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In sliort, her behaviour was so engaging, her looks so inviting, and her artifices so enveigling, that I quite forgot how dear 1 was to pay for my entertainment, till the dreadful reckoning was called for, which convinced me of the justness of Bishop Corbet's remarks before quoted. Indeed, as I had ordered a superfluity of victuals that I could not eat, and of liquors that I could not drink, and all for the fake of my hostess's sweet company, I think that the bill, instead of the usual articles of bread and beer—chicken—wine, &c. might have been made out—for a smile—an ogle—a squeeze by the hand, —a chuck under the chin—a kiss, tfsc. —so much. For my part, I am determined, for the future, never to set my foot in an inn where the landlady is not as ugly as Mother Redcap. 1 am, Your very hearty Friend, An Old Correspondent. 'B. Thornton.
§ 145. A circumstantial Detail of every Particular that faffed at the Coronation.
[In a Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend in the Country.] Dear Sir, Though I regret-leaving you so soon, especially as the weather has since proved so sine, that it makes me long to be with you in the country, yet J honestly confess, that I am heartily glad I came to town as I did. As I have seen it, I declare I would not have misted the light upon any consideration. The friendship of Mr. Rollei, who procured me a paJs-ticket, as they call it, enabled me to be present both in the Hall and the Abbey; and as to the procession out of doors, I had a fine view «f it from a one-pair of stairs room, ■which your neighbour, Sir Edward, had hired, at the small price of one hundred guineas, on purpose to oblige his acquaintance. I wish you had been with me; but as you have been deprived of a sight, which probably very few thru were present will ever fee again, I wil endeavour to describe nutbly as I can, while th
are fresh in my memory, though my description mult fall very sliort of the reality. First, then, conceive to yourself the fronts of the houses, in all the streets that could command the least point of view, lined with scaffolding, like sin many galleries or boxes raised one above another to the very roofs. These were covered with carpets and cloths of different colours, which presented a pleasing variety to the eye; and if you consider the brilliant appearance of the spectators who were seated in them (many being richly dressed) you will easily imagine that this was no indifferent part of the (how. The mob underneath made a pretty contrast to the rest of the company. Add to this, that though we had nothing but wet and cloudy weather for some time before, the day cleared up, and the fun (hone auspiciously, as it were in compliment to the grand festival. The platform, on accountof the uncertainty of the weather, had a (helving roof, which was covered with a kind of sailcloth; but near the place where I was, an honest Jack Tar climbed up to the top, and stripped off the covering, which gave us not only a more extensive view, but let the light in upon every part of the procession. I should tell you, that a rank of foot-soldiers was placed on each side within the platform ; and it was not a little surprising to fee the officers familiarly conversing and walking arm and arm with many of them, till we were let into the secret that they were gentlemen who had put on the dresses of common soldiers, so what purpose I need not mention. On the outside were stationed, at proper distances, several parties of horse-guards, whose horses, indeed, somewhat incommoded the people, that pressed incessantly upon them, by their prancing and capering; though, luckily, I do not hear of any great mischief being done. I must confess, it gave me much pain to see the soldiers, both horse and soot, most unmercifully belabouring the heads of the mob with their broadswords, bayonets, and mufquets; but it was not observe several
and and some with silver, as they could muster up the cash) to let them pass between the horses to get nearer the platform; after which these unconscionable gentry drove them back againi As soon as it was day-break (for I chose to go to my place over night) we were diverted with seeing the coaches and chairs of the nobility and gentry passing along with much ado ; and several persons, very richly dressed, were obliged to quit their equipages, and be escorted by the soldiers through the mob to their respective places. Several carriages, I am told, received great damage: Mr. Jennings, whom you know, had his chariot broke to pieces; but providentially neither he nor Mrs. Jennings, who were in it, received any hurt.
