thought than usual, being perfectly in keeping with the popular writings of the age.


Among my amusing and friendly acquaintances, I kept up with no one in a more kindly way than with the worthy German bibliopole, Rudolph Ackermann. Ackermann was a character. A large, heavy German, but sagacious and energetic, good-natured and liberal, simple and far-sighted. The compound altogether was such as to conciliate esteem for an honest man, and regard for a kindly one. I enjoyed and liked him very much. His ability and transparency, his sound information, quaintness of manner, and fatherland ideas expressed in fatherland use of the English tongue, were never-failing sources of gratification and amusement to me; and many a pleasant diet did I pass with Ackermann, both at his residence in the Strand and latterly at his villa on the Fulham Road, which he purchased from Andrews, the bookseller, of Bond-street, “as it stood, furniture and all,” and immediately put into requisition for some very agreeable blue parties; for the literary ladies usually outnumbered the literary gentlemen.

Ackermann’s patriotism and indefatigable exertion in getting up the subscription for the distresses in Germany, reflected great honour upon him, and justly procured him the grateful acknowledgments of his country, to which he remitted a succour of upwards of £40,000. His literary and artistic conversazioni were the first in London, and the example has since been advantageously followed. He published the first Annual, the “Forget me not,” the prototype of a numerous and splendid progeny, which seem to have had their day, or rather their year, and like all earthly things declined—it may be to rise again, for the encouragement of the arts and literature, when the trade which destroyed them can see its way more clearly. The first of this class of publications in England was projected by Rodwell and Martin, in Bond-street, and proposed to me to edit. We had
meetings, examined the German models, talked of surpassing them in matter and engravings, entered into some calculations which seemed to indicate that £1000 was the least possible sum at which a volume could be produced, and the frightful prospect led to the abandonment of the design. Ackermann, however, naturally enough, as the original belonged to his native land, and with wiser foresight, took up the design, and brought out a popular and profitable publication: so profitable, that too many rushed into the market with imitations, but yet a very superior order of Annuals were produced, and where thousands of pounds were embarked in single volumes, the returns were amply sufficient to requite writers liberally, to pay artists handsomely, and to satisfy publishers for their risks in adventuring such heavy freights in such lightly built and showily painted vessels.

But Ackermann did not force his little flower “Forget me not,” into the hothouse atmosphere of exotics, brought into wonderful flower by the names of celebrated authors who sold at a high price their names and sweepings of their studies for the advertising baits of A., B., or C, their contributions being public disappointments, and nearly all the rest of the starved book being unpaid mediocrity—he went on quietly, and I believe prosperously, as long as I had any acquaintance with this, his favourite yearly undertaking.

But I must leave annuals for a few characteristics of my old friend (so I may fairly call him), and endeavour to afford a “notion” of what used to entertain me so much. I forget the occasion, but an unfavourable notice of some publication of his having appeared in the Gazette, I received a letter from “my sincere friend, always ready to acknowledge the boon when in his power,” grievously reclaiming against the just act. He reproached me with ingratitude, saying (which in fact I had never been told and would not have cared for
if I had) that he had left some admirable Muzzle (Moselle) for my cellar at Grove House, as he was conveying the aum to his Fulham Villa, and wondering how I could return such a civility with such a “shlapp in the mouth.” We soon made the matter up; for when publishers are kind, critics (whatever they may profess) are apt to be ditto. Except in the gross shape of money I seldom rejected and never was offended by well meant, and, I may honestly say, well deserved acknowledgments; and letters of thanks, personal courtesies, and even such material proofs, as books, prints, nay, game or samples of curious wines, &c., if offered with propriety, were received with pride and gratification. There was no prostitution in accepting honest tributes of this kind, the value of which was great in the sentiment, though of small, if any possible, consideration in a sordid sense.

I was wont to tell stories of Ackermann and imitate his dialect, which was replete with mispronunciations of the most ludicrous description—such as cannot be “set down”—but I will try if print can convey any idea of what was, vivâ voce, so laughable.

I had dropt in at the Strand about two o’clock, about something or other, when Mr. A. insisted on my staying to eat “suberb saur krout” with a fine German boy, the son of a nobleman just imported. I consented, and we chatted together till long past the dinner hour, for which Ackermann and his stomach were particularly punctual. His nephew (?) and the young noble had gone out in the morning to see lions, and had not returned. We waited, and waited, till near three o’clock (an hour over time), when my host, unable to contain his anger and hunger any longer, ordered dinner, and we sat down to excellent rotten cabbage, but washed down with sensible muzzle and schnaps. About the middle of the repast the young gentlemen made their appearance, and
were told to sit down and feed, with the politeness, and in the tone which might become an incensed bear. However, as our host’s appetite got appeased, his temper improved, and by the time the cloth was removed, the bumpers of muzzle had converted frowns into smiles, and at length I heard his cavernous issue of the question, “Veil boisse (boys), vere ave you been, and vat ave you see?” The youngsters, delighted by this condescension, burst out in answer, the lead being taken by the nephew, who spoke as follows: “Oh, mine oncle! after ve ave see two mans a henging at Old Belly—vat a crowds!—ve go to de rivere to dox at Voolvitch to see de launch of de great sheep—vat a crowds! and oh, mine oncle, vat a many billa box.” “Billa box,” repeated Ackermann, “vat you mean by billa box!” “Oh, sare,” broke in the stranger, “so I ave been only a veeks in Engleland, I thinks I gan spake de langidge better as he. He means Bocca bills!” “Billa box, Bocca bills,” muttered Ackermann. “Vat de divels does you mean? say it in Yarman!” which they immediately did; and thus informed, he turned laughing loudly to me, and exclaimed, “O mine Kodds, vat you tink dey means?” I had not heard, and could not tell; and their interpreter, still convulsed with laughter, sputtered out, “Vy dey means big boggetts!” Not to lengthen the story, for some time longer unintelligible to me, I at last discovered that billa box, and bocca bills, and bigg boggetts, all and sundry, meant simply pickpockets!

Papworth, a most worthy man and able architect, poor Pyne, Shoberl, and other clever men, were much associated with Ackermann, who, in his day, was led by his own impulse, and by their advice, to do a great deal for the encouragement of the fine arts. Neither his heart nor purse were contracted, as is too much the case amongst his
“order;” and I, appreciating his superior qualities, and remembering the social merriment I often derived or extracted from such oddities as I have faintly portrayed, look back upon the past with a melancholy regret, that such things can never be again.