The Author Function at Six Months
. . .

John Baskerville's marbled endpapers

JOHN BASKERVILLE was born at Wolverley, in the county of Worcestershire, in the year 1706. He began life as a footman to a clergyman, and at the age of twenty became a writing-master in Birmingham. This occupation he appears to have supplemented by, or exchanged for, that of engraving inscriptions on tombstones and memorials; a profession in which he is said to have shown much talent. [...]

Of Baskerville’s personal character, a biographer observes: ‘In private life, he was a humourist, idle in the extreme; but his invention was the true Birmingham model, active. He could well design, but procured others to execute; wherever he found merit, he caressed it; he was remarkably polite to the stranger, fond of shew; a figure, rather of the smaller size, and delighted to adorn that figure with gold lace. Although constructed with the light timbers of a frigate, his movement was stately as a ship of the line. During the twenty-five last years of his life, though then in his decline, he retained the singular traces of a handsome man. If he exhibited a peevish temper, we may consider that good nature and intense thinking are not always found together. Taste accompanied him through the different walks of agriculture, architecture, and the fine arts. Whatever passed through his fingers bore the living marks of John Baskerville.’

A less pleasing sketch of his character is given by Mark Noble in his Biographical History of England:— ‘I have very often’, he says, ‘been with my father at his house, and found him ever a most profane wretch, and ignorant of literature to a wonderful degree. I have seen many of his letters, which like his will, were not written grammatically, nor could he even spell well. In person he was a shrivelled old coxcomb. His favourite dress was green, edged with narrow gold lace, a scarlet waistcoat, with a very broad gold lace, and a small round hat, likewise edged with gold lace. His wife was all that affectation can describe.... She was originally a servant. Such a pair are rarely met with. He had wit; but it was always at the expense of religion and decency, particularly if in company with the clergy. I have often thought there was much similarity in his person to Voltaire, whose sentiments he was ever retailing.’

Professing a total disbelief of the Christian religion, he ordered that his remains should be buried in a tomb in his own grounds, prepared by himself for the purpose, with an epitaph 1 expressing his contempt for the superstition which the bigoted called Religion. Here, accordingly, his body was buried upright, and here it remained, although the building that contained it was destroyed by the Birmingham riots of 1791. About half a century after his death his body was exhumed and exhibited for some time in a shop in Birmingham. Its final resting-place is to this day a matter of debate.


beneath this cone, in unconsecrated ground,
a friend to the liberties of mankind directed his
body to be inurn’d.
May the example contribute to emancipate thy mind
from the idle fears of Superstition,
and the wicked arts of Priesthood.’

Touching this epitaph Archdeacon Nares has the following note:— ‘I heard John Wilkes, after praising Baskerville, add, “But he was a terrible infidel; he used to shock me!”’

A History of the Old English Letter Foundries:
With Notes, Historical and Bibliographical,
on the Rise and Progress of English Typography

by Talbot Baines Reed


Dr. Franklin kindly writes from Craven Street, London, 1760:

Dear Sir,— Let me give you a pleasant instance of the prejudice some have entertained against your work. Soon after I returned, discoursing with a gentleman concerning the artists of Birmingham, he said you would be a means of blinding all the readers of the nation, for the strokes of your letters being too thin and narrow, hurt the eye, and he could never read a line of them without pain. “I thought,” said I, “you were going to complain of the gloss of the paper some object to.” “No, no,” said he, “I have heard that mentioned, but it is not that; it is in the form and cut of the letters themselves, they have not that height and thickness of the stroke which makes the common printing so much more comfortable to the eye.” You see this gentleman was a connoisseur. In vain I endeavoured to support your character against the charge; he knew what he felt, and could see the reason of it, and several other gentlemen among his friends had made the same observation, etc. Yesterday he called to visit me, when, mischievously bent to try his judgement, I stepped into my closet, tore off the top of Mr. Caslon’s specimen, and produced it to him as yours, brought with me from Birmingham, saying, I had been examining it, since he spoke to me, and could not for my life perceive the disproportion he mentioned, desiring him to point it out to me. He readily undertook it, and went over the several founts, showing me everywhere what he thought instances of that disproportion; and declared, that he could not then read the specimen, without feeling very strongly the pain he had mentioned to me. I spared him that time the confusion of being told, that these were the types he had been reading all his life, with so much ease to his eyes; the types his adored Newton is printed with, on which he has pored not a little; nay, the very types his own book is printed with (for he is himself an author), and yet never discovered this painful disproportion in them, till he thought they were yours.

