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dare not follow the party much further among the “mountaineers” and the “natives;” for as they approach “the castle, situated upon the left buttock of the peak-hill,” and prepare to see “this place so much talk'd of, called (save your presence) by, in my judgement, no unfit appellation, considering its figure, whose picture I wish were here inserted ;” in short, as they enter the penetralia, the terms employed become so minutely anatomical, that we must proceed, quicker than they did, to Buxton—where they found the waters “very hot, and judged not inferior to those of Somersetshiere.” We would allow no comparison, judging by the hexameter they inspired:—
“Buxtoniis thermis vix praefero Bathonianas.”
And so on, and so on, till they had had enough of it. In returning, “wee went, in a very blinde rode, very hard to find, to Leister.” They “intended to have viewed Ely nearer hand, but, being almost tir’d and discouraged by reason of the bad way, wee tooke over to Wisbich, riding ten mile upon a streight banke of earthe, and four mile more by the side of a made river.” At last, when dying for diaculum, “that famous city of Norwich presents itselfe to our view—Let any stranger find mee out so pleasant a county, such good way, large heath, three such places as Norwich, Yar, and Lin. in any County of England, and I’ll bee once again a vagabond to visit them.” There are two minor characters brought out by the domestic correspondence, with whom we confess to be mightily taken: good Dame Dorothy Browne and her grandson, “little Tomey,” alias “Tomy,” “ Tomay,” “Tome,” “Tommy,” finally, “Tom.” The lady is as lovable as ever was anybody’s mother; and her spelling is “ever charming, ever new.” Of a good family, as has been already recorded, she was of “such symmetrical proportion to her husband, both in the graces of her body and mind, that they seemed to come together by a kind of natural magnetism.” And although Browne had expressed a wish to become a parent rather in horticultural than in human style, she brought him twelve children, doubtless in the usual way. In these her thoughts were mainly centred. When a child is absent, ever ready that they may see her writing, she slips a postscript into her husband's letter, and contrives to insert therein some bit of good advice or pleasant news. To her son Thomas she writes:—“Be sure to put your
trust in God, and be civill to all that you have to doe withall, and find out all that you can in that place; for in the sommer I beleeve your father will have you goe to some other place.” (i. 2.) “All the servants present their loves to you, and are mighty joyd to hear of you, and will observe your commands.” (i. 5.) Little maternal kindnesses are uppermost in her mind. “I will send your weg (wig) by the choch (coach), and the buf cotte, if I can get it.” (i. 117.) She wishes to keep up appearances, but at the same time insists on frugality. “If you want more money, Mr. Scoltowe will latt you have it; butt bee suer to spand as little as you can. Latt me here from you.” (i. 117.) “Bee as good a husband as you can possable, for you know what great charges wee are at.” (i. 119.) . A request to her daughterin-law, in London, is, “I would desire you to by mee a painted fan; it is for a present: a bought (about) twenty shilens; give rayther under.” (i. 232.) The reader is already on terms of intimate acquaintanceship with Lady Browne. As to Master Tom, we are inclined to follow him from the beginning to the end of his story. He was the eldest child of Sir Thomas's eldest son Edward, born in London, 1672–3. Mr. Wilkin does not mention this Little Pickle in his “Memoir,” which is supplementary to the “Life” by Dr. Johnson; but we learn (p. ciz.) that in the January subsequent to his death in 1710, by which the male line became extinct, the libraries of his father and grandfather were sold by auc. tion, at the Black Boy Coffee-house in AveMary-Lane. On October 17, 1676, Tommy, still in London, “is so well as to goe to schoole today;” but in April, 1677, we find him safely domiciled in Norwich :—
“Litle Tom is lively, God be thancked. He lyeth with Betty [his aunt, afterwards Mrs. Lyttleton); shee takes great care of him, and getts him to bed in due time, for hee riseth early. Shee or Franck [Frances, Browne's youngest daughter] is sayne sometimes to play him asleep with a fiddle. When wee send away our letters, hee scribbles a paper, and will have it sent to his sister, and sayth shee doth not know how many fine things there are in Norwich.”—i. 219.
Grandmamma's visitors soon discover the way to ingratiate themselves:–
“Tomey this day has behaved himselfe so well to on Captain Le Gros, which is now com out of Flanders, as hee has presented him with a pretty picktur in a silver box. . . Wee thincke him a very siveli parson.”—i. 223.
In May, 1678–
“Tom is much delighted to thinck of the guild; the maior, Mr. Davey, of Alderhollands [AllSaints] intending to live in Surrey House, in St. Stephen's, at that time; and there to make his entertaines; so that he (Tom) contrives what pictures to lend, and what other things to pleasure some of that parish, and his schoolmaster, who lives in that parish.”—i. 223.
