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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



FRANCIS -WILSON 





) 




CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS, JTAT 75. 

from the last Photograph, taken iy 
CHARLES WATKINS. 



THE LIFE 



07 



CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS 



CHIEFLY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 



SELECTIONS FROM HIS CORRESPONDENCE AND SPEECHES 



EDITED BY 

CHARLES DICKENS 



in 

VOL. I. 



MACMILLAN AND CO. 
1879 

The Right of Translation is reserved. 



College 
Library 

PN 



v.l 

PREFACE. 

IN preparing for the press the autobiographical chapters 
which were left by the late CHARLES MATHEWS, and in 
selecting from among the very large mass of his papers 
and letters such documents as I thought would best 
illustrate his life, I have kept one object steadily in view. 
It has been my endeavour throughout to discover, from 
the indications left by himself, on what lines he would 
probably have constructed the work had he lived to 
complete it, and especially, where it was at all possible, 
to allow him to tell his own story, in his own way, and 
in his own words. With but very few exceptions every 
letter or paper included or quoted in these volumes was 
.found in the box marked "Materials for the book," 
which was entrusted to my care by CHARLES MATHEWS'S 
family after his death. 

CHARLES DICKENS. 

May, 1879. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I. 



CHAPTEK I. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY AN APOLOGY FOR THE LIFE OF CHARLES 
JAMES MATHEWS. 1803-1819. 

Mathews's apology pro vita sua Determination to write his life 
Diaries Character of Mrs. Mathews the elder Mathews's 
"birth at Liverpool A question of noses Mr. and Mrs. 
Mathews return to London Twig Hall The little 
parson Preparatory schools A whipping and the Duke 
of Sussex Sent to Merchant Taylors' School A breakfast 
at the Mansion House, and a masquerade at Covent Garden 
Difficulties with Dr. Cherry, and removal to Dr. Charles 
Richardson's private school at Clapham A happy 
schoolboy and judicious master SchoolfelloAvs First 
theatrical experiences An amateur prompter . 



CHAPTER II. 
AUTOBIOGRAPHY PUGIN'S PUPIL, 1819-1823. 

Mathews leaves school A pattern pupil Choice of a pro- 
fession John Xash and Augustus Pugin A student 
of architecture Ivy Cottage A visit to Paris First 



vi CONTEXTS. 



appearance on any stage An amateur performance at the 
English Opera House Bill of the play An accident and 
a brilliant success Advice of the elder MatheAvs 
Anecdotes illustrative of his character A proposal from 
Lord Blcssington Visit to Ireland Mountjoy Forest . 36 



CHAPTER III. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1823. 

Kindness of Pugin and Soane The journey to Ireland Lord 
Blessington's building projects Suggestion of a foreign 
tour Gratefully accepted by Mathews and his father 
First appearance as Jeremy Diddler .... 65 



CHAPTER IV. 
AUTOBIOGRAPHY FIRST VISIT TO ITALY, 1823-1824. 

The journey Travelling companions Crossing the Simplon 
Precautions against cold In search of a dinner at Milan 
Difficulties en route Italian country quarters Lord 
Blessington's dilemma -- Amateur fresco painting at 
Borghetto The Pope's nuncio Arrival at Naples The 
Palazzo Belvedere Lady Blessington, Count D'Orsay, and 
Miss Power The saloon at the Belvedere Mathews as 
an imitator The peasant, the improvisatore, and the 
priest The tarantella Lord Blessington's fear of 
catching cold Pompeii and Pnestum Good company at 
the Belvedere Dr. Quin, Dr. Madden, and Sir William 
Gell An Italian count at Epsom Dr. Madden's character 
of Mathews A summer storm Difficulty between 



CONTENTS. vii 



Mathews and Count D'Orsay Intervention of Madden 

and Lord Blessington Diplomacy and a reconciliation . 77 



CHAPTER V. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 

Lord Blessington reports progress to the elder Mathews His 
character of Charles Masquerading at the Belvedere 
Letter from the elder Mathews Count Boruwlaski 
"Little" Knight The visit to Ptestum A letter from 
the crater of Vesuvius The visitors' book The Irishman 
and the brigand Illness of Miss Power More imitations 
Domestic life at the Belvedere Pedestrian excursions 
Mathews among the peasants A question of money 
Generosity of Mathews's parents News from Naples 
Count D'Orsay to Mathews 121 



CHAPTER VI. 
AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN WALES, 1824-1826. 

Return to London At work in Parliament Street First love 
Miss Purves Intimacy with Sir John Soane His 
domestic troubles The Welsh Iron and Coal Mining 
Company Mathews engaged as architect Removes to 
Wales Mr. Verbeke and Mr. John Gray An odd 
invitation to lunch Cupid His description of the 
journey to Wales Mathews in the hunting field 
"Cader Idris " and "Jenny Jones" John Parry 
Difficulties with the Coal and Iron Company A little 
bill John Wilks and the ^Egis Insurance Company- 
Return to London . .... 166 



viii CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VII. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 

PAGE 

Letter from the elder Mathews Letter to Miss Purves 
Difficulties of the Welsh language Mines of Coed 
Talwn The natives and native produce John Gray's 
requirements, visitors, and live stock A " numerous " 
director Mathews as a song writer " The Mad Arith- 
metician " Lord Blessington at Bangor Another song 
Mrs. Mathews and Miss Purves Separation A visit to 
Abbotsford Sir Walter Scott In the library "The 
whole house a romance by the author of ' Waverley ' " 
Coaching in 1826 Magnesia lozenges Mathews as an 
author - Encouraging critical notices The Chester 
Theatre Mr. and Mrs. Decamp Business troubles The 
dishonoured bill Mathews determines never to put his- 
name to another bill Gray's attempt at excuses Mrs. 
Mathews speaks her mind . . . . . .195 



CHAPTER VIII. 
AUTOBIOGRAPHY SECOND VISIT TO ITALY, 1827. 

Nash the architect Mathews in business A disappointment 
Mathews the dramatist Tired of inactivity Proposal 
for a professional tour in Italy James D'Egville 
Departure from London A journal in verse In Switzer- 
land Arrival in Milan " Our Girls " A mysterious 
ornament The badge of the Megatherion Club Artistic 
studies Mathews and D'Egville exhibit at the Academy 
of Brera Flattering' notice Eirst night of 11 Pirata 



CONTENTS. 



Mathews and D'Egville receive their diplomas from the 
Academy Departure for Venice . 252 



CHAPTER IX. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1827. 

A financial statement The elder Mathews in reply A ball 
at Milan Peculiar arrangements in the refreshment 
room Palace at Monza Balbianello The Villa Arionata 
Theatres in Italy Bellini Vetturino to Venice . .272 

CHAPTER X. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY SECOND VISIT TO ITALY (continued}, 
1827-1828. 

A year in Venice Venetian society The Three Graces Life 
in Venice Evening receptions The Gaffe Florian Pre- 
parations for admission as members of the Belle Arti 
An expedition to Capo d'Istria Pola Locomotive diffi- 
culties Disappearance of the Port of Pola In pawn at 
Pola D'Egville in search of supplies A happy turn of 
fate Visit to Peroi A colony of Greeks " The 
prettiest house and that which contained the prettiest 
girls" Mathews one of the family Unsophisticated 
nature Mathews dresses for the part The fairy glass 
Village life Dinner at Peroi A siesta Spiridion 
A modern Arcadia Thoughts of home Back again at 
Qapo d'Istria A calm Land at last Venice once 
more 290 



APPENDIX. 
Translations of French correspondence with Count D'Orsay . 310 

VOL. I. A* 



LIST OF PLATES TO VOLUME I. 



CHAELES JAMES MATHEWS, ^Etat 75. From the last 

Photograph taken "by CHARLES W ATKINS. 

Frontispiece. 

11 THE LITTLE PARSOK" From the Original Drawing by 
DE WILDE, in the possession of J. L. TOOLE, Esq. 

To face page 12. 



THE LIFE 



OF 



CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS. 



CHAPTER I. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

AN APOLOGY FOR THE LIFE OF CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS. 

1803-1819. 

GIBBON, the historian, was said to have had no nose at 
all, only an apology for one, and Gibber calls his auto- 
biography, in the same sense, an " Apology " for his life, 
not deeming the work sufficiently complete to bear its 
more extended meaning. But it is not with this signifi- 
cation that I offer an apology for mine : I give it in its 
literal and simple acceptation, for, if ever any man's 
life needed an apology, mine is the one. I have flown 
in the face of the world and its prejudices have fol- 
lowed my own course through good and evil in my 
own way have set at defiance what are generally 
denominated the laws of propriety and have for- 
feited all claim to what is called by the world 
respectability. I have been put down for a reckless, 

VOL. I. B 






2 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

extravagant, devil-may-care fellow, without principle or 
feeling; and though I have been fortunate enough 
to retain popularity through all my difficulties, and 
in spite of these universally believed failings, I 
cannot shut my eyes to the conviction that I have 
merely enjoyed the same sort of sympathy with that 
granted to the scapegrace Charles Surface, and that 
amusement at my audacity has been in great measure 
the* secret of the constant support and indulgence I 
have been favoured with. Now, I have a much better 
opinion of myself than the world at large entertains, 
and I am bold enough or perhaps vain enough to 
think that when I have told my own story, and have 
laid bare all the various motives and moving accidents 
that have swayed me in my career, it will be found I 
have not been such a bad fellow after all ; and though 
a total disregard of the opinion of the world has 
certainly pervaded every action of my life, that dis- 
regard has only extended to what I chose to consider 
prejudices of society, and has never proceeded from 
callousness as to conduct resulting from want of honour 
or feeling. That I have laughed, and still laugh, at the 
poor, timid, conventional notions of a large portion of my 
fellow-men I confess, but I have the highest respect for 
all that is really good and worthy of admiration, and 
never have I for a moment lost sight of what I have con- 
sidered essential to the position of a gentleman. It will 
be found, perhaps, as we proceed, that my notions on this 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 



subject are peculiar, and probably will not be accepted 
by the world. This I can't help ; but at any rate, in 
duty to myself, I ani anxious to state my case plainly, 
and have my character, such as it is, clearly understood. 
I have grinned through all my trials, and have allowed 
no one to witness those moments of depression and 
agony that I have suffered in private. With a light 
heart, a good digestion, a cheerful mind, excellent health, 
and an independent spirit, I have been able to cope with 
all the small ills of life that are so often magnified into 
irretrievable misfortunes, and preserve my equilibrium in 
the midst of the many social earthquakes, which, had I 
been a "serious man," and "highly respectable," would 
most probably have driven me to despair. 

Before arranging my materials in a sufficiently con- 
densed form to meet the public eye, I now begin the 
more formidable task of committing to paper all and 
everything my memory furnishes me with every detail 
of my life, as though it were the life of someone else, 
assisted by printed extracts, and illustrated by corre- 
spondence, so as to furnish a store from which to select 
what may be considered by others worthy of ultimate 
adoption. In short, I shall first collect my facts, and 
register my observations for myself, before attempting 
to make them worthy of presenting to others. 

Oh that I had had the time and patience to keep a 
diary ! What a world of trouble it would have saved 
me, and what endless odd details and incidents, now 

B 2 



4 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

forgotten, I should have been able to record ! Harley 
kept one for some forty years. I have seen three 
volumes, all regularly bound and lettered. They con- 
tain a most interesting account of what he had for 
dinner each day, and what he paid for coach-hire, and 
not a word of anything else. I doubt whether their 
publication would interest the public of the present 
day. I find that I, too, commenced a journal regularly 
on the first of January every year, and invariably broke 
down after a few weeks, then resumed, and finally 
dropped it altogether. My intentions were good but 
my perseverance faulty. 

My mother was a careful preserver of letters and 
hoarder of documents, and not a line I ever wrote to 
her, or a scrap of criticism referring to me, has been 
destroyed. I, in my turn, stored away hundreds of 
hers, and have, therefore, an overwhelming collection of 
dates and memoranda to select from. Indeed, I much 
regret that I cannot publish her letters in full, for they 
are in many respects admirable, some of them I may 
say models in their way. I was always my mother's 
boy, and her life was devoted to my moral and intel- 
lectual cultivation. She was a great reader, and made 
extracts from every book she read. Some fifty or sixty 
quarto volumes of manuscript attest her taste and 
industry. She was sincerely religious, but with the 
most cheerful mind ; alive to humour, and was ready to 
join in any harmless amusement that offered, and I was 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 



most fortunate in possessing at all times a delightful 
companion as well as a tenderly affectionate parent. 

The first chapter of a book is frequently a matter of 
some difficulty, and various are the ways adopted to 
interest the reader at starting. Luckily, this does not 
apply to the first chapter of an autobiography, and I 
have no hesitation in deciding on the proper commence- 
ment of my work. I boldly begin with the most 
important, if not the most interesting, incident of my 
life, viz. my birth. I can't have a better beginning 
than that. No man can have a better beginning than 
that. It is the most innocent transaction I was ever 
mixed up with ; and though, had it never taken place, 
it would have saved a good deal of worry and trouble 
to myself and others, I feel that it is, perhaps, the 
only thing that I can remember which really needs no 
apology. 

I was born on the 26th of December, 1803 on wha 
is vulgarly called " Boxing Night." I came into the 
world with the pantomimes, in a laughing season, and 
my first cry, if it could have been understood, was, I 
have no doubt : " Here we are ! " The spot selected 
for my first appearance was a nice little house, in 
a nice little street, in Liverpool, contiguous to the 
theatre where my father and mother were at that 
time fulfilling their first provincial engagement after 
their first season in London. It was called then, 
as now, Basnett Street. But how has that nice little 



6 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

house in that nice little street degenerated ! I have 
watched it for years. I have seen it turned into a 
shop a grocer's with a large gold teapot for a sign ; 
into a shoemaker's, with Noah's ark for a symbol, though 
what shoemakers can have to do with Noah's ark, the 
last place where shoes could possibly be wanted, I never 
could conceive. I have seen it a registry office for 
servants, a potato store, a lawyer's office, a toy shop, a 
milliner's, and it has undergone twenty other meta- 
morphoses, all equally fatal to its romance. 

As soon as my wishes could be clearly ascertained, 
which I endeavoured to make known by curiously- 
varied fits of squalling, indicative of the disgust I felt at 
the ignominious locality forced upon me for my birth, I 
was conveyed to York, which should, in fact, have been 
my native place, if common justice had been done me ; 
and there the interesting ceremony of my christening 
took place, at St. Helen's Church, where, in the month 
of March previously, my father and mother had been 
married. This was my first gala day in life, and I have 
been informed that I was in high spirits upon the occa- 
sion. How often, in after years, have I looked from the 
windows of Harker's Hotel upon the picturesque little 
church in front of it, and while sipping my wine, gazed 
upon the spot where I took my first taste of water ! 

It seems that I had two narrow escapes at this early 
period of my existence. On the very night I was born 
the play of " Paul and Virginia " was to have been acted 



i.] AUTOBIOGEAPHY. 



at the Liverpool Theatre, in which piece my mother was 
to have played Virginia, and the idea was seriously 
entertained of giving me the name of Paul in honour of 
the occasion. I am truly grateful to have escaped this 
infliction. The name of William was next almost 
decided on, in remembrance of my father's favourite 
brother, who had recently died at Barbadoes ; but 
luckily that never-to-be-sufficiently-thanked Methodist 
preacher, my dear old grandfather, prevented my having 
the horrid abbreviation of " Billy " attached to me for 
life ; and, in obedience to his wish that I should bear 
either his own name or that of my father, it was resolved 
to give me the advantage of both, and I was christened 
" Charles James " accordingly. It appears that, in 
addition to my grandfather's name, his profession was 
also to be given to me, and I was "promised to the 
Church." The good old gentleman, however, pleased as 
he was at the idea, very properly stipulated that I 
should not be forced to enter upon such a profession 
unwillingly, and his saying with reference to it has been 
often repeated to me : " Kemember," said he, " that a 
man may be a good man without being a clergyman, 
but to force him to be a clergyman might tend to make 
him a bad man," which I think a very liberal speech for 
a Methodist parson. 

These highly important details will, no doubt, be 
read with the keenest interest ; and as my personal 
appearance at the earliest age is a matter of equal 



8 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

importance, I cannot do better than give the following 
letter from my friend Richard Lane on the subject : 



. 19, 1860. 
DEAR CHARLIE, 

" We had a delightful chat with your mother about 
you last night. The enclosed may not be new to you, but 
it is well worth your notice, if only to introduce Charles 
Young. She amused us immensely by her manner of 
telling it. She knows nothing of my sending it. I 
dictated it to Emily while at work to-day, and I think 
it is as nearly as possible verbatim. 

" ' What a peculiar nose Charles Young had ! As 
we were very intimate with him, even before Charles 
was born, I was constantly jesting with him about the 
said nose. When an interesting prospect was open to 
me, he said one day : " Take care ! I warn you, if you set 
your mind on this nose of mine, that baby will be born 
with a hook." His habit was to ask at the door: " How's 
Narny ? " as the expected time drew near. When 
Charles arrived (although it was not before he was due) 
he was the very smallest and funniest little thing that 
was ever seen ; rarely smiled from the first, and seemed 
perfectly easy and self-possessed. I had been told to 
prepare for a very minute baby (appearances not giving 
warrant to any great expectation), and the clothes were 
therefore far below the average size, but they were so 
ridiculously large, that they hung upon him like a sack ; 



L] AUTOBIOGEAPHY. 9 

he was therefore wrapped in wadding, and put into a 
basket by the fire, while his first outfit was prepared by 
cutting up one of his father's soft white neckcloths, 
which was tacked together, and snipped at the edges in 
imitation of ruffles. There he lay on his back in perfect 
comfort, with both his tiny hands lifted up as high as 
he could, the fingers incessantly wriggling as they 
peeped out of the frilled cuffs. 

" ' When Miss Grimani (who was then the fiancee and 
afterwards the wife of Charles Young) saw the baby, she 
remarked upon his ridiculous knowing little face, and he 
looked from one to the other as if he would say : " I'm 
quite comfortable ; I don't see what there is to laugh at. 
I believe I was expected. I am not a seven mouths' 
child, or anything of that sort ; you'll find me quite 
perfect and satisfactory ; only leave me alone, I want to 
go to sleep." 

" 'All this time the immediate object of amusement 
was the nose. There, exactly in the right place, was the 
most absurd little protuberance, not bigger than a good- 
sized pea, and certainly not deserving the name of nose. 
Miss Grimani remarked upon this, and when I told her 
there was a good story upon that subject, she left me in 
great delight to play a trick upon Charles Young. In 
reply to his question : " How's Narny ? " she gravely said : 
" She is going on very well, but she has the most ridicu- 
lous little baby, and, only fancy, with a Roman nose ! " 
"Don't tell me so ! " roared out Young, who went into 



10 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

fits of laugliter, danced round the room, and told Miss 
Grimani of the warnings he had given the mother ; said 
he should insist upon seeing it, and that he would kill 
it, or eat it, or do something desperate. When he was 
allowed, after much preparation, to see the child, and 
discovered the hoax that had been played upon him, he 
made such a noise in the room that he was turned out 
bodily by the nurse. 

" ' Now, the fact is, that Master Charles did not 
develop a nose to speak of until he was five years old.' ' 

In the spring of the following year my father re- 
turned to London, having accepted a renewed engage- 
ment for himself and wife for three summer seasons, with 
Colrnan at the Haymarket the "little Haymarket," as 
it was always lovingly called and for five winter 
seasons at Drury Lane, then under the management of 
Kichard Brinsley Sheridan, and in a short time my 
education began to assume colossal proportions at Colney 
Hatch, where they then lived, and I "eat niy terms," as 
it is classically denominated that is, learnt my ABC 
by the ingenious means of gingerbread letters, which I 
was allowed to devour on correctly naming them, and 
thus I was tempted literally to "read, mark, learn, and 
inwardly digest." 

My father's nickname in his early days had been, in 
allusion to his very thin figure, " Stick " rather an 
ominous appellation for an actor I was therefore, as 



i.] ATJTOBIOGEAPHY. 11 

a natural consequence, dubbed " Twig ; " and as the 
cottage had been taken mainly for my health, it was 
honoured by the .distinguished title of Twig Hall. It 
was a mere nutshell, nothing more a real "cottage," 
not a " cottage of gentility," pronounced, upon the 
authority of the poet, to have been so dear to the 
devil, whose favourite vice was " pride, that apes 
humility "- but a little rural snuggery, and became the 
resort of many witty and accomplished people, who 
there threw off their town manners, and gave way to 
the merriness of their hearts. Of course I was too 
young to enjoy their wit, but I appreciated their gaiety ; 
and who knows how much this early association with 
pleasant people may have helped to give a cheerful tone 
to the rest of my existence ? It has been said that "just 
a3 the twig is bent the tree's inclined," and I certainly 
must have got a twist or two, here at starting, likely to 
influence the direction of my subsequent growth. With 
George Colman, Theodore Hook, James and Horace 
Smith the authors of the " Rejected Addresses " 
Dubois, Liston, Charles Young, Charles Kemble, the 
beautiful and accomplished Harriet Mellon, afterwards 
Duchess of St. Albans, and many other such celebrities 
of the day for playmates, it would have been a marvel if 
I had not been a little tinged with the colour of their 
minds, and led by their example to take a joyous view 
of life. 

Besides the familiar sobriquet of " Twig," I was 



12 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

almost as generally spoken of as the "little parson/' and, 
as an appropriate birthday offering, one of our waggish 
friends presented to me a complete little parson's suit 
of black old-fashioned square- cut coat, long flapped 
waistcoat, knee-breeches, worsted stockings, shoes, and 
buckles, white bands, &c. attired in which I was lifted 
on the dining-table to drink the healths of the " tom- 
pany." The drawing of me in my clerical costume by 
Dewilde bears the date of June, 1807, which would 
make my age at that time just three years and a half, 
which I fancy may be safely taken as my earliest 
appearance in character. 

In due time I rose to the dignity of a preparatory 
school, and at six years of age I was entered at Miss 
Swal well's " Juvenile Academy " at Hackney, where, 
according to the Christmas account now before me for 
the first three-quarters' " board and tuition," ending 
December 25, 1810, I appear to have been already 
qualifying for an Admirable Crichton music, dancing, 
fencing, broadsword, French, writing, military exercises, 
gun (" pop," I presume, accidentally omitted) being 
included among the various items. 

An examination of this account of Miss Swalwell's 
throws an interesting light upon my position at that 
period. 

My health appears to have been good ; only 4s. 6d. 
for " domestic medicine " in three-quarters of a year. 
I don't know whether a black dose and a whipping are 




"THE LITTLE PARSON" 

from the original drawing ly De Wilde 

in the possession of 

J.L.TOOLE ESQ. 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 13 

included in this item. My muscular developments 
seem to have been satisfactory, 3s. 9cl. being charged for 
"buttons, tape, &c." no doubt, wrenched off or burst 
asunder in the course of my athletic sports ; while the 
enormous outlay in "repairs of boots and shoes," speaks 
well for my personal activity. 

My literary tastes cannot be correctly ascertained, 
seeing that they are clubbed under the general title of 
"books, 4s.;" though "spelling-book, Is. 6d." and 
" testament, 2s.," are distinctly set forth as probable 
guarantees for the respectability of the " Juvenile 
Academy." "Mrs. Barbauld's hymns, Is. Gd.," was, 
perhaps, a pardonable weakness, and " seat at chapel, 
4s. 6d.," an amiable extravagance; but Is. per quarter 
for " public charity," I must always think an uncalled- 
for ostentation, especially as it was put down in the bill, 
and not paid for by myself. My "private charity" is 
not alluded to, being of course, and very properly, only 
known to myself; but I trust I parted with my occa- 
sional halfpenny, when distressing circumstances required 
it, with becoming alacrity and satisfaction. 

A gratifying assurance that early intemperance was 
not among my many failings, is gathered from the 
charge of " wine, 4s. 6d.," for a period of nine months. 
And even that indulgence was atoned for, by a similar 
sum having been expended upon " seat at chapel." But, 
I regret to say, there is one awkward fact which cannot 
be got over or excused ; 5s. 4d. is charged for " broken 



14 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

windows," which, though confirming the impression 
that I was the fortunate possessor of good health and 
buoyant spirits, was an early sign of imprudence and 
want of caution in money matters, seeing that my 
income, at that time, was limited to threepence per 
week pocket-money, and I had no right to indulge in 
luxuries without reasonable hope of paying for them. 

On my accession to the honours of the "Juvenile 
Academy," Twig Hall was given up, and another cottage, 
but one of more pretension, was purchased from General 
Bradshaw at Fulham, and as Hackney was found an 
inconvenient distance for the continuance of my scho- 
lastic duties, I was transferred to Miss Batsford's 
" Seminary," close to our new home. 

Nothing particularly remarkable occurred during my 
period of probation at Miss Batsford's. Oh yes ! one 
little incident I have never forgotten. 

Some tender-hearted mother called at the school one 
clay, and left a message that, as her son some miscreant 
in petticoats had grossly misconducted himself while at 
home on the previous Sunday afternoon, she desired he 
might be severely whipped at an early hour on the 
Monday morning. As no name was left, and I had 
been home on the day before, the conclusion was arrived 
at that I had been " too lively," and I had to endure the 
indignity of the birch rod in expiation. 

Had I been a Byron, I might have brooded over the 
disgrace for ever, and another " Childe Harold " might 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 15 

have been the result ; but I was not so ; I only cried 
till I was tired, and pocketed the affront. The error 
was soon discovered, and I became doubly endeared to 
all around me from the accident. 

Accompanying my father and mother to Major Scott 
Waring's, at Peterborough House, shortly after, I met, 
for the first time, the Duke of Sussex, whose heart I won 
by suddenly calling out, with childish naivetd : " Oh 
ma ! look at that fat duke ! How funnily he shuffles his 
cards ! " 

The story of my woes was related to him, and he 
never forgot it to his dying day. No matter when or 
where I had the honour of meeting him in after years, 
he never failed to call out, good-humouredly : " Well, 
Charles, have you been whipped lately ? What ? " 

In course of time I was removed to Merchant Taylors' 
School, in the City of London, where my father had been 
educated before me. This was the first real event of my 
life. 

Through the influence of my father's friend Sir 
John Silvester, then Recorder, I was placed on the 
foundation, and was received as a boarder into the 
family of the Rev. Mr. Cherry, the head-master. 

In obedience to the promise made at my christening, 
I was destined for a clergyman, and, as the initiatory 
step towards that profession, became a fag cleaned 
three or four pairs of boots every morning, washed the 



1G LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

tea-things, and did duty as warming-pan to my young 
master, by lying in his bed on cold nights till he required 
it, and then being turned into my own. 

Here Latin, Greek, and Hebrew were daily ad- 
ministered in large doses, while my native English was 
left to be picked up as best it might in the cloisters, 
which formed our playground, and in the streets of the 
City ; where, between school hours, I might now have 
been seen wandering, without my hat, like the little 
ragamuffin I was, or running up Suffolk Lane on a dark 
night, in my bedgo\vn, to buy candles, in my capacity of 
fag, after having been lowered from the bedroom window 
in a sheet, to the delight of the little tyrant, my master. 

One bright light illumined this dark epoch. Alder- 
man Scholey, the newly-elected Lord Mayor, having 
been a Merchant Taylors' boy, invited the whole school 
to a banquet at the Mansion House a public breakfast, 
w r here we all, with clean faces, and in our Sunday 
clothes, did him the honour to repair. 

A letter of mine has survived, which gives a graphic 
description of the occasion, and shows that I at least, 
for one, did due honour to the good cheer provided. 

" MY DEAR MOTHER, 

" I returned home very safe on Sunday 
night. The dresser took me to school on Sunday 
night, and I dreamt of going to the Mansion House ; 
and when morning came we all went into school 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 17 

and said lessons before we went to the Mansion 
House, and then a monitor and a prompter went at 
the head of each form, and then we entered. Whe'" 
showed our tickets when we went in, and the Lord 
Mayor and the Lady Mayoress bowed to us, and then 
we bowed to him, and he asked us all how we did. 
I have enclosed the ticket in the letter. The Lord 
Mayor's son showed us into all the rooms in the Mansion 
House. We saw the state bed and all the state rooms 
in the Mansion House, and then we went to breakfast. 
There where very good things. I eat viz., a bit of fowl, 
a pear, an apple, half a jelly, a role, five glasses of negus, 
half a tumbler of ale, and three cups of coffee, and a 
glass of water. 

"I went to see Miss Laforest, and she said she'd 
heard of my going to the play on Saturday night, and 
she asked me if you where coming to town. I told her 
I did not know. 

" I remain, your dutiful Son, 

"C. MATHEWS." 

During the holidays, when at] Merchant Taylors', a 
benefit was announced at Covent Garden Theatre (by 
whom given I now forget), the great attraction of which 
was to be a masquerade on the stage, including various 
amusements of singing and dancing, a balloon ascending 
to the ceiling, and showering bonbons among the 

* The original spelling is preserved. 



VOL. I. 



18 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

audience, a supper, and other temptations. Tickets 
of invitation were sent to Mr., Mrs., and Master 
Mathews ; the latter of course only meant as a joke. 
But not so did Master Mathews regard it, and in spite 
of all remonstrances, he not only firmly asserted his 
right to accept the invitation, but declared his intention 
of going in character. This was at first merely laughed 
at, but at last good-humouredly agreed to. The little 
parson's dress was remembered, and was dragged from 
its obscurity, patched and lengthened, for it was of 
course too small ; and with the additions of a gold- 
headed cane, a three-cornered hat, and a powdered wig 
(the clerical bands being suppressed), I was transformed 
into a little doctor. I was a great success, bustled 
about, chattered with everybody, while feeling their 
pulses, and, being a remarkably diminutive boy of my 
age, looked like an animated doll to the audience in 
that large theatre. They roared with laughter, and 
applauded whenever I appeared. When the curtain 
descended there was a tumultuous call for " The Doctor ! 
the Doctor !" and, pushed on by the stage manager 
(albeit nothing loth), I strutted across the stage and 
kissed my hand to the public with all the airs of an old 
stager. Elated with my success, I stood at the wing in 
anticipation of perhaps another call, when one of the 
carpenters, to my great disgust, lifted me out of the 
way, as if I had been one of the properties, saying : 
"There, you're done with, be off!" This to the artist 



i.] AUTOBIOGKAPHY. 19 

who had been kissed by dozens of pretty actresses, and 
applauded to the echo by a discriminating British 
public ! This to the excited over-heated little Doctor, 
who had been treated continually through the evening 
by kind but inconsiderate admirers to glass after glass 
of negus ! It was an outrage, but I was the weakest, 
and had to yield to this Jack-in-office, and made rny 
way to the supper-room. Here I was welcomed by 
a bevy of beauties more kisses, more negus. I had 
the good taste though, young as I was, to prefer the 
caresses of the beautiful Maria Foote, who must have 
been perfectly bewitching in her costume of Anne 
Boleyn, and in her lap I quietly nestled, and soon fell 
fast asleep. 

How often have I since laughed with the amiable 
Lady Harrington over the remembrance of that evening ! 
The early appreciation of her beauty and sweetness 
of manner was never weakened during a subsequent 
intimacy of nearly forty years. 

My brilliant success on this memorable occasion 
was, however, sadly marred, and terminated, I regret to 
say, ignominiously. Overcome by the kisses or the 
negus (probably the latter), I was found so hopelessly 
locked in sleep that I was obliged to be carried home 
on my father's shoulder, dead beat (a prejudiced police- 
man might have said " drunk," adding : " What, again ! 
I know you !"), and shot on my bed, an exhausted 
receiver. Thus ended my first public performance, 



20 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

the Colney Hatch effort having been only that of an 
amateur. 

Being a delicate boy, my health at length began to 
break down under the severity of the fagging system, 
while the amount of classical learning I imbibed was of 
the slenderest possible kind. The fact is, I was a dunce. 
There is no disguising the truth ; and had I been 
removed, as in due course I should shortly have been, to 
St. John's College, Oxford, where, as a foundation boy 
from Merchant Taylors', I was entitled to a fellowship/" 
I should inevitably have been plucked, like the goose 
I represented. 

And yet it appears, that by some means or other 
(certainly not merit), I contrived to scramble up to the 
fifth form, in spite of the dislike, which it was clear old 
Cherry, the head-master, had taken to me. 

The cause of the dislike was simple enough ; I was 
" too lively " for him, and animal spirits were unpardon- 
able things in his eyes. Of course they were ; how 
could they be otherwise ? He weighed sixteen stone, 
and had never, I fancy, heard a joke in his life. Had 
he ever been a fag ? I should say not. Had he ever 
been a boy ? I don't believe even that. But he had 
flogged thousands, and looked upon them generally, and 
me in particular, as his natural enemies. He knew I 

* A scholarship or exhibition is probably meant. 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 21 

ouorlit to be miserable ; I had woes enough to make me 

O O 

so, but I was abnormally, provokingly cheerful, and my 
laugh irritated him. Luckily, I was always wanting 
whipping, so he was able to work off his ill-humour 
satisfactorily, without its striking in and endangering his 
health. * 

Fortunately for me, while one day engaged in a 
game of cock-fighting (human cock-fighting an alle- 
gorical representation of the real sport, which consisted 

* As to young Mathews's " liveliness " and animal spirits, a letter 
written by Major-General Ludlow from Yates Court, Mere worth, 
Maidstone, may be quoted here : 

" Beyond those of my own name at Merchant Taylors' I recall 
chiefly Charles Mathews, Avho long sat by my side in the fifth form. 

" He had a quiet way of amusing his schoolfellows and preventing 
them learning their lessons, bringing upon them thereby very painful 
consequences. 

" I remember particularly his mimic portraiture of what he called 
' The Battle of the Nile ; ' which he effected with ships cut out of 
slips of paper, put facing each other with their keels within the leaves, 
and at the extreme ends, of a dictionary held crosswise between his 
knees with the back downwards. 

" I am not sure that there was not an artistic arrangement of an 
open, but rumpled, white pocket handkerchief, to represent leaves. 

" To the prow of each man-of-war was tied a piece of thread, with 
a loop at the other end to be fixed on a finger, and by means of the 
loops upon the fingers of the hidden hands respectively, the vessels 
were made to pass each other in order of battle ; the which was the 
(inauspicious) moment for the guns to open. 

" The ' bang ! bang ! ' too often vociferated by the gratified 
lookers-on, brought down Dr. Cherry upon the delinquents, whereby 
their patriotic ardour was probably damped for ever." 



22 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

of a pitched battle between two boys in the characters 
of cocks, hopping on one leg with their arms tightly 
folded, and butting at each other till one was 
knocked over), I was thrown with such force backwards 
upon my head against the corner of the solid block 
which acted as a form in the schoolroom, that I fainted, 
and was carried to bed. A doctor was sent for, who 
bound up my bleeding caput, and for some days I lay in 
a critical position not in the least anxious for a too 
speedy recovery, as I soon gathered that a flogging was 
to be the reward of my outrageous levity. 

As I have said, this was a fortunate incident for me, 
as it led to a good result, for my mother happening to 
call at this moment (mothers always do come at the 
right moment), an angry colloquy took place, and plain 
speaking was adopted on both sides. 

I gather this from the fragment of a letter I have 
found from my father to Mr. Cherry on the occasion. 
The beginning, which is lost, was, I presume, in answer 
to the charges brought against my ability and industry, 
although I had been elevated to the fifth form, and 
proceeds thus : 

"There must be some rottenness in the state. In 
the good old days of Mr. Bishop, I can assert, at all 
events, and will aver, fearless of contradiction, that 
such promotion could not have taken place. No boy 
would have been admitted into the fifth if not properly 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 23 

qualified. When that step was proposed, it would have 
been the time to crush my fond hopes, and not leave it 
till above a twelvemonth after, and then trust to a 
chance moment to fall upon me with redoubled force. 
You have had sufficient time to ascertain his qualifica- 
tions ; and, by the manner in which you eased your 
mind of a treasured load of complaints, it is evident it 
must have been the effect of deliberation. It is prob- 
able that, but for the accidental visit of Mrs. Mathews, 
w r ho ought to have been sent for when a medical man 
was deemed necessary, it might have been six months 
more before you would have condescended to give me 
the information. I will not attempt to argue the point 
w r ith you as to the boy's capacity or incapacity although 
I believe you do not deny him the former ; whether he 
be a blockhead or a genius, it is equally my duty to 
forward his prospects in life, and provide him with 
education. For the mortification of parents under cir- 
cumstances like ours, I should imagine you would feel ; 
and I do not think it was amiable in you, sir, after 
having drawn forth tears from a lady, to persevere in 
making them flow afresh, rather than endeavour to 
repress them. The violence you were betrayed into, as 
I am informed, exceeded all bounds ; even an accident 
was converted into an offence, and the remembrance of 
forgiven grievances renewed to strengthen your cause 
to prejudice a stranger and lacerate a mother's feelings. 
This, I must ever think, was unnecessarily cruel. A 



24 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

note of five lines to me would have answered every 
purpose. It would be next to insanity to attempt an 
opposition to your power, or to combat your prejudices ; 
from all the evidence I have been able to collect on the 
subject and I have taken some pains to obtain it I 
must suspect that your personal dislike to the boy is 
rooted. He is, therefore, from this moment, removed 
from your sight. I shall never allow . him to return. 
You are gratified; I am disappointed indeed woefully 
disappointed. You are relieved from an object that, 
while he dishonours himself, must necessarily attach 
some reflection upon you to whose care he was confided, 
and I am burthened with new anxieties. I truly hope, 
sir, for your own sake, that you may feel as satisfied 
with your having performed your duty, in endeavour- 
ing to disgrace your pupil and endanger his future 
prospects in life, as I do that I am performing mine 
in removing him from the care of one who seems so 
little disposed to treat with indulgence the follies of 
childhood." 

Thus ended for a time my father's views respecting 
me. He began to suspect that I was of too volatile a 
nature to render the prospect of a country curacy a 
desideratum, and unwillingly abandoning all idea of 
living to see me a dignitary of the Church, at once trans- 
planted me to a private school at Clapham, where, under 
the affectionate eye of dear Dr. Charles Richardson, the 



i.] AUTOBIOGEAPHY. 25 

distinguished lexicographer, and in the company of many 
boys I knew especially the sons of Charles Kemble, 
Charles Young, Liston, and Terry I found a more 
congenial soil. 

Here I took root at once, and my progress was 
as delightful to my father as it was surprising to 
myself. 

There was nothing wonderful in this, when the 
change in my treatment is considered. Instead of being 
one of a flock of sheep (a black one), I was instantly 
converted into an object, if not of interest, at any rate 
of commiseration, and I was probably allowed indul- 
gences that otherwise would not have fallen to my lot. 
I was received as a parlour boarder, and admitted as one 
of the family. Dear kind Mrs. Richardson and her 
simple accomplished daughters made it a second home 
to me, and I was at once in clover. 

Dr. Richardson, too, was more like an affectionate 
friend than a rigid schoolmaster, and we understood 
each other in an instant. I was proud of his attention 
to me, and he was gratified at finding that his endeavours 
to rescue me from the ignominious future that had been 
predicted were not thrown away. 

He was fond of horse exercise, and I was allowed a 
pony, and at five o'clock on summers' mornings we used 
to sally forth together over the Surrey hills, enjoying 
the early breezes on Wandsworth Common, Sydenham, 
and Norwood, and getting back at eight to school and 



2G LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

breakfast. The remembrance of these morning rides, 
always accompanied by cheerful and not uninstructive 
conversation, is still among the most delightful of my 
boyish reminiscences, and certainly in no way interfered 
with my studies ; on the contrary, while they improved 
my health, they gave me fresh zest for the tasks assigned 
me, and put me in good humour with myself and all 
around me. 

Who shall venture to say that any boy is an in- 
corrigible dunce ? Is there any seed that will take root 
in every soil ? Is the fault in the seed ? No ; it lies in 
the ignorance of the sower. Find out the proper soil, 
select the proper aspect, and the seed, which has before 
shown no signs of fruition, will shoot forth at once, and 
flower luxuriantly. 

Who then shall say that a boy may not be treated 
in a similar manner ? Who knows what uncongenial 
elements may not surround him, and check his mental 
growth ? Try it, at all events. Place him under other 
influences, and his mind may expand and blossom 
cheerfully under the more fostering aspects. 

Such, at any rate, was my case. Not physically 
strong enough to undergo the hardships I had to 
undergo at Merchant Taylors', placed haphazard among 
two hundred other boys, without any watchful eye to 
mark my progress, or any guiding hand to direct me in 
my studies, no anxious friend to lead me onwards by 
encouraging words and gentle manners, I broke down, 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 27 

for want of common sympathy and care. I had no vent 
for my high spirits, nothing to vary the monotony of 
fagging but mischief, no cheerful companionship 
nothing but the boisterous pleasures which invariably 
led to, and ended in, the birch rod and the displeasure 
of my masters. 

It is true I boarded in the house of Mr. Cherry, the 
head-master, but I scarcely ever saw him out of school, 
and I never remember to have heard his voice, except 
when in anger ; while the lady who conducted his 
establishment no doubt an estimable, kind, and just 
woman in her own circle never for a moment allowed 
it to be forgotten that she was the head-master's 
daughter, and repelled all attempts at familiarity or 
affection on the part of the children over whom she 
ruled. 

Among the many obligations I owe to Dr. Richard- 
son, one of the deepest is that of first having my eyes 
opened by him to the real enjoyment of the ancient 
classics. It is one thing to translate Homer, Virgil, 
and Horace correctly, but quite another to read and 
relish them for their own sake. Boys of course get 
through their daily lessons with more or less pleasure, 
according to their greater or less capacity, but very few 
are tempted to take up the authors they have been 
plodding over all the morning as a painful task, and 
think them a delightful amusement for their hours 
of relaxation. 



28 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

I remember one day in school hours I was clan- 
destinely devouring, under the shadow of my desk- 
cover, some light satirical work, I think it was " My 
Pocket-Book," a lively squib of the day by Dubois, in 
ridicule of Sir John Carr's popular quartos of travel in 
Ireland, France, Holland, &c. Taken inflagrante delict o, 
I was agreeably surprised at only receiving a slight 
rebuke from the Doctor, suggesting a postponement of 
the further reading of the book in hand till a more 
appropriate moment. 

During our early ride next morning he said : " I was 
glad to find yesterday, though the time was ill-chosen, 
that you occupied your leisure hours in skimming over 
works of the kind you were reading, rather than the 
vapid Minerva Press novels so much in vogue, or the 
mischievous highly-flavoured tales boys are apt to get 
hold of. It makes me hope that your taste is of a higher 
order, and only wants directing, to open to you a new 
and never-ending field of delight. Has it never struck 
you that Horace, and Virgil, and Homer were written 
for something better than affording schoolboys text- 
books, and that the sole purpose of their authors has not 
been attained when a certain number of verses per diem 
have been successfully mastered by unwilling urchins, 
who are too glad to throw them aside again as hated 
objects, until forced to resume them as part of their 
daily penance ? You have now mastered the difficulty 
of putting Greek and Latin into readable English, but 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 29 

you have not yet looked for your reward. Now is the 
time to try and discover the beauties of the authors who 
have caused you so much trouble and labour, to enjoy 
and appreciate the charms of their versification, their 
admirable selection of harmonious words and appropriate 
epithets, the elegant simplicity of their style, and the 
point and finish with which their ideas are expressed. 
You have a treat before you you little dream of. Try 
it, and see whether I am not right. You will tell me in 
a little time that you have made Horace your com- 
panion, and have fed upon the sweetness of Virgil and 
the grandeur of Homer with a new sense of pleasure and 
delight. The wishy-washy trash you now swallow will 
pall upon your appetite, and you will crave more and 
more for wholesome food. Homer and Virgil will speak 
for themselves, but to understand Horace you will 
require much study of the time in which he lived, and 
of the manners he satirised, both of which are interest- 
ing in the highest degree. Come to me when at fault, 
and I daresay I shall be able to enlighten you as to his 
meaning, and help you to relish the refinement of his 
wit." 

Dr. Richardson was then engaged on his great 
English Dictionary, which was to be published in parts 
in the " Encyclopaedia Metropolitans," then just started, 
and to which Coleridge had contributed an admirable 
essay on " Method," by way of preface. 

A few of the more favoured boys were allowed to 



30 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. . [CHAP. 

assist in the preparation of the important work. I was 
one so distinguished, and was thus delightfully intro- 
duced to the study of Chaucer, Gower, Spenser, and all 
the early -poets and historians, the honour of whose 
acquaintance I had previously been denied, and I 
imbibed a taste for that style of reading which I have 
never lost ; and often among the worries of life, when 
people have thought that I was closeted with my 
difficulties, engaged, as perhaps I ought to have been, 
with the battle of figures, I have taken down the tall 
folio of Gower, or the huge quarto of "Piers Plowman's 
Vision," and let the world go on without me. 

My father having sold his cottage at Fulham, and 
being so much away in the provinces, another little 
rustic abode was taken for my mother, in the neighbour- 
hood of my school, in order to be near me during 
his long absences, and I passed my Sundays with 
her. 

One lovely summer's afternoon, after church, I had 
strolled into a field at the back of the cottage, through 
which, over a stile, led a narrow footpath, much used as a 
lovers' walk. Lying upon the grass with a book in my 
hand, I was enjoying the calm repose, when a couple 
advanced who evidently did not belong to the usual 
class of " Sunday outers." I at once recognised the hand- 
some Harry Johnston, then the " leading man," as it is 
technically termed, at Drury Lane, with a pretty young 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 31 

actress of the name of Burton, whom I had often 
admired behind the scenes.""" 

When I say " Burton," I wish it to be distinctly 
understood that I withhold the real name from motives 
of extreme delicacy, seeing that the young lady may 
be still alive (aged, probably, about eighty), and this 
allusion to her early indiscretion might possibly injure 
her prospects in life. 

Of course I took no notice of them, but continued 
my reading. Harry Johnston, however, was playfully 
inclined, and sauntered up to me with a smile upon 
his handsome face and the young lady on his arm. 

* Young Mathews was very fond of being taken "behind," and 
one of his experiences in this line at Covent Garden resulted in the 
following odd letter to Pawcett the actor : 

"HONORED SIR, 

" Last night I went behind the scenes with my Papa, 
to see Mr. Liston in the character of Moll Flaggon, and held the 
Book while Mr. Glasinton was away, and I found you guilty of 
several mistakes, and I mentioned them to my Papa and Mamma, and 
they said I had better tell you of them, and I thought so too, because 
next time somebody in the front of the Theatre might have a book 
too, and find you out, as I did, and then they will hiss you off, which 
I should be sorry for. You said, ' no, no, no,' when you ought to have 
said nothing ; and you said, ' I suppose,' at the beginning of a 
sentence, where you ought to have said 'Ah;' and you said, 'I 
believe,' where there was nothing to say. I only write these few lines 
that you may remember another time. 
" I remain, Sir, 

" Your Eespectful Servant, 

" C. J. MATHEWS. 
" King's Road, July 1st, 1813." 



32 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

" Well, my little man," said he, in a bantering tone, 
" what have you got there ? Homer, I suppose, or 
perhaps the Greek Testament ? That's a good boy." 

" No," said I ; " it's only a novel." 

"Bad Sunday reading, young gentleman." 

" Oh," said I, " one may do worse things than read 
novels on Sundays." 

"That's true, my young friend. I see you are a 
philosopher. And what's the novel you are so much 
interested in ? " 

" It is called the ' Ghost Seer,' " said I. 

" Ah ha ! And who recommended you such rubbish 
as that ? " 

" Lord Byron," said I. " He speaks of it as one 
of the best works of fiction he ever read." 

" So you read Lord Byron too, do you ? " 

" Oh yes," said I ; " don't you ? " 

" Well, now and then ; but never on Sundays. 
Then I always prefer Dr. Watts." 

"That's more than I do." 

" No," said he ; " you prefer ghost stories. But 
what would you do if you saw the ghost of your 
schoolmaster coming across the fields at this moment ? " 

" Oh, I don't know," said I. " About the same that 
IVJiss Burton would do if she saw Mrs. Harry Johnston 
coming over the stile." 

The effect was electrical. They looked at each other 
for a moment without speaking. 



i.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 33 

At last the gentleman, trying to appear unem- 
barrassed, said : " So you know me, do you, young 
man ? " 

" I didn't say so." 

" No," said he, "but you " 

The young lady at this moment, with more dis- 
cretion than her companion, pulled his arm suddenly, 
suggesting a retreat without further explanation. 

"Good-bye, youngster," said the gentleman laughing; 
" you don't mind telling me your own name, I suppose." 

" Not at all," said I ; "I will tell you with pleasure 
the next time we meet." 

" Come along," said the young lady, with another 
pull, and away they went, looking very foolish, and 
no doubt completely puzzled. 

It was some time before I happened to encounter 
him again, when I was formally introduced to him by 
my father as the " Ghost Seer." 

"Ah ha!" said he, "the mystery is solved at last. 
The young rascal ! He gave me a pretty lesson. I have 
never chaffed a boy since." 

My favourite companions were Julian Young and 
John Kemble, sons of the distinguished tragedians 
Charles Young and Charles Kemble. Very different 
were they in character. John Mitchell Kemble was a 
serious, studious, odd boy, of strong literary proclivities, 
fond of solitude, and holding but little communion with 

VOL. i. D 



34 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

the common herd, from whom he stood aloof, and who 
regarded him with a degree of respect almost amounting 
to awe. He devoted himself to the study of the early 
English writers, and became one of the most accom- 
plished Anglo-Saxon scholars of his day, rendering even 
then essential assistance to Dr. Eichardson. 

He established a little newspaper, called The Clapham 
Chronicle, a sheet of about six inches square, printed by 
himself from a diminutive hand -press, and aping the 
style of the daily journals. I have a file of them still, 
"edited by John Mitchell Kemble, printer, No. 1, Desk 
Kow." 

Through his father's interest he 'was appointed to 
succeed him by the Lord Chamberlain, in the office of 
Licenser of Plays, which post he held till his death. 

Julian Young was the very reverse of John Kemble. 
Full of fun, \vith great animal spirits and most affec- 
tionate disposition, he was beloved by all, and was a 
striking contrast to the little pedant who patronised 
him, but shared in none of his sports. Julian has 
himself published his reminiscences of the time when he 
distinguished himself as my " horse," and I can con- 
scientiously endorse his account, for his action was 
grand, his paces splendid, and his mettle remarkable. I 
only remember one instance of his breaking down. In 
the ardour of the sport I once applied the lash a 
little too vigorously, establishing what is technically 
termed a " raw," when, forgetting his equine character, 



i.] AUTOBIOGKAPHY. 35 

lie burst into tears, and declared he would be my horse 
no longer. 

He has no doubt long given up this pastime ; and I 
would not dare even to dream now of offering to drive the 
Eev. Julian Young,* rector of Ilmington, the popular and 
highly-esteemed clergyman though I believe he has still 
" go " enough in him, if so inclined, to distance all 
competitors on the road, as he unquestionably does in 
the pulpit. 

* The Eev. Julian Young died, while on a visit to his friend Lady 
Burdett Coutts, on the 3rd of July, 1873. 



CHAPTER II. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY PUGIN's PUPIL, 1819-1823. 

Foun years passed pleasantly away in this second home, 
and the time arrived when my future profession was to 
be decided on.*"" The matter being referred to me, I soon 

* Charles turned out to be quite a pattern pupil at Dr. 
Richardson's, and that gentleman wrote of him to Mrs. Mathews, on 
half a sheet of a letter of the boy's to his mother, dated October 26, 
1818, in the following eulogistic terms: "I have begged this little 
scrap of Charles to say a few words, which I think will give an 
addition to your rural enjoyments. Charles has conducted himself 
during his stay with me these holidays in so exemplary a manner 
that I have derived much gratification from his company, and I hope 
that he has been able to tell you that he has spent his time not disa- 
greeably, considering that school is still school. His improvement 
continues to proceed in a manner that promises to make him a scholar 
of such classical attainments, that, if his father should hereafter trans- 
form him into a Cantab, he would, I have no doubt, be very honour- 
ably ranked. His success with Euclid, though not so great as that of 
some boys of steadier temperament, is still very encouraging, and his 
perseverance is more meritorious than if he found less difficulty to 
encounter. Altogether, you must allow me to add, that I contemplate 
the present state of your son's education with pride and pleasure." 
Of this letter Charles makes the following mention in writing to his 
mother a month later : " Mr. Richardson called me into the study 
(you may recollect that the study is his tribunal), and told me that 



CHAP, ii.] PUGIN'S PUPIL. 37 

made my choice. From the first I was passionately 
fond of drawing and mathematics, in which I had now 
made considerable progress. Architectural subjects 
especially took my fancy, and why I can scarcely say 
- my ambition was to become an architect. I obtained 
elementary books, and ultimately announced my desire 
to follow that professiou. My father saw no objection, 
and the matter was settled at once. 

