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tatious table was at all times open. Here I with pleasure recollect having passed some happy days ; certain of receiving the most cordial welcome; of enjoying the conversation of the worthy host, enlivened constantly by a group of literary guests. Good humour and sociability were the order of the day; and the good Doctor, always frugal and temperate in his personal habits, not unfrequently, after having tired three sets of horses in visiting his patients, dined at Grove Hill, and walked back in the evening to Sambrook Court. His entertainments were often graced by the company of learned Foreigners and other persons of considerable distinction. To his Medical Brethren, the House, the Museum, and the Bowling-green, were always open on a Saturday.
That accomplished Nobleman William Petty, Earl of Shelburne (afterwards the first Marquis of Lansdown), had a high esteem for Dr. Lettsom ; and occasionally condescended to partake of the hospitalities of his comfortable mansion *.
* Mr. Boswell, who was a frequent and always a welcome guest, in his “ Horatian Ode to Charles Dilly," thus merrily sings :
“ My cordial Friend, still prompt to lend
Your cash when I have need on 't;
At lea t we talk and read on 't.
Not minding where the joke lie;
At Camberwell with COAKLEY.
The name of Dr. LETTSOM :
His guests will always get some.
Of decent estimation ;
As an extended Nation.
A Peer- no less than LANSDOWN!
Dr. Lettsom's Library * was ample, and contained such a collection of books in all languages, and on all sciences, as few private gentlemen possessed ; but in those that relate to Natural History, his favourite study, it more particularly
Down do they say? How then, I pray,
His King and Country prize him !
Is sure t'immortalize him.
'Tis clear he's so in one sense :
Refutes pert PRIESTLEY's nonsense.
Nor knows Beasts, Fishes, Birds ill :
And wondrous Mangel-Wurzel It
The City's first Physician :
To aid is his ambition.
When practice grants a furlough;
Looks down-ev'n upon THURLOW I!" “I am glad,” says Mr. Boswell, in a Letter to Mr. Nichols, “ to see in your Gentlemanly Museum my Horatian Ode to our good friend Mr. Dilly, in which another good friend Dr. Lettsom, is, I think, painted with truth. It goes admirably well to the tune of · The first time at the looking-glass,' in' The Beggar's Opera,' to which you, in your character of Sylvanus, have been a witness at Camberwell Grove.”—This, and others of his Songs, I have frequently heard him repeat in The Temple of the Sibyls, when exhilarated by moderate potations from a bowl either of delicious syllabub, or generous Tortola punch.
* The Reader will join me in regretting, that the Doctor should have been compelled, by a train of adverse circumstances, at an advanced period of life, to dispose of the greatest part of so valuable a collection, and even of the Villa itself. — One part of the Library was sold, March 26, 1811, and six following days, by Messrs. Leigh and Sotheby; by whom the remaining part was also sold, April 3--5; and the entire Museum, including Coins and Medals, May 2-4, 1816. op See p. 679. Lord Chancellor Thurlow then resided at Dulwich.
abounded. In this library was the collection of Classics formed by the learned and modest Mr. William Baker, printer, which Dr. Lettsom purchased on the death of that ingenious collector; and, among other curiosities, a work in seven quarto volumes, printed at Regensberg, in 1765, the author Jacob Christine Schaffers, in which the leaves of the respective volumes are formed of different vegetables and other substances.
Among the more prominent objects in the grounds at Grove Hill, is the allegorical group delineated in the annexed engraving on wood, which the Doctor placed in a conspicuous part of the lawn, in commemoration of his eldest son's attaining the age of twenty-one, and which he has thus himself described:
“The Fates consist of a groupe of figures: Lartho holding the spindle, and pulling the thread, which Lachesis winds on the spindle. Atropos, in a kneeling posture, extends the right hand with scissors open, as if desirous of instantly cutting this thread, figurative of human life. On the background rises Hygeia, the Priestess of Health, near a column entwined by a Serpent, emblematic of the healing art, and stays the band of Atropos from the fatal division of the thread. Behind this group, cedars of Libanus; near Atropos, savine and deadly night-shade; and at the feet of Hygeia flourishes the Arbor vito*."
* Thus beautifully paraphrased by Mr. Maurice :
“Hygeia here in all her beauty blooms,