Peg Plunkett's Memoirs - CHAP. XXVI.

Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson

CHAP. XXVI.

SHORTLY AFTER the departure of this excellent lady, I had the honour of a visit from the Earl of W覧, then Lord L葉 of I覧, whose amiable Countess, as I said before, died of a broken heart in consequence of his connection with that celebrated demirep the honourable (heaven how that word is prostituted!) Mrs. 覧. On his Excellency's entrance I arose and received him with much respect, blended with hauteur and contempt, but on his attempting to be too familiar, I told him he must positively excuse me, as in all my life I never admitted any freedoms from culinary heroes, one of which description, he certainly could not deny himself to be, or he never would have contracted with the brother of that celebrated cock bawd, Doctor Achmet, for his kitchen stuff, what the poorest huckster woman in Dublin would blush to do; he denied the charge,覧I insisted upon it, and produced the Phoenix, a paper at that time in high esteem, in which his French cook had absolutely advertised him,葉his was such damning proof, that W覧d could not rebut my evidence, on which he and C覧k, much chagrined, made a precipitate retreat, forgetting even to pay for the flask of Champagne , the noble Vice-Roy had ordered upon his arrival.猶itiful! despicable! mean wretch! what a contrast to the excellent, generous, noble Rutland, whose like we never shall behold again.柚onsieur Le Conte of worthy memory, was the head cook, who had the temerity to advertise his regal master, and 'tis rumoured that this very Le Conte, was in a few years afterwards extremely active in effecting a revolution and demolishing the odious Bastille.Hughes's masquerade ball, and my own mentioned in the former part of these memoirs, threw poor Moll Hall into the masquerade mania; she could speak of no other subject, and indeed to do her but common justice, the little fat pretty creature, who was (to use a French phrase) the very UN BON POINT, to hit the taste of even a prince; she was the life and soul of every festive party; she, I say consulted me on giving a masquerade ball, a la Masonique, as the gentlemen of that ancient and honourable fraternity in this city gave sumptuous entertainments, fandangoes and coteries, by inviting their friends and acquaintances to roast meat, and beating them with the spit; that is by clubbing them sans ceremonie:謡e accordingly agreed that every male creature, was to pay two guineas for his ticket, besides extra charges should he solicit to be admitted into conclave, or the embrace delectable, i.e. to the share of one of our fair guests' beds. My house being the most roomy, convenient and fashionable, and furnished with the greatest variety of elastic beds (they being quite the ton, since poor Netterville's days,) couches, palliasses, &c. &c. was pitched upon for the rendezvous of all the choice spirits, the bon vivants, the Loves, the Graces, the comodites and momodites of the capital, to exhibit their charms, their wit, and their pleasantry in.湧o sooner said than done, whip, fly, pass and begone; Moll Hall, the proposer, peace be to her gentle manes;祐turgeon, Digges, Beresford, the Ballyclear Neilson; sweet Ballyclear, where there's no Sunday! the Limerick Russel, and Brooks, were appointed matrons of the splendid gala, and Henry B覧H覧t, the old proprietor of the Pretty Grove; W覧 C覧 that ungrateful old lecher, who while his amiable wife lay barren by his side, for forty-five years and more, made a shift to knock triplets out of his kitchen maid; E覧 Rad覧 R覧 of convivial, cleanly and generous memory, 覧 John 覧 S覧, the identical little whiffling old gentleman, who is now wedded to the divine Kitty Attridge, one H覧 W覧 of Fethard in the county Tipperary, and M覧 K覧, Esq; that civil pander, who rents White Hall, for the convenience of his friends, or second Achmet's Baths;預nd a Mr. B覧, or M覧 of the B覧 Coat H覧, were by us the female coterie appointed stewards, from whom all tickets of admission were to be issued, though some of us thought it would be rather hazardous, as W覧l no doubt, would not forget his old gait of going, and consequently smuggle in a number of his northern electors.

