Born: C. N. Oudinot, Marshal of France, Duke of
Reggio, 1767, Bar-sur-Ornain (sometimes the 25th is given as the
Died: Arthur, Prince of Wales, 1502, Ludlow; Jean Barth,
French naval commander, 1702; Thomas Carte, historian, 1754, Yattendon; Comte de
Mirabeau, 1791, Paris; Dr. James Gregory, professor of medicine, author of
'Conspectus Medicinae,' 1821,
Edinburgh; John Le Keux, architectural engraver, 1846.
Feast Day: St. Apian, of Lycia, martyr, 306. St.
Theodosia, of Caesarea, martyr, 308. St. Nicetius, archbishop of Lyons, 577. St.
Ebba, or Abba, abbess, martyr, 874. B. Constantine, King of Scotland, 874. St.
Bronacha, of Ireland. St. Francis of
Paula, founder of the order of Minims, 1508.
ARTHUR, PRINCE OF WALES
King Henry VII, the first of our Tudor monarchs, had three
sons, Arthur, Henry, and Edmond, the last of whom died in his childhood. Arthur
was born on the 20th of September 1486, at Winchester. His birth was
the subject of universal joy
throughout the kingdom, as in him were united the claims of the rival houses of
York and Lancaster, and the general satisfaction was soon increased by the early
display of precocious talents, and of a gentle and amiable disposition.
In 1489, Arthur was created Prince of Wales. This title, as
given to the king's eldest son, had been created originally as a measure of
conciliation towards the Welsh, and it would be still more gratifying to that
people when the House of Tudor came to the
throne. The House of York had also, before its attainment of royalty, had close
relations with Wales; and Edward IV, as a stroke of wise policy, had sent his
eldest son to reside in his great castle of Ludlow, on the border, and had
established there a court of government for
Wales and the Marches, which had now become permanent.
Henry VII, in continuation of this policy, sent his son, Prince
Arthur, to Ludlow, to reside there under the governance of a distant relative of
the Tudor family, named Sir Rhys ap Thomas, and Ludlow Castle became Arthur's
home. Little is said of the
actions of the youthful prince, except that his good qualities became more and
more developed, until the year 1501, when, in the month of November, Arthur, who
had just completed his fifteenth year, was married with great ceremony to
Catherine of Arragon, a Spanish princess, then
in her eighteenth year. The young prince and his bride repaired to Ludlow
immediately after the marriage, which he survived but a short time, dying in
Ludlow Castle, on the 2nd of April 1502.
His corpse was conveyed in solemn procession to Worcester, and
was there buried in the cathedral, and a rich shrine, which still remains, raised
over the tomb. The untimely death of this amiable prince was the subject of
sincere and universal grief, but
indirectly it led to that great revolution which gave to England her present
religious and ecclesiastical forms. Henry VII, for political reasons, and on the
plea that the marriage had never been consummated, married the widow of Arthur to
his younger brother Henry, who became
afterwards King Henry VIII.
Henry, who subsequently declared that the
marriage was forced upon him, divorced his wife, and the dispute, as every one
knows, was, under the direction of Providence, the cause of the separation of the
English church from Rome. In a
somewhat similar manner the untimely death of Henry, Prince of Wales, the son of
James I, led perhaps indirectly to that great convulsion in the middle of the
following century, to which we owe the establishment of the freedom of the English
A GROUP OF OLD LADIES
Died at Edinburgh, on the 2nd of April 1856, Miss
Elizabeth Gray, at the age of 108, having been born in May 1748. That cases of
extra-ordinary longevity are seldom supported by clear documentary evidence has
been very justly alleged; it has
indeed been set forth that we scarcely have complete evidence for a single example
of the centenarian. In this case, however, there was certainly no room for doubt.
Miss Gray had been known all her life as a member of the upper circle of society
in the Scottish metropolis, and
her identity with the individual Elizabeth Gray, the daughter of William Gray, of
Newholm, writer in Edinburgh, whose birth is chronicled in the register of her
father's parish of Dolphington, in Lanarkshire, as having occurred in May 1748, is
beyond dispute in the society to
which the venerable lady belonged.
