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as he told them himself, and the same stories as they were afterwards recounted from the imperfect memories of his auditors. To compare this expression of Grattan's with the tone of Rogers's poem is absurd. The one was half a joke the other was the expression of serious thoughts. Rogers had not dreamed, as yet, of the exquisite home in St. James's Place where, for fifty years his friends saw him, like a picture in its appropriate frame and placed in fit surroundings, and regarded him as the impersonated spirit of the scene. 'He cultivated art as yet-' says his nephew-only as a student and with economy. He had not begun to form his own valuable collection; and the works of art therein recommended to our purchase are not pictures and marbles, but copies from the antique in plaster and sulphur, and engravings after Italian painters.' He was, in fact, just setting out on his career of art patronage and social success. He had two homes-one at Stoke Newington, the other in chambers in Paper Buildings, and he was gradually deciding between them. The last lines of the Epistle' are a record of his experience in the five years before it was published—


One fair asylum from the world he knew,
Who boasts of more (believe the serious strain)
Sighs for a home, and sighs alas! in vain.
Through each he roves, the tenant of a day,
And, with the swallow, wings the year away.

About this period he wrote in his Commonplace Book the sentence which was incorporated in his last note to the poem: The master of many houses has no home.'




The decision was probably taken during or after his autumn visit to Brighton and the formation of his friendship with Lady Jersey in 1797. In the following June, after the Epistle' had been published in the spring, he finally gave up the home on Newington Green, and lived in his chambers, alone. His brother Henry had already taken a house at Highbury Terrace, with his sister Sarah; and his sister Maria Sharpe, who had taken her children there for a summer holiday in 1798, speaks of Highbury Terrace at that time as 'quite a gay place, more like the seaside than anything else.' The old house at Newington Green was put into the hands of an auctioneer for sale, and Rogers's fastidious taste was greatly annoyed by the advertised description of the place. 'I should never have known it,' writes Maria Sharpe to her sister Sarah, if the place had not been mentioned. I read it to Mr. Sharpe and Catharine without their at all making it out. I am sorry they have dressed an old friend in borrowed ornaments.' In these letters there are frequent glimpses of Sam, as he is always called. His room is much improved since you saw it,' she tells her sister in May 1797. He is often at Sutton Sharpe's; and Flaxman and Opie and Stothard are spoken of with Richard Sharp and the Barbaulds, the Boddingtons, and the families of the Towgoods and Mallets. One day there is a party at Richmond to which Sam has invited them. He and R. Sharp, who is present, are very fond of Richmond, but R. Sharp monopolises the poet, and Maria complains that he deserted them. Another time she remarks to


her sister Sarah: What very pretty presents he makes


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to you! Is it not well to be the single sister?' The question is asked in 1800, and for fifty years after it Miss Rogers had every reason to answer yes.

It was Rogers's custom in these years to get his friends together pretty frequently to dinner and evening parties in his chambers, and the meal or refreshments were sent in from the 'Mitre '--still a well-known tavern in a court out of Fleet Street. Among the stories he told in later years Mr. Hayward has preserved one which relates to one of these dinners. Rogers had invited Fox, Sheridan, Erskine, Perry (of the Morning Chronicle), and other Whig notables to dinner, and as usual had ordered it at the Mitre.' These dinners usually came in by instalments-as Sydney Smith reminds us, when, arriving just as some portion of the repast was being delivered, he exclaimed: 'I knew I was in time, for though the turtle had the start of me I fairly headed the turbot.' The guests on this occasion, however, had the start of the turtle. The dinner-hour came, the guests were in the drawing-room, but there was no dinner. I quietly stole out,' said Rogers, and hurried to the "Mitre." "What has become of my dinner?" I asked. "Your dinner, sir? Your dinner is for to-morrow!" I stood aghast, and for a moment plans of suicidal desperation crossed my brain, when the tavernkeeper relieved me from my perplexity by saying that he had so many dinners on hand that mine, if ever ordered, had escaped his recollection altogether. "Many dinners on hand, have you? Then if you will send me the best dish from each of them I will pay you double; and if you won't you shall never see my face again.'





As I was a good customer he chose the more prudent and profitable alternative, and after an hour's waiting my guests were seated and served.' And how did the dinner go off?' 'Oh, very well! They got a bad dinner, but they got a good story to tell against me."

He had already begun to make those notes of his conversations with eminent and celebrated men which gave so much pleasure to his guests in later years. In the charming volume of Recollections,' edited in 1859 by his nephew Mr. William Sharpe, the first conversation with Fox which is recorded took place on the 19th of March 1796. He had met Fox before, but this time he seems to have engaged in conversation with the great statesman. The first occasion illustrated the 'playfulness' which Rogers in his prefatory note attributes to Fox. The latter exhibits-to quote Rogers's words—' his love of letters and his good nature in unbending himself to a young man.' The conversation took place at the dinner table of William Smith, the well-known Unitarian member for Norwich, and the champion in the House of Commons of the rights of Dissenters in the days when the Test and Corporation Acts and other oppressive measures remained unrepealed. There were present, besides Fox and Rogers, Dr. Parr, George Tierney, John Courtenay, Sir Francis Baring, Dr. Aikin (the eminent brother of Mrs. Barbauld), Mackintosh, and Sir Philip Francis. Sheridan sent an excuse. Rogers dined with Fox again at Serjeant Heywood's on the 10th of December 1796, when Lord Derby, Lord Stanley, Lord Lauderdale, Lambton, (the member for Durham), and Brogden constituted the party. On another day he puts on record

his meeting Fox in June 1798 at the Park Gate at Penshurst. He was mounted on a pony, and dressed in a fustian shooting-jacket and a white hat. Mrs. Armstead was in a whisky. This was a kind of light carriage, so called because it was built for rapid motion, and whisked along. Its familiar name was a tim-whisky. The conversation on these occasions is made by the 'Recollections' familiar to every reader. There is a glimpse of Fox in a letter from Thomas Erskine, afterwards Lord Erskine, to Rogers, published in the Notes to the Recollections' (page 11). It is dated the 17th of July 1798: 'I called yesterday on Fox at St. Anne's, and found him drawing a pond to please an Eton boy, a son of the Bishop of Down. I told him he was committing a double crime, killing the poor fish and ruining Cossfor Coss has a perpetual holiday there. He left off, and we had some talk on the times. He has no hope.' There is another short letter from Erskine without date, but written on paper bearing the water-mark 1799, and addressed to Rogers at Paper Buildings. It shows that at this period Rogers and Erskine had not yet established the close intimacy which marked their later years.

Thomas Erskine to Samuel Rogers.

'Dear Sir, The little, foolish, and too ill-natured epigram which I gave you was incorrect; it should have been as below:

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'Some newspapers to blot the fame
That waits on Fox's patriot name,

By misreporting damn his praise.

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