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and the shower of gold, for the canvassing at the Grampound election! An apothecary riding to see his patients, is confounded with Death on a Pale Horse!
There is no talent so universally amusing as that of mimicry, even when it is confined to the imitation of ordinary individuals. Mathews appears to follow the path struck out by Foote; but his manner is perfectly original, and his satires are less personal than those of the actor just mentioned These dramatic entertainments have never appeared in print; indeed they would give but little pleasure in the closet, when devested of the strong colouring which Mathews gives them in representation, shifting from one character to another, with all the dexterity of a Proteus.
London, July 23, 1821.
Let the wretch who toils
IF I do not write you a long letter, it is not for want of news—I have matter enough to spin out into several pages; but, as I am usu
ally very laconic in my epistles, I will concentrate my remarks into as small a space as possible.
I had the good luck (as some would call it) to witness a great part of the ceremony of the Coronation, having obtained a ticket from Lord Holland. Í sallied forth early in the morning of the 19th inst. to see how London looked on the eventful day. The metropolis had the appearance of a city occupied by the enemy's troops, after a successful siege: guards, volunteers, yeomanry, artillery, “waving banners and enlivening fifes," were distinguished on all sides. At 8 o'clock, the lookers-on from the houses and galleries had not assembled with that eager curiosity which I anticipated: the seats which were arranged, the gaudy covered booths, the balconies and the erections on the tops of the various houses, presented "a beggarly account of empty benches," and exhibited a general apathy on the occasion which really surprised me.
Early in the morning, the Queen appeared in the state carriage, drawn by six beautiful bays, and attended by Ladies Hood and Ann Hamilton. She was greeted on her passage with every token of enthusiastic attachment, and followed by the multitude to the western gate of the Abbey. She alighted and attempted to gain admittance, but the doors were insultingly shut in her face. After receiving several gross
affronts and much scurrilous abuse, (which no gallant people would have inflicted
on a woman of the lowest condition,) her Majesty was at length obliged to return to her carriage, and was driven off amid reiterated shouts of applause.
I hacl the good fortune to get into a commanding situation, in one of the galleries erected in Westminster Hall. I will not describe the splendid preparations which had been made in this place the triumphal arch, the chair of state, the boxes erected for the Ministers and the royal family. I sate very comfortably musing on the gorgeous display before me, and not at all envying those who were to bear a part in the fatiguing ceremony. There was a deep murmuring noise in the Hall, like the growling of a troubled sea. At 10 o'clock, A. M. the King entered from a door behind the throne, dressed in robes very magnificent and exceedingly heavy. After great formalities of royalty and regality, and amidst shouting and waving of handkerchiefs, his Majesty was conducted to the chair of state. A signal gun
being fired off, the gaudy procession moved off towards the door, whilst the marshal's men hovered backwards and forwards, on each side of the green cloth on which the High Mightinesses walked, and used their staves of office to keep the Peers in order. Miss Fellowes, the King's herb-woman, was in front of the cavalcade, “scattering from her pictur'd urn,” various flowers on the cloth of the platform. One of the last personages in the group was his Majesty, walking between “two right re
verend fathers"-(here my imagination recur. red to the hump-backed Richard)—his superb and lengthy train being supported by six eldest sons of Peers.
The public prints have very minutely described the Coronation scene which took place in the Abbey:-as I was not a witness to it, I will refer you to their elaborate accounts. At length, a lively flourish of trumpets and hautboys, announced the return of the variegated procession. When the King entered the Hall, the spectators stood
and shouted most vociferously:-the very rafters of the building quivered in sympathy—and dust and cobwebs showered down from the roof indiscriminately on patrician and plebeian heads! I will leave you to imagine the tiresome and sickening ceremony which took place, before the company were seated at the tables. In the mean time, the chandeliers were lit up, although the sun was still blazing in the western sky. After the most solemn and ridiculous pageantry, the tu: reens and plates were laid on his Majesty's table; but they were not uncovered until a minister got up and said grace-then“ a dainty dish was set before the King”—but he eat very sparingly, having probably taken a lunch behind the scenes!
In the midst of this exhibition, the Reporters of the various newspapers were busily scribbling for posterity; and the various actors in the pageant occasionally looked up towards
them-probably fearing to be found wanting' like Belshazzar when he beheld
66 The armless band that wrote
His sentence on the palace wall." When the first part of the banquet was over, the drums and trumpets announced the entrance of the champion on horse-back, "arm'd in complete steel.” He rode in between his Grace of Wellington and Howard of Effingham, and the herald read aloud the challenge after three blasts. After the nonsense of throwing the gauntlet, &c. exeunt champion and his sage attendants. His Majesty drank a great many healths(this appears to be his forte!) and gave golden cups and basins to various personages for their fees. By the way, I must not forget the singular behaviour of the Lord Chancellor, who was dressed in such a comical style, that I thought the King's fool had come to life again! On his head was a wig with 200 curls, topped by a coronet. He kept grinning and fooling with the Royal brotherhood, tickling his Majesty in the side, and
cutting such fantastic tricks,” that, although I was prepared to be surprised at nothing in the royal farce, I really wondered at his ridi. culous capers.
At quarter past eight, the King rose, and, having drunk to the health of all present, and grasped his orb and sceptre, retired amidst reiterated acclamations. Afterwards, permission was given to the company to pocket what had