They could not anathematize the innovator too much, but in less than six months Lady Grafton's style of doing the hair became common, crossed the Channel, and spread all over Europe, though it has been given another name. It is still in fashion, and is the only method that can boast the age of thirty years, though it was so unmercifully ridiculed at first.
The supper for which the giver of the feast had received three thousand guineas, or sixty-five thousand francs, contained a most varied assortment of delicacies, but as I had not been dancing, and did not feel taken with any of the ladies present, I left at one in the morning. It was Sunday, a day on which all persons, save criminals, are exempt from arrest; but, nevertheless, the following adventure befell me:
I was dressed magnificently, and was driving home in my carriage, with my negro and another servant seated behind me; and just as we entered Pall Mall I heard a voice crying, "Good night, Seingalt." I put my head out of the window to reply, and in an instant the carriage was surrounded by men armed with pistols, and one of them said,--
"In the king's name!"
My servant asked what they wanted, and they answered,--
"To take him to Newgate, for Sunday makes no difference to criminals."
"And what crime have I committed?"
"You will hear that in prison."
"My master has a right to know his crime before he goes to prison," said the negro.
"Yes, but the magistrate's abed."
The negro stuck to his position, however, and the people who had come up declared with one consent that he was in the right.
The head-constable gave in, and said he would take me to a house in the city.
"Then drive to that city," said I, "and have done with it."
We stopped before the house, and I was placed in a large room on the ground floor, furnished solely with benches and long tables. My servant sent back the carriage, and came to keep me company. The six constables said they could not leave me, and told me I should send out for some meat and drink for them. I told my negro to give them what they wanted, and to be as amicable with them as was possible.
As I had not committed any crime, I was quite at ease; I knew that my arrest must be the effect of a slander, and as I was aware that London justice was speedy and equitable, I thought I should soon be free. But I blamed myself for having transgressed the excellent maxim, never to answer anyone in the night time; for if I had not done so I should have been in my house, and not in prison. The mistake, however, had been committed, and there was nothing to be done but to wait patiently. I amused myself by reflecting on my rapid passage from a numerous and exalted assemblage to the vile place I now occupied, though I was still dressed like a prince.
At last the day dawned, and the keeper of the tavern came to see who the prisoner was. I could not helping laughing at him when he saw me, for he immediately began to abuse the constables for not awaking him when I came; he had lost the guinea I should have paid for a private room. At last news was brought that the magistrate was sitting, and that I must be brought up.
A coach was summoned, and I got into it, for if I had dared to walk along the streets in my magnificent attire the mob would have pelted me.
I went into the hall of justice, and all eyes were at once attracted towards me; my silks and satins appeared to them the height of impertinence.
At the end of the room I saw a gentleman sitting in an arm-chair, and concluded him to be my judge. I was right, and the judge was blind. He wore a broad band round his head, passing over his eyes. A man beside me, guessing I was a foreigner, said in French,--
"Be of good courage, Mr. Fielding is a just and equitable magistrate."
I thanked the kindly unknown, and was delighted to see before me this famous and estimable writer, whose works are an honour to the English nation.
When my turn came, the clerk of the court told Mr. Fielding my name, at least, so I presume.