BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison


Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


Romance of London: Strange Stories, Scones and Remarkable Person of the Great Town

by John Timbs

Excerpt:

"Lord Mohun, who was in the coach all this time, now stept out of it, and with his friend Hill, insisted on seeing the lady home, Mr. Page accompanying them, and remaining with Mrs. Bracegirdle some time after for her better security. Disappointed in their object, Lord Mohun and Captain Hill remained in the street; Hill with his sword drawn, and vowing revenge, as he had done before to Mrs. Bracegirdle on her way home. Here they went to the Horseshoe Tavern in Drury Lane, for a bottle of canary, of which they drank in the middle of the street. In the meantime, Mrs. Bracegirdle sent her servant to Mr. Mountfort's house in Norfolk Street adjoining, to know if he was at home. The servant returned with an answer that he was not, and was sent again by her mistress to desire Mrs. Mountfort to send to her husband to take care of himself; "in regard my Lord Mohun and Captain Hill, who (she feared) had no good intention toward him, did wait him in the street." Mountfort was sought for in several places without success, but Mohun and Hill had not waited long before he turned the corner of Norfolk Street with, it is said by one witness (Captain Hill's servant), his sword over his arm. It appears, in the evidence before the coroner, that he had heard while in Norfolk Street, (if not before,) of the attempt to carry off Mrs. Bracegirdle, and was also aware that Lord Mohun and Hill were in the street, for Mrs. Brown, the landlady of the house in which Mrs. Bracegirdle lodged, solicited him to keep away. Every precaution was, however, ineffectual. He addressed Lord Mohun (who em

braced him, it would appear, very tenderly), and said how sorry he was to find that he (Lord Mohun) would justify the rudeness of Captain Hill, or keep company with such a pitiful fellow (" or words to the like effect)," "and then," says Thomas Leak, the Captain's servant, " the Captain came forward and said he would justify himself, and went towards the middle of the street, and Mr. Mountfort followed him and drew." Ann Jones, a servant, (it would appear, in Mrs. Bracegirdle's house,) declared in evidence that Hill came behind Mountfort, and gave him a box over the ear, and bade him draw. It is said they fought; Mountfort certainly fell with a desperate wound on the right side of the belly, near the short rib, of which he died the next day, assuring Mr. Page, while lying on the floor in his own parlour, as Page declares in evidence, that Hill ran him through the body before he could draw his sword. Lord Mohun affirmed they fought, and that he saw a piece of Mountfort's sword lying on the ground. As Mountfort fell, Hill ran off, and the Duchy watch coming up, Lord Mohun surrendered himself, with his sword still in the scabbard.

"The scene of this sad tragedy was that part of Howard Street, which lies between Norfolk Street and Surrey Street. Mountfort's house was two doors from the south-west corner. Mountfort was a handsome man, and Hill is said to have attributed his rejection by Mrs. Bracegirdle to her love for Mountfort, an unlikely passion, it is thought, as Mountfort was a married man, with a good-looking wife of his own—afterwards Mrs. Verbruggen, and a celebrated actress withal. Mountfort, (only thirty-three when he died,) lies buried in the adjoining church of St. Clement's Danes. Mrs. Bracegirdle continued to inhabit her old quarters. 'Above forty years since,' says Davies,' I saw at Mrs. Bracegirdle's house in Howard Street a picture of Mrs. Barry, by Kneller, in the same apartments with the portraits of Betterton and Congreve.' Hill's passionate prompter on the above occasion was the same Lord Mohun who fell in a duel with the Duke of Hamilton."

TWO EXTRAORDINARY SUICIDES AT LONDON BRIDGE.

A Melancholy instance of suicide which took place in 1689, is recorded by historians of London Bridge as bearing testimony to the power of the torrent of the Thames at that period. It is thus narrated in the Travels and Memoirs of Sir John Reresby, Bart.:— "About this time," says the Author, "a very sad accident happened, which, for a while, was the discourse of the whole town: Mr. Temple, son to Sir William Temple, who had married a French lady with 20,000 pistols; a sedate and accomplished young gentleman, who had lately by King William been made Secretary of War, took a pair of oars and drawing near the Bridge, leapt into the Thames, and drowned himself, leaving a note behind him in the boat to this effect: 'My folly in undertaking what I could not perform, whereby some misfortunes have befallen the King's service, is the cause of my putting myself to this sudden end; I wish him success in all his undertakings, and a better servant.'" Pennant, in repeating this anecdote, adds, that it took place on the 14th of April; that the unhappy man loaded his pockets with stones to destroy all chance of safety, and instantly sank; adding that "his father's false and profane reflection on the occasion was,' that a wise man might dispose of himself, and make his life as short as he pleased.' How strongly did this great man militate against the precepts of Christianity, and the solid arguments of a most wise and pious heathen!" (Cicero, in his Somnium Scipionis.)

The second suicide, of date about half a century later than that of Mr. Temple, was committed under a like mistaken influence and perverted reasoning. Eustace Budgell, who contributed to the Spectator the papers marked "X," through Addison's influence, obtained some subordinate offices under Government in Ireland. A misunderstanding with the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Bolton, and some lampoons which Budgell was indiscreet enough to write in consequence, occasioned his resignation. From that time he appears to have trodden a downward course: he lost 20,000/. in the South Sea Bubble, and spent 5,000/. more in unsuccessful attempts to get into Parliament. In order to save himself from ruin, he joined the knot of pamphleteers who scribbled against Sir Robert Walpole; and he was presented with 1,000/. by the Duchess of Marlborough. Much of the Craftsman was written by him, as well as a weekly pamphlet called The Bee, which commenced in 1733, and extended to 100 numbers. But his necessities reduced him to dishonest methods for procuring support, and he obtained a place in the Dunciad, not on account of want of wit, but want of principle, by appearing as a legatee in Tindal's will for 2,000/., to the exclusion of his next heir and nephew; a bequest which Budgell is thought to have obtained VOL. II. c

surreptitiously; and the will was set aside. With this stain on his character, Budgell fought on for some time, but he became still deeper involved in lawsuits, his debts accumulated, and at last he dreaded an execution in his house. This prompted the alternative of suicide. In 1736, he took a boat at Somerset Stairs, and ordering the waterman to row down the river, he threw himself into the stream as they shot London Bridge. Having like Mr. Temple, taken the precaution of filling his pockets with stones, like him, Budgell rose no more. It is singular that Pennant should have overlooked this latter suicide; for, in his London he remarks, "of the multitudes who have perished in this rapid descent, (the torrent at the Bridge,) the name of no one, of any note, has reached my knowledge, except that of Mr. Temple, only son of the great Sir William Temple."


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