Now, to justify Tommy's delightful anticipations, the reader ought to know something of the humors of Norwich guild at that date. The Guild-day was the mayor's day; the Guild-street was the street in which the mayor lived. Since 1835, when the old corporations were swept off, the antique pageantry, which it has been Mr. Ewing's task to record in the Notices and Illustra
uations, has entirely passed away; but in
the days of our childhood it yet retained a most respectable appearance. The manner in which the Guild-street was then decorated, depended much on the quarter in which the mayor resided. If his tent were pitched in the “genteel” part of the city, the garniture was more commonplace, consisting of green boughs, triumphal arches, with a battlement of musicians, flags drooping from ropes stretched from roof to roof, &c., &c. But if he abode in the lower wards, amidst weavers, dyers, bombazine-dressers, and the like, then, in addition to the above, the old traditional ornaments were displayed. The irons by which tapestry was suspended are still now and then to be seen; and carpets and rugs were made to serve the turn of tapestry. Pictures, and even gaudy tea-trays, were hung outside the house; sometimes the plate, the family spoons, and punch-ladle glittered among the wreaths of green rushes and “sweet seg,” which were supplied in great variety. Effigies of the model couple, old Darby and Joan, emblems of domestic happiless, sat pipe in mouth with the tankard of “syneypocras,” “claret wyne,” or perhaps only “dobyll bere,” before them. Their stature was of various proportion; colossal here, next door pigmy. Bowers of all shapes, contrived of leaves and flowers, and screening commodious benches, lined the way-side. Through this diversely-colored *enue passed the mayor's procession to go to the “grate chutch” (anglice, cathedral); oster which the body corporate had to endure the infliction of a long Latin “orracon” from
one of the boys of the “free skule.” This induced an appetite for luncheon at the Guildhall in the Market Place, and heightened by contrast the pleasures of the day, which concluded with a feast (such a feast !) in St. Andrew's Hall, and a ball at the Assembly Rooms. But “Tomey" was too young to go to the dinner, though his grandfather, we may be sure, occupied an honorable seat; and there were no Assembly Rooms in 1678. Tom would be awed by the superb costumes of the mayor, the aldermen, and the sword-bearer; he might tremble—or not —at the grave dignity of the common councilmen; but he would enjoy an exciting mixture of terror and delight at the onslaughts of the “Whifflers” and the threatening advances of “Snap.”
The Whifflers were a set of men, clad in a quaint dress, of similar style to that of the Pope's Swiss guards, whose office it was to clear the crowd from before the carriage of “ the Mar.” This was effected by means of blunt swords, with which, in stern silence and a fierce countenance, they made apparently the most desperate cuts at the populace. Whiffling is, or was, as much a matter of practice and skill as fencing. The whiffler who hit his mark would lose his reputation as completely as the archer who missed it. But we suppose this will soon be catalogued amongst the lost arts. It used to be hereditarily handed down, and taught by the father to the son. A Whiffler still survives under the metamorphosis of a nightwatch ; whether his hand has altogether lost its cunning we cannot say.
“Snap” was the undoubted though degenerate descendant of the Dragon, that insulted the Lady, that was lighted by St. George, that was patron of the principal Guild. In early days, Mr. Ewing informs us, the knight himself, *
“clad in complete and glittering armor, well mounted, and attended by his henchman, was ordered by his worship the mayor “to maintain his estate for two days, and hold conflict with the dragon;' which, after much turmoil, amidst the braying of trumpets, the antics of the whifflers, and shouts of the populace, was conquered and led captive by the Lady Margaret. She, too, mounted on her palfrey, richly caparisoned and led by her henchman, was welcomed from the windows and balconies by the waving of kerchiefs, the fluttering of flags and ancients, the ringing of church bells, the firing of cannon, and the music of the city waits and other minstrels.”—Notices,
&c., p. i. The extracts from Mackarell's MS. History
forth both flowers and fruit.