All matters being thus adjusted, I threw five or six rooms into one, which I could always most conveniently do, by the help of sliding partitions, though indeed poor Surgeon B覧r offered us the use of the Lock Hospital, near Donnybrook, for the occasion. At last the great, the important night arrived, big with the fate of the votaries of the Cnidian Queen; my rooms were crowded before eight o'clock, and many a fat sleek greasy alderman, sheriff's peer, common council man, and ruby faced parson honoured the entertainment with his presence; the late alderman W覧 of police and hated memory, and Moll Hall, led up in the characters of Father Paul and Mother Cole; B覧h覧set and Grove, in the characters of the Mayor of Coventry and Pretty Maud, both elegantly supported; W覧l C覧 and Brooks in Alderman Smuggler and Diana Trapes, the Rev. G覧 P覧 and Mary Neilson, in Tony Lumpkin and Miss Hardcastle;柚r. Justice S覧, the gauger (who endeavoured to fine me at the excise office for selling unlicensed liquors, and would have done it, had it not been for the interference of my old lecherous gallant Col 覧 R 覧) and Miss Pedero of Bow Bridge, in the characters of the Fifing Girl and Drumming Boy, in the midst of a large recruiting party, headed by Mathews the bailiff, in the character of Serjeant Kite; but it would be endless to relate the different couples, and the characters they sustained; I shall only mention a few more of the most remarkable of the ladies, and give some little account of them:柚rs. Robinson, sported her sweet person in the character of the Blue Eyed Nun of St Catherine's, she was imported into this land of Saints by Lord F覧tz覧w覧m, who kept her at Mother Grant's for some time; however Mrs. Grant becoming rather disagreeable and austere, she left her, and took lodgings in Capel-street, where she unfortunately became acquainted with Beau R覧 the jeweller, from whom she purchased above five hundred pounds worth of plate and a pair of set shoe buckles, which he declared he'd give her a bargain of; and that he'd charge her but prime cost, thirty-five guineas!! and she foolish devil as she was, not doubting the supposed brilliant gentleman's honour or probity, paid him the money down; after which in a few days being discarded by her keeper, she was obliged to leave her lodgings, being no longer able to keep them in elegance; and return to Grant's, who not being satisfied, in depriving her of all the plate she had purchased from R覧, robbed her of almost all her wardrobe, as a pretended compensation for former favours conferred on her!! Finding herself thus embarrassed, and reduced to her last guinea, she was obliged to have recourse to R覧, to return him the paste buckles she had never worn; expecting at least to get half their value, but to her loss and astonishment Beau Mordecai, that blood sucking usurer, offered her no more than five guineas!!! which dire necessity obliged her reluctantly to accept of in order to get as soon as possible to her own country; however as soon as I heard this poor woman's story, I made her a present of twenty guineas, and the honest creature, in two months after her arrival in London, sent me a package of calico, worth fifty pounds, and a beautiful edition of the Woman of Pleasure, with some of the finest cuts I ever beheld; would that all my debtors behaved in the same spirited principled manner, so that their names might be adorned with equal narratives, for I would much rather hold out the wreath than the rod but alas! I found very few Mrs. Robin-son's among my acquaintances; upon the whole, I was plundered both by belles and beaux. Mrs. Vallance another of the fair votaries of the Paphian Queen, was born in Naas, her mother supported herself and beautiful daughter by spinning wool, and very properly sent her early to the charity school, but being naturally idle, she made no progress, and often, alas, have I heard her say, she repented she had not made a better use of her time. Almost as soon as Vallance got into her teens, Mr. P覧, with a few presents of clothes, baubles, money, and mellifluous speeches, gained her affections, and whenever an opportunity served, even her mother (I often heard her tell it) encouraged her to gratify his passion, in her own cabin; however at length weary of a country life, she suggested the idea to her friend P覧, who immediately took lodgings for her at Mr. A覧's in Capel-street, where she resided for two years; by what she told me, P覧 was very attentive and amorous for the first year, but finding herself at last neglected, she boldly at once ventured on the town; and on her first entr or debut, to use a theatrical phrase, she met with A覧 J覧 , who advised her to decamp with him to a Mrs. Orde's, Great Britain-street, where he hired lodgings for her at a guinea a week, and he being at this time in Capel-street, within a few doors of her lodging, the pleasing moments passed unperceived away, for some little time, until one night at cards, Mrs. Orde got jealous of her, as her husband, she imagined, made too free with her; and she intoxicated with pleasure and Champagne , spurned the gross idea, and in a pet, quit the house, and poor J覧 and she could find no place of reception, 'till at last they were through dire necessity, compelled to take refuge for the night in a cellar in West Arran-street;溶ext day however J覧 took lodgings for her at Mr. U覧r's in Dame-street, where they lived for a month; after which she became acquainted with the divine, the edifying Rector of Castle B覧, a Mr. C覧, who adored her, though at the same time his wife was living, and often gave her presents, for what the poor creature could not enjoy, he has often insisted the poor girl to pull up her clothes, and touching her 覧 has exclaimed, oh! that I had you divine Vallance but thirty years ago.輸t length C覧's wife died, when he proposed marrying her, which proposal she unwillingly accepted, though not 'till he made her a present of five hundred guineas, after which he purchased a house on Ormond-quay, where they lived in every supposed harmony, he not in the least suspecting his friend J覧 enjoyed what he dearly paid for.憂覧s indeed has often given her a five guinea note, which she used to put in the old fumbler's pocket, and in exchange take a fifty pound note for it, as he was near sighted, and never suspected any loss, provided the number of notes were forthcoming. The old wretch at length growing jealous, made her life miserable, in consequence of which, she one night eloped, with all his property, besides many debts which she contracted, that C覧 was sued for, and obliged to make good, particularly one to my friend J覧s P覧 for eighty pounds猶oor Jonas, who following the paths of his venerable namesake, with some variation, slipped into the belly of a BUCK擁nstead of a whale, and thereby hangs a tale! The Rev. Divine attended his darling to this masquerade, and had the unspeakable pleasure of seeing himself made a cuckold of almost before his face, as she parted from him, and went into one of the recesses of the God of Love, at the end of the room, with her friend J覧s, who did for her what C覧 never could.