Indeed, I think he was greatly pleased at the selec- 
tion I had made, for he saw his way in a moment. 

lie was very much pleased with my behaviour ; that the reason why 
he requested me to leave him room in my letter was more to acquaint 
you with that than to explain to you about the letters. He then 
proceeded to tell me, that he hoped I should take as much pains 
and pleasure in the new books (Cicero, Herodotus, Horace, Xenophon, 
&c.) which he had given me, as with those he had before given me. 
Then he dismissed me, leaving me quite at rest. . ." Further on in the 
same letter, the boy seems to take much the same view of himself as- 
his master had expressed. "My uncle, in his letter to me, said : ' That 
my uniform behaviour had been described in terms that reflected 
great credit on my talents.' I don't like talents, 'tis a vile word. . . I 
think he might have expressed it in other terms, for you must know 
that my talents (not of silver or gold, but for laming) are very few, 
and (though I say it, who shouldn't say it) I must have acquired all 
the credit by my industry. Ah ! that is a much better word, and 
better ' suited to the action.' " 

The natural gratification of the elder Mathews and his wife is 
pleasantly shown in the following letters : 

MRS. MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

" Briton Ferry, November 4, 1818. 

" Enclosed, my dearest Charles, you will find a letter addressed to 
Mr. Eichardson, in acknowledgment of his most welcome and kind 



38 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Somewhere about the year 1797, when he was a 
struggling actor on the Welsh circuit, he made the 
acquaintance of Mr. Nash, the builder, at Swansea, who 
was a great patron of the theatre, and occasionally 
indulged in amateur performances himself. I have a 
playbill in my possession, announcing him as Sir 
Peter Teazle, and I have heard my father say that he 
performed it admirably. 

John Nash, the humble builder of Swansea, was now 
the celebrated London architect in the zenith of his 

expression of your good conduct in all respects during my absence, 
and which you will believe has given me the most heartfelt delight. 
Next to your moral good I am most anxious for your improvement as 
a scholar, and this more for your own future comfort and self-satisfac- 
tion than from any vanity of my own, in having a clever son ; your 
prosperity and respectability through life depending so much upon 
this great, though secondary advantage, which, when added to honour- 
able feelings and conduct, will constitute some of your most solid 
happiness, and recommend you to the world in general as a gentleman 
and desirable companion. . . . 

" I shall be happy to hear from you when you feel inclined, but 
do not insist upon a letter if you feel at a loss for something to say. 
Mr. Eichardson has set my mind so at rest, that I shall now enjoy 
myself here with greater confidence about you than before. There- 
fore write when you like to do ; continue to merit the praise you seem 
so honourably to have obtained, and assure yourself of making me 
your happy, as well as your affectionate mother, 

MATHEWS." 



CHARLES MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

MY DEAR CHARLES, " Brifcon Ferr ^' November *, 

" I have been so hurried and fatigued for the last few days 
that I have not had any opportunity of conveying to you the expres- 



ii.] PUGIN'S PUPIL. 39 

fame, and my father lost no time in calling upon him, to 
ask his advice as to the best mode of forwarding my 
architectural aspirations. The recognition was most 
cordial ; and another acquaintance was brought to his 
recollection by Mr. Nash, in the person of the late 
Augustus Pugin, who had painted the scenes for the 
little Welsh theatre of bygone times. 

Mr. Pugin was a French gentleman of high family, 
who, having fought a duel in Paris, which ended fatally, 
had sought refuge in England, landed on the Welsh 
coast, and having great talent as an artist, earned his 
living for the time being by his pencil. Accident 

sions of my delight, 'upon reading Mr. Kichardson's panegyric upon 
you, which your mother sent me to Ireland. I assure you, my dear 
boy, that words are inadequate to express how much gratification 
those few lines afforded me, and possessing, as I have every reason 
to believe you do, a feeling heart, it must be very sweet to you to 
know that it has been in your power to bestow so much pleasure upon 
your parents. It has ever been the height of my ambition to bestow 
upon you the most solid and substantial fortune a father can bequeath 
a son I mean a good education. The inclination you have lately 
evinced to take advantage of the opportunities afforded you have 
fully repaid me for my anxieties, and compensated in a high degree 
for the disappointment created by your apparent neglect of them when 
at Merchant Taylors' School, and the testimony of Mr. Richardson of 
your late improvement has at once proclaimed the success of my plans 
for your advancement in life, and affords me the most heartfelt satis- 
faction. My prime object is to see you comfortably provided for, and 
I hope your application to your studies will continue to back my 
exertions for your welfare. May God bless you, and enable you to be 
a comfort to me and your affectionate mother in our old age, is my 
constant prayer." 



40 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

having opened a new and most congenial career to him, 
and having become a great favourite of and of much use 
to Mr. Nash, he ultimately accompanied his patron to 
London, and soon became the founder of a school of his 
own creation, and one much needed and highly patro- 
nised. Water-colour drawing was at that time in its 
infancy, and architects flew to him to have their plans 
and elevations put into correct perspective, and sur- 
rounded with the well-executed and appropriate land- 
scapes Pugin was so skilful in producing, and he had 
now been for many years at the head of his profession as 
an architectural draughtsman. 

By Mr. Nash he was recommended as the man of all 
others required to undertake my instruction. The early 
friends fraternised, and all went upon wheels. A heavy 
premium was paid for my initiation, and on the 4th of 
May, 1819, I was installed in Pugin's office for a period 
of four years as an articled pupil. 

Here I first made the acquaintance of James Hervet 
D'Egville, now a distinguished Member of the Institute of 
Water-colour Painters, but then educating, like myself, 
for an architect. He was the son of another esteemed 
old friend of my father's, and our acquaintance soon 
ripened into the strictest fellowship; we became constant 
companions in and out of the office, studied together, 
went to Italy together, and for upwards of fifty years, 
though we have neither of us followed the profession 
we were intended for, and have branched off in such 



n.J PUGIN'S PUPIL. 41 

opposite directions, we have retained a close and unin- 
terrupted friendship. 

Pugin and John Britton, the well-known archaeo- 
logist, were closely associated, and much rivalry existed 
between the pupils of the two offices. Britton was then 
engaged in his splendid publication of " The Cathedrals 
of England ; " and his right-hand man was George 
Cattermole, who, like ourselves, ultimately burst his 
trammels, and soon became remarkable by his original 
genius as a water-colour painter, taking rank among the 
brightest ornaments of his profession. 

I now set to work to begin life in earnest. Every 
day increased my love for the profession I had adopted. 
I actually doted on the delightful science of architecture, 
and pursued the acquirement of it with positive passion. 
The consequence was, of course, soon apparent. I 
began to show decided marks of proficiency, and I 
persevered with all the ardour of a first and not 
" unfortunate " attachment. 

Pugin was a delightful instructor. In business 
hours strict enough and firm enough to command 
obedience and respect, at other times he was all 
gaiety and good humour, making himself quite the 
companion of his pupils, and joining in all their amuse- 
ments with the ardour of a boy/"" 

* The association between Pugin and the young Mathews was an 
agreeable one to master as well as to pupil. Pugin, writing to 
Mrs. Mathews in March, 1823, says: "I have a great pleasure to 



42 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

It was a singular fact that, though he had been 
domesticated in England for some forty years, and spoke 
English perfectly, as far as volubility was concerned, his 
French accent and his French idioms were as marked as 
if he had only recently arrived. If he talked in his 
sleep he talked in French, and in computing money he 
always mentally reduced the pounds and shillings into 
francs before he could ascertain their exact value. 

He was a charming artist, and produced his effects 
by the most simple means, confining himself literally to 
the use of the three colours, indigo, light red, and 
yellow ochre. It would puzzle some of our modern 
water-colour painters to find themselves thus limited. 

My father was a devoted lover of the country, and 
his tastes were decidedly cottagenous. Hitherto his 
residences had been simple and unpretending ; but now, 
with larger means, he was tempted into a larger venture, 
and purchased the lease of a beautiful cottage ornee, 
as it was called the real " cottage of gentility " at 
Highgate, which was then as much in the country as if 
it had been a hundred miles from town. 



repeat that my pupil and friend Charles is now making rapid progress 
in his profession, and I trust will continue to improve. In regard to 
his pleasing and elegant manners I cannot praise him so much, 
because it "became natural to him, having had all his life so good an 
example at home." A very direct compliment, for which Pugin's 
French nature would seem to be responsible. 



ii.] PTJGIN'S PUPIL. 43 

It was called Ivy Cottage, and was built in the 
Tudor style, with much architectural pretension, and 
was one of the earliest and most successful of Eobinson's 
designs. It was situated in the midst of Lord Mans- 
field's beautiful estate at Caen Wood, and surrounded 
by lovely walks and drives, diversified by wood and 
water in every direction. 

Here my first essay as an architect was made, and 
a large gallery for my father's theatrical pictures (now 
in the Garrick Club) and a small Gothic library were 
erected, from my designs and under my superin- 
tendence. 

At seven every morning I mounted my horse, and 
rode into town to business, and at five returned to 
dinner, and the two phases of the day were as distinct 
as they were valuable. The mornings were devoted to 
professional study, and the evenings passed in the society 
of the wits and literary celebrities of the time, whom 
it was my father's happiness always to have around 
him. I had the advantage of constant intercourse with 
men whose intellectual powers and social qualities have 
charmed the world in various guises, almost all of 
whom, alas ! have now passed away. 

The old and always welcome guests of former 
days, who used to give their cheering presence to Twig 
Hall Colman, Hook, the Smiths, &c. &c. &c., were 
still constant in their friendship, reinforced by such 
illustrious additions as Coleridge the poet, who was 



44 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

our neighbour and daily visitor, Sir Walter Scott the 
great Sir Walter Lord Byron, Lord Alvanley, Moore, 
Campbell, Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt, and a host of 
artists, authors, actors, and beaux esprits, whose con- 
versation dazzled and whose intelligence elevated. 

Is it wonderful that with such enchanting associa- 
tions my mind should have been somewhat diverted 
from the object of my studies, and that my pen should 
have been occasionally in my hand as well as my 
pencil, or that my future should be lighted up with 
the glorious reflection of the past ? 

The time at Pugin's was agreeably varied by con- 
stant sketching excursions to York, Oxford, Windsor, 
Winchester, Lincoln, Cambridge, Salisbury, and other 
places of pictorial and architectural interest, in search of 
examples for his popular publication called " Specimens 
of Gothic Architecture." It was the first work that 
had been attempted containing measured details for 
practical purposes, and had a great success. 

Then came the " Public Buildings of London," to 
which I had the honour of contributing many drawings. 
One of them, a section of St. Paul's, and my most 
elaborate effort, had my name engraved below it, as 
an especial distinction, of which I was highly proud. 
It was the first time I had ever seen my name in print, 
and I immediately grew an inch taller. 

The Pavilion at Brighton was the next very popular 
undertaking, and was most artistically executed, under 



ii.] PUGIN'S PUPIL. 45 

the personal superintendence of George the Fourth, for 
whose especial pleasure it was designed. 

But the crowning happiness had yet to come. 
Business called Pugin to Paris, where he was engaged 
to make a series of drawings for publication. This was 
an event. His pupils all went with him, and there my 
eyes were opened and my senses awakened to a thousand 
new pleasures hitherto never dreamt of. 

The days were occupied with work, making the 
drawings which formed the principal objects of our 
study, and the evenings in visiting the theatres. 

Here was a new field of enjoyment, in which I 
positively revelled. Those were the days when, in one 
theatre the Varietes were to be found the combined 
talents of Potier, Brunet, Vernet, Tiercelin, Odry, 
Bosquier Gavaudin, Alcide Tousez, Lepeintre aine, 
Mdlle. Flore, Jenny Vertpre, and a host of others, 
who have become world celebrated. Perlet, too, and 
Gonthier, Leontine Fay (afterwards Madame Volnys), 
and De'jazet, just coming into bloom at the Theatre de 
Madame, since known as the Gymnase, interpreting the 
sparkling comedies of Scribe and Melesville ; Talma and 
Duchesnois, Fleury, the two Baptistes, and Mdlle. Mars 
at the " Franais " and for the first time the theatre 
became an object of attraction to me. I was enchanted 
with the grace, the nature, the fascination of these 
masters of the dramatic art, and I felt a thrill of 
pleasure of a kind until that moment never experienced. 



46 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

How I should have stared if anyone had told me, 
that some fifty years later I should myself be playing 
in French at this very same Theatre des Varietes, to 
a succession of houses as crowded and as enthusiastic 
as were then assembled, attracted by the bright galaxy 
of stars I have mentioned ! 

On my return to London, fired with a new mania, 
I burned to indulge in humble imitation. A private 
play was soon organised at the English Opera House 
(the site of the present Lyceum), and I made my first 
attempt upon the boards of a theatre. 

The news of this intended performance soon got 
wind, and the " private" play threatened to become almost 
a public one. Applications for tickets poured in from 
people of fashion and intellectual celebrities, and days 
before the event came off not a corner was to be had. 
Every available seat in boxes, pit, and gallery had been 
seized upon, and an overflow was expected no extra- 
ordinary circumstance, perhaps, as the tickets were all 
given away. A brilliant and distinguished audience 
was the consequence, and as the playbills say, " hundreds 
were turned away from the doors." Lady Morgan, on 
presenting herself somewhat late, exclaimed : " Why, 
there's a greater rush here than to see Catalan! ! " 

A slight contretemps nearly prevented my appear- 
ance on the occasion. 

Tomkison, the pianoforte maker, had sold to my 
father, for my use, a handsome gray mare, called 



ii.] PUGIN'S PUPIL. 47 

Dairymaid, formerly a favourite hunter of Charles 
Young's, from whom he had purchased her, and up to 
a day or two previous to the evening in question she 
had conducted herself with the strictest propriety ; but 
unfortunately, while I was riding to town, with a 
drawing-board under one arm and a bundle of playbills 
under the other, the careless Dairymaid stumbled and 
came upon her knees, pitching me heavily into the 
road. I escaped, however, with only a sprained ankle, 
but feared that I should be unable to take a part in 
the approaching representation. 

On hearing of the accident Young called upon 
Tomkison, and reproached him with being the cause 
of the disaster. 

" Why, Tomkison, how could you sell that horse 
to Charles Mathews ? You knew she wasn't sound 
when you sold her." 

"Pardon me, Mr. Young," said Tomkison, in his 
most pompous manner, " I knew nothing of the sort." 

" How can you say that ? Why, Tomkison, the mare 
wasn't sound when I sold her to you." 

11 More shame for you, Mr. Young," said Tomkison, 
walking away in the most dignified manner. 

Tompky, as he was familiarly called, was a favourite 
study of Young's. His pomposity of demeanour and 
grandiloquent expressions were constant sources of 
amusement. He prided himself on being a great judge 
of pictures, and had always some extraordinary master- 



48 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

piece, which he had " picked up " in some extraordinary 
manner. One day he pressed my father to look at a 
"magnificent Gainsborough" he had recently "picked up." 

"Are you sure it is a Gainsborough ?" said my father. 

" My dear Mathews," said he, opening his eyes to 
their greatest extent, and taking one step back in 
offended amazement, "there can't be a question about 
it, and a marvellous specimen of that splendid master. 
Why do you venture to suggest so injurious a doubt ?" 

" Why," said my father, " a gentleman I met on 
board the boat crossing from Dublin to Holyhead told 
me it was only a copy." 

" A copy !" said Tompky, in great disgust, and with 
ineffable contempt. " And, pray, may I ask," said he, 
with the peculiar pomposity which distinguished him, 
"may I take the great, the unwarrantable liberty of 
inquiring what might be this learned gentleman's 
name ? " 

" He was a stranger to me," said my father, " but 
he seemed to be an acquaintance of yours. He called 
himself ' Buggins.'" 

"Buggins! Buggins! I thought so!" adding with 
great indignation : " Buggins be damned, he owes me 
forty pounds !" 

This was of course conclusive. Buggins was un- 
questionably disqualified from giving an opinion. 

Although suffering much pain from the untoward 
accident, I was not to be persuaded to postpone the 



ii.] PFGIN'S PUPIL. 49 

performance. A small handbill was distributed amongst 
the audience to explain the hobble I was in, but it turned 
out unnecessary, for the excitement of the evening 
dominated all other feelings, and I walked for the time 
as well as ever. 

" The public is respectfully informed that M. Perlet, 
M. Emile, and Mr. C. J. Mathews having sprained their 
ankle, throw themselves upon the ' usual indulgence ' 
of a generous British audience. They will put their best 
foot foremost in order to prevent its turning out a lame 
performance."" 

* Mathews is here at fault as regards the actual wording of the 
apology. The document, which included reference to further disaster 
"beyond that described above, ran as follows : 

THEATRE EOYAL, ENGLISH OPSEA HOUSE, STRAND. 

Friday, April 26th, 1822. 

The Ladies and Gentlemen who have honoured the Theatre with 
a Visit, are most respectfully informed that MES. EDWIN" has 
been very suddenly and seriously indisposed In this emergency 
MRS. J. WEIPPART (formerly MISS I. STEVEXSOX) of this 
Theatre, has kindly undertaken the part of Melesinda, in the Farce 

called Mr. H. The Prologue intended to have been recited by 

MRS. EDWIN, will be read by MR. H. himself who solicits the 
customary indulgence. 

As a conclusion to this complicated Apology, it is with sorrow 
announced that M. PERLET, M. EMILE, and Mr. C. J. Mathews, 
have had the misfortune of falling from their horse and sprained their 
right ancle but it is anxiously hoped that as the actors intend to 
put their best leg forward, the performance will not be considered a 
lame one. . 

VOL. I. E 



50 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

I am enabled to give the playbill in full, thanks 
to my friend E. L. Blanchard, who I believe possesses 
the only copy of it extant, a collector of theatrical 
memoranda some few years back having offered five 
pounds for a copy, without being able to procure one. 

THEATRE ROYAL, ENGLISH OPERA HOUSE, STRAND. 

(PARTICULARLY PRIVATE.) 

This present Friday, April 26th, 1822, will be presented a Farce, 

called 

MR. H . 



(N.B. This Piece was damned at Drury Lane Theatre.) 

Mr. H . ... Captain Hill. Landlord . . . Mr. Gyles. 

Belvil ... Mr. C. Byrne. 

Melesinda ... Mrs. Edwin. Betty ... Mrs. Bryan. 

Previous to which a Prologue will be spoken by Mrs. Edwin. 

After the Farce (for the first time in this country, and now performing 
with immense success in Paris), a French Petite Comedie, called 

LE COMEDIEN D'ETAMPES. 

(N.B. 'this Piece was never acted in London, and may very probably 
be damned here.) 

Dorival (le Comedien) M. Perlet. 

(Positively for this night only, as he is engaged to play the same part 
at Paris to-morrow evening.) 

M. Macbou de Beaubuison Mr. J. D'Egville. 

L. Dupre ... M. Giubilei. Baptiste ... Mr. W. Peake. 

M. Corbin . . . Mr. 0. Byrne. Madeline . . . Madame Spittallier. 

Immediately after which, 

" A Lover's Confession," in the shape of a song by M. Eniile. 
(From the Theatre de la Porte St. Martin, at Paris.) 



ii.] PUGIN'S PUPIL. 51 

To conclude with a Pathetic Drama, in one Act, called 

THE SORROWS OF WERTHER. 
(X.B. This Piece was damned at Covent Garden Theatre.) 

Wcrther Mr. C. J. Mathews. 

Schmidt (his friend) ... Mr. J. D'Egville. Albert ... Mr. Gyles. 

Fritz ( Werther's servant) Mr. R. B. Peake. 

Snap (Albert's servant) Mr. W. Peake. 

Charlotte Mrs. Mathews. 

Brothers and Sisters of Charlotte, by six Cherubims got for the 

occasion. 

ORCHESTRA. 

Leader of the Band, Mr. Knight. Conductor, Mr. E. Knight. 
Piano Forte, Mr. Knight, jun. Harpsichord, Master Knight (that was). 

Clavecin, by the Father of the Knights (to come). 
Yivat Rex ! Xo money returned (because none will be taken). 

!|r On account of the above surprising novelty, not an ORDER can 
possibly be admitted : but it is requested, that if such a thing 
find its way to the front of the house, IT WILL BE KEPT. 

I need scarcely explain that M. Perlet, M. Emile, 
and Mr. C. J. Mathews were one and the same 
person. The parts were played in imitation of thy great 
originals, and my success was quite bewildering. My 
personification of the French actors was pronounced 
perfect, and an unmistakable compliment was paid to 
my representation of Perlet in particular, both in 
manner, voice, and appearance, by a visit from Paul 
the French dancer, who had been among the spectators, 
and who, being on intimate terms with Perlet, came 
round to shake hands with his supposed friend. On 
being informed of his mistake he was still incredulous, 

E 2 



52 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

and I had to admit him to my dressing-room to convince 
him of his error. This was unpurchased criticism.* 

The farce of "Mr. H.," with which the entertain- 
ment commenced, was written by Charles Lamb, and a 
witty prologue for this occasion was contributed by 
James Smith, and admirably spoken by Mrs. Edwin. 
The piece had been, why I can't say, unsuccessfully 
produced some years before at Drury Lane. It was 
very whimsical, and went off, as it is termed, " with 
roars." The part of Mr. H. was certainly capitally 
acted by Captain Hill, an amateur of long practice 
at the Woolwich theatricals ; and the Landlord by 
Mr. Gyles, an established favourite at the Kilkenny 
theatricals. Mrs. Edwin, the charming actress of the 
London theatres, and Mrs. Bryan, a first-rate soubrette, 
completed the cast. 

Indeed, Captain Hill's triumph was so great that it 
induced him to embrace the stage as a profession. He 
was Idng known as Benson Hill, and became a popular 
actor and author. 

The " Come'dien d'Etampes " followed, in which 
I played Dorival, in imitation of Perlet, and as- 
sumed three or four different characters. Macbou de 

* " I had an opportunity of appreciating your most excellent imita- 
tion of Perlet on Friday last," wrote the elder Mathews to Charles two 
years after this performance. " I saw him in two pieces Blcco and 
Maison en Loterie. Your likeness of his countenance is quite 
surprising." 



IL] PUGIX'S PUPIL. 53 

Beaubuison was excellently played and sung by my 
friend James D'Egville. The other characters were well 
supported by Oscar Byrne, the well-known ballet-master, 
and his brother Charles ; Giubilei, the equally well- 
known bass singer, and Madame Spittallier, a piquante 
little French actress. 

The concluding piece was a parody on the " Sorrows 
of Werther," written by John Poole, the author of 
"Paul Pry." Like <: Mr. H." at Drury Lane, it had 
been unsuccessful at Covent Garden, probably from the 
original rhapsody of Goethe not being sufficiently known 
to the general public ; and yet Liston and Mrs. Liston, 
as Werther and Charlotte, must have been exquisitely 
droll. 

On this occasion I played Werther, which I think 
must have been a very poor performance, though so 
greatly praised, as amateur acting always is ; and my 
mother played Charlotte, looking very pretty, and 
acting charmingly. 

The opening scene, with Charlotte cutting huge 
slices of bread-and-butter for her six little brothers and 
sisters, and Fritz hanging a dozen of Werther 's tear- 
bedewed pocket-handkerchiefs, of all sizes and colours, on 
a string to dry, was a ludicrous commencement. Fritz 
was played with great humour by Eichard Peake the 
dramatist. His brother William and Gyles were very 
funny as Albert and Schnaps. 

The pianoforte, which formed the full orchestra, was 



54 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

presided at by Edward Knight, a most brilliant pro- 
fessor, brother of J. P. Kniglit, the Royal Academician, 
both sons of the popular London actor, known to the 
public as " Little Knight." 

The whole programme gave the greatest satisfaction ; 
and little did I think, while playing the " Comedien 
d'Etampes," that I should one day, on the very same 
spot, play the same part in English to a paying public, 
under the title of " He would be an Actor." 

" Little did I think " is a phrase which every man 
has to make use of frequently in the course of his life. 
It occurs to me so perpetually that it becomes wearisome 
to myself ; it applies to almost every event that ever 
happened to me. 

So pleased "was my father with my performance, that 
he seriously urged me to adopt the stage as a profession ; 
but I was true to my first love, and could not be per- 
suaded to abandon architecture, to which I was heart 
and soul devoted. It has often been asserted that my 
father had a rooted objection to my becoming an actor, 
and that I did so contrary to his wish. This was not the 
case. He loved his profession as much as I loved mine. 
He certainly had a horror of my having anything to do 
with the theatre, unless possessed of such decided talent 
as would ensure my taking a first position. . But from 
the moment he felt satisfied in his own mind that I 
showed sufficient promise to warrant the experiment, he 
was most anxious that I should venture it. I however 



ii.] PUGIX'S PUPIL. 55 

resisted the- pressure ; and it was not till after his death 
that circumstances induced nay, I may say forced me 
to alter my determination. 

My father was of a remarkably sensitive tempera- 
ment, quick in his speech and manner, and his nerves 
seemed hung on elastic wires, which the slightest touch 
agitated.. The falling of a spoon on the sideboard, or 
the jingling of glasses, would shake him to his founda- 
tion. His irritability was excited by the veriest trifles, 
while he would bear real misfortune with perfect philo- 
sophy. And yet, in the midst of a frenzy of passion, 
such was his keen sense of humour, that one touch of 
the ridiculous, like a drop of oil on troubled water, would 
restore his equanimity in a moment. 

My pony having lost a shoe, I on one occasion bor- 
rowed a very valuable thorough-bred horse of my father's 
to take me to town. I put him up at livery as usual, in 
the mews behind my office. In the course of the after- 
noon, fancying a ride, my father called on me to point 
out the stable. On reaching it, what was his disgust at 
finding the horse standing, with all his mud upon him, 
just as I had brought him in hours before ! In a 
frenzy of rage, he laid about him. 

" Where's Mr. Price ? where's the ostler ? Of all 
the shameful, disgraceful things I ever met with ! A 
valuable horse like this left without grooming! It's 
enough to ruin him ! Where's Mr. Price ? Where's 
the ostler ? " 



56 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

But no one appeared upon whom he could wreak his 
vengeance. At last an old woman showed her nose 
over the staircase. 

" Oh, here's Mrs. Price," said I. 

" Very pretty indeed ! " resumed my father. " Here's 
a horse, worth a hundred and fifty guineas, left in your 
abominable stable for five hours, with all his dirt upon 
him ! It's shameful you ought to be ashamed of 
yourselves ! As sure as your name's Price, I'll bring 
an action against you all, and make you pay 
for it ! '" 

And so on he went for another ten minutes, exhaust- 
ing his passion in every invective he could think of, till 
at last it died out for want of fuel, and he came to a 
stop and paused for a reply, when the old lady, with a 
sweet smile, mildly asked : 

" Has anything happened, sir ? " 

She w r as as deaf as a post, and hadn't heard a word. 
His anger was gone in a minute, and, in a fit of laughter, 
he bolted out of the stable. 

His servant being ill, he had consented to allow his 
brother, a timid youth from the country, to take his 
place for a short time, and for that short time he was a 
constant source of annoyance. 

One morning, having .many letters to write, and 
much study to get through, he called him into the 
room. 

" Now, Edward " 



ii.] PUGIN'S PUPIL. 57 

" Yes, sir." 

"Don't don't say 'Yes, sir,' before you know what 
I'm going to say." 

" No, sir." 

" ' No, sir ' that's as bad. Now mind, I hold you 
responsible " 

" Yes, sir ; certainly, sir." 

"What for?" 

" I don't know, sir." 

" Then wait till you do. Now mind, I say, you 
mustn't let an individual within these doors to-day. 
You understand ? " 

" Yes, sir, in course not an individual." 

" I hold you responsible." 

"Yes, sir. In course, sir." 

About an hour afterwards, when in the heart of his 
study, a loud ring at the bell bespoke visitors, and to 
his dismay the door was thrown open, and in walked a 
bevy of chattering neighbours. With a complacent 
smile, the ill-feted Edward announced " Mrs. Gathercrop 
and the Miss Gathercrops," people who were sure to lose 
him his whole morning. Wild with rage, he showed the 
unlucky imp, by the most expressive grimaces, that he 
had made a gross mistake. 

A little while after, while entertaining these chat- 
terers and wishing them anywhere else, another loud 
ring announced another interruption. Rather glad this 
time at the chance of someone to share his torment, he 



58 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

waited expectantly, but no one appeared. Edward was 
summoned. 

"Well! who was that ?" 

" Please, sir, it was Mr. Coleridge." 

"Oh," said Mrs. Gathercrop, "Mr. Coleridge the 
poet ! How lucky, to be sure ! " 

"Well, where is he?" 

" Please, sir, he's gone." 

" Gone ? why didn't you show him in ? " 

"Why, please, sir, I didn't like." 

" Didn't like ! what do you mean ? " 

" Please, sir, you looked so savage at me when I let 
in these." 

There was nothing but a laugh left for it. When 

o o 

they were gone, my father, whose good humour was 
restored by the whimsicality of the incident, summoned 
the terrified Edward again. 

" Now, my good boy," said he kindly, " I am not 
angry with you, so don't be frightened, but tell me 
honestly, why did you let in those people ? Didn't I 
tell you that not an individual was to be admitted ? " 

" Yes, sir ; but, please, sir, I thought you never could 
call such a nice lady as that an ' individual.' " 

"Good boy," said my father, "there's sixpence for you." 

He had a gardener and farm-servant he doted on, 
for the very reason that many people would have 
discharged him. His blunders and his simplicity were 
perfectly refreshing. He was a regular Somersetshire 



ii.] PUGIN'S PUPIL. 59 

boor ; and many a lesson my father got from his delicious 
dialect and manner. He used actually to send him to 
the play to enjoy his account of it the next morning. 
On the first occasion he came up, hat in hand, and said : 

" Please, measter, mon I tak my fun wi' me ? " 

" Your fan ? " said my father, thinking it rather an 
odd request. 

" I'll tak her wi' a string." He meant his dog. 

On visiting the farmyard one day, to his horror my 
father found the door of the rabbit-hutch wide open and 
the hutch empty. 

" Where's Hargrcave ? " 

"Here I be, measter." 

" Where are the rabbits ? " 

" Nay, I dwoant knaw. I canna see nout an em noa 
whar." 

" Not see them ? what do you mean ? " 

" Wlioi, when I coom deaun this marnin', I feaund t' 
door open loike, just as you sees un neaw. I think rats 
maun a' killed un." 

" Rats ! nonsense. They couldn't open the door and 
swallow rabbits ten times larger than themselves, man ! 
It's all your carelessness, sir ; you must have left the 
hutch open last night." 

"Nay, do 'ee think so?" 

"Think so ? I'm sure so. A pretty fellow you must 
be. It's disgraceful neglect. You wouldn't have left 
the door open if they had been your own rabbits." 



60 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CIIAP. 

" Nay," said Hargreave, with a cunning leer on his 
face, "nay, that I wouldn't," 

The candour of the avowal was too much for iny 
father, and away he ran. 

At the expiration of my articles with Pugin, the 
time arrived to enter an architect's office, and acquire 
the practical part of the profession ; and Mr. Nash 
renewed the offer he had made to receive me, but a 
circumstance occurred which completely altered all 
previous arrangements. 

Lord Blessington, an old friend of my father, was on 
the point of starting for Mount] oy Forest, his seat in 
Ireland, and, among other improvements he contem- 
plated there, he was bent upon the erection of a castle 
on his Tyrone estate. Accidentally looking over the 
plans and drawings I had executed in the course of my 
study, and approving the gallery and library I had built 
at home, he conceived the idea of my proceeding to 
Ireland, surveying the estate, and furnishing plans and 
estimates for his new house, and in a few days my father 
received the following letter : 

"Mountjoy Forest, August 2, 1823. 

" MY DEAR MATHEWS, 

" I am determined to build a house here next 
spring, and I should like to give your son an opportunity 
of making his debut as an architect. 

O 



ii.] PUGIX'S PUPIL. Gl 

" If you like the idea, send him off forthwith to 
Liverpool or Holyhead, from, which places steamers go, 
and by the Deny mail he will be here (with resting a 
day in Dublin) in five days ; but he must lose no time 
in setting off. . I will bring him back in my carriage. 

" Kemember me most kindly to Mrs. Mathews, 

" And believe me, 

" Ever yours truly, 

" BLESSINGTON. 

" I saw Captain Saunders at Stratford, and he is to 
show me the spot on my return. 

" I suppose it would be utterly useless my asking 
you to come with Charles ; but if you wish to spend a 
week in one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland, eat 
the best venison, Highland mutton and rabbits, and 
drink the best claret in Ireland, this is the place ; and 
you would be received with undivided applause, and I 
would give you some comical dresses for your kit. 

" Yours, 

"B." 

My father jumped at the idea, and I jumped twice 
as high as my father, for my heart bounded as well as 
my heels. 

A journey to the north of Ireland in those days was 
rather a different affair to what it is now. In the first 
place, I had to wait a couple of days before I could start 



G2 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEAVS. [CHAP. 

at all, the mail being full, and there was again the same 
check in Dublin. This last delay, however, I did not 
regret, as Catalani was singing there ; and I had the 
gratification of seeing and hearing her, and her personal 
beauty, her exquisite voice, and marvellous execution 
have never been forgotten. Indeed, I think, whether 
justly or not I cannot say, that she was superior to all 
the singers who have appeared from that day to this."" 

On arriving by mail at Omagh, I found I had to 
take a postchaise to Mountjoy Forest. Lord Blessington 
was absent for a day or two at Korrich, and I had the 
house to myself, with full range of the domain till he 
returned. Guns, fishing-rods, horses, books were at my 
disposal, and with lovely scenery and fine weather, what 
more could I desire ? 

He soon made his appearance, and we commenced at 
once our grand project, and revelled in the delightful 
occupation of building castles in the air. 

For a couple of months I led a charmed life ; the 
pleasant task of surveying and planning my fairy palace 
was not the only resource I had. Stag-hunting, rabbit- 
shooting, fishing, and sight-seeing formed not the least 
part of the severe duties I had to perform. Fifty 

* " Yet though Catalani is so delightful, and overwhelms you with 
beautiful passages, she now and then conies out with such a hideous 
howl, which is so diabolically scientific, that it really makes you 
shudder," is a modification of this criticism, which appears in a letter 
from Matliews to his mother, dated August 17, 1823. 



ii.] PUGIX'S PUPIL. 63 

different plans were furnished, and fifty different altera- 
tions were suggested, till the time ran away, and we 
were not much further advanced than when we started. 
Lord Blessington was absorbed in his grand idea, and 
went mad over the details. Suggestion upon suggestion 
and alteration upon alteration succeeded each other 
hour by hour ; but, nothing daunted, I followed all his 
caprices with patience and good humour, and even 
derived amusement from his flights of fancy. 

I was shrewd enough to discover very soon that my 
chief charm lay in my acquiescence with his whims, and 
patience with his vacillations. He had already been 
furnished with plans, on a very magnificent scale, for a 
castle by Wyatt, and not a suggestion permitted, not an 
opinion allowed him the architect's word was law. 
This did not suit him at all. 

The fact is, lie wanted to design the mansion and 
suggest all the arrangements, and only required some- 
one to put his ideas in shape, make the necessary 
specifications, and carry out the practical details. I was 
just the person for him ardent as himself, and rather 
delighting in, than objecting to the constant exercise for 
ingenuity his exuberant conceptions afforded me, and 
we laboured capitally together. 

At last, after much deliberation, and twenty changes 
of opinion, we got so far as to select an appropriate site, 
and actually to mark out the ground-plan to the proper 
scale, digging up the turf at the chosen spot ; and this 



G4 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 11. 

- 

turned out to be all that ever was destined to be done 
towards the realisation of our dreams. 

We then returned to town, and heartily sorry I was 
that the fun was over. 

In allusion to this circumstance, Dr. Madden says : 
"His lordship abandoned the idea of building, and 
returned re infecta to London. His lordship's powers of 
volition were so singularly weak, that he rarely was 
enabled to bring any matter whatever to an accomplish- 
ment which he willed or undertook." 

But Dr. Madden was wrong at any rate in this 
instance. So far from abandoning the idea of building, 
Lord Blessington invited me to accompany him to 
Naples, where he had left his family some weeks before, 
in order that I might, under his own eye, complete the 
plans and prepare the working drawings necessary to 
carry out his favourite project. That he was unable 
ultimately to bring the matter to an accomplishment is 
true, but the impossibility arose from want of funds, and 
not from want of will, as he never to the last gave up 
the hope of some day achieving his desire. 



CHAPTER III. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1823. 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

"March llth, 1823. 

" MY DEAR FATHER, 

" My mother lias been so exceedingly greedy of 
news that she has completely forestalled me, and not left 
me an item to retail to you, consequently I have not one 
single interesting particular to relate ; nevertheless, I 
cannot resist writing to you once more before you return, 
though, according to the laws of good breeding, you do 
not deserve it, as you never sent me any answer to my 
first. 

" You will not be surprised I daresay when I tell 
you how delighted I shall be, and with what pleasure I 
look forward to the expiration of my four years at 
Pugin's, though, to do them justice, they have for a long 
time past been uniformly kind to me. There is a new 
work of his upon the point of appearing, in which there 
are several plates with my name to them : this is very 
friendly on his part, since it is a rule among artists never 
to allow the names of their pupils to be attached to their 
works until their engagements or apprenticeships have 

VOL. I. F 



G6 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

expired. Of course all plans for my future occupation 
will be left till you come home, though I have a little 
scheme to suggest which I am in great hopes you will 
approve of. 

" I have seen a great deal of Mr. Soane, and 
experienced great kindness and attention from him. 
He took me with him one day to the bank a great 
part of which he has built and explained to me 
all the difficulties he had to contend with in the con- 
struction. He also gave me permission to make any 
drawings there that I pleased a very great favour and 
very seldom granted to anyone. He has just finished 
a new entrance to the House of Lords, which is univer- 
sally admired, and has drawn down eulogiums upon him 
from everybody. 

" The bare mention of your return home, in your last 

letter, has given myself and my mother the most un- 

i 

bounded joy ; besides the delight of again seeing you 
after so long an absence, / have additional reason for 
hoping that it will be ' speedy and soon/ as I have 
arranged among the rest of the rejoicings and fetes, on 
your arrival, that another private play, better executed 
than the last, shall be got up for your amusement (and 
mine) at the English Opera, which Mr. Arnold has again 
offered to me gratis ; and I am sure that you will agree 
with my mother and me that there can be no harm in 
an annual amusement of the kind, if not allowed to 
interfere with more serious studies. 



in.] COERESPOXDEXCE, 1823. G7 

" Mr. Elmes, the architect, has just published a life 
of Sir C. Wren, a very large quarto work, very highly 
spoken of, and of great interest, in which he mentions 
my name as having communicated some interesting 
inte]ligence, and speaks of me as 'a promising young 
architect.' When he pointed it out to me I told him 
that I not only promised but performed. You may, 
perhaps, have heard the joke before, but 'it made a 
great laugh at the time.' 

" I have now only time to mention that Tiny has lost 
her coat, and Poll her spirits, the bullfinches their notes, 
and Hargreave his dialect, the garden its beauty, Lion 
his content, and Hector his love of being tied up. To 
all these I have only to add that my mother and I have 
lost all our love and affection for you and all anxiety to 
see you again, while I remain,, 

" Your undutiful Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Dublin, 12th August, 1823. 
" MY DEAR MOTHER, 

" As I had so little time for writing my two first 
letters I could only give you the general heads of my 
journey, and therefore must now give you the little 
interesting incidents which always take place on so long 
a journey. ... I had an Irish gentleman in the berth 
under me (for I was of higher birth than any of them), 

F 2 



68 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

who made ine laugh the whole time, in spite of my 
illness. ' I thought I should have died at him/ He 
never moved from his bed, but constantly interrogated 
the steward as to our progress. The instant day- 
light appeared, he began. ' Stewart ! ' ' Sir ! ' ' Are 
we in Doblin Bay yet ? ' ' No, sir ; not yet in sight of 
Holyhead ! ' 'Oh blod an' 'ouns ! ' In five minutes 
more : ' Stewart, are we at Donlary ? ' ' Not at 
Holyhead yet, sir ! ' ' Oh blod an' 'ouns ! ' ' Stewart, 
do you think we shall be at Donlary by two o'clock ? ' 
'No', sir; I'm afraid not before eight.' 'Oh blod an' 
'ouns.' Some such question every five minutes, and in- 
variably the same answer. As soon as I arrived in 
Dublin I went to Elder's house, which is in the same 
street as my hotel. On inquiring if he was within, they 
told me he was ; but on searching, they discovered that 
he was just gone out, probably to the theatre. I asked 
if he sat up late ? they said, 'yes.' Then replied I with 
infinite promptitude, 'I'll call on him after the play/ 
(N.B. THEY were a man-servant, a woman, and a little 
boy, who all opened the door to me.) After the play I 
called. 'Is Mr. Elder returned?' 'No, sir/ 'Don't 
you expect him then to-night ? ' ' No, sir ; not till 
Wednesday/ ' Wednesday ! ! ' ' Yes, sir ; he has been 

out of town this three weeks/ Wasn't this charmino- ? 

o 

I then went to Mr. Willis, who was shut up and gone to 
bed. I entered the theatre just in time to hear 
Mad. Catalani sing ' Non piu andrcd ' and ' God Save 



in.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823. 69 

the King.' She sang ' Non piu ' much better than I do 
now, or should ever be able to do. I, therefore, from 
this moment, give it up to her. I tried to get into 
Morrison's, but the hotel was quite full ; so I went to 
the ' Waterford,' which was highly recommended ; and 
of all the horrible places I ever was in, it is the worst. 
One towel, no water for the teeth, no soap, no snuffers, no 
extinguisher, no northun ; three blankets, two sheets, 
and a counterpane on the bed bed a sack of potatoes. 
No window in the house had been opened for a month at 
least. When I went there after the play, I found all my 
luggage still in the hall where I had left it. When I 
said I was going to bed, a male chambermaid appeared 
with a candle, and another male with a warming-pan. 
'Jack, take the gentleman's luggage up.' 'Take it 
yourself ; sure you're strong enough.' 'I shan't.' 'Well, 
then lave it ! ' ' Well, gentlemen,' said I, ' I suppose I 
must carry it myself.' ' No, sir ; it'll be all right just now; 
asy, honey, take up the gentleman's pork-mantel;' and 
after a great deal of this sort of gentlemanlike argument, 
they did me the favour to share it between them. . . . 
" Your most affectionate Son, 

" CHAELES J. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

" Mountjoy Forest, Omagli, Aug. 25. 

" MY DEAR FATHEK, 

" No one knows what he can do till he tries. 
When I set off from London, I had not the slightest 



70 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

idea that I was capable of executing what I have clone 
since. I find everything come as naturally as if I had 
been building all my life. When I first went to Paris, 
I had not imagined that I was master of three French 
words ; but, when I tried, I found I could speak tolerably 
well. Since I wrote last, I have surveyed the ground 
surve3 7 ing I never learnt till now and made plans for 
the house, which Lord Blesinton* highly approves of. 
He has determined to begin building next summer, when 
Lady Blesinton is coming over here. I don't know 
whether he has written to you yet, but if he has not 
you will hear soon, to try and gain you over to his 
wish, which is as follows : As nothing can be done till 
Lady B. approves of the drawings, and as he has room 
in his carriage, he wishes to take me with him to Naples 
and from thence to Eome, where she is at present, and 
there, after her approval, I can make all my necessary 
workmen's drawings at his chateau. Now though I 
should very much like this plan, of course, I hope you 
will not imagine that I should now be so childish as to 

O 

be disappointed at a refusal. You cannot doubt but 
that I should be delighted at seeing Eome, particularly 
under such advantageous circumstances ; but still, though 
I could make a great many sketches of views and 
architecture which might form my taste in a great 

* The Earl of Blessington's name is frequently spelt thus in the 
letters which Mathews had preserved. Indeed, in one instance at 
least, Lady Blessington signs herself " M. Blesinton." 



in.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823. 71 

degree, yet I do not consider that I could make that 
great improvement which is only to be derived from 
deep study of the buildings, and accurate measurements 
taken in concert with another architect. So far I 
honestly confess, that if I should go now, it would be 
more a trip of pleasure except with regard to the 
drawings for this house than of study, and though it 
would doubtless be of great use to have seen and sketched 
the finest buildings in the world, and would give me a 
greater taste and scope for designing, yet it would still 
be necessary at some future time, when I had acquired 
more scientific knowledge in an architect's office, to go 
there again in company with some young architect to 
examine and measure in the most exact manner every 
building of consequence and beauty. There is one thing, 
however, that might be of essential service to me, viz. 
the introduction, through Lord Blesinton, to the chief 
nobility and literati resident at Borne. These persons 
I hear Lord B. constantly speak of, and describe as 
frequently at his house at Kome, and also at Venice. 
I need not say that introductions of this kind are of 
immense service, particularly to an architect, in places 
like Kome, Naples, or Venice. But I have now stated 
everything that occurs to me, for and against ; it is now 
for you to determine as you think most wise and con- 
venient, and as my mother also will most wish. I only 
wish you to understand that however you may arrange, 
/ shall consider that the best, and shall not be at all 



72 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

disappointed at not going. . . . Believe me, my dear 

father, 

" Your affectionate Son, 

" CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS." 



CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Mountjoy Forest, August 31st, 1823. 

"My DEAR MOTHER, 

" I was particularly uneasy at hearing of your 
distress about my last letter, because I know that you 
will have waited the same time before you receive this. 
However, all I can say is this, that I really have not had 
it in my power this week to write, for the whole time 
has been devoted to our house. I have set out the 
plan on the ground and raised stones to the height of 
six feet all round the building, in order to judge of the 
effect from the lower windows. When this was done, to 
my great mortification, I was not able to get a view of 
a certain piece of river arid stone bridge, which I had 
calculated upon, for, owing to a wind^that the water 
took, it was lost by the effect of perspective. However, 
all difficulties are instantly removed here, and I am 
going to set them to work to turn the course of the 
river, by which means we shall get the most beautiful 
view imaginable. On the other side we have a 
mountain which is very much in our way, so orders 
are given to shave it all away. A whole plantation is 
already cut down ; and a large bare mountain, very 



in.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823. 73 

disagreeable to have 'always staring us in the face, is to 
be planted with firs and larch all over, for which purpose 
one hundred and fifty thousand are already removed 
from the nursery to the spot. Are not these grand 
doings ? 

" I am delighted to find that you and my father are 
in so happy a disposition towards the proposed tour, and 
if my last letter had the effect of persuasion, I think this 
must decide you, for, since I wrote, I have had a longer 
and more detailed explanation from his lordship. We 
go first to Naples, where Lady Blesinton I believe I 
told you now is. They are there particularly intimate 
with a Mons. Artaud, the governor of the Academy and 
Museum, who proceeds with them to Rome, and who 
knows every inch of stone-work in the city, and who has 
examined, measured, and drawn all the buildings. He 
is acquainted with all the architects and men of science 
in Eome, and will give me, on Lord Blesinton's account, 
every advantage. At Rome they take a house, and, as 
Lady B. is particularly fond of it, they intend remaining 
there six weeks ! Here is time enough to do wonders, 
when instructed in the proper manner to set about it. 
They are also intimate with Denon and Lord Byron, 
both of whom we should see a great deal of. Added to 
all this Lord Blesinton has a vessel of his own, in which 
he intends crossing over to Greece ! visiting Ionia and 
Magna Graecia and so on to Athens ! There's an oppor- 
tunity which I really think ought not to be lost. He 



74 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

mentioned a great many other advantages which he 
must explain when he sees you, for I was so bewildered 
with the great names of Italy and Greece, Rome and 
Athens, Temples of Minerva and Colosseums, Venetian 
gondoliers, rialtos, and burning mountains, that I could 
not attend to more commonplace subjects. However, 
I'll leave this subject, or I should fill up my whole letter 
with it. 

" I never was more astonished than at hearing of my 
father's reappearance. I had not heard of it before, for 
we see no English paper here. I am delighted to hear 
of the success, but am ' a little damned mad ' at not 
being able to see him. I hope he will not injure his 
American entertainment by it. I have also made my 
reappearance. I opened last night here in Jeremy 
Diddler and Dr. Last, with immense success. Fain- 
would, Charles Gardiner ; Sam, Lord Blesinton. It 
was done for the amusement of the children, and had 
more than the desired effect. I made up capital 
dresses for both parts, and particularly hit them in 
Dr. Last. 

" A gentleman here was invited to a large house in 
the neighbourhood and was offered a bed. He undressed 
himself in his dressing-room, put out his candle, and 
entered his bedroom. But after groping round and 
round the room for some time he could not find any 
bed, and, there being no bell, he laid himself down on 
the rug and slept till morning. On awaking he discovered 



IIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823. 75 

that there was a most beautiful bed in the middle of the 
room. 

" With best love to Papa, 

" Your truly affectionate Son, 

"CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS." 



CHARLES MATHEWS TO THE EARL OF BLESSINGTOX. 

"Highgate, Sept. 2, 1823. 
" MY LOUD, 

" The recovery of a long character and the daily 
attendance at the rehearsals of it, has prevented an 
earlier acknowledgment of your lordship's kind letter, 
to which your speedy return to town precludes the 
necessity of a long reply. I was also apprehensive 
that my letter might arrive at Mount] oy about the 
time fixed for the departure from thence. Indeed, 
indeed, my lord, I cannot find language to convey 
the high sense I have of the honour and friend- 
ship you have conferred on me in the person of Charles, 
nor of the gratification I feel that you deem him worthy 
of the proposed distinction of residing with Lady Bles-. 
sington and yourself during the winter. If I paused 
for one moment in giving my assent to so obviously 
advantageous a proposal, it was purely from regard to a 
fond mother's feelings at parting from her son for so 
long a period ; but I find her willing, and am anxious 
to waive all selfish consideration in order to give him the 
whole advantage of your lordship's invaluable friendship, 



76 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. in. 

and, regardless of aught else, to ensure his welfare in 
your continued kind feeling towards him. With all 
thankfulness for so unexpected and great proof of it, 
she yields up Charles to your lordship's and Lady 
Blessington's entire direction ; well assured and satisfied 
that under such auspices and associations he must 
acquire much, and improve in all things that can ensure 
him present delight and lasting honour. May he, my 
lord, as fully deserve the distinction he now experiences 
in your good opinion and personal notice, as I know he 
is sensible of its value and just in his appreciation of 
his good fortune in having obtained it. 

" As I am so soon to have the pleasure of seeing you, 
my lord, I shall reserve all further testimony of the 
warm feelings of gratitude you have excited until we 
meet, when you will find me what I have always been, 
and ever must remain, 

"Your Lordship's most obliged and faithful Servant, 

" C. MATHEWS. 

"My wife begs me to add her most respectful 
regards to your lordship and to Lady B. when you 
write to Italy. She would have written a postscript 
to this but for a slight return of her late complaint in 
her head. 

" Will your lordship do us the favour' to give our 
affectionate regards to Charles ? " 



CHAPTER IV. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY FIRST VISIT TO ITALY, 1823-1824. 

ON the receipt of Lord Blessington's invitation, my father 
looked at my mother, and rny mother looked at my father, 
then both looked at me, and I looked at them both, and I 
believe the tears stood in all our eyes. To send me away, 
and for a whole year, too I, who had never crept from 
under the parental wing was a startling idea. But all 
considerations vanished before that of my welfare, and 
at length consent was joyfully and gratefully given. 

As for me, I walked on air. Italy ! Could it really 
be ? The land of my dreams ! I could hardly believe 
my senses. A few days only were allowed for prepara- 
tion, which was all the better, as our minds were too 
fully occupied with the necessary details of the expedi- 
tion to dwell upon the pain of separation. But the 
moment at last actually arrived, and, on the twenty-first 
of September, 1823, eyes were wiped, and handkerchiefs 
waved, as, comfortably ensconced in the well-laden 
travelling-carriage, four post-horses rattled us away from 
St. James's Square. 



