Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 A Coffee-House Canary Bird


Of "a great Coffee-house" in Pall Mall we find the following amusing story, in the Correspondence of Gray and Mason, edited by Mitford:

"In the year 1688, my Lord Peterborough had a great mind to be well with Lady Sandwich, Mrs. Bonfoy's old friend. There was a woman who kept a great Coffee-house in Pall Mall, and she had a miraculous canary-bird that piped twenty tunes. Lady Sandwich was fond of such things, had heard of and seen the bird. Lord Peterborough came to the woman, and offered her a large sum of money for it; but she was rich, and proud of it, and would not part with it for love or money. However, he watched the bird narrowly, observed all its marks and features, went and bought just such another, sauntered into the coffee-room, took his opportunity when no one was by, slipped the wrong bird into the cage and the right into his pocket, and went off undiscovered to make my Lady Sandwich happy. This was just about the time of the Revolution; and, a good while after, going into the same coffee-house again, he saw his bird there, and said, 'Well, I reckon you would give your ears now that you had taken my money.' 'Money!' says the woman, 'no, nor ten times that money now, dear little creature! for, if your lordship will believe me (as I am a Christian, it is true), it has moped and moped, and never once opened its pretty lips since the day that the poor king went away!"

John Timbs
Club Life of London Vol. II
London, 1866