Their majesties (to the shame of those be it spoketa who were not so punctual) came in their chairs from St. James's through the Park to Westminster about nine o'clock. The king went into a room which they call the court of wards, and the queen into that belonging to the gentleman usher of the black-rod. The nobility and others, who were to walk in the procession, were mustered and ranged by the officers of arms in the Court of Requests, Painted Chamber, and House of Lords, from whence the cavalcade was conducted into Westminster-hall. As you know all the avenues and places about the Hall, you will not be at a loss to understand me. My pass-ticket would have been of no service, if I had not prevailed on one of the guards? by the irresistible argument of half-a-crown, to make way for me through the mob to the Hall-gate, where I got admittance just as their majesties were seated at the upper end, under magnificent canopies. Her majesty's chair was on the left hand of his majesty; and they were attended by the great chamberlain, lord high constable, earl marshal, and other great officers. Four ssvords, I observed, and as many spurs, were presented in form, and then placed upon a table before the king.
There was a neglect, it seems, somewhere, in not sending for the dean and prebendaries of Westminster, We. who, not finding themselves summoned, came
of their own accord, preceded by the choristers, singers, isfe. among whom was your favourite, as indeed he is of every one, Mr. Beard. The Hall-gate was now thrown open to admit this lesser procession from the Abbey, when the Ipilhop of Rochester (that is, tho dean) and his attendants brought the Bible and the following regalia of the king, <viz. St. Edward's crown, rested on a cushion os gold-cloth, the orb with* the cross, a sceptre with the dove on the top, another tipt with a cross, and what they call St. Edward's staff. The queen's regalia were brought at the fame time, viz. her crown upon a cushion, a sceptre with a cross, and a rod 6f ivory with a dove. These were severally laid before their majesties, and afterwards delivered to the respective officers who were to bear them in the procession.
Considering the length of the cavalcade, and the numbers that were to walk, it is no wonder that there should be much confusion in marshalling the ranks. At last, however, everything was regularly adjusted, and the procession began to quit the Hall between eleven and twelve. The platform leading to the west door/of the Abbey was covered with blue baize for the train to walk on; but there seemed to me a defect in not covering the upright posts that supported the awning, as it is called (for they looked mean and naked) with that or some other coloured cloth. As I carry you along, I shall wave mentioning the minute particulars of the procession, and only observe that the nobility walked two by two. Being willing to see the procession pass along the platform through the streets, I hastened from the Hall, and by the assistance of a soldier made my way to my former station at the corner of Bridgestreet, where the windows cornmanded a double view at the turning. I shall not attempt to describe the splendor and magnificence of the whole; and words must fall short of that innate joy and satisfaction which the spectators felt and expressed, especially as their majesties passed by; on whose countenances a dignity suited to their station, tempered with the most amiable com3 F z placency,
placency, was sensibly impressed. It was observable, that as their majesties and nobility passed the corner which commanded a prospect of Westminsterbridge, they stopped short, and turned back to look at the people, whose appearance, as they all had their hats off, and were thick planted on the ground, which rose gradually, I can compare to nothing but a pavement of heads and faces.
I had the misfortune not to be able to get to the Abbey time enough to fee all that passed there; nor, indeed, when I got in, could I have so distinct a view as I could have wished. But our friend Harry Whitaker had the luck to be stationed in the first row of the gallery behind the feats allotted for the nobility, close to the square platform which was erected by the altar, with an ascent of three steps, for their majesties to be crowned on. You are obliged to him, therefore, for several particulars which I could not otherwise have informed you of. He tells me, as soon as their majesties entered the church, the choir struck up with an anthem; and, after they were seated, and the usual recognition and oblations were made, the litany was chanted by the bishops of Chester and Chichester, and the responses made by the whole choir, accompanied by the whole band of music. Then the first part of the communionservice was read ; after which a sermon was preached by the bishop of Salisbury, now archbishop of York. I was not near enough to hear it, nor, perhaps you will fay, did I much desire it ; but, by my watch, it lasted only fifteen minutes. This done, Harry fays he saw very distinctly his majesty subscribe the declaration, and take the coronation oath, the solemnity of which struck him with an unspeakable awe and Teverencc; and he could not help reflecting on the glorious privilege which the English enjoy of binding their kings by the most sacred ties of conscience and religion, The king was then anointed by his grace of Canterbury on the crown of his head, his breast, and the palms of his hands: after which he was presented with the spurs, and girt with the sword, and wat then invested
with the coronation-robes, the armills, as they are called, and the imperial pall. The orb with the cross was also presented, and the ring was put upon the fourth finger of his majesty's right hand by the archbilhop, who then delivered the sceptre with the cross, and the other with the dove; and being assisted by several bilhops, he lastly placed the crown reverently upon his majesty's head. A profound awful silence had reigned till this moment, when, at the very instant the crown was let fall on the king's head, a fellow having been placed on the top of the Abbey dome, from whence he could look down into the chancel, with a flag which he dropt as a signal; the Park and Tower guns began to fire, the trumpets sounded, and the Abbey echoed with the repeated shouts and acclamations of the people. The peers, who before this time had their coronets in their hands, now put them on, as the bilhops did their caps, and the representatives of the dukes of Aquitaine and Normandy their hats. The knights of the Bath in particular made a most: splendid figure, when they put on their caps, which we're adorned with large plumes of white feathers. It is to be observed, that there were no common, ers knights of the Garter; consequently, instead of caps and vestments peculiar to their order, they, being all peers, ■ wore the robes and coronets of their respective ranks. • I should mention, that the kings of arms also put on coronets.