of Norwich tells us that “the last Dragon was made but a few years ago, and was so contrived as to spread and clap his wings, distend or contract its head : it was made of basket-work, and painted cloath over it.” Iden, p. 21. In such guise did it make its annual appearance previous to the corporation revolutions of 1835. In our days Snap had acquired the additional right of levying black-mail on the bystanders, and had learned the clever trick of swallowing half-pence in any quantity. Whether the utter suppression of these amusing gauds was quite discreet and in accordance with popular taste, may be surmised from the success attending the late aliegorical processions on Lord Mayor's day in London. We suppose the Archbishop of Westminster will do his best to supply the deficiency in the provinces in his way. On which side our “Tomay ” would have voted, is not disficult to guess— Tomay “much a man" in his new “cott" and “brichis,” which he “meanes to war carfully,” but nevertheless venturing within reach of Snap and the Whifflers. Her Majesty's late fancy ball ought to have been enriched by a Sir Thomas and Lady Browne, attended by their hopeful Tom. Tom's sequel was to become an M.D. and an F.R.S., to get married, but to leave no children. Le Neve's pedigree records him as “an ingenious gent.—but who afterwards gave himself up to drinking so much that he died, A.D. 1710, by a fall off his horse, going from Gravesend to his house in Southfleet in Kent, being drunk and up all night.” But as Le Neve commits the error of stating that Sir Thomas was buried in Morwich Cathedral and at a wrong date, we may fairly give Tommy’s memory the benefit of a doubt as to the truth of the aforesaid story. At any rate, with him the male line ended. Not so either the blood, the whim, or the talent. Sir Thomas's daughter Anne had a daughter Frances, whose eldest son Henry, 10th Earl of Buchan, was the father of the late Earl, David, of picturesque memory; also of Henry Erskine, the elegant and witty Lord Advocate of Scotland under all the talents, and of the inimitable Thomas, Lord Chancellor of England. Other branches of this goodly tree are still flourishing, and may yet put The Brownean blood cannot be all turned to water. The latest particulars which the biographer of Sir Thomas is enabled to give are very remarkable. On the occasion of making a vault in the chancel of St. Peter's to receive the remains of a clergyman's wife, the
The parishioners may carefully preserve the picture, but they were careless to preserve the original; for the head was removed. It passed into the possession of the late Dr. Edward Lubbock, and was by him eventually presented () to the Museum of the Norwich Hospital, where it remains for the inspection of the curious, and subject to the reverent remarks of medical students who dabble in phrenology. A few casts of the skull were taken, one of which we have seen. As in the case of Byron, so this example by no means tends to further Mr. George Combe's mission. In it, the bumps of Causality, Ideality, Comparison, the Perceptive faculties, and even Benevolence and Weneration, are sadly deficient. Browne ought not to have been—he had no business to be —an acute observer, a fanciful speculator, a brilliant essayist, an amiable physician, a considerate, thoughtful paterfamilias. He ought to have been a glutton, a sensualist, irascible and selfish, and, if not quite an idiot, a very every-day sort of a body. He most clearly had no right to enter in his commonplace book any such sentences as these, being by his organization incapable of feeling them:—
“To pray and magnify God in the night, and my dark bed, when I could not sleep: to know no street or passage in this city which may not witness that I have not forgot God and my Saviour in it. Since the necessities of the sick, and unavoidable diversions of my profession, keep me often from church, yet to take all possible care that I might never miss sacraments upon their accustomed days. Upon sight of beautiful persons, to bless God in his creatures, to pray for the beauty of their souls, and to enrich them with
inward graces to be answerable unto the outward. Upon sight of deformed persons, to send them inward graces, and enrich their souls, and gire them the beauty of the resurrection.”—iv. 420-1.
After this, what shall we think of phrenological tests? Who, now, will fix upon a wife, a friend, or a confidential servant, by the application of callipers to their crania o
But there may have been a mistake; the * coffin may have been opened. No ; Or
“The coffin-plate, which was also broken, was of brass, in the form of a shield, and it bore the following quaint inscription :
Amplissimus Wir Dns Thomas Browne Miles Medecima.
Dr Annos Nalus 77 Denatus 19 Die Mensis Octobris Anno Dnj 1682 hoc
Loculo indormiens Corporis spagyrici Pulvere Plumbum in Aurum convertit.”
All this happened in August, 1840. We ask not who was the churchwarden—but what were the reverend superiors about? Did they authorize Dr. Lubbock to present the skull to the hospital? Were the noble Buchans left in ignorance as to the rude discovery and still worse after-treatment of their famous ancestor's relics 2
To conclude with a more pleasant topic: —we beg once more to thank Mr. Wilkin for this excellent edition—the labor of many zealous years. It is probable that Sir T. Browne's works will be even more interesting to future generations of Englishmen, than to the present; and if so, they will be duly grateful to this gentleman for his diligent and able illustration of the old “light of Norwich.”
Gray. And what sort of evening had you, pray, at Milor Conway's 2
Walpole. Mighty dull it would have been colled in London; but considering the fate of us poor exiles in a strange land, it passed off well enough. We shook each other by he hand more warmly than we should have done in Whitehall or Leicester Square, and felt comfortable at the flesh-and-blood evidence of every John Bull face that there is such a country as England after all.
