« 上一页继续 »
We were all quite merry. The Earl of L), who you know is fond of frequenting the Italian Opera, proposed, that, to put the Members in good humour, especially those from Ireland, there should be given, by subscription among the Cabinet, to commemorate the event, a Concerto Spirituale. The idea at first alarmed the Cr and Mr. P-1, who thought it was meant to play off some of the tricks of the illuminati, of which they had read in the Hon. R. Clifford's translation of Barruel. They supposed that it was proposed to call up from the regions below the infernal spirits
Black spirits and white,
and they begged to be excused from witnessing prematurely, and before the day of judgment, such an exhibition. The Earl of W d proposed, in that case, to send for a Popish Priest, and get from him some holy water. His Lordship generally carries with him l'eau beni de cour, which he brought with him from Ireland; but he said he was afraid the Devil was accustomed to it, and that it would have no effect. Lord M-e and Eari Cn were not alarmed. The first said, he would get an officer of engineers to beat him off with a new infernale from the Ordnance Office. The latter thought there could be no harmwit, fun, and sprightliness, were much wanting in the Cabinet; and if they could keep free of the evil spirit, he thought they had better have the thing. They had lost Yorick, and Ch entertained them no longer with a song they had also of late been much depressed.
The C-r and Mr. P——] were not satisfied-not a Member of the Cabinet understood Italian, and they sent to the M- ―s Wy, who had left them to go to Y-k House, by a messenger, begging his Lordship would write with a pencil, he not being fond of letter-writing, except billets-doux, a true trans
lation of the words. His Lordship being the only one of us who has ever been Ambassador abroad, they thought him the person best capable of explaining what in their lives they never before had heard. The Marquis had a mind to have sent back some lines of Horace, which Quinctilian would not translate for his own scholars, as he likes to quiz some of us. From respect, however, to the Cr, he thought better of it. The messenger came back with a message, that Concerto Spirituale meant, by a strange contradiction, Oratorio; but as such performances were în general tiresome, and only suited to a Church, he begged to be excused from attending, as he had in his leisure moments other and more agreeable recreation.
The two Law Lords of the Cy and Ty were delighted at the sound of the word Oratorio; Mr. Secretary R-r recovered from a headach at the cheering sound. They were now convinced it was innocent, and that the pious fraternity at Clapham I would not be shocked at hearing of it, or at receiving an invitation. To calm any scruples in the mind of the new Marshal of the Admiralty, one of us undertook to assure him that the Concert would consist of music imported by one of his friends from the Hague, at which an eminent female performer would be requested to attend.
The next consideration was, where the Concert should be held. It was unanimously proposed, that it should take place at the L-d Cr's, in Bedford Square; and as there existed a general curiosity to see the interior of that noble mansion, it was thought this would be a fine opportunity for a house-warming, and draw a numerous attendance of company. Our worthy and learned Law L-d gave a very significant ned; just such a one as was described once by Lord North, as to courtiers, meaning any thing but approbation or consent, although it might be mistaken by the country gentlemen. We do not believe for a no
ment that the expense of lighting up the rooms was a thought entertained by his Lordship; but we immediately recollected, that he had once declared he would not give five shillings to hear even the great Catalani.
Leaving the place to be settled hereafter, the next consideration was the orchestra-which of the Cabinet could play upon the violin sufficiently well to lead the band! They are all, entre nous, wretched scrapers; but yet it was thought Wy would not let Pattempt to show off in that capacity. They agreed, therefore, to have a Professor; but Earl Grey, who is an excellent performer as well as amateur, and who can lead off equally an allegro spirituoso, and play sometimes a solo, was not likely to accept an engagement. Lord Ge hates music; but he understands the contra points, and is a good fundamental bass. They thought of sending to the Opera House. P. protested against a Papist; and as the lead is of great consequence, and a place of trust, he said he must have a Protestant. An Ode was to be written for the occasion, and they wanted a tenor voice. Cg aud Ch, it was said, would quarrel as much as any Italian poet and composer, and they would fight moreover like true Irishmen. We now began to see how much we were in want of the Talents. The chorusses were likely to be deficient, particularly those from Scotland. Still, however, Mr. P says he will have an Oratorio, and he has applied to me to get it up. I tell him I dare not talk of a fiddle among my friends at the Tabernacle.
The Premier wished to have got the Ps to per. form. The Duke of Ce says, he does not like public exhibitions; and the Duke of Sx sent word that he was recoveri his voice from a fit of the asthma, to act a principal part in the Imperial Parliamentary Theatre next season. After all, it is said we are not on our side likely to get a license from the Chamberlain to perform.
THE day is at length arrived-one such day only in the year when we agree to a suspension of all murmurings and complaints; when we forget the war, and the taxes, and the hard times, to enjoy the conrforts and luxuries of a Christmas dinner.
Somehow, Sir, the gravest and wisest of us are not unconcerned in this weighty affair, and not displeased to be invited where the good things of the season are spread out in greatest plenty; and, although I am are rived at a time of life when feasting becomes dan gerous, and temperance a matter of necessity, if not choice, I cannot help saying, that an invitation on such occasions, where there is a prospect of plenty, is far from being disagreeable. A night or two ago, indeed, this matter seemed to have occupied more of my thoughts than usual; and while I was revolving some of the beautiful sentiments in that entertaining work, Mrs. Glass's Cookery, until my head became a chaos of bills of fare, and first and second courses, and desserts, I fell asleep, and dreamed a dream, which I shall presume to send you, for the benefit of those who, perhaps, never dream of any such thing. .. I dreamt, Sir, that it was Thursday morning, the day after Christmas-day; and I dreamt that I was alarmed by a confused noise of voices, most of which I well knew, and knew that they were the voices of personages whom every body knows at this happy season. I began to listen; but for some time, as four or five spoke at one time, and that in a very noisy and indecent manner, I could not make out any distinct chain of argument. At length the parties, having, I suppose, agreed to some intermission, or suspension of hostilities and clamour, I could make out a considerable part of the dialogue, which I now hand
hand to you with the speakers' names; all of which are, no doubt, so familiar to your readers, that I
need not describe them.
The first voice I heard was that of the Stomach, who complained of grievances and oppressions; and of being so overloaded and overworked, that he was no longer able to perform his functions with ease and effect; and, for proof of this, he would appeal to his friend Digestion. Digestion, who appeared to be in a very weak state, declared that his business was nearly at an end; that such materials were imposed upon him as were quite out of his line; and if matters went on much longer in this way, he did not believe hy should ever make a good drop of chyle while he lived. He also mentioned a number of persons who bad forced themselves upon him, long after he had declared that he could go on no longer. This brought up Mr. Cod's-head, who, with some indignation, asked if either of the preceding speakers meant him? He said, it was true he had come twice, perhaps thrice into their premises, where there was then plenty of room; and things might have remained so, if he had not been followed by others who had no business there, and came there only to disturb him. He men tioned in particular Messrs. Sherry and Madeira, whose visits were so often repeated as to harden him against any thing he could do to promote Digestion, or ease his friend Stomach. Madeira answered, that his visits were certainly frequent, but they were mere visits of compliment, sometimes to the Master of the house, and sometimes to the Mistress; and that, al though he had some reputation as a Physician, in cases of the gout, neither he nor his friend Sherry ever pretended to assist digestion: on the contrary, they had probably been as much enemies to that operation as any of the company present. Fowl and Ham declared, that they could not be blamed for what had happened they always travelled in the suite of