Siletrce again assumed her reign, and the shouts ceasing, the archbishop proceeded with the rest of the divine service; and after he had presented the Bible to his majesty, and solemnly read the benedictions, his majesty kissed the archbishops and bishops one after another as they knelt before him. The JTif Dettm was now performed, and this, being ended, his majesty was elevated on a superb throne, which all the peers approached in their order, and did their homages.
The coronation of the queen was per» formed in nearly the fame manner with that of his majesty; the archbishop anointed her with the holy oil on the head and breast, and after he had put
the the crown upon lier head, it was a signal for princess Augusta and the peeresses to put on their coronets. Her majesty then received the sceptre with the cross, and the ivory rod with the dove, and was conducted to a magnificent th/one on the left hand of his majesty.
I cannot but lament that I was not near enough to observe their majesties going through the most serious and solemn acts of devotion ; bsu I am told, that the reverent attention which both paid> when (after having made their second oblations) the next ceremony wasj their receiving the holy communion, it brought to the mind of every one near them, a proper recollection of the consecrated place in which they were. Prayers been over, the king and queen retired into St. Edward's chapel, just behind the altar. You must remember it—as is where the superstition of the Roman Catholics has robbed the tomb of that royal confessor of some of its precious ornaments; here their majesties received each of them a crown of state, as it is c.illed, and a procession was made in the fame manner as before, except in some trifling instances, back again to Westminster-hall, all wearing their coronets, caps, fcjTr. You know, I have often said, that if one loses an hour in the morning, one may ride after it the whole day without being able ro overtake it. This was the cafe in the present instance 5 for, to whatever cau* les it might be owing, the procession most assuredly set off too late: besides, according to what Harry observed, there were such long pauses between some of the ceremonies in the Abbey, as plainly (hewed all the actors were not perfect in their parts. However it be, it is impossible to conceive the chagrin and disappointment which the late return of the procession occasioned; it being so late indeed, that the spectators, even in the open air, had but a very dim and gloomy view of it, while to those who had fat patiently in Westminster-hall, waiting its return for six hours, scarce a glimpse of it appeared, as the branches were not lighted till just upon his majesty's entrance. I had flattered myself that a new scene of splendid grandeur would have been pre
sented to us in the return os the procession, from the reflection of thelights, C2V. and had therefore posted back to the Hall with all possible expedition: but not even the brilliancy of the ladies jewels, or the greater lustre of their eyes, had the power to render our darkness •visible; the whole was confusion, irregularity, and disorder. .