Another of my fair masqueraders, who figured away that night, on the light fantastic toe, was a Mrs. Grant, whose father's name, who was a dairy man, was Connor; she was born in sweet Stoneybatter, and I have heard her myself confess, her father always supplied his barn, by cow stealing. Grant usually carried about the ambrosial beverage, morning and evening to her father's customers, and as we all know, a little pretty rosy cheeked milk girl attracts the attention of warm youths. J覧 H覧, a gentleman whom she served in the Liberty, frequently plied her with cake and wine, and promised to make a Queen of her, or anything she could mention, if she consented to become his mistress; being then of a virtuous cast, she despised his offers, and for a few nights sent a little girl, now the celebrated Mrs. Sinnott, alias C覧y, an acquaintance of hers, to deliver the milk.

 

"Oh! the sweet lass with the milking pail."

At length thinking he had forgotten her, she went again to his house, where to her astonishment he opened the door himself, forced her into the parlour, and made her quaff potations to Cupid and Bacchus: As the transaction happened in the Liberty, and the goddess was rather of a complying cast, he easily prevailed on her to suck in as much of the juice of the grape as threw her off her centre of gravity, and entirely overpowered her senses, after which he took a coach, and brought her to Crown-Alley, to one Simpson's; often have I heard her curse the crooked mouthed rascal, who on swearing falsely against a citizen, found in a few moments his mouth on his shoulder; here the fond couple had more wine, and concluded the scene, by every gratification. During the interval of a few days, spent in every lust and luxury, that College-green, or Simpson's neighbourhood could afford, she had the mortifying information, that her father was apprehended for cow stealing, and lodged in Trim gaol; however, little concerned for the fate of the author of her being, she took no manner of notice of the intelligence, 'till unfortunately, it being assizes week in which he was arrested, he was tried, found guilty, and having snapped a pistol at the person whom he robbed, was hanged the second day but one after his conviction.唯y all accounts, and by her own confession, he had no fault in nature but one, he would deprive all the world, if he could, of their property, to aggrandize himself and his family.輸re not there many dignified imperial royal robbers like him?