I am, etc.,
B. Franklin.

. . .

"A Human Calculus, or Stone"

Whether your hard science be economics or evolutionary determinism, it's surely painful in the passing.


squatting, as it does, in the midst of all...

. . .

You can't hurry love. Nor can you hurry a dead horse.

What is meant by 'the inspectors are of the right age'?in Tickets,Please

It is meant that "it would do." "For some reason." On "the most dangerous tram-service in England."

. . .

Design for Living (1933)

"... duly frothy but hardly progressive (never more apparent than when the film concludes, quite unlike Coward's stage version, with a return to the unworkable platonic arrangement)"

I don't mean to pick on Calum Marsh in particular, but my god! I'm tired of people disparaging Lubitsch's Design for Living as a cop-out compared to Noel Coward's, dismal speechifying about as thrillingly transgressive as Demme's Philadelphia.

Maybe present-day pre-Code marketing has left critics less attentive to the "surreptitious suggestions" of pre-1934 Hollywood. Well before Joseph Breen imposed his own signature mix of hypocrisy, racism, and Catholic propaganda, there were production codes, there were bans in key markets, and then as now professionals exerted whatever self-censorship and artful ambiguity might be required to recoup studio costs. Given the homophobic panic which greeted a drunken hug in a mainstream comedy of 2007, what would viewers expect to see from 1933?

Well, more of the same, quite reasonably. Comedies about unresolvable romantic dilemmas (e.g., sticking with Coward, Private Lives) almost always do close on a this-is-where-we-came-in gag. People expect one here and so they see one here, cued by the repetition of a single line: "It's a gentleman's agreement."

But don't they notice the changes that accompany that reptition? The change in Gilda's kisses? (First, two chaste foreheads; last, two mouths luscious enough to call for a reflective lipsmack.) And in the witnessing of those kisses? (First, jealous apprehension; last, mellow ease.) In the three-way handshake that binds the deal? (First, the male hands gingerly sandwiching the female; last, a hearty clasp with a lady on top). Don't they remember the line that's not repeated? ("No sex.") Haven't Lubitsch and Hecht indicated as clearly as any could in their circumstances that the boys learned much in China and that this is a gentleman's agreement with a difference?


Joseph Jon Lanthier writes, quite wonderfully:

With respect to your quaternary take on DESIGN FOR LIVING:

Not having been the one on whom you picked (at least not "in particular") I'm perhaps better suited to respond with the "yes, but...!" approbation such a thoughtful rejoinder to our inaugural MUBI column deserves. And, certainly, your revisionist perspective of pre-Code's infamously explicit naughtiness as instead differently-coded (i.e. differently restricted) naughtiness is usefully sobering. (An aside: In its current usage, where it helps to sell DVDs by the hot and bothered half-dozen, the term "pre-Code" is oddly indicative of both absence and presence--the latter facilitated by the former. As though the Breen Office were preceded by a lively, lissome ellipse with room enough for all the exposed thighs and extramarital affairs the early 30s had to offer.)

I'm really only surprised that you haven't taken colloquial context into account. See, when the kids today hear the phrase "make love"--and the phrase is applied as liberally as lotion in the film--they think... well, they think of what they think when they think pre-Code. But the OED has thoughts of its own; as I'm sure you're aware, to "make love" was mere courtship until the 1950s doused it with sin. Point being: Your astute close reading of Hecht & Lubitsch's valedictory exchange aside, the language of naughtiness spoken by the film reads like such a distant and distorted cousin of our own that discerning what's been censored (or what's been purposefully left to the imagination) isn't always evident. DESIGN FOR LIVING's peculiar alloy of frankness and innuendo might as well be its own dialect. And researching such stuff *should* be obligatory (to be fair to own young myself, I did attempt to negotiate this linguistic history when writing the film up for Slant a few years back). But I'm mostly responding to your cries of "don't they notice?"; in at least my case, what I primarily noticed at first was how knottily codified pre-Code cinema can be compared to, er, plain ol' Code cinema. Which was more or less your original point.