78 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

A voluminous diary, rigidly kept, furnishes an 
ample account of our progress. It contains a tre- 
mendously elaborate description of the scenery, and all 
objects of interest on the road, with historical notes 
attached, forming a book of reference worthy of Murray 
himself. But, of course, the first impressions of a lad 
just beginning life are not worth recording, especially 
through lands now so familiar to all, and about which 
the ubiquitous Murray has since exhausted every possible 
form of expression. Besides, it would take as long to 
describe the journey as it did to perform it. 

Lord Blessington loved his ease, and had no notion 
of hurry, so that I had ample opportunity for seeing all 
that was worth seeing, and I need scarcely say that my 
eyes were like saucers, and my ears as wide open as that 
of Dionysius. 

Sir Charles Sutton, a most agreeable, w^ell- informed 
companion, accompanied ITS, and he and I rambled 
for hours together, exploring all the places of interest 
we stopped at. Lord Blessington was not a walker, was 
a hater of sight-seeing, and, moreover, a late riser, 
breakfasting in bed, and reading his book or newspaper 
there till late in the day, so we saw little of him except 
when travelling, or at meal-time. 

A few extracts from my journal, omitting raptures 
and descriptions of places, will give an idea of the 
pleasant style of travelling of the pre -railroad days, 
before the terms "fast" and "go-ahead" were invented, 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 79 

when the world studied its comfort and enjoyment on a 
tour more than the mere " doing " foreign countries in 
droves, with a haste that puts the traveller on about a 
par with an intelligent portmanteau. 

For business, by all means a railway train for a 
commercial traveller, a godsend ; but for pleasure, a 
luxurious carriage with four horses, the leisure to enjoy 
the picturesque, and stop wherever a tempting spot 
invites, and, above all, free from the horrors of a table- 
d'hote. Better really see and appreciate quietly and 
thoroughly whatever is worthy of notice, than fly like 
lightning past places of interest, as though they never 
existed. 

" Did you go to Rome ? " 

" Rome ? Did we, mamma ? Oh yes, I re- 
member now. It was the place where we saw that 
old beggar woman with the child, on the steps of a 
church." 

This is hardly an exaggeration of the recollections 
some travellers carry away. 

Sept. 21. Left London. Dined with Mr. Tegart at 
Eltham, and slept at Sittingbourne. 

Sept. 22. Started early for Dover. Reached Calais 
at four, and slept at Boulogne. 

Sept. 23. Dined at Abbeville, and slept at Gran- 
villiers. 

Sept. 24. Dined at Beauvais, and, proceeding along 



80 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

the old, dull, monotonous, paved avenues, reached Paris 
at six. 

Sept. 25. A day's rest in Paris. 

Sept. 2G. Left at twelve o'clock, with six horses, 
and slept at Fontainebleau. Explored at leisure the 
Chateau and Forest. 

Sept. 27.- Slept at Auxerre. 

Sept. 28. Off early. At Dole a facetious barber has 
over his door : " Demain on rase pour rien." The poor 
peasants arrive to claim his promise, but of course 
"demain" never comes. If we could read the "Hoclie 
mihi, eras tibi " of the tombstone in the same way, what 
a comfort it would be ! But Death is a barber who 
never jokes ; and when he shaves, it is so effectually 
that the customer never troubles him again. Slept at 
Poligny. 

Sept. 30. Pouring with rain. Crossed the Jura, 
and arrived at Geneva, Stopped at Secheron, a fashion- 
able bad inn, about a mile out of the town, but delight- 
fully situated on the brink of the lake. Here, to our 
great astonishment and pleasure, we found the Speaker 
of the House of Commons, the Hon. Manners Sutton, 
and Mrs. Home Purves (afterwards Lord and Lady 
Canterbury), with their children and governesses, who 
had arrived the day before. After doing them the 
honour to eat part of their excellent dinner, we went to 
bed, all of us tolerably fatigued. 

Nov. 1. How charming was the view that presented 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 81 

itself this morning on waking 1 The sparkling azure 
lake, with the sun playing upon it, and the superb 
mountains surrounding it ; Mont Blanc peeping from 
behind the snowy points in the distance, relieved upon 
the blue sky, and the town of Geneva on our right, 
formed one glare of light altogether dazzling. 

Nov. 2. To-day Sir Charles and I sallied forth to 
explore the town to see the house where Rousseau was 
born, and pay a visit to Ferney, the former residence of 
Voltaire, situated about two miles from Geneva. There 
is very little to induce persons to take the trouble of 
seeing it, except the Englishman's satisfaction of saying- 
he has seen it. The bedroom is said to be exactly in the 
same state as when its master occupied it. Over the 
bed is a bad crayon drawing of Le Kain, on his right 
Frederick the Great, on his left Madame de Chatelet, 
Voltaire's mistress both wretched daubs. Opposite the 
fireplace is a plain monument of black marble, with 
these inscriptions : " Mon esprit est partout, et mon 
coeur est igi ; " " Mes manes sont consoles, puisque mon 
cosur est au milieu de vous ; " both of which are 
rendered unmeaning, from the vase which contained the 
heart having been, for some reason or other, removed. 

Nov. 3. This morning it was determined we should 
again begin our journey ; but an arrangement was 
suggested which gave great pleasure to all that 
Mrs. Purves and the Speaker should accompany us to 
Naples, on a visit to Lady Blessington; owing to 

vor. i. a 



82 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

which our departure was deferred till the following 
morning. 

In the meantime all our inquiries were directed 
towards the manner of passing the Simplon ; of carrying 
provisions for said passage, and arming ourselves against 
the extreme cold we were to meet with. Sheepskins, 
worsted, lambswool, umbrellas, shawls, handkerchiefs, 
and every description of preventive that could possibly 
be suggested was in requisition. 

How ludicrous it sounds nowadays, when a railway 
over Mont Cenis and a tunnel under it have opened 
the doors of Italy to every shopkeeper with a handbag 
and a few pounds in his pocket when Cook's excur- 
sionists swarm in every capital of Europe, thousands 
of fools rushing cheaply in where formerly only moneyed 
angels dared to tread to hear of the awful hazard 
of life and limb, task of peril and adventure, it was 
considered to cross the Alps fifty years ago ! 

Everyone had his history to relate of the horrors 
of the extreme frigidity. One gentleman, who merely 
withdrew his hand from his glove to remove an icicle 
from his nose, had his fingers so benumbed as to be 
unable to replace them; and, in short, had we been 
starting for a voyage to the north pole, more preparations 
could not have been made. 

Nov. 4. Everything being at last arranged, we 
found to our sorrow that the Due de Montebello was 
to start before us with three carriages, forcing another 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 83 

delay - r for if the Due de Montebello monopolised all 
the post-horses the Earl of Blessington and his party 
must go without, which, with four heavy carriages, 
would ha.ve been no easy matter. One day longer, 
then, we must stay, and to-morrow was again positively 
fixed. 

Nov. 5. At last, on Sunday morning, at half-past 
five, we were once more in motion. In the course of 
the night a great fall of snow had entirely covered the 
Jura mountains, and the sun, which had just risen, 
shone with all its brightness upon them. Nothing 
half so magnificent can be conceived. The whole of 
the immense chain of the Jura, at first suffused with 
the most delicate roseate tints, suddenly became one 
mass of solid gold. It was a sight never to be forgotten. 
Slept at St. Maurice. 

Nov. 6. Left St. Maurice at four o'clock. Slept 
at Sion. 

Nov. 7. Before daybreak we set forth on the most 
interesting day's journey we had yet met with ; to cross 
the Simplon. 

Being determined that my faculties should not be 
benumbed and rendered useless by the intense cold, 
I prepared myself before starting with the following 
articles of dress : Two pairs of stockings, a pair of snow- 
shoes over my boots, a pair of gaiters, two pairs of 
trowsers, two shirts, two waistcoats, a woollen comforter 
over my chin, a coat, a great- coat, a cloak, a nightcap, 

G 2 



84 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEW%. [CHAP. 

a travelling cap, and a pair of skin gloves, resembling 
a couple of young unlicked bear cubs. With this 
wardrobe on me I thought myself tolerably secure from 
at least a part of the cold ; and so in the end it proved, 
for while ascending the mountain on the box of the 
carriage I was ready to melt with the heat ; but I 
comforted myself with knowing, that, once arrived 
at the summit, the excessive cold would make amends 
for my present sufferings. But, alas ! it only became 
worse and worse ; that is, warmer and warmer, till, 
when at last we reached the highest point, and were 
in the midst of snow and ice, my only hope vanished ; 
the sun burst out in all his glory, continued to fry 
for the rest of the day, and reduced me to a state of 
absolute liquefaction. 

" Non fidatevi all' Alchimista povero, o al medico 
ammalato" or to a hosier's advice when you cross the 
Simplon. Slept at Baveno, on the banks of the Lago 
Maggiore. 

Nov. 8. After a beautiful day's journey along its 
banks, between five and six o'clock we entered Milan. 
We found that the Speaker and Mrs. Purves, who had 
arrived some time before us, were gone for a stroll 
through the town, and had ordered dinner at seven 
o'clock. Now, as I wished to go to the play, I 
determined, instead of waiting for them, to go and 
dine at some restaurateur's near the theatre, in order 
to be ready. Having taken a valet-de-place to interpret 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 85 

and show me the way to the Tea"tro Ke (I knowing 
neither the city nor the language), I walked through 
the piazza before the cathedral, and in a small side 
street he pointed it out, and close to it a little door, 
which he said was the restaurateur's, where I could 
dine very well, and where he believed they spoke 
French. So saying he left me to my fate, and I 
entered a dirty dark little room, full of porters playing 
dominoes and smoking. I passed on, however, to 
find the salle-a-manger, and arrived in a smoky hot 
kitchen, with cooks and scullions not in the most 
elegant deshabille. I now began to inquire where I 
was to dine, but with all the French, broken English, 
dog Latin, and bad Italian I could muster I could 
make none of them understand what I meant, and 
only gathered, from the pantomime of the head-cook, 
that I must eat in the kitchen. My situation appeared 
forlorn, and I would willingly have made my escape 
if I could have done so with a good grace and without 
a suspicious appearance ; but that being impossible, I 
sat down to the filthy table with a cheerful face, before 
a cloth, evidently an old servant in the family, and 
seldom troubled with water. 

I now thought that as I could not make them 
comprehend a word I said, my best chance of dinner 
was to go out and buy an Italian phrase book. It 
was a bright idea, and by dint of signs and repetition 
of the word " libraio " the intelligent chef at last 



86 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

ordered his scullion to show me the way to a book- 
seller's. 

This was a point gained, and quickly returning 
with my book of dialogues, I opened it in triumph, 
when, to my disgust, I discovered that the stupid 
bookseller, misunderstanding my broken Italian, had 
given me a selection of dialogues from Moliere, Fenelon, 
&c. &c., on comic, moral, and religious subjects. 

Eeturning to the shop, I at last really obtained what 
I wanted, and once more I considered myself in safety. 
Then came the cruellest cut of all. Armed with my 
battery of phrases, and sallying forth, certain of victory, 
what were my confusion and dismay at finding the 
cooks, scullions, and waiters quite as ignorant of Italian 
as of French, and that I had found my way into a German 
kitchen. 

I could not help laughing at my situation, provoked 
and hungry as I was, and determined to get through it 
as well as I could. I set to work once more, and 
sketched an egg, a chicken, and a mutton-chop, with 
clever representations of pears, figs, and grapes. 

This plan succeeded beyond my hopes. The land- 
lord seemed to understand perfectly, but insisted upon 
my beginning with a large tureen of vegetable soup, full 
of grease and garlic. This I manfully resisted, to his 
great annoyance, but it really was too much for friend- 
ship. Next came my mutton-chop, black on one side 
and red on the other, swimming in bad butter. I made 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 87 

an attempt towards it, that I might not hurt the cook's 
feelings, but found it impracticable. With it he brought 
a plate of parmesan, which I, taking for salt, began to 
eat with my chop, and thus completely overturned the 
gravity of the scullions, who, I verily believe, thought 
me stark mad. A large flask of sour wine took the 
place of the vinegar, which was the only thing on the 
table that was sweet. 

Having made but a very poor dinner of parmesan 
cheese and bread and butter, I called out very loud, 
" Paga, paga ! " which the cunning Germans understood 
well enough, for the spokesman instantly gave me, as he 
thought, full information on the subject in ten thousand 
inharmonious words, out of which I did not recognise one; 
but guessing their substance and object, I put down a 
five-franc piece, thinking that would cover my expenses, 
and to my no small astonishment received in change 
four francs ten sous in silver and five sous in copper, 
having dined for the sum of five sous. The remaining 

o o 

five I liberally gave the waiter, who, 'with elegant 
solemnity, bowed me out. 

Nov. 9. Left Milan at four in the afternoon, havino- 

' O 

parted company with the Speaker and Mrs. Purves, on 
account of the difficulty of obtaining horses for so 
large a party. It was also found absolutely necessary 
to buy another carriage here, in order to lighten Lord 
Blessing-ton's heavy family-coach from some of its 
luggage. Travelling all night, we passed over the 



88 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Bochetta, one of the highest Alps, and arrived about nine 
in the morning at Genoa, 

Nov. 10. At three o'clock we started again, and 
reached Chiavari to sleep. 

Nov. 11. Much rain had fallen for some days 
before we reached Genoa, and the floods had carried 
away several bridges on the route we had to take. 
Torrents fell as we left Chiavari, by no means propitious 
for our journey to Spezia, part of the road to that place 
lying through the bed of a river, which after rains 
generally became impassable. Away we went, however, 
along a good road lined with hedges of aloes, with 
groves of vines, cypresses, and olives no doubt an 
enchanting drive in fine weather. 

On the way we fell in with Lord Hay warden, who 
had left Spezia that morning at half-past four. It 
was five in the evening; when we met him, he havino- 

o * o 

accomplished in that time a distance of seven 
miles. 

He advised us by no means to proceed, the more 
particularly as he had seen a carriage with ladies, which 
had been sticking in the river for four hours with ten 
horses to assist them, unable to move. But we were in 
for it, and go on we must. He wished us well through 
it, and continued his course. 

We had not parted from him five minutes before we 
arrived at a small stream, so swollen by the floods, that 
we were obliged to hire about twenty labourers to drag 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 89 

us through it and push the carriages up to the top of 
the hill. 

Towards evening we reached Borghetto, and found 
the river bed through which we were to pass a raging 
torrent. 

Here then we must stay till the flood subsides, of 
which at present there does not seem the slightest 
probability. Pazienza ! 

Nov. 12. Of all the horrible, detestable, unsavoury 
places that ever were seen this was the worst. The 
very essence of everything disgusting ! The streets 
filthy to an excess, and the chief part of the inhabitants 
consisting of large black pigs. The wretched hut, called 
inn, was almost without furniture, and wholly without 
sashes to the windows, the apertures through which 
light was admitted being only made to close with rough 
wooden shutters. 

Four bare walls formed our sitting-room, but without 
any fastening to the door, so that we were constantly 
intruded upon by any stray pigs that chanced to be 
passing by. Here we were forced to take up our abode, 
while the rain poured in torrents, preventing the possi- 
bility of putting our noses out for an instant. 

The bed-room was about ten feet square, and con- 
tained three beds. This we gave up to Milord, bringing 
two of the beds into the salle-a-manger, which, in the 
end, turned out the more comfortable room of the two, for 
unluckily, the public staircase, leading to the kitchen 



90 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

above us, was exactly over Lord Blessingtou's Led, and 
the tramp was uniformly kept up the whole night, so 
that he never was allowed to slumber for a moment. 

I shall never forget the appearance of his room. It 
was the acme of misery, and yet with a comic side to it. 
A small truck-bed in a little alcove at the farther end, 
over which was the staircase, whose creaking boards com- 
pletely banished sleep ; Lord Blessington, in a large 
flannel night-cap, with a travelling-shawl over his 
shoulders, sitting up in bed, with his books and 
drawings strewed around him, his breakfast by his 
side, served in the silver accessories of his travelling 
kit ; a poor little rickety table, set out with all the 
profusion of costly plate and cut-glass bottles of his 
emptied dressing-case, with brocaded dressing-gowns on 
the broken-backed chairs, and imperials piled on im- 
perials, almost reaching the ceiling, and actually filling 
the room. It was a splendid subject for a picture. 

I must do him the justice to say he bore his situa- 
tion manfully. Luckily, the walls of the sitting-room 
had been recently whitewashed ; and as it was impossible 
to move out on account of the positive inundation, we 
amused ourselves with exhibiting our pictorial talents, 
leaving works there that will seldom be equalled. Lord 
Blessington's genius lay among men and horses, and 
mine in architecture ; and the large frescoes we executed, 
if they still exist, will attest our industry. I covered 
one wall with a grand cartoon of the great temple at 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 91 

Paestum, and he decorated the other with a life-size 
portrait of Napoleon on horseback, surrounded by his 
generals, both fine specimens of the respective masters, 
and no doubt long the pride of Borghetto. 

This evening, as we were sitting in all the pomp of 
woe, the door opened in an indecisive manner, and in 
walked an old fat man, half tipsy, very tall and very 
dirty, and with apparently half the village at his heels, 
bowing in the most profound manner. We all imme- 
diately concluded that it was the parson of the parish 
come to ask charity, and Lord Blessington had even got 
his hand in his pocket to act upon the idea, when, after 
a great deal of hesitation and embarrassment, the old 
man blundered out as well as he was able, between 
Italian, French, and Portuguese, apparently understand- 
ing neither, that he was the Pope's Nunzio, and only 
wanted his vetturino's carriage put up in the wretched 
crazy shed, called our "remise." The thing was quite 
impossible, as we tried to impress upon him, but he 
insisted upon its practicability, and would have it that 
it was only the impertinence of our courier that made 
the difficulty. When, however, he found that he could 
not carry his point, he backed himself out of the room, 
bowing to us in the most obsequious manner, but 
shaking his fist at the courier, vowing vengeance against 
him on his arrival at Rome, and explaining that, " at 
Borghetto he was only a man, but at Rome he was the 
Pope's Nunzio." 



92 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Nov. 13. A piece of luck this morning put us 
en route once more. The Governor of Genoa by good 
fortune happened to arrive here from Spezia, and finding 
that an English peer was detained at this wretched 
place, sent his compliments to say that the sedan chairs, 
which had brought him, were at our service, and the 
inspector of the roads to accompany us and clear away 
all difficulties. Sir Charles and I went to return him 
Lord Blessington's thanks, and found him a most charm- 
ing elegant "old man in regimentals." He received us 
in the most friendly manner, and afterwards called at our 
inn. Upon seeing our fresco paintings he assured us that 
we should not find anything comparable to them through- 
out Italy, and I feel convinced myself that we never shall. 

At twelve o'clock we left Borghetto on horseback, 
with our luggage in the sedans, the carriages being out 
of the question, and proceeded along the most diabolical 
pass that ever was seen, continually wading through 
torrents, descending and ascending rocks, crossing 
streams, and the rain pitilessly pelting, without a 
minute's respite, the whole day. 

At Spezia, however, we at last arrived, very wet 
and hungry, and making a hearty dinner, enjoyed our- 
selves thoroughly in a very comfortable hotel. 

What words can adequately describe the Paradise 
to which I was introduced at Naples ! The Palazzo 
Belvedere, situated about a mile and a half from the 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 93 

town on the heights of Vomero, overlooking the city, 
and the beautiful turquoise-coloured bay dotted with 
latine sails, with Vesuvius on the left, the island of 
Capri on the right, and the lovely coast of Sorrento 
stretched out in front, presented an enchanting scene. 
The house was the perfection of an Italian palace, with 
its exquisite frescoes, marble arcades, and succession of 
terraces one beneath the other, adorned with hanging 
groves of orange trees and pomegranates, shaking their 
odours among festoons of vines and luxuriant creepers, 
affording agreeable shade from the noontide sun, made 
brighter by the brilliant parterres of glowing flowers, 
while refreshing fountains plashed in every direction 
among statues and vases innumerable. I was naturally 
entranced, and commenced a new existence. 

Lady Blessington, then in her zenith, and certainly 
one of the most beautiful as well as one of the most 
fascinating women of her time, formed the centre figure 
in the little family group assembled within its precincts. 

Count D'Orsay, then a youth of nineteen, was the 
next object of attraction, and I have no hesitation in 
asserting was the beau ideal of manly dignity and grace. 
He had not yet assumed the marked peculiarities of 
dress and deportment which the sophistications of 
London life subsequently developed. He was the model 
of all that could be conceived of noble demeanour and 
youthful candour ; handsome beyond all question ; 
accomplished to the last degree ; highly educated, and 



94 LIFE OF CHA11LES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

of great literary acquirements ; with a gaiety of heart and 
cheerfulness of mind that spread happiness on all around 
him. His conversation was brilliant and engaging, as 
well as clever and instructive. He was, moreover, the 
best fencer, dancer, swimmer, runner, dresser ; the best 
shot, the best horseman, the best draughtsman of his 
age. Possessed of every attribute that could render his 
society desirable, I am sure I do not go too far in 
pronouncing him the perfection of a youthful nobleman. 

Then came Miss Power, Lady Blessington's younger 
sister, somewhat demure in aspect, of quiet and retiring 
manners, contrasting sweetly with the more dazzling 
qualities which sparkled around her. Lady Blessington 
has been described as a peach blossom, and Miss Power 
as a primrose by her side. 

This formed the family party, and I soon found 
it as fully devoted to mental cultivation and the 
prosecution of literary pursuits, as to the more natural 
occupations of pleasure and enjoyment. 

The house was the rendezvous of all the literati of 
the place, and the point of attraction of all the English 
visitors of distinction who were so frequently passing 
through it. Sir William Gell, Dr. Millingen (the 
celebrated numismatist), the Abbd Campbell, Keppel 
Craven, Mathias (the author of the " Pursuits of Lite- 
rature," and whose Italian poetry was distinguished 
for its elegance and purity), Sir William Drummond, 
Lord Byron, were residents in the neighbourhood, and 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 95 

with them the elite of Italian society, the wits and 
learned men in every department, made the Palazzo 
Belvedere the centre of intellectual association. 

In one corner of the large saloon stood Lady 
Blesshifrton's table, laden with books and writings 

O O * 

Count D'Orsay's in another, equally adorned with 
literary and artistic litter. Miss Power's and mine 
completed the arrangement, while Lord Blessington 
strolled and chatted from one to the other, and then 
dived into his own sanctum, where he divided his time 
between fresh architectural schemes for his castle in the 
air, and the novel of " De Vavasour," on which he was 
busily engaged. 

In this agreeable company I visited all the anti- 
quities and classical sites with which the neighbourhood 
abounds, and no means were neglected to make these 
visits profitable. The day before their execution every 
authority, ancient and modern, that could throw a 
light upon the subject, was consulted, and notes col- 
lected to illustrate the object of inquiry. Sir William 
Gell was our sheet-anchor on these occasions, who 
knew every nook and corner by heart, with its associa- 
tions and traditions ; and the knowledge and instruction 
derived from this mode of practical study was complete. 

In the cool of the evenings we all repaired to a 
charming loggia overlooking the bay, and here a suc- 
cession of amusements, springing out of the fun and 
fancy of the moment, passed away the moonlight hours. 



96 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Visitors poured in in endless variety, and the charms of 
music and playful wit were brought into action. 

I had soon picked up many imitations of Neapolitan 
manners and peculiarities, and gave frequent dressed 
representations of the characters I had collected, while 
not a week passed but I had added one or two 
Neapolitan songs, which given in the grotesque dialect 
of the peasantry, and with guitar accompaniment, were 
always welcome contributions. 

One of the most popular personages among the 
many out-of-door candidates for favour was a little old 
fellow, who used to station himself on the Mole every 
afternoon, reciting and expounding the beauties of 
Ariosto in the Neapolitan dialect to an entranced crowd 
of fishermen and lazzaroni, who sat upon the ground 
and on baskets and benches in a circle round him, 
perfectly enthralled with the romantic adventures of 
Kinaldo, and other knights errant and persecuted 
damsels conjured up by the poet. This was one of 
my most successful assumptions, and was frequently 
"redernanded." 

Another remarkable character was a priest, who at 
the corner of the Piazza del Castello preached, not only to 
the populace but to the better classes, in the impassioned 
style peculiar to his nation ; not in the Neapolitan dialect, 
but in the purity of the Italian language, and with the 
polished eloquence of inspired oratory ; employing all the 
dramatic resources of passionate gesture and powerful 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 97 

facial expression, displayed by these masters of de- 
clamation, in their endeavour to enchain the hearts and 
minds of their auditors. 

1 had a correct dress made, and with the long 
streaming black hair and small square cap, I managed 
to present a close copy of the original ; while, aided 
by a real and most exciting sermon which I actually 
heard him preach, I produced a marvellous impression, 
especially on my Italian auditors, who listened to it 
seriously, regarding it simply as a specimen of fine 
oratory, and not for a moment receiving it as an ex- 
position of the outrageous exaggeration and unworthy 
pantomimical effect it was meant to expose. 

Many years afterwards, long before I dreamt of 
going upon the stage, old Jack Bannister, on hearing 
this sermon, declared that " tragedy was evidently my 
forte." I don't think he was right ; if he was, I have 
still to find it out. Who knows but I may have a fine 
future before me yet ! 

During the twelvemonth I remained a guest at the 
Palazzo Belvedere, I rummaged every corner of Naples 
and its environs, wandered on foot among the mountains 
with my sketch-book, and lived among the peasants, 
joining in their pursuits, dancing the Tarantella under 
vine-covered pergolas by moonlight, and picking up 
songs and stories in abundance. 

No one who has not witnessed it can form a notion 
of the gaiety and inspiring mirth of the Tarantella. 

VOL. i. H 



98 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Begun sometimes in the early morning of a festa by one 
couple of dancers, male and female, and relieved by 
others, who take their places when the first pair are 
tired out, and so on without remission till after night- 
fall. The dance is accompanied by guitar, castanet, 
and songs improvised for the occasion, the singers 
relieving each other, like the dancers, when tired or 
exhausted in invention, fresh candidates supplying 
fresh words of their own to the same air in endless 
variety, amidst the shouts and applause of the assembled 
multitude. 

Ah ! those were halcyon days, never to be forgotten. 
I seem to live them over again, while recording them ; 
and all the trivial incidents connected with them present 
themselves to my mind, after fifty years, as vividly as 
at the moment they happened. 

Lord Blessington was very susceptible of cold, and 
had a horror of a " thorough draught." He was able, 
D'Orsay used to declare, to detect a current of air caused 
by the key being left crossways in the keyhole of a 
door. 

On one of our exploring expeditions, we were 
examining the ruins of some old Roman villas at Baise. 
The foundations extended for some distance into the 
bay, and the remaining portions of the w T alls, intersecting 
each other, rose about two or three feet above the level 
of the water. As I skipped backwards and forwards 
over the broken remains, Lord Blessington more than 



iv.] FIKST VISIT TO ITALY. 99 

once called out, to my great surprise, " Take care, take 
care ! For heaven's sake mind what you are about ; 
you'll be in the water to a certainty ! " exhibiting a 
degree of solicitude quite unlike his usual inappreciation 
of danger, either to himself or others. After one or two 
repetitions of his alarm, Lady Blessington, losing 
patience, exclaimed : " Do let the boy alone, Blessington. 
If he does fall in the water, what can it signify ? 
you know he swims like a fish." 

" Yes, yes," said his lordship, " that's all very well, 
but I shall catch my death driving home in the carriage 
with him." 

Among the many valuable acquaintances I made at 
Naples, one of the most important to me was that of 
Samuel Angell, the accomplished architect, who was 
then on a professional tour. He had just returned from 
Sicily, where, with his friend Harris, he had been 
fortunate enough to discover some very interesting- 
sculptures while excavating at Girgenti. 

With him and a most amusing literary companion, 
Mr. Atkinson, whom he called his " historian," I spent 
three weeks at Pompeii, drawing and measuring every- 
thing of interest a most agreeable and profitable sojourn. 
There was then no " Hotel Diornede " on the spot, and 
the nearest place we could find to take up our quarters 
was above a mile off, at a wretched "locanda" or rather 
" osteria," at Torre dell Aununziata. A walk through 
cotton fields every morning brought us by break of day 

H 2 



100 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

to Pompeii, where we fully employed our time till Ave 
Maria; eating the dinner we took with us under the 
convenient shelter of some ruined arch, and walking 
back at dusk to our frugal supper and early bed. 

One little insignificant thing in the midst of the 

o o 

wonders of this wonderful place has always remained in 
my memory. It has been generally passed over, probably 
unnoticed by many, at any rate I have never heard anyone 
allude to it. On the walls of the corridor leading to the 
principal entrance to the amphitheatre the " pit-door," 
as we should call it were all sorts of names and words, 
the rough sketch of a soldier and other fancies, scratched 
with nails or knives by the people waiting for admission. 
I don't know why this should have made such an im- 
pression on me, but it seemed to take me among the 
people of two thousand years ago, scribbling their names 
and those of their sweethearts, for all the world like the 
pittites of the present day at Astley's or the Victoria. 

Another pilgrimage with my friend Angell and our 
indispensable " historian " was to Psestum, where we 
remained a week or ten days, studying and measuring 
the magnificent temples. If the "locanda" at Torre 
dell Annunziata was a wretched abode, what was our 
habitation here ? The solitary house of the place a 
hovel without glass to the windows, through which the 
smoke from the kitchen escaped, and with nothing to 
eat but musty maccaroni with rancid " caggia cavallo " 
(a horrible cheese made from goats' milk), the " piece 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 101 

de resistance " being what was called a " frittura," but 
what it was made of it was impossible to discover ; it 
might have been anything, but at all events was better 
than nothing, for we managed to exist upon it, washed 
down as it was w T ith a delicious bottle of ink, called the 
"Vino di Paese." The meal would not have suited the 
Sybarites who once peopled the locality, but what then ? 
We were young and enthusiastic, and enjoyed ourselves 
more than we have frequently done since at The Star 
and Garter at Richmond, or The Trafalgar at Greenwich. 

I paid a second visit to Psestum shortly afterwards 
in very different style, with the Blessingtons and Lord 
Morpeth (the late Lord Carlisle), who was one of the most 
amiable and agreeable guests we had during my resi- 
dence at the Palazzo Belvedere. This was a delightful 
excursion in every way. Lord Morpeth had written a 
prize poem upon the ruins of Psestum, and there, on the 
spot, after a sumptuous lunch in the Temple of Neptune,, 
we had the pleasure of hearing him recite it amidst the 
glorious ruins it celebrated. 

In his company we also visited Capua, Beneventum, 
Caserta, and other places of interest, and profited greatly 
by his society everywhere. 

Lady Blessington, in her Italian diary, thus alludes 
to the trip : " We returned to Salerno ; the strangers 
who joined our party at Paestum being no less delighted 
than surprised by the extraordinary facility or felicity 
with which Mr. Charles Mathews personated different 



102 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

mendicants who had assailed us for alms on our route in 
the morning, and of whom he gave such perfect imita- 
tions in the evening, that some of the party who had 
previously bestowed their charity reproached the sup- 
posed beggar for again demanding it on the same day." 

Out of the many distinguished people it was my 
ood fortune to be associated with, there were three who 

o * 

were my especial favourites, and with whom I kept up 
constant companionship the ever genial Dr. Quiii/" who, 
up to this day, more than fifty years (but what are fifty 
years to either of us !) has preserved his faculty of 
imparting cheerfulness to all his friends by his inex- 
haustible flow of fun and good humour, while by his 
skill and science he has alleviated their bodily sufferings ; 
the witty, lively Dr. Madden, at that time as full of 
animal spirits as of mental acquirements, and who was 
my fidus Achates upon all occasions ; and dear old, kind, 
gay Sir William Gell, who while wheeling himself about 
the room in his chair, for he was unable to walk a 
step without help, alternately kept his friends on the 
broad grin with his whimsical sallies and droll anecdotes, 
and instructed them from the stores of his wonderful 
archaeological knowledge and practical experience, always 
as pleased and ready to impart his instructive informa- 
tion as they were to receive it at one moment playing 
on a rough Greek double flute to his dog (who was an 

* Dr. Quin survived Mathews only a few months, and died in 
November, 1878. 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 103 

accomplished singer) with as much gravity as if really 
accompanying a celebrated virtuoso, and the next 
turning over his endless portfolios, and illustrating their 
treasures by viva voce comments. His talent for rapid 
sketching was remarkable, and the accuracy with which 
he could put upon paper from memory anything he had 
casually seen was most extraordinary, his drawings 
bearing minute comparison afterwards with the objects 
themselves. I have a rough sketch of his from memory, 
while describing the strange bas-reliefs discovered by 
Angell and Harris at Girgenti, which he had only 
seen once for a few moments, as perfect as if carefully 
drawn with the sculptures before him. His hand was as 
big as a leg of mutton and covered with chalkstones, 
and yet he could handle a pencil or a reed-pen with the 
greatest delicacy and precision. His elegant work 011 
Pompeii was the first, and has remained the best that has 
been published. 

Gigi Pereira, only son of Count Giuseppe Pereira, 
was a young Sicilian, and one of the handsomest 
men I ever saw. He was, I believe, a cousin of 
Prince Butera and Prince Lardaria. His father was 
immensely rich, had long resided in England, and 
had sent his son to Eton. He was a wild youth, 
and squandered his father's money in every conceivable 
way, and at the death of the old count ran through the 
fortune he had inherited in an incredible short space of 
time. After losing thousands upon English race-courses, 



104 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEAVS. [CHAP. 

he had finished up his career at rouge-et-noir and rou- 
lette, and had returned to his native Sicily without a 
sou. When I first met him at Naples, he was as full 
of fun and frolic as if he had just won a fortune instead 
of lost one, and talked about his escapades with the 
greatest gusto. Over the gate of his palazzo, two miles 
from Palermo, he had inscribed in gold letters the cele- 
brated despatch of Frangois I. : " Tout est perdu fors 
rhonneiir." I suggested that a more appropriate inscrip- 
tion under the circumstances would be, " Rien ne va 
plus" which alteration he swore he would adopt, and 
was quite capable of doing. He told me that on his 
last day at Epsom he had lost an awful sum to an 
American, and confessed to him candidly that he could 
not pay. The American of course thought he was 
joking, but replied seriously : " Oh, you can't pay, can't 
you ? Well, we shall see. But I tell you this if you 
present yourself at Tattersall's on Monday without the 
money I shoot you at sight. What do you say to that ?" 
" Nothing," said Gigi ; " but that it would be more 
convenient to me if, instead of at sight, you could make 
it at three or six months." 

Nearly fifty years later I read this reply quoted in a 
letter to a London paper as having just been made in 
Paris. As Puff says : " Two people happened to think 
of the same thing, only Gigi, like Shakespeare, used it 
first." 

Dr. Madden, in his "Life of Lady Blessington," 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 105 

refers to our acquaintance in such flattering language 
that I cannot resist the temptation of inserting it here. 
In courts of justice, evidence to character is always 
received, and I don't know why I should debar myself 
from the criminal's privilege : 

" When I made the acquaintance of Charles Mathews, 
at Naples, he was scarcely twenty years of age. He 
sketched admirably, made a study of his profession, was 
full of humour, vivacity, and drollery, but gentlemanlike 
withal ; marvellously mercurial, always in motion, and 
his mind ever as actively engaged as his body. But, 
with all his buoyancy of spirits, and in the very height 
of his drollery and merriment in the society of Belvedere 
Palace, where all the elite of foreign society were wont 
to congregate, he never forgot himself for a moment, or, 
by the extraordinary vivacity of his humour, his sudden 
sallies of sportiveness in the way of epigrams, im- 
promptus, witticisms, all sorts of grotesque antics, and 
ridiculous pranks and gambols gave offence to any 
human being. He was certainly one of the most steady, 
well-conducted, sprightly persons of his age, one of the 
most innocently amusing and legitimately entertaining 
young men in society I ever met with. His talents as 
a draughtsman were far above mediocrity. In archi- 
tectural drawings he excelled. A sketch of his, of the 
exterior of the Belvedere Palace, displaying the colon- 
nade and verandah of the front facing the Bay of 
Naples, possesses considerable merit and interest for all 



106 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

acquainted with the place and the people who gave 
celebrity to it. He displayed peculiar cleverness in 
catching the salient points and outre characteristics of 
remarkable Neapolitan personages who figured in the 
courts, as story-tellers on the Molo, as Policinello in the 
Theatre of San Carlino, as cantatrici on the boards of 
San Carlo, and as street preachers, holding forth in the 
evening, on stools and rickety tables, to the lazzaroni, 
on the pier at Naples. Of his talent for composing vers 
de society, burlesque poetry, and epigrams, the frequenters 
of the Villa Belvedere, in 1824 and 1825, must have a 
lively recollection. Special specimens of these were 
given me in the former year, in Naples, by Mr. Mathews. 
In that year an occurrence took place, of an unpleasant 
nature, between Mathews and D'Orsay, which was at- 
tended with some grave results. I will only observe, in 
reference to the subject, that I consented to interfere in 
this misunderstanding, with a determination, if possible, 
to bring it to a peaceful issue, and that I contemplated 
then the possibility of another result to a misunderstand- 
ing, that became a subject of such an explanation, very 
differently to the way in which I now regard it ; believing, 
as I do now, that the last recourse to pistols or swords 
in a controversy between parties who disagree in their 
opinions of one another, and give expression to their 
opinions inconsiderately, and angrily, and offensively, 
for the vindication of their sentiments, or from an appre- 
hension of what others may think of them, is neither an 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 107 

evidence of the highest wisdom, the truest courage, nor 
the firmest belief in Christianity itself." 

The " occurrence of an unpleasant nature " between 
D'Orsay and myself to which Dr. Madden alludes, was 
the only cloud that darkened the bright period of my 
visit. It was a summer storm, and cleared the air, not 
only for the moment, but for ever after. It was occa- 
sioned by one of those unaccountable outbreaks that 
defy explanation ; so unlike anything that I had ever 
seen before, and which I never saw repeated, that I can 
only look back upon it as a bit of temporary madness. 

Count D'Orsay and I had been, from the first 
moment of our acquaintance, I may say without ex- 
aggeration, bosom friends. We were about the same 
age, and our daily occupations were in common. Fen- 
cing, pistol-shooting, swimming, riding, drawing, reading, 
all were shared together. It is true that in everything 
I felt myself more like his pupil than his equal ; but this 
modesty on my side never for a moment drew from him 
the slightest manifestation of the superiority he could not 
but be aware that he possessed. Our good understand- 
ing, however, was doomed to be interrupted, and though 
happily only for a time, for the time matters were made 
excessively disagreeable. 

One morning, after breakfast, Lord Blessmgton pro- 
posed a sail to Castellamare in the Bolivar, a yacht he 
had bought from Lord Byron, and of which he was very 
proud. Now the fact was that these perpetual sailings 



108 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEAVS. [CHAP. 

bored us all dreadfully Lord Blessing-ton, I verily 
believe, as much as anyone else ; at any rate, he never 
seemed to relish the sport without company, and, like 
many yachting men, would put up } faute de mieux, with 
companions on board that he would not tolerate for five 
minutes on shore. 

It was an awfully hot day, with scarcely a breath of 
wind ; and though his " skipper," the enthusiastic 
Captain Smith, assured us that we should have a de- 
lightful run across the bay, we had no faith. As a 
" delightful run across the bay " had more than once 
resulted in our being becalmed for three or four hours on 
our return, leaving us half dead with heat and ennui, 
the proposition was not met with the alacrity it merited. 
The ladies were " afraid of the heat," and D'Orsay 
simply declined the infliction, so his lordship retired to 
his room in high dudgeon, but not to be deterred from 
his day's yachting. 

Greatly put out by the objection of Lady Blessington 
and her sister to accompany him, and by D'Orsay 's flat 
refusal to be bored out of his life, he fell back upon my 
society as a dernier ressort. But even I unfortunately 
was ready with an excuse had a sketch, which I was 
very anxious to make, and, unless he absolutely desired 
it, had rather not lose the opportunity. 

" As you please," said he. "I only hope you will 
really carry out your intention ; for even your friend 
Count D'Orsay says that you carry your sketch-book 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 109 

with you everywhere, but that you never bring back 
anything in it." 

Piqued at this remark, I turned on my heel and 
made no reply, leaving his lordship to his day's sail 
alone. 

In the afternoon the rest of the party started for a 
drive. We were all four a little glum, I fancied, on the 
occasion, and I have since surmised that Lady Bles- 
sington had been lecturing D'Orsay for his selfishness 
and want of courtesy in not acceding to Lord Blessing- 
ton's wishes. For this, or some other reason, he was 
evidently out of humour, and we drove on for some time 
in silence. At last, at an unlucky moment, and probably 
with too great a degree of bitterness, for I was still 
smarting under the injustice of the accusation which had 
been brought against me, I broke ground : 

" I have to thank you, Count D'Orsay, for the high 
character you have given me to Lord Blessington, with 
regard to my diligence." 

" Comment ! " said the Count. 

I saw the fire flashing in his eyes, and changed my 
tone : " I should have been more gratified had you men- 
tioned to me, instead of to his lordship, anything you 
might have " 

"Vous etes un mauvais blagueur, par Dieu, la plus 
grande bete et blagueur que j'ai jamais rencontre, et la 
premiere fois que vous me parlez comme a, je vous 
casserai la tete et je vous jetterai par la fenetre." 



110 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Such words as these, before two ladies and the 
servants, I did not conceive were answerable, and 
remained silent. Lady Blessington, in order to end the 
affair, said : " Count D'Orsay, I beg you to remember I 
am present, and that such language is not exactly what 
I should have expected before me." 

"Pardieu," said the Count, and, I regret to say, 
proceeded to lengths in reply to her ladyship passing 
all I had believed possible. After walking in the garden 
with Lady Blessington a short time, we entered the 
house, and each retired to his own room. In my room 
I received the following note from the Count : 

"Si vous aviez une idee du monde, vous sauriez 
qu'il est indispensable d'y connoitre sa place ; ainsi done 
c'est une chose qu'avant tout vous devriez apprenclre. 
Vous vous eviteriez par ce moyen la peine d'apprendre 
que Tamitie qu'on a pour vous n'est pas une excuse 
pour prendre un ton qu'on est oblige de rabaisser, 
surtout lorsqu'il s'adresse a une personne qui n'oublie 
pas ce qu'il est. 

" Avec un ton comme il faut vous eussiez appris 
qu'en conversation avec milady devant milord, nous fimes 
1'observation que vous aviez laisse echapper 1'occasion de 
faire des esquisses a Capree, et qui plus est, qu'il etoit 
dommage que vous ne pratiquiez pas davantage le 
dessin. Si dans ces mots vous trouvez de quoi etre 
offense, je ne m'y connais plus, et comme ces mots 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. Ill 

n'avoient et(5 dits qu'en conversation par milady a moi, 
j'etois loin de pcnser que vous en seriez fache. An 
surplus, sur aucun point, vous n'avez le droit de prendre 
un air d'arrogance en me reprochant mes paroles sur un 
ton inconvenant. Vous m'avez mis dans la cruelle neces- 
site de vous remettre trop fortement a votre place, mais 
vous auriez tout evite, en sacbant a qui vous parliez."* 

This note I thought best to leave unanswered till the 
morning, fearing that I might, from the feeling of the 
moment, act against my sober judgment. In the 
morning I despatched the note in answer, which I 
received back again enclosed in an envelope, with the 
letter that follows mine. 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO COUNT D'ORSAY.* 

" ler Aoiit, 1824. 

" MONSIEUR LE COMTE, 

" J'ai dormi et rdflechi sur votre lettre et sur les 
paroles dont vous m'avez honore hier, et comme il me 
semble que ni la noblesse ni la force superieure vous 
donne le droit de m'insulter aussi fortement devant des 
dames, et surtout devant des domestiques, j'espere que 
vous ne me refuserez pas la satisfaction que je me trouve 
force a vous demander. 

" Monsieur le Comte, j'ai 1'honneur d'etre, 

" Votre serviteur, 

"C. J. M." 

* See Appendix. 



112 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 



COUXT D'ORSAY TO CHARLES j. MATHEWS.* 

"Votre lettre prouve encore le pen de cormoissance 
que vous avez du monde, car vous saurez qu'on ne finit 
pas une lettre sur un ton aussi leger, et comme j'espere 
que toute cette querelle sera bonne a quelque chose, 
profitez deja de cet avis. 

" Pour la satisfaction que vous desirez, je vous la 
donnerai tant qu'il vous plaira. Designez le lieu, les 
armes, enfin tout ce que vous croirez le plus convenable 
a votre satisfaction personnelle. Je vous renvoie votre 
lettre parcequ'elle n'est pas sur un ton qui m'engage a la 



garder. 



J'ai 1'honneur de vous saluer, 

" CTE. D'ORSAY." 



I immediately set off for Naples on receipt of this 
letter, to the house of Mr. Madden, who promised, 
before I made known the affair, or mentioned any 
names, to act as my second on the occasion. I then 
stated the circumstances, and he advised me, in order 
that nothing might be suspected by the rest of the 
family, to return to Belvedere, while he conducted the 
business. On arriving, I found this precaution useless, 
for, in my absence, Count D'Orsay had written to 
Lord B. to ask him to become his second. This Lord B. 
informed me of, saying, of course, that he could have 

* See Appendix. 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 113 

nothing of the sort to do with two of his guests, and all 
he could feel was sorrow that the occurrence should 
have taken place. Finding the object of my return 
frustrated, and thinking it not quite agreeable to sit at 
table with the Count, I determined to stay in town till 
the affair was concluded. Almost as soon as I got there, 
I received the following note from Lord Blessing-ton : 

" Sunday. 

"My DEAR MATHEWS, 

" I considered it proper to state to Count 
D'Orsay, that I could not take any part in the very 
disagreeable affair that has taken place, except that of a 
mediator. I assured Count D'Orsay that you had no 
intention of speaking to him in an improper tone, or 
questioning him in an impetuous or disrespectful manner. 
The Count had imagined the contrary, and meant to 
express that if you did not change your tone towards 
him, that he would have recourse to violence ; for the 
use of any words beyond the expression of such inten- 
tions he says as follows: 'Si j'ai employe plus de 
paroles qu'il e'toit suffisant pour lui exprimer mes 
intentions j'en suis facheV The Count says also: 'Je 
n'ai pas eu 1'idee de le rebaisser dans ses propres yeux.' 
The Count acknowledges to me his regret for the 
quarrel and the violence of his temper. That violence 
has not yet sufficiently subsided to make him perceive 
fully to what improper lengths his violence has carried 
him ; but as you declared to me that you had no 

VOL. I. I 



114 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

intention of speaking improperly, and the Count declares 
he spoke from misconception, and is sorry for language 
used in anger, and without intention of lowering you in 
your personal esteem, I should wish you to speak further 
on the subject to your friend before you take any steps 
which must make -the breach wider. Having consulted 
Mr. Madden, I am sure he will give you the best advice, 
and you can this evening let me know his sentiments. 

"I cannot conclude without repeating that you were 
highly to blame in speaking on the subject at all, 
however deeply I regret the consequences that have 
arisen from your ill-timed and injudicious appeal. 

" I wish I had sufficient influence over the Count to 
persuade him to say everything consoling to you, but 
his having denied the intention of wounding your 
feelings must be so far satisfactory, and 'evil words 
hurt only the speaker.' 

" Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

" BLESSINGTON. 

"Excuse the haste of this scrawl; you may guess 
why I hasten it." 

Having handed this letter over to Madden, he told 
me that the note was all very well for Lord Blessington 
to write, but that he could not receive it as anything 
regular from the Count, and that he did not consider 
my honour would be satisfied by it ; as therefore, he did 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 115 

not imagine that it at all interfered with a letter he 
had written to the Count, he despatched the following 
instantly to him : 

B. R. MADDEN TO COUXT D'ORSAT. 

" Naples, August, 1824. 

" MONSIEUR LE COMTE, 

" On a subject of importance, I can hardly 
trust to my bad French ; I therefore have recourse 
to the only language I can distinctly make myself 
understood in. 

" If I felt less embarrassed in addressing you on the 
subject of a late unhappy misunderstanding between 
you and Mr. Mathews, I should hope to be able to 
convince you that the character of an officious man 
cannot be more disagreeable in your eyes than it is in 
mine, and that I have undertaken the office of mediator 
on the present occasion (though not without reluctance) 
not less from my friendship for Mr. M. than from my 
high respect for you. I should have done so indeed, 
even had I not stood committed to Mr. M. by promise, 
before I was acquainted with the name of his antagonist, 
when I considered that the expose to a stranger of this 
misunderstanding might be prevented by the inter- 
ference of a mutual acquaintance. 

"Pardon me, Monsieur le Comte, if I presume to 
offer a few words in the way of counsel and observation. 

i 2 



116 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

I have too high an opinion of your understanding to 
fear you will be offended by receiving them when 
honestly given, even from an humbler individual than 
myself. 

" I can very well conceive some momentary annoy- 
ance (the cause of which might not be apparent to 
Mr. M.) extorting from you those expressions, which 
no gentleman should hear in the presence of a lady, 
although, in a cooler moment, in all probability, by you 
forgotten or regretted. I can very well understand, in 
your observation about Mr. M.'s neglect with respect to 
drawing, &c., the friendliness of your intentions, but 
permit me to add, if what followed had been sup- 
pressed, the feelings of Mr. M. had been spared a severe 
trial. 

" Depend upon it, Monsieur le Comte, that persons 
of inferior rank are ever tremblingly alive even to an 
imaginary slight or insult from a superior ; and when 
you reflect that the epithets that stand for limits of 
separation between noble and plebeian are but arbitrary 
distinctions between man and man, you will best consult 
the nobility of your nature by practising the honourable 
condescension of a brave man, by making a trifling 
atonement for a hasty injury. 

" It is with a full knowledge of your manly spirit 
that I demand an acknowledgment, on the part of 
Mr. M., of your having been betrayed by anger into 
those hasty expressions, which only those who do not 



iv.] FIKST VISIT TO ITALY. 117 

know you could think of attributing to intentional 
incivility. 

" I have the honour to be, Monsieur le Comte, with 
the highest respect, 

"Your obedient, humble Servant, 

"K. R. MADDEN." 

Madden's letter I thought very coolly written, and 
if anything could brino; the Count to a sense of his beino- 

/ O O 5 

wrong, it was that ; though, to own the truth, I con- 
sidered him. of so hot and violent a temper, and so 
accustomed to swords and pistols from his quarrels in 
his regiment, that I was perfectly prepared for the event. 
In the evening came his answer, as follows : 

"MoN CHER MR. MADDEN, 

" Je suis tres loin d'etre fache' que Mr. Mathews 
vous ait choisi pour son temoin, ma seule crainte eut ete 
qu'ii en choisit un autre. 

"Je suis aussi tres loin d'etre offense d'un de vos 
avis. Lorsque j'estime quelqu'un, son opinion est 
toujours bien recue. 

" L'affaire, comme vous savez, est tres simple dans le 
principe. On me fit la question si Mathews avait dessine 
a Capree ; je dis que non, mais qu'il emportoit toujours 
ses crayons et son album pour ne rien faire que cela 
etoit dommage avec ses grandes dispositions. Lord 
Blessington n'a pas eu le courage de lui representer sans 



118 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

y meler mon nom, et Matliews a pris la chose avec moi 
sur un ton si haut que j'ai etc* oblige de le rabaisser, 
apres lui avoir exprime que ce n'etoit que par interet 
pour lui que j'avois fait cette representation. II a 
continue' sur le meme ton ; je lui dis alors que la 
premiere fois qu'il prendroit un ton scmblable avec moi 
je le jetterois hors de la voiture et lui casserois la tete. Je 
vous re'pete mot pour mot cette altercation. La seule 
difference que j'ai fait entre lui et un autre, c'est que 
je n'ai fait que dire, ce que j'aurois fait certainement 
vis-a-vis d'un autre qui prendroit ce ton avec moi. Si j'ai 
accompagne' mon projet d'avenir de mots offensants et 
inconvenants, j'en suis aussif&che pour lui que pour moi, 
car c'est me manquer a moi-meme que d'user des mots 
trop violents. 