Poor H傭ought her very genteel mourning, and took a house for her in Stafford-street, where they lived in amity 'till her extravagance contracted his income, when she, vicious abandoned woman, charged him on the police for robbery, since which time she has never heard of him: she then fortunately met with a Mr. 覧, who hired another house for her in the same street, and he though a diminutive creature, as she often told me, pleased her much better than the ascendancy H覧; she generally gives him a 10l. note, going to the hazard table, and he seldom returns her less than one hundred, tolerable interest you'll say for her money; but her paramour is one of the luckiest little gamblers that frequents Daly's silver table.

Another character worthy of notice was NANCY HINDES, who was born at Malhassey in the county of Meath; her father was cottier to Mr. Hindes of that place; his young son Allick and she grew up together, and in their advancement to maturity laid aside all puerile play, and privately enjoyed every venereal pleasure, any loving couple possibly could on such occasions. Our sex being naturally fond of dress and show, she encouraged poor Allick, who was dotingly fond of her, to rob his brother Ralph, of every article he could convert into cash, besides ready money to a large amount, and all to gratify Jenny's ambition and vanity.輸t length being discovered, the fond pair were obliged to separate; Hindes, though poor, had a tolerable share of beauty and spirits, and consequently deserted the place of her nativity, and ventured up to town, where applying to Mrs. C覧, who kept a register office for servants, she was recommended to Mrs. Orde of Great Britain-street, and accordingly not knowing what she was to encounter, hired with her for three guineas a year, and half what she made by defrauding the guests; and in this humiliating station she lived for three years, when, to her great happiness, a Lieutenant S覧r took her into keeping, who having expended his own property, and much more, he being on the recruiting service,預 Captain W覧 came to his lodgings, and seeing him much distressed, offered to lend him one hundred guineas, which being gratefully accepted, with sincere promises of returning it as soon as he could make a lucky hit, for he was a successful hazard player; he took accordingly a house in Great Britain-street for her, where she commenced business on her own account, made some money, and invited her poor distressed Allick to come to town, promising to share her last guinea with him.輸llick accordingly agreed, and by what she told me there was not a woman in the kingdom better protected than she was by her two able bullies, who would beat and abuse every creature who would not spend money at her house, on what she called Champagne, which, by the by, was merely perry some time after this the unfortunate W覧 being called in haste to join his regiment, gave S覧 a letter of attorney to receive his rents in this kingdom; S覧 executed his commission, but alas! alas! not to his advantage, but to his lady's; in consequence of this new but ill-gotten acquisition Hindes and Sp覧 lived in every luxury the city afforded, whilst poor W覧 being disappointed in remittances, and that by his supposed bosom friend, in the moment of frenzy put a period to his existence at Dunkirk, by shooting himself through the head.

Another of our masqueraders was the pretty Wrixon, she was born in Liverpool, her papa being a chimney-sweeper, who frequently during her childhood, whipped her in course with his other sweeps, as he termed it; poor Wrixon, if she was to be scourged to death, could not enter the funnel, and her mother being of a mild placid disposition, protected her as much as possible until grown to the age of maturity, thinking no doubt, when she became a mistress-sweep (for her father intended to leave all his sootrican slaves under her protection and government) she might comfort her in her old age; but how greatly was the poor woman mistaken! poor Wrixon only waited to be seduced, and perfectly satisfied to gratify the first honest athletic fellow who might offer; walked into the fields near town, when observing two gentlemen with arms and without attendants, she followed at a distance, when in a few moments they exchanged shots, in consequence of which one fell, whose name was Fox, the other made a precipitate retreat; and the tender hearted Wrixon, went as it were to succour the distressed or dying hero, who after being supplied with some water, seemingly recovered, when Wrixon brought him to her sooty habitation, and finding he was likely to do well, stripped him of all his cash amounting to two hundred guineas, and some silver, his watch, a diamond ring and pin; and immediately consulted a butcher's boy her intimate acquaintance, one Wrixon, under whose name she ever afterwards went, who encouraged her to fly the kingdom, and he'd accompany her; no sooner said than done, they embarked in Captain Harrison's packet, and arrived in Dublin in August 1789; I can't forget it, as they spent the first night in my house, and in the morning purchased an house, that is, they fined down an house, in Great Britain-street. But Wrixon and his pretty female sweep, being both of an eccentric cast, frequently came to handycuffs, in which paroxysms of frenzy, they often discovered the depredations they had committed, not only on the poor duellist, but latterly on the unwary Irish,擁n consequence of which, lest there might be any insurrection in the country, occasioned by these lawless band of ruffians called defenders, they determined to quit the kingdom, and more particularly so, fearing the man they had robbed might be in any way akin or connected to Mr. Fox of Capel-street; indeed I always laugh when I think on't, but absolutely the sight or name of a Fox, would make poor Wrixon change a hundred colours.