By the way, I was led to your site through the comment you left at MUBI a few hours ago; I'd leave, but my screen's been pelted with tabs from all those irresistible little hyperlinks. I tethered myself to your SON OF PALEFACE post in the href storm, only to discover that it was more of a steeple than a post. Regarding this, though... [continued in the belfry]

I thank Lanthier and highly recommend his Slant essay.

. . .



Mrs. Paradise,1 leaning over the Kirwans 2 & Charlotte, who hardly got a seat all Night for the crowd, said she begged to speak to me. I squeezed my great Person out, & she then said ‘Miss Burney, Lady Say & Seal3 desires the Honour of being introduced to you.’

Her Ladyship stood by her side. She seems pretty near 50, at least turned 40,— her Head was full of Feathers, Flowers, Jewels, & gew gaws, & as high as Lady Archers,4 her Dress was trimmed with Beads, silver, persian, sashes, & all sort of fine fancies; her Face is thin & fiery, & her whole manner spoke a lady all alive.

‘Miss Burney, cried she, with great quickness & a look all curiosity, I am very happy to see you,— I have longed to see you a great while,— I have read your Performance, & I am quite delighted with it! I think it’s the most elegant Novel I ever read in my life. Such a style!— I am quite surprised at it: I can’t think where you got so much invention.’

You may believe this was a reception not to make me very loquacious!— good Heaven! I did not know which way to turn my Head.

‘I must introduce you, continued her Ladyship, to my sister,— she’ll be quite delighted to see you,— she has written a Novel herself!— so you are sister Authoresses! A most elegant thing it is, I assure you,— almost as pretty as yours,— only not quite so elegant. She has written two Novels,— only one is not so pretty as the other. But I shall insist upon your seeing them. One is in Letters, like yours, only yours is prettiest. It’s called the Mausoleum of Julia!’5

What unfeeling things, thought I, are my sisters! I’m sure I never heard them go about thus praising me!

Mrs. Paradise then again came forward, & taking my Hand, led me up to her Ladyship’s sister, Lady Hawke, saying aloud, & with a courteous smirk ‘Miss Burney, Ma’am, Authoress of Evelina.’

‘Yes, cried my friend Lady Say & Seal, who followed me close, it’s the Authoress of Evelina! So you are sister Authoresses!’

Lady Hawke arose & Curtsied. She is much younger than her sister, & rather pretty; extremely languishing, delicate, & pathetic; apparently accustomed to be reckoned the Genius of her Family, & well contented to be looked upon as a Creature dropt from the Clouds!

I was then seated between their Ladyships, & Lady S. & S., drawing as near to me as possible, said,— ‘Well,— & so you wrote this pretty Book!— & pray did your Papa know of it?’

‘No, Ma’am, not till some months after the Publication.’

‘So I’ve heard!— it’s surprising!— I can’t think how you invented it! there’s a vast deal of invention in it! And you’ve got so much humour, too!— now my sister has no humour,— her’s is all sentiment,— you can’t think how I was entertained with that old Grandmother & her son!—

I suppose she meant Tom Branghton for the son.

‘Lord, how much pleasure you must have had in writing it!— had not you?’

‘Y e s, Ma’am.’

‘So has my sister,— she’s never without a Pen in her Hand,— she can’t help writing for her Life,— when Lord Hawke is Travelling about with her, she keeps writing all the way!’

‘Yes, said Lady Hawke, I really can’t help writing. One has great pleasure in writing the things,— has not one, Miss Burney?’

‘Y e s, Ma’am.’

‘But your Novel, cried Lady Say & Seal, is in such a style!— so elegant!— I am vastly glad you made it end happily. I hate a Novel that don’t end happy.’

‘Yes, said Lady Hawke, with a languid smile, I was vastly glad when she married Lord Orville! I was sadly afraid it would not have been.’

