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the early circumstances of his Lordship’s life. Lord Chedworth had once been the victim of a most cruel and unjust accusation; and he had been advised to bring an action for civil damages against the calumniator, from whom, under Lord Mansfield's direction to the jury, he recovered five hundred pounds. Having thus made his election, and waived by his appeal to a court of law, the course of proceeding which custom prescribes on such occasions, an attempt was made in certain quarters, and not without success, to deprive him of an honourable estimation among English gentlemen. It was, no doubt, in this circumstance that his long cherished habits of solitude and seclusion first originated ; and they secluded him for the residue of his days from the sphere of society to which he naturally belonged. He inhabited for nearly that period a small house in the market-place at Ipswich, and lived upon so restricted a scale of expenditure, that his property rapidly accumulated. In this retirement, his favourite pursuits were seemingly inconsistent ones--the study of law—and of Shakspeare : and thus he was enabled to discharge the duties of a magistrate with the greatest accuracy, while his lighter hours were devoted to an employment fitted for an elegant mind—the illustration of the great poet of nature. Upon the various dramas of Shakspeare, his annotations were remarkable for clear sense and critical discrimination, and many of them have been since adopted into the voluminous edition by Reed.
Probably it was his predilection for dramatic reading that made him an almost constant frequenter of the Ipswich theatre, and a munificent benefactor to the company that played there. I need not advert to the precarious remunerations earned even by the best performers on a provincial stage, or the perpetual conflicts they have generally to carry on with the severest ills of life. But picture to yourself, kind-hearted reader, the mixed emotions of surprise, joy, and gratitude, experienced by three or four actors in that company, when they learned that their noble patron had benevolently remembered each in his will. To a Mr. Seymour, his Lordship left an annuity of £300, together with his manuscripts concerning Shakspeare; to a Mrs. Taylor nearly £5,000 in the three per cents., and many smaller benefactions distributed among several inferior members of the corps. I know not how others would feel, and I care not; but for mine own part, I cannot imagine a luxury of the heart, an enjoyment of the intellect, more perfect, more true and unmixed than that which must have been felt by this excellent, though singular being, as his hands traced the words, that in a few short months (for he died soon after he had written his will, which was all in his own hand-writing, saving the signatures of the witnesses,) were to raise those victims of the world's contempt to a degree of ease, comfort, and independence, which they had never dared even to hope for in the wildest dreams of their fancy.
Dick stood the fire of the Beef-Steaks with exemplary coolness and good-humour. But he was sometimes unmercifully roasted. I remember his dining there after his return from a short trip to Paris, to which city he had gone immediately after the peace, to stare and gape, and make blunders in French with nearly all the rest of his countrymen. Arnold contrived, with great dexterity, to draw him into some Parisian details; for Dick's entire innocence of the French language, and his stubborn indocility to all foreign usages and customs, rendered his descriptions quite original. On this occasion, he was singularly happy in enumerating the dishes at a French table, and in describing those which most pleased him, his memory was sure to betray its usual infelicity. He told us, for instance, that he thought the boulevards that were served up to him at a certain table d'hôte, delicious. We could never satisfactorily trace through the labyrinth of poor Dick's misapprehensions, what was the specific dish which he meant to describe when he stumbled on this absurd misnomer ; but we concluded that it was either a simple bouilli, or a bouilli vert, that he wished to specify. Cobb called out, "Dick, it was well they did not serve you up the Palais Royale for sauce to your boulevards." As for the ris de veau, which Dick thought the perfection of the French cookery, he was eternally extolling it; but he took care to give it a name more familiar to his English ear, though in reality a French one-for he called it a rendezvous. Being asked if he liked the French mode of cooking their partridges, (these questions were insidiously put for the sake of eliciting some amusing blunder) he said, he could not bear them served up in shoes. Here we were all at fault for some minutes, till, at length, an Oedipus solved the enigma; for it was perdrix aux choux that Dick intended by that strange phrase. It was upon this occasion, that a gentleman who had dined with Dick at Very's, assured us that in the course of the dinner they served up a roasted partridge, when Dick asked the waiter, or rather intended to ask him for a pheasant, alledging that he was tired of partridge; but, as usual, Dick mistook the word (faisan), and desired him to bring him a paysanne! In short, there was no end to the slips into which his most ungallican organ betrayed him.