It may be remarked that she was a very cheerful person, and
kept up her old love of whist till past the five score. Her mother attained
ninety-six, and two of her sisters died at ninety-four and ninety-six
respectively. She had, however, survived her
father upwards of a hundred years, for he died in 1755; nay, a more remarkable
thing than even this was to be told of Betty Gray�a brother of hers (strictly a
half-brother) had died so long ago as 1728. A faded marble slab in the wall of
Dolphington Kirk, which records the
decease of this child�for such he was�must have been viewed with strange feelings,
when, a hundred and twenty-eight years later, the age-worn sister was laid in the
Little more than two years after the death of Miss Gray, there
died in Scotland another centenarian lady, about whose age there could be no
ground for doubt, as she had lived in the eye of intelligent society all her days.
This person was the Hon. Mrs.
Hay Mackenzie, of Cromartie. She died in October 1858,
at the age of 103; she was grandmother to the present Duchess of Sutherland; her
father was the sixth Lord Elibank, brother and successor of Lord Patrick, who
entertained Johnson in Edinburgh; her
maternal grandfather was that unfortunate Earl of Cromartie who so narrowly
escaped accompanying Kilmarnock and Balmerino to the scaffold in 1746. She was a
most benevolent woman�a large giver�and enjoyed universal esteem. Her conversation
made the events of the first half of the
eighteenth century pass as vividly before the mind as those of the present day. It
was remarked as a curious circumstance, that of Dunrobin Castle, the place where
her grandfather was taken prisoner as a rebel, her granddaughter became mistress.
It is well known that female life is considerably more enduring
than male; so that, although boys are born in the proportion of 105 to 100 of
girls �a fact that holds good all over Europe�there are always more women in
existence than men. It really is
surprising how enduring women some-times become, and how healthily enduring too,
after passing the more trying crises of female existence. Mrs. Piozzi, who herself thought it
a person's own fault if they got old, gives us in one of her letters a remarkable
case of vigorous old-ladyism.
I must tell you,' says she, 'a story of a Cornish gentlewoman
hard by here [Penzance], Zenobia Stevens, who held a lease under the Duke of
Bolton by her own life only ninety-nine years�and going at the term's end ten
miles to give it up, she obtained
permission to continue in the house as long as she lived, and was asked of course
to drink a glass of wine. She did take one, but declined the second, saying she
had to ride home in the twilight upon a young colt, and was afraid to make herself
The well known Countess Dowager of Cork, who died in May 1840,
had not reached a hundred �she had but just completed her ninety-fourth year�but
she realized the typical character of a veteran lady who, to appearance, was
little affected by age. Till within
a few days of her death she was healthy and cheerful as in those youthful days
when she charmed Johnson and Boswell, the latter of whom was
only six years her senior. She was in the custom to the last of dining out every
day when she had not company at home. As to death, she
always said she was ready for him, come when he might; but she did not like to see
him coming. Lady Cork was daughter of the first Lord Galway, and she lived to see
the sixth, her great grand-nephew.
Mr. Francis Brokesby, who writes
a letter on antiquities and natural curiosities from Shottesbrooke in 1711.
(published by Hearne in
connection with Leland's Itinerary, vi. 104), mentions several instances of
protracted female life. He tells of a woman then living near the Tower in London,
aged about 130, and who remembered Queen Elizabeth. Hearne himself subsequently
states that this woman was Jane Scrimshaw, who had
lived for four score years in the
Merchant Tailors' alms-houses, near Little Tower-hill. She was, he says, born in
the parish of Mary-le-Bow, London, on the 3rd of April 1584, so that
she was then in the 127th year of her age, 'and likely to live much
longer.' She, however, died on the 26th
of December 1711.
It is stated that even at the last there was scarcely a grey
hair on her head, and she never lost memory or judgment. Mr. Brokesby reported
another venerable person as having died about sixty years before�that is, about
1650--who attained the age of a
hundred and forty. She had been the wife of a labouring man named. Humphry
Broadhurst, who resided at Hedgerow, in Cheshire, on the property of the Leighs of
Lyme. The familiar name she bore, The Cricket in the hedge, bore witness to her
cheerful character; a peculiarity to
which, along with great temperance and plainness of living, her great age was
chiefly to be attributed. A hardly credible circumstance was alleged of this
woman, that she had borne her youngest child at four score. Latterly, having been
reduced by gradual decay to great bodily
weakness, she used to be carried in the arms of this daughter, who was herself
sixty. She was buried in the parish church of Prestbury. It was said of this woman
that she remembered Bosworth Field; but here there must be some error, for to do
so in 1650, she would have needed to
be considerably more than 140 years old, the battle being fought in 1485. It is
not unlikely, however, that her death took place earlier than 1650, as the time
was only stated from memory.
THE GAME OF PALL MALL
April 2nd, 1661, Pepys enters in his Diary, 'To St.
James's Park, where I saw the Duke of York playing at Pelemele, the first time
that I over saw the sport.'
The Duke's brother, King Charles II, had recently formed what
is called the Mall in St. James's-park for the playing of this game, which,
however, was not new in England, as there had previously existed a walk for the
purpose (lined with trees) on the
ground now occupied by the street called Pall Mall. It was introduced from France,
probably about the beginning of the seventeenth century; but the derivation of the
name appears to be from the Italian, Palamaglio, i. e., palla, a ball, and maglio,
a mallet; though we derived the
term directly from the French Palemaille. The game answers to this name, the
object being by a mallet to drive a ball along a straight alley and through an
elevated ring at the end: victory being to him who effects this object at the
smallest number of strokes.
Thus pall-mall may be said in some degree to resemble golf,
being, however, less rustic, and more suitable for the man of courts. King Charles
II would appear to have been a good player. In Waller's poem on St. James's Park,
there is a well-known passage
descriptive of the Merry Monarch engaged in the sport:
'Here a well-polished mall gives us the joy,
To see our Prince his matchless force employ; His manly posture
and his graceful mien, Vigour and youth in all his motions seen; No sooner has he
touched the flying ball, But 'tis already more than half the mall. And such a fury
from his arm has got, As
from a smoking culverin 'twere shot.'
The phrase 'well polished' leads to the remark that the alley
for pall-mall was hardened and strewn with pounded shells, so as to present a
perfectly smooth surface. The sides of the alley appear to have been boarded, to
prevent the ball from going off the
straight line. We do not learn anywhere whether, as in golf, mallets of different
shapes and weights were used for a variety of strokes,�a light and short one, for
instance, for the final effort to ring the ball. There is, however, an example of
a mallet and ball preserved in
London from the days when they were employed in Pall Mall; and they are here
The game was one of a commendable kind, as it provoked to
exercise in the open air, and was of a social nature. It is rather surprising that
it should have so entirely gone out, there being no trace of it after the
Revolution. The original alley or avenue
for the game in London began, even in the time of the Commonwealth, to be
converted into a street�called, from the game, Pall Mall�where, if the reader will
pardon a very gentle pun, clubs now take the place of mallets.
THE FLEET PRISON OF OLD
April 2nd, 1844, the Fleet Prison in London was
abolished, after existing as a place of incarceration for debtors more than two
centuries; all that time doing little credit to our boasted civilization.
In the spring of the year 1727 a Committee of the House of
Commons, appointed to inquire into the management of Debtors' prisons, brought to
light a series of extortions and cruelties practiced by the jailers towards the
unfortunate debtors in their
charge, which now appear scarcely credible, but which were not only true, but had
been practised continually for more than a century by these monsters, who had gone
on unchecked from bad to worse, until this commission disclosed atrocities which
induced the House of Commons to
address the King, desiring he would prosecute the wardens and jailers for cruelty
and extortion, and they were committed prisoners to Newgate.
Hogarth has chosen for the
subject of one of his most striking pictures the examination of the acting
warden of the Fleet�Thomas Bambridge �before a
Committee of the House of Commons. In the foreground of the picture a wretched
prisoner explains the mode by which his hands and neck were fastened together by
Some of the Committee are examining other instruments of
torture, in which the heads and necks of prisoners were screwed, and which seem
rather to belong to the dungeons of the Inquisition than to a debtors' prison in
the heart of London.
Bainbridge and his satellites had used these tortures to extort
fees or bribes from the unfortunate debtors; at the same time allowing full
impunity to the dishonest, whose cash he shared. At the conclusion of the
investigation, the House unanimously came
to the conclusion that he had willfully permitted several debtors to escape; had
been guilty of the most notorious breaches of trust, great extortions, and the
highest crimes and misdemeanors in the execution of his office; that he had
arbitrarily and unlawfully loaded with
irons, put into dungeons, and destroyed, prisoners for debt under his charge,
treating them in the most barbarous and cruel manner, in high violation and
contempt of the laws of the kingdom. Yet this wretch, probably by means of the
cash he had accumulated in his cruel
extortions, managed to escape justice, dying a few years afterwards, not as he
might and ought to have done, at Tyburn,
but by his own hands.
When the Commissioners paid their first and unexpected visit to
the Fleet prison, they found an unfortunate baronet, Sir William Rich, confined in a loathsome dungeon, and
loaded with irons, because he had given some slight
offence to Bambridge. Such was the fear this man's cruelty excited, that a poor
Portuguese, who had been manacled and shackled in a filthy dungeon for months, on
being examined before the Commissioners, and surmising wrongly, from something
said, that Bambridge might return to
his post, 'fainted, and the blood started out of his mouth and nose.'
Thirty-six years before this Committee gave the death-blow to
the cruel persecution which awaited an unfortunate debtor, the state of this and
other prisons was fully exposed in a little volume, 'illustrated with copper
plates,' and termed The Cries of
the Oppressed. The frontispiece gives the curious view of the interior of
the Prison, here produced on a larger scale. It is a unique view in old London,
and gives the general aspect of the place, its denizens and its visitors, in 1691,
when the plate was engraved. In the
foreground, some persons of the better class, who may have come to visit friends,
are walking; and one male exquisite, in a wig of fashionable proportions, carries
some flowers, and perhaps a few scented herbs, to prevent 'noisome smells ' (which
we learn were very prevalent in
the jail) from injuring his health.
A charitable gentleman places in the begging-box some cash for
the benefit of the destitute prisoners, who are seen at grated windows clamouring
for charity. In the archway which connects the forecourt with the prisoners' yard,
are seated some visitors
waiting their turn; a female is about to leave the jail, and walks towards the
jailer, seated on the opposite bench, who bears the key of the gate in his hand;
the gate is provided with a grated opening, through which to examine and question
applicants for admission; the wall is
surmounted by a formidable row of spikes; and over these (by aid of a violent use
of perspective) we see the hats of those who walk Farringdon Street, or Fleet
Market, as it was then called, the view being bounded by the old brick houses
opposite the prison.
Moses Pitt, who published this, now
rare little volume, was at one time an opulent man. He rented from Dr. Fell,
Bishop of Oxford, 'the printing house called the Theatre' in the time of Charles
the Second, where he commenced an
Atlas in 12 vols. folio, and, as he says, 'did in the latter end of King Charles's
time print great quantities of Bibles, Testaments, Common-prayers, &c.,
whereby I brought down the price of Bibles more than half, which did great good at
that time, popery being then likely to
overflow us.' His troubles began in building speculations at Westminster, in King
Street, Duke Street, and elsewhere. He tells that he 'also took care to fill up
all low grounds in that part of St. James's Park between the bird-cages and that
range of buildings in Duke Street,
whose back front is toward the said park.'
He erected a great house in Duke Street, which he let to the
famed Lord Chancellor Jefferies; but the Revolution prevented him from getting a
clear title to all the ground, though Sir Christopher Wren, the King's Architect,
had begun to negotiate the
matter. Then creditors came on Pitt, and a succession of borrowings, and lawsuits
consequent thereto, led rapidly to his incarceration in the Fleet Prison for debt.
Pitt's book is the result of communications addressed to 65
debtors' prisons in England. It is, as he says, 'a small book as full of tragedies
as pages; they are not acted in foreign nations among Turks and Infidels, Papists
and Idolaters, but in this our
own country, by our own country-men and relations to each other,�not acted time
out of mind, by men many thousand or hundred years agone; but now at this very day
by men now living in prosperity, wealth, and grandeur; they are such tragedies as
no age or country can parallel.'
He, among many others, narrates the case of Mr. Morgan, a
surgeon of Liverpool, who, being put in prison there, was ultimately reduced so
low by poverty, neglect, and hunger, as to catch by a cat mice for his sustenance.
On his complaining of the barbarity
of his jailer, instead of redress, he was beaten and put into irons. In the Castle
of Lincoln, one unfortunate, because he had asked for a purse the jailers had
taken from him, he being destitute thereby, was treated to 'a ride in the jailer's
coach,' as they termed it; that is,
he was placed in a hurdle, with his head on the stones, and so dragged about the
prison yard, 'by which ill-usage he so became not altogether so well in his
intellects as formerly.'
From Appleby, in Westmoreland, an unfortunate debtor writes,
'Certainly no prisoners' abuses are like ours. Our jail is but eight yards long,
and four and a half in breadth, without any chimney, or place of ease; several
poor prisoners have been starved
and poisoned in it; for whole years they cannot have the benefit of the air, or
fires, or refreshment.' It was the custom of the jailers to charge high fees for
bed or lodging; to force prisoners to purchase from them all they wanted for
refreshment at extortionate charges, to
continually demand gratuities, and to ill-treat and torture all who would not or
could not gratify their rapacity. One wretched man at St. Edmundbury jail, for
daring to send out of the prison for victuals, had thumbscrews put upon him, and
was chained on tip-toe by the neck to
All these cruelties resulted from the easy possibility of
making money. The office of prime warden was let at a large price, and the money
made by forced fees. The debtor was first taken to a sponging-house, charged
enormously there; if too poor to pay,
removed to the prison, but subjected to high charges for the commonest
necessaries. Even if he lived 'within the rules,' as the privileged houses of the
neighbourhood were termed, he was always subjected to visits from jailers, who
would declare his right to that little liberty
forfeit unless their memory was refreshed by a fee. The Commission already alluded
to remedied much of this, but still gross injustice remained in many minor
The state of the prison in 1749 may be gathered from a poem,
entitled 'The Humours of the Fleet,' written by a debtor, the son of Dance,
the architect of old Buckingham House and of Guy's Hospital. It is
'adorned' with a frontispiece showing the prison yard and its denizens. A
new-comer is treating the jailer, cook, and others to drink; others play at
rackets against the high brick-wall, which is furnished with a formidable row of
spikes at right angles with it, and above that a
high wooden hoarding. A pump and a tree in one corner do not obliterate the
unpleasant effect of the ravens who are feeding on garbage thrown about.
The author describes the dwellers in this 'poor, but merry
place,' the joviality consisting in ill-regulated, noisy companionship. Some, we
are told, play at rackets, or wrestle; others stay indoors at billiards,
backgammon, or whist.
'Some, of low taste, ring hand-bells, direful noise!
And interrupt their fellows' harmless joys;
Disputes more noisy now a quarrel breeds,
And fools on both sides fall to loggerheads:
Till wearied with persuasive thumps and blows.
They drink to friends, as if they ne'er were foes.'
The prisoners had a mode of performing rough justice among
themselves on disturbers of the general peace, by taking the offending parties to
the common yard, and well drenching them beneath the pump!
'Such the amusement of this merry jail,
Which you'll not reach, if friends or money fail:
For ere its three-fold gates it will unfold,
The destined captive must produce some gold;
Four guineas at the least for different fees
Completes your Habeas, and commands the keys;
Which done and safely in, no more you're bled.
If you have cash, you'll find a friend and bed;
But that deficient, you'll but ill betide,
Lie in the hall, perhaps, or common side.'
'The chamberlain' succeeded the jailers, and he expected a
'tip,' or gratuity, to shew proper lodgings; a ' master's fee,' consisting of the
sum of �1 2s. 8d., had then to be paid for the privilege of choosing a decent
room. This, however, secured nothing,
as the wily chamberlain,
'When paid, puts on a most important face,
And shows Mount-scoundrel as a charming place.'
This term was applied to wretched quarters on the common side
at the top of the building, where no one stayed if he could avoid it; hence 'this
place is first empty, and the chamberlain commonly shews this to raise his price
upon you for a better.' A fee
of another half-guinea induces him to shew better rooms, for which half-a-crown
a-week rent has to be paid; unless 'a chum' or companion be taken who shares the
charge, and sponges on the freshman; for generally 'the chum' was an old denizen,
who made the most of new-comers. The
one our author describes seems to have startled him by his appearance; but the
chamberlain comforts him with the assurance:
'The man is now in dishabille and dirt,
He shaves tomorrow though, and turns his shirt.'
