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drawing-room door flew open for a gentleman, who, in the course of the morning's debate on the hustings, had received a kick from a person who differed from him in politics; and a few minutes after, the very person was announced, by whom the assault had been made. This was a concordia discors of the most interesting kind, and was much more amusing to every body else than it was to the parties themselves, who found themselves, as may be easily imagined, in no very agreeable position to each other. Nay, so totally unmindful is Dick of all social incompatibilities, that a lady, who, in consequence of certain matrimonial infelicities, had been separated from her husband, was seated one day at his table next to a chair apparently kept vacant for a guest, who had not yet made his appearance; when, in the middle of dinner, the husband himself glided into the apartment, apologised for being late, and took the unoccupied seat by the side of his wife, to which Dick, in utter unconsciousness of the relative character of either, had motioned him. I have once or twice met Sir Francis Burdett at one of Dick's hospitable parties in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The first time I had that good fortune, was about the period of Cobbett’s ungrateful and dishonest conduct towards that high-minded man, when every circle rang with indignation, and no one pronounced the very name of Cobbett without disgust. I remarked, on this occasion, a chair kept for some person who was expected, and asked Arnold, who sate near me, if he knew for whom it was reserved. “ Can you have any doubt ?" said Arnold : why, for Cobbett to be sure." All this jumble arises from a sort of chaotic confusion in Dick's memory, when he sends out his invitations, and from his picking up one half of his party, as he accidentally meets them in the street. Some of these contretemps have been so strange, and have given birth to such ludicrous scenes, as sometimes to throw upon Dick the suspicion of having got them up as regular jokes; but Dick may be honestly acquitted of all premeditated facetiousness.
The almost unintermitted tide of good fortune, on which Dick has rode so prosperously through a pretty long life, has been already hinted. The bulk of his wealth, which is considerable, was derived from the late very eccentric Lord Ched. worth, who became acquainted with him by mere accident, made him his steward, and solicitor, and at his decease the residuary legatee of all his personal property, having devised to a Mr. Pennie, of Great Yarmouth, the whole of his landed property. In consideration of the transfer of the residuary property, Pennie agreed to transfer the estates to Wilson; an exchange in which Dick's good genius appeared to desert him, for as it turned out, the residue was considerably more 'valuable than the land. Of this accidental acquaintance, which laid the foundation of Dick's opulence, the origin was one of those whimsical fatalities with which Fortune, in her sportive mood, occasionally amuses herself. Dick chanced to be one of a party that went down by water to Richmond; they carried with them their own provision, for the purpose of dining in the open air, and fixed upon a delightful spot beneath the canopy of a fine beech-tree in Mr. Cambridge's meadow for the place of their repast. It seemed to have been planned by Nature for such a purpose; but, to their great mortification, they observed a public notice affixed in legible characters to a tree near the water-side, prohibiting persons from dining in any part of the grounds : but the prohibition was thus expressed, “ ALL PERSONS
LANDING AND DINING HERE WILL BE PROSECUTED
ACCORDING TO LAW.” This was too plain a hint to be misunderstood, and the party were about to turn their boat in search of some other nook, where they could spread their cloth without com. mitting a trespass; when Dick assured them, that if they proceeded a few yards lower down, and then landed, their case would not come within the letter of the notice. All penal laws, reasoned Dick, are to be construed strictly. A notice prohibiting persons froin sitting down to enjoy their dinner, is in the nature of a penal law, and to be construed strictly. We are forbidden to land and dine there ; but if we land elsewhere, we may dine there; for the word and has a copulative, not a disjunctive sense. This ingenious construction was instantly adopted ; and Dick's astute commentary strongly recommended him to Lord Chedworth, as a person likely to be of great service to him in the management of his property, which turned out to be a very productive employment during the peer's life, and terminated, as we have seen, in the magnificent bequest, which remunerated Dick's zeal and activity at the close of it.
The dispositions of this will were so extraordinary, as to suggest to his Lordship's next of kin an application to the Court of Chancery to set it aside ; and an issue to try the sanity of the testator was moved for.
But the motion was negatived, after hearing a long series of affidavits sworn by persons of the highest respectability in the kingdom ; all of whom bore the strongest attestation, not only to the general soundness of Lord Chedworth’s intellect, but to the peculiar vigour and perspicuity of his reasoning powers, and to the great extent and variety of his attainments, particularly in criticism, and historical information of every kind. It is not to be denied, however, that many of the legacies were almost whimsically bequeathed.
Pennie was totally unconnected with him, but as his apothecary; and the other dispositions savoured of an eccentric humour, contracted most probably from