‘My sister intends, said Lady Say & Seal, to print her Mauseoleum, just for her own friends & acquaintances.’

‘Yes, said Lady Hawke, I have never printed yet.’

‘I saw Lady Hawke’s name, quoth I to my first friend, ascribed to the play of “Variety”.’6

‘Did you indeed! cried Lady Say, in an extacy,— sister!— do you know Miss Burney saw your name in the news papers about the Play!—

‘Did she? said Lady Hawke, smiling complacently, But I really did not write it: I never writ a Play in my life.’

‘Well, cried Lady Say, but do pray repeat that sweet part that I am so fond of,— you know what I mean,— Miss Burney must hear it,— out of your Novel, you know!’

Ly H. ‘No, I can’t,— I have forgot it.’

Ly S. ‘O no,— I am sure you have not,— I insist upon it.’

Ly H. ‘But I know you can repeat it yourself,— you have so fine a memory,— I am sure you can repeat it.’

Ly S. ‘O but I should not do it Justice!— that’s all, I should not do it Justice!’

Lady Hawke then bent forward, & repeated ‘If when he made the declaration of his Love, the sensibility that beamed in his Eyes was felt in his Heart, what pleasing sensations, & soft alarms might not that tender avowal awaken!’

‘And from what, Ma’am, cried I, astonished, & imagining I had mistaken them, is this taken?’

‘From my sister’s Novel! answered the delighted Lady Say & Seal, expecting my raptures to be equal, it’s in the Mausoleum!— did not you know that!— Well, I can’t think how you can write these sweet Novels!— And it’s all just like that part!— Lord Hawke himself says it’s all Poetry!— For my part, I’m sure I never could write so. I suppose, Miss Burney, you are producing another? A’n’t you?’

‘No, Ma’am.’

‘O, I dare say you are! I dare say you are writing one at this very minute!’7

Mrs. Paradise now came up to me again, followed by a square man, middle aged, & hum drum, who, I found, was Lord Say & Seal,8 afterwards from the Kirwans, for though they introduced him to me, I was so confounded by their vehemence & their manners, that I did not hear his Name.

‘Miss Burney, said Mrs. P. , Authoress of Evelina!’

‘Yes, cried Lady Say & Seal, starting up, ’tis the Authoress of Evelina!’

‘Of what?’ cried he.

‘Of Evelina!— You’d never think it!— she looks so young!— to have so much invention, & such an I elegant style! Well, I could write a Play, I think, but I’m sure I could never write a Novel.’

‘O yes, You could if you would try; said Lady Hawke, ‘I assure you.’ ‘O no, I could not! answered she, I could not get a style! that’s the thing, I could not tell how to get a style! & a Novel’s nothing without a style, you know!’

‘Why no, said Lady Hawke, that’s true But then you write such charming Letters, you know!’

‘Letters? repeated Lady S. & S. simpering,— do you think so? do you know I wrote a long Letter to Mrs. Ray just before I came here!— this very afternoon!— quite a long Letter!— I did, I assure you!’

Here Mrs. Paradise came forward with another Gentleman, younger, slimmer, & smarter, & saying to me ‘Sir Gregory Page Turner,’9 said to him, ‘Miss Burney,— Authoress of Evelina.’ At which Lady Say & Seal, in fresh transport, again arose, & rapturously again repeated ‘Yes,— she’s Authoress of Evelina! Have you read it?’

‘No,— is it to be had?’

‘O dear yes!— it‘s been printed these 2 years!— You’d never think it!— But it’s the most elegant Novel I ever read in my life! writ in such a style!

‘Certainly, said he, very civilly, I have every inducement to get it. Pray where is it to be had? every where, I suppose?’

‘O no where, I hope!’ cried I, wishing at that moment it had been never in human ken.

My square friend, Lord Say & Seal, then putting his Head forward, said very solemnly, ‘I’ll purchase it.’

Lady Say & Seal then mentioned to me an hundred Novels that I had never heard of, asking my opinion of them, & whether I knew the Authors: Lady Hawke only occasionally & languidly joining in the discourse. And then, Lady S. & S., suddenly arising, begged me not to move, for she should be back again in a minute, & flew to the next Room.

