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his inquiries towards the city he came to Jenny Man's coffee-house, which appears to have been situated somewhere between St James's Street and Charing Cross. There he saw a brisk young fellow, who cocked his hat on a friend and addressed him as follows: Well, Jack, the old prig is dead at last. Sharp's the word. Now or never, boy! Up to the walls of Paris directly'--with other deep reflexions of the same nature.
By the time that the Spectator, still following up the scent, had penetrated into the heart of the city, he discovered that the views of coffee-house politicians were to some extent coloured by their professional occupations. In Fish Street, where the coffee-houses seem to have chiefly depended on the patronage of fishmongers, he heard a leading politician discoursing on the plentiful supply of mackerel which might be expected to flow as a natural consequence from the French king's death; since English fishermen would not have to fear the raids of French privateers on their boats and nets. The orator then considered the death of Louis XIV in its bearing on the catch of pilchards, and by his remarks on that subject infused a general joy into the whole audience.
Proceeding still eastward the Spectator came to Cheapside, where he heard a haberdasher haranguing a circle of admirers in a coffee-house of which he was the most shining ornament. The speaker called several of his hearers to witness that he had given up the king of France for dead more than a week ago, indeed that the thing was so certain that it was impossible it could be otherwise. He was in the act of deducing the political lessons to be drawn from the monarch's decease, when his speech was interrupted, and his reputation as a political oracle was dashed to the ground, by the arrival of a gentleman from Garraway's, who informed the audience that, according to the latest letters from France, the French king was in good health and had gone out hunting the very morning the post came away. On hearing this intelligence the crestfallen haberdasher stole his hat from the peg beside him and retired to his shop in great confusion.
Next to the coffee-houses, if not on an equality with them, as places of popular resort in the reign of Queen Anne, were the clubs. Many clubs are described or
alluded to in the pages of the 'Tatler' and 'Spectator,' but only some of these were real, while others, to all appearance, were purely imaginary. Among the real clubs mentioned by Addison are the Kit-Cat and the October. The Kit-Cat Club met at a famous mutton-pie house in Shire Lane, by Temple Bar. It took its name, not, as might naturally be supposed, from the contents of the pies, but from a pastry-cook named Christopher Katt, who kept the house; and the pies were called Kit-cats after him, and not after the noble animals which were baked in them. In summer the club sometimes met at the Upper Flask on Hampstead Heath. The principles of the club were staunch Whig. At it the great Whig chiefs, such as Somers and Halifax, met the foremost Whig writers, such as Congreve, Addison, Garth, and Steele. Pope and Gay sometimes visited the club, and on one occasion drank the health of Swift, who had set up a rival club called the Society of Brothers as an antidote to the poisonous Whig principles of the Kit-Cat. But the regular Tory rival of the Kit-Cat was the October Club, which met at the Bell Tavern in King Street, Westminster, and drank confusion to the Whigs in October ale, which gave its name to the club.
Among the clubs mentioned by Addison, which are hardly less illustrative of the manners of the age because their historical existence is more than doubtful, we may note the Club of Duellists, which, he says, was founded in the reign of King Charles the Second. None might be admitted to the club who had not fought his man. The president was said to have killed half-a-dozen in single combat; and as for the other members, they took their seats according to the number of their slain. There was likewise a side-table for such as had only drawn blood and shown a laudable ambition to qualify themselves for sitting among the homicides at the principal table. This club, consisting only of men of honour, came to an untimely end, most of the members being put to the sword, or hanged, soon after its institution.
Addison has also commemorated a remarkable club of widows, though we cannot be sure that all the particulars which he gives of it are strictly historical. The club consisted of nine experienced dames who met once a week round a large oval table. The president had
disposed of six husbands and was just about to grapple with a seventh. Another had married within a fortnight of the death of her last husband but one; her weeds had served her thrice, and were still as good as new. A third member had been a widow at eighteen, and had since buried a second husband and two coachmen. On the first institution of the club it was resolved that the members should give pictures of their deceased husbands to the club-room; but two of them bringing in their dead at full length, they covered all the walls; upon which the rule was amended so as to run, that each widow should give her own portrait set round with her husbands in miniature. The conversation of the ladies at the club turned largely on the question of how to manage a husband. Among the first principles, or which they were unanimously agreed, was not to give him his head at first, and never to be thoroughly convinced of his affection till he had made over to he all his goods; after which the sooner he went to hi long home, the better for her, and perhaps for him.
