St. James’s Square


A  low  House, Humourously Called  the Pigeon hole.

Firm: Abbot Watson, Davies, Fearlove, Leach, and Holdsworth.

This snug little trap  is doing remarkably well. Fama volat, that it has netted thirty thousand within twelve months. Whether the exact sum, in so very small a time be true or not, we cannot pretend to say; but we know that a great deal of work is done there, and it is said to have divided twenty-seven thousand in the half-year ending Midsummer 1817.

A certain little doctor is a great friend (we do not say a decoy) to the house, and, of course, a great favourite. There are many links to this chain; and a good bill would be done there, or an I.O.U. taken from gem'men  of respectability.

There is a littleness  about the concern, both outside and inside; and your topping Greeks prefer a larger scale of establishment. The firm, notwithstanding, goes on slow and sure; and there is no saying what they may realise with time, brisk trade and good customers, although great complaints are made of emigrations to France, the Insolvent Act, the want of honour  in the young men of the present day, and, especially, of our disclosures of their mysteries. The north country dialect is here spoken in perfection.

One of the firm is Abbot, of a religious establishment of a somewhat different kind. It is a nunnery, to which confessors are, of course, admitted at the usual hours, on the terms, to use a sporting phrase, of play, or pay. This Abbot is said to be worth nearly a hundred thousand pounds. ‘Two strings to my bow' is his suitable motto, for he has a wife and family also.

He is more parsimonious  than abstemious, as befits the order of which he is the worthy principal, and of which we shall furnish a ludicrous instance. He once had particular occasion for a sovereign. Now, how could he save his money? He was extricated by a most delightful thought, and he, accordingly, sat down to play against his own firm for one pound. Oh! what a slippery jade is Fortune! Luck was against him, and he rose IN DEBT  to the bank, little short of £500. His junior partners, however, most liberally (it is said) took the entire case into their serious consideration, and FORGAVE HIM THE DEBT ! What other house can produce an instance of such splendid munificence?—Lieut. N—— g, R.N., has lately extracted from the houseabove £2000. They would almost as soon see the devil as the lieutenant, for Fortune has never deserted him hitherto:—but, even this, like a fire to insurance offices, or a large prize in a lottery, is not without its good effects! It is, after all, baiting with sprats to catch salmon. We are happy to find that this officer has been so prudent as to retire on his good luck!

To Mr Holdsworth, quitting a neighbouring hell under more respectable circumstances, pocketing a trifle of what is so easily gained, can, he thinks, be no very great harm. However, it now became absolutely necessary that he should do business on his own account, when circumstances utterly prevented his doing it on the account of others. Papa Leach advanced the needful, and he is, as we see, one of this firm.

Perhaps Mr Watson may have some recollection, however imperfect, of Messrs Crook and Co., of York Street, Covent Garden, his old masters. We may, probably, at a future opportunity, assist the elucidation of some occurrences in that quarter. We believe that Mr Crook never speaks of him with any particular respect! It was here that Mr L—— p D—— s lately won nearly £5000 of Crockford, Kelly, Lavisne, &c. It is a great chance if they have not obtained their revenge ere this.

A singular escape was recently sustained here by Major A—— y. He is not only a man of mettle, but of metal ; in plain English, he has money, and was allowed partial success, pour encourager les autres. We only suppose  that arrangements were made for his next appearance. All were silent and ready. The anxious moment arrived, St James's clock struck nine,—the customary signal to begin,—yet he had not arrived: therefore, it was thought advisable to commence operations. The company loudly expressed impatience and offence at waiting for anyone. The house conceded, and lo! the cards were dealt—when, to the astonishment and dismay of the company, there were fifteen trente et un et après, in one deal! wonderful! mysterious chance! The Major entered at this critical moment, and took out his well-stored pocket-book; but, when he learnt what had happened, and saw his narrow escape, he coolly returned it to his pocket, saying, as he retired, ‘I will never enter a house where such a chance  has happened!!' We need not be surprised at the sum which THIS  firm is said to have cleared.

They affect to carry their heads high, and to despise common menaces, saying, that THEY  have the countenance of the Hon. Messrs——, sons of a high and most esteemed legal character.