I took, however, the first opportunity of Lady Hawke’s casting down her Eyes, & reclining her delicate Head, to make away from this terrible set,— & just as I was got by the Piano Forte, where I hoped Pacchierotti would soon present himself, Mrs. Paradise again came to me, & said, ‘Miss Burney, Lady Say & Seal wishes vastly to cultivate your acquaintance, & begs to know if she may have the Honour of your Company to an Assembly at her House next Friday? And I will do myself the pleasure to call for you, if you will give me leave.’

‘Her Ladyship does me much honour, but I am unfortunately engaged.’ was my answer, with as much promptness, as if it had been true!10 FB.

- Frances Burney to her sister, Susanna Burney Phillips,
February or March, 1782,
from The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney: Vol. 5 1782-1783,
ed. Lars E. Troide & Stewart J. Cooke

1   “She was a hot-tempered woman, who was capable of pouring boiling water over Joseph Baretti at her tea-table. [...] To one of her servants Mrs. Paradise said, when presiding at a dinner-party, ‘If you bring me a dirty plate again I will break your head with it.’ The circumstances under which she over-weighted Richard Paul Jodrell's phaeton must be left to discreet conjecture.” - Nollekens and His Times by John Thomas Smith

“She had a habit of entertaining callers in a carriage rolled to and fro on the back porch by a servant and gained a reputation for eccentricity. Eventually she was committed to the Public Hospital, a mental institution. The house remained in the family. In 1926, a few days after Rockefeller secretly commissioned Dr. Goodwin to draft plans for restorations in Williamsburg, the Ludwell-Paradise House came on the market for $8,000. Rockefeller, who insisted his name not yet be connected with the restoration, had twice visited the city, explored it, and seen the home. On the first trip, Goodwin had taken a shine to Rockefeller's small son, David. In a pair of letters written December 4, Goodwin informed Rockefeller of the opportunity. Rockefeller wired a reply from New York that arrived at 11:28 a.m. December 7. It said: Authorize purchase of antique referred to in your long letter of December four at eight on basis outlined in shorter letter of same date. David's Father.” - “Ludwell-Paradise House” by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

2   “His application and devotion to his investigations in the early hours of morning were condemned by his mother-in-law, who actually told him, that she had never intended his daughter to be the wife of a monk; and, unlike our first parent, Eve, she recommended abstinence from the tree of knowledge. In reply, Mr. Kirwan, a little ruffled, made some unlucky allusions to the champagne he had drank on the evening he proposed for the lady; but this little altercation did not in the least interrupt the harmony which subsisted between him and his wife.” - “Appendix No. VIII: Biographical Account of the Late Richard Kirwan, Esq.” by Michael Donovan, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 4, (1847 - 1850)

“First on the list I must place Mr. Kirwan, the well-known geologist and natural philosopher, who passed a good deal of time at Lyons, and ultimately purchased a residence in the neighbourhood. He was a man of extreme simplicity of character, but had attained so eminent a scientific reputation, that, even during the hottest period of the war, his letters were suffered to pass free from all parts of Europe. He was very social and entertaining; but in consequence of a convulsive affection of his throat, which rendered it disagreeable to him to eat in presence of others, it was his habit to dine alone, and not to join our party until dinner was over.” - Personal Recollections of the Life and Times, with Extracts from the Correspondence, of Valentine Lord Cloncurry

“The pleasures from the touch are so few that they scarce need being mentioned; even that of warmth pleases only by the contrast with its antagonist, cold; that of smoothness is inconsiderable, though its opposite, roughness, causes much uneasiness.” - “Of Happiness" by Richard Kirwan, The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 11, (1810)

3   “We all seem in a good humour disposed to be pleased, endeavour to be agreeable and I hope succeed. Poor Lady Saye & Sele to be sure is rather tormenting, tho’ sometimes amusing, and affords Jane many a good laugh but she fatigues me sadly on the whole.” - Cassandra Leigh Austen, August 13, 1806

4   “Lady Sarah is, as always, shown driving a very high gig, poised on high springs, with four horses; she was famous for driving matching greys. She wears a feathered hat and a coat of masculine cut — hall-marks which were always picked on by cartoonists who hated her ‘unfeminine’ appearance. On the side of the gig is an ‘A’ surmounted by a baron’s coronet. ‘A’ also appears on the harness of the horses.” - “Lady Sarah Archer, facing the Press” by Mike Rendell

5   From The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Volume 80 (1789):

Julia de Gramont. By the RightHonourable Lady H****. 12mo. 2 Vols. 7s. sewed.   White.   1788.