The principal theatres of London in Addison's tim were the Haymarket and Drury Lane; Covent Garder was not built till some years after his death. Th Haymarket was designed and opened by Vanbrugh in 1705; but at first it was almost a complete failure partly, it would seem, because it was too distant from th city for the ordinary playgoers, but still more becaus the convenience of the building for the representation of plays was sacrificed to the magnificence of the archi tecture. The huge columns, gilded cornices, and im moderately high roof struck the spectators with surpris and wonder, but the voices of the actors were so lost i the void overhead that scarcely one word in ten coul be distinctly heard, while the rest was drowned in a sor of confused murmur, like the hum of voices rolling an reverberating along the vaults in the long-drawn aisle of a cathedral. But, if the stately building was ill-fitte for speech, it was much better adapted for music; th swelling blast of a trumpet and the high notes of singer lingered lovingly in the hollows of that loft roof, and struck home to the hearts of the rapt listener with a power and a sweetness which they could hard] have attained in a less ample structure. Hence, whe
the Italian opera was introduced into England in the reign of Queen Anne, it found its natural home in the Haymarket; and the foreign songs and foreign music saved the theatre from the utter ruin with which it had been threatened by the failure of the English pieces.
It was at the Haymarket that Handel, then a stranger lately arrived in England, produced his opera of 'Rinaldo' in February 1711. It was highly successful, and Addison bore unwilling witness to its popularity. He himself, apparently, could see nothing in it to admire, but much to ridicule. The only design of an opera, he says, 'is to gratify the senses, and keep up an indolent attention in the audience.' To do the critic justice, he seems to have conformed his own behaviour very closely to the design of the performance, as he conceived it. For any reference he makes to the music, he might have been deaf. While the rest of the audience sat entranced by the melting airs of Cara sposa and Lascia ch'io pianga, Addison was coolly sneering at the costumes and the scenery, and was thinking, as he says, how the wits of King Charles's time-those exquisite judges of scenic propriety-would have laughed to see Nicolini exposed to a tempest in robes of ermine and sailing in an open boat upon a sea of pasteboard. And what a field for raillery they would have found in painted dragons spitting wildfire, enchanted chariots drawn by Flanders mares, and real cascades in artificial landscapes! From all this agreeable raillery we may infer that the melodies of the great musician spoke to Addison with the accents of a language which he did not understand; he heard with his ears the sounds of the voices and the violins, but the soul of the music escaped him.
He was particularly sarcastic on stage thunder. He says in one place that last winter he had been at the first rehearsal of the new thunder, which was much more deep and sonorous than any that had been heard before. The lightning flashed more briskly than ever, and the clouds were better furbelowed and more voluminous. He was told that the theatre was provided with above a dozen showers of snow consisting of the plays of many unsuccessful poets cut and shredded for the purpose. These were to fall on the head of King Lear at his next appearance on the stage. As for the noise of drums,
trumpets, and huzzas, he says it was so loud that, wher a battle was raging in the Haymarket theatre, the sound of it might be heard as far as Charing Cross. But whil he ridiculed the ordinary devices for lending dignity to tragedy, such as the sweeping trains of stage queens and the towering plumes of stage heroes, he was not insensible to the effect of some artifices in moving the awe or pity of the spectators. He tells us that, in the parting scene between Jaffier and Belvidera in Otway's tragedy of 'Venice Preserved,' the sound of the passing bell, tolling for the execution of Jaffier's friend Pierre, then about to be broken on the wheel, caused the hearts of the whole audience to quake and made a deeper impression on the mind than mere words could convey.
Among the actors of his time Addison mentions Betterton, Bullock, and Norris. Of these, Betterton played Macbeth, while Bullock, Norris, and another actor named Bowen took the part of the witches in the tragedy. However, Bullock and Norris appeared also in lighter pieces; Bullock in a short coat and Norris in a long one sufficed to raise a laugh in the audience. But Bullock had a rival in a comic actor named Penkethman. The comparative merits of the two were appraised by Steele in the Tatler.' Mr Bullock, he says, had the more agreeable squall, and Mr Penkethman the more graceful shrug. Penkethman devoured a cold chick with great applause; Bullock's talent lay chiefly in asparagus. Penkethman was very dexterous at conveying himself under a table; Bullock was no less active at jumping over a stick. Mr Penkethman had a great deal of money; but Mr Bullock was the taller man.
The same graceful and tender wit falls into a graver strain when he speaks of the death of Betterton the tragedian, who had been his friend. Having received notice that the famous actor was to be interred that evening in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, Steele resolved to walk thither and see the last offices paid to a man whom he had always very much admired, and from whose acting he had received stronger impressions of what is great and noble than from the arguments of the profoundest philosophers or the descriptions of the most charming poets. He could hardly conceive that Roscius himself or any actor of antiquity could ever