Imatges de pÓgina


'town, and gave employment to 'gentlemen of elegant leisure. What added to the celebrity of the establishment was, that during the winter season, the City Assemblies were held here twice a week, at two guineas the season. If any thing else influenced the gay gallants of the time to make it a place of resort, it was the circumstance, that Mrs Patty Snodgrass was a genuine admirer of royalty and red coats, and, withal, one of the handsomest women of the day. This we suspect, added not a little to the celebrity of the house, in spite of its excellent accommodations; but we are also inclined to believe, that this same pre-disposition of his handsome spouse brought many a moment of sorrow to mine host of the King's Arms. Like many other husbands, who are not rich in their own personal endowments, he felt the disparity between himself and his wife, and though he loved her with an honest attachment, there was no shutting his eyes against her love of admiration. This gave the finishing stroke to his peculiarities. At his own bar, he tippled many a 'health to her he loved dear,' and straightway forgot, in his glass, what manner of man he was not that we wish to insinuate, by any means, that Tommy was ever so much out of the way as to forget what he owed to his customers, or what his customers owed him. He became attached to the bottle without ever having dreamed of the consequences, until, by a general though unpremeditated agreement among his customers, the nickname of Tommy Tippleglass was unanimously decreed him.

In those times, a publican was not so important a man as he is now ; for the manners and early prejudices of the English, conspired to place an Innkeeper on a level with their grooms. He might have toiled until doomsday, without becoming a Trustee of any Institution, or Director of any Bank. He would have been shoved out of his own doors, had he ventured to murmur against the gentlemanly arrogance of his military guests; and what Tommy Snodgrass would have disliked much worse, he would have lost the cash and custom of the officers, and the handling of their “siller.' The liberal spirit of the present age had not yet been felt; the qualities of mind alone, had not yet been able in a provincial country, to bring their possessor into public notice, especially when the patronage of the great was reserved for necessitous friends; and those who came out in official capacities were careful not to increase the number of native applicants, by showing them any ill-timed or impolitic liberality. This



effected the prosperity of greater men than Tommy Tippleglass, and he continued to sweat and groan under a weary life,' without ever dreaming of any other honors than those which his bar, and his own practice thereat, could ensure among the punch drinkers of the town.

There was one thing, however, in which Tippleglass was determined to have his own way, and he would rather have suffered martyrdom than have allowed himself to be second to any on earth in the mixture of a certain beverage, then more fashionable, than even the Prince Regent's punch of modern times. We mean the well known Duke of Norfolk punch, which Tippleglass with great felicity, mixed and diluted, to the satisfaction of the nicest palate. A half pint of my preparation, said Tippleglass and three half pints of water, make a good bowl of punch, of Norfolk punch, that is, the Duke of Norfolk's punch; a half pint and three half pints, mind ye, as I make it, and here he generally swallowed a small glass of it himself, to ascertain whether he had made the compound too strong or too weak, too sweet or

Your royal usquebaugh and your cinnamon-water, said he, as he got his breath after the swallow, are fools to this Norfolk punch of mine.

too sour.

While he seemed engrossed with his bar and his wife, and his Norfolk punch, he had the prudence to keep silence as to his political views. From having been much in the northern part of the province, where a spirit of liberty was spreading fast and wide, he was convinced that the states would eventually be emancipated; and in spite of the throng of red coats who drank defeat to the rebels, and in spite of his wife, whose head was turned by their flatteries, he continued to cherish the secret hope, that he would be able to save his property, when the crisis actually arrived. He was, therefore, anxious to do any secret service for the continentals, which could not possibly be discovered, and continued to be as devoted as ever to his loyal guests.

He was now preparing a grand dinner, which the officers of the garrison were to give the American General Lee, who was at last exchanged for General Prescott.

At the period of time to which this part of our narrative relates, a considerable change had taken place in the calculations of the British Commanders, with regard to the speedy subjugation of America. At the onset, they had supposed 6 an inconsiderable rebellion' was scarcely worth the name of a war, and that Sir Henry Clinton, was like Cæsar, to come, see, and conquer, with equal bravery and good fortune. But the space of a few months changed the prospects that had been held out to them in the mother country. With every thing to discourage, and every thing to distress the Americans, they still continued to discover a spirit of resistance, and a love of liberty, which checked the hopes, and embarrassed the operations of the invaders.

Those of the natives who had at first faltered in their career,

and who feared the means of the country were inadequate to its defence, had, by this time, most generally declared themselves, and in the language of the celebrated Declaration of Independence, had pledged, in support of so righteous a cause, 6 their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.' But the particular feeling to which we allude, displayed itself in the exchange of prisoners. At the commencement of the war, the scaffold, it was openly said, was all that a rebel prisoner had a right to expect, and hanging was declared to be too good for such as abjured their king and country. Some of the Continentals were actually thrown into confinement, preparatory to taking their trial for their lives; and indeed such was the spirit of the times, that the

« AnteriorContinua »