It Was In Russell Street, Covent
Garden, And Addison Brought The Wits To It By Using It Himself.
Gonzales" describes very clearly in the latter part of
this account of London, the manner of using taverns and coffee-
Houses by the Londoners of his days, and other ways of life with
high and low. It is noticeable, however, that his glance does not
include the ways of men of letters. His four orders of society are,
the noblemen and gentlemen, whose wives breakfast at twelve; the
merchants and richer tradesmen; after whom he places the lawyers and
doctors; whose professional class is followed by that of the small
tradesmen, costermongers, and other people of the lower orders.
This, and the clearness of detail upon London commerce, may
strengthen the general impression that the description comes rather
from a shrewd, clear-headed, and successful merchant than from a man
The London described is that of Addison who died in 1719, of Steele
who died in 1729, of Pope who died in 1744. It is the London into
which Samuel Johnson came in 1738, at the age of twenty-nine - seven
years before the manuscript of "Manoel de Gonzales" appeared in
print. "How different a place," said Johnson, "London is to
different people; but the intellectual man is struck with it as
comprehending the whole of human life in all its variety, the
contemplation of which is inexhaustible." Its hard features were
shown in the poem entitled London - an imitation of the third satire
of Juvenal - with which Johnson began his career in the great city,
pressed by poverty, but not to be subdued:-
"By numbers here from shame or censure free,
All crimes are safe but hated poverty.
This, only this, the rigid law pursues,
This, only this, provokes the snarling Muse.
The sober trader, at a tattered cloak,
Wakes from his dream and labours for a joke;
With brisker air the silken courtiers gaze,
And turn the varied taunt a thousand ways.
Of all the griefs that harass the distressed,
Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest;
Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart
Than when a blockhead's insult points the dart."
When Don Manoel's account of London was written the fashionable
world was only beginning to migrate from Covent Garden - once a
garden belonging to the Convent of Westminster, and the first London
square inhabited by persons of rank and fashion - to Grosvenor
Square, of which Don Manoel describes the new glories.
Enter page number
Page 3 of 145
Words from 552 to 970