The world of letters is a kind of Elysium, the various members of which are ever ruminating or dreaming of scenes of unutterable bliss. Without inquiring whether those dreams are likely to be realized we will only observe that in the former estate as in the latter there is no distinction of persons. We therefore hope that Lady Hawke † does in no sort think to stand upon her gentility, as Master Stephen expresses it: or even upon her nobility if that has a more pleasing sound, when she appears before the public in the character of an author. The “eternal blazon” of Right Honourable, as many may be inclined to think it, dazzles us not in the least: we mean in the common acceptation of the words.— Virtue alone is true nobility, says the Poet; and we will venture to give it as our opinion, from a perusal of the present volumes, that the writer of them is perfectly sensible that the adage (for so it may be termed) is just and true.

This novel reflects particular honour on its author. It is moral, pathetic, and interesting. The fable is made up of a pleasing diversity of incidents; and is so artfully constructed, that attention is kept alive all the close of the work. The narrative is generally animated; but the style is in some places rather too flowery and poetic. The noble writer appears to have derived her manner from an intimate acquaintance with the novelists of France. But what is pleasing in them, and such indeed as the genius of their language demands, is considered as affected and fantastical with us. The characteristics of the English tongue, it should be remembered, are nervousness and simplicity.

† For this according to report is the name of the fair writer

From The Analytical Review, Or History of Literature, Domestic and Foreign, on an Enlarged Plan, Volume 1 (1788)

JULIA DE GRAMONT. By the Right Honourable Lady H****. 2 vol. fool's cap. 8vo. 600 p. pr. 6s. sewed. White.

It is almost sufficient to say of this insipid production, that its preposterous incidents and absurd sentiments, can only be equalled by the affected and unintelligible phrases the author has laboriously culled. The style adopted by an able pen, was never before so miserably caricatured; abstract qualities are continually introduced instead of persons, and flowing periods in the place of sense.

We cannot attempt to soar to the exalted altitude of inborn sensibility, or the imaginary heights of artificial virtue: indeed, if we had only cursorily glanced over these pages, we should have supposed we were perusing a translation of one of the sublime French romances.

We shall subjoin some quotations, many sentences we only present, as a mere collection of words, for the meaning they were designed to convey, we could not comprehend.

‘Dissimulation and coquetry were strangers to that innocent bosom, animated only by the delicate sensibility of conscious innocence.’

‘The invitation was too flattering to Augustus, to meet with a rejection: his impassioned looks sought the averted eyes of Julia.’

‘Hope, that insinuating delusive phantom, the heart’s gay flatterer in our spring of life, banished awhile each painful apprehension; and her gentle bosom became the serene repository of smiling pleasure.’

‘Suddenly recollecting herself, she wiped away the traces of her woe.’

‘With all the dazzling lustre of that enchanting beauty which now shines in you!’

‘Her charms, it is true, were unimpaired; but the roseate bloom of happiness had forsaken her cheek: yet the delicate languor, the look of plaintive sweetness, that remained, only rendered her more interestingly lovely.’

‘Never, never let the cruel officiousness of friendship urge me to disclose a name sacred to silence.’

‘Oh! may that heaven with enlightening beams recall him from the paths of error!’

‘Arrayed with satisfaction the exterior expression of her countenance.’ ‘Inborn dignity.’ ‘Inborn delicacy.’

‘Your son, happy that your approbation sanctifies his choice, has breathed to Mademoiselle Neuville accepted vows.’

‘Her head reclined to rest the cheek of her expiring lord; and animated alone by the pearly dew of sensibility.’

‘And what imagination seemed alone to paint, by musing fancy’s recollective power, my raptured eyes now realize before me.’

‘Scarcely have twenty-four revolving moons passed by, since this widowed hand was plighted to a husband — for whom I forfeited a daughter’s name.’

‘Ah, no!— my fatal presence would dim with tears your hymeneal torch!— Should I dare to approach the altar of propitious love, parental approbation would shun the advance of filial disobedience, and think its holy rites profaned by such a witness.’

‘Dear deceiver.’ ‘Exchanged for the soft cradle of reposing infancy was the cold bed of death.’

‘He spoke — he sighed — he died!’ ‘The milk of sweetness hung upon her tongue.’

‘The exemplary conduct of the Marchioness, even to the last instance, remembered the dictates of filial duty.’

W. [Mary Wollstonecraft]

6   From The Public Advertiser, February 5, 1782:

On Saturday a Packet was received at the Secretary of State’s Office from his Majesty's Minister at Hamburgh, containing Information that Advices had been received of the Loss of two Dutch Men of War, which broke from their Moorings in the Texel, and were beat to-pieces on the Shallows.

The new Comedy at Drury-lane, is certainly not the Production of Mr. Sheridan’s Sister, to whom it has been given; but who the Author is, has not transpired. The Names of Lady Hawke, Mrs. Greville, and Miss Burney, have all been held out to the Public, and ’tis now declared to belong to neither. The Comedy at Covent Garden seems involved in still greater Obscurity; Mrs. Brooke, Mrs. Cowley, Doctor Franklin, and an Officer of the Name of Gerrard, have each been the reputed Parent — but from the Spirit and Turn of the Play, it most probably belongs to the last, as it is said to abound with those Kind of Feelings that would naturally break from the Mind of a young Soldier, full of the Importance of his Situation, at a Period so critical to his Country.

Mrs. Robinson lies dangerously ill of a violent Fever, at her House in Berkley Square, attended by two Physicians.

7   She was, and Cecilia would be even more mortifyingly successful.

8   From The Morning Herald, July 3, 1788:

Lord SAYE and SELE.

The death of this Nobleman was the consequence of an act, over which it is impossible that the veil of secrecy can be thrown. We would readily suppress the mention of it, were it not that the omission might become an imputation against our sources of information;—and it is possible the fact may be extravagantly stated in other Prints.

For some days previous to his Lordship’s death, an uncommon degree of inquietude seemed to incumber his spirits;—he frequently burst into tears, but assigned no satisfactory motive for his uneasiness. On the morning of his dissolution, Tuesday last, he submitted to have his hair dressed, but appeared very impatient during this operation:— Soon after, the servant quitted his presence, he seized a sword, which about four years since was given him by the Duc de Conflans, and stabbing himself violently in three different parts of the body, almost immediately expired.


Collins, whose entré is sufficient to set the audience in a roar, beggared all description in his humorous recital of “Mrs. Piozzi’s Three Warnings of Death;” and his song of the “Prophetical Pig,” has a turn of original wit, not to be equalled.

From The World, July 4, 1788:


There is not the smallest doubt, that the mental disorder of Lord SAY and SELE amounted to LUNACY when the sad deed was done, by which society are bereft of him.

That there is not any hereditary infirmity of this sort in the family, is well known:— the distemper was symptomatic, in this instance, the relick of a fever, not a little violent, and never criticising completely.

On FRIDAY LAST, however, the fever had so apparently mitigated, by the pulse, that his Physicians allowed him to return to some of the customary habits of health:— He was indulged in his desire for a little animal food to take a little wine and to have exercise in his carriage.

He went in his carriage beyond BAYSWATER. And at KENSINGTON GRAVEL PITS, ordering the coach to stop, he got out and walked.

The servant followed at the usual distance; and when his Master, after a few moments musing over the water, which from the storm the day before, had swelled to some height, attempted to hurry himself into the depth, the interference of the servant succeeded, and his Lordship, without further mischief, was led back to the carriage!

From that moment, the attendance became proportionately more strict and constant For not one moment but the last, alas! had he been left alone!

Then it was, that the Servant, having shaved him, was directed to go down, and put a shirt to the fire and in that brief interval, before he returned the fatal calamity happened!