However, we were afterwards amply recompensed for this partial eclipse by the bright picture which the lighting of the chandeliers presented to us. Your unlucky law-suit has made you too well acquainted with Westminsterhall for me to think of describing it to you; but 1 assure you the face of it was greatly altered from what it was when you attended to hear the verdict given against you. Instead of the inclosures for the courts of Chancery and King's Bench at the upper end, which were both removed, a platform was raised with several ascents of steps, where their majesties in their chairs of state, and the royal family, fat at table. On each side, down the whole length of the Hall, the rest of the company were seated at long tables, in the middle of which were placed, on elevations painted to represent marble, the deserts, i$c. Conceive to yourself, if you can conceive, what I own I am at a loss to describe, so magnificent a building as that of Westminster-hall, lighted up with near three thousand wax-candles in most; splendid branches; our crowned heads, and almost the whole nobility, with the prime of our gentry, most superbly arrayed, and adorned with a profusion of the mostbrilliant jewels; the galleries on every side crowded with company for the most part elegantly and richly dressed: but to conceive it in all its lustre, I am conscious that it is absolutely necessary one must have been present. To proceed in my narration— Their majesties table was served with three courses, at the first of which earl Talbot, as steward of his majesty's houfhold, rode up from the Hall-gate to the steps leading to where their majesties fat; and on his returning the spectators were presented with an unexpected sight, in his lordship's backing his horse, that he might keep bis face
3 F 3 *"' still still towards the king. A loud clapping and huzzaing consequently ensued from the people present. The ceremony of the champion, you may remember we laughed at, at its representation last winter; but I assure you, it had a very serious effect on those ladies who were "near him (though his horse was very gentle) as he came up, accompanied by lord Effingham as earl marshal, and tne duke of Bedford as lord high constable, likewise on horseback: it is needless to repeat what passed on this occasion. I am told, that the horse which the champion rode was the fame that his late majesty was mounted on at the glorious and memorable bittle of Dettingen. The beast, as well as the rider, had his head adorned with a plume of white, red, and blue feathers.
You cannot expect that I should give you a bill of fare, or enumerate the number of dishes that were provided and sent from the temporary kitchens erected in Cotton-garden for this purpose. No less than sixty haunches of venison, with a surprizing quantity of all sorts of game, were laid in for this grand feast : but that which chiefly attracted our eyes, was their majesties desert, in which the confectioner had lavished all his ingenuity in rock-work andemblematical figures. The other deserts were no less admirable for their expressive devices. But I must not forget to tell you, that when the company came to be seated, the poor knights of the Bath had been overlooked, and no table provided for them: an airy apology, however, was served up to them instead of a substantial dinner ; but the two junior knights, in order to preserve their rank of precedency to their successors, were placed at the head of the judges table, above all the learned brethren of the coif. The peers were placed on the outermost side of the tables, and the peeresses within, nearest to the walls. You cannot suppose that there was the greatest order imaginable observed during the dinner, but must conclude, that some of the company were as eager and impatient to satisfy the craving of their appetites as anar pf your country 'squires at a race Or gssige ordinary.
It was pleasant to see the various stratagems made use of by the company in the galleries to come in for a snack of the good things below. The ladies clubbed their handkerchiefs to be tied together to draw up a chicken or a bottle of wine; nay', even garters (I will not fay of a different sex) were united for the same purpose. Some had been so provident as to bring baskets with them» which were let down, like the prisoners boxes at Ludgate or the Gate-house, with a Pray, remember the poor.
You will think it high time that I should bring this long letter ,to a conr elusion. Let it suffice then to acquaint you, that their majesties returned to St, James's a lit tic after ten o'clock at night; but they were pleased to give time for the peeresses to go first, that they might not be incommoded by the pressure of the mob to fee their majesties. After the nobility were departed, the illustrious mobility were (according to custom) admitted into the Hall, which they presently cleared of all the moveables, such as the victuals, cloths,plates, dishes, ciff. and, in short, every thing that could stick to their fingers.
I need not tell you, that several coronation medals, in silver, were thrown, among the populace at the return of the procession. One of thern was pitchedinto Mrs. Dixon's lap, as (he fat upon a scaffcldSn Palace-yard. Some, it is said, were also thrown among the peeresses in the Abbey just after the king was crowned ; but they thought it below their dignity to stoop to pick them up.
My wife desires her compliments to you: she was hugeoujly pleased with the sight. All friends are well, except that little Nancy Green has got a swelled face, by being up all night; and Tom Moffat has his leg laid up on a stool, on account of a broken shin, which he got by a kick from a trooper's horse as a reward for his mobbing it. I shall say nothing os the illuminations at night: the news-papers must have told you of them, and that the Admiralty in particular was remarkably lighted up. I expect to have from you an account of the rejoicings at your little town; and fjesire to know whether you was able to