A sort of pestering spirit…

I have a perfectly snug space in which to write (whilst pondering the acquisition of a future Shed), but am not always able to settle and work in that spot. Sometimes a change of scene is required in order that the Muse be adequately prompted.

Last night I took myself off to a newly discovered gem of Shrewsbury: Mad Jack’s – a delightful restaurant/bar, just a two minute walk up the hill (and five minute meandering stagger down again later).

It has a wonderful courtyard, with canopy, heaters and leather sofas. And it serves decent wine. In large glasses.

It’s named after one Mad ‘Jack’ Mytton – a reckless Shropshire squire, described affectionately in his Wiki entry as “a notable British eccentric and Regency rake”. Mytton followed family tradition to become MP for Shropshire – his seat secured through paying constituents £10 each to vote for him – but he found he hated politics and instead pursued a debauched life, squandering his family’s fortune and courting death in a bizarre litany of deliberate misadventure. He died at 38, penniless and in debtor’s prison – a round shouldered, tottering old-young man bloated by drink. Worn out by too much foolishness, too much wretchedness and too much brandy.

His close friend, Charles James Apperley, wrote a biography with the barking mad title: The Memoirs of the Life of the Late John Mytton, Esquire, of Halston, Shropshire, formerly MP for Shrewsbury, High Sheriff for the Counties of Salop & Merioneth, Major of the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry; with Notices of his Hunting, Shooting and Driving. I reckon it’d be a challenge to get that one past an editor these days.

In this biography Apperley mused over whether Mytton enjoyed life and came to the conclusion, No. He lacked the art of enjoyment. He was bored and unhappy. There was that about him which resembled the restlessness of the hyena. A sort of pestering spirit egged him on.

I’d quite like that last sentence on my gravestone: A sort of pestering spirit egged her on. It’d be a glorious epitaph.

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6 Replies to “A sort of pestering spirit…”

  1. My 5th great-grandfather's last words: I've seen heaven, and I'm going there. But I didn't miss hell by a hair's breath. What a way to live–just squeaking in under the wire. 😉 Wish I had his spirit.

  2. I sometimes develop that inability to focus while at my perfectly adequate desk. Usually a relocation to the kitchen table is sufficient. I have no place as cool as Mad Jack's sounds a convenient tottering away. I am jealous.I also intend to see if Project Gutenberg has The Memoirs of the Life of the Late John Mytton, Esquire, of Halston, Shropshire, formerly MP for Shrewsbury, High Sheriff for the Counties of Salop & Merioneth, Major of the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry; with Notices of his Hunting, Shooting and Driving.

  3. Ha ha, