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CHAPTER IV

CLARISSA; OR, THE HISTORY OF A YOUNG LADY

THE dwarf-artist, Loggan, to whom we owe so many interesting sketches of the watering-places of the Eighteenth Century, has left one which usefully illustrates the life-story of Richardson at this period. The scene is The Pantiles at Tunbridge Wells, in the month of August 1748, when the public were supposed to be eagerly expecting the remainder of Clarissa, a second instalment of which had appeared in the preceding April. The open space in front of the Post Office is crowded with notabilities, whose names, according to the copy of the drawing given by Mrs. Barbauld in her third volume, Richardson himself has been obliging enough to insert below in his own handwriting. Sailing up the centre in white, with an immense side-hoop, is Miss Elizabeth Chudleigh, "Maid of Honour to Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales," and not yet the bigamous Duchess of Kingston and Bristol, though already married privately to Augustus Hervey. On her left is Mr. Richard Nash, Master of the Ceremonies at Bath; to her right, Mr Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham. In the middle foreground is a group including the Duchess of Norfolk, Lady Lincoln, Miss Peggy Banks, a "professional Beauty," who afterwards married Lord

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Temple's brother, Henry Grenville, Mr. Speaker Onslow, Lord Powis, and Chesterfield's "respectable Hottentot," George Lyttelton. Garrick, a diminutive personage, is chatting with the famous prima-donna, Giulia Frasi; Colley Cibber is following, like a ledcaptain, at the heels of Lord Harcourt; a Doctor Johnson, whom Dr. Birkbeck Hill will not have to be the Doctor Johnson, is conversing deferentially with the Bishop of Salisbury, while Whiston of Josephus and the bombs

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In spite of Whiston and his bombs)

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together with the wives of some of those named, makes up the company. In the extreme left-hand corner is Loggan himself, talking to the woman of the Wells; and hastening out of the picture to the right, not far behind Whiston, is a compact little figure in a gray coat, grasping a stout cane in its right hand, and having the other buried in its bosom, whose identity is discreetly veiled in the reference as "Anonym." This is Mr. Samuel Richardson, of Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, and North End, Hammersmith, the celebrated author of Clarissa.

By great good luck, in a letter dated 2nd August 1748, this very time, - Richardson has given a pensketch of himself which agreeably supplements Loggan's little portrait. It is addressed to his young friend, Miss Susannah Highmore, endeavouring to persuade her to come to Tunbridge Wells. After describing her "other old lover," Colley Cibber, as still "hunting after new faces," and referring to the dialogue subsequently published as The lady's lecture, which Colley

has just written, he proceeds "to show her a still more grotesque figure," himself. "A sly sinner, creeping along the very edges of the walks, getting behind benches: one hand in his bosom, the other held up to his chin, as if to keep it in its place: afraid of being seen, as a thief of detection. The people of fashion, if he happen to cross a walk (which he always does with precipitation) unsmiling their faces, as if they thought him in their way; and he as sensible of so being, stealing in and out of the bookseller's shop, as if he had one of their glass-cases under his coat. Come and see this odd figure! You never will see him, unless I show him to you: and who knows when an opportunity for that may happen again at Tunbridge?

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From another letter printed by Mrs. Barbauld, and addressed to his adopted daughter, Miss Westcomb, we get him in another mood. There is no date to this, but it was evidently written from Tunbridge Wells at this time, since it refers to Cibber's already mentioned dialogue as written, but not printed. The waters have done him no good as yet, he tells Miss Westcomb; and since dizziness was apparently one of their results, one wonders how they could possibly have benefited a sufferer from vertigo. His nerves are no better; and the manners of the Wells were not attractive to a moralist, especially to a moralist, however susceptible to feminine charm, who had rigorous views on conjugal claims and parental authority.

1 It was published later in the year, in December, at the same time as the concluding volumes of Clarissa, and was entitled The lady's lecture. A theatrical dialogue between Sir Charles Easy and his marriageable daughter. By C. Cibber, Esq. London, 1748, pr. 1s.

There were very few pretty girls, he declared; and the married ladies behaved as if they were single. "Women are not what they were,” says this observer. He did not join in the worship of the reigning Beauties, Miss Banks, Miss L. of Hackney, Miss Chudleigh, though of the last he speaks more tolerantly than most historians; and he makes mild fun of septuagenarian fribbles like Cibber who think themselves happy "if they can obtain the notice and familiarity of a fine woman." Once he finds the laureate " squatted on one of the benches, with a face more wrinkled than ordinary with disappointment. 'I thought,' said I, 'you were of the party at the tea-treats Miss Chudleigh is gone into the tea-room.' 'Pshaw!' said he, 'there is no coming at her, she is so surrounded by the toupets.' '1—And I left him upon the fret. But he was called to soon after; and in he flew, and his face shone again, and looked smooth."

In August 1748 Richardson was nearing sixty, and as the foregoing references to his health show plainly, a confirmed valetudinarian, suffering from some real and many fancied disorders promoted by his literary labours, and originating in the close application of a sedentary life. He had long been a vegetarian and water-drinker, and his health was probably not improved by the bleeding, etc., to which at certain periods of the year he was subjected by the barbarous

1 Toupet was a famous wig-maker. Cf. Bramston's Art of Politicks, 1729, p. 10:

"Think we that modern Words eternal are?
TOUPET, and Tompion, Cosins, and Colmar
Hereafter will be call'd by some plain Man,
A Wig, a Watch, a Pair of Stays, a Fan."

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medical treatment of the day. He was liable to vague "startings" and "paroxysms." Crowds of any kind he could not endure, for which reason he had left off going to church. His chief mode of exercise was walking, as he had never learned to ride except upon the obsolete chamber-horse, a thorough-paced but unprogressive form of equitation, which, at best, is but a poor substitute for the saddle. Some of his letters would be ludicrous, were it not for their pitiable exhibition of nervous prostration. He tells Hill that he has been reading his unpublished Treatise upon Acting. But he feels his whole frame so affected and shaken by that author's "wonderful Description of the Force of Acting, in the Passions of Joy, Sorrow, Fear, Anger, etc.," that his frequent "Tremors and Startings" oblige him to suspend the perusal until by a course of a newly tried " Oak Tincture" (recommended by his correspondent) he can fortify his "relaxed, unmuscled Muscles," and brace his "unbraced Nerves." Had he known anything of Horace, he might, with perfect fitness, have applied to Hill at this juncture that falsis terroribus implet, with which, in the Jacobite's Journal, the author of Joseph Andrews afterwards complimented the moving author of Clarissa.

To Clarissa we now come. It is sometimes stated that the first four volumes were published in 1747, and the last four in 1748. Other authorities, on the contrary, suppose the book to have been wholly issued in 1748, i.e. four volumes in the spring, and four in the autumn. The mode of publication was peculiar, and neither of these accounts is accurate. There were in fact, in the first edition, not eight volumes, but seven. "I take the Liberty to join the

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