G. Which one is really in danger of forgetting—one hears so little about it from the quality in Paris. W. Paris mentions England now and then no proverb–as she alludes to Paradise (of which she knows just as little) or Babylon the Great—
G. Which she is more familiar with, unless Scripture misleads and my eyesight deceives me. W. You should have been with us last night at his lordship's, for we railed against French things and personages pretty scandalously, I promise you, much as we enjoy ourselves in the naughty heart of them. My Lord George Bentinck and I had a prodigious dispute about the merits of Versailles, which he lauded and I unsparingly abused. G. For my part, I spent an absolutely uninterrupted evening in letter-writing W. To Dick West, I hope, child 2 G. Yes; and about Versailles too. W. I am infinitely obliged to you for forestalling me. I should only have made 2
mouths at its palatial magnificence, whereas you were too well pleased with it to do that. G. You are mistaken: I thought but poorly of the place, and told Dick what I thought. For instance, I am barbarian enough to call the Grand Front a huge heap of littleness, and to declare of the whole building that a more disagreeable tout-ensemble you can nowhere see for love or money; though I admire the back front, with the terrace and marble basins and bronze statues. As for the general taste of the place, everything, I tell him, is forced and constrained ; and even now you might be shocked to see how I ridicule the gardens, with their sugar-loaves and minced-pies of yew, their scrawl-work of box, their stiff tiresome walks, and their little squirting jets d'eau. W. Mind you keep your treasonable epis: tle under lock and key, or we may both have an exempt laying his paw on our shoulders, and whispering De part le roi in our ears, and slipping a lettre de cachet into our hands. Little as I love Versailles, it is the genteelest lace in the world compared with the Bastile. G. If the mouchards are not on the lookout for me, I am for them, and horribly suspicious it makes me. W. I'm sure one sat by me at the theatre last Wednesday; a mighty mean, dirtylooking creature, who would press his snuffbox on me, and talk about les Anglais. He pretended not to suppose me a foreigner; but though I said nothing about that, I was rude and abrupt enough to prove myself English to the backbone. G. I noticed the ugly rascal. He invited me in an off-hand style to join him in a game at faro or hazard. Probably he keeps a gaming-house himself. W. Oh, there's nothing dishonorable in doing that, you know, here in Paris. More than a hundred of the highest people in the lace do it; and the houses are open all might long for any adventurer who likes to O in. G. I fancy our absence form the gamingtables is one reason why we get on so slowly with the natives. They have no sympathy with abstinence of that kind. We must be erfect Huguenots to them. W. Had you much communication with mon cher ami of the snuff-box 2 I hope, if he is a mouchard, you are not compromised ? G. I was as reserved and circumspect as a Cambridge freshman. No, I'm quite safe. If I had committed myself, I should have been committed before now.
W. You're a wise child; yet nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit, especially while sitting out a tedious French ballet, and tempted to talk by a piquant old Parisian. What horrible ideas they have of music here ! G. Nothing can equal its wretchedness except the profound respect with which they listen to it. Did you ever hear such screaming 2 W. No ; except in our own laughter, when the thing was over: I really believe we squalled louder and longer than the singers, and infinitely more in tune. I'd as soon live on maigre as frequent their operas. The music is as like gooseberry tart as it is like harmony. G. More so, if the gooseberries be sour, and set your teeth on edge. I shan't venture on another bite, but confine myself to Corneille and Molière. What a shame it is the houses are so thin on Molière nights! W. That's because they've had nothing but Molière for such a prodigious time. I don't suppose Addison himself would continue to be worshipped in London every night of the year, and for twenty years running. But Molière has a foremost page in your good books. G. I owe him a great deal, if only for whiling away dull hours at Cambridge, where he helped me to forget those execrable mathematics which are the alpha and omega of the university articles of faith. Cambridge will never produce a Molière, nor will England either. W. Don't be ungrateful, child, for national mercies. Cambridge has given us Newton; and if France has her Molière, have we not Dryden and Vanbrugh, and Wycherly and Steele, and a world of others ? G. Perhaps we shall have Walpole on the list of English classics before we have done. .W. Who can tell ? Stranger things have happened. Not only Balaam, but Balaam's
ass, we find among the prophets. Then why.
not Sir Robert's son among the poets? G. Or Thomas Gray himself, riding triumphantly on your argument of an ass. I dare say we have both had our day-dreams of glory at Eton and Cambridge. W. And are not too old or too sage to have them still. After becoming travelled gentlemen, and initiated in all the mysteries of the Grand Tour, we must let the world see what is in us, and appeal to posterity— of imposing fiction which shall one day be fact G. If the world knows no more of us a century hence than it does to-day, posterity