 

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all."

Mrs. Palmer, another of our tribe, was the daughter of John Kelly and Mary Slack; she was early bound to a milliner, with whom she lived for three years, and was seduced by a Captain Palmer, who brought her to town and hired lodgings for her at the Rev. Mr. C覧's (Ormond-quay), rector of Castle B覧, where she lived for some time; the Captain being called to his regiment, there was a Mr. J覧 P覧y, who by profuse presents and vast sums of money, prevailed upon her one night to go with him, as he said, to a friend's; but where should he bring her to, but Mrs. Sterling's, Jervis-street, where, with the powerful assistance of some flasks of Champagne, he prevailed on her to gratify his passion, which has been ever since repeated when opportunity and convenience offered.優isagreeing with Mrs. C覧, she took lodgings in King-street, where she unrestrained embraced her last lover, he being the second who enjoyed her. A woman once devirginated, will not stop at any other faux paux. A Mr. C覧 was the next who proposed, and was admitted to live with her at intervals for three months; at length discovered by Pas覧, an engagement took place, both being able bodied men, the contest was doubtful for some time, and at length J覧s gave C覧 a chance blow, and levelled him with the ground, the unfortunate fair, thinking him dead, sent for the best advice in the neighbourhood, to a surgeon G覧, who bled the vanquished C覧 and recovered him; for the authenticity of this narrative I refer my reader to Mr. G覧 of Abbey-street. Mrs. P覧through this accident, was under the necessity of going after her Captain, and I am told they live perfectly reconciled, being since married.

Besides these remarkable ladies, some of whose adventures I have sketched out, there were a number of the minor sort; as Mary Read, Poor Rowe, formerly Ashmore, Miss Archbold, who was then in high keeping with a Mr. H覧s yclept the S覧, but for my own part I'll freely confess, I have never met with a more generous fellow.輸 Mr. Le F覧, son to a perfumer in Grafton-street, had the honour of my fair hand towards morning, for we kept it up from nine o'clock at night 'till five the next afternoon, when carriages being called we all separated; however I detained Le F覧, who absolutely was the best woman's man, or as the gentlemen say of us, the best piece I ever met with, and that, I have been heard frequently to confess to my poor dear friend the late James W覧n, who was undoubtedly the unrivalled Christie of this kingdom: the gentlemen who favoured us with their company were very numerous, senators from both houses, authors, &c. &c. &c. all flocked to this rare entertainment, which was, and has been unequalled; being an assemblage of all the choice spirits of the kingdom, en masse; Lewellen and Father Fay, both sent to the conductors for tickets, but as they had been so very recently and I might say wonderfully escaped the fall of the leaf, the ropes having been out for them for several hours before the arrival of their reprieves, I would by no means consent they should be accommodated; for I always had an aversion to anything base or scandalous, and I challenge all Ireland this moment, to advance in any one instance, where a male or female received the slightest injury in my house or through my means, no, no.

 

"True conscious spotless honour knows no sin,
She's doubly arm'd, who's innocent within."

 

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