The first night is spent over a heavy supper and drinking bout,
ordered lavishly by the old stager and jailers, and paid for by the new-comer.
One custom may be noted in the words of this author as a
'wind-up to a day in prison.' He tells us that 'Watchmen repeat Who goes out? from
half an hour after nine, till St. Paul's clock strikes ten, to give visitors
notice to depart; when the last stroke
is given, they cry All told; at which time the gates are locked, and nobody
suffered to go out upon any account.'
The cruelties which had been repeatedly complained of from 1586
by the poor prisoners, who charged the wardens with murder and other
misdemeanours, continued unchecked in the midst of London until 1727. The simpler,
but still unwarrantable extortions,
which we have described from Dance's poem, as existing in 1749, continued with
very little modification until the suppression of the jail in 1844. The same may
be said of other debtors' jails in the kingdom. All good rules were abandoned or
made of no avail by winking at their
breakage. Thus, spirituous liquors were not permitted to be brought in by visitors
for prisoners' use, yet dram-shops were established in the prison itself, under
the name of ' tape shops,' where liquor at an advanced charge might be bought,
under the name of white or red tape,
as gin, rum, or brandy was demanded.
In the same way game, not allowed to be sold outside, was
publicly sold inside the prison's walls. Any luxuries or extravagances might be
obtained by a dishonest or rich prisoner. The rules for living outside were
equally lax, and though the person who
availed himself of the privilege was supposed to never go beyond their precincts,
country trips were often taken, if paid for: one of the denizens of the rules of
the King's Bench, a sporting character of the name of Hetherington, drove the
coach from London to Birmingham for
more than a month consecutively, during the illness of his friend the coach-man,
for whom he often 'handled the ribbons.' On festival occasions, such as Easter
Monday, the prisoners invited their friends, who came in shoals; and 'the mirth
and fun grew fast and furious' during
the day; hopping in sacks, foot-races, and other games were indulged in, and on
one occasion a mock election was got up within the walls, which has been
immortalized on canvas by the artist, B. R. Haydon, then in the King's Bench for
debt. It was considered one of his best works,
was purchased for �500 by King George the Fourth, and is now at Windsor Castle.
DR. GREGORY AND
THE MODERATE MAN
Dr. James Gregory, Professor of the
Practice of Physic in the University of Edinburgh, was a man of vigorous talents
and great professional eminence. He was what is called a starving doctor, and, not
long after his death, the
following anecdote was put in print, equally illustrative of this part of the
learned professor's character, and of the habits of life formerly attributed to a
wealthy western city:
SCENE: Doctor's Study. Enter a grave-looking Glasgow Merchant.
Patient: Good morning, doctor; I'm just come to Edinburgh about
some law business, and I thought, when I was here at any rate, I might just as
weel tak your advice, sir, anent my trouble.
Doctor: And pray what may your trouble be, my good sir?
P. 'Deed, doctor, I'm no very sure; but I'm thinking it's a
kind of weakness that makes me dizzy at times, and a kind of pinkling about my
stomach�I'm just no right.
Dr: You're from the west country, I should sup-pose, sir?
P: Yes, sir, from Glasgow.
Dr: Ay. Pray, sir, are you a gourmand�a glutton?
P: God forbid, sir! I'm one of the plainest men living in all
the west country.
Dr: Then, perhaps, you're a drunkard?
P.--No, doctor; thank God, no one can accuse me of that: I'm of
the Dissenting persuasion, doctor, and an elder; so ye may suppose I'm nae
Dr: (Aside�I'll suppose no such thing, till you tell me your
mode of life.) I'm so much puzzled with your symptoms, sir, that I should wish to
hear in detail what you eat and drink. When do you break-fast, and what do you
take to it?
P: I breakfast at nine o'clock. I tak a cup of coffee, and one
or two cups of tea; a couple of eggs, and a bit of ham or kipper'd salmon, or may
be both, if they're good, and two or three rolls and butter.
Dr: Do you eat no honey, or jelly, or jam, to breakfast?
P: 0 yes, sir; but I don't count that as anything. Dr: Come,
this is a very moderate breakfast. What kind of dinner do you make?
P: Oh, sir, I eat a very plain dinner indeed. Some soup, and
some fish, and a little plain roast or boiled; for I dinna care for made dishes; I
think, some way, they never satisfy the appetite.
