Monday, August 14, 2006

Old-fashioned manners

Sir William Williams, my great-grandfather, seems to have been addressed by his children, and dependants with much more respect than we have lately seen evinced in writing to the Queen. The tutor of his sons always writes from Oxford of my grandfather as My Master, of his brother as Mr. Robert, and addresses Sir William as 'Your Honour.'

In 1714 my grandfather writes for Sir J. Wynn,
'He has desired me to acquaint you that, if you approve of it, he would be highly glad if you could meet us at St. Albans to conduct us into town, for he is the most apprehensive of danger betwixt that place and London of any; he is by no means for my staying in London any longer than the Mellins are delivered, and if possible, to return to Barnet or Highgate that night, but hope, sir, you will send him word that it is not practicable for me to return sooner than the Monday following, suppose we come in Friday or Saturday night.

The noise of our going is spread all about the country, and somebody has told 'him that Prichard the Highwayman is gone abroad, which makes him under ye greater concern, so would gladly have returns for some parte.
' Dear Sir,
'Your ever dutiful son,
' wat. williams.'

In a letter dated 'Duke Street, January 30, 1729,'
he says—
'Nothing spoken of but ye great acconomy at St. James's, there are so many astonishing instances that it would be too tedious and something dangerous to mention them — the great man is in ye judgement of mankind in a very uneasy situation. Stocks fell very much upon ye publishing ye treaty of peace. Her Majesty is very uneasy at ye English ladies for going so fine ; she says they rivall even majesty itself.

And, forsooth, if waiting women in this country go as fine as German princesses, she would therefore have none but noblemen's ladies wear silk, and none jewells, nor laces—stuffs full good enough for country gentlemen's wives, and every servant maid to wear a badge of her profession on her shoulder. The Queen wears calf-skin shoes, and the eldest princess scour'd deaths, and ye youngest patched coats.


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