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mouth theatre he rebuilt about four years since ; everything is very neat; his scenes are fine, and his company a very good one. I saw them perform four pieces with a deal of pleasure, notwithstanding I had often seen the same in London. I remarked here as I had long before done at Bath, that the parts were more equally supported than they often are at Drury lane and Covent garden; for although at those places we have many first-rate actors and actresses, yet sometimes parts are given to such wretched performers as would not grace a barn, which I never saw done at Bath or Weymouth.
In our road home, within half a mile of Dorchester, we stopped and spent half an hour in looking round the famous Roman amphitheatre. It is close to the road on the right hand side, and covers about an acre of ground. It is judged that ten thousand people might without interruption have beheld such exercises as were exhibited in this school of the ancients; it is called Mambury, and is supposed to be the completest antiquity of the kind in England.
I also amused myself, as I travelled through Dorsetshire and Wiltshire, in surveying many of the numerous camps, fortifications, and barrows; which lasting monuments of antiquity are to be seen in abundance in these counties, a great number of them remaining in a perfect state.
Nor could I any longer omit the opportunity of seeing that stupendous piece of antiquity on Salisbury Plain, the famous Stonehenge, two miles from Amesbury. We spent near two hours there in astonishment, and had not night come on, we should not have been able to have parted from it so soon. We found a good inn at Amesbury, which proves very convenient to such whom curiosity may detain on this wonderful spot until it is late. It is remark. able, that although so many able antiquaries have devoted their time and attention to the investigation of Stonehenge, it remains still a matter undecided when and for what purpose this amazing pile was formed ; nor is there less cause of admiration, how stones of such magnitude were brought hither! I.shall not presume either to decide on this curious point, or offer any conjectures of my own.
I have now, sir, not only given you the most material circumstances of my life, but have also superadded a short sketch of some of my travels. And should the fine air of Merton preserve the stock of health and spirits which I have acquired in this last excursion, I intend during the summer to spend a few hours in the middle of three or four days in every week in Chiswell street, devoting the mornings and the remainder of the evenings to my rural retreat.
“ Where Cheerfulness, triumphant fair,
And evening hours in peace decline.”
my house at Merton is not far from the church yard, I was a few evenings since walking in this receptacle of mortality, and recollecting the scene between sir Lucius O’Trigger and Acres, said to myself, “ Here is good snug lying in this place.”
So I sat down on one of the graves, and wrote the following lines, which I hope when I am gone to heaven (1 am not in haste) my friends will have engraved on my tomb-stone.
A stranger genius ne'er need be,
A new, and a complete edition. During the winter I purpose spending most of my time in town, where I hope again to enjoy the company of you, sir, and some others of our philosophical friends; and when tired of philosophizing, we will again sing our old verses,
“ What tho' the many wholly bend,
To things beneath our state,
And others meanly great.
Since first our kind began,
The dignity of man."
P. S. I should deem myself deficient in point of justice to the ingenious artist who painted the portrait from whence the engraving affixed as a frontispiece to this volume is taken, if I did not embrace this opportunity of acknowledging the approbation it has been honoured with by all who have seen it, as a striking likeness.
The following circumstance, though to many it may appear in a ludicrous point of view, yet as it is a fact which does not depend solely on my assertion, I shall not heitate to mention it.
Before the portrait was finished, Mrs Lackington, accompanied by another lady, called on the painter to view it. Being introduced into a room filled with portraits, her little dog (the faithful Argus) being with her, immediately ran to that particular portrait, paying it the same attention as he is always accustomed to do the original ; which made it necessary to remove him from it, lest he should damage it; though this was not accomplished without expressions of dissatisfaction on the part of poor Argus.
“ He knew his lord, he knew and strove to meet,
Pope's Odyssey. Those who are conversant in history will not doubt the fact ; several similar instances being recorded of the sagacity and nice discrimination of these animals.
THE LIFE OF JAMES LACKINGTON.