Dr: You take a little pudding, then, and after-wards some
P: Oh yes; though I don't care much about them. Dr: You take a
glass of ale or porter with your cheese?
P: Yes, one or the other, but seldom both. Dr: You west country
people generally take a glass of Highland whisky after dinner?
P: Yes, we do; it's good for digestion.
Dr: Do you take any wine during dinner?
P: Yes, a glass or two of sherry; but I'm indifferent as to
wine during dinner. I drink a good deal of beer.
Dr: What quantity of port do you drink? P: Oh, very little; not
above half a dozen glasses or so.
Dr: In the west country, it is impossible, 1 hear, to dine
P: Yes, sir; indeed 'tis punch we drink chiefly; but, for
myself, unless I happen to have a friend with me, I never tale more than a couple
of tumblers or so, �and that's moderate.
Dr: Oh, exceedingly moderate, indeed! You then, after this
slight repast, take some tea, and bread and butter?
P: Yes, before I go to the counting-house to read the evening
Dr: And, on your return, you take supper, I suppose?
P: No, sir, I canna be said to tale supper; just something
before going to bed: a rizzer'd haddock, or a bit of toasted cheese, or half a
hundred oysters, or the like o' that; and, may be, two-thirds of a bottle of ale;
bat I tale no regular supper.
Dr: But you take a little more punch after that? P: No, sir;
punch does not agree with me at bed-time. I tale a tumbler of warm whisky toddy at
night; it's lighter to sleep on.
Dr: So it must be, no doubt. This, you say, is your every-day
life; but, upon great occasions, you perhaps exceed a little?
P: No, sir, except when a friend or two dine with me, or I dine
out, which, as I am a sober family man, does not often happen.
Dr: Not above twice a-week?
P: No; not oftener.
Dr: Of course you sleep well, and have a good appetite?
P: Yes, sir, thank God, I have; indeed, any wee harl o' health
that I hae is about mealtime. Dr: (Assuming a severe look, knitting his brows, and
lowering his eyebrows.) Now, sir, you are a very pretty fellow, indeed; you come
here and tell me that you are
a moderate man, and I might have believed you, did I not know the nature of the
people in your part of the country; but, upon examination, I find, by your own
shewing, that you are a most voracious glutton: you breakfast in the morning in a
style that would serve a moderate man
for dinner; and, from five o'clock in the afternoon, you undergo one almost
uninterrupted loading of your stomach till you go to bed. This is your moderation!
You told me, too, another falsehood�you said you were a sober man; yet, by your
own shewing, you are a beer swiller, a
dram-drinker, a wine-bibber, and a guzzler of Glasgow punch,�a liquor, the name of
which is associated, in my mind, only with the ideas of low company and beastly
intoxication. You tell me you eat indigestible suppers, and swill toddy to force
sleep �I see that you chew tobacco.
Now, sir, what human stomach can stand this? Go home, sir, and leave off your
present course of riotous living take some dry toast and tea to your
breakfast�some plain meat and soup for dinner, without adding to it any-thing to
spur on your flagging appetite; you may take a cup
of tea in the evening, but never let me hear of haddocks and toasted cheese, and
oysters, with their accompaniments of ale and toddy at night; give up chewing that
vile narcotic, nauseous abomination, and there are some hopes that your stomach
may recover its tone, and you be in
good health like your neighbours.
P: I'm sure, doctor, I'm very much obliged to you �(taking out
a bunch of bank-notes)�I shall endeavour to
Dr: Sir, you are not obliged to me�put up your money, sir. Do
you think I'll take a fee from you for telling you what you knew as well as
myself? Though you are no physician, sir, you are not altogether a fool. You have
read your Bible, and must know that
drunkenness and gluttony are both sinful and dangerous; and, whatever you may
think, you have this day confessed to me that you are a notorious glutton and
drunkard. Go home, sir, and reform, or, take my word for it, your life is not
worth half a year's purchase.
[Exit Patient, dumbfounded, and looking blue]
Dr: (Solus.) Sober and temperate! Dr. Watt tried to live in Glasgow, and
make his patients live moderately, and purged and bled them when they were sick;
but it would not do. Let the Glasgow doctors prescribe
beefsteaks and rum punch, and their fortune is made.