Containing various and sundry matters.
POMPEY had now lived two years with Lady Tempest, in all the comforts and luxuries of life, fed every day with the choicest, most expensive dainties that London could afford, and caressed by all the people of fashion that visited his mistress:
——sed scilicet ultima semper
Expectanda dies——dicique beatus
Ante obitum nemo supremaque funera debit
["But we should always wait for a man’s last day, for we should call no man’s life happy until he is dead"—Ovid, Metamorphoses, Bk. III l. 137-139]
A moral reflection, no less applicable to dogs than men! For they both alike experience the inconstancy of fortune, of which our hero was a great example, as the following pages of his history will very remarkably evince.
LADY Tempest was walking in St. James's park one morning in the Spring, with little Pompey, as usual, attending her; for she never went abroad without taking him in her arms. Here she set him down on his legs, to play with some other dogs of quality, that were taking the air that morning in the Mall; giving him strict orders however not to presume to stray out of her sight. But in spite of this injunction, something or other tempted his curiosity beyond the limits of the Mall; and there, while he was rolling and indulging himself on the green grass (a pleasure by novelty rendered more agreeable to him) it was his misfortune to spring a bird; which he pursued with such eagerness and alacrity, that he was got as far as Rosamond's Pond before he thought proper to give over the chase. His mistress in the meanwhile was engaged in a warm and interesting a dispute on the price of silk, which so engrossed her attention, that she never missed her favourite; nay, what is still more extraordinary, she got into her coach and drove home, without once bestowing a thought upon him. But the moment she arrived in her dining-room, and cast her eyes on the rest of her four-footed friends, her guilt immediately flew in her face, and she cried out with a scream, 'as I am alive, I have left little Pompey behind me.' Then summoning up two of her servants in an instant, she commanded them to go directly and search every corner of the park with the greatest diligence, protesting she should never have any peace of mind, till her favourite was restored to her arms. Many times she rang her bell, to know if her servants were returned, before it was possible for them to have got thither: but at length the fatal message arrived, that Pompey was nowhere to be found. And indeed it would have been next to a miracle, if he had; for these faithful ambassadors had never once stirred from the kitchen fire, where, together with the rest of the servants, they had been laughing at the folly of their mistress, and diverting themselves with misfortunes of her little darling. And the reason why they denied their return sooner, was, because they imagined a sufficient time had not then elapsed, to give a probability to that lie, which they were determined to tell. Yet this did not satisfy their lady; she sent them a second time to repeat their search, and a second time they returned with the same story, that 'Pompey was to be found neither high nor low.' At this again the reader is desired not to wonder; for though her ladyship saw them out of the house herself, and ordered them to bring back her favourite under pain of dismission, the farthest of their travels was only to an ale-house at the corner of the street; where they had been entertaining a large circle of their parti-coloured brethren with much ribaldry, at the expense of their mistress.
Tenderness to this lady's character makes me pass over much of the sorrow she vented on this occasion; but I cannot help relating, that she immediately dispatched cards to all her acquaintance, to put off a drum, which was to have been held at her house that evening; giving as a reason, that she had lost her lap-dog, and could not see company. She likewise sent an advertisement to the newspapers, of which we have procured a copy, and beg leave to insert it
Lost in the Mall in St. James's Park, between the hours of two and three in the Morning, a beautiful Bologna lap-dog, with black and white spots, a mottled breast, and several moles upon his nose, and answers to the name of Pomp, or Pompey. Whoever will bring the same to Mrs. La Place's in Duke-street, Westminster, or Mrs. Hussey's mantua-maker, in the strand, shall receive two guineas reward.
This advertisement was inserted in all the news-papers for a month, with increase of the reward as the case grew more desperate; yet neither all the enquiries she made, nor all the rewards she offered, ever restored little Pompey to her arms. We must leave her therefore to receive the consolations of her friends on this afflicting loss, and return to examine after our hero, of whose fortune the reader, perhaps, may have a desire to hear.
He had been pursuing a bird, as was before described, as far as Rosamond's Pond, and when his diversion was over, galloped back to the Mall, not in the least doubting to find his lady there at his return. But alas! how great was his disappointment: he ran up and down, smelling to every petticoat he met, and staring up in every female face he saw, yet neither his eyes, or nose, gave him the information he desired. Seven times he coursed from Buckingham-house to the Horse-guards, and back again; but all in vain: at length tired, and full of despair, he sat himself down, disconsolate and sorrowful, under a tree, and there turning his head aside in a thoughtful attitude, abandoned himself to much mournful meditation. In this evil plight, while he was ruminating on his fate, and like many other people in the park, unable to divine where he should get a dinner; he was spied by a little girl about eight years old, who was walking by her mother's side in the Mall. She no sooner perceived him, than she cried out, 'La! Mamma! there's a pretty dog,—I have a good mind to call to it, Mamma! Shall I, Mamma? Shall I call to it, Mamma?' Having received her mother's assent, she then applied herself with much tenderness, to solicit him to her, which the little unfortunate no sooner observed, than breaking off his meditations, he ran hastily up, and saluting her with his fore-paws (as the wretched are glad to find a friend), gave so many dumb expressions of joy, that speech itself could hardly have been more eloquent. The young lady, on her side, charmed with his ready compliance, took him up in her arms, and kissed him with great delight: then turning again to her mother, and asking her if she did not think him a lovely creature, 'I wonder,' says she, 'whose dog it is, Mamma! I have a good mind to take him home with me! Shall I, Mamma? Shall I take him home with me, Mamma?' to this also her mother consented, and when they had taken two or three more turns, they retired to their coach, and Pompey was conducted to his new lodgings.
As soon as they alighted at home, little Miss ran hastily upstairs, to show her brother and sisters the prize she had found; and he was handed about from one to the other, with great delight and admiration of his beauty. He was then introduced to all their favourites, which were a dormouse, two kittens, a Dutch pug, a squirrel, a parrot, and a magpie. To these he was presented with many childish ceremonies, and all the innocent follies, that are so important to the happiness of this happiest age. The parrot was to make a speech to him, the squirrel to make him a present of some nuts, the kittens were to dance for his diversion, the magpie to tell his fortune; and all enjoined to contribute something to the entertainment of the little stranger. And 'tis inconceivable how busy they were in the execution of these trifles, with all their spirits up in arms, and their whole souls laid out upon them.
In a few days, little Pompey began to know his way about the house alone, and, I am sorry to say it, in less than a week he had quite forgot his former mistress. Here I know not how to excuse his behaviour. Had he been a man, one should not have wondered to find him guilty of ingratitude, a vice deeply rooted in the nature of that wicked animal; and accordingly we see in all the revolutions at court, how readily a new minister is acknowledged and embraced by all the subalterns and dependent flatterers, who fawn with the same servility on the new favourite, as before they practiced to the old; but that a dog—a creature famous for fidelity, should so soon forget his former friend and benefactress, is, I confess, quite unaccountable; and I would willingly draw a veil over this part of his conduct, if the veracity of an historian did not oblige me to relate it.