How it was done, is a Narrative of needless Horror The Razor, which had been just used, was left on the table, and there was a Sword, forgotten, in his dressing-draw: They both participated in the purpose So unhappily ACUTE is MADNESS! So DETERMINED is DESPAIR!

On the return of the Servant, the door, which had been bolted and locked, was broken open and they who most deplore the death, saw it befal in the arms of the attendant, Moran.

The FEVER, obviously was the efficient cause of all but yet, perhaps, some of that morbid Sensibility, which might predispose to this effect, may be traced to an other disaster a disaster which, in proportion to the refining quality of a temper, would be more forcibly impressed more willingly retained!

It was at BUNKER’S HILL Lord SAY and SELE, and his two Brothers, the Mr. THOMPSONS, were in the Battle. They were in different parts of the action; and it was the horse of Lord SAY HIMSELF, who, galloping with much ardor on a charge, kicked, with much violence, a human body, fallen in the Field Lord SAY dismounted, and found, what his horse had hurt was the Body of his DEAD BROTHER!

The remaining Mr. THOMPSON, and Mr. LEIGH his Son-in-law, are the Executors. They are both arrived, but neither they, though so fitted by their own griefs, to meet the grief of others, nor can ought else, bring consolation where it is so much more wanted!

If the value of any man is to be estimated by the emotions of his survivors, there never was more DOMESTIC LOSS! For there never could be MORE DOMESTIC LAMENTATION.

LADY SAYE and SELE, and Mrs. LEIGH, are at Lady HAWKE’S.

9   “Sir Gregory Page Turner, who rose to speak to order, was himself called to order from the chair; but continued on his legs for some minutes, exclaiming he meant to be orderly; but insisted on the right of speaking to order. [...] Sir Gregory Page Turner chose, he said, to profess his vote, that it might be known both within and without doors; he had so implicit a confidence in the Minister, that he would give his vote for the present measure, though he conceived it would have been more advantageous had marines been employed. He concluded by saying, that he confided so thoroughly in the Right Hon. Gentleman, which confidence he openly averred, that as he always had supported him, so he would continue to, in any measure he brought forward, as long as he had a seat in that House.” - The Public Advertiser, December 11, 1787

“When the gallery was again opened, we found Sir Gregory Page Turner complaining to the House of a morning paper having misrepresented his speech of Monday, and declared, that whenever the Hon. Baronet (Sir John Miller) should move for the expulsion of strangers, he would second him.” - The Public Advertiser, December 12, 1787

“The accuracy and point of Sir Gregory Page Turner’s plan for the Marine service, must have given the Minister a fund of information, though only expressed in the laconic terms of something being done for them.” - The World, December 20, 1787

“Sir George Collier rose, and was called to by the Speaker, but Sir Gregory Page Turner having risen at the same time, persisted in standing up. The Speaker thereupon told the latter, that he had seen Sir George up first, and it was his duty to name the Member to speak, unless over-ruled by the authority of the House. Sir Gregory, upon this, gave way. [...] Sir Gregory Page Turner begged pardon for having disturbed the Speaker at so peculiar a moment (the Speaker when Sir Gregory first rose had left the Chair for a necessary occasion) he had not, he declared, intended to have said a word in the debate, but, for something that had fallen from the Hon. Baronet opposite to him, Sir Richard Hill. He had understood the Baronet to say, that the House had no right to interfere. The House had undoubtedly a right to interfere, but the Question was not, whether they had a right, but whether they would exercise that right? From what he had heard in the debate, and he had paid great attention to all the arguments, he was convinced, the House ought not to exercise their right of interfering. What had fallen from the Right Hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had convinced him that it would be improper for the House to interfere, notwithstanding its constitutional right so to do. Sir Gregory spoke of the independence of his vote on that and every other occasion, and declared he ever would vote as his conscience directed. Sir Richard Hill declared he had not said a word relative to the right of the House to interfere, nor ever meant to question it. Sir Gregory apologized for his mistake.” - The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, April 19, 1788

10   Much later in life, working over her copy of the letter, Madame d'Arblay replaced “as if it had been true” with “as I could command.”

. . . before . . .. . . after . . .