" Pour votre observation sur la difference des rangs, 
elle est inutile, car jamais je n'attaclie d'importance au 
rang qui se trouve souvent compromis par tant de betes. 
Je juge les personnes pour ce qu'elles sont, sans m'iuformer 
que c'e'toient leurs ancetres, et si mon superieur eut 
employe la meme maniere de me reprocher qu'a pris 
Matliews, j'aurois surement fait ce que je n'ai fait que 
dire a, Mathews, qui j'aime beaucoup trop pour le 
rabaiseer a ses propres yeux. II seroit ridicule a moi 
de ne pas avouer que j'ai tort de lui avoir dit des 
paroles trop fortes, mais en meme temps je ne veux pas 
nier mes paroles, c'est-a-dire, mon projet de voiture, 
&c. Si Matliews veut satisfaction, je lui donnerai 



iv.] FIRST VISIT TO ITALY. 119 

tant qu'il lui plaira, tout en lui sacliant bon gre de vous 
avoir choisi pour son temoin. 

" Cette affaire est aussi desagreahle pour vous que 
pour nous tous, mais au moins elle n'alt^rera pas Taniitie 
de votre tout devoue, 

CTE. D'ORSAY."* 

This cleverly worded note Madden handed to me, 
and I returned it to him without a word. I was deter- 
mined that I would leave everything to Madden, who I 
was convinced would not compromise me in any way. 
When he had read it again, he wrote a fitting answer to 
the Count, the copy of which has been lost. 

In the evening, Madden advised me to return to the 
Belvedere, and give my hand to Count D'Orsay. After 
thanking him for his friendship I went home, but finding 
the letter had not been delivered then, I waited in my 
room till twelve o'clock, when, seeing that there was no 
chance of the Count's getting it till morning, I went to 
bed. 

Next morning I went as usual to the drawing- 
room, and, in a few minutes, the Count came in. I 
rose and gave him my hand, which he received very 
cordially, and said : " J'espere, mon . cher Mathews, 
que vous etes satisfait. Je suis bien fache' pour ce que 

je vous ai dit, mais j'etais'en colere et " Mon cher 

Comte," said I, " n'en parlous plus, je vous en prie, je 

* See Appendix. 



120 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. iv. 

1'ai tout-a-fait oublieV' He then put his arm round my 
neck, and I felt as happy at the noble manner in which 
he acknowledged his fault, as at the reconciliation. 

The morning of the 4th of August having gone on as 
usual, I entered the drawing-room, where Lady B. was 
lying on the sofa very unwell. Miss Power was there and 
Count D'Orsay near her. As I entered, I perceived the 
Count in tears, and as I approached, he said to me : 
" Mon cher Mathews, je vous demande encore l>ien 
pardon, devant milady, pour ce que je vous ai dit 1'autre 
jour, et je vous prie seulement une chose, c'est que vous 
1'oublierez tout-a-fait. Vous me le promettez, n'est ce 
pas ? " I was quite affected at his manner, and assured 
him over and over again,, that it had long been banished 
from my thoughts. 

Thus ended this unhappy business, for which no one 
could be more sorry than myself, though I am quite 
convinced that Count D'Orsay, whenever he reflected 
upon it, will have perfectly exculpated me from the 
charge of having taken one step beyond what was neces- 
sary, or what he would himself have done under similar 
circumstances. 



CHAPTER Y. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 

THE EARL OF BLESSIXGTOX TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

"Palazzo Belvedere, Vomero, Dec. 22, 1823. 

" MY DEAR MATHEWS, 

" Short life to this dirty clay, although it is the 
shortest, for it is a dirty day, and we had twins, resem- 
bling it, i.e. one day after the other, translated for the 
benefit of Mrs. M., who has not been in Ireland. 

" Firstly, I must mention that I promised to write 
for Charles until his return, and indisposition as well as 
the necessity of answering Irish letters prevented my 
doing so by Friday's post. 

" I have, however, taken advantage of a letter to 
the Due de Gruiche and begged him to forward yours 
through the Count de Polignac, ambassador in London. 

" Secondly, I must acknowledge the pleasure I 
received from reading your amusing, travelled letter. 

" Having said thus much it behoves me, dramatic 
sir, to give you some account of the youth you consigned 
to my care. His health has, generally speaking, been 



122 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

extremely good. He had a slight attack at Milan after 
partaking of the Devil's Kagout, dressed by a German 
mixer of eatables. 

" He had another slight attack here, but went to bed 
when we went to dinner, but returned to the charge 
when he heard we were going to supper. That short 
attack I attributed to his bad living while at Pompeii, so 
that his mother may be satisfied that his general health 
is improving. Of his employ at Pompeii he has in- 
formed you, and he is now at Psestum with the same 
party. We have had some bad weather since he left us, 
but as he has probably established his head quarters at 
Salerno, he can go on with his architectural operations. 
I am very sure he will one day be very eminent. His 
drawing is beautiful, and he is extremely accurate. 

" I think from his appearance and manners that he 
has been very happy both on the road and since his 
arrival. Our companion, Sir Charles Sutton, who is now 
at Malta, has taken a strong liking to him, and Count 
D'Orsay says he is an amiable gar$on. 

" There is only one thing which has occurred since 
our arrival which would throw a gloom over his 
visions, and which I therefore have not informed 
him of. 

" I discovered that Lady B. did not like our plan, 
and so without arguing the topic I determined upon 
abandoning it. Knowing also how difficult if not im- 
possible it is to do anything which everybody likes, I de- 



v.] COEEESPONDENTCE, 1823-1824. 123 

termined to make a residence out of my present cottage 
which everybody dislikes. 

" Foreseeing this impediment before my departure, I 
gave orders to build two rooms with three over them, in 
which I paid no attention to architectural decoration, 
and next year I shall pull down the remaining part of 
the thatch and stick up some more rooms. Now I know 
this will not please either my wife or Mr. Norman, nor 
your son, but I am encouraged in it by considering that 
I have laid out on the cottage several thousand pounds, 
that I have there between built and building nineteen 
rooms and a stable, dairies, larders, &c. I do not say any- 
thing to Charles, for sufficient to the day is the evil thereof, 
and when he sees what I have done and what I mean to 
do and will take a share in the last dying stroke, I am. 
at his service. Keep this unto yourself. The balance 
to Charles must be that he has seen Ireland and out of 
Ireland rose France and Italy, nay more, for his wishes 
of not returning until a later period than May will be 
realised, for after leaving Rome we purpose visiting 
Sicily, Malta, the Ionian Isles, Venice, the Tyrol, the 
Rhine, Brussels, and home. I really think it will be of 
the greatest service to him, for he has an inquiring mind, 
and after all there is nothing so useful as leaving home 
when the mind is imbued with virtuous principles. 
This is happily for him his case, and with virtue for the 
basis, and honour and gentlemanly feelings to direct and 
aid talent, he has also, which is a blessing to you both, 



124 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

the most sincere love, admiration, and regard for his 
mother and you. 

" When you are in low spirits think of that and it 
will revive you. Think also that he is with those who 
cherish for you both the sincerest friendship, esteem, 
and regard. With Lady B's. affectionate regards to 
Mrs. M., add mine in the warmest and most respectful 
manner. 

" I remain, your sincere Friend, 

" BLESSIXGTOX. 

" C. M. is making very great progress in Italian, is 
very tractable, attentive to good manners, obliging, good- 
humoured, cheerful, and amusing." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Belvedere, January 16th, 1824. 

" MY DEAR MOTHER, 

" Your few lines enclosed in Lady Blessington's 
letter arrived on Friday last, our twelfth day, and gave 
me fresh spirits for the whole evening, and also to our 
dear friends. The night went off much better than I 
could have expected, considering that there was no 
previous arrangement. Lady Blessington was dressed 
as an old lady in an embroidered silk gown, a cap, 
and a quantity of curls in front, powdered. I never 
in my life saw anything so perfectly beautiful. I 
would have given a hundred pounds for you to have 



v.] COKKESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 125 

seen her. You never saw such a darling as she was, 
altogether. Miss Power was dressed in a pair of my 
white trousers, buff waistcoat, and blue frock coat, with 
beard, mustachoes, royal, eyebrows made with cork, 
and was introduced as a young Spanish gentleman. 
Her appearance was quite complete. I was disguised as a 
nice old doctor, in imitation of my father's head 
in ' Old Pillage,' bald and powdered, with black net 
breeches, white silk stockings, and large buckles. I 
never did anything so well to my own fancy ; I sang 
' One Hundred Years Ago/ and a little extempore song 
in character which had great effect. Next as a quaker 
with song, and lastly, as a sailor with black face and 
hands, and powdered hair and eyebrows. You never 
saw so good a figure. Altogether, we never passed a 
more agreeable evening. ... I still am, my dear 

mother, 

"Your most affectionate Son, 

" C. J. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MBS. MATHEWS. 

" Belvedere, January 22nd, 1824. 

"MY DEAR MOTHER, 

" I have received all your welcome letters up to 
December 12th, from Barham, which arrived yesterday, 
and gave me great pleasure to hear of my father's 
success. I was a long time unsettled on account of not 
getting them ; but now I am under a regular range of 



126 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

fire, receiving them without fail every week. I am 
afraid that during the last month mine have not been 
quite so exact ; but circumstances so occurred that it 
was quite impossible to avoid it, being unable to send 
anything from Pompeii or Psestum ; indeed, the possi- 
bility of writing or of doing anything else was totally 
precluded at the latter place, for I suppose no poor 
victims ever underwent what we did there. When we 
arrived, after visiting the most magnificent and imposing 
remains in the world, we began to look about for 
quarters, and, finding that the nearest villages were 
three, six, and twelve miles off which would have been 
a very inconvenient distance for us who wished to be 
always on the spot we examined the few huts that are 
erected near the temples, one of which is dignified by 
the name of locanda, or inn, but immediately pro- 
nounced them all impossible. We then proceeded up 
the mountains to Capeccio, the nearest village, but 
found it nearly as wretched as the huts below. We 
learnt, however, that there was here a rich Franciscan 
convent, where the be-beds were go-good and the monks 
li-live well, but upon stating our case and requesting 
permission to be received there for a week we were 
positively refused. 'Why,' said I to the dirty bald- 
pated superior, ' we were allowed rooms at the Bene- 
dictine convent at Cava, without any difficulty ! ' 
'Ay,' said he in return, 'the Benedictines are fools 
enough to practise charity, we don't.' Thus buffeted about 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 127 

we were obliged to turn to the miserable locanda below, 
and spent a week there as agreeably as it is possible to 
be conceived, though in this instance it is much easier 
to be described. Our room was about ten feet square, 
whitewashed, without glass or shutters to the large 
holes that served at the same time for windows and 
chimneys, the smoke having no other mode of escape 
than through our sitting - room. The door had no 
fastening whatever, so that we were continually 
intruded upon during our meals by the large black 
pigs and young buffaloes who formed part of the family 
circle in the adjoining chamber. Our delicate fare con- 
sisted of pig baked with the bristles on, buffaloes' 
hearts, and cheese made from their milk, with occa- 
sionally a starved tough old cock filled with garlic and 
fennel, and surrounded by boiled chestnuts; vtmesourrerr 
than ivarges, and water, which assists in causing the 
malaria at Psestum, or Pest-o, as the Italians more 
properly pronounce it ; some black beans boiled by way 
of coffee, and of which they are very fond, with some 
disgustingly-flavoured macaroni and black bread, was our 
luxurious breakfast. No beds whatever, and for a whole 
week I never took off" my clothes, but laid down in them, 
wrapped in my cloak and covered with dirty sacks. As 
the water, bad as it was, was very scarce, we could only 
wash our face and hands, then only partially, every 
other day. Our eyes were all red with the smoke that 
continually surrounded us. After the second day of 



128 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

sun, the rain began to pour in torrents and lasted out 
the week, frequently confining us to our miserable hole, 
without the power of drawing or amusing ourselves but 
by singing with our eyes shut and segars in our mouths, 
for this accomplishment of smoking is absolutely neces- 
sary to keep off any bad effects of the air, which is 
always in some degree prevalent before and after sunset, 
though not dreaded as in the months of June, July, 
and August. Knives were never heard of in these back 
settlements, and it was with great difficulty we could 
procure even a fork, which, being of iron and rather a 
classical form, I have brought off as a relic. To make 
short of a long history for it might be a great deal 
longer we were as happy as we possibly could be in our 
miserable state ; at the same time, to own the truth, I 
cannot say I was at all sorry to return to Belvedere. 
However, the beauty of the temples far outweighed the 
scale of our griefs, for nothing that remains in any part of 
the world are so grand and so perfect. I have measured 
them all in the most exact manner, and have made 
several sketches of them. You have no idea how much 
more I have done in the way of my profession than I 
intended to do. I have been constantly employed in it 
ever since I arrived. Our Italian gets on excellently. 
I can converse with the greatest ease and fluency, and 
ask for almost everything I want, for I have been 
studying on Dufief 's plan, which I am convinced is the 
best of all. 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 129 

" I have made a most valuable acquaintance here, I 
believe I told you, of Sir William Gell ; Keppel Craven 
is also here and a very agreeable man. Did I tell you 
of Lord Arthur Hill's having been here, a friend of my 
father's, at Cambray ? I am most probably going in three 
weeks hence to Metapontum, in Calabria, where are 
remains of some Doric temples that have never yet been 
drawn by any architects. Lord B. has determined to 
stay here two months longer, and there is great talk of 
going into Egypt, as Lady B. has a very great desire to 
see the Pyramids.. She wishes to know what would be 
your opinion about my going too. I tell her I am 
sure that wherever I go with her you will be perfectly 
satisfied. Have I not said right ? Also in your next 
letter will you say that whatever Lord Blessington may 
advance in the way of money you will approve of ? for 
though of what was mentioned to him not half is yet 
expended, yet of course, as our stay is lengthened, it 
must in time diminish. You may depend upon my being 
as economical as possible, though it is absurd to suppose 
there is no way of spending anything here. They all 
desire their kindest love to you and my father, to whom, 
of course, my best love. Count D'Orsay is rather piqued 
at your saying nothing about him in your last letters, 
and desires me to send his love. I tell him that if you 
were to hear him speak English which he does in 
the prettiest manner that you could not refrain 
from kissing him. I hope you are enjoying your- 

YOL. I. K 



130 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

selves at this season, as we are here, with all sorts 
of fun. 

" Believe me, my dearest Mother, 

" Your most affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS. 

"P.S. The Delphin Classics I wish of all things to 
be continued from Mr. Hunter, St. Paul's Churchyard. 
If that Pausanias of which you spoke is still to be had, 
pray buy it instantly, as I find here what its real value 
is. I am very uneasy about my print of Trajan's Column, 
which, in the hurry of starting, was left at my stables in 
Tottenham Court Road (Mine's). Pray send directly 
about it. My dear mother, adieu. Love to all that you 
know I love." 



CHAKLES J. MATHEWS TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

"Crater of Vesuvius ! ! ! Jan. 23, 1824. 

" MY DEAR FATHER, 

" I flatter myself I have chosen a situation 
sufficiently piquant to write you a letter. Here I am 
on that mountain, the talk and wonder of the world, 
the terror of thousands ! not merely on it, but posi- 
tively in the crater ! in it ! ! ! surrounded with smoke 
and fire ! standing on ashes, cinders, brimstone, and 
sulphur ! ! How little are the people I look down upon 
at this moment ! they are like the Spanish fleet, they 



v.] COKEESPONDEI^CE, 1823-1824. 131 

cannot be seen ; the king and all the royal family, all 
the pomp of the world is lost ; all its vices, virtues, 
pleasures, pains, are forgotten. How truly may life be 
compared to a broomstick ! Now is the time, if ever 
it can arrive, that Seven Dials, and even Islington, is 
forgotten ! Now are the Tottenham, Olympic, and 
Eoyalty Theatres despised ! What a scene of horror is 
around me ! Fields of desolation, burning torrents, smoke, 
liquid fire, and every implement of destruction ! . . . 
I can no more ; I am overwhelmed with the magnificence 
of my own imagination, I sink under the terrors in- 
vented and embodied by my own poetical mind. Imme- 
diately below me is an extinguished crater, into which 
three years ago a Frenchman precipitated himself. He 
remained three days at a little hermitage on the 
mountain, and wrote some notes to his friends in Naples. 
His object, he said, was to collect stones and various 
specimens of lava, for the Eoyal Museum at Paris. On 
the third day he went out as usual to collect and 
examine the volcanic matter on the mountain, and on 
approaching this crater then in action desired the 
guide to fetch him a particular stone at a little dis- 
tance off, but on the instant of his turning his back, 
he threw himself headlong into the burning crater. 
The guide instantly ran to the spot, but only in time to 
see him thrown up, and immediately reduced to a cinder. 
His reason he left among his papers. He said he had 
long been disgusted with the world and had determined 

K 2 



132 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

to destroy himself, but that the last blow had been given 
him by a young lady, to whom he was much attached, 
having married in his absence, and contrary to her vows 
of fidelity to himself. 

"About halfway up the mountain is a hermitage, 
where we take some refreshment on our journey, which is 
necessary enough, for the labour is very great to arrive at 
the summit, walking on cinders, and each step that is taken 
brings the sufferer a yard lower than he was before. In 
the hermitage is an album, as usual in all show places, 
for fools to write nonsense in. I only found two bits 
worth copying. Les voild : 

" ' John Hallett of the Port of Poole, England, whent 
to Mount Vesuvius on the 20 of Oct. 1823, and I wood 
Recomend aney person that go ther to take a bottle of 
wine with them, for it his a dry place and verrey bad 
rode.' 

" ' 1823. I have witnessed the famous mountain of 
Vesuvius in Italy, and likewise the Wicklow mountains 
in Ireland which I prefer, they talk of the lava in a 
Palaver I little understand, and as for the crater, give 
me a drop of the swait Cratur of Dublin in preference. 
JAMES O'CONNOR.' 

" I write as you may suppose in high spirits, and 
conclude with saying that though you and your spouse 
are only my distant relations, that I shall always be 

entirely yours, 

" CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS." 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 133 

MRS. MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

" January 28th, 1824. 

"MY DEAR CHARLES, 

"After sealing the enclosed, I felt I had not 
sent so direct a request to Lord Blessington as, per- 
haps, may be comfortable to you, in case any addition 
should be requisite to your wishes or wants, beyond 
the sum he so kindly undertook to supply you with 
when you left England. Present, therefore, our most 
particular and respectful regards to his lordship, and 
say that he will add to the obligations already so 
freely conferred, if he will furnish you with whatever 
you find necessary and prudent to require during your 
happy sojourn with him, and this part of his goodness 
to you we can and will repay with more solid means 
than mere thanks, when we are so happy as to see him 
once more. Neither your father nor myself wish to 
restrict you, my dearest Charles, in anything that can 
afford you present gratification or future pleasure, and 
you will see your bounds, which you must not alto- 
gether measure by our will to make you happy, but 
by your own usual discretion, which we know from 
experience how to rely upon. Therefore, my dearest 
boy, make yourself quite easy, and get what your 
prudent wishes prompt. You must be assailed with 
numerous temptations to spend money, and we do not 
expect that you should pass everyone by, neither 
should we wish you to do so. 



134 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

" I must hasten to close this, as it is near the post 
hour. 

"Adieu, therefore, and may Heaven bless and pre- 
serve you, my dear, dear Charles. 

"A, M." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO CHAELES MATHEWS. 

" Belvedere, February 6th, 1824. 

"MY DEAR FATHER, 

" I have been waiting now more than a fort- 
night without receiving a letter from home, which I 
can't understand, as I know you are all so particular 
in writing. I hope, however, to-morrow, to receive 
one. We have all been rather dull this week, and 
have not set foot out of doors, on account of a severe 
and dangerous illness, which still confines Miss Power 
to her bed. It is an inward complaint which she has 
had for years without noticing, and has now come to 
a crisis. Within the last three days she has had on 
sixty leeches. I hope she is fast recovering. 

"Though I have not been out much this week, I 
think I shall amuse you by an extract from a letter 
that has been lent me to read, and which I cannot 
resist sending you. An Irishman, a few days ago, 
was walking on the Mole a fashionable promenade 
near the sea rather late in the evening, and was 
robbed of his watch and money by an Italian, upon 
which he writes the following letter to Sir Henry 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 135 

Lushington, English Consul at Naples, to recover his 
property : 

" ' SIR, 

" 'As the authority of Naples, and as Consul, 
I call on your protection, being an English, that is to 
say, an Irish subject, and being moreover robbed t'other 
evening of my watch and also of my money, without 
any provocation in the world. So without any more 
bother, I must be after telling you of the whole story, 
for unless you are tould about it, how can you com- 
prihind it ? As I said before, I am an English lieu- 
tenant, and was born in Ireland was your honour 
ever in Ballymahan ? Well, sir, it isn't there, but one 
side of it, where I live when I am at home. So I got 
up one morning early, with my new pair of brogues 
and braheens, and walked into a ship to see the Con- 
tinent. I need not tell you how squamish I was ; 
Mr. Quin (oh, bad luck to him) he can tell you all 
about my disorder, but don't b'lieve a word of him, 
your honour ; so I got into a mal de poste and walked 
over France, and found myself at Naples, and t'other 
evening I walks down to the Mole, where all the stone 
steps are (bad luck to them, it was there I was robbed 
and murdered). Oh, 'twas on a Friday, of all days 
in the year, and if I was to die to morrow, I'll never 
forget it, Mr. Lushington ; when up comes a gentleman 
in a big jock coat, and looking straight in my face 



136 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

as if he knew me all iny life, he bawled out (and his 
voice was none of the sweetest) : " Vostro dennaro." 
" Upon my word, sir," says I, " and to be sure, sir, you 
have the advantage of me, you're a foreigner, I see 
by your English ; but my name is not Gennaro, but 
Patrick Healy at your sarvice." So he laid hould on 
my breast and spoke more softly, saying : " Signior 

Patzienza " Signior Pat Shenesy, who the devil 

could he mean by Pat Shenesy ? " 'Pon my soul, sir," 
says I, "I know no more about him than the child 
unborn;" for the spalpeen frowned, and he had two 
large eyebrows for all the world like the Lord Chan- 
cellor, only he looked more like a gentleman ; so with 
that his choler rose, and my collar rose for he took 
me by the cape of the coat, and I felt his fingers 
getting tighter and tighter, remarkably near my wind- 
pipe, till I was quite suffocated and speechless, as I 
tould him, but it was all in vane. Did your honour 
ever hear Lord Castlereagh speak, before he left us 
in that ungentlemanly way ? Well, sir, this son of a 
gun. just talking as much of what no one could under- 
stand for what could any man mean by " Cacciatevi ? " 
it's more than I can tell you, Mr. Lushington ; but I 
know one thing, I once read a book called Shakspear, 
and it said as how one Mr. J. Falstaff knew a kino-'s 

o 

son by instinct and, by Jasus, by instinct I put my 
hand into my breeches pocket, and by so doing I put 
my foot in it, for the fellow cried " Bravo ! " and from 



v.] COEKESPONDEXCE, 1823-1824. 137 

that moment that he told me he was a bravo, I knew 
it was all over with me. I took out my purse, and 
he takes out my dollars, and, looking into the bottom 
of it, he says : " Poco, poco." "Oh, poke into it," says I, 
" as much as you like, but the devil a testher more you'll 
find," and with that he looked at me reproachfully, as 
if he wanted something else, and put a great big pen- 
knife within an inch of my body, but all to no use, for 
there was no more. Then he gives me back my purse 
all full of emptiness. " Ecco" he says, holding it up to 
me ; and "Where the blazes," says I, "am I to find the 
echo, when you haven't left me a single copper to 
make a jingle on a tomb- stone ?" Pray, sir, was you 
or Mrs. Lushington ever robbed with a penknife to 
your bodies ? If you was, you may think what an Irish 
stew I was in while I stood prostrate before him, and how 
the cold sweat came boiling from my veins ; but, how- 
ever, instead of putting his penknife into my interior, he 
put it into his own pocket, and I was nigh telling him 
what a nate noggin of potcheen we should have together, 
if ever I met the gentleman in Ireland, when oh, by 
the Lord, it was too bad ! the rascal spied a bit of my 
watch hanging out that is to say, the chain of it and 
without even having the manners to say, " By your leave, 
Mr. Healy," by the powers he fobbed it. Oh, there 
never was a better going till it was gone. So you see, 
Mr. Lushington, I was fairly robbed of all my personal 
property, and yet the greedy thief was not contented 



138 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

with my all, for the last word he said was "Partite" 
"What other part," says I, " are you talking about, when 
you have got the whole ? " So I ran away, and he ran 
before me, and I ran after him, and getting behind him 
I caught fast hold of his arms, but he pointed to the pen- 
knife, and I shook him off with a great deal to do, and 
few there are who would have acted with the same 
presence of mind and courage. I wasn't rash, but cool 
and determined that is, determined not to risk my 
precious body on so base an occasion; but the villain 
was afterwards taken up without giving myself any 
pains in the world, and my watch has been bandied 
about from one robber to another till it got into the 
hands of the police, which God send it a safe deliverance 
under the auspices of your honour, who I am sure will 
make them shell out in no time. So with my best com- 
pliments to Mrs. Lushington and all the family, I am, 

" ' Your humble Servant to command, 

" 'PADDY HEALY.' 

" Every word of this is genuine, and I think capital. 
I am at this moment engaged on a large drawing of 
Paestum, the wonder of the learned and curious. Every- 
body is delighted with it, which of course gives me the 
greatest pleasure, and therefore shall take the liberty of 
hinting that I am, with best love to my mother, 

" Your most affectionate Son, 

" CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS." 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 139 



CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Belvedere, February 13, 1824. 

" MY DEAR MOTHER, 

" I have been in the greatest anxiety for the last 
three weeks at not having received any letter from you, 
for, knowing your exactness in general, I supposed that 
something must have happened. Yesterday, however, 
to my great delight, three of yours, Jan. 1st, 12th, 22nd, 
arrived and quieted my mind, though it is amazingly 
provoking that, in spite of your exactitude, I am to be 
constantly harassed by the irregularity of a stupid 
Neapolitan Government. Nothing can be worse than 
the post-office of Naples. Lord Blessington has lately 
received a letter which, from their neglect, has been 
lying there since last March. I was thrown into the 
greatest confusion, and rendered almost delirious, by 
your dating one of your letters December 12th, instead 
of January 12th ; though, after much puzzling, my 
sagacity rectified the error, not but that in future I 
should decidedly advise you to adopt the plan of more 
carefully selecting the month. 

"This week has little interest from out-of-door 
events, for, from poor Shiver's illness, we are naturally 
caged for a time, which circumstance I am rather glad 
of, as it gives me an opportunity of working at my 
Psestum drawings. We have all been very amusing for 



140 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

lier sake, as the doctors have prescribed warm baths and 
laughing. The evening before last I dressed myself ' en 
docteur,' and arrived to prescribe for and see her. After 
sitting down and talking for some time, I desired to be 
excused for a moment, and took the nurse aside to ask 
her some questions in private. Nothing could be better 
than it was. The old woman answered every question 
in the most minute manner, and consulted me upon 
several subjects, not having the slightest suspicion of 
the farce we were playing upon her. Upon my again 
entering the room Count D'Orsay took her out to ask 
her what the doctor had said, and then sent her in again 
to ask some other question. In her absence I had taken 
off my wig and sat down as myself. Her astonishment 
was the most amusing thing in the world. She searched 
all round the room, and would not be convinced till I 
put on my wig again and spoke to her. The day after 
we had some persons to dinner, viz. Sir William Gell, 
Keppel Craven, Prince Lardaria, Count Lieven, and a 
Mr. Williams. Count Lieven is a handsome dashing 
young man, with moustachios, and son of Count Lieven, 
the Russian Ambassador. Prince Lardaria is a Sicilian 
nobleman, and is very intimate with Richard Wilson, 
and has often been at Bildeston. After dining with 
them I went up ' by particular desire of several persons 
of distinction/ and dressed myself as doctor again, and 
sent down word that I had visited Miss Power, and 
should be happy to pay my respects to her ladyship. 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE*, 1823-1824. 141 

Upon entering, they all rose, and a chair was placed for 
me amongst them in the drawing-room. After talking 
of my patient, the climate of Italy, &c., I was asked for 
the little song I had made the other day, alluding to 
' One Hundred Years Ago/ which I sung, and, after 
some more conversation, and many unintelligible anec- 
dotes and jokes, I took my leave, undiscovered by the 
strangers. When I returned, as myself, they all began 
to tell me of the * old bore ' that had been with them, 
and Count D'Orsay begged me to give them my imita- 
tion of the old pump's manner of singing. I sang the 
same song over again, precisely the same, and the imita- 
tion was pronounced good by all but the Prince, who 
wasn't quite satisfied with it, as he said ' it didn't give 
him the idea of so old a man,' to his great confusion 
afterwards, when he was told that it was the same 
person. The next morning I arranged my hair and put 
on moustachios, changing my dress and manner, and 
arrived at breakfast as Count Lieven. If you had seen 
Lady Blessington's elegant curtsy to me you would 
have died. You must suppose how much I was changed 
when I tell you that Count Lieven is a very handsome 
young man ! Miss Power had not seen him for a year, 
and yet took me for him the instant I entered her 
bedroom, quite ashamed that he should have been 
allowed to enter. . . . 

" Give my love to my dear father, and to the Listons, 
Phipps, E's, L's, F's, G's, A's, and to the whole alphabet 



142 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

of my friends ; but believe me that of them all my 
sincerest love is for U. 

" Your affectionate Son, 

"CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS." 

CHARLES MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

"Kentish Town, February 27th, 1824. 

" MY DEAR CHARLES, 

" I assure you that this is a great favour, and I 
hope you will appreciate it. I am obliged to write 
the greater part of the day and study until two in 
the morning, and, therefore, you may suppose that 
letter- writing is not exactly a relaxation from writing 
and copying matter intended for other people's amuse- 
ment. I cannot attempt to describe to you the hap- 
piness you have bestowed upon me by your very 
delightful letters. In the midst of all my troubles 
and anxieties and they have been great I have 
looked forward to the Thursday night that was to 
bring me four pages of consolation, with greatest 
avidity, and I am sure it will make you happy to 
hear I have never been disappointed. If it be a 
happiness to make others happy, you ought to con- 
sider yourself a lucky mortal for you have bestowed 
upon your mother and me all that we have enjoyed 
in your absence. Murray, the bookseller, dined with 
me lately, and Sir J. Carr happened to be talking 
about Pompeii, and I read your letter written from 



v.] COREESPOXDENCE, 1823-1824. 143 

thence ; and Murray was so pleased that he said you 
ought to publish or rather said he should like to 
publish such letters, just as they were written, for 
the charm was that they were written without the 
trammels that a publisher usually writes under. Is 
not that a feather in thy cap, my son ? By-the-bye, 
if The Chronicle should travel out to Naples, and 
Lord B. should see it, and mentions a paragraph in 
it, I will prepare you with an explanation. Hill was 
dining with me last Thursday when your letter arrived, 
and I read it to him. It contained the account of the 
death of the unfortunate valet, who was so near being 
buried alive, To my great amazement I heard that 
thy account was published in The Chronicle two days 
afterwards. A letter from an ingenious young artist, 
&c. Lord B. and Lady B., &c. This was wrong, but 
there's no harm in it ; still, his lordship might be 
annoyed if he saw it. If he does, explain how it 
happened. Pooh, pooh, my dear sir, he knows the 
o-thor. If he does not see it, mum. He shan't happen 
to know anything again. In return for your amusing 
Irish letter, which I rather suspect has been heightened 
by certain wags at Naples, I shall copy a pretty bit 
addressed to you from that dear little miniature of 
man Boruwlaski. * 

* Count Boruwlaski, a famous dwarf in those days, was on intimate 
terms at Ivy Cottage. Mrs. Mathews gives the following description 
of him in her life of her husband : " Mr. Mathews was exceedingly 



H4 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

" ' MY DEAR FRIEND, 

" ' I was very much pleased to hear that you had 
set out with Lord Blessington and his amiable lady to 
visit Italy. You will, I am sure, be highly delighted in 
your travels through that charming country, with its 
great variety of beautiful scenery, and with their ad- 
mirable works of the greatest artists in architecture, 
sculpture, and paintings, for which it is so justly 
famous. There you will gaze the images of many 
pagan goddesses, and females renowned for their 
beauty. To also called as Isis, the wife of Osiris, 
worshipped by the Egyptians, and conjectured by 
Plutarch to be the same with the goddess Minerva, 
Venus, Diana, the lovely Helen, and many others. 
You will, at the same time, enjoy the peculiar hap- 
piness of being in the company of a living beauty, 

partial to that interesting dwarf, Count Joseph Boruwlaski. He had 
first seen him at York, where this amiable and accomplished creature 
was forced by his necessities to undergo the wretchedness of public 
exhibition. From the first moment of their meeting they conceived a 
mutual regard for each other. The Count was quick to perceive that 
his visitor, unlike the ' general,' regarded him as a gentleman, forced 
out of his natural position by all-subduing circumstance, and one, though 
' out of suits with fortune,' not necessarily debased on that account. 
In a few years after they met again at Liverpool under similar circum- 
stances ; and in 1805 the Count came to London, and was invited occa- 
sionally to visit us. This elegant and fascinating person was the delight 
of all who ever knew him ; full of accomplishments and good sense, 
playful as an infant, and altogether the most charming of companions." 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 145 

whom you may compare with these, and who will be 
found to excel them all, for never in my life, in my 
various wandering through the world, did I witness 
charms equal to those possessed by Lady Blessington. 
My dear friend, write me and believe your truly most 

affectionate 

" ' JOSEPH BORUWLASKI.' 

" This has been done, evidently, with such pains that 
it is not at all funny; but there are two or three meta- 
phorical passages in the letter to your mother that 
nearly occasioned me a convulsive fit. I have not 
room, and therefore have sent those passages to Lord 
Blessington. I must tell you a little bit of little 
Knight. He was travelling in Lancashire with four 
large trunks, with *E. Knight, T.E.D.L.,' on each. He 
gave sixpence to a guard who unloaded them. The 
guard surveyed him and his trunks, looked at the 
direction, and exclaimed : ' T.R.D.L. ! You are no more 
a T.R.D.L. than I am.' 

" Ever affectionately yours, 

"C. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Palazzo Belvedere, Naples, March llth, 1824. 
"MY DEAR MOTHER, 

" In snubbing me for my love of writing on exterior 
subjects, or rather my not mentioning those of our in- 

YOL. I. I- 



146 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

terior, you are not aware of what you desire. All our 
occupations nearly are external, our indoor employments 
are always the same, and therefore uninteresting in the 
description. But since you are determined to be made 
acquainted with our domesticities I shall give you one 
day. 

" In the morning we generally rise from our beds, 
couches, floors, or whatever we happen to have been 
reposing upon the night before, and those who have 
morning-gowns and slippers put them on as soon as they 
are up. We then commence the ceremony of washing, 
which is longer or shorter in its duration, according to 
the taste of the persons who use it. You will be glad 
to know that from the moment Lady Blessington awakes 
she takes exactly one hour and a half to the time she 
makes her appearance, when we usually breakfast ; this 
prescience is remarkably agreeable, as we can always 
calculate thus upon the probable time of our break- 
fasting ; there is sometimes a difference of five or six 
minutes, but seldom more. This meal taking place 
latish in the day, I always have a premature breakfast in 
my own room the instant I am up, which prevents my 
feeling that hunger so natural to the human frame from 
long fasting. After our collation, if it be fine, we set 
off to see sights, walks, palaces, monasteries, views, 
galleries of pictures, antiquities, and all that sort of 
thing ; if rainy, we set to our drawing, writing, reading, 
billiards, fencing, and everything in the world. At 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 147 

dinner we generally contrive to lay in a stock of viands 
that may last us through the evening, and sometimes 
succeed. After dinner, as well as several times in the 
course of the day, we go up arid pay a visit to poor 
'Prim-rose/ who, it is supposed, will be allowed to 
walk a little in the course of two or three months more. 
Should we leave before that she must go home by sea, as 
the motion of a carriage would certainly much injure her. 
" In the evening each person arranges himself (and 
herself) at his table and follows his own concerns till 
about ten o'clock, when we sometimes play whist, some- 
times talk, and are always delightful ! About half-past 
eleven we retire with our flat candlesticks in our hands, 
after wishing each other the compliments of the season 
and health to wear it out. Thursdays usually, and 
Sundays, the Italian master comes, though for the 
present we have dropped him. 

"MORE PARTICULARS. 

"At dinner Lady B. takes the head of the table, 
Lord B. on her left, Count D'Orsay on her right, and I 
at the bottom. We have generally for the first service 
a joint and five entrees ; for the second, a roti and five 
entrees, including sweet things. The name of our 
present cook is Eaffelle, and a very good one when he 
likes. 

" This is the nature of our day in the house. Almost 
all the interest of Naples, and indeed of all Italy, is 

L 2 



148 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

among the wonderful curiosities with which every city 
and its environs is overstocked. 

" I am more and more anxious to know the result of 
my father's entertainment. With best love to him, 
believe me, my dear mother, 

" Your affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS. 

" P.S. Lord B. always cuts his own hair with a 
pair of scissors 111" 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Belvedere, May Cth, 1824. 

U MY DEAU MOTHER, 

" Since last week we have had the regular Italian 
weather, though till now it has occasionally been stormy 
and bad. The month of March is the worst in the year, 
and April little better, but May, I think, must be the 
most delightful of the whole twelve, as the flies and 
mosquitoes have not yet begun to bite, and there is 
generally a refreshing wind. I have enjoyed myself 
most particularly this week, and in a manner you little 
think of, for, wonderful to relate, I have taken to walk- 
ing, for the first time in my life, and enjoy it more than 
any other mode of travelling. On Monday last I got 
up at four o'clock, and strapping on my knapsack (a 
most convenient little one that Lord B. gave me for 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 149 

Pompeii) I set off in full costume, with my collar on my 
shoulders open and cool, my linen gaiters and travelling 
cap, and gaily trudged on to Pozzuoli. There I made 
a sketch of the Temple of Serapis, which having finished, 
and without being bored with the attentions of a cicerone, 
I wandered about among the ancient tombs and palaces, 
of which there are so many remains at this interesting 
place, and then crossed the Solfatara, three miles of an 
extinguished volcano, walking on sulphur and brimstone 
still smoking, and then reached the Lake of Agnano, by 
whose shining and refreshing mirror I eat my bread and 
cheese and hard eggs, which I carried in my wallet, and 
enjoyed the glorious and matchless views under the cool 
shade of an olive tree. From hence I crossed gardens 
and orchards full of orange and lemon trees, from whose 
boughs I plucked as I pleased, and crossed from one 
mountain to another till I climbed the magnificent rock 
by which I arrived at Belvedere as the sun was setting, 
just in time to dress for dinner. You cannot imagine 
how delightful this ramble was, altogether about eighteen 
miles, not meeting a single soul except the peasants, 
whose good-humoured countenances are always delightful. 
Whenever I passed through private orchards, there being 
no hedges, I saluted the farmers and thanked them for 
their obliging courtesy in allowing me such delicious 
rambles. This salute invariably ended with an invi- 
tation to taste their wine, and on entering the cottage 
(dirty enough) cakes were produced and excellent country 



150 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

wine pledged round, the wives and daughters singing 
and dancing the Tarantella all the time. This, by-the- 
bye, is the national dance, and is said to be that which 
cures the bite of the tarantula. The gaiety of these 
simple people is extraordinary. At parting and following 
my road, a bunch of flowers is presented and the rosy 
cheeks of the girls, which I accepted and kissed with 
pleasure, though to say the truth some of them smelt 
fervidly of garlic. Nothing can be more delightful than 
these walks. Yesterday I again shouldered my knap- 
sack, and set out on a longer and more difficult pil- 
grimage. I walked first to Castellamare, on the 
opposite side of the bay, a large town, built upon the 
remains of the ancient Stabia, which was destroyed at 
the same time as Pompeii, and which possesses the most 
magnificent view of Vesuvius and Naples and all the 
bay and islands. Here I was attacked on all sides by 
men with donkeys, who insisted upon my taking a guide 
and a mule over the mountains, but I was determined 
to go alone and was resolute in refusing their proffered 
services. They told me I should lose myself, but that 
was the very thing I wanted to do, for I said at home 
before I started, that they were not to expect me till 
they saw me, intending if necessary, or if struck with 
any nice place, to sleep wherever I took the fancy. I 
therefore started to cross the mountains, over which 
there is no road, it being a coast where no one ever 
thinks of travelling, and is entirely inhabited by peasants 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 151 

and farmers, aiid losing myself in the most romantic 
groves of oranges and olives, pines and chestnuts, over- 
hanging the sea, beheld the most picturesque and the 
most lovely views in the world. When I found a spring, 
of which there are many, of clear water, I took out my 
frugal meal, and in my glass made ix^self soda-water 
with the powders I took care to bring, eating my bread 
and cheese and eggs with more delight than I ever eat 
the most delicious dish in the world. Arrived at 
Sorrento, I saw the house where Tasso was born, and 
several remains of temples, and there reposed for an 
hour during the heat of the mid-day sun. After my 
siesta, I continued my journey through these romantic 
spots till I arrived at the very point of the coast where, 
finding I had still time to reach home the same day, I 
embarked in a little boat and sailed over the glassy 
ocean with a gentle breeze, and again reached Naples at 
sunset, having walked more than thirty- two miles, over 
a most mountainous coast. The peasants here were the 
same gay beings as those of this side, and still more 
simple, and quite as hospitable. I danced the Tarantella 
with them all, and laughed with them as merry as any 
of them. There is not one that does not play the guitar, 
and they amused me with a thousand little characteristic 
airs. They are always in love with my handkerchiefs, 
and try all their eloquence to get one, but had I complied 
with them I should not have had one left' by this time. 
" I find even now nothing fixed upon as to our 



152 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

starting, and therefore you may still write on here to the 
care of Mr. Price. If you have written to Eome I shall 
get it here the same. Lord Dudley is here and many 
other pleasant people. Lord Dudley desires to be 
remembered to you, and so does Mr. Archibald 
Macdonald. 

" With my best love to my father, believe me always, 
my dear mother, 

" Your most affectionate Son, 

" CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"June 10th, 1824, Palazzo Belvedere, 

"My DEAR MOTHER, 

" The day before yesterday I received your letter 
of May 14th, in answer to mine from Eome. I am 
delighted beyond measure at your prudent resolution of 
writing on in spite of my injunction, as by this means I 
shall receive your news regularly. 

" I think there is not a shadow of doubt but that we 
shall stay here till September ; indeed I may almost say 
so with certainty, since the approaching heats render 
travelling quite out of the question. All the English 
who were at Naples left it a month ago in order to 
arrive in the North of Italy for the summer. "We are 
most happy in Belvedere, for, during the hot months, 
it is the only breathing place that can be found. The 



v.] COEEESPOXDEXCE, 1823-1824. 153 

sea air is always fresh, aud the terraces always cool, 
admitting of most enchanting walks by the light of the 
moon ; indeed nothing can equal these terraces over- 
looking the bay, and perfumed with the exquisite 
fragrance of the flowers below. An Italian moonlight 
also differs materially from ours in England from the 
total absence of all fog, or damp mists ; not even the 
slightest dew is perceptible. Not a breath of air is 
stirring or a sound of any kind to be heard except the 
exquisite melody of our darling nightingales, who, from 
the groves above which we stand and in which we are 
enveloped, burst forth at short intervals with all that 
brilliancy and richness so often celebrated, but, in such 
perfection, so seldom heard. Belvedere, at this hour, is 
elevated into the very highest heaven of poetry. Every 
moonlight scene that ever was described is here realised 
and surpassed. The glorious combination of sea, 
mountain, and island, under the soothing gentle light 
of the chaste Diana, is viewed with a feeling of reverent 
admiration that absolutely inspires the soul with an 
unearthly delight. The perfect clearness with which 
every object is visible is quite inconceivable. In the 
midst of the glistening reflection of the pale light on the 
glassy surface of the sea, is frequently seen the small 
white sail of the fishing boat gliding in silence through 
the calm water, or the shining gondola enjoying the 
heavenly scene, training after it a long line of silvery 
brightness, and sometimes the subdued sounds of their 



154 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

distant music falling upon the ear. It is really enchant- 
ing, and each night, with various effects of light, I enjoy 
it from the terrace, which adjoins my bedroom, when all 
the rest of the house are quietly asleep. Here I literally 
sit for hours in my morning-gown, without the least 
desire to sleep, watching with delighted eye the fire- 
flies, their golden wings glistening as they chase each 
other from place to place, and sometimes quite illumi- 
nating by their numbers the deep purple shade of the 
garden. 

" But my head runs on moonlight and heavenly sights 
when I ought to be engaged about base earthly things. 
I speak of silver light distributed by the moon, and 
wings stamped with golden brightness, when the only 
silver and gold I have anything to do with is stamped 
with the head of old Ferdinand and distributed by his 
Government. Here then I descend from moons, nightin- 
gales, and flowers, to pounds, shillings, and pence. 

" To come at once smack to the point without flinch- 
ing, I have spent, from the day I left London up to the 
present (prepare yourself for the shock) four hundred 
and thirty-nine ducats, which make seventy-four pounds 
sterling, and am on the point of spending more. It 
certainly does appear an immense sum, and yet it is 
entirely gone in things absolutely necessary. I do assure 
you that this is the only thing that renders my stay 
here uncomfortable, for everything goes well and as I 
wish it, but the money that I spend appears so enormous 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 155 

that I really fear to receive your answer to this letter, 
though I have kept some sort of account of my expenses 
for you to see. And now that I have disclosed to you 
the only point about which I am the least uneasy, I 
shall close my letter and wait patiently for your advice 
about what I am to do, only observing that though it 
may be more than you expected, it must not be set 
down to my extravagance or want of care, for I repeat, 
I have not spent a single dollar unnecessarily. With 
best love to my dear father, believe me, my dear mother, 

" Ever your most affectionate Son, 

"CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS." 

MRS. MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

" Ivy Cottage, Kentish Town, June 23, 1824. 

"My DEAR CHARLES, 

"Your letter arrived yesterday, and certainly 
gave me a pang, which I have struggled with some 
success to overcome, and shall endeavour to reconcile 
myself to ; though to hear that your journey is post- 
poned for so long a time at the moment I flattered 
myself you were performing it, is a disappointment. 
But, my dearest Charles, dismiss from your mind, 
I entreat, all uneasiness about your expenditure. 
You are too rational and considerate to overstep very 
much the bounds given you, and in all reasonable 
wishes we are anxious as well as willing to indulge 



156 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

you ; so get what you ivant, and even what you please 
above your actual wants. You are so good, that I am 
not afraid to leave you to your own judgment, and am 
convinced that I shall find no reason to regret the latitude 
I give you. Your father joins me in this feeling most 
heartily, be assured, and, therefore, do not suffer your 
mind to be agitated about a little money. It is, I repeat 
it, our wish that you take advantage of all the delights 
that are virtuously within your reach, as well as profes- 
sional advantages, and we would not damp our permis- 
sion to this end by a grudging parsimony. While dear 
Lady Blesinton condescends to act towards you in my 
place as you so gratefully and fondly acknowledge to 
me she does you cannot err. Indeed little, compara- 
tively, as I have known of her, I feel implicit reliance 
upon the advice she would give you. Indeed I have 
(without a choice, as it seems, by good fortune) resigned 
to her that influence which I have hitherto exerted only 
in my own person that right which I should be 
jealously unhappy to give over to any other being living. 
This may seem unnatural, considering the many intimate 
friends I have ; but Lady Blesinton I conceive pos- 
sesses every requisite to form the mind and conduct of 
those about her, and not only these, but an alacrity of 
will which few can boast. Do as she requires, and I 
shall think what you do right. I truly and sincerely 
love her as well as admire her. I never think of her 
without a glow of the warmest affection, and would 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 157 

give much to be near enough to tell her so. Present my 
faithful and fond love to her, and say that upon frequent 
consideration of the subject, I would not have resigned 
you to the guidance of any other female I know, though 
I warmly love many of my friends. I write in such 
haste that I cannot say all I wish or in the manner I 
wish, but you must supply all deficiencies in expressing 
to our beloved Lady B. my sentiments towards her. 
Your father waits impatiently for my letter to take to 
town, and I must hastily conclude with a repetition 
of my injunction that you will not cloud present 
comfort by fear of our dissatisfaction respecting the 
means of contributing to it. Lord and Lady Blesinton 
do so much that we are rather tenacious on our part, and 
desirous to contribute to your happiness with them. So 
' lay out, good Bardolph,' and fear not. You have sense, 
and we will not be ungenerous. So be happy ; get what 
you require, and doubt not the will where the ability 
exists ; neither the affection, my dear Charles, of your 
approving and fondly attached parents. 

" Heaven guard you, prays your Friend and Mother, 

"A. M." 

MRS. MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

"My DEAR CHARLES, 

"I hasten to relieve your mind by replying 
to your anxious letter, received last night, with a 



158 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

reiterated assurance of our wish that you should be 
provided with all necessary means during your stay 
abroad. We have such perfect reliance on your 
affection and integrity towards us in all things, that 
we cannot feel a doubt respecting your prudence in 
pecuniary matters. If you were at home, money would 
be requisite, and where you are, I can feel satisfied 
that it is even more so. Go on, therefore, with the 
same anxiety not to overstep propriety in this respect, 
and you need be under no fears of our censure. What 
you want you must have, and this we render you 
cheerfully, with allowance for some little indulgences 
in the way of expenditure which the temptations you 
may meet with abroad may induce you to yield to 
in the way of purchases. In short, my dear Charles, 
from the past you are fully adequate to judge and 
regulate the future. You know (prudence always con- 
sidered) that we are not inclined to be churls to you, 
and therefore be happy; remember that though we 
cannot dictate or wish undue consequence in your 
manner of sustaining your situation, yet we cannot 
but be anxious for your respectability, and ready with 
our means to ensure that part of it which is dependent 
upon us. Again I say, be happy and confident in our 
affection in all things, and in return, my beloved 
Charles, let us be assured of your entire ingenuous- 
ness with us in every affair relative to your interests 
in life, as on the present occasion. It is all we ask, 



v.] COKKESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 159 

and not more, I trust, than you owe, and will freely 
pay, to such devoted affection as that we have ever 
shown you ; it is, moreover, what you owe to God for 
His infinite goodness to you in giving you such ad- 
vantages as you have received so early in life, and 
the friends He has given you. With the capacity to 
make just use of the good you profess in so many ways, 
remember, my dear Charles, remember that candour 
must form part of your motto, it is one of the best 
qualities you can boast, and without that great virtue 
many others may be useless to you. . . . 

"I am, dear Charles, 

" Your loving Mother, 

"A. M." 

COUNT D'ORSAY TO CHARLES j. MATHEWS.* 

"Capo de Monte, DcJcembre, 1824. 

" MON CHER CHAELES, 

" II est inutile que je vous rdpete combien nous 
vous avons regrette", vous vous en doutez bien. Au 
surplus, qu'il vous sufnt de savoir qu'il y a un grand 
vide a votre place que personne ne peut remplir. 

" Depuis votre depart Naples est a-peu-pres le 
memo, a 1'exception que 1'ardeur des curieux est un 
peu calme par 1'horrible evenernent arrive* a Psestum. 
Vous aurez sans doute appris par les journaux que 
Mr. ct Madame Hunt y ont e"te assassines. Bientot Ton 
* See Appendix. 



160 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

sera oblige d'avoir une escorte pour aller a Pompeii. 
II n'y a que les artistes qui sout a 1'abri de ces attaques, 
car les brigands savent qu'ils sont arme's de pied en cap, 
canifs, compas, &c. Enfin, malgre ces armes, je suis 
content de vous voir de retour de Psestum, car votre 
maison ne me faisoit pas 1'effet d'etre bien assure'e. Dans 
ce moment il y a a Naples le peintre du cabinet de 
S. M. le Roi de Prusse ; cela ne veut pas dire grand 
chose. Mais, malgre' cela, cet liomme est arrive gonfle 
de prevention, et enfle' de presomption. Le brave Gell, 
protecteur - general des humbugs, s'est era oblige de 
1'adopter. II nous 1'a pre'sente' ainsi que ces dessins. 
Cette homme a passd deux mois dans 1'interieur du 
Musee de Portici, et a caique" toutes les peintures, et 
malgre son grand desir de les manquer, cela lui etoit 
impossible, car rien n'est aussi facile que de calquer avec 
du papier de soie. Eh bien, Gell est enthousiasme ; il 
pretend que c'est un prophete qui arrive dans ce pays 
pour sauver les arts, et si certainement 1'homme etoit 
reellement superieur, il diroit, Oh, nasty boy. Vous voyez 
que Sir Willy est toujours de meme. La description de 
votre voyage nous a beaucoup amuses, et si j'ai un 
conseil a vous donner pour imiter un preTet franais, 
c'est de faire tout ce qu'il y a de plus ridicule. Vous etes 
oien sur de ne pas manquer le role. 

