Monday, February 24, 2014

London Stories

I highly recommend the seven part book titled The Village London Series by the Alderman Press. Excellent stories and facts about London, amongst them this gem:

In a tavern at Covent Garden, the husband of the exquisite sculptress, the Honorable Mrs. Damer, shot himself in 1776. Mr. Damer's suicide was hastened, and indeed provoked, by the refusal of his father, Lord Milton to discharge his debts.

Horace Walpole, after entering at length into this matter in a letter to Sir Horace Mann, in August 1776, gives the following circumstantial account: "On Thursday Mr. Damer supped at the Bedford Arms, in Covent Garden, with four ladies and a blind fiddler. At three in the morning he dismissed his seraglio, ordering his Orpheus to come up again in half an hour. When he returned he found his master dead, and smelt gunpowder. He called. The master of the house came up and they found Mr. Damer sitting in a chair dead, with one pistol beside him and another in his pocket. The ball had not gone through his head or made any report. On the table lay a scrap of paper with these words. 'The people of the house are not to blame for what has happened; it was my own act.'

What a catastrophe for a man at thirty-two, heir to two-and-twenty thousand a year!"

Horace Walpole remarks with his usual cynicism on this affair, that "Five thousand a year in present, and 22,000 (pounds) in reversion, are not, it would seem, sufficient for happiness and cannot check a pistol."

Photos: Flickr Commons, Covent Garden

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