LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
William Hazlitt XV

Vol I Contents
Charles Lamb I
Charles Lamb II
Charles Lamb III
Charles Lamb IV
Charles Lamb V
Charles Lamb VI
Charles Lamb VII
Charles Lamb VIII
Charles Lamb IX
Charles Lamb X
Thomas Campbell I
Thomas Campbell II
Thomas Campbell III
Thomas Campbell IV
Thomas Campbell V
Thomas Campbell VI
Thomas Campbell VII
Lady Blessington I
Lady Blessington II
Lady Blessington III
Lady Blessington IV
Lady Blessington V
R. Plumer Ward I
R. Plumer Ward II
R. Plumer Ward III
R. Plumer Ward IV
R. Plumer Ward V
R. Plumer Ward VI
Appendix vol I
Vol II Contents
R. Plumer Ward VII
R. Plumer Ward VIII
R. Plumer Ward IX
R. Plumer Ward X
R. Plumer Ward XI
R. Plumer Ward XII
R. Plumer Ward XIII
R. Plumer Ward XIV
R. Plumer Ward XV
R. Plumer Ward XVI
R. Plumer Ward XVII
R. Plumer Ward XVIII
R. Plumer Ward XIX
R. Plumer Ward XX
R. Plumer Ward XXI
R. Plumer Ward XXII
R. Plumer Ward XXIII
Horace & James Smith I
Horace & James Smith II
William Hazlitt I
William Hazlitt II
William Hazlitt III
William Hazlitt IV
William Hazlitt V
William Hazlitt VI
William Hazlitt VII
William Hazlitt VIII
Appendix vol II
Vol III Contents
William Hazlitt IX
William Hazlitt X
William Hazlitt XI
William Hazlitt XII
William Hazlitt XIII
William Hazlitt XIV
‣ William Hazlitt XV
William Hazlitt XVI
William Hazlitt XVII
William Hazlitt XVIII
William Hazlitt XIX
William Hazlitt XX
William Hazlitt XXI
William Hazlitt XXII
William Hazlitt XXIII
William Hazlitt XXIV
William Hazlitt XXV
William Hazlitt XXVI
Laman Blanchard I
Laman Blanchard II
Laman Blanchard III
Laman Blanchard IV
Laman Blanchard V
Laman Blanchard VI
Laman Blanchard VII
Laman Blanchard VIII
R & T Sheridan I
R & T Sheridan II
R & T Sheridan III
R & T Sheridan IV
R & T Sheridan V
R & T Sheridan VI
R & T Sheridan VII
R & T Sheridan VIII
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It was during this stay at Fonthill Abbey that I had occasion to remark one among many other instances in Hazlitt, of that peculiarity which he himself so often observed and smiled at in Charles Lamb—unconscious, I believe, that it existed in at least an equal degree in himself, though modified by another feature in his personal character. Whenever he showed special signs of favour towards any one in a menial stage of life, it was sure to be some out-of-the-way being, who was the laughing-stock or the pity of everybody else; and among the people of the late immense establishment of Mr. Beckford who had been retained in the service of the new proprietor of the place (Mr. Farquhar) was a lout of a footboy, who was in special favour with Hazlitt. He had recently been promoted from the plough-tail to the
servants’ hall, and had been appointed to take up Hazlitt’s breakfast to his room in the morning, and to give him any information he might need connected with the object of his visit to the place—which was similar to mine. Now, a personal civility to Hazlitt won his heart at once; and in the case of menial servants he always took care to lay the foundation for this (when he could afford to do so) by a liberal gratuity beforehand. And he had done this in Tom’s case so effectually that the lad took him for nothing less than a lord in disguise, and treated him accordingly; at the same time perceiving, by a sort of menial instinct, that his benefactor was in fact not much more lordly or urbane in his mere “complement extern” than he himself was, and thereupon assuming a most lacquey-like superiority over him, in virtue of the information which he (Tom) possessed and the other party wanted. He used to direct Hazlitt as to the various localities of the neighbourhood; show him about the grounds; and in one or two instances, I remember, ventured to go the forbidden length of naming the name of the late lord
of the Abbey. Among other things, he told Hazlitt that he had once (during an almost life-long servitude on the spot!) actually caught a sight of the visible presence of the said mysterious being, who, in his solitary wanderings about the grounds of the Abbey, having encountered the unlucky apparition of Tom in those sacred precincts where he had no business, instead of ordering his instant dismissal from the service (which was the understood rule in such cases), in his infinite magnanimity merely desired him to “get out of the way.”

The change which had come over the spirit of Tom since the downfall at the Abbey of this more than Eastern mystery and despotism, had worked an amusing alteration in him, the outward effects of which it was that took Hazlitt’s fancy; and he used to take every opportunity that offered of talking with him on subjects connected with the late and present state of the place. While Tom, on his part, thus elevated to a companionship with “gentlefolks,” and seeing those spots which had heretofore scarcely echoed to a human footstep suddenly changed
(nobody could tell why) into a bear-garden and a public thoroughfare, was so completely mystified and moved from his propriety as to have become, for the nonce, a “character” well worth observation and study.

One great practical point in Tom’s favour with Hazlitt, I remember, was, that he used, by hook or by crook, to procure him an inordinate quantity of cream for his breakfast and tea: and, in order to excuse himself from any improper imputation on his honesty in the affair, he used to confess, or rather to boast, with great naïveté, that all “that sort of thing” was now the understood privilege and “parquiset” of the establishment. “Lord bless’ee, zur, we all does it now, since Nabob ‘a been gone away, and nobody be’nt the worse nur the wiser for it. Muster Phillips* is master now, and we does just as we likes.” In fact, what Hazlitt admired in Tom was the simple honesty of his roguery. There was nothing Tom would not have done for him—such as stealing the best fruit from

* The “eminent” auctioneer under whose direction the property was preparing for the public sale, which shortly afterwards took place.

the hot-houses—harnessing the pet white ponies to the pony-phaeton, and driving him round the grounds, &c. &c.—excusing it all with a “Lord bless’ee, zur, there’s no harm in it—nobody won’t know nothin about it!” The only immorality, in Tom’s eyes, was—to be found out.