"J'oubliois de vous parler du Capitaine S." /r qui est 
encore plus bete si cela dtoit possible. II a dans ce moment 

* Captain Smith of the Bolivar. 



v.] COKKESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 161 

une peine de coeur depuis que je lui ai dit que ces cheveux 
etoient de la premiere qualite pour faire un coussia. 
En outre, il a une peine de jambes en se rappelant 
que vous courez mieux que lui. II n'y a pas deux 
jours qu'il me rappellait que vous dtiez plus jeune que 
lui, qui e"toit la seule raison. 

" Strangways est parti pour Sniyrne, Baily est ici, 
et va probablement le suivre; je suppose qu'il le ren- 
eontrera en Turquie. Dans tous les cas il trouveroit sa 
tete au-dessus de la porte du serail du Grand Seigneur, 
ear dans ce pays ils vous coupent la tete sans grande 
eerernonie. 

" Nous parlons souvent de vous, et plus sou vent nous 
pensons a vous, et si vous n'etes pas un ingrat vous 
devez faire de meme. 

"Adieu, mon cher Charles ; ecrivez moi, car je vous 
assure que I'amitie' que je vous porte est trop sincere 
pour la laisser passer sous silence. 

"For ever your devoted, 

" COMTE D'ORSAY." 

COUNT D'ORSAY TO CHARLES j. MATHEWS.* 

" February 25. 

"God bless our souls, my dear Matthias, S 1 

is gone, et se trouve probablement deja sur cette 
route de Kent (d'heureuse memoire). Son depart nous 

* See Appendix. t Captain Smith. 

VOL. I. M 



162 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

a tous attriste's pour un quart d'heure car il avoit 
assaisonne' son adieu d'une abondance de larmes qu'il avoit 
conserv^ dans son reservoir pour cette heureuse circon- 
stance. Enfin il est parti le coeur gros et les poches pleines. 
Nous lui avons tous fait un cadeau, et j'ai ddcide' Lord 
Blessington a lui donner cet infortune' cachet marin 
que Smith a reu avec autant de plaisir que le com- 
mandement d'une fre'gate de secoude classe. Nous avons 
tous la meme sensation qu'un malade auquel on a retire 
son emplatre. 

" Je vous conseille de craindre plus les faux pas de 
votre jument grise (si elle vit encore et par consequent si 
elle tombe encore) que ceux que vous pretendez faire 
dans la langue franchise. Votre lettre etoit trop bien, 
pour ne pas continuer, et vous savez combien nous vous 
aimons et que 1'absence ne diminue rien. Ainsi de temps 
en temps envoy ez une epitre frangaise. Elle sera tres 
bien regu. 

" JG suis fach4 d'etre oblige de vous parler d'un sujet 
tres triste, mais il faut que vous sacliiez qu'Elisabeth 
vient de manquer la robe rouge de sweet Mary. A 
dater de ce moment la guerre civile a ete declare, et ce 
n'est qu'en sacrifiant Elisabeth pour reprendre Vincenza 
que les hostilite's ont cesse'es. Vous voyez done que Mary 
se porte mieux, puisqu'il s'agit de combat de robes 
rouges, &c. J'oubliois de vous dire qu'il est definitive- 
ment connu que Vincenza porte perruque : Mary en a eu 
la preuve en main dans un combat singulier. Je vous 



v.] COKRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 1G3 

donne ces petits ddtails pour que vous n'oubliez pas si 
vite notre intdrieur de famille. Ne parlez pas de cela a 
personne, car sweet Mary seroit tres fachee. II paroit 
que Williams et Blayney conservent partout leurs traits 
caractdristiques ; je pense que le dernier regardoit 
Polichinel pour savoir s'il etoit plus ridicule que lui. 
J'ai re9U une lettre de Millmgen qui souffle a Paris plus 
que jamais, et je pense que ses voisins 1'ont fait deloger, 
a cause de son soufflement pulmonique, car il a e'te 
obligd d'aller du bruit de Paris, oil son asthme sera con- 
fondu avec les voitures que passent continuellement, Rue 
Neuve des Petits Champs, ou il loge maintenant. Je 
crains que ce cher antiquaire ne casse ses vieux os, et 
surtout s'il apprend qu'il y a une conspiration forme'e 
contre lui par un jeune teme'raire qui arrive sur 1'horizon 
pour prouver que tout ce que James a dent ne signifie 
rien. Vous pensez bien sans doute que Gell protege cet 
homme, mais malgre' tout, je pense que Millmgen sortira 
victorieux de sa lutte e'trusque. Et quoiqu'il soit d'un 
petit calibre, ses boulets feront plus de breches que les 
bombes des autres qui dclatent sans rien dedans. Au 
surplus, s'il meurt, je le ferai reduire en cendres et 
mettre dans notre lacrymatoire e'trusque. II y a plus de 
places qu'il n'en faut, et c'est re'ellement un tombeau digne 
d'un maigre antiquaire. J'espere que vous n'avez pas 
oublie un complimenteur (cela veut dire un flatteur 
fran9ais) son nom est Durand que vous avez vu au 
Belvedere, bien decide" a ne jamais quitter celle qui fait 

M 2 



164 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

son bonheur, qui le console -de tous ses pe'che's et le 
de'dommage de tous ses chagrins dans ce monde ici-bas 
c'est-a-dire sa collection. Eh bien, M. Durarid n'a rien 
eu de plus presse" en arrivant a Paris que de le vendre an 
Roi de France, pour une somme bien capable de le con- 
soler d'une perte si chere a sorutriste coeur. Le voila done 
veuf et d4cid6 a dpouser des momies, car il va se donner 
dans cette branche d'instruction, ou pour mieux dire, de 
commerce. 

" B B and Co. ont fait banqueroute. 

Adieu me'dailles, cigarres, et autres agre'ments de socie'te. 
L'Abb6 perd par cette faillitte 700 guinees, mais il 
est bien de'cide' de les regagner par une route quel- 
conque. Medici visera son passeport et Circelle le 
contresignera. P pretend que c'est un grand com- 
fort que de ne pas faire banqueroute. D'abord il n'a 
jamais eu grand e idde de la maison B , il pense tres 



pen de F , et encore moins de Rothschild, mais en 

revanche il pense beaucoup de D et de P . 

Dans ce moment M. G se fait faire des pantalons, 

probablement sur le modele des miens, mais c'est un 
coup de politique pour prouver aux tailleurs de la ville 
que sa maison tient bon. Malgre* que M ne met 
jamais le pied dans le bureau il me 1'a encore certifie sur 
parole d'honneur la plus sacree, foi de gentilhomme de 
Jersey et autres lieux, on a decouvert dans Pompeii des 
choses que nous devons aller voir quand cette fureur 
d'e'trangers sera calmee vous concevez qu'il est inutile 



v.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1823-1824. 165 

d'aller a Pompeii pour voir tons les associe's de Day 
and Martin, et de Barclay Perkins. Vous n'avez pas 
d'idee de la figure des Anglais qui sont dans ce moment 
a Naples : ce sont reallement les Anglais pour rire. Je 
vous assure que si le Baron Stiiltz, de Clifford Street, 
arrivait dans ce moment il ferait une grande figure parmi 
ceux-ci. 

" Je commence a m'apercevoir qu'il me reste juste la 
place de vous souhaiter beaucoup d'instruction et de plaisir 
dans le bureau ou vous allez entrer. Enfin, mon cher 
Charles, si tout le bonheur que je vous souliaite vous 
arrive vous ne pouvez manquer d'etre heureux. Lady 
B - vous envoye un million d'amities. Lord B 
eternue dans ce moment, sans cela je suis persuade^ 
qu'il vous enverroit au moins 1,500 choses aiinables. 
Pour Mary, elle vous dit tant de choses que je n'ai 
plus assez de place de les mettre. Pour moi, je vous 
assure de mon amitie inalterable et vous prie de prd- 
senter mes hommages a Madame votre mere et mes 

compts. a votre pere. Lady B se rappelle au 

souvenir de votre mere, qu'elle aime de tout son cceur. 

"Adieu, et pour toujours votre 

" Tres devoue, 

"D'ORSAY." 



CHAPTER VI. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN WALES, 1824-1826. 

ON my return to London I took chambers in Parliament 
Street, engaged a clerk, and set to work busily on the 
working-drawings and specifications of the, at last, 
completed design for the Mount] oy house. 

My leisure time was entirely spent at St. James's 
Square, with Mrs. Purves and her charming family, 
Lady Blessington having lent her house during her 
absence abroad to her sister. I had a bed there 
whenever I required it, and became as much domesti- 
cated as though I had been one of her own children. 

Louisa Purves, her eldest daughter, had grown up 
to be a lovely girl of fifteen, sylphlike in form, delicate 
in feature, and sensitive as a flower, but bright and 
full of intellect, with every feminine attribute that could 
charm and captivate the heart, and at once became 
the one thought of my life. For two or three years 
we were always together, and looked upon each other 
as brother and sister ; studied together, read Italian, 
and took our music lessons together, and except when 
circumstances separated us for short periods, during 



CHAP, vi.] IX WALES, 1824-1826. 167 

which we corresponded regularly, we were never out 
of each other's society. At the play, at the opera, 
at home, we sat together, hand linked in hand, absorbed 
in each other. Mrs. Purves, with cruel kindness, 
only laughed at our romantic attachment, treating us 
as children ; and having perfect confidence in us, took 
delight in witnessing our mutual affection. She ought 
to have known that between a sweet lovable girl, 
just budding into womanhood, and an enthusiastic lad 
of one-and-twenty, such unrestrained intercourse, pure 
as it was, could not be other than dangerous in the 
extreme. 

How was it all to end ? I never gave myself the 
trouble to inquire, nor did Louisa. We were happy, 
and never gave a thought to the future. That I could 
ever make her my wife was out of the question, nor 
did the idea even enter my head ; but this Paul and 
Virginia state of existence could not last for ever. 

The " brother and sister " business is generally a 
fallacy, and platonic attachments between pretty girls 
and sprightly youths are dangerous experiments, and 
seldom indulged in with impunity. In our case no 
harm ensued. We were luckily innocent and well- 
principled, and I may venture to say that our long and 
close association was not only tender and affectionate, 
but mutually advantageous, morally and intellectually. 

It was not till long after, when the time arrived 
for her " coming out," that the idyll came to an end 



168 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

and the sad blow of separation fell. It was a mortal 
agony to both of us, and for some time I was a victim 
a prey to utter despair. Amidst the pleasures of a 
first London season Louisa was soon reconciled to the 
state of affairs, and though we met frequently, as usual, 
there was no longer the inseparable companionship of 
the past, and in a short time one of the most beautiful 
women in London became the wife of John Fairlie. 

Thus ended my first attachment, and for years I 
lived upon the " sweet and bitter " recollection. 

The late Sir John Soane was a great friend to me 
at this time. I don't know how I contrived to in- 
gratiate myself into the old gentleman's good graces, 
for he was by no means easy of access, but he took 
quite a fancy to me, and gave me unceasing proofs of 
his good-will. I had free admission at all times to 
his marvellous gallery, the free run of his portfolios 
and splendid library, and accompanied him constantly 
to inspect the works of the new buildings he was 
erecting at the Bank of England ; being allowed to 
make sketches of the details of construction, and profit 
by the valuable information he was always ready to 
impart. I need not say that his kind attention to me 
was of the greatest service in every way. He was a 
most singular old man, and I was remarkably fortunate 
in obtaining his friendship. 

"While roaming at will over his beautiful and 
singularly designed house, admirably illustrating the 



vi.] IX WALES, 1824-1826. 1G9 

means by which, on a very small scale, great effects 
could be produced by taste and skill, I discovered a 
" blue chamber." That there is a skeleton in every 
house may be true, but it is not always visible to 
the naked eye of a stranger; here, however, it stood 
in all its deformity in the broad light of day. 

George Soane, Sir John's son, was of a literary 
turn, and wrote for the newspapers. He was, in fact, 
what is called a " press man." He was also the author 
of several successful dramatic pieces, "The Innkeeper's 
Daughter," &c. &c. But he had, for some reason, 
quarrelled with his father, and cruelly attacked him 
in his professional character, ridiculed his lectures, 
denounced his style, and wrote the most severe 
criticisms upon his architectural works ; thus stabbing 
him in his most vital part. These printed attacks, 
carefully pasted on one large sheet, were hung up over 
the chimney-piece in his bed-room, facing his bed, 
framed and glazed and surrounded by a broad black 
border, with the following inscription in large letters : 
" Death-blows given to his mother by George Soane." 

The sight of this ghastly record always made me 
shudder, and one morning, while sitting by the old 
gentleman's bedside as he took his breakfast, I ventured 
to expostulate with him on the sad spectacle before 
me, and urged him to remove this constant reminder 
of his wrongs, and remonstrated with him upon the 
impropriety of keeping alive vindictive feelings, which, 



170 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

if left to time, might gradually become extinct. But 
I soon found I was in the wrong box, for he put me 
to my place in a moment with a burst of ungovernable 
passion, and I took care never again to recur to a 
subject which it was the height of presumption in me 
to have approached at all. 

The project which had been interrupted by my 
trip to Italy was now again entertained, and my 
entrance into the office of Mr. Nash was once more 
determined on, but it so happened it was not yet to be ; 
for before his answer arrived I had been offered and had 
accepted the important position of architect to the 
" Welsh Iron and Coal Mining Company," at Coed 
Talwn, North Wales. I had scarcely arrived at the 
scene of action when his letter came, but of course 
too late to be of service, and the matter was again 
deferred. 

The " Welsh Iron and Coal " was one of the many 
companies conjured into life by the magic wand of 
the celebrated (notorious ?) John Wilks not the John 
Wilkes of No. 45, but the John Wilks of forty-five 
bubble companies producing a rage for speculation in 
London almost equal to the famous South Sea Bubble 
of years gone by. 

The " Welsh Iron and Coal," however, was a genuine 
concern, and has endured even to the present moment. 

The genial kind-hearted John Gray, the worshipful 
master of the " Inverness Lodge of Free and Accepted 



vi.] IN WALES, 1824-1826. 171 

Masons," of which I was an unworthy brother, was 
elected to the responsible post of resident director. 
He was a Northumberland man, and had had much 
experience in collieries at Newcastle-upon-Tyue, though 
he had latterly been in good practice as a physician in 
London. He was a gentleman, mixed in good society, 
and had been, I believe, a fast goer in his time, running 
through a fine fortune with the usual ease. The post of 
resident director suited him exactly, as with com- 
paratively little to do, and that of a commanding nature, 
he could follow all the pursuits of a country gentleman, 
and hunt, shoot, fish, and drive about, as though he 
were lord of the manor. I believe it was through his 
interest that I obtained my nomination, and elated with 
the prospect, I set to work on my plans and estimates 
at once. 

About a hundred miners' cottages were to be erected, 
an inn, a chapel, a bridge, a house for the resident 
director in fact, a little town. My plans were ap- 
proved of and ultimately adopted ; the most remarkable 
part of the business being that the buildings are all 
standing yet,* presenting lasting mementoes of my 
inefficiency. 

The director's house of course could not be designed 
until I had surveyed the site for its erection, having to 
adapt the materials of an old country seat belonging 
to the Heartsheath estate, formerly the property of 
Colonel Wardell ; and it being determined that I should 



172 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

accompany Mr. Gray on a visit of inspection, we 
started together in his carriage for the scene of action. 
My father accompanied us on the trip. He was anxious 
to assure himself that the Company, in which he had 
been persuaded to take shares, had really a local habi- 
tation, as well as a name, which was more than many 
similar schemes at the time could boast of. 

At the inn at Wrexham we fell in for the first time 
with Mr. Verbeke, Wilks's partner and associate, who 
introduced himself to Gray without ceremony, and 
accepted himself without invitation to the fourth seat in 
his carriage, being bound like ourselves on a mission to 
inspect the works at Coed Talwn. 

Verbeke was one of the most extraordinary offhand 
amusing men I ever met. Of imposing presence, re- 
markably handsome, with most attractive and gentle- 
manlike manners, always ready with joke and repartee, 
he was a sort of Theodore Hook in his way, possessing 
a sang-froid and an audacity worthy of the hero of a 
farce. His eternal chatter and lively sallies beguiled 
the road, and by the time w T e arrived at Heartsheath 
we were as much at home with him as though we had 
known him for years. 

" Heartsheath " was the name of the half-ruined 
shell of a house which was to be converted into the 
residence of the resident director. It was beautifully 
situated in the midst of a fine park, well ornamented 
with wood and water. At about a quarter of a mile's 



vi.] IX WALES, 1824-1826. 173 

distance, and visible from the windows, stood Plas Teg, 
a splendid old mansion in the Elizabethan style, built 
by Inigo Jones and belonging to Mr. Charles Roper, 
a jolly country gentleman, a magistrate and county 
magnate, keeping the best table, the best horses, and 
the best pack of harriers in Denbighshire. 

Verbeke was delighted at the discovery, and hastened 
to call upon his friend, " Charley Roper." In a short 
time he returned with such a pressing invitation to lunch 
at Plas Teg that it was impossible to refuse, the more 
so as he urged upon Gray that it was policy to make 
the acquaintance at once of a man so influential in the 
neighbourhood ; and we all repaired to the proffered 
hospitality. 

We met with the most cordial reception from 
Mr. and Mrs. Roper and their family, partook of a sub- 
stantial lunch, and were entertained the whole time by 
the unceasing rattle of the hilarious Verbeke. Not a 
man was mentioned but was known to him, not a place 
but he was familiar with ; and, in short, he succeeded 
in making himself so agreeable that he was decidedly the 
most popular person of the party. 

In the course of conversation during a stroll round 
the grounds, while he remained behind doing the amiable 
and ingratiating himself with Mrs. Roper, my father 
took the opportunity of thanking Mr. Roper for his 
politeness. 

" I am sure," said he, " we ought to be very 



174 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEAVS. [CHAP. 

grateful to your friend Mr. Verbeke for so charming 
an introduction." 

" My friend ! " said Eoper, much astonished ; " why, 
I never saw the gentleman before. It was as your friend 
that I welcomed him." 

" Mine ! " said my father, " I never set eyes on him 
till this morning. It is to Mr. Gray I. yield the honour 
of his friendship." 

" Not to me, my dear Mathews ; he was a perfect 
stranger to me till he introduced himself at Wrexham." 

A hearty laugh on all sides followed ; and the good- 
natured Eoper was so tickled with the incident that he 
got from us the promise that our discovery should not 
be divulged, but that we should continue to amuse our- 
selves quietly with the eccentricities of the oddity whose 
acquaintance we had made in so singular a manner. 

" I owe him a good turn at any rate," said he, " for 
giving me the opportunity of receiving under my roof 
such distinguished guests. But for his timely inter- 
ference I might have been deprived of that pleasure, 
and I cannot but heartily thank him." 

Eoper told me afterwards that the matter was thus 
skilfully brought about by Verbeke. After sending up 
his card and being ushered into the drawing-room, he 
apologised for intruding, as a stranger, but as the 
promoter and one of the largest shareholders in the Coed 
Talwn Mining Company, he thought it his duty to pay 
his respects ; especially as he was sure Mr. Eoper would 



vi.] IN WALES, 1824-1826. 175 

never forgive him if lie failed to inform him that the 
celebrated Charles Mathews, with his son, had arrived 
from London on a day's visit to his new neighbour, 
Mr. Gray, the appointed resident director of the 
collieries, and that the chance of meeting that dis- 
tinguished man might never occur again. If it would 
afford any gratification to Mr. Eoper, he would have 
much pleasure in bringing his friends over to Plas Teg 
for a short call and introducing them ; an offer which 
was gladly accepted by Eoper on condition that they 
would do him the honour to lunch there. This Verbeke 
" could not positively promise, but would do his best to 
manage." I need not add, that, in spite of its great 
difficulty, he was successful in his endeavour. 

We returned to town much pleased with our trip, 
and being anxious that my first essay should be suc- 
cessful, I resolved to take up my abode entirely on the 
spot, in the immediate vicinity of my operations, in order 
to give my thorough personal superintendence to the 
works I had undertaken, and in a short time I was ready 
to start for my Welsh quarters. 

The great difficulty was how to get my horse all 
that distance. 

" Cupid " was invaluable. A capital hunter, nearly 
thoroughbred, and playful as a kitten. Why he was 
called " Cupid " I never learnt ; he certainly was not 
blind ; but we were inseparable companions, and steady 
friends. He w r as my " trained steed." He would canter 



176 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

after me round the large field in sight of the cottage, to 
the delight of admiring friends, and let me jump on his 
back, without saddle or bridle, and gallop him over 
hurdles to the admiration of all beholders. 

There were no comfortable railway horse-boxes in 
those days ; and to transport a valuable horse two 
hundred miles was really a formidable and hazardous 
venture. At last I came to the determination to ride 
him down myself, and accomplished the feat in three 
days with perfect success, " Cupid " and his master 
arriving at their destination as fresh and fit as if only 
after a canter in Rotten Kow. Over sixty miles a day 
was not bad travelling either for man or horse ; twenty 
miles before breakfast, twenty miles before dinner, and 
twenty miles before supper. I let no one touch him, but 
groomed and fed him with my own hand before supping 
myself, and put him comfortably in his bed for the night 
before turning into my own. - 

A copy of his letter to Jenny, one of his late stable 
" pals " (why w r asn't she named Psyche ?) gives a lively 
description of his journey. 

"Mold. 
" MY DEAR JENNY, 

" Your thoughts have doubtless been on the 
rack ever since I slipt my cable, but I have not 
till this moment had any time to sift my ideas, so as 
to give you an account of my trip, but I must now 



vi.] IN WALES, 1824-1826. 177 

put a spur upon my thoughts, and stir up my powers 
to the task. You know that just after feed on Thursday 
evening, as I was standing in a musing attitude, gently 
picking my dessert from among my fragrant hay, with 
a refreshing grassy feeling creeping over me, King 
David gave me to understand, from sundry rubs and 
hints, that my services were required by my young 
master. "Well, I had had my feed and was content, 
though I did think it rather too soon for digestion, 
and willingly came to his call. I thought I was going 
to town, as usual, as did you, but was somewhat startled 
at the sight of a beautiful bit of Welsh flannel placed 
under the saddle. ' Oh ho ! ' thought I, ' we are going 
to the park, eh ? ' So I pricked up my ears, neighed, 
and all that, to look parkish ; but to my surprise, on 
reaching the end of the lane, I was turned to the left t 
I thought perhaps this was done to show off, there 
being some pretty girls opposite, so I just plunged 
and reared a little, thinking to make myself agreeable 
to my master, but two pretty sharp kicks at once 
undeceived me, and I was forced to mount the hill. 
' Somebody ill,' I then thought, and made haste to- 
Mr. Killman's ; but no, farther still. ' A concert, 
probably, at the Assembly Kooms.' Nothing of the 
kind ; we passed them at a canter, and not till we 
had quite left Highgate and reached Finchley did 
the first conviction flash across me that I was going 
a journey ! Heavens ! what a conflict of passions were 

VOL. I. N 



178 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

now roused ! How cruel to be torn away from friends 
without one adieu one horse's kiss ! I thought of 
you, Jenny ! I thought of the many pleasant evenings 
we had passed together, licking each other's noses over 
our stall-boards ! I fancied you left in your solitary 
stall, which, like that in the song, 'serves for parlour, 
and kitchen, and hall/ reflecting on the hollowness of 
friendship. Oh Jenny, though parted from you I shall 
ever wish you well. I shall rejoice in the horse-picious 
event of your being led to the halter ! I shall be 
present at your bridle. And when in the straw, happy 
shall I be (as you have little female acquaintance) to 
stand horse-godmother to your offspring. But it cannot 
be ; we are parted, perhaps for ever ! "Well ! we must 
look up a-loft, and hope for better times. Till death 
am I yours, and should I first fall a victim to its 
unrelenting currycomb and brush off, my manes shall 
visit you ! Yes, Jenny, high-blooded as I am now, 
bloodless will I come, and like a clothes-horse stand 
before you, a picked saddle of mutton upon my back, 
making your top-knot to stand on end like quills upon 
the fretful porcupine. But a truce to these melancholy 
ideas, and now for my journey. At Dunstable we slept 
the first night, where they announced 'Entertainment 
for man and horse.' I don't know how my master was 
entertained, but I found it very dull work. Next night 
we slept at Coventry sixty miles ! There, Jenny ! 
what do you think of that ? Mustn't I be as strong 



vi.] IX WALES, 1824-1826. 179 

as a man to do it ? At Coventry, to be sure, I was 
wisped ! Oh, my friend ! such luxury ! Were I King 
of England I couldn't be better rubbed down or done 
up than I was. Talk about horsetlers ! I'll back my 
master against a hundred of them ; he's a regular 
will-o'-the-wisp. And then, such a supper ! To be 
sure I did eat all the journey. I never cut my corn, 
as you know, and my master aided my appetite by all 
the beans in his power. I was very much disgusted 
here by the conduct of the country-bred cobbish brutes, 
without manners or anything to recommend them ; 
poking their heads over my stall, and staring at me 
while I was eating, and setting up a great horse-laugh 
every minute ; lazy fellows, who had done no work, 
yet wanted to come in for a share of my supper, just 
because they hadn't had a bit in their mouths. How- 
ever, I couldn't help laughing in my fetlock at their 
impudence. At Shrewsbury slept next night (sixty- 
two miles ! there's muscle !), where I was received 
with great horsepitality. By-the-bye, on returning to 
my stall after rubbing, and combing, and feet-washing, 
I found a cow in my bed, pretending that she was 
chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy ; but she 
completely showed her cloven foot, for I found her 
fancy was to chew some of my sweet and bitter hay. 
On Sunday, at twelve, we got to Mold, and I may 
say that I am as well as, if not better than when I 
started. I have picked up an acquaintance with some 

N 2 



180 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

pleasantisli folks here ; one an agreeable young spark 
enough, with some knowledge of London, and his friend, 
rather heavy and sluggish, but sensible ; besides a sort 
of hobbledehoy, whose character and manners are 
hardly formed enough to say anything of ; his temper 
seems good, and therefore it promises to be pleasant 
enough down here. 

" And now, my dear Jenny, for the present, adieu. 
Pray take care of yourself, for the sake of your 
friends ; and as money makes the mare go, eat away 
and return the compliment let the mare make the 
money go. 

"With kind regards to Sir John and to our friend 
Girth, should you see him, 

"Believe me, 

" Yours, ever unhaltered, 

" CUPID. 

^ 

" P.S. Could you manage to send down my body- 
clothes ? for I find more attention is paid here to dress 
than I expected." 

Cupid soon became a celebrity, taking honourable 
stand by the side of Duchess, Eoper's clever chestnut 
mare, and his brother-in-law's spanking black horse. He 
was at first a little bothered copping the stone walls and 
breasting the punishing Welsh hills ; but in a short time 
was as clever at his work as any rough-and-ready Welsh 



vr.] IX WALES, 1824-1826. 181 

pony, while at a brook lie was not to be excelled by 
any horse in the county. Many a time, after a sixteen- 
mile ride to cover, he was hunted with the Belgrave 
hounds at Eaton Hall, and did himself honour in the 
eyes of a fastidious field. 

For more than a year my headquarters were held at 
a quaint old Welsh farm at Pontblyddyn, about half a 
mile across the meadows from Heartsheath, and all 
progressed favourably. The beauties of North Wales 
were in a different way as striking, and offered as much 
charming subject for the pencil as Italy itself, and the 
hospitable society of the neighbourhood made my sojourn 
there exceedingly pleasant. Hunting and shooting, 
fishing, sketching, and writing occupied my leisure 
hours. I had already furnished much matter for my 
father's " Entertainments," and having plenty of time on 
niy hands I sent him up large contributions, in the 
shape of songs and characters. 

Ere many months had elapsed I had contracted the 
closest intimacy with my kind and worthy friends, 
Mr. and Mrs. Roper, and at last yielded to their 
frequently repeated invitation to remove bag and 
baggage to Plas Teg, where I was at once installed 
as one of the family. This was indeed a delightful 
change, and I fully appreciated it. 

I speedily assumed the important position of second 
whipper-in, and knew every hound by name and voice, 
as well as if they were my own children. On the days 



182 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

with the harriers I generally rode a big-headed old gray 
hunter of Roper's and gave Cupid a rest, the old horse 
literally teaching me my business. 

Chatting over sporting matters after dinner one 
day, Roper pointed out the advantage, in case of having 
to cross a river, of dismounting and holding on the 
pommel of the saddle, while the horse swam across, 
thus relieving him from the weight of his rider. I 
remembered the hint, and, looking upon the swimming 
of rivers as usual everyday occurrences, when a short 
time afterwards the hounds were running merrily up a 
hill on the other side of a pretty wide stream, without a 
moment's hesitation, and to the amazement and dismay 
of everyone, I banged the old gray into the water. 
Down we went, out of sight for a moment, but on 
emerging I managed to dismount, according to directions, 
and placing my hand upon the pommel, landed safely 
on the other side, minus my hat, but all right in every 
other respect, save and except the good ducking I 
deserved, amidst the laughter of the much relieved 
spectators, who had quietly trotted over the bridge, 
which stood only a few hundred yards farther up the 
river ; the very hounds, I believe, joining in the laugh, 
having suddenly come to a check, rendering haste 
of any kind unnecessary. 

" What the devil made you do that ?" said Roper. 

" Why, didn't you yourself instruct me how it was 
to be done ?" 



vi.] IX AVALES, 1824-1826. 183 

"Yes, but I never thought you would be fool 
enough to do it ! That idiot of an old horse, too, who 
is old enough to know better ! The sooner you get 
home and put yourself and a good jorum of hot brandy - 
and- water between the blankets, the better, and another 
time take my advice try the bridge." 

Of course this was a standing joke against me ; and 
as good jokes were somewhat scarce in the principality, 
I never heard the last of it. 

The old blind harpers, who were then so common in 
North Wales, and have now become so scarce having 
disappeared with the high beaver hats that were so 
characteristic among the women were my especial 
delight, and their grand old national music afforded 
me constant pleasure. Why these old bards were all 
blind I don't know, but it seemed an indispensable 
portion of their profession. 

During my sojourn at Plas Teg, we made a brilliant 
equestrian expedition to Llangolleu. Dean Roper and 
his daughter, Mr., Mrs., and Miss Roper, myself and the 
respective grooms, formed an imposing cavalcade. After 
a charming ramble up to Castle Dinas Bran we had 
a jolly dinner at the hotel, and during the repast were 
entertained by a venerable white-bearded Druid, one 
of the most splendid specimens of his craft I ever 
encountered. The old fellow was a noted artist, and 
had a fine collection of all the most popular melodies, 
and among them one I had never heard before. He 



184 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

said it was some twenty years since he had first met 
with it. It was called " Cader Idris ;" and I made him 
play it over to me till I had learnt it correctly. 

Elated with my discovery, for such it really seemed 
to be none of my friends having heard it before any 
more than myself I lost no time in putting words to 
it, and the result was a great success. 

At the picturesque farmhouse at Pontblyddyn, in 
which I lived, was a pretty little Welsh dairymaid, 
named Jenny Jones, and a simple ploughman, called 
David Morgan. The ballad I then composed to my 
newly-discovered national air, bearing the young lady's 
name, has since made the interesting couple familiar 
to London ears. They would perhaps be astonished to 
know their history publicly recorded, and blush to find 
it fame. 

This, of course, was years before I had any idea of 
going upon the stage, and I only mention it in connection 
with the mortifying disenchantment that awaited me. 

I had been singing my new ballad one evening, at 
the house of some friends in London, to a tolerably large 
party, when an old gentleman in a voluminous white 
choker and a shiny suit of black, looking very like a 
Methodist parson, came up to me with a very serious 
face, to remonstrate with me, I feared, for the levity I 
had been guilty of, and to my surprise said : 

" My dear sir, allow me to express to you the great 
gratification the perfect little ballad you have just sung 



vi.] IX AVALES, 1824-1826. 185 

has afforded me, arid to assure you that I appreciate the 
honour you have done me in selecting for its illustration 
an air of my humble composing." 

With a look of ineffable pity, I answered the poor 
maniac : "I am sorry, dear sir, to rob you of so pleasant 
a delusion, but unfortunately the air is one I picked up 
myself, years ago, among the Welsh mountains, and 
is, I flatter myself, quite original, and hitherto 
unknown." 

" Pardon me, in my turn, dear sir," said the old 
gentleman, smiling, " if I inform you that the air in 
question was composed by me for the Eisteddfod in 
1804, obtaining the prize at that festival. I named it 
' Cader Idris,' and I shall have great pleasure in sending 
you the music, published at the time, with my name 
attached to it." , 

Patatras ! Down went my great antiquarian dis- 
covery, and I was left desolate. 

The old gentleman was John Parry, the Welsh com- 
poser, and father of the illustrious John, whose genius 
has delighted thousands ; and when, long afterwards, I 
introduced the ballad of " Jenny Jones " in my piece of 
" He would be an Actor," and it got to be whistled about 
the streets, he presented me with a handsome silver cup, 
with a complimentary inscription in most elegant Welsh, 
in commemoration of the event. 

But to return to business. Two thousand five 
hundred pounds was the sum granted by the Company 



186 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

to be expended on the house of the resident director; 
but I soon discovered by the time I had carried out all 
Gray's requirements, which included a handsome stone 
lodge, an ornamental stone bridge, a solid staircase 
of Bangor slate, in imitation of black marble, similar 
to one he took a fancy to at Penrhyn Castle, and several 
other little rather expensive nicknacks, the sum granted 
would not more than half suffice for the purpose. On 
this I immediately proceeded to town, and laid the 
circumstances before the board of directors, requesting 
further advice or a further grant of money. 

In a few days a visiting committee of three, consist- 
ing of John Wilks himself, and a couple of directors, 
made their appearance at Heartsheath, and passed a 
week examining the Coed Talwn works, living like 
fighting cocks at Gray's expense. In vain I pressed for 
an answer to my application, till, on the last evening of 
their stay, I sent in a note to Mr. Wilks, insisting 
on being informed what course I was to pursue, as I 
declined to proceed with the work in the face of the 
certainty of so far exceeding the original estimates. I 
had evaded dining with the party, lest, in the midst of 
the conviviality, I should not find a moment to obtain 
the information I required. 

As I expected, they were all as jolly and in as noisy 
good-humour as could be wished, and on the back of 

o 

my note Wilks scribbled in pencil : "5,000 have been 
granted for the completion of Heartsheath and its de- 



vi.] IN WALES, 1824-1826. 187 

pendencies, so make your mind easy, young shaver. 
JOHN WILKS." 

This was enough, and I carefully preserved the 
valuable document in my pocket-book. It was lucky I 
did so. 

A similar piece of caution proved another fortunate 
thing for me. Within a couple of yards of the kitchen 
and offices to be erected stood a fine old tree, which 
Gray insisted should not be removed. In vain I urged 
that the roots, extending under the walls of the new 
buildings, would render the foundations unsafe. " No 
matter," he said; "it was a sacrilege to cut it down." 
And so it was ; but it couldn't be helped. However, he 
stuck to his point, and got both the builder and my 
clerk of the works to back him in his opinion that no 
danger was to be apprehended from it. " Very well," 
said I, " have your way ; but I make one condition. 
You must acknowledge my protest in writing, and 
exonerate me from all blame in the matter should 
mischief occur." 

Sure enough mischief did occur; and while the 
mortar was still wet, a single stormy night did the 
business, and caused a settlement, as I had predicted. 
It turned out, I believe, ultimately, that it was about the 
only settlement the builder was able to bring about, 
though the Coed Talwn speculation had become shaky 
enough for anything. 

Thanks to the energy and determination of one man 



188 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Mr. W. Clark the bubble companies were bursting 
up in every direction, exposed by his indefatigable exer- 
tions, and the "Welsh Iron and Coal" threatened to 
follow suit. At any rate, confidence was destroyed, and 
no more money forthcoming. 

I was summoned, among other " delinquents " and 
squanderers of the public money, before a general meet- 
ing of the shareholders. I was accused of having grossly 
exceeded my estimates, and my father was called upon 
to disburse the amount in excess, to prevent the proceed- 
ings which were threatened against me. At this meeting 
I underwent a rioficl cross-examination, and had to submit 

O * 

to what is allegorically denominated a good " badgering " 
from Mr. W. Clark. 

How was it that, with only two thousand five 
hundred pounds granted by the Company, and agreed to 
in my estimates, I had wantonly expended nearly double 
that amount ? 

I simply replied, that subsequently five thousand 
pounds was granted to complete the Heartsheath works, 
out of which I had only spent four thousand six 
hundred ; four hundred pounds less than the amount 
granted. 

" Granted by whom ? " said Mr. Clark. 

" By the directors themselves, through their secretary, 
Mr. John Wilks." 

" I never gave any such latitude," said Wilks. 
" Have you anything to show that I did ? " 



vi.] IN WALES, 1824-1826. 189 

"I have," said I, throwing the pencilled note across 
the table. ' " 1 believe that is your handwriting. That 
is my voucher." 

This turned the scale triumphantly in my favour, 
and got me out of that scrape. 

My protest to Gray and his written certificate, 
taking upon himself the blame of the settlement, 
disposed of what was much more important to me, 
the charge of incompetency. It was an early lesson 
to me never to destroy documents, however trivial they 
might be at the time, and I have found it most useful 
to me through life. 

I must mention one other little lesson I received 
in connection with my Welsh business, and I have done. 

I had occasion to go over to Liverpool with my 
builder, to choose some marble chimney-pieces, and the 
three we selected amounted to fifty pounds. But, 
strange to say, the manufacturer took an odd fancy into 
his head that he should prefer their being paid for on 
delivery. He knew my builder very well, but, not 
knowing anything about the Company, he. thought it 
would perhaps be safer to make it a ready money 
transaction. I think he was right. 

"However, Mr. Davis," said he, "of course, your 
bill at three months will be the same thing." 

" Exactlv " said Mr. Davis : " that will be the same 

/ * 

thing ; " turning to me, " I'll draw the bill, which you 
can accept in the name of the Company, and I can 



190 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

send in the sum in my monthly account, so that it will 
be paid before the bill conies due. That will be the 
easiest way." 

"Of course/' said I, "that will be the easiest way." 
In fact, nothing could be easier ; for it did not take 
me a minute to write my name across the bill, and 
the thing was done. I said, as Warde the tragedian 
used to say, when giving a bill in exchange for a cool 
hundred, borrowed at sixty per cent., "Thank God, 
that's paid." It was the easiest thing in the world. 

Davis sent in his monthly account to the board, 
as promised, but the unpleasant moment had arrived 
when payments were not so prompt as usual, and a 
most irregular and unprecedented thing happened 
the bill was presented and dishonoured. I have known 
this happen more than once since, but at that time I 
had never conceived such an event possible. What 
was still more remarkable was that proceedings were 
taken against me, and that, in order to prevent further 
mischief, my father had to pay the fifty pounds. 

There and then I solemnly vowed that " never 
again," under any circumstances, would I be tempted to 
put my name to a bill. "Never again ! " How often is 
that phrase used and abused by everybody, and I proved 
no exception to the rule, for, later on, I broke through 
my determination I may say even several times. 

The following short correspondence will show the 
sort of way in which my friend John Wilks transacted 



vi.] IX WALES, 1824-182G. 191 

business. Without previous intimation of any kind I 
received from him this cool letter : 

JOHN WILKS TO CHARLES J. MATIIEWS. 

" 36, New Broad Street, Dec. 17, 1825. 

" DEAR SIB, 

" You are elected one of the surveyors of the 
-ZEgis Fire and Dilapidation and English and Cambrian 
Life Insurance Company, at a salary of 100 per annum, 
besides travelling expenses ; and I beg you will pay to 
me, at the temporary offices of this Company, 36, New 
Broad Street, 50 on account of the shares you must 
hold as a qualification. 

" I remain, dear Sir, 
"Your very obedient humble Servant, 

" JOHN WILKS, Jun., Secretary." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO JOHN WILKS, JUN. 

"Douglas Hotel, Edinburgh, Dec. 21, 1825. 

" DEAR SIR, 

" I cannot but be proud of the great honour 
conferred upon me by the appointment you have been 
kind enough to announce to me of surveyor to the 
JEtgis Insurance Company, or insensible of the obligation 
which I have no doubt you have placed me under to 
you for the recommendation. The conditions attached 
to it are, I confess, rather alarming, in the present state 



192 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

of affairs in London ; and the prejudice existing against 
all stock companies naturally makes me desirous to 
have a complete understanding as to my responsibility 
respecting the shares you say I must necessarily purchase 
as my qualification. At all events I cannot comply with 
your request until I have consulted with my father. 
I shall see him by the time 1 can be favoured with 
your answer. I know he has considerable uneasiness 
about the shares he holds in the Welsh Iron and Coal 
Company, which I have heard him say he thought one 
of the best. He has been advised to forfeit those he 
purchased in the Distillery, rather than pay further 
deposits. 

"Excuse me for saying that your letter is not 
explicit upon the subject of the ^Egis, of which I 
have never even heard. Pray inform me how many 
shares I am compelled to purchase as my qualifica- 
tion, and the extent of the sum I must lay out, and 
for which I must be responsible. 
" Dear Sir, 

" Your obedient Servant, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

JOHX TVILKS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

"36, E"ew Broad Street, Dec. 28, 1825. 

" DEAR SIR, 

" I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, 
and to say, that in proposing you as surveyor of the 



vi.] IN WALES, 1824-1826. 193 



is Insurance Company I did it with a view to serving 
you as a young man just starting in your profession, 
and to whom I considered a situation of such importance 
would have been acceptable ; but as that appears not to 
be the case, I shall feel myself at liberty to dispose of 
the appointment elsewhere, unless I receive a letter from 
you by a very early post, saying that you are willing to 
accept the situation on the terms mentioned in my 
former letter. 

" I remain, dear Sir, 

" Yours very truly, 

" JOHN WILKS, Jun." 

Disgusted and mortified at the lame and impotent 
conclusion of my great Welsh experience, I joyfully 
abdicated my command at the conclusion of my contract, 
and fell into the ranks again. The fact is, I had not 
satisfied myself in any way. I felt that I had not the 
requisite knowledge to undertake much beyond what I 
was then doing, and what I was then doing was any- 
thing but what my youthful fancy had pictured. Work- 
men's cottages and village ale-houses were not congenial 
to a mind filled with Italian images, and panting with 
desire to execute works of Palladian grandeur ; and the 
feeling that, should the opportunity arise, I was unequal 
to cope with the practical machinery and intricate 
calculations of estimates and specifications became so 
alarmingly strong, that I determined to study hard for a 

VOL. I. Q 



194 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. vi. 

couple of years (as had originally been proposed before 
my trip to Italy) with Mr. Nash, who, as the popular 
architect of the day and the old friend of my father, was 
the very person to forward my views ; and I took the 
long-proffered stool at a desk in his office as meekly as 
though 1 had not so lately been at the head of my two 
hundred workmen, with the dignity of commander-in- 
chief. 



CHAPTER VII. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 
CHARLES JIATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

"London, Saturday, April, 1825. 

"MY DEAREST CHARLES, 

" I write this from Mr. Nash's, in the gallery. 
I have been so nicely had, for your sake. I wrote 
him a note yesterday to beg he would see me for five 
minutes to-day, and begged he would appoint his own 
hour. What think ye ? what hour would you guess ? 
Ten this morning to breakfast ! Well, I prepared for 
this event like the king for his coronation, who moved 
from Carlton House to the Speaker's. I moved to 
Broderip's. I laid all my plans, bribed the servants to 
watch me as I lay asleep, to see me out of bed, &c., 
and I actually arrived in Regent Street at the hour 
appointed. Brown and t'other friend of yours break- 
fasted. I found Nash more friendly than ever, if 
possible. He assured me that he would do as much for 
you as if you were his own son. In short, nothing 
could be more flattering or agreeable. We, of course, 
chatted upon the monument business. He intends to 

o 2 



196 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

erect a temple of the Doric order in one of the squares 
as he terms them either at the top of his street, near 
Piccadilly, or on the site of Carlton House. He as 
nearly as could be proposed that your name should be 
attached to this, to put you on and make you known, 
and thinks you cannot begin too soon to draw your 
plans for it. Is not this great ? I say glorious ! I 
have been waiting here half an hour by second appoint- 
ment to go with him to Mr. Arbuthnot, who has the 
management of this sort of affairs ; I expect him every 
moment, therefore shall be obliged to break off abruptly, 
but thought you would be pleased to hear that I had 
executed your commission, and with so much satis- 
faction. I begin to be very impatient for your arrival. 
I must think that they are acting very unjustly in 
detaining you so long at the caprice of this London 
surveyor. I think you should expostulate and point 
out to them that your time is as valuable to you as the 
' learned Theban's.' Pray exert your energies. We 
are quite satisfied with your explanation, and your 
feelings of ' duty,' &c., and are quite convinced that 
your desire to come home is as strong as our wish to see 
you, but yet your good-nature may be imposed on, and 
I think it is. ... 

" Your mother's love, and all that is kind from 

" Yours ever affectionately, 

" C. MATHEWS." 



VIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 197 



CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MISS HOME PURVES. 

" Bourn, N. Wales, Thursday, April 7, 1825. 

" MY DEAR LLEWYZRE, 

" Having at last some comparatively leisure time, 
I fly on the wings of a goose to have the pleasure of 
conversing with you on paper, tho' I am sorry in this 
instance to have all the talk to myself. I sit down for 
the purpose with some Welch mutton in one hand and a 
"Welch rabbit in the other ; with a Welch pony staring 
at me through the door and a goat through the window, 
a Welch harp in the corner, St. David on the wall, a 
Welch wig on my head, and a leek in my mouth. Thus 
equipped, I cannot well fail of doing justice to my 
subject. I shall not, however, write this letter in Welch, 
because I am not quite sure of the spelling, otherwise, 
with the exception of the pronunciation and reading, 
I can get on pretty well, only I can't make out a word 
they say to me, because they speak it so fast. Mr. Gray 
is not so forward as I am, and can't yet pronounce 
Llwrzstlythlrn. It is very difficult. I have already 
loosened many of my teeth, and greatly checked the 
growth of my hair, by the exertion. But, however, 
' Nil desperandum,' as your favourite Chaucer says. 

"The scene of my business lies in the mines and 
collieries of Coed Talwn, which are exceedingly inte- 
resting. Here are hundreds of men, as Eichmond says, 



198 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

'advanced into the bowels of the land/ and working 
great holes in all directions. If I were the earth I should 
think it a great lore to have fellows continually digging 
in my bowels. First of all, I must inform you that tho' 
many people have seen pigs killed I have seen them made ! 
Aye, pigs of lead too, and what is still more strange, the 
instant they are made they begin to run ! ! ! There are 
some pigs of iron too, but none of them have curly tails. 
There are plenty of engines at work always in the mines, 
but they are quite different to those in London, for there 
they are employed to put out fires, while here they are 
used to make them. They are worked by steam, 
on which account the workmen are continually in hot 
water, otherwise, they are cheerful enough and always 
singing of course in the minor key which astonishes 
me, for I always thought there w T as scarcely anything 
but blubber in Wales. The nearest town is Mold 
Ironmould of course and so you see altho' not yet dead, 
I have been underground and in Mold. Here, magis- 
trates are appointed over the men, they are ordered to 
study nothing but Blackstone and Coke, and what is 
singular they never punish men for forging. 

"We talk of getting up some plays here, and perhaps 
the arrangements I have made may interest you. As the 
object of the theatre will be to give employment to the 
mines, I propose that no article shall be received that 
does not come from thence. Thus we shall have a steel 
curtain, which will be handsomer than glass. The 



vii.] CORKESPOXDEXCE, 1 825-1 82G. 199 

landscapes are to be of cast-iron, skies of slate, clouds 
of coal, a freestone moon, and leaden wings. Actors in 
the same manner and material. Thus our generals are 
to be brass ; dandies, pewter ; lovers, fuel ; ladies, silver ; 
landlords, gilt ; nabobs, japanned ; old women, pinch- 
back ; authors, steel ; harlequins, quicksilver ; leaden 
preachers, a copper captain, plated lawyers, and iron old 
men. So that our generals are always running ; our 
captains hot ; dandies cold ; lovers all on fire, and ladies 
melting; landlords made to take in; nabobs coloured and 
lined; old women back-biters; authors dull blades, neither 
polished nor keen; harlequins with "the winged feet of 
Mercury." Preachers formed from pig bores ; lawyers 
subtle, and old men their clients, cast. The actors, you 
see, are all men of metal, tho' from the rehearsal they 
seem but poor. They hammer out the hard words too 
much. I expected more from them I own, for I heard 
that all Wales spouted amazingly. Our first pieces are 
to be ' Cymbeline,' and the play is well ca^st, Posthunius 
particularly. With Foote's farce of ' The Minor,' Mrs. 
Cole by the clerk of the works ; followed by the 
' Mayor of Garratt,' the Major by a miner. Our lamps 
are gas, and music by steam, and the engines will be 
played between the acts ; the miners will, of course, go 
into the pit, that is if they choose to post the cole. Our 
head is Gray, who is the very pink of perfection among 
these black people, who think him deep read. He 
appears to me to be rather green to leave town on such a 



200 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

speculation, and will look blue if it should not succeed. 
But he seems a lucky wight, and I hope will get plenty 
of the yellow boys, nothing looking black at present but 
the coals. Here he is then, abandoning the title of 
Sur-geon Gray, to be a prince of sacks. Well, I hope he 
will ' drive his pigs to a good market,' tho' the coal 
scheme, I am sure, will all end in smoke. Everybody is 
delighted at his taking the house except the peacocks, 
who have been spreading sad tales about it, and the 
ducks, who are determined to have nothing but quacks. 
The house I propose to call Ironmongers' Hall, as its 
foundation is upon iron and is therefore likely to stand 
its ground. The materials must be drawn from the same 
source as those of the theatre. It is to be roofed with 
grey slates, and the weathercock is to be made from the 
pigs I mentioned, so that we shall really have ' hog in a 
high wind/ and I daresay the wind will always be 
' sow-west by sow.' The dogs are to be warmed with 
kennel coal ; the sleeping-rooms will be capital, as he 
has plenty of beds of iron and sheets of tin. His clothes 
will be ironed for nothing, but must be taken not to 
steal them. His visitors are all to be select, and orders 
are given that no calves or asses shall be taken into 
Gray's. But I have room for no more nonsense, and I 
fear I have quite tired you out, so God bless you, and 
good-night. My very best love to all the dears and 
pets, and pigs and ducks, and kits and chicks. I fear no 
Italian and I now would be very much obliged to 



vii.] COKRESPOKDEXCE, 1 825-1 82G. 201 



you, if you would do me the favour to gratify me so far 
as to believe me, 

" Your most affectionate, true, and everlasting 

"C. J. MATHEWS. 

"P.S. This Bourn is not 'the bourn from which no 
traveller returns/ as I hope to be home on Sunday at 
the latest. ..." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Pontblyddyn, June 5th, 1825. 

"My DEAR MOTHER, 

" Brother Right Worshipful Master Gray is 
certainly gone mad. His doings since his arrival in 
this place would establish his lunacy in any court in 
Christendom. I must, as well as I can, give you some 
account of the various little acts which constitute my 
charge, and then leave you to judge for yourself, though 
I fear they are so exceedingly numerous that I shall not 
be able to recollect half the little touches which give the 
great character to the whole. 

