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What foreign eye but with contempt surveys?
What muse shall from oblivion snatch their praise?

These, however, for fear of offending the
Queen, he was prudent enough to cancel;
and thus his vigorous verse was of no use in
removing an absurd custom then prevalent
in England.

The next memorandum in my box refers
to Henry Fielding, and leads us to an
anecdote not unlike that I have just told of Sir
Richard Steele. It is this. At one of
Garrick's many dinners, Fielding was present
and vails to servants being still in fashion,
each of the guests at parting made a present
to the man servant of the great actor, David,
a Welshman, and a wit in his way. When
the company had gone, the lesser David being
in high glee, was asked by his master how
much he had got. " I can't tell you yet, sir,"
was the man's reply. " Here is half-a-crown
from Mrs. Cibber, Got pless hur!—here is a
shilling from Mr. Macklin; here are two from
Mr. Havard; here isand here is some-
thing more from Mr. Fielding, Got pless his
merry heart! " By this time, the expectant
Welshman wearing the great actor's livery
had unfolded the paper, when, to his great
astonishment, he saw that it contained a
vulgar and unmistakeable penny and no
more. Garrick, it is said, was nettled at this,
and spoke next day to Fielding about the
impropriety of jesting with a servant. " Jesting!"
said the author of Tom Jones, with
seeming surprise. "So far from it, that I
meant to do the fellow a real service,—for
had I given him a shilling, or half-a-crown, I
knew you would have taken it from him;
but by giving him only a penny, he had a
chance of calling it his own." Garrick's
alleged parsimony was long the subject of
sarcastic observation among his contemporaries.
That the two Davidsthe master and the
mandivided vails it is impossible to believe.

If Sir Richard Steele was witty in his
escape from this black-mail levied by men in
livery, Sir Timothy Waldo, Baronet, of whom
I know nothing more, was at least manly on
a similar occasion. He had been dining with
the minister Duke of Newcastle,—I suppose
in that large red house in the north-west
corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields still known to
antiquaries as Newcastle House. On leaving,
Sir Timothy was pressed by the domestics of
the Duke, who lined the hall with eager faces
and extended hands. He had made his way
as far as the cook, and apparently had satisfied
the servants of his host, when a crown put
into the hand of the cook was returned with
"Sir, I do not take silver."—" Don't you
indeed! " said the baronet, putting it into his
pocket, " then I do not give gold."

From these exactions poor peers suffered
still more than poor commoners. Here is a
case in point, told of a Roman Catholic peer
and the attainted Duke of Ormond. " I
remember," says Dr. King, " a Lord Poor, a
Roman Catholic peer of Ireland, who lived
upon a small pension which Queen Anne had
granted him. He was a man of honour and
well esteemed, and had formerly been an
officer of some distinction in the service of
France. The Duke of Ormond had often
invited him to dinner, and he had as often excused
himself. At last the Duke kindly expostulated
with him, and would know the reason
why he so constantly refused to be one of his
guests. My Lord Poor then honestly
confessed that he could not afford it. "But,"
says he, "if your Grace will put a guinea
into my hands as often as you are pleased to
invite me to dine, I will not decline the
honour of waiting on you." This was done,
says Dr. King, and my Lord was afterwards
a frequent guest in St. James's Square.

This levy of vails had grown to such a
nuisance early in the reign of King George the
Third, that serious attempts were made to
resist the tax. In this resistance, no one
seems to have behaved better than a gentleman
whose name has unluckily not reached
us. He was paying the servants of a friend
for a dinner which their master had invited
him to. One by one they appeared with
"Sir, your great coat," and a shilling was
given; "Sir, your hat,"—another shilling;
"Sir, your stick,"—a third shilling; " Sir,
your umbrella,"—a fourth shilling; " Sir,
your gloves."—"Why, friend, you may keep
the gloves; they are not worth a shilling!"

A still more active opponent of the
scandalous custom of vails was the benevolent
Jonas Hanway, whose name still lingers
pleasantly round many of our London
charities. He not only wrote against it, but
answered a friend in high station, who
reproached him for not coming oftener to dine
with him, by saying, " Indeed I cannot
afford it."

Hanway moved in good society; and his
letters, and, above all, his example, did much
to remove this indecent tax upon good nature
and good sense. The Duke of Norfolk, Mr.
Spencer, Sir Francis Dashwood, and others,
increased their servants' wages in proportion
to the alleged value of their vails. The famous
farce of High Life Below Stairs caused
servants to be looked upon in a light unfavourable
to the custom, and by degrees the tax
was no longer demanded as a right. The
discontinuance first, it is said, commenced
seriously in Scotland. " I boasted," says
Boswell, "that the Scotch had the honour of
being the first to abolish the inhospitable,
troublesome, and ungracious custom of giving
vails to servants. "Sir," said Johnson, in
reply, " you abolished vails because you were
too poor to be able to give them."

The first attempt made to discontinue so
scandalous a custom, led to a serious disturbance.
The scene was Ranelagh, and the time
the eleventh of August, seventeen hundred
and sixty-four. Such of the nobility and
gentry as would not suffer their servants to
take vails, were hooted and hissed on that