" First of all, he has, like Lenitive, ' hung his hat 
and wig upon a peg ' (without casting any reflection on 
his successor), and is determined to enjoy his ' otium cum 
dig-my-tatoes ' among the rural mines and collieries of 
North Wales, sinking into the gentle country gentleman, 
interesting himself in all the little ways of his tenants, 
providing wives for the husbandmen, rakes for the 



202 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

wives, stocking the girls with hoes, and teaching the 
boys to sow, in short entering thoroughly into all 
the concerns of their domestic economy. It is neces- 
sary, imprimis, that I should just give a sketch of the 
comforts of the house he is come to live in. I have 
just demolished the whole of the offices, and have left 
only five rooms altogether standing, two of which are 
barely habitable, having no glass in the windows and no 
etceteras whatever, and the other three, bare and not 
habitable at all, consisting merely of walls and apertures 
where the windows will, in process of time, be placed. 
Into this skeleton of a house, containing literally but 
two really liveable rooms, does he remove himself, his 
little son, his coachman, groom, butler, and livery boy, 
his cook, coachman's wife, and housemaid, nine 'precious 
souls and all agog/ bringing with them two carriage 
horses and two dogs, without any convenience of any 
kind to lodge them in. As soon as he arrives he goes to 
Chester, and returns with two cows and a calf, two 
grown porkers, a sow and ten little ones, making as you 
may suppose a precious litter. These are to have houses 
built for them immediately; C. J. M. architect to the 
colony. I thought him rather premature in this addition 
to his family (I don't allude to the pigs), when next day 
he arrives from Wrexham with fourteen chickens, twelve 
ducks and a drake, sixteen pigeons, and a cat ; said 
live-stock to be also well housed; said C. J. M. architect. 
With these a proportionable quantity of hay for the 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 203 

cows, corn for the horses, paunches for the dogs, bran 
for the pigs, chalk to whiten the calves, barley for the 
chicks and ducks, peas for the pigeons, and meat for the 
Christians. Where they were stowed I know not, but 
there they are (I am sorry to say), all alive and thriving. 
Next day our provident Brother buys a young hunter 
from his friend Mr. Roper, and returns from Mold, with 
a horse and cart, a churn, divers and sundry pots and 
pans, a spit, ten fishing-rods, and a double-barrelled gun, 
hiring a dairymaid (without any character) by the way, 
and wishes a cart-shed to be erected by the next morning, 
and lodging arranged for said dairymaid C. J. M. 
architect in the capacious family-residence, which like 
the lodging-houses, is ' unfurnished with every other con- 
venience.' But I really cannot do justice to his pur- 
chases, they are too numerous to be lodged in the 
storehouse of any one person's memory. So I must 
turn to matters of equal importance. The first novelty 
is the arrival of Mr. Smith, his secretary, on a visit, and 
the intelligence by letter from his sister, that she is 
charmed at his invitation, and will certainly not delay 
more than a month in availing herself of his kindness, 
and will bring with her his little girl to spend the 
summer months, who is to be christened here in July. 
.Three to begin. To-morrow he goes to Liverpool to meet 
Mrs. Kershaw and Mrs. Wilks, who are come from 
London expressly to see Coed Talwn Park, making five. 
A letter this morning expresses the acquiescence of 



204 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Messrs. Wilks, Kershaw, Barrett, and Peter Moore, to 
join his fishing party on the 8th = nine. A note from 
Mr. Eussell, member for Newcastle, who is somewhere 
in the neighbourhood for a few days, and will just run 
over = ten. Potter Macquean, another member, can only 
(unluckily) spare a few days = eleven ; and to crown all, 
the chances are in favour of a ' run down ' from Verbeke, 
closing with glory this imperial dozen of surprised 
worthies, who no doubt expect every comfort and 
delicacy of the season in the ' new house ' of the Right 
Worshipful Master of the Royal Inverness Lodge. Now 
for his more serious occupations. First, he has just 
received his ' dedimus/ which means he is made a magis- 
trate of the county ! he has the command of a troop in 
the Flintshire militia, is in treaty for a pack of hounds 
and capacious farm ; is about to establish a Masonic 
lodge in Mold, and to-day offered to bet that in less than 
two years he should hold his seat in Parliament ! To 
w y ind up all, and though last not least, he is (by his own 
delighted confession) director of twenty-two companies, 
surgeon to four or five ; resident director (with three 
hundred shares) to the Welsh Iron and Coal, and share- 
holder to the amount of nine thousand pounds in every 
company in London ! ! ! and thus is the old saying 
rendered quite impossible, for I defy anyone to 'judge 
of such a man by his company.' 

"Now I have completed all I can for the present 
recollect of this multifarious man, who must be in two 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 205 

places at once ' like a bird/ to attend to all his affairs, 
and having got through this sheet, will get between two 
others, the clock just striking midnight, and it being 
high time all sober architects to Welsh companies should 
be in bed, and so bon soir, bona sera, nose clauogh, and 
good-night. 

" Your ever impudent Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 



CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Saturday Night, Mold. 

DEAR MOTHER, 

" I had written you a song after dinner, but there 
want two or three verses to complete it, describing my ad- 
ventures since Wednesday night; and, as the post is about 
to go out, I must send it you another time. I shall merely 
say now that after sleeping on a bench at the George and 
Blue Boar, I found Gray in the morning too sleepy to 
start, for which reason (for I believe that to have been 
the only one) he feigned business in the city until three 
o'clock ; so I went to bed and snoozed very comfortably 
till twelve. At three we started, and after travelling 
all night, reached this place yesterday night at ten. We 
did not stop a moment at Birmingham, or I would have 
written from, thence. It poured with rain the whole 
way, which made it very pleasant, as we had no dust. 
We stopt at twelve on Thursday night at Oxford, to 



206 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

take our tea, during which time I ran to Christchurch 
and wrote these lines to John Fawcett : 

FROM AN ACTIVE ARCHITECT TO A PASSIVE 
STUDENT. 

Starting from town at half-past three, 
Stopping at Oxford to take tea, 
My time I use in seeking you ; 
So how d'ye do 1 

But our four horses being to, 
I quit tea, buttered toast, and you ; 
For I must now to Chester fly, 
And so good-bye. 

" We had very pleasant companions all the way, one 
of whom I smoked. ' Have you been to the exhibition ? ' 
said I. 'I have,' said he. ' A very good one/ said I. 
'It is,' said he. ' Pray,' said I, ' did you ever by any 
accident see a picture of Cooke, in " Shylock " ? ' 'I 
have/ said he. ' Then I have you, by Jove/ said I ; 'you are 
Mr. Phillips, the Academician.' ' I am/ said he. This 
was odd, was it not ? I had never seen him before, but 
I was sure he was an artist, by his asking at every stage 
' if there was time to take a dish of tea ? ' and by seeing 
T. P. and an exhibition catalogue in his hat. 

" I have no more to say, and if I had I couldn't say 
it, for I have not time. So here I am, 

" Your dutiful Son to command, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 



VIL] COEKESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 207 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Poutblyddyn, June llth, 1825. 

" MY DEAR MOTHER, 

" I received your letter from Gower Street with 
the greatest pleasure, and now, having no time, will send 
you the short song you ask me for. The reason why 
I did not send it at the time was, that I really hardly 
thought it worth the trouble. 

" The ivhole party mentioned in my letter about 
Gray, are all arrived, and finding the beds, fishing, 
shooting, driving, &c., impracticable, have, set off to 
Caermarthen on a trip, and taken their host with them. 
His letter inviting you down arriving at the same time 
as mine, was the finest thing that could happen in 
confirmation of my statement. 

" With love to Papa, and best regards to Hook and 
B., I am, 

" Yours ' in the natural bonds of affection/ 

"C. J. MATHEWS, 

"A.T.T.W.I.A.C.M.C., &c. &c. &c." 

A NEW CANZONET. 
TUNE " Here we go \ip." 

Dear mother, don't kick up a row, 
For my not doing what I was told ; 

But I'll not write from Birmingham now, 
And why 1 why because I'm at Mold. 

You'll stare I daresay when you knows 
"What kept me in London so long, 



208 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

And as I'm not given to prose, 
I'll just turn it into a song. 

Mr. Smith, as you know well enough, 

"Was to take me to Holhorn to sup ; 
But he wanted at nine to pack off, 

Before I had time to pack up. 
In his coach I'd a mind to make one, 

Had he not wished so early to go ; 
But he said he was anxious to run, 

Because he'd the gout in his toe. 

Says Hook, " let him follow his whim 

While we stop and finish our tea, 
You can leave Austin Friars to him, 

And come to Blackfriars with me." 
Says I, " "Well, I don't see the harm 

Of posting to London with you ; " 
So Hook and I went arm in arm, . 

As hook and eye always should do. 

Arrived at the George and Blue Boar, 

"We kicked up a deuce of a din ; 
A man peeped through the chink of the door, 

But he swore he would not let us in. 
Says I, " I'm come here for a snore." 

Says he, " That I fear you can't do." 
Says I, " Sure enough it's a bore, 

But, by George, it was I that looked blue." 

Said I, " I've a good mind to curse 

But no, 'twill be better I think 
At the fellow to jingle my purse, 

And bring him again to the chink." 
The purse I had not long to hold, 

Says I, " The job's done, Mr. Hook, 
He's a lad that'll look to the gold, 

I can see by the guilt on his look." 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 209 

" You shall quickly be George and Blue Boar'd," 

Says lie, " if you'll sleep as you are, 
For you'll find that there's both bed and board, 

If you'll sleep on a bench in the bar." 
" Mr. Hook, then no more with these fools 

Will I prate in this horrible drench ; 
If you find nothing hard in the rules, 

I shall find nothing hard in the bench." 

In the morning I rapped at Gray's door, 

At six as I promised to do. 
" Gaffer Gray," said I, " why do you snore ? 

And why does your nose look so blue 1 " 
Said he, " Don't disturb me till nine, 

As I don't think of starting to-day, 
For the morn which I hoped would be fine 

Like myself, has turned out Iron Grey." 

It was settled to set off at three, 

But we stopt on some beef to regale, 
And at four I and good brother Gray 

Set off in our habits of mail. 
The fault you see wasn't with me, 

And now I am come to a stand, 
So with love to my honoured P., 

Believe me your son to command. 

[These lines, in common with many others written by 
Mathews at about this period, are in the style of the 
Theodore Hook impromptus, which were so popular fifty 
years ago. As a specimen of Mathews's talents as a 
versifier later in life the following jeu d' esprit may 
be given. It was published in " Routledge's Annual " 
for 1867, and is reproduced here by permission of 
Messrs. Koutledge & Sons.] 

VOL. I. P 



210 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

THE MAD ARITHMETICIAN. 
I'm a mad arithmetician, and I live in Bedlam College, 
And I'm death on calculation and experimental knowledge. 
I've measured all the universe and summed up all creation, 
And to benefit the world I now impart my information. 

I've sounded with a plumb-bob ev'ry brood of little chickens, 
And I've taken with a quadrant all the serials by Dickens ; 
And, dividing by the census of the parish overseer, 
I find the product just amounts to twenty pounds a year. 

I've counted on my fingers all the little twinkling stars, 
And I've potted down the comets and their tails in earthen jars ; 
And subtracting thence the earthquakes which infest the Milky Way, 
I find that their subscriptions all come due on quarter day. 

I can tell how many singing birds can perch upon a tree, 
Multiplying by the shipwrecks which occur each year at sea. 
I can calculate the distance, by consulting with the moon, 
From the lamp at Hyde Park Corner to the twenty-first of June. 

I can tell the way Earl Eichmond pierced the bowels of the land, 
By observing Dent's chronometer that's stuck up in the Strand. 
I have measured with a five-foot rod, the Muses and the Graces, 
And I've reckoned up the period between Eome and Epsom races. 
I can tell by my thermometer the proper hour to rise ; 
With my telescope, from Putney Bridge, I've seen the Bridge of Sighs. 
By Dollond's best barometer, from error quite exempt, 
I find newspaper strictures three degrees below contempt. 

By using my theodolite I've levelled accusations 
Against Meyerbeer's " Prophete," and against Cicero's " Orations." 
I've dissected, with my microscope, the bones of Thomas Paine, 
And I've galvanised with chloroform the late Sir Eichard Mayne. 

I brought up with a stomach-pump two thousand puns of Byron's, 

And I baked them in an oven for the use of Dr. Irons ; 

And I melted in a crucible the works of Bulwer Lytton, 

And they made a batter pudding for the Prince of Wales to sit on. 



VIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 211 

The light the sun gives ev'ry day's as light as any feather, 
And the Tower guns are heavier than the heaviest of weather. 
The "broadest joke is not so broad as any railway gauge, 
One blade of grass is twice as green as any green old age. 

A pint of beer I find's as long as half a pound of tea, 

And giant Chang's as high as High Church principles can be. 

A flash of lightning wears as well as twenty kegs of whiskey, 

And Threadneedle Street exceeds in width a storm in the Bay of Biscay. 

A penny ball of string's as bad as two attacks of measles, 
And a quart of turtle soup costs more than ten Sir Peter Teazles. 
A shower of rain's more numerous than twenty Leicester Squares, 
Nine Welsh wigs ain't as musical as two Italian hairs. 

Take half-a-dozen babies and divide them with your knife, 
Throw in a niece, two uncles, carry one and add your wife ; 
Then stir them well together let them simmer by the fire 
And the dividend's as pleasing as a parent can desire. 

One day while looking through my bars and gazing at the sky, 
It struck me that a sermon must be heavier than a fly ; 
So I caught a country clergyman and furnished him with wings, 
And he buzzed as well as any fly and eat as many things. 

I hauled up in my fishing-net a great railway contractor, 
And I hung him on a gibbet with another malefactor ; 
I then extracted all their steam exhausting their receivers 
And I brought them back to reason by the aid of two retrievers. 

I seized a pair of callipers and nipped a politician, 
And I sweated him in blankets till I got him in condition ; 
Then I rode him for the Derby, in my boots and leather breeches, 
And the people said they liked his running better than his speeches. 

There's nothing I can't do, within the province of humanity ; 

I can sit out Phelps's " Manfred " not that that's a proof of sanity. 

I quite believe in spirits though it does seem hard to me, 

That I'm still confined in Bedlam, while the Davenports go free. 

p 2 



212 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Now tell me, you sane people, am I not a " Tree of Knowledge ? " 
Don't I well deserve the epithet of " Pride of Bedlam College ! " 
To teach mixed mathematics there, but grant me your commission, 
And you'll thus repay the labours of the " Mad Arithmetician." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Pontblyddyn, Saturday Mght, 1825. 

"My DEAR MOTHER, 

" I am just returned from a week's sojourn at 
Flint, where I have becii viewing some slate quarries 
and acting the man of business, and only now, on my 
return, receive your letter of July 26th, together with a 
packet of newspapers that will take me a fortnight to 
read, a letter from Louisa, and one from Mr. Phipps. I 
am very much annoyed at not being able to write to my 
father in time, but you must let me know again when 
he is stationary anywhere, that I may surprise him with 
a line or two. Your reproach about writing is unkind, 
for you know how completely my time is occupied the 
whole of the week, and how difficult it is for me to get 
any leisure even on Sundays, as those days are unluckily 
the only ones which we can devote to examining the 
accounts, surveying the buildings, arranging, &c. You 
can have no idea of the really hard work that it is, and 
of the number of things there are to think of for the dif- 
ferent works. To-morrow fortnight I hope to put the 
roof on my house, and have to-night twenty cottages 
ready. Everything is going on quite right, and Mr. 
Gray is away; so far, I have nothing to complain of.' 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 213 

You ought not to scold me in any part of your letters, 
because the space would be so much more agreeably 
filled up with ' innocent prattle/ to amuse an exile in 
his solitude. I am living in a region of matter-of- 
fact, where a joke was never heard, and a pun is punish- 
able by the laws. Pray bestow your charity. . You must 
recollect, too, that all the little fun which floats occa- 
sionally on the surface of my fancy must all be carefully 
skimmed to pop into dear Louisa's letter, who would 
not be content, like you, with ' interesting nothings/ 
relating to myself. It is necessary to keep her in good 
humour and bear the postage cheerfully, by any little 
nonsense which may hit me at the time; but you I am 
sure of. I know that a dull letter will not make you 
love me the less, and therefore I, perhaps ungenerously, 
bestow all my tediousness upon you. Well, I will 
promise to be a little more sociable for the future, if you 
will, in return, give me a little more of yourself in your 
letters. I have seen such amusing epistles of yours 
upon all sorts of subjects nay, upon no subject at all 
to all sorts of people, and yet I verily believe out of the 
whole mass of your correspondence, while abroad and 
here, I could not find a single 'bonne inotte or rapparty' 
worth recording in history. So you see if you attack me 
I shall turn upon you ; so you had better shake hands 
and begin again. ' Blow me up and bully me ' about 
the matter of my letters, and I may perhaps mend ; but 
as to a greater frequency of writing, I really do say it 



214 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

is impossible for an architect of eminence and great 
practice, such as he of the Welsh Mining Company, to 
write more than once a week upon unscientific subjects. 

" I have been all the week in the most ckssical and 
poetical mood that you can fancy, but am obliged to 
return to a few dull realities now, which, though highly 
unpoetical, and sudden death to the Muses, are, never- 
theless, very well in their way. My CORDUROYS, then, 
have more upon their hands than they can well perform, 
and request an extra pair may be immediately sent from 
Mr. Thingammy, opposite Exeter Change, and, as I am 
quite done on both sides, let all my summer clothing 
of every kind be sent with them, nicely packed with a 
pair of boots and a pair of braces, and my black evening 
trousers. Also, let David buy me some Punk from 
any tobacconist, which is a kind of substance like 
leather, for lighting the pipe, unknown in these savage 
parts. 

" Believe me, my dearest mother, though I do write 

only once a week, 

" Your truly affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Pontblyddyn, August 13, 1825. 

"My DEAR MOTHER, 

" I sit down positively in a gale of wind that 
almost rocks the old house like a pendulum. You have 



VIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 215 

no idea of the tremendous weather we have had for the 
last week a series of most dreadful 'harricoes/ that 
have done all kinds of mischief, and, in spite of the 
vigilance of the police, the offenders have not yet been 
taken into custody. Trees have been cleft in twain, 
' chimblay pots ' thrown down, corn beat into the earth, 
and, as luck would have it, the foundations for my 
bridge just commenced. We have all been in a pretty 
pickle, but, happily, everything is preserved. I have 
had sad work with my bridge on account of the impos- 
sibility of arriving at a solid bottom to build on. I 
have been obliged to build upon piles, which is a great 
extra expense, but is a most secure method ; so that 
now I believe I am quite out of danger, and no longer 
fear the fury of the contending elements. 

" I have received a most characteristic letter from 
Gaffer Gray, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, saying that he 
shall be home on Tuesday next, and ' shall be accom- 
panied by three or four ladies, and wishes to know how 
many rooms will be ready to receive them. Tell me/ 
he proceeds, ' how all goes on, and whether the drawing- 
room is ready to paper, as I have engaged a man for the 
purpose next week.' Again: ' On Wednesday the billiard 
table will arrive from London, with a man to put it up, 
so I hope you will be quite prepared for it.' To show 
you how amusing this is, it is only necessary for me to 
add that there is yet no roof at all on the house. He 
concludes : ' Tell Eoper I have bought a brood mare, 



216 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

such a beauty ! ! ! and above all have the four rooms 
ready.' Four ladies and a brood mare ! Verily our 
cousin of Newcastle-upon-Tyne hath gone mad. We are 
doing wonders here and astonishing the natives with 
our celerity. I find that the busybodies in the neigh- 
bourhood have given a year and a half for the comple- 
tion of all our undertakings, and will, no doubt, be much 
surprised at seeing them approaching to a close in 
November. Early in September I hope to spend a week 
with you at home, and I assure you I heartily long to 
see you all once more. I have not written to my father 
yet, but if you can say where he will be at the end of 
next week, and will inform me whether Jonathan praises 
or abuses England, I hope to send him a song of some 
kind, though really the subject is dreadfully worked 
upon. Is anything thought of for next year ? I should 
much like to know what the subject is. ... 

"With best love to my father, believe me, my 
dearest mother, 

" Your most affectionate Son, 

" C. J. MATHEWS." 

CHABLES J. MATHEWS TO MISS HOME PURVES. 

" Pontblyddyn, August Uth, 1825. 
"MY DEAR LOUISE, 

" How do you do ? Are you better ? Have you 
got a house ? Will you write to me ? When do you go 
out of town ? Is it to Tonbridge Wells ? Is Lord 



VIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-182G. 217 

Blcssington gone to Ireland ? Shall you write to me ? 
What news of Mr. Stewart ? How is your mamma ? 
When did you hear from America ? Won't you write 
to me ? How does the Italian go on ? Do you continue 
drawing ? Have you played my overture lately ? 
Shan't you write to me ? How is Mrs. Baker ? Is 
Lord Auckland returned ? Is Johnny gone to Eton ? 
Can you write to me ? Have you heard from Italy ? 
What was the meeting between Lord B. and Tiny ? 
Have you been to Kentish Town ? Couldn't you write 
to me ? How is the Speaker ? How did Lord B. like 
Hook ? What did the Duke of Sussex say and do ? 
Have you been to the play ? Mightn't you write to 
me ? Is Mary quite well ? How are her birds ? Are 
the parrots alive ? Does your godson thrive ? Oughtn't 
you to write to me ? Do you begin to be hearty and 
' charming well again ' ? Do you eat voraciously ? Do 
you drink like a fish ? Do you sleep like a top ? Mayn't 
you write to me ? What sort of weather have you ? 
Have you seen B. lately ? Would you write to me ? 
Did you dine at P.'s ? Have you been to Vauxhall ? 
How is Maraschino ? WILL you write to me, and soon ? 
Oh pray, dear young lady, write, ivright, right, rite ; do, 
doo, dou ; pray, pra, prey doo. 

In learning I'll soon be as good as niy betters, 
I'm such a good boy that I long for my letters 
My moods and my cases are soon understood, 
For when in good case, I am then in good mood. 



218 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

But my word's not worth Laving and no one will take it 
Unless I have plenty of letters to make it. 
Some conjuror's spell is now all that is wanted 
To force you to write, then should I be enchanted, 
You know very well I'm no conjuror, am 1 1 
So forced I shall be to apply to your mammy. 
What then you will say we shall very soon see 
"When you find out that my case accusative be, 
Come, send me some soon, without more interceding, 
From spelling I then could proceed to the reading, 
But now 'tis too true and I'm ready to swear it, 
Whenever I'm vocative you're always caret. 

"In answer to your desire of knowing the moral 
and political sentiments of Welsh miners, I can merely 
give you a few general ideas, for they are very reserved, 
and shy of affording such information. It appears to 
me then, from all I can gather on the subject, that they 
have ever been considered a highly moral and deep- 
thinking people ; firmly upholding the British laws, and 
thinking that the hand of justice should be made of 
iron ; showing a good example to their superiors in 
preparing each day to ' kick the bucket,' and return to 
their parent earth. They have been for many years 
staunch supporters of the Pitt system, but since 
Brougham has put it into their heads that they are as 
good as their masters, they have been anxious to 
establish a general level through the land, and the 
Pittites seem going down very fast. Their literary 
character does not stand high. Their writings in 
general are short and pithy, as they seem to agree that 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 219 

' brevity is the soul of wit/ and I have frequently seen 
a name of fifteen syllables, to such an extent do they 
carry it, expressed with ease by a couple of strokes of 
the pen. A strong vein of irony runs through their 
works, and though the spelling is not quite consonant 
with our notions, you not unfrequently trace the keen 
satire of Steele, occasionally interspersed with the lively 
shafts of Coleman. If I can obtain any of their light 
works I will send you a specimen, but in the meantime 
I feel myself obliged (in desiring my best love to your 
mamma, Mary and Pettings) to subscribe myself with 
all due respect to your serene highness, 

" Your ever truly affectionate 
" CHARLES JAMES MATHEWS, A.W.M.C." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Pontblyddyn, August 21, 1825. 

''My DEAR MOTHER, 

" Viva, Viva ! ha, ha, ha ! All's right and 
tight every way. But prudence, Mr. Thomas ; let me 
begin regularly. I have received your three letters 
punctually. The first, containing Peake's sketch, I was 
delighted to get, as it is full time it should be begun 
upon. I like the idea, vastly, and enter into most of 
his hints, though some few I don't quite comprehend. I 
will, however, write to him as soon as I can, and say my 
say. I have already written two of the songs ! I will 



220 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

send them to him first. Jonathan's song I have not yet 
touched, but will send something or other for it to 
Birmingham. On Thursday, at twelve o'clock, I received 
the following : ' Oxford, Monday. Dear C. Mathews. 
On account of the weather we gave up Bristol, and the 
vessel does not touch at Swansea, which I mentioned to 
your mother. We sleep to-night at Warwick, to-morrow 
at Birmingham, and the next night at Llangollen, I 
suppose. I don't know where Mold is, but I should be 
glad to have a sight of you. Yours very sincerely, B.' 
At the moment I received this he had of course started 
from Llangollen ; but as I had long meditated a trip to 
Bangor ferry, to see the new chain bridge, I thought 
this an excellent opportunity, and by going there from 
Mold, I should arrive before him. I instantly ordered 
my horse and trotted off to St. Asaph, a very pretty 
little place. I hadn't time to call on the Bishop, but 
proceeded without delay to Conway, saw the castle, 
en passant, beautiful scenery, mountains, &c., and 
arrived at eight o'clock at Bangor, fifty-three miles, and 
never in my life did I see so magnificent a thing as the 
bridge. It is well worth a journey from London. His 
lordship had passed two hours before, and as I was 
within twenty-five miles of Holyhead, I determined to 
leave my horse comfortable for the night, and proceed 
there ; but owing to delays of all kinds, I did not arrive 
till two in the morning. ' Is Lord B. here ? ' ' Yes, 
sir.' ' That's all right,' said I. ' What time is he to be 



VIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 221 

called in the morning ? ' 'At four, sir.' After two 
hours' sleep I got up, and asking for the room where he 
was to breakfast, I entered, and found him asleep 
in his cloak on the sofa. I thought I would astonish 
him out of his sleep, and began : { Early one morn a 
jolly brisk tar,' his favourite song. After getting through 
a verse, he rose, and to my horror I discovered a 
perfect stranger ! I instantly recollected that Comte 
D'Orsay and his aide-de-camp were with him, and in 
great confusion began: 'Pardon, monsieur, j'ai croye 
CJUG c'etait milord, mille pardons, &c.' 'Ah,' said the 
stranger yawning, ' I was sure you were a Frenchman, 
sir, by your gaiety.' 'Mille pardons,' said I, and left the 
room in the character of a Mounseer Malbrook. I then 
went to Lord B.'s bedroom and knocked. ' Who's 
there ? ' f Early one morn a jolly brisk tar.' ' By Jove, 
it's Mathews,' said his lordship, who was delighted to 
see me. I was introduced to Count D'Orsay"" and Mr. 
Leon de Chimais and Charles Gardiner, breakfasted, and 
saw them off in the steam-packet. At seven I started 
again, but on arriving at Conway (in a pouring rain), 
my horse would not cross the ferry, and I was obliged to 
go ten miles round, and sleep at a little wretched Welch 
ale-house at Machdra. Here, after rubbing down my 
horse, myself, and bedding him up for the night, I 
exchanged Stulz for the suit of the Methodist landlord. 
Black coat with waist at my heels, flapped waistcoat and 

* This was the elder Count D'Orsay. 



222 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

knee breeches a most capital disguise. Upon asking 
the girl if they had any books, she said : l Oh yes, sir,' 
and with the greatest coolness brought me in a full- 
grown Bible, and a ' Discourse on the Great Law of Con- 
sideration.' To-day a letter has arrived from Mr. Barrett, 
M.P., and one of the Mining Company, who, in con- 
sequence of his satisfaction at what I am doing for 
Mr. Gray, ' requests my opinion/ and desires me to 
make him the plans for a house he means to build 
directly in Yorkshire. So you see, as I said, one thing- 
leads to another, actual business is better than the 
honours of looking at a palace. Depend upon it, while 
I have business of a good kind, and can establish a 
reputation for myself, it would be leaving the substance 
for the shadow to give it up, and building on a false 
foundation. Had I no position of my own, Mr. Nash's 
office would be highly valuable ; but refer to any architect 
you please, Mr. Nash himself if you will, and they will 
all confirm what I say. Mr. Nash, in short, himself 
particularly said to me : ' As long as you have business 
of your own, don't think of coming to me.' I shall lose 
no time in getting the plans ready, and shall do all I can 
to gain the approbation attendant upon planning designs. 
I have received dear Louisa's letter. 

" My dear Mother, 

" Your most affectionate Son, 

"0. J. MATHEWS." 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 223 



CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

"Pontblyddyn, Aug. 22, 1825. 

"MY DEAR FATHER, 

" I had intended to liave written you a long 
letter to-day, but you must accept the will for the deed, 
for I am so hurried now, as usual, that I shall not have 
time. I shall, however, be home for a week or so 
very soon after you are, that is, in the first or second 
week in September. I send you the song you asked 
of me, but I fear you will not find it what you expect. 
I have not pleased myself, as the subject is so worn. 
You may perhaps find one or two verses that will do, 
and the number of them will shew that my ill success 
has not been from want of will, but from a thick head, 
with which I shall always remain, 

" Your affectionate Son, 

" C. J. MATHEWS. 

" P.S. My only comfort is that the verses you sent 
me are certainly worse. 

JONATHAN'S SONG. 

Dear uncle, I'm this poetry to you I guess inditing, 
To let you know what London be at this here present writing. 
The men are not so brave as we, the women are much bolder, 
The city's much the same as ours but uglier and older. 



224 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Cast iron, gas, and steam engines are too damned much the fashion, 

Which puts the oil and watermen in a tarnation passion ; 

They've found how to consume the smoke which chimneys once gave 

vent to, 
For as they never smoke themselves, their chimneys they'd prevent too. 

They now no more "by retail wash with soapsuds and old women, 
But steam the clothes in wholesale boilers big enough to swim in ; 
And when I hear their dandy vans come rolling on behind me, 
I think of home, so strongly they of Washing-tun remind me. 

For ev'rything is done by steam in ev'ry situation 
They cook their victuals, drive their gigs, and rule their navigation ; 
The steamboats though, compared to ours, are most uncommon failures, 
"While sailors all blow up the steam, the steam blows up the sailors. 

London Bridge is taken down, and not before it wanted. 

A proper clumsy thing it was, by ev'ryone is granted. 

They brag so of their Cockney bridge and clumsy piles they've driv 

for't, 
But as to their fine coffer-dam a damn I wouldn't give for't. 

The Lord Mayor hires a large glass coach, the aldermen come after, 
"Who are twelve fat men in long gold chains, who serve as Butts for 

laughter. 

The Mansion House they sit in to condemn the trembling sinner, 
And he is thought the greatest man who eats the greatest dinner. 

And when at Brighton or at Deal they take their summer station, 
They ven'son eat considerable to fill their corporation. 
Then their rural walks they take in groves of Box and Myrtle, 
And Coo and Bill all day like doves but all their doves are Turtle. 

On Sundays in the Park are crowds of spry and active fellers, 
And all like our Militia men with sticks and umberellers. 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 225 

Both Beaux and Belles to show their shapes on prancing horses ride 

Park, 
For all is stare and show, in short it's any thing but Hide Park. 

The river Thames is covered up with stones and bricks and mortar, 
A river which compared with ours is but a pail of Avater, 
New York's ad?m>able to behold, and all one's wonder rouses, 
But London you can scarcely see, it's so chock full of houses. 

This city's such a thriving place for pec- and speculation 
That none of them can eat or drink without a calculation ; 
Five times five is twenty-five, five times six is thirty, 
Five times seven is thirty-five, five times eight is forty. 

(Written with a crowquill dipt in blacking on a green-baize cloth.) 

" Write me a line to acknowledge the receipt of this 
before you leave Birmingham." 

MES. MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

" Mold, Nov. 9th, 1825. 

" Your letter, my darling Charles, was delightful to 
me, as most of your letters are. It was written in that 
tone of mind that invariably conveys to me some of its 
own cheerfulness. Your happiness is so essential to 
mine that I can never feel independent of it. I am, 
however, most anxious to be assured that you have 
conquered those professional difficulties that some time 

ago oppressed you, and I trust, my beloved Charles, 

t 

that you will take advantage of my present 'single- 
mindedness ' to write every particular that you may find 
pleasing and desirable to communicate. Recollect par- 
ticipation is a relief to the person confiding and a 
VOL. i. Q 



22G LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

gratifying weight to the person selected to bear a share 
of the burthen of one beloved. Have you had any 
correspondence with the parties, and how near to some 
conclusion is the business? Pray satisfy me, as I some- 
times, when my dark hour is upon me, fear your mind 
may be still anxious and uneasy. 

" I dined on Monday in Berkeley Square. They are 
all pretty well. The Speaker has been very ill, but came 
in the evening tolerably recovered, yet I think not 
sufficiently so to be from home. He inquired with 
kindness after you. I delivered your message to Louisa. 
Dear, dear Charles, tell me all your real feeling about 
her, and I will with honesty advise and let you into the 
real truth of my own. She is a sweet, lovely, lovable 
girl, but I fear not stable in her attachments. Indeed, 
few T girls of her age can be expected to be so, and she is 
a dangerous companion, as I always felt, to a young 
man of feeling and strong sensibility like yourself, whose 
heart is likely to be the greatest sufferer. Heaven grant 
that my excellent Charles may not be more seriously 
interested than he ought in any young woman's regard, 
where hers has had no trial. Indeed, my dearest Charles, 
you cannot yet even place dependence upon yourself, 
rational and consistent as you are beyond your years, 
and God grant you prudence enough to refrain from any 
serious attachment until your taste and opinions have a 
more lasting quality than at present it is natural for 
them to have. Early marriages invariably are more or 



VIL] COEEESPOXDENCE, 1825-1826. 227 

less unhappy, and seldom therefore are second marriages 
so, because the parties are better disposed to make with 
judgment their choice. This is- all dull, matter-of-fact 
and commonplace, I own, but I must say something, 
and the truth needs no better form. I am solicitous 
about your happiness, my most beloved boy, and must 
sometimes show it." 

CHAKLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Pontblyddyn, Nov. 13, 1825. 

"My DEAR MOTHER, 

" Not until Thursday did I receive the parcel, and 
letter by the post at the same time, for the whole country 
here is flooded, and I have not had communication with 
Mold for some time, since when, what with snow, hail, 
rain, wind, water, and business, I have not been able to 
despatch a letter. The shirts, one of which I have on 
at ' this present writing/ are articles in the latest fashion 
and much approved. The European is indeed poor ; 
even the articles you mention are of very slender merit 
in my opinion. The other articles, I mean the corduroys, 
are now ' such as gentle women do wear,' who are in the 
habit of using such things, and answer the purpose well. 
With regard to Pepys, I do not quite understand your 
injunction. You say I must send him back in a week, 
your letter being dated Friday, Nov. 4th. Now, as I do 
not get the parcel till Thursday, 10th, the time left for 
perusal is something like our book society's allowance; 

Q 2 



228 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

' some rainy afternoon/ which considering the extracts 
you seem to hint at is rather scanty time for a large 
tough quarto. I shall, therefore, take a clear week from 
the time of its receipt, if I hear nothing to the contrary 
from you. 

" The works at Heartsheath are now measured up to 
Oct. 29th, and are, as I expected, terrific. However, I 
rather suspect the prices are not so low as they should 
be, considering the price of labour and material in this 
country, and therefore shall not be satisfied until I 
engage a surveyor from Liverpool to come over and 
value it for me. Notwithstanding the row that will no 
doubt be made, I am not uneasy about it at least, not 
so much so as I was some time back as I have no 
doubt I shall be able to clear myself from half of the 
blame. The point is this : when it was found necessary 
to pull down double the quantity of old work that was 
originally intended, someone should have written to 
apprize the directors of what was intended. Now, had 
I been employed by the directors personally, I should 
doubtless have been the person upon whom this duty 
devolved ; but as I am acting under one of these 
directors who is stationary here, for the purpose of 
inspecting the works and in daily correspondence with 
the board in London, and this resident sanctioning the 
extra work, surely it was for him to have acquainted the 
rest with what had been done, and upon this point the 
matter must rest. In another week, I rather think 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 229 

Gray will be in London, when I hope something will 
be determined. It is not impossible that, there or 
thereabouts, I may also be there, as I wish to be present 
at the debates. In the meantime, I shall not make 
myself at all uneasy about the matter. 

" I wish extremely to write to Lady Blessington, and 
will see if I possibly can during the week. . . With regard 
to Louisa, I can say nothing more than I have already 
said. Do not for a moment think that I am unhappy or 
dejected upon the subject, though it would be ridiculous 
in me to say that all the love and affection that I have 
so steadily borne towards her is totally extinguished 
by her coldness. I cannot but be hurt at the sudden 
loss of her affection, but, at the same time, nothing that 
she can now ever do can obliterate the friendship which 
I have ever entertained and ever shall towards her. If 
we gradually sink into common acquaintances, which 
seems fast approaching, I can only determine that I will 
never again be guilty of anything more than common 
civility to any of her sex, until the time arrives which is 
very far off when by industry I may be enabled to sustain, 
as I should wish, a wife chosen from among beings of 
my own rank. As to Louisa, I declare upon my honour 
I never indulged any other idea than that of the most 
tender affection, nor did I ever think of aspiring even 
in my mind to the possession of a person, whose family 
would consider themselves degraded by such an asso- 
ciation, or, to put it in less harsh terms, who had 



230 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

formed plans of a more exalted nature for the welfare 
of their darling child. Let her be as cold or unkind as 
she can possibly be, it is now too late. I can never 
cease to love her with fraternal affection. I conceive 
her to be everything that a girl should be, and if some 
portion of caprice is necessary to her nature, which I 
had always endeavoured to persuade myself was merely 
the prejudice of cynics, I console myself with kno wing- 
that it is not her fault but my misfortune. If any 
woman is allowed to be capricious, surely it must be 
that one who has amiable qualities and beauty sufficient 
to allow her her choice wherever she pleases. I can't 
express what I mean, but you know my heart, and will 
always believe me, 

" Your truly affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

MRS. MATHEWS TO CHAELES J. MATHEWS. 

"To Mold, Xov. 18, 1825. 

" Your long letter was satisfactory at least I 
will persuade myself so. You are a dear and excellent 
being, and ought not to be trifled with by anyone, and, 
to my heart and understanding, I find you equal, if not 
superior, to everyone I have yet known. But we 
will talk this over. I love Louisa, but it is with reserve ; 
for she has more of the world about her calculations, I 
fear, than I believed and is natural or desirable at her 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 231 

age.'"" Everything is for the best; of this I am firmly 
persuaded, arid it is not what we feel on present 
occasions that can shake this belief. The future will 
decide. You must expect, my dear Charles, from much 
experience, frequent disappointments in respect to 
certain expectations of character in those whose out- 
ward seeming is fair, and as gold is itself tried only by 
fire, so must our feelings and the feelings of others go 
through an ordeal like that before we can separate the 
dross from the most valuable substance. We are neither 
good nor bad without some occasions to prove us one or 
the other. No passive life can avail to make us satisfied 
of merits they are not negative, but positive, and must 
result from action. Louisa's mind and feelings are just 

* Mrs. Mathews is not altogether just or strictly ingenuous in this 
letter. Louisa Purves and Charles Mathews were undoubtedly parted 
by the action of their respective mothers, Mrs. Purves looking for a 
better match than Charles, and Mrs. Mathews being greatly opposed 
to her son's marrying so young. Two letters from Miss Purves to 
Mrs. Mathews, written in the spring of 1825, abundantly prove that 
considerable pressure had been brought to bear upon her, and that 
Mrs. Mathews was a party to the arrangement. In one letter the 
young lady says : " I shall decidedly take your advice, and not show 
low spirits, and this both from pride and because giving way now 
when I am not very strong would very probably make me ill. There 
is but one objection among the many advantages to be gained from 
Charles not knowing that I have been spoken to." In the other letter, 
a few days later, she adds, " I saw Charles to-day. The meeting was 
less awkward than it would have been had he been aware that I had 
been spoken to." " Spoken to " is a significant phrase. 



232 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

coming into play. I think she is ambitious perhaps I 
am wrong. In any case, so that she does not further 
affect the happiness of one I esteem as well as love, I 
am indifferent to her desires, and shall be content to 
love her still for those qualities which doubtless she 
possesses, and are estimable in themselves, although not 
of a nature to suit with ' this her fair and outward 
seeming.' 

" Pray tell me when it is probable I may behold your 
dear face once more, for I am again longing for you and 
cannot wait long. I cannot describe to you, my own 
darling boy, what I feel sometimes at your absence, and 
how deeply it affects me in those moments of gloom 
which will surprise me at the best of times. You have 
so many years been the sunshine of my atmosphere, that 
I languish for the want of your cheering influence. I 
have now been long, very long, without you, and want 
your renovating presence to make me feel that I am not 
solitary, as I sometimes think myself, when, by long- 
absence or silence, I think I possess less of your affection 
than heretofore." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Edinburgh, December 30, 1825. 

"MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

"Although I really can hardly say what I have 
been doing to prevent my writing to you before, now I 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 233 

really have been in sucli a constant state of occupation 
about something or other that I really have not been 
able. However, I really think that part of my labours 
will turn out not quite unavailing ; I mean with regard 
to what I have written for the entertainment. My 
father says he likes it very much, and has begun to 
study the commencement up to the first song, which he 
assures me is so well that he will not alter a word for 
anybody. Peake's bits were received, and much 
approved, with the exception of one scene in high life. 
My father's confidence in us is a great encouragement to 
us to proceed, and 1 hope on the whole it will turn out 
successful. 

" What do you think of our going to Abbotsford ! 
won't that be a treat ? We dined the other day with 
Mr. Constable, and I there had the MS. Waverley 
Novels in my hand ! I ! ! What do you think of 
that, eh ! 

" My father wants to write a few lines, so I shall 
give him up the rest of this, and shall write again 
in the middle of the week. Remember me to Mr. 
Broderip, and all them there people as axes after a body. 
And believe me, my dearest mother, 

" Your affectionate Son, 

" C. J. MATHEWS, 

" Aged 22 years." 



234 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

CHAELES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Pontblyddyn, January 20, 1826. 
" MY DEAREST MA, 

" All things must have an end, and, therefore, 
at last my routings, and tearings, and hurryings, and 
flurryings have come to a stop, and here I am once 
more quietly seated in my Ferme Ornee. My father, 
being rather of a sedentary nature, contrived to send you 
a line or two from Abbotsford, but I found it imprac- 
ticable. It wasn't that I was so completely occupied all 
the time, but I felt on the contrary a luxurious sort 
of do-nothing-ness upon me from the moment I entered 
the gates. It was a quiet sort of enjoyment, far more 
delightful than any active pleasure, and I felt that I 
could do nothing but do nothing. I tried to write a 
bit of the entertainment, but I could make nothing of 
it. I began a sketch, but gave it up before I had half 
completed it. I tried to read, but could not fix my 
attention. In short, I was fixed by some enchantment 
within the walls of the library, without the power of 
stirring from it. It is one of the most beautiful things 
of the kind I ever saw. It is in imitation of those fine 
old oak chambers that Sir Walter is so fond of describing 
in his works, with a bold groined ceiling, also of oak, 
very much enriched with carved pendants and bosses, 
studded with ornaments and grotesque figures selected 
from the Abbeys of Koslyn and Melrose. The bookcases 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 235 

are in the same character and material, and I fancy 
contain a pretty tolerable library. On the south side of 
the room, is a very elegant oriel window, called oriel, of 
course, on account of its situation, breaking the room 
into one of those spacious and fanciful recesses that give 
such character to the architecture of the time. In one 
corner of the room I found several translations in French 
and Italian of the Waverley Novels, with his name to 
them. Next to this room, and separated by double 
doors, is the small study to which no one is allowed 
access but by his own desire. He took me into it, being 
an architect, to show me his comforts, and there I saw a 
mysterious sable black ebony bureau ! doubtless con- 
taining the steam-engine, loom, water-wheels, or what- 
ever machinery it may be with which he manufactures 
the patent novels. I took particular notice of every- 
thing in the room, and, if he had left me there, should 
certainly have read all his notes. On the table and 
about the floor lay several volumes of the Moniteur, 
and other French journeanx, and pamphlets with which 
he is assisting himself in his ' Life of Bonaparte ; ' at 
least so I conjectured, for he did not himself say any- 
thing about it. On the rug lay two thick sturdy MS. 
quartos, with blotting paper peeping out of each ; and I 
certainly would have given a shilling to have opened 
them only for one moment, but I did not attempt it, as 
I thought Sir Walter might think it rude, and I knew he 
was not a man to receive money for it, so I reluctantly 



236 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

abandoned the notion. Divided from the study by a 
corridor is the hall, or armoury, which is his particular 
hobby, and done under his own immediate direction, 
which is all I need say to convince you of its being 
quite perfect. All the rooms in the house, dining-room, 
drawing-room, &c. &c., are equally perfect in their 
peculiar styles. In short, all is enchantment where he 
is, and the whole house is a ' Romance by the author of 
"Waverley."' 

" I have a good deal of commonplace discourse 
which I must keep till Saturday, as it won't come in 
with eclat by the side of Abbotsford. Ever, my 

dearest ma, 

" Your affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Jan. 20. " Pontblyddyn, sent Jan 21, 1826. 

"My DEAR MOTHER, 

" After your letter was despatched last night my 
father's was brought me, having been detained two 
days on account of the snow. It is dated ' Newcastle, 
Saturday,' and begging me to write to him there before 
he left, little thinking that I should only arrive here on 
Tuesday night. I'm afraid he must have been very uneasy 
at not hearing from me in answer, but as he is now at 
home he will have read my yesterday's letter, which will 
set all to rights. I will now give you a little bit of my 



VIL] CORRESPONDEXCE, 1825-182G. 237 

journey. On arriving at Selkirk from Abbotsford (five 
miles in a very unsociable sociable, made of cane with 
' interstices at the intersections ' to admit the wind) I 
was taken out half frozen and put by the inn fire till the 
mail came by. In an hour the mail arrived with room 
for ' one outside/ which I delicately declined, although 
the sun was shining in all its glory. I thought a night 
outside was not the thing, not by no means, so I de- 
termined to wait another hour till the heavy coach 
should make its appearance. Upon my asking in a 
faltering tone ' was there room ? ' the coachman told me 
to my great surprise (though to outward view he was 
like other people) that he had ' two insides.' ' This is 
the coach for me,' thought I, ' we shall be sure to fare 
well on the road with a man who has two insides;' so 
into one of them I got and found myself not in his, but 
in the coach's body. Away we went as fast as the snow 
would let us, and as warm as could be (which was but 
cold enough). Keeping ourselves as snug as we could, 
I and three other ladies in the straw, we thought our- 
selves very lucky in only having to shift coaches four 
times before we reached Carlisle. None of them had 
been aired, I am sure, nor slept in for some time, but 
we were obliged to be our own warming-pans and keep 
our feet on the opposite seat against the pan. About 
two in the morning we reached Carlisle in a most deplor- 
able condition, and w r ere shown into rooms without fires, 
and, what is worse, without the capabilities for receiving 



238 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

any. I never felt the cold so intense in the whole of my 
life, and the other ladies said the same, though one of 
them owned that she had seen sixty winters, and had 
her head constantly covered with snow. The roofers 
were obliged to stop at Langholm and give it up, but 
the coachman and guard declared that as long as their 
insides were full they could go on very well. In 
the morning at four o'clock we were summoned from 
our feathered no, horse-haired nests, into an iced coach 
and horses like the discovery ships. Away we went 
once more, the wheels cracking and cutting down the 
ice ruts with a sort of ice-sickle all the way. We hadn't 
gone above two miles before the lady who sat next ma- 
said : ' Will you accept of a magnesia lozenge to correct 
the acidity of your stomach?' I declined her polite offer, 
but the other ladies accepted it, and all three sat correct- 
ing their acidities for about three miles. There I began 
to be interesting, for whether from the heat, or the cold, 
or the want of nourishment, I communicated to them 
my decided intention to faint, and begged them to con- 
clude the affair as speedily as possible, which by dint of 
correcting my acidity and rubbing my skin off with 
lavender they most skillfully'" accomplished. Going out 
of Preston, where by-the-bye the whole coach was thrown 
into the greatest confusion from hearing that 'Miss 
Foote was dining at The Black Bull/ we broke down 

* A foot-note to this letter remarks : " You may send me back one 
of these I's if you have no use for it, when you write again." 



VIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 239 

and had a pleasant lounge of an hour and a half out of 
the coach in the snow till the spring was repaired. The 
guard said it was owing to the badness of the roads, but 
in my opinion it was owing to Miss Foote's dining at 
The Black Bull. We had nearly taken the chill off 
again, when at Ormskirk both doors were wrenched open 
at once, the wind seizing the opportunity of rushing 
through us all, and upon demanding what had happened, 
two little urchins shrieked out : ' Do you want any 
Ormskirk gingerbread ? ' We added some spice to their 
gingerbread, and managed to arrive at Liverpool by ten 
o'clock on Saturday night. There I was obliged to stop 
for a surveyor, lay in bed all Sunday, spent all Monday 
upon business, started on Tuesday morning, reached 
Chester on Tuesday night, was detained on business all 
Wednesday, and only got my father's letter in time 
for to-morrow, this not being a post day. 'And so 
now.' 

"To-morrow Mr. Gray and I go to Liverpool about 
this surveyor, return on Monday, on Wednesday get to 
Shrewsbury, and on Thursday start for home, where I 
shall stay a fortnight with my father's consent, being- 
obliged once more (though for the last time) to return 
here. You shall hear again before I start. 

" Give my best love to my father, and believe me 
ever, my dear mother, 

" Your most affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 



240 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Pontblyddyn, March 16, 1826. 

" MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

" Tlie accounts of the success of the entertain- 
ment are very delightful, that is to say those of yourself, 
my father, and Mr. Broderip. Those of the papers I 
cannot say much for, as far as regards the paltry writers. 
However, as long as my father finds the whole thing go 
well and has good houses, I want no other criterion to 
go by. My pleasure you may easily imagine to be 
extreme, after sending a man to Chester on purpose 
for my letters, in order that I might get them four hours 
sooner than by allowing them to come on to Mold, by 
a mistake of his the post left Chester before his arrival, 
consequently I did not even get them so soon as usual 
by an hour and a half. Well, the man who fetches 
Mr. Roper's letters, knowing of the messenger I had 
despatched to Chester, did not enquire for mine at the 
post, but brought Mr. R.'s paper without any for me. 
This was provoking enough, to say the least of it, but 
now comes the most pleasing part. This paper, a three 
days a week one and called The Evening Mail, gave 
me great encouragement by the following incidental 
phrases. ' Nothing is more terrible than fifth-rate, trite 
jokes, far-fetched quibbles, and a perpetual, tantalizing 
affectation of point which the writer is always aiming 
at and never reaches.' ' The long affair with the eight 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 241 

little children is almost as great a bore in the description 
as it would be in the reality.' 'All the songs are bad 
without exception.' 'The interlocutory dialogue as a 
composition is paltry.' ' There is a great deal that is 
horribly tedious,' &c. &c. &c. All this before your letter 
assured me that all was right. I am as anxious now 
to see it as I was before to hear of it, but I cannot set 
off before Monday week at the soonest. Gray is at 
length returned, and we commence operations if possible 
on Monday next, which will last about a week. I rather 
think I shall be obliged to go to Liverpool on Saturday, 
in order to expedite the business, as there is the greatest 
difficulty here with regard to surveyors. 

" I have just heard from Gray what I consider a 
clencher with regard to Elmes, and completely agrees 
with the gentlemanly conduct I always gave him credit 
for. Gray says that when in town, he showed my 
sketch of his lodge to Elmes and told him that I was 
then making him a design for two small cottages, &c. 
Elmes didn't answer a word, listened to all he. said 
with attention, and a day or two afterwards sent Gray 
a couple of designs of his own, as a present. What 
do you think of that for a respectable architect to the 
yEgis Fire and Dilapidation Company ? Gray seems 
extremely nattered by his attention, and I would not 
for the world let him know in what light / consider 
the favour. 

"The military are still in Mold, and the rioters 

VOL. I. R 



242 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

are determined not yet to give up. They threaten 
Gray with vengeance for bringing so many foreigners 
into the country, and are determined to destroy Hearts- 
heath. I wish they would. Give my best love to my 
father and congratulate him on his success. If he's 
content I must be, altho' The Herald thinks ' The Two- 
penny Post ' the ' worst song he ever sang and unworthy 
of him.' God bless the Regent and the Duke of York. 
" Your most affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

CIFAELES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Pontblyddyn, April 9, 182G. 
"MY DEAREST MOTHEE, 

" I have deferred writing until to-day in the vain 
hope of having something settled to communicate re- 
specting my return to dear home ; but, alas ! these men 
of iron (I don't mean to call them pigs) are as un- 
yielding as their own metal, and will not 'relinquish my 
leg.' Their surveyor, I am sorry to say, is still only 
expected, nor can I say exactly when he will arrive. I 
should most decidedly have been off home venire cl 
terre long ago, but that it has been put to my feelings 
and generosity to remain until this learned Theban of 
theirs comes, because my presence and assistance in 
pointing out the old and new work, extras and etceteras, 
may, and I hope will, dock the bill of eight or nine 
hundred pounds, which is rather an object than other- 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 243 

wise. Independent of which I feel that my character is 
at stake if I allow the amounts to be paid which at 
present are demanded, and in short I think it is my duty 
to remain. I am sure, my dear mother, you will believe 
me when I say that this protracted stay of mine is a 
cause of the greatest uneasiness to me, both on my 
father's and your account, knowing as I do your desire 
to have me at home again, and on account of my 
engagements, so long deferred, with Mr. Nash. Indeed, 
the latter reason is even the strongest, because I am well 
aware that you confident as you must be that my 
anxiety to be with you is fully equal to your desire of 
having me would be much more unhappy if I were to 
commit any breach of- duty to arrive at what in that 
case would be a source of no gratification to any of us. 
Whereas with Mr. Nash it is different : he neither knows 
nor cares what causes I may have for remaining, but 
only judges of the length of time that has elapsed since 
I promised to be with him. I would have written him 
a line or two but that he might think the thing not 
worth my troubling him with, and, therefore, I have 
refrained. Now, if you think it wouldn't bore my 
father some fine morning, to give Sir John a little gentle 
exercise before dinner, and whisper a few words of ' soft 
nonsense' in Mr. Nash's ear, why I only say, tant 
onieux. I wish I were a moralizer. I could so compare 
human life, you can't think. I have often thought of 
writing a poem like Rogers, on the subject. How frail 

K 2 



244 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

are all human wishes ! how unsatisfiable are our desires ! 
Are we not completely the children of circumstances ? 
We are indeed too much so. 

Here lies the body of Betty Boden, 
Who would have lived longer but she co'den ; 
Oh Death ! you are he who will take us too fast, 
And it was her bad leg that killed she at last. 

(Wrexhani Churchyard, April 4th.) 

"As I was at Chester on Thursday night, and the 
theatre was open, I went with some friends to see it. 
Miserable as usual. Decamp the worst of the worst, 
and Mrs. Decamp taking the money at the doors. A 
little bit during ' A Day after the Wedding ' I thought 
exceedingly unsophisticated. After Miss Rock, as the 
bride, had sung her song twice, Decamp, her husband, 
went on, as I suppose is the custom, for I don't know 
the piece, to find fault with the way in which she 
executed the last part of it, and made her try it in 
several ways. She at last declares she cannot sing it 
better, and he insists that she must try, till at last a 
man shouted from the gallery, in the most energetic 
manner, and highly expressive of his pity for her : 
' Damn you, can't you be easy with her ! ' 

"Hoping to get a letter from you to-night, and 
hoping to be able to give you better accounts in a day 
or two, I remain hoping, 

" Your ever most affectionate hopeful Son, 

"C. J. M." 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 245 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Pontblyddyn, April 30th, 182G. 

" MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

"Your letter on the subject of my ' crimes ' and 
* offences ' arrived the day before yesterday, and I have 
only waited until I had something settled to communi- 
cate before I wrote in reply. Anyone to read your 
letter would suppose that I was a malefactor of the 
worst description, and had knowingly and intentionally 
given the finishing stroke of ruin to myself and all my 
family. I am sure whenever I hear the name of a bill I 
shall turn pale with fright, and tremble at the recollection 
of my guilty conduct. . No one would suppose, to look 
at me, that I could have perpetrated so black a deed. I 
really dread to go out of doors for fear I shall be pointed 
out with horror by parents to their children as a regular 
rawhead and bloody bones, as the frightful wretch who 
' put his name to a bill.' But still it appears to me 
that there remains some gleam of hope that the affair is 
not quite so irrecoverable as it is represented. It 
certainly does strike me, I may perhaps be too confident, 
but it will suggest itself to me that as it is the first 
' crime ' of this nature that I have committed, that I am 
not yet quite incorrigible, that my ruin is not entirely 
irretrievable. I cannot help imagining : I may be wrong, 
but so it is: that from the manner in which the affair 
has been treated, from the serious admonitions that I 



246 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

have now so repeatedly received, the chances are that 
the thing will never happen a second time, should this 
one ' offence ' have not completely overwhelmed us with 
ruin and blighted my future prospects entirely and for 
ever. I cannot help rejoicing that my name happens 
to be Charles instead of William, for I should be kept 
in perpetual uneasiness and misery by the endearing 
appellation of Bill. I have not been able to see Gray 
since the arrival of your bill-et (not doux) but will make 
another effort before I send this off. I had, however, a con- 
versation with him upon the unfortunate circumstance a 
day or two before, when he begged me to write to 
Mr. Stephenson for the bill, as the money could not be 
paid without having the bill as a receipt. The reason of 
the money not having been paid when in London, 
Mr. Gray tells me, is, that the bill was not at Mr. 
Stephenson's, but that as soon as I receive it from 
London the money shall be forthcoming. In other 
cases a receipt is taken for a bill, but in this the bill 
must be taken for a receipt. In short I hope and trust 
that the whole business will end as it should do, and 
that the frightful forebodings of repeated * crime' and 
blasted prospects will be dispelled by the cheerful rays 
of sincere repentance. 

" I now come to what is to me of more moment than 
all the bills in the world, because the simple explanation 
from my father, you, Mr. Broderip, and Mr. Stepheuson, 
of the consequences attendant upon bills would have 



VIL] CORRESPONDENCE, 1 825-1 82G. 247 

been quite enough to prevent my ever attempting it 
again. I require no more persuading from it, but what 
I am now upon is my return home. Your letter directed 
to be returned if I had started, showing that you were 
in hopes that I was at Stony Stratford at the least, 
makes me fear to say how much longer it must be 
deferred. Mr. Jones is just arrived from London, where 
he has been chiefly on my account to see what they 
really meant by the delay, the cause of which he finds 
to have been the impossibility of finding anyone what- 
ever who could undertake the task. The consequence 
is, that the whole business is again thrown upon my 
hands, which I cannot say in one sense I am at all sorry 
for. In the first place it shews them that they are 
obliged to take my advice, and in the second saves a 
great additional expense. Now as I do consider that 
my giving complete satisfaction to so large a body as 
the Welsh company is a very great consideration as a 
connection, and that the drawing down so many persons' 
dissatisfaction would be even worse than ' putting my 
name' to OXE bill, I hesitate not a moment in under- 
taking anything which my interference could render 
service to. The thing now depends then entirely on 
myself, and therefore I can make the period of my return 
certain. Now mind. In the first place, I have time to 
consider on the Shakspeare monument, for which I have 
made a sketch or two. Secondly, I shall be able to set 
my public house, which I am building for Gray, in good 



248 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

train. And thirdly, I shall be able to get quite free 
from the Welsh company, which (I shall be wretched 
till I get your reply) will, I hope, as much as possible, 
reconcile you to the idea of my not leaving this place 
until to-morrow (Monday) fortnight. I would not see 
your face nor hear my father's disappointment expressed 
for worlds. You must recollect that is fully as great to 
myself as to you, and therefore make every allowance. 
You may depend upon it, it will be better in the end. 
I shall say no more upon the subject, for I cannot make 
it a bit more palatable. All I can say is only making 
better of the bad. And so I'll set up a loud laugh and 
leave it. ... 

" Give my best love to my father, write immediately, 
and believe me ever, my dearest mother, though I have 
put my name to a bill, your ever most affectionate 
son, who is never going to put nis name to a bill 
again, 

" C. J. MATHEWS. 

" P.S. / never mean to put my name to another 
bill. I have just been over to Mr. Gray, who begs I will 
give his best compliments to you, and say that while 
you have been attacking him you ought to have been 
thanking him, for he has delayed sending the money on 
purpose to frighten me and deter me from ' putting my 
name to a bill ' in future. He begs me to assure you 
that he has taken all the responsibility of the bill upon 



vii.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1825-1826. 249 

himself, and that you are not to be any longer uneasy 
about it. Not a bad story I think. ' Cunning Isaac.' ' 



MRS. MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

"May 2, 1826, Home, 

"Your letter, my dearest Charlie, is certainly a 
settler. I have given it into your father's hand, who is 
now reading it in the garden. He is just come in, and 
not in the best humour. Your not returning is a subject 
of great, great annoyance. He justly considers you are 
losing golden opportunities for worthless considerations. 
With regard to the bill it is a true bill that your 
father finds no joke, the money having been really ab- 
stracted from his banker's ; and if he wanted it ever so 
much he has it not. He has wanted it. Therefore, my 
dear Charles, however you may try to make a laugh of 
the business, we laugh perforce, as it is vulgarly but 
expressively called, on the wrong side of our mouths. 
.... In short, it is a very shabby business, and your 
father is extremely angry at the excuse, which has made 
Mr. Gray's fault no worse by its utter want of plausibility. 
He must think you and us all fools. Pray, my dear 
Charles, induce him to replace the money immediately, or 
I can see a rupture. In the next place on the subject 
of money this is a tender period. The dissolution of 
Parliament, threatening the close of the English Opera, 
holds out a sad, sad loss ; I tremble at it, and have 



250 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

other losses which I anticipate also. In short, your 
protracted stay and other perplexing concerns harass my 
mind much, and I hope you will not allow yourself one 
hour beyond the terribly distant period named, away 
from home. And here ends the subject, which if / 
were inclined to treat jestingly, your father's serious 
annoyance justly and reasonably felt would convert 
my laugh into a cry. You are at that happy period of 
life when, for want of knowing the responsibilities which 
attend maturer age, you are unable to feel for them. Of 
this be assured, if I write anxiously to you upon such 
points, I have a twofold reason, which relates equally to 
your ultimate welfare, through us, as to our own present 
convenience ; and you may be satisfied that I withhold, 
rather than exaggerate, the consequences and feelings 
attending such circumstances, being desirous to en- 
cumber your young mind as little as possible with 
premature care. I expect a little party to-day ; am not 
quite in cue for it, a continuation of cold plaguing me. 
I am, of course, a little depressed at the disappointment 
your letter brings, and I am aware that your gaiety is 
more assumed than real. You w r ould kindly appear 
unmoved by the harass we all severally feel on the 
occasion of your prolonged stay partaking of it equally 
only oblige me by writing oftener during the rest of 
your stay, and believe me, my dearest Charlie, 

" Your affectionate Mother, 

"A. M. 



vii.] COEKESPOXDENCE, 1825-1826. 251 

"P.S. Let me assure you again and again, my 
beloved Charles, that I never write in anger to you, or 
with an intention (much less a wish) to distress you in 
any way. So pray take my meaning right, and do not 
let an ill- constructed phrase deceive you into a belief, or 
even momentary suspicion, that I have any feeling but 
that of devoted love and solicitude for you, my excel- 
lent and dear boy. . . . 

"Dear Charles, you may joke as much as you 
please, but it is a shabby trick of Gray, and I hope you 
will make him cash up before you come home. . . . 
When the money is paid I will read your letter 
over again and laugh for it would be very funny, if 
the money were paid. But for all Mr. Gray cared, 
you and I might both have been arrested, and if I had 
not had money at Stephenson's, which I had not a 
month before, you would have been arrested ; therefore 
all your mother said was right. You cannot yet perceive 
that it is a grievance you seem determined to be blind 
that the money should have been paid in February 
and this is May. Mr. Gray's excuses are very good 
for you, but not for me." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY SECOND VISIT TO ITALY, 1827. 

IN Nash's office, at all events, I saw plenty of work, 
and had my fair share of it. Nash was an extraordinary 
man. With great ability and wonderful perseverance in 
the face of every conceivable difficulty, he not only laid 
out Regent Street and designed the Regent's Park, with 
all its terraces and ornamental gardens, but carried 
them through in an incredibly short space of time 
mainly, of course, owing to my invaluable co-operation, I 
having assisted in making out the works, drawings, and 
perspective views of the buildings he designed. His 
architectural talents were not of the highest order ; his 
genius lying less in classical detail than in bold concep- 
tion and general arrangement ; but the amount of work 
he planned and executed is hardly to be believed. It is 
true the material he employed favoured expedition. 
If Nero's boast was that he found Rome brick and 
left it marble, Nash's boast might have been that he 
found London brick and left it stucco. Besides, he 
never stopped at trifles, or bothered himself about minor 
difficulties. If a column or a window was found on 



CHAP, vni.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 253 

being drawn from his measured sketch to be a foot or 
two too much to the right or the left, he would say : 
"Never mind, it won't be observed in the execution." 
He would order a number of cast-iron columns, such as 
those which originally were used for the Quadrant, but 
were subsequently removed to give more light to the 
street, and bring them into a dozen other designs, 
saving thereby much trouble and expense, and he would 
laughingly declare that "no one would know them 
again." In the numerous country mansions, however 
mostly of the castellated character that he erected, the 
" comfortable " was always thoroughly considered and 
" effect " most happily achieved ; while his great taste 
and talent in landscape gardening enabled him not only 
to select the most appropriate sites, but to " aid nature " 
in embellishing them. His own house in Eegent Street 
and his castle in Cowes, combining luxury and comfort, 
were excellent specimens of his skill, and were the 
perfection of domestic architecture. Killymoon, the 
seat of Colonel Stewart, at Stewarts Town, in the North 
of Ireland, is one of his most successful efforts on a 
grand scale. 

It was rather a droll state of things. I still retained 
my office in Parliament Street and my clerk, and under- 
took whatever small matters dropped in ; and to the 
eyes of the world had all the appearance of an architect 
in full practice, while I was quietly working away in 
the humble capacity of clerk in the office of another. 



254 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. 



Every morning before I occupied my stool at Nash's, I 
prepared the daily work for my own clerk, and then 
vanished .till four o'clock. He knew I was engaged in 
some way out of doors, and whenever I happened to be 
employed in the works at Buckingham Palace or the 
Kegent's Park, I always made some excuse for sending 
for him, that he might see the important avocations 
which absorbed so much of my time. 

One work of some magnitude was entrusted to me 
during this period. I received a commission from the 
son of an old friend, a solicitor in first-rate practice and 
well-known in fashionable society, to prepare plans and 
designs for an extensive West-end market, to be erected 
at the bottom of Oxford Street, on the site occupied 
then (and still) by Meux's brewery. The ground was, 
I was informed, already purchased, and a large sum of 
money ready to be expended. Delighted with the idea, 
I went to work with a will, for the elevation was to be 
ornamental as well as useful, and would form a striking 
termination to Oxford Street ; sure, if well carried out, to 
be an important feature, and shed lustre upon the archi- 
tect. I will not dwell upon the details of this under- 
taking ; the marchings and counter-marchings ; the visits 
to the markets of Liverpool and Paris ; the hours spent 
in the shambles of Leadenhall, and the sweet-smelling 
purlieus of Billingsgate ; the meetings of committees ; 
the attendance on boards ; the worry and turmoil I went 
through ; but will merely say that my designs were 



vm.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 255 

accepted, and 1 was ordered to have the general plan 
and elevation lithographed, for exhibition to the public 
and for distribution among the committee and share- 
holders. All went on well, and the working drawings 
were getting forward, when on a sudden came a hitch, 
then a block, then total stagnation ; the committee 
dwindled ; the board dropped off; and at last the whole 
scheme, like fifty other bubbles of that day, dissolved, 
and like the baseless fabric of a vision, left not a wreck 
behind. 

This, by-the-bye, was not strictly true, for it left me 
behind. I was the wreck, and while my friend, the 
fashionable solicitor in high practice, walked off scathless 
with his hands in his pockets (they had been for some 
time in other people's), disappearing altogether not only 
from this company but from every other, I was left to 
pay the piper I mean the lithographer, for the printing 
of my highly-successful accepted design. Two or three 
more such successes would have ruined me. 

My evenings were still my own, and they were 
devoted to literary and dramatic pursuits. In conjunc- 
tion 'with Richard Peake, the popular dramatist, I was 
constantly employed in providing material for my father, 
and on my own account contributing papers to the 
magazines and annuals, and writing pieces for the 
theatres, such as " Pong-wong," " Pyramus and Thisbe," 
"Truth," "My Wife's Mother," "The Wolf and the 
Lamb," "The Court Jester," &c. &c. 



256 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

At length I began to weary of this uncomfortable 
state of things. Nash certainly had given me the run 
of his office, and accepted, as a matter of course, all the 
work I could do for him in return, but beyond an occa- 
sional nod and a " How are you, youngster ? " I never 
received a word of advice or instruction from him during 
the twelve months I worked hard for him (for myself I 
suppose he called it), and at last I grew tired of it. 

The following letter to my father explained my 
feelings and views, and suggested the plan I proposed to 
be adopted to free myself from rny anomalous position : 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

"Parliament Street, March 10th, 1827. 

" MY DEAR FATHER, 

" I have waited till your entertainment should 
be fairly out before I ventured to engage your attention, 
as I want as much of it as you can possibly grant me ; 
and as I well know you cannot listen to long stories, I 
have preferred writing upon the subject. 

"I am certain you must see though not quite so 
clearly, perhaps, as I do myself that, so far from 
making any improvement, or gaining superior know- 
ledge in my profession, from my present occupations, I 
am leading an almost idle life. There is nothing at all 



on at Mr. Nash's which can do me the slightest 

O 

good ; and as to himself, so far from giving me anything 



VIIL] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 257 

to do (independent of his having five proteges of his 
own) he does not even know me by sight, or ever make 
the slightest inquiry about me. You are at a great 
expense for my chambers and clerk, which common 
policy requires me to keep up for the sake of appear- 
ances, and without a chance, I am certain, from the 
usual course of things, of my getting any employment 
for a year or two. The plain fact is, people will not 
employ very young men ; and I must wait my time 
patiently, as others of my profession do. 

" Now, therefore, is the time to take advantage of the 
connections I have formed, and the knowledge I have 
gained abroad, and make my professional tour to Italy, 
a step which of course you have long decided as neces- 
sary at some period or other. Since my return from 
Naples I have got all my notes in order, and made every 
preparation for the tour, and may confidently say I shall 
go with greater advantages than perhaps any young man 
ever did. This Welsh business has the more impressed 
the necessity upon my mind, by showing me how deficient 
I am in that kind of knowledge which is only to be 
acquired by the investigation of the buildings of Italy 
and Greece. Should I once get involved in business, the 
accomplishment of the tour would be rendered impos- 
sible, as the regrets of too many architects can bear 
witness. Now, I sacrifice nothing ; I break up no con- 
nection ; I give up no business. I spend the time, which 
would here be lost, with immense advantage to myself, 

VOL. i. s 



258 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

both with regard to the acquisition of knowledge and 
the making myself a name, without a single counter- 
balancing disadvantage, and a great diminution of ex- 
penditure. Should any important work be proposed, in 
which you, through your interest, could find an opening 
for me, in my absence, one month will put me on my 
road home again. 

"You now are at an expense for my general outlay, 
clerk and chambers included, of nearly 400 per annum, 
besides my horse's keep and my own. The utmost ex- 
penditure that can be required in Italy is 250. I have 
undertaken, in the event of my going, two works, at the 
request of Mr. Weale, the architectural bookseller, to be 
published on my return, and I trust I shall do myself 
credit by them. 

" This plan has not been hastily conceived, for I have 
long suffered great uneasiness of mind at the slight 
shade the Welsh affair may have thrown over my profes- 
sional character. I have talked frequently with my 
mother upon the subject, and at length she seems in- 
clined to waive all her own feelings at again parting 
with me, being convinced, as I am, of the expediency 
of the tour I meditate ; the more particularly, as 
Mr. D'Egville has determined on pursuing this plan 
with James immediately, who only waits for a com- 
panion to join him whose studies are directed to the 
same objects. The bare possibility of my accompanying 
his son seems to give him additional anxiety for his 



viii.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 259. 

commencing the journey without delay. He approves 
my mentioning his wish that we might go together, 
when we might be mutually serviceable. You know his 
talent, and I believe it would be of the greatest advan- 
tage to me ; and Mr. Broderip, to whom I mentioned my 
wishes on the evening I went to Scotland, will confirm 
the absolute necessity, when I do go again to Italy, of 
my having a companion of similar age and profession. 
Indeed, this is quite technical. 

" In my various conversations with Mr. D'Egville, it 
has been judged possible and necessary that we start in 
the first or second week in April. To this nothing is 
wanting but your consent. My chambers will of course 
be given up, and my clerk also. But of this, and all 
else, I shall be happy to talk with you now that the ice 
is broken, and the principal amount of my uneasiness is 
revealed. My bane and antidote are both before you, 
and I ardently hope, my dear father, you will see that 
there is reason in my wishes, and advantage in realising 
them. I am now, or never, at an age to know how to 
take care of myself, both in a moral and worldly point 
of view. Trust to my prudence, and believe that my 
affection for yourself and my mother, and my constant 
anxiety for your happiness, will ensure it upon all 

occasions. 

" Your affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

My proposition was entertained and approved. A 

s 2 



260 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

consultation was held with Mr. Nash and other com- 
petent authorities as to the best course to be pursued. 
Information was sought from every source, notes were 
made, letters of introduction procured to the most 
eminent professors in the various scientific academies 
abroad, and with my friend D'Egville, an intelligent 
and congenial companion, who had been my fellow- 
student at Pugin's and my earliest chum, I prepared to 
start once more, full of hope and pleasant anticipation, 
for Italy, Greece, and Egypt. 

On the 30th of April, 1827, with light hearts and 
buoyant spirits, we left London on our grand tour. 
I shall never forget the rapture with which we kicked 
the English dust from our feet, and like a couple of 
balloons, whose strings have just been cut, rose into 
the heaven of independence, left the prosy earth 
beneath us, and soared into the realms of illimitable 
space. 

We arrived at Dover at eight o'clock, having left 
London at ten, for it was then a journey of ten hours 
instead of two, and after dinner walked on the pier 
by moonlight, talking over times past, present, and 
to come ; discussing our various projects, and building 
what seemed at the time castles in the air, but 
which were destined not only to be realised but far 
surpassed. 

Here are a few lines I find penned before going 
to bed that night. They form part of a journal in 



VIIL] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 61 

verse, I kept for my mother's amusement during my 

first twelvemonth abroad. 

Dover, Evening. 

Why ! are my senses by a dream deceived, 

Or has the parting really been achieved 1 

For so impossible a thing it seems, 

So like the fleeting incidents of dreams, 

That hang me if I'm sure, it pu/zles so, 

Whether I can believe in it or no. 

What ! can my father really be content 1 

And then my mother, can she, too, consent 1 

To see me part, without a single soul 

Of habits grave to govern or control ; 

To know that two or three years, at the least, 

Must I be absent, roving here and there, 
As Fancy takes me to the south or east, 

To Greece, or Italy, or God knows where ? 
They who have now employed so many years 
In tending o'er me with such anxious fears ; 
Anticipating e'en my slightest wish, 
Down to the cooking of a favourite dish ; 
And can they let me go 1 My mother, too, 
Whose more especially the task is who 
From the first infant months of cross existence 
Has nursed me to my present plump consistence ; 
And even now, though grown too big to dandle, 
Still gives advice to " take care of my candle," 
" Put the fireguard on," and " not read in bed ;" 
Motherly scraps, which don't do to be read, 
And e'en the saying which won't do in others, 
Eeing the bland prerogative of mothers. 
(Poor mothers ! after all the pains they've had, 
I must confess myself it is too bad, 
That we, the very objects of their cares, 
Should take to laughing at them for their fears. 



262 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

But so it is. As long as we are babies 

"We all are good, and never quiz our mother, 
But as we grow up we become such gabies, 

"We must be laughing at one thing or other. 
Not that there's any harm, I hope. Oh no ! 

I'd not grieve her to whom I owe my birth ; 
Bather I'd jokes for evermore forego 

Than hurt the being I love best on earth. 
I merely give these small maternal traits, 
To show her as deserving of all praise ; 
Since, with such habits grafted on her nature, 
To lose me thus, the sacrifice is greater. 
Having explained which, I will finish this 
In truth, inordinate parenthesis.) 
Where was 1 1 And where am 1 1 Oh, at Dover, 
With all the bitter pangs of parting over. 
How strange it seems, how singular the plight, 
A state made up of sorrow and delight. 
I can't well laugh, but then I do not sigh, 
For though I cannot laugh, I cannot cry ! 
And wherefore should I, when the point is gained, 
And all my dearest wishes are attained 1 
How many tedious years I've longed for this, 
And pictured it the summit of all bliss ! 
All that the fondest fancy could suggest 
Is realised at last, and I am blest ; 
Blest in the thought that, all the slaving past, 
I've readied the long sought liberty at last. 
How often have we lain (my friend and I), 
Talking the future over with a sigh ; 
With Italy and Greece viewed in the light 
Of fabled Paradises, too unearthly bright, 
Too wondrous beautiful in seas and skies, 
E'er to be seen by our apprentice eyes ! 
But now the scene is changed, the fetters drop, 
And with them all the drudging of the " shop." 



VIIL] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 263 

We go, then, forth at last, hoth led "by Fame on, 
And as to friendship Pythias and Damon. 
Ye gods ! then, will ye never give us day ] 
" My soul's in arms and eager for the fray." 

After a few days in Paris, making purchases and 
completing our sketching apparatus, selecting knapsacks, 
and buying lots of things we wanted and lots of things 
we didn't want, we secured our places outside the dilly 
and started for Geneva, a journey then of five days. 
At Les Rousses, a little town on the Jura mountains, 
we left the diligence and our luggage to go by St. Cery, 
and determined to walk to Geneva, in order to enjoy 
the splendid views of the lake and the Pays du Vaud, 
and were amply repaid for our toil; the view from 
Gex especially surpassing all that can be imagined for 
beauty and extent. We reached Geneva on a beautiful 
bright Sunday evening. All the town was out in 
holiday attire, and we were stared at in wonder, as 
we sneaked through the public promenade, among the 
gay throng, footsore, dusty, and exhausted, after our 
fatiguing walk to the Hotel de la Balance, then the 
principal inn, where, while waiting for dinner, we threw 
ourselves, accoutred as we were, upon a couple of 
benches, and fell asleep. At ten o'clock we awoke, 
sleep having taken the place of hunger qui dort dine 
and, leaving the repast untouched, we went straight 
to bed. 

In the morning we set out in search of a more 



264 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

moderate lodging, the Hotel de la Balance being too 
expensive, and Sechcron, where I had sojourned, en 
prince, three years ago, with Lord Blessington, still 
worse, when, by accident, we came upon a delicious 
little rural inn, by the lake side, called the Hotel 
de la Navigation, with wooden balconies looking on 
the water, and as retired as if it were a private house. 
We found nice large clean bedrooms and a spacious 
airy sitting-room, and we at once took possession. 
Here we remained for six weeks, and what a charming 
time it was ! Boating, bathing, fishing, and sketching 
all the morning ; guitar-playing, drawing, and writing 
in the evening. Our days were never long enough. 
Among other pleasures we made pedestrian tours 
round and about the lake and its environs ; visiting 
St. Saphorin, Morziet, and many out-of-the-way villages, 
doing our twenty and five-and-twenty miles a day 
with ease, pleasure, and profit ; for we drew and 
measured several villas, and stored our portfolios with 
lots of valuable tilings. At Lausanne we visited the 
tomb of John Kemble, and while sketching in the 
dark crypt of the Castle of Chillon heard an Englishman 
ask the custode if we were prisoners. 

One scorching hot morning on our first arrival, we 
had taken one of the lumbering boats belonging to the 
hotel, and, in spite of the baking sun, had rowed our- 
selves out to the middle of the lake to enjoy a swim. I 
happened to be undressed first ; and, eager for a header, 



viii.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 265 

I plunged into the water with the intention of a long 
dive. But, oh ! ye gods ! I shall never forget it. It 
was a bath of ice, and I was almost paralysed with the 
shock. As quickly as I could manage it I was out of 
the refrigerator again. 

" How is it ? " said D'Egville. " Warm ? " 

"Delicious," said I. "Milk, positive milk !" while 
at the same time I was clambering as fast as I could up 
the side of the boat. 

" What are you coming out for ? " said he. 

" I want another header," said I. " Let's see who 
can dive longest." 

" Very well ; here goes," and in he went with a 
joyous shout. 

In an instant I saw an arm with a clenched fist 
at the end of it protruding from the surface of the 
water, and in a second more a face appeared red as a 
lobster. 

"You blackguard!" he gasped; "I'm petrified. 
It's pure ice. I'll pay you off for this." 

" My dear fellow," said I, "you know all our enjoy- 
ments were to be in common, and I didn't feel justified 
in robbing you of your share on this occasion." 

I lugged him into the boat, where we were too glad 
to bask for the next hour, by which time, aided by a 
pipe or two and some smart pulling, we contrived to 
get all right again. 

On the 10th of June we left Geneva for Milan, where 



266 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

we set to work in earnest with the object of getting re- 
ceived as members of the Academy of Brera. We were a 
great deal in society, thanks to the letters of introduction 
we had brought with us, and passed four delightful 
months; for notwithstanding our hard work, and we really 
did work very hard, we had plenty of time for enjoyment, 
and most thoroughly did we avail ourselves of it. We 
had a great many acquaintances, artistic and otherwise ; 
and not the least agreeable among them were four very 
sweet girls, whose constant company gave a charm to 
our lives and enhanced all our pleasures. Keceived into 
the closest intimacy by their family, we soon became 
inseparable, and we almost lived in their house. The 
mother adored us, the father esteemed us, and the 
brother looked upon us as marvels of talent. No ex- 
cursion was complete without "our girls," no ball per- 
fect without our beloved partners. I will not pretend 
to say that our long sojourn at Milan was not in a great 
degree caused by their enchanting society. 

By a singular joke we became rather remarkable 
characters. During one of our walks while at Geneva, 
D'Egville picked up a broken silver ornament, which, 
without thought or intention of any kind, he fastened on 
the black leather belt round his waist, which, in humble 
imitation of Eobinson Crusoe, was made the receptacle 
for pencils, knives, pistols, according to circumstances. 
All eyes were attracted by it ; and, to keep up the ex- 
citement, I had a similar ornament made for my 



VIIL] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 267 

belt, as if it were the distinguishing badge of some 
society. 

It was a great success, and at Milan especially the 
effect was marvellous. We were everywhere looked upon 
as distinguished foreigners. Growing more audacious, 
we determined to keep up the joke, and for state occa- 
sions had a facsimile of the ornament made in sold, 

O ' 

which, on a black velvet band in place of the leather 
belt, and over a white waistcoat, had a most remarkable 
effect, and made us the observed of all observers. 

At last, one evening at a grand ball at the Casino del 
Nobili, to which we repaired in our characters of " dis- 
tinguished foreigners/' our " order " produced much 
excitement, and obtained for us the best partners in 
the room. Prince Lardaria, to whom we were indebted 
for the invitation, and whom I had frequently met at 
Lord Blessington's both in London and at Naples, was 
bursting with curiosity, and at last could stand it no 
longer and opened fire. He had been a good deal in 
England, and prided himself upon being thoroughly 
acquainted with English habits and customs. After a 
little desultory conversation and fidgeting around, he 
remarked in an off-hand way, as if without any particular 

interest, " I see you have your " pointing to the 

mysterious ornament without daring to call it anything. 
" I know it well. I have often -seen it, of course, in 
London. I forget which cloob it belongs to. I think 
it was ? " " You must remember it," said I, " the 



268 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Megatherion. " " Ah ! exactly," said lie, " I remember ; 
yes, yes, the Methagerion ; I remember it well," and off 
he bundled to impart his information through the room 
to the great satisfaction of everybody. 

I have often wondered since that this piece of non- 
sense did not draw down upon us the notice of the 
police ; the very name of a " society " being unmusical 
to Volscian ears. It would have served us right if we 
had got into a scrape about it, for our folly richly 
deserved punishment. 

Towards the end of August three London friends 
made their appearance, and we agreed to take a run over 
to Como with them and pass a few days at Bellaggio. 
No one can have passed up the lake however rapidly 
without being struck above all other things with the 
Villa Arconati, better known in the neighbourhood as 
the Balbianello. Situated on the extreme point of a 
little wooded promontory facing Bellaggio, it commands 
the most lovely views both up and down the lake, 
the three open arches of its elegant loggia being 
strikingly visible from all points, and exciting universal 
admiration. 

Expressing a desire to visit it, we learnt that we 
could do so without difficulty as it was to be let. While 
rambling through the villa we inquired from simple 
curiosity the rent, and on learning the particulars and 
making our calculations, we found that dividing the 
expenses among three (two of our friends were proceed- 



VIIL] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 269 

ing on their tour), the whole cost, including a purveyor 
who undertook to provide our meals at a fixed sum per 
day, a cook, boatman, man-servant, boatman's wife, 
combining the offices of housemaid and washerwoman, 
use of plate, linen, boat, billiard-table, and, in short, 
everything one could desire, amounted to less than our 
cost at a second-rate hotel at Milan. 

We took this little paradise for a month, started off 
to fetch our impedimenta, and on the 30th of August 
found ourselves comfortably installed in our new 
quarters. 

Now, after a lapse of nearly fifty years, I look back 
upon the month spent here as one of the most charming- 
periods of my Italian existence. Amidst all the brilliant 
and delicious scenes that preceded and followed it, it 
stands apart, peculiar and picturesque. 

It was a capital opportunity for preparing our draw- 
ings for the Brera, as, with the exception of our friend, 
and an occasional visit from " our girls," our time passed 
without interruption of any kind. I was engaged on an 
elaborate section of the church of S. Celso and a view of 
Duomo D'Ossola, and D'Egville on an interior view of 
S. Celso and an elevation of Santa Maria delle Grazie. 
Thanks to our friend, Professor Albertolli, our drawings 
were well placed in the exhibition, and we were over- 
whelmed with compliments about them, with every hope 
held out to us that we should receive our diplomas 
forthwith. 



270 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

In " Le Glorie dell' arti belle esposte nel Palazzo di 
Brera, 1'anno 1827," our drawings are thus mentioned : 

" Hervet d'Egville, 
Matheus Carlo. 

" Non defrauclereino dei dovtiti elogi due Inglesi archi- 
tetti il Sig. James Hervet d'Egville e Carlo Matheus, i 
quali si sono compiaciuti di decorare le nostre sale di 
preziosi disegni, reppresentanti del primo una veduta 
prospettica colorita all' acquarello di una parte del coro 
della Chiesa de Nostra Signora presso S. Celso ; del 
sccondo lo spaccato della cliiesa medesima, ed una veduta 
scenografica parimente all' acquarello a colori della piazzi 
di Domodossola trattata con molto brio e spiritosa 
franchezza."* 

After four months, pleasantly and profitably spent at 
Milan, on the 31st of October we took our departure for 

* A letter from D'Egville's father to Mrs. Mathews contains the 
folloAving translation of this notice : " \\ r e must not omit to pay a well- 
deserved tribute of praise to two young English architects, Messrs. 
Giacomo D'Egville and Carlo Mathews, who have been kind enough 
to decorate our rooms Avith two valuable designs, one of which, by 
Mr. D'Egville, is a prospective view of part of the choir in the Church 
of Kotre Dame, near San Celso, painted in water colours ; and the 
other, by Mr. Mathews, is the front of the same church, and a sccno- 
graphic view, also in water colours, of the square of Domo d'Ossola ; 
both executed with great spirit, vigour, and freedom." The letter ends 
with a message from D'Egville : " Mathews is very busy, as well as 
myself, and in high spirits as usual." 



viii.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY. 271 

Venice. We had accomplished all we proposed received 
our diplomas from the Academy, and made many valuable 
acquaintances of all sorts, from whom we took letters of 
introduction to other cities. On looking through a 
journal kept at the time, I find innumerable details I 
should like to preserve, but have so much before me that 
I must omit them. One entry only I copy : " Oct. 27th. 
Went to the opera ' II Pirata ' first night. By a young- 
man of the name of Bellini, who conducted, and had to 
bow his acknowledgments about a dozen times. Opera 
very interesting, and very successful. Eubiui, Tamburiiii, 
and Madame Meric Lalande, all admirable." 



CHAPTER IX. 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1827- 
CHARLES J. 3IATHEWS TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

"Kentish Town, January 1st, 1827. 

DEAR FATHER, 

" As my mother seems to have the entire weight 
not only of your affairs and her own upon her shoulders 
but also that of mine, I think it but right to do what 
I can to take from her load, and therefore determine 
upon writing to you at the close of the year, in order 
that we may have a regular understanding (that most 
blessed of all things) with regard to my expenditure 
for the next. Most people, I suppose, at the com- 
mencement of a fresh year, make all sorts of fresh 
determinations for the better regulation of the future, 
which their experience may point out to them as 
necessary; and I, among the rest, am most anxious 
to establish a system of regularity. My mother and 
myself have mutually felt that my expenses fall heavily 
upon you of late, and you, doubtless, have thought 
so too. It has, therefore, been my wish so to arrange 
and reconcile those things which may appear unneces- 
sary to you, but of whose necessity I am well and 



CHAP, ix.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1827. 273 

thoroughly convinced, that at the same time that my 
plans shall be complied with by you, you may feel 
satisfied with the terms upon which you found your 
compliance. 

" In the first place, then, I must explain, whether 
or no you are aware of it, that my mother, in order 
that I should habituate myself to the care of my own 
concerns and the regulation of my own expenses, has, 
since January, 1825, allowed me annually a sum paid 
by quarterly instalments, which after a calculation 
made by us from what she had paid the foregoing 
years, for my clothes, professional books, instruments, 
keep of horse in town, &c. &c. she considered as 
liberally adequate to my present expenditure, amount- 
ing to the yearly sum of 200. 

"I am aware how impatient you are at the slow- 
ness with which employment as an architect presents 
itself, but I am not only satisfied that it is by no means 
peculiar or unfavourable, but usual and inevitable in 
this profession, and equally a matter of complaint 
with many older and cleverer men than myself. It is 
notorious that all the first architects, both of former 
and present times, have entirely owed their first start 
to accident. The point, then, is the expense incurred 
by the chambers I have taken and my clerk's salary. 
I am sure you will not like to see me continue them 
without a speedy return arising from them, w r hile I 
feel the absolute policy that requires their continuance. 

VOL. T. T 



274 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

It is, therefore, my wish to consider myself henceforth, 
that is, from this day, your debtor for the year's 
amount of what these chambers and said clerk incur, 
and I will consider myself bound to remunerate all, 
as fast as any sums resulting from my profession may 
fall in, and continue to do so until the happy time 
may come when I may be able to altogether relieve 
you from such a burthen, as I am ready to acknow- 
ledge myself, upon your means. 

"The affair then, in conclusion, thus stands. In 
addition to the 200 of last year, I had from my 
mother a loan of 100 for my expenses in Wales, 
which the Company will return me ; for though I do 
not, nor ever did, expect to gain anything, except 
practice, from them, I shall do as much as I ever 
calculated upon, inasmuch as that practice has been 
gained, and at their expense. This sum then I still 
request to owe you until I am settled with them. 

"My mother having deducted from my 200 the 
20 that you paid to Crisp for me, I have myself 
advanced him his entire salary 100, which with an 
additional sum of 56 laid out for the residue of my 
expenses in Wales, is requisite, in order that I may 
begin the year free from all debt, and with the means 
of ' carrying on the war.' Of course my personal 
concerns have been superseded by these extra calls, and 
therefore require their annual settlements. 

"To conclude, once more, if you will allow my 



ix.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1827. 275 

mother to supply me with this amount in the course 
of this month, it will set my mind at ease, who am 
unused to the application for money I am unable to 
pay, and will leave me your debtor not only in thanks 
but in the sum of 156, which I shall of course rub 
off as soon as possible. I remain, my dear father, 
" Your ever affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

MRS. MATHEWS TO CHARLES MATHEWS. 

"MY DEAREST CHARLES, 

"On looking over what our dear Charlie has 
written, I find that in his reckoning he has delicately 
omitted the mention of the 80 left in your hands 
from his share of the authorship of the ' Invitations.' 
This /, however, think right to notice, as you would, 
I know, wish to consider it, when he is thus incurring 
a debt with you. So that if the present arrears are 
paid up, as he requires, he can only be said to owe 
you 76 up to the present moment. I am glad he 
has so written, as I think it shows a proper reflection 
upon his own situation, and no inconsiderable feeling 
for yours. He is a dear, good fellow, and deserves all 
our love, and every effort we can make for his sake. 
I must not forget to add that in my rough estimate 
last week of the sum you would require before March, 
Charles's claims were included (at least, two-thirds of 
Jiis claim). I hope to have a letter to-day from you, 

T 2 



276 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 



which I shall enclose in this, if Charles returns from 
town with it franked. God bless you. 

"A. M." 

CHARLES MATHEWS TO CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

" Leeds, January 4th, 1827. 

"MY DEAR CHARLES, 

" It is totally out of my power hurried about as 
I am to write so long an answer as I wish and as your 
letter deserves. I can but briefly say that it has given 
me the greatest satisfaction, and, so far from feeling that 
your demands 'have fallen heavily upon me/ I am 
inclined to applaud your prudence and admire your regu- 
larity. I do not conceive that you have required more 
of me than it is my duty to bestow upon you, and be 
assured, my dear boy, that I have only to look around 
me to congratulate myself that I possess a son who has 
so much consideration for his parents' feelings as you 
have. The disappointment is on my side, that I have 
not been able to do more for you than I have in a 
pecuniary point of view. We have been extravagant 
this last year, and, some of my money being so locked 
up that I cannot touch it, has occasioned a temporary 
want of supply, and, in the moment of annoyance, I 
may have made some observations to your mother that 
you allude to; but I know of nothing but the clerk 
that I, on reflection, should have commented upon. I 
did think that he was another child who might have 
been dispensed with. As to my impatience at the slow- 



ix.] COEEESPOKDE^CE, 1827. 277 

ness of your advancement, 1 should be ashamed to 
confess it in a moment of calm deliberation. I shall not 
listen to anything like an arrangement of your being my 
debtor for the year's amount of the chambers. Whatever 
you require within reason that your mother sanctions and 
my income can afford, I request you will look to me to 
provide, and do not let your mind be hampered by any 
such restriction and drawback to your comforts as the 
accumulation of a debt to your own father would 
naturally bring upon you. I am too much gratified by 
your clear statement and anxiety to be economical to 
entertain the slightest doubt of your prudence. The 
whole is so candid and clear that you have bestowed 
much more pleasure on me than you could possibly have 
anticipated. The hundred pounds eighty of which I 
believe (or more) I owe you you shall have ; but pray 
wait until my return home, if not very inconvenient. 
This will be about the 15th, and then and shortly after 
I hope to be able to set your mind completely at ease as 
to money matters. 

" Give my love to your dear mother, and say that I 
cannot properly write to her to-day. I get up very late, 
and when I have to travel and act the same day, pay 
bills, and suffer the cruel persecution of callers at an inn, 
it is nearly impossible to write. I did not like to keep 
you in suspense from Saturday till Monday morning, or 
would willingly have postponed this reply. The most 
savage horrors of winter surround me. I presume it is 



278 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

the same with you. A difference of above forty degrees in 
twenty-four hours. We are here seven degrees below zero, 
and snow falling in flakes. I am well notwithstanding, 
though pinched up, though lame and itchy. ALL the 
places are taken again for to-night. I have received both 
your letters, and two papers. Paper by return directed 
at Mr. J. P. Smith's, Leeds. Monday, Halifax ; but I 
shall write on Saturday, from Wakefield. Was your letter 
copied in a machine, or what was its peculiarity ? '" 

" As to your mother's hand, I literally did not know 
it at first. What did this mean ? ' I hope to have a 
letter from you to-day, which I shall enclose in this, if 
Charles returns from town with it franked. A. M/ 
Very mysterious and totally inexplicable. I hope she 
did not mean to return my expected letter unopened. 
God bless you, my dear Charles, and be assured of the 
sincerity with which I say 

" I am your affectionate Father, 

"C. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

"Milan, July 15, 1827. 

"MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

" As I broke off rather abruptly in my last letter, 
I think it but right to send you a few lines now that I 
have some little leisure in comparison I mean to 

* The manuscript letter looks more like a lithograph than any- 
thing else. 



ix. COEEESPONDEXCE, 1827. 279 

devote to it. 1 am rather disappointed at not getting a 
letter from you to-day as I expected, but I know the 
chances are ten to one always against their just arrival, 
so I will patiently wait till to-morrow. I went, last 
night, to a grand party, at the ' Casino dei Negociante/ 
a very stylish affair here and greatly frequented. All 
the merchants of the city have clubbed together and 
built a very handsome palace, or casino, containing 
splendid ball-rooms, billiard-rooms, cards, coffee, news- 
papers, &c. &c. &c. There they assemble with their 
wives and daughters, all in the greatest possible toilette, 
to dance, hear music (vocal and instrumental), and talk 
over the scandal of the town. It was a very brilliant 
evening indeed. The first singers in Milan were there, 
in a sort of orchestra in the centre of the gardens, 
which are somewhat English, and illuminated through- 
out, full of fountains, grottoes, caves, rivulets, and all 
the delights which can be imagined, where the climate 
allows ladies in white satin shoes to walk on the 
grass at midnight. The dancing I confess I considered 
as rather out of place, when the heat was so excessive 
that the gentlemen could hardly bear their coats and 
neckcloths on, and the ladies would willingly have 
relinquished their stays. Nothing but waltzes all the 
night, till I was really giddy and head-achey to death ; 
but as the dancers were more like angels than women 
an old comparison, but a true one my eyes were 
riveted upon them without the possibility of withdrawing 



280 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATIIEWS. [CHAP. 

them. But, in the midst of all these elegancies and 
pleasures, just listen to the romance of what follows. 
After dancing with a very pretty girl, we, both heated 
and tired, went into the refreshment room for some 
lemonade or something to cool our raging thirsts and 
agonized stomachs. After having devoured some juicy 
Italian fruits in a most romantic saloon, opening into 
the illuminated garden, calling to mind the palaces of 
the East we were about to wing our way again, when 
one of the fallen angels of this paradise called me some- 
what peremptorily back. I asked what I had done and 
what he wanted, upon which he laconically explained 
himself by the expressive words, ' Twelve sous, signer ; ' 
and I positively discovered that it was necessary, in this 
elegant society of Italian ladies and gentlemen, to which 
we had been invited with so much good-will, to fork 
out twelve sous for the nectar which we had uncon- 
sciously poured down our parched throats. Does not 
this speak highly of the delicacy of sentiment among the 
Italians ? In a gentleman's private house to be obliged 
to pay for what you eat and drink ! 

" This morning, being somewhat tormented by gnats 
and fleas beyond our wont, we were up and dressed at 
half-past three ; and, considering what we had best do 
to amuse ourselves so early, we determined to set off to 
Monza, the palace of the sovereign, ten miles from 
Milan. No sooner said than done ; and so at six o'clock 
we were breakfasting there. It is one of the finest 



ix.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1827. 281 

* 

things we have seen, and well kept altogether. The 
gardens and parks are in the English style, and very 
extensive ; but in all foreign palaces and houses the 
furniture is so miserably poor and thin that it takes 
away very materially from the general effect. In 
England I'll say even in Ivy Cottage there is not a 
room but what is perfect as far as it goes. Lots of 
chairs, tables, and cabinets, curtains and looking-glasses, 
at any rate ; but here, even in this splendid palace, one 
table and six small chairs are the utmost, I think, in the 
most splendid apartments. What amuses me always is 
to see the sleeping rooms and dressing rooms of the 
occupants. Little meagre white beds, wooden common- 
looking chairs, covered with a mean white dimity 
cushion, and wash-hand basins which, when brimful of 
water, would not cover the back of your hand. And 
then the anterooms full of dusters, and brooms, and all 
sorts of dirty things unfit for a palace or anywhere 
else. The gardens, however, made up very much for 
these inconsistencies, as indeed did the magnificence of 
the state rooms of the chateau, and particularly the 
beauty of the decorations on the ceiling and walls. 
The Emperor, of course, seldom lives in it the case 
with most of these palaces. . . . 

" Give my best love to my dear father, and believe 
me, my dearest mother, 

" Your most affectionate Son, 

"0. J. MATHEWS." 



282 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Sept. 1st, 1827, Como, Villa Balbianello. 

"Mr DEAREST MOTHER, 

" What a time has elapsed since I have written 
to you, and what a still greater time is it since I have 
been blessed with the sight of your dear hand ; for in 
consequence of such important changes in our move- 
ments as I am about to relate, I have not yet received 
any of the letters sent to Verona and from thence to 
Pavia. . . . The first piece of news then is that Brera 
or in other words the exhibition is open, and 
D'Egville's drawing very well placed and much admired, 
as indeed it ought to be, for independent of the pains it 
has cost, it is a most beautiful drawing. I have chosen 
to refuse permission that mine should be placed there 
with it, but when I explain the reason you will see 
I have acted wisely. His drawing is a view and coloured 
as vigorously as any oil painting ; while my drawings 
are all strictly architectural, such as plans, elevations, 
and sections, which in the first place are never observed, 
and in the second would be completely killed by the 
vicinity of oil pictures. Thus I have contented myself 
with the honour of being solicited by the professors 
to exhibit and reserve my drawings for the grand day, 
when our fate is to be decided. So much for that 
subject. The next piece of news is that Elder has made 
his appearance here, and given me most delightful 



ix.] COEEESPONDEXCE, 1827. 283 

accounts of home. He arrived just at the critical 
moment of getting the drawings finished, and con- 
sequently was obliged to wait a few days before we 
could associate with such a butterfly as himself; but 
the job once over, behold we all start together for the 
Lake of Como. Of all the scenery I have ever seen, 
this charms beyond all. Well, we made our tour on 
the lake, and found the most splendid collection of 
villas that can be imagined. You know our object 
to be especially the observation of the villas in Italy, 
and so we instantly made up our minds to make a 
stay of two or three weeks at the least, and made an 
inquiry about the best inns and well and so and 
so one fine morning we the two architects and the 
T. G., be it known that all travelling gentlemen are nick- 
named so started to see the Villa Arionata. Nothing 
can equal our astonishment and delight at the splendid 
situation of this villa. Situated in the finest part of the 
lake, commanding the most lovely views, the palace 
itself most beautiful, and everything combining to make 
it the most charming of all we had seen. Well, what 
did w r e do ? ' Of course, two poor artists as you are, you 
went away with sorrow from so enchanting a place.' 
Not a bit of it so far from it, quite the reverse. 
' Two poor artists as we are we took it for a month ! ! ! ' 
Do you open your eyes ? Do you think us mad ? Mad 
or no, here we are. Elder immediately gave up his tour, 
wrote off to Florence for his letters, and established 



284 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

himself for the month with us ; we started for Milan to 
get all the rest of our things in order to equip us as 
' Barons of Arionati de Balbianello.' But I must men- 
tion the manner in which we arranged the business so 
quickly. Finding from the people who kept the palace 
in order and showed it to visitors that it was to be let, 
D'Egville immediately fixed upon it as the place of all 
others in point of situation for his father, and we there- 
fore crossed the lake again to the Palazzo Trotti to 
inquire, more out of curiosity than anything else, upon 
what terms the villa in question was to be let. The 
Marquess Trotti instantly informed us that he required 
one hundred and fifty lire a month, upon which we 
as instantly took it, not for the fathers but for the sons. 
I had intended frightening you by leaving you ignorant 
of the value of the above sum of money, but I think it 
is better to put you out of your anxiety at once. One 
hundred and fifty lire then is exactly . . . 5 4s. English 
money, for the month. What do you think of that ? Most 
happy am I that we have Elder with us, to attest the truth 
as well as to pay his share of the expenses, otherwise no 
one could believe the thing possible. I tell you that we 
have the most beautiful situation on the lake, an amazino* 

* o 

quantity of mountain, all our own, almost an island, the 
house furnished, every kind of linen found, kitchen 
utensils, beds, &c., fourteen rooms besides a billiard-room, 
and hundreds of dressing-rooms and closets ; a boat and 
boatman, a cook, a valet, and a gardener, and the 



ix.] COKRESPOKDEXCE, 1827. 285 

expenses of all this divided among three persons makes a 
difference of two hundred francs French, or 8 English 
in the month, in our expenditure. And on which side 
lies the difference ? Let me once for all assure you of 
the plain truth, that by taking this charming villa with 
all its delightful appendages, we spend 8 less than we 
pay at this moment at our secondary inn at Milan. 
There's a romance for you ! ! ! Oh, that I could transport 
you and my father here for the month, for transported 
you would be, to enjoy this scene of enchantment ! 
However, as the season is too advanced, it is quite 
out of the question to speak of it, but really I think 
next summer there could be nothing more delightful 
or easy for you to do, than to take it for a month 
or two in the best part of the season. . . . 

" Again must I break off, but this time depend upon 
two letters LONG by the next post. Love to all. 

" Your ever affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 

CHARLES J. MATHEWS TO MRS. MATHEWS. 

" Venice, Nov. 19th, 1827. 

"MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

" The date of this letter will explain the cause 
in a great degree of the length of time that has elapsed 
since my last. For many various reasons we judged 
it best to come right on to Venice at once and make 



o 



286 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

that place our headquarters, in consequence of its 
vicinity to Padua, Vicenza, and Verona, through 
which places we passed quickly, merely giving our- 
selves time to satisfy our curiosity a little at each. 
At Verona with great joy I found four letters from 
you, and among them the two so long missing. I 
cannot tell you the delight with which I learnt the 
news of .my father's freedom, and with even more 
did I hear of his engagements just concluded with 
Mr. Price, to whom I shall write speedily. Indeed I 
should have done so long ago according to my promise 
made to him before starting, in order to give him any 
hints respecting pieces or performances I might fall in 
with in Italy ; but really from the time of starting up 
to the present moment I have not seen anything worth 
noting respecting either one or the other ; for, operas 
and singers excepted, there is positively nothing what- 
ever. The theatre of marionettes at Milan that Mr s 
Arnold so particularly advised me to visit, and from 
which he took his idea of Guy Faux, is quite a child's 
sort of amusement and exceedingly stupid. The me- 
chanism is certainly well done ; but as all their pieces 
are the same as those of the regular theatres, it is 
certainly far preferable to see them acted by men and 
women. The grand opera at Milan is most charming, 
and indeed the second in Italy, yielding only to Naples. 
The night before we came away a new opera was pro- 
duced called the ' Pirate ' (nothing to do with Sir 



ix.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1827. 287 

Walter's), written by a young man of the name of 
Bellini, a Sicilian, only five-ancl-twenty, but of most 
astonishing genius. This was his first opera, and met 
with most brilliant success. It was a most interesting 
thing to be present at, as the composer is obliged to 
preside in the orchestra the three first nights, and have 
the satisfaction or horror of hearing his opera cheered 
or damned. On this occasion it must have been most 
gratifying, as the poor pale trembling composer was had 
out and cheered ten or twelve times during the evening. 
By-the-bye, there is a most curious notice stuck up in 
all the principal theatres here saying : ' That any person 
hissing, hooting, or making any disturbance will be in- 
stantly put into the hands of the police.' ' Here's a 
land of liberty, where a man mustn't larrup his own 
nigger.' Well, it so happened that an Irishman only 
a week ago in Milan, his name I could not learn, chose, 
certainly with very bad taste, to hiss after a favourite 
duet when everyone else was applauding violently. In 
an instant the whole pit turned upon him, and upon 
his continuing it out of bravado, the police quietly 
walked into him, and in one hour from that time he 
was sent out of Milan. Can you believe such a thing 
as that ? I can swear to the truth of it, and show the 
newspaper that contains the account of it. 

" The journey from Milan here was exceedingly agree- 
able, though tremendously tedious. We came by a 
vetturino with two horses, who undertakes to bring 



288 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

you and all your luggage, find and pay all your expenses 
on the road, for a certain sum, which is only to be paid 
on condition that he arrives to the time he promises, and 
you are content with him throughout the journey, which 
we certainly were. He gave us lots of time to see every- 
thing we wished on the road, and took us to the first 
inns, where we eat, drank, and slept like lords. We were 
highly delighted with Brescia, Verona, and Vicenza. Not 
so with Padua ; but the approach to Venice, as I believe 
all agree, is the most beautiful sight that can be imagined. 
We had the luck of getting in just as the sun was setting 
upon the Lagoon, which has been so many thousand 
times described by every traveller, whether he arrived at 
that time or no, that I shall leave all reflections upon its 
beauty to your ardent imagination. To be disappointed 
with Venice is quite impossible, and what your learned 
friends may mean by being surprised at our choosing it for 
our winter quarters is quite inexplicable to me, since it is 
not only notorious for being the best wintering place in 
Italy, but also for being quite unendurable in the summer, 
besides possessing more to interest us than any city 
(Rome and Florence excepted) throughout Italy. . . . 

" We were obliged to come away after all from Milan 
without anything being done about our diploma ; but a 
letter from Albertolli, received two or three days back, 
contains the following cheering assurance : ' With regard 
to proposing D'Egville and yourself as members of the 
Academy, do not doubt but that at the very first sitting 



ix.] CORRESPONDENCE, 1827. 289 

you shall be proposed and most certainly instantly re- 
ceived, as the Academicians esteem greatly the works 
which you have exhibited in the Academy itself.' 
I long for the certainty, and in the meantime we shall 
set to work to obtain the same honours here. . . . 
It is enough at present to say, that we are both in 
excellent health and spirits, finding everything that 
we can desire, and meeting everywhere, both from 
artists and others, with most excessive marks of friend- 
ship and regard, and now only want a letter from you 
and the arrival of our case to complete our happiness. 
With my fondest love to my dear father, 

"Your ever most affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 



VOL. I. 



CHAPTER X. 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY SECOND VISIT TO ITALY (continued], 

1827-1828. 

I WILL not say we stayed at Venice, we took root. 
For nearly a twelvemonth (including a visit to Istria 
and occasional trips to Friuli, Trieste, Padua, &c.) we 
took up our quarters there, not leaving for Florence till 
the following September. To give any adequate account 
of this delightful year would be impossible, unless a 
whole volume were devoted to it. We had charming 
apartments on the Grand Canal, our gondola, our box 
at the opera, a constant succession of balls, concerts, 
ridottos, and receptions, the run of the best society, 
Venetian and Austrian, noble and artistic, and, in short, 
everything that could render life agreeable. 

Venice was very gay at that time and the pleasant 
houses open for visitors nightly were very numerous. 
The three principal resorts were those of the three cele- 
brated Countesses Michieli, Albrizzi, and Benzon, the 
three Graces who, in their youth, are reported to have 
danced round the tree of liberty in the Piazza in the 
scantiest of attire. The Countess Michieli, the eldest of 



CHAP, x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 291 

the trio, was very deaf, but very clever and amusing ; 
at home on every subject ; speaking French and English 
with perfect ease and freedom. She was literary, and 
had published several esteemed works, especially the 
" Pompe e festi Veneziani," which had a very great 
success in its day, and has remained a valuable piece 
of Venetian history to this hour. Her house was gene- 
rally thrown open about nine o'clock, and a very pleasant 
party was always to be found there giochetti, charades, 
forfeits, conversation, and an occasional dance. 

The Countess Albrizzi's reception began a little later, 
and was rather more stiff and particular swells, literati, 
artists, nobles, courtly dames and courtly manners. She 
also dabbled in literature. Canova's works, published 
by Cicognara, contained descriptions by the Countess 
Albrizzi, and other light works manifest a graceful 
taste. 

She was the youngest of the three Graces, and still 
aspired to admiration, and was as careful in the preser- 
vation of her few remaining charms as if her future 
fortune were dependent upon her beauty. She was 
certainly wonderfully well preserved. 

At any hour of the night, and till any hour of the 
morning, succeeded the most delightful reception of any in 
Venice, that of the splendid old Countess Benzon. Here 
all ranks repaired after the opera, after the balls, after 
everything ; sure to find a brilliant assemblage, with the 

heartiest, gayest, most insouciante of hostesses, and here 

u 2 



292 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

Lord Byron was a constant visitor. At the end of a 
long and elegant saloon sat the Countess in state on her 
sofa ; the ladies, seated in formidable array, forming a 
long avenue in front of her, through which two dazzling 
lines of female beauty, and braving the artillery of their 
merry sparkling eyes, every fresh comer had to pass in 
order to pay his respects and kiss the hand of the pre- 
siding deity ; after which ceremony, and a little lively 
chat with the Countess, a retreat could be effected and 
attention devoted to the bevy of beauties assembled. 

The Beuzon must have been a splendid woman in 
her time ; tall and elegant in figure, with resplendent 
complexion, sweet blue eyes, and an abundance of fair 
hair, which she was still proud of displaying, with the 
boast that it was " all her own." She certainly retained 
a wonderful amount of fascination, coquettish as a girl 
of nineteen, revelling in flattery, and receiving any 
amount of recognition of her charms the more exag- 
gerated the more welcome with a tap of her fan, 
a gratified simper, and cry of "Hatto" and "Baron." 
Her cavaliere, Rangoni, a dear old beau of some sixty 
years, attended upon- her with all the devotion of a 
youthful cicisbeo, and was languished upon and toyed 
with by his divinity as though they were in the first 
heyday of their youth. 

Monotonous as it may be thought such meetings 
would become, repeated as they were night after night 
and year after year, they never seemed so. The party 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 293 

was never entirely the same, and no evening was com- 
plete without winding up at the Benzon's. 

Other houses had their one night in the week only. 
Such were those of the Countesses Vemir, Mocinigo, and 
other names associated with and descended from the old 
Doges, their illustrious ancestors. 

The custom of receiving of an evening at understood 
hours is, I think, very agreeable. Your mornings are 
your own, and you are never afraid of your visits being 
inopportune ; you know you are always welcome, and 
the more the merrier. Indeed to get sight of some of 
these ladies in the morning was a rarity. I don't think 
I saw the Benzon half a dozen times by daylight the 
whole time I was in Venice. 

The best balls were certainly those of the Baron de 
Thurn, the Austrian minister, to whom we had brought 
letters of introduction, and through whom we were re- 
ceived in the best Austrian society, at the Governor's, 
at the Countess Wetzlar's and their set. Not an evening 
passed without three or four brilliant balls, or concerts, 
or reunions of some sort, in addition to the usual re- 
ceptions ; so it will be readily imagined that our time 
passed pleasantly enough. 

The Caff 6 Florian in the Piazza was also a great 
resource, especially in hot weather. If about three or 
four in the morning sleep proved impossible, at Florian's 
company was always to be found a dozen chatty fel- 
lows, sipping sabayons, drinking iced coffee, and smoking 



294 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

cigars in the moonlight ; the caife never closing till the 
garish light of day appeared. When people went to 
bed if they went to bed at all it is difficult to say. 
They disappeared, certainly, for a short time in the 
mornino-, but were never found missing in the afternoon. 

O' " 

Notwithstanding all these diversions we contrived 
to do a deal of work drew and measured palaces and 
churches made elaborate drawings of St. Mark's, the 
Eialto, and the many picturesque subjects of the ex- 
haustless city, and prepared for our admission as mem- 
bers of the Belle Arti, where we hoped to obtain our 
diplomas, as at Milan. 

On the llth of June, after various delays from 
various causes, we at length bid a most reluctant adieu 
to Venice and its inhabitants, and after all the various 
promises of writing, &c. &c., embarked in the steamboat 
for Trieste on our wav to Pola. The following letters 

/ 

will best describe our subsequent adventures. 

"Capo D'Istria, June 8th, 1828. 

" MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

" With a desperate struggle we, at last, suddenly 
broke from the cable which tied us so long to Venice, 
that inexhaustible mine of precious gems, and here we 
are in Istria. I have much wondered none of our many 
sapient friends have not long since expressed to you and 
my dear father their astonishment and regret at our 
long sojourn in the City of Palaces. I am equally 



x.J SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 295 

pleased at finding my expectations unfounded, as it 
saves me the trouble of a long explanation and defence 
of our proceedings, and the more assures me of your 
confidence in our judgment of what is proper for us. 
I am aware that few architects have devoted much of 
their time to that place, generally taking a hurried view 
of it at the tail of their travels ; but I have never heard 
any of them who did not regret their obligation to leave 
it so soon. If we have spent more time upon it than 
we are perhaps justified in, considering the short period 
we have left for other places, at least we have been 
employed upon almost untrodden ground, and have 
reaped, I hope, the consequent advantages. If WQ have 
been so long detained in that city, where another year 
entire might be well bestowed, and to which I hope 
some day to make another journey, I know not how we 
shall tear ourselves from Florence and Rome, Naples 
and Genoa, where we have a right to expect three 
times as much to occupy us. However, trusting that 
the future may fall out according to our expectations, 
we can thus far rest perfectly contented with the past, 
which is always one principal point gained. 

" After all the parting adieus to our friends at 
Venice, a few of whom we parted from with much 
sorrow (and I must add, considering that we know 
nearly everyone in the place, that is, everyone worth 
knowing, there were but a few whose acquaintance we 
should care much about renewing), we put ourselves 



296 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHKWS. [CHAP. 

and our baggage on board the steamboat for Trieste, 

oo o 

accompanied by a friend of ours a Mr. Taaffe, brother 
to Lord Taaffe, who is Minister at Vienna, who deter- 
mined to join our pedestrian excursion to Pola, and 
after a beautiful night passage of ninety miles on the 
' salt sea ocean/ arrived with the sun next morning in 
the Bay of Trieste. Not wishing to lose a moment at 
that place we instantly made inquiries as to the mode 
of sending our luggage to Pola, intending to convey 
ourselves there by foot ; but as 110 one could give us 
any information about those savage parts, few having 
heard of them and no one having been there, we took 
their only advice, viz. : to start in a small boat for 
Capo D'Istria, from whence the chance of baggage- 
mules or some sort of car seemed to be practicable, and 
accordingly, with a fair wind, we this evening arrived 
at this miserable little hole, consisting of four or five 
grass-grown streets and a couple of caffes, under the 
shelter of the Town-hall and church, in the middle of 
a wide desolate-looking Piazza. Up to this moment 
our inquiries are anything but satisfactory as to our 
further progress, the distance to Pola varying with each 
person from fifty to ninety, and from twenty-two to a 
hundred and ten miles. You would suppose we were 
attempting to penetrate into the interior of Africa, to 
judge from the amazement expressed by all at our wish 
to prosecute such a journey, and on foot, too. We are 
just also in the charming doubt of whether we shall 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALYCONTINUED. 297 

be able to have our passports those curses, the most 
tormenting that could have been hit upon to punish 
erring man before ten or eleven o'clock to-morrow, 
which is as much as to say, spend another day here ; 
for to start in the heat of the day, we being neither 
Shadrach, Meshach, nor Abednego, would be much the 
same as taking a day's journey through a mammoth 
fryingpan. In short, we shall be obliged to act like 
prudent people and sleep upon it, trusting that in the 
meantime things may be brought to a crisis. Taaffe, 
who is not quite used to roughing it, begins to flag a 
little in his enthusiasm ; and all those determinations 
which people will make when comfortably at home, of 
bread and cheese, a glass of water, and a bivouac in 
the open fields, have gradually vanished from his recol- 
lection as the reality gently made its appearance. The 
fleas have already begun to show signs of activity, and 
the gnats are in great profusion. I, however, do not 
suffer so much from them as D'Egville, who is covered 
from top to toe with their bites. 

" I am very sleepy and tired with my journey and 
all night work and shall be glad to throw myself upon 
my ' humble pallet,' and so I wish you a very good 
night, and hope the morrow will bring us a safe de- 
liverance out of this melancholy place. With my 
unceasing love to yourself and my dear father, 
" Your affectionate Son, 

"C. J. MATHEWS." 



298 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

"Pola, June 18th, 1828. 

" MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

"It is useless tliat I make good resolutions, it 
does not rest with me to keep them. I am at the 
mercy of a set of barbarians now that I would never 
have calculated upon. Obliged to bring my letter on 
with me from Capo D'Istria, there being no post-office 
at that place, I find myself nearly in the same pre- 
dicament here, for, though there is an office, it is almost 
a sinecure, since there are no people belonging to the 
town but peasants and farmers, the greater part of 
whom don't even know how to write, and, conse- 
quently, there is but very little occasion for a post- 
office. I begin to be exceedingly uneasy about the 
means of sending my letters, as God knows when the 
post may be able to start, depending entirely upon 
a market-boat which comes and goes at irregular 
periods from and to Trieste. However, my hopes and 
disappointments are daily, and I, therefore, will not 
despair. I must in the meantime acquaint you that 
after a long pro and con with all sorts of people 
at Capo D'Istria, the possibility of getting any con- 
veyance for our luggage turned out to be beyond our 
power, and consequently our foot journey was, with the 
very greatest reluctance, abandoned. Nothing was left 
us but to make the best of our way in the same small 
boat that had conveyed us from Trieste, and hardly 
large enough it was to contain us and our baggage. 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 299 

However, the weather being very fine and the wind 
favourable, we embarked ourselves and a few cold pro- 
visions on board, and away we went. It is needless 
to recount the dull work we had of it for seven-and- 
twenty hours, with every now and then a calm, a 
broiling sun, hotter than anything I ever felt anywhere, 
which speedily deprived our noses of their skin, and 
made our cheeks like pomegranates. ' Young we were 
and sore,' without being afraid. Our only torment 
began to be hunger and thirst, and some serious 
thoughts were entertained of the obligation to eat one 
of the sailors, who would have been anything but a 
delicious morsel ; but it was luckily rendered needless 
by our sudden arrival in what we supposed to be the 
port of Pola, pitch dark and a calm. After about an 
hour and a half's rowing round the said port, we had 
the consolation of hearing one of the sailors appeal 
most pathetically to Saint Anthony of Padua to know 
what he had done with the town of Pola, which the 
said sailor swore he had left in the port only a week 
ago, but which, after a tedious row quite round the 
bay, had evidently taken its departure. The deductions 
from this experiment were evident and twofold, that 
either the town had been mysteriously spirited away, 
or that the sailor had mistaken some other bay for 
the one he believed it. This last turned out to be 
the case, and not till after nearly two hours' more 
rowing did we pop upon the right, one, which we should 



300 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

as certainly have passed in the dark, had not the 
friendly bray of an ass directed our attention that way, 
and suggested that there were more of them than the one 
we heard ; and it turned out exactly as we imagined, 
for upon a nearer approach we found the long-desired 
town, as nicely hid as it is possible to be, and evading 
detection even in the daytime. It wanted still two or 
three hours till daylight, and those hours we w T ere 
obliged to spend on board our boat, to our no small 
annoyance, till the gentlemen at the Sanita, or Health 
Office, felt inclined to get out of bed and examine our 
passports. All the ceremonies at length being com- 
pleted, we were conducted to the inn or hovel kept by 
a Greek of the name of Cronopoli, with a pair of 
rnustachoes enough for any two, when an attempt 
at refreshment was made but by no means succeeded 
in, not being provided for three such illustrious and 
hungry guests. So, after an attempt to drink some 
rank wine and eat some tunny-fish preserved in oil and 
vinegar, and flavoured with sweet currants, we tumbled 
into our beds to sleep as well as an army of gnats, flies, 
fleas, bugs, arid earwigs would let us. I shall close this 
in the hope of being able to send it either this evening 
or to-morrow, being assured of a boat. 

"Ever yours, 

"C. J. M." 



Through a mistake in our arrangements our remit- 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 301 

tances had been directed from Venice to Trieste, and 
the post being too uncertain to trust to, dependent 
as it was entirely upon the arrival of chance boats, 
D'Egville determined to start at once for one, perhaps 
both, of those places, to recover the requisite money 
and send it on to me at Pola, to release me from my 
confinement, I being left as a material guarantee for 
the amount of our bill. 

"Pola, July 11,1828. 
" MY DEAREST MOTHER, 

" Here I am still, under the most charming, the 
most delightful of all circumstances that can be 
imagined. Alone, and without one farthing to bless my- 
self with, in pawn as it were, without the power, for I 
know not how long, of being redeemed. After waiting 
beyond the time we had at first intended for the remit- 
tance daily expected from D'Egville's father, my quarter's 
money being naturally enough exhausted, having had to 
serve for two instead of one for nearly three months, we 
found that there was nothing left for us but one of two 
things, either to live in banishment at Pola till my next 
quarter's arrival, or for D'Egville to start for Venice and 
draw upon Shielin for the requisite money, and send it 
to me at Pola to release me from my confinement. This 
last plan we of course adopted, and you may imagine 
how melancholy I might be at seeing him start to leave 
me for a fortnight at the least in this uninhabited savage 



302 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

place. The matter will thus be easily arranged, but the 
consequences I, with some of your foresight, can plainly 
see to be these. That about the 1st of August, when 
his second quarter ought to arrive instead of his first, 
he will have to pay it all to Shielin in repayment of 
what he has drawn now from him, and again shall we 
be dependent upon my quarter. If Mr. D'Egville would 
take example by you, my dearest mother, these things 
could not happen, and the most provoking part is that 
he sets down this sort of accidents to our imprudence, 
when in fact the thing is as plain as can be that if the 
money arrives at the end instead of at the beginning of 
each quarter, instead of having it in advance to go 
when and how it best suits us, it vanishes instantly to 
pay off the debts that have accumulated, and we are as 
badly off as before. However, it is not fair to harass 
you about other people's affairs, so I'll say no more about 
it. I have finished two drawings here, one of the Arch 
and one of the Amphitheatre, two most beautiful sub- 
jects, and I hope they will answer my purpose at the 
Academy. To wring forth praise from D'Egville I assure 
you is no such easy matter, and for the first time since 
we started he declared that the outline of my Amphi- 
theatre was beautiful. I was 'pretty considerable proud' 
of this I can tell you, for c approbation from Sir Hubert 
Stanley is praise indeed/ and I only hope the professors 
at Venice may be of the same opinion. We have been 
perfectly enchanted with Pola, both in point of situation 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 303 

and of antiquities. The Amphitheatre is by far the 
most beautiful I have seen, so lovely in situation, amidst 
trees and mountains, and reflected in the Bay of Pola, 
which is one of the most perfect in the world. The 
temples and triumphal arch are also in good preservation, 
and remarkably elegant in their proportions. The cos- 
tume of the peasantry is very picturesque, and approaches 
the Grecian. They speak the Sclavonian language, and 
are a very fine race of people. In short, after all I am 
better off here at Pola under the circumstances than I 
should have been at any other place of its size, as I have 
plenty of objects to amuse me and plenty for study ; it 
is only the idea that I cannot move if I would that 
excites a disagreeable feeling, and in addition the anxiety 
I have about the non-receipt of your letters. I will not 
say how long it is since I have seen your handwriting. 
My only consolation is that the cause of my daily and 
weekly disappointment is evidently anything but your 
silence, for, though I left word at Venice that all letters 
were to be forwarded to me here, the thing is more easily 
said than done. How D'Egville is to send me the 
money I know not, besides the passport, which being- 
made out in both our names, he could not go without, 
nor can I stir till he sends it back. Love to my dear 

father. 

" Ever your affectionate Son, 

" 0. J. M." 



304 LIFE OF CHAELES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

" Peroi, July 18, 1828. 

"My DEAREST MOTHER, 

" Here I am still in pawn, but by a turn of fate 
enjoying myself mightily. Two days after my last letter 
I went on a little trip on horseback with the lawyer of 
Pola, a young German, to visit the neighbouring villages, 
and I had a most delightful day. From Pola we went 
to the Isle of Olives, not very far distant, where we 
found the Sclavonian peasants celebrating a festival, and 
after taking our share in the dancing and merriment for 
a couple of hours, we continued our journey to Dignano, 
a little village only celebrated from the remarkable dress 
of the peasants. I was very much pleased indeed with 
them. The women, amongst whom were some very 
pretty girls, were dressed exactly in the style of the 
old Venetian ladies, as we see them in old prints, and 
had a most surprising effect as they stood in groups 
about the town. My dear ' slight acquaintance ' finding 
me so much delighted with these dresses, proposed ex- 
tending our ride to Peroi, another small village at five 
miles' distance, and one of the wonders of Istria, being 
a small colony of Greeks, consisting of about sixty 
families, all peasants, preserving its ancient religion, 
costume, and manners, and speaking its original language, 
in the midst of Italians, Istrians, and Sclavonians. I 
jumped at the proposal, and was amply repaid for my 
trouble. I never met with anything so elegant and so 
picturesque as these people, the girls very handsome, 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 305 

particularly tall and well made, and the men equally so. 
The faces are strictly Greek, and the dress charming. 
I had scarcely entered the place before I determined 
upon removing there next day, it being only seven 
miles from Pola, and accordingly picking out the 
prettiest house, and that which contained the prettiest 
girls, I told them my intentions, and gave them to 
expect me the next day. It so happened that this 
family was related to my landlord Cronopoli, at Pola, 
also a Greek, which gave me greater facility in obtain- 
ing this favour (for it is considered a great favour, 
and one never granted to strangers) to take up my 
abode amongst them. The day before yesterday I 
arrived with my drawing materials, clothes, &c., and 
here I am established. On rny arrival I explained that 
I came to be one of the family and not to be treated as 
a gentleman, and accordingly I proceeded with them into 
the fields to help the cutting of barley, and to their 
great delight dressed myself in their costume, which I 
did also to my own great delight ; in short, I found 
myself once more as among the Neapolitan peasantry, 
happy amidst the innocent simplicity and real enjoy- 
ments of unsophisticated nature. The perfect pleasure 
I felt while dancing, singing, and playing with these 
beautiful Greek girls I cannot tell you, enhanced by 
the feeling that I had already usurped a small nook in 
their hearts by having thus accommodated myself to 
their manners. It was quite charming to see them 

VOL. I. X 



306 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. ' [CHAP. 

gradually throwing off the reserve of the first day, and 
beginning to regard me really as one of the family. 
The pride they had in dressing me and taking me about 
with them was great. I had good cause to wear out my 
legs in dancing with them on the rough stones of the 
village, for one after another engaged with me till I had 
gone through the whole strino-. I then made a sketch 

O O o 

of one of them who had been married about a month, in 
her bridal dress, a copy of which I gave her. At three 
o'clock I am up and out with them 'in the fields, par- 
taking of their food as well as their pursuits, the acme 
of which consists in a couple of hard eggs and a bit of 
brown bread ; not being quite able to accommodate my 
stomach to the more ordinary fare of bread cooked in 
oil and vinegar, and dreadfully fat bacon. Fancy me at 
this moment writing to you, dressed in a white sort of 
body and petticoat, richly worked in red, blue, and 
yellow silk, an embroidered handkerchief on my head, 
and red stockings bound with red sashes up to the knee, 
and sheepskin sandals. . I wish Lewis were here to 
make you a sketch of me, but in his room I am trying 
a hand at it myself. It is growing dark, and I must 
send this to Pola to-night, so good-bye for the present. 
I fear my last letter cannot have had the luck of getting 
off yet, but shall know to-night. Good-bye, my dearest 
mother. 

" Your ever affectionate 

" C. J. M." 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 307 

The next letter lias already been published by my 
mother in her memoirs of my father, but it is absolutely 
necessary to give it here according to its date, and as an 
essential portion of my narrative. 

"Peroi, July 25th, 1828. 

" I have this moment received a letter from 
D'Egville, enclosed in one from the banker at Trieste, 
and sent off by a courier on purpose, which enables me 
to quit my agreeable confinement for my banishment 
has proved anything but detestable. Seeing no chance 
of getting my letters off (both of which I find are still at 
Pola) before I get to Trieste, I think it best to continue 
writing till I am able to close my paper in the certainty 
of despatching it. A few days more and I shall be again 
in civilised parts, having engaged a vessel for the day 
after to-morrow to convey me to Trieste. In the mean- 
time I must continue my description of Peroi. You 
have no idea of the little paradise that it is. I begin 
quite to love the people and to fancy myself one of 
them. I am called by them all ' Sukey ; ' isn't that a 
sweet name ? So spelt and pronounced in England it is 
anything but enchanting, but here the word is Greek, 
and means ' my soul ' (vide Lord Byron), and is a term 
of the greatest affection. What would I not give that 
you could possess, through the means of some beneficent 
fairy, the glass that I have read of in some child's book, 

in which the possessor could behold at every moment of 

x 2 



308 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

the day the absent person, and contemplate his occupa- 
tions and situations. The first thing in the morning you 
would look in the glass (as you no doubt do as it is), 
and instead of beholding yourself in a laced night-cap 
with sky-blue bandeau, you would see me (but you must 
get up at three o'clock to do so) sitting on a stone bench, 
surrounded by half-a-dozen pretty, innocent girls ; the 
one adjusting my head and tying on my worsted hand- 
kerchief, another lacing my sandals, and all occupied in 
the decoration of their new-found toy. Near me you 
would see others, with their beautiful black hair hanging 
down to their waists, and undergoing the operation of 
plaiting, till it takes the most beautiful classic form that 
can be desired. Here and there, at intervals, are three 
or four fine tall lads, with ample moustachios, trotting 
to the fields on horseback, with large trusses of straw 
before them, and saddle-bags hanging on each side, dis- 
playing in their capacious gaping mouths (not the lads, 
but the saddle-bags) the store of brown bread and wine 
kegs for their banquet ; and a young foal ambling after her 
aged mother, and now and then seizing her by her 
swishy tail, and kicking from pure fun and frolic. Then 
will pass by a little brown bare-legged boy, with a 
flock of sheep, with here and there a reverend old ram, 
decorated with bells and red ribbons a most pictu- 
resque group, making dust enough to smother the whole 
village. 

"You will gaze for a moment in admiration of the 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 309 

beauty of the lad ; his fine Greek face and large intel- 
ligent eyes, dressed only in a sheepskin thrown most 
gracefully over him, and confined with a crimson sash ; 
a pair of sandals and a slouched hat defending his two 
extremities, and a double pipe of rude form resounding 
through the woods as he saunters after his family. A 
short time after you will see the whole village in motion 
girls, boys, old men and old women, and myself in the 
midst of the throng, moving forward in procession, some 
with pitchers on their heads, to begin the labour of the 
day. You will hear, if your ears are good enough, the 
choruses of villagers, very different from the compositions 
of Bishop, arranged most harmoniously by themselves, 
and sung most correctly in parts. The melody you will 
hear some day imitated by me, as copied exactly from 
themselves. During the interval of these choruses you 
will probably but you must listen well hear a solo, 
though of a somewhat more sprightly character, and in a 
more comprehensible language, in a voice not unfamiliar 
to you, and at the same time you will observe the 
pleasure without humbug, and the approbation without 
flattery, expressed upon the smiling countenances of the 
rest of the party. An hour or two afterwards you, 
perhaps, will take up the glass again fancy it's a looking- 
glass, and so you can resume the scrutiny many times 
through the day without much effort and you will see 
the party dispersed in various groups over the landscape, 
and under the shade of some old tree you will see me 



310 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEAVS. [CHAP. 

lying with a book in my hand most probably a Byron 
or a Moore in the character of an Arcadian, casting 
occasional affectionate looks towards my darling peasants 
at their work, and now and then joined by a girl or two 
from amongst them, who will sit by my side and pretend 
to read my book with me till called by the rest to their 
work again, and sometimes you will see them depart 
don't be scandalised with their cheeks slightly coloured 
lest their companions should have observed the chaste 
salute as freely received as given. Then about the time 
my father's trumpet announces his approach to the 
breakfast-room while waiting for the arrival of his 
smoking steak take a glance at me sitting as one of my 
smiling circle, with a hard egg in each hand, a small 
loaf of whiter bread than the rest, baked on purpose for 
me and regarded as a chef-d'ceuvre in its kind, on my 
knees, and a wooden bowl as white as snow before me 
full of wine and water, to afford a tolerable easy passage 
to my frugal fare ; while my companions, with appetites 
scarcely credible, dispose of bucketful after bucketful of 
bread made into soup by the addition of oil and vinegar, 
till you begin to doubt whether the feat is performed by 
elephants or peasants. What would Sir John Carr say 
to see these girls eat ? He, who thinks the merry- 
thought of a pigeon too much for a woman, would stare 
to see a bucket of vinegar, bread, and oil disappear 
between the rosy lips that he had just been kissing, and 
see the languishing eyes of a lovely girl throwing aside 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 311 

their jetty fringes to seek the bottom of a three-quart 
pitcher, which, 'high poised in air/ travels from mouth 
to mouth, emptied again and again into the elephantine 
receptacles of these tender maidens, and, like the tower 
of Pisa, threatening destruction to all around it in its 
fall. The natural consequence of this light repast, 
added to the heat of an Istrian sun, is a general inclina- 
tion to sleep ; the girls most modestly seeking some 
shady spot at a distance, somewhat remote from the 
male part of the community. Then, for .a couple of 
hours, you may put down your glass while we give our- 
selves up to sweet slumbers, first, however, observing me 
enjoying my privilege, as the pet of the party, of lying 
on the best bit of green and pillowing my head upon 
whichever lap I please, a privilege which even the men 
of the party seem to think it quite right I should enjoy. 

" We'll say now that it is one o'clock ; my father 
has just started for town to attend an eleven o'clock 
rehearsal at Drury, and you, after inspecting the cold 
veal the pale ghost of yesterday's fillet, and a small 
pan of shivering potatoes huddled together in a cold 
perspiration in a corner of a white plate, to see if 
an Irish stew or a mince may be produced from the 
remnants, and having prepared everything for the day's 
consumption, are just retired to your little boudoir to 
do a little bit of reading and writing. Then, after a 
look at the sketch of me by Lewis, you naturally wish 
for one more glance at your fairy glass, and see me quietly 



312 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 



seated alone in my little alcove in my Greek cottage, re - 
turned from the fields and occupied with my pen or pencil. 
You now begin to think the whole description almost 
too romantic to be true. You see a Greek gentleman in 
a most picturesque costume sitting on a settee under an 
elegant-shaped arcade, with a pipe in his mouth, as grave 
as can be desired, occupied in serious pursuits, with a 
beautiful boy of five years old standing at the table with 
a little white embroidered tunic, confined by a cunis 
or sash, a pair of stockings, something like those of 
Scotland, halfway up his little legs, a little pair of 
white sandals, and a scarlet cap with a feather in it 
carefully cocked on his little head, cutting bits of paper 
into moons and stars with a pair of English scissors. 
You don't know which to look at. You are in love 
with the child, and yet you cannot help looking at the 
gentleman. You can't be deceived. In spite of the 
dress, the moustachios, and the alcove, in spite of the 
smell of tobacco, you still discover the features you are 
in search of. You look over his shoulder and you see 
a letter addressed to his dearest beloved mother, and 
unthinkingly print a kiss upon the glass, which, sullied 
by the attempt, hides from you the image you were 
contemplating, and. as the steam which bathed it 
gradually clears off again, you . fancy you see his eyes 
wet with the tears of true affection, which, glistening 
still for a moment, seem to indicate his grief at your 
deception. But you are not deceived, for, though you 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 313 

cannot see them, believe me the tears are not a few 
which, in the midst of all his enjoyments, are sweetly 
shed at the thought of the affectionate regrets which are 
ever troubling the bosom of his mother. He sees her at 
all hours of the day ; he sees his father soothing her 
sorrow, and comforting her with the picture of their 
son's happiness and well-doing, and reminding her of 
the unabating love for them both w r hich accompanies 
him wherever he may be. Though dressed as a Greek, 
his heart is still English, and all his enjoyments in his 
enchanting abode are in reference to the delight of 
talking them over in his own darling cottage, calling to 
mind the warmth of a southern sun by the side of a coal 
fire, and finding a pleasure most exquisite in transferring 
the kisses of his Greek girls upon the beloved lips of his 
parents. 

" But I have passed the boundary in the twinkling 
of an eye and find myself far away from Peroi and all 
its romance ; the very thought of my own real home has 
destroyed in a moment the fairy spell of my enchant- 
ment, and my marble alcove seems to want a covering 
of thatch and a weathercock upon it. My little Spiri- 
dion looks up in my face as if he observed an expression 
upon it different from the one he is accustomed to, and 
for a moment leaves his moons and stars as if to be 
informed of the cause. Would that I could send the 
little angel flying to you with my letter, and with the 
power of conveying on his sweet little lips a portion of 



314 LIFE OE CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

the pleasure in description that he and I enjoy together. 
It is a happiness to look in his little innocent face, beam- 
ing with affection reflected there from my own. Not 
from my little innocent's face but from the fondness 
which it manifestly shows towards him. I have made 
a sketch of my pet, which, though it does not do him 
justice enough, will convey something of his air. 

" But I find my journal, which I intended to have 
served for a week, has not even completed a day. My 
subject has made me quite too gracious, and is not half 
exhausted, so that your glass must be used another time 
to finish the picture. I will leave you now for awhile, 
as I would not have you take a glass too much ; as it 
is, I fear when you get this large sheet, and have to 
pay its increased postage, you will fancy you see double, 
though I hope the pleasure of the draught will, in spite 
of its next day consequences, induce you to drink again. 
In the meantime I leave you ; to-morrow I will finish 

the journal of to-day. 

" C. J. M. 

" Pola, July 27th, 1828. 

"It is impossible for me, up to my eyes in packing 
as I am D'Egville having left all the luggage on my 
shoulders to sit down quietly to continue my descrip- 
tion of Peroi, which must serve for a future occasion. 
Suffice it to know that I have left it, and am in grand 
preparation for my voyage. I start to-night at ten 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 315 

o'clock ; the wind is propitious and two or three days 
will restore me to the land of sophistication. 

"Capo D'lstria, July 30tli. 

''How vain are all the hopes and expectations of 
this life, as Mr. Grant has long ago tried to impress 
upon us from the pulpit. And yet, though we are 
thoroughly convinced of the truth of the observation, 
we cannot help fondly imagining that upon starting 
with a fair wind on a voyage of only a day and a half, 
that our arrival will be speedy in proportion to the 
favour of the breeze. On Sunday evening, at midnight, 
I left Pola, and for about a couple of hours we scudded 
along as famously as could be wished, when all of a 
sudden the wind ceased entirely, and in the morning 
I having slept perfectly well upon the thought that we 
were flying towards Venice I found myself still within 
sight of the Bay of Pola. My chagrin was great, and 
gradually increased into despair upon the information 
being coolly given by the sailor, that there was no 
chance of any change for the better that day. How- 
ever, I waited patiently, in the hopes of a night breeze 
\v r hich they assured me never failed, but which upon 
this occasion, by some accident or other, disappointed 
us, and another weary night I passed in my miserable 
cabin. Next morning, finding the chances were greatly 
in favour of our being still a day or two in the same 
predicament, I determined upon being put ashore and 



316 LIFE OF CHAKLES J. MATHEWS. [CHAP. 

continuiDg my journey on foot, or by means of any 
conveyance that might offer itself, and accordingly 
started, with a few things in my knapsack, in the 
heat of a midday sun, without the slightest hint at 
a breath of air, to the nearest village. 

" There they had never even heard of a vehicle of 
any sort, and they might be Venetians from their total 
ignorance of the utility of horses. Luckily, however, 
my legs were not yet rendered gouty by the rich sauces 
and choice wines of Pola and Peroi, and I stepped out 
manfully till nine o'clock at night, when I was heartily 
glad to throw myself upon a comfortable bed at Pesino. 
This morning, having had a lift of fifteen miles in a cart, 
I continued my travels, and here I am, once more, at 
Capo D'Istria, heartily tired, and glad to retire to niy 
not feathered but straw' d nest. 

" Capo D'Istria, August 3rd. 

" Here I am still, and still the vessel with my 
luggage not arrived ; you may suppose how charming 
my stay has been here, my whole time passed upon 
the Mole, with a pipe in my hand and a book in my 
mouth, that is, vice versd. I have been engaged on the 
look-out service, and, from this sample of its pleasures, 
have no desire whatever to continue the profession. 
Yesterday, my patience being worn out, I made an 
excursion to see a famous cavern, fifteen miles off, and 
spent rather an agreeable day in the country. Heaven 



x.] SECOND VISIT TO ITALY CONTINUED. 317 

knows when I shall leave this place, though something 
like a favouring breeze seems to flatter me with the 
hope that my crew must arrive to-morrow. If not, 
I shall certainly start, if I walk all the way. I am 
in much too great a fidget to write at length, and 
particularly as the exhibition at Venice opens, most 
provokingly, to-day. By a most wise and accidental 
forethought of mine, I gave my drawings to D'Egville 
to take with him, in case (little thinking it would so 
ruefully be verified) that I might be detained beyond 
the time. I am ready to jump into the sea from 
vexation at not being there at the opening, but I 
daresay 'all is for the best/ though I confess I am 
almost inclined to doubt the justice of the adage in 
this instance. 

'' Capo D'Istria, August 4th. 

" Last night, at length, my lagging vessel arrived 
at about midnight ; and, would you believe it, after 
all the warnings not to trust myself upon the salt sea 
ocean, I am persuaded to put my precious person on 
board again, believing their confident assertions that 
the wind must last. The alternative being a long 
land journey on foot, with a difference in distance of 
more than a hundred and fifty miles ! ! My knapsack, 
with a wardrobe like that of Mr. Dowlas, is already 
on board, and I am about to follow. This paper has 
followed me about most faithfully. I hope soon to 



318 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHERS. [CHAP. x. 

part from it, however, as I am tired of its company. 
Though I may be in want of a bed here and there 
on the road, I carry my own sheets. 



"Venice! August 15th. 

" Ah ! thank heaven, at last, here I am, once more 
safely anchored ; and a precious voyage I have had of 
it. I have nothing like time to describe it or to fill 
this gigantic sheet, for I would not lose this occasion 
of to-day's post to send off these tidings. Enough, that 
here I am. Your letters are in my possession, what 
the numbers are I don't quite know. All seems to be 
right at the exhibition, of which you will be informed 
instantly. 

"C. J. M." 



APPENDIX. 

TRANSLATIONS OF FRENCH CORRESPONDENCE 
WITH COUNT D'ORSAY. 



I. (p. 110). If you had had any knowledge of the world, you 
would have understood that it is indispensable to know one's place 
in it that is a matter which, above all things, you ought to learn. 
You would avoid by so doing the trouble of being taught that the 
friendship which people have for you is no excuse for your taking a 
tone which it is necessary to lower, especially when you address 
a person who does not forget who he is. If you had taken a proper 
tone, you would have learnt that in conversation with milady before 
milord, we took occasion to remark that you had let slip the oppor- 
tunity of making sketches at Capri, and further, that it was a pity 
you did not devote more time to drawing. If you find anything 
offensive in these words, I am at a loss as to their meaning, and as 
they were only uttered in conversation by milady to me, I was far 
from thinking they could annoy you. Further, and on another point, 
you have no right to assume an arrogant air and an unbecoming 
manner in reproaching me with what I said. You have placed me 
under the cruel necessity of putting you in your proper place, but you 
might have avoided it all if you had remembered to whom you were 
speaking. 

II. (p. 111). I have slept and thought over your letter and the 
words with which you honoured me yesterday, and as it seems to me 
that neither nobility nor superior strength give you any right to insult 
me so grossly before ladies, and especially before servants, I hope you 
will not refuse me that satisfaction which I feel constrained to demand 
of you. 



320 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

III. (p. 112). Your letter goes further to prove how little know- 
ledge you have of the world. You should know that a letter ought 
not to l>e so flippantly ended, and as I hope that some good may 
come out of all this quarrel, profit by this piece of advice. 

As to the satisfaction you desire, I will give you as much as you 
please. N"ame the place and the weapons ; in fact, everything you 
think most fitting for your personal satisfaction. I return your 
letter, as its tone does not incline me to preserve it. 

IV. (p. 117). I am very far from being sorry that Mr. Mathews 
has chosen you for his second, my only fear having been that he 
might choose somebody else. I am also far from being offended at 
any of your remarks. When I esteem anyone, his opinion is always 
welcome. 

In principle the matter is, as you know, very simple. I was 
asked if Mathews had drawn anything at Capri. I replied no, but 
that he always carried his chalks and sketch-book to do nothing with, 
and that, with his great abilities, it was a pity it should be so. Lord 
Blessington had not sufficient courage to speak to him on the subject, 
Avithout bringing in my name, and Mathews took the matter up with 
me in so lofty a tone, that I was obliged to bring him to reason, after 
explaining to him that my remarks had only been prompted by my 
interest in him. He continued in the same manner, anci I then told 
him that the first time he took the same tone with me, I would throw 
him out of the carriage and break his head. I give you the qiiarrel 
word for word. The only difference I made between him and anyone 
else, was that I only said to him what I would actually have done to 
any other person who had treated me in the same manner. If I 
accompanied my threat with offensive and unbecoming language, I am 
sorry, for his sake as well as for my own ; for I should be wanting in 
self-respect if I used unduly violent language. 

As to your remark about the difference of rank, it is useless, for I 
never attach importance to rank which is so often compromised by so 
many fools. I judge people for what they are, without enquiring 
who their ancestors may have been, and if my superior had adopted 
the same tone of reproach as Mathews did, I would assuredly have 
done to him what I only said to Mathews, whom I love too much 
to degrade in his own eyes. I feel it would be ridiculous not to 
admit that I Avas wrong in using unnecessarily hard words, but at 



APPENDIX. 321 



the same tinio I do not wish to deny them such for instance as 
my proposal to throw him out of the carriage. If Mathews wishes 
satisfaction, I Avill give him as much as he likes, acknowledging at 
the same time the goodwill he has shown in choosing you for his 
second. This affair is as disagreeable for you as it is for all of us, 
"but at least it will not alter the friendship of your devoted 

COMTE D'ORSAY. 

V. (p. 159). It is useless for me to repeat how much we have 
regretted your absence, you can have no doubt of that. Let it be 
enough for you to know that there is a great void in your place which 
no one can fill. 

Since your departure Naples has been pretty much the same, Avith 
the exception that the ardour of the curious has been somewhat calmed 
by the horrible occurrence at Ptestum. You will, no doubt, have seen 
in the papers that Mr. and Mrs. Hunt were assassinated there. It 
will soon be necessary to have an escort to go to Pompeii. It is only 
the artists who are safe from these attacks, for the brigands know they 
are armed cap-a-pie, penknives, compasses, &c. But notwithstanding 
these weapons, I am glad to see you have returned from Psestum, 
for I had an impression that you were not very safe. At this 
moment there is in Naples the court painter of H.M. the King of 
Prussia, which is not saying much. But, notwithstanding, the man 
has arrived, swollen with pretension, and puffed up with presumption. 
The good Gell, protector-general of humbugs, has found himself under 
an obligation to take him up. He has introduced him to us, with his 
drawings. The man has passed two months in the interior of the 
museum at Portici and has copied all the paintings, and notwith- 
standing his great desire to spoil them, he found it impossible, 
for nothing is easier than to copy on tracing paper. Well, Gell is 
enthusiastic, he declares that he is a prophet who has come into this 
country to save the arts, while certainly, if the man had superior 
merit, he would have said : " Oh, nasty boy." You see that Sir 
Willy is always the same. The description of your journey has 
greatly amused us, and if I were to give you any advice for an 
imitation of a French prefet, it would be to do all the ridiculous things 
you could. You would be sure not to fail in the part. I forgot to 
tell you about Captain Smith, who is more stupid than ever if that 

VOL. I. T 



322 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

were possible. He has at present a heart-ache since I told him that 
his hair is of the best quality for making a cushion. Besides that, 
his legs trouble him when he remembers that you can run faster than 
he. It was only two days ago that he reminded me that you were 
the younger man, and that that was the only reason. Strangways has 
left for Smyrna, Baily is here, and will probably follow him ; I 
suppose he will meet him in Turkey. In any case he will find 
his head over the gate of the seraglio of the Grand Signior, for in that 
country they cut off your head without much ceremony. We talk of 
you often, and think of you more often still, and if you are not 
ungrateful, you ought to do the same. 

Adieu, my dear Charles, Avrite to me, for I assure you that the 
friendship I bear for you is too sincere to allow it to pass away 
in silence. 

VI. (p. 161). God bless our souls, my dear Matthias, S is 

gone, and is probably already on that Kentish road (of happy 
memory). His departure made us all sad for a quarter of an hour 
for he had seasoned his farewell with an abundance of tears, which he 
had kept in store for this happy circumstance. At last he is gone, 
with a bursting heart and full pockets. We all made him a present 
and I persuaded Lord Blessington to give him that unfortunate cachet 
marin, which Smith received with as much pleasure as if it had 
been the command of a second-class frigate. We all experience the 
sensations of an invalid who has just been relieved of a plaster. 

I advise you to be more afraid of the stumbles of your gray mare 
(if she is still alive, and consequently if she still falls), than of those 
which you say you make in the French language. Your letter was 
too good for you not to go on, and you know how we love you, and 
that absence diminishes nothing. So from time to time send us an 
epistle in French. It will be well received. 

I am sorry to be obliged to speak of a sad subject, but it is 
necessary for you to know that Elisabeth has just spoilt sweet Mary's 
red gown. From that moment civil war was declared, and it was 
only by sacrificing Elisabeth to take Vincenza back, that hostilities 
were stopped. You will see by this that Mary is better, now that 
there is a question of battles about red gowns, &c. I had forgotten 
to tell you that it is definitively known that Vincenza wears a wig ; 
Mary had the proof of it in her hand in single combat. I give you 



APPENDIX. 323 



these little details in order that you may not forget our home life. 
Don't mention it to anyone, for sweet Mary would be very angry. 
Williams and Blayney seem to preserve their characteristic traits 
everywhere, I think that the latter looked at Punch to ascertain if he 
were more ridiculous than himself. I have received a letter from 
Millingen, Avho is puffing and blowing in Paris worse than ever, and 
I think his neighbours have made him move on account of his pul- 
monary puffing, for he has been obliged to go from the noise of Paris ; 
where his asthma might be confounded with the carts which pass 
continually ; to the Eue Neuve des Petits Champs, Avhere he is lodging 
now. I am afraid the dear antiquary will not live long, especially 
when he learns that a conspiracy has been formed against him 
by a bold youth, who has appeared on the horizon to prove that all 
that James has Avritten means nothing. You will guess, no doubt, 
that this man is a protege of Gell, but notwithstanding, I think 
Millingeu will come victoriously out of the Etruscan struggle. 
Although his calibre is small, his bullets will make larger breaches 
than the shells of others which explode with nothing inside them. 
However, if he dies, I shall have him reduced to ashes and put in 
our Etruscan lachrymatory. There is more room in it than he will 
want, and it is really a tomb worthy of a thin antiquary. I hope that 
you have not forgotten a " complimenter " (which means a French 
flatterer) his name is Durand whom you saw at Belvedere, very 
decided never to part with that which made his happiness, which 
consoled him for all his sins, and compensated him for all his troubles 
in the world that is to say, his collection. Well, Mr. Durand, on 
arriving in Paris, finds that the most important thing he has to do is 
to sell it to the King of France, for a sum quite capable of consoling 
him for a loss so dear to his sad heart. So now he is a widower with 
his mind made up to marry mummies, for he is going to give himself 
up to that branch of instruction, or, I should say, of commerce. 

B B and Co. have failed. Farewell medals, cigars, and 

other amenities of society ! The Abbe loses by this failure 700 guineas, 
but he means to get them back some way or other. Medici will viser 

his passport, and Circelle will countersign it. P declares that it 

is a great comfort not to fail. In the first place he never had much 

idea of B 's house, he thinks little of F , and still less of 

Eothschild, but to make up for it he thinks a great deal of D 



324 LIFE OF CHARLES J. MATHEWS. 

and P . At the present moment M. G is having some trousers 

made, probably on the model of mine ; "but it is a politic stroke to 
show the tailors of the city that his firm is all right. Although 

M never puts his foot inside the office, he has certified to in/j on 

the most sacred Avord of honour of a gentleman of Jersey and other 
places, that they have discovered in Pompeii things which we must 
go and see when this furious rush of strangers is calmed down you 
will understand that it is useless to go to Pompeii to see all the 
partners of Day and Martin, and of Barclay Perkins. You have 
110 idea of the appearance of the English who are now in Xaples ; 
they are really laughing-stocks. I assure you that if Baron Stiiltz of 
Clifford Street were to arrive now, he would cut a great figure among 
them. 

I begin to see that I have just room to wish you plenty of 
instruction and pleasure in the office you are about to enter. Finally, 
my dear Charles, if you have all the good fortune which I wish you, 

you cannot fail to be happy. Lady B sends you a million 

friendly messages. Lord B is sneezing just now, otherwise he 

would, I am persuaded, send you at least 1,500 amiable things. As 
for Mary, she says all manner of things which I have no more space 
for. As for myself, I assure you of my unalterable friendship, and 
beg you to present my respects to your mother, and my compliments 

to your father. Lady B desires to be remembered to your 

mother, whom she loves with all her heart. 

Adieu, and for ever your 

Very devoted 

D'ORSAY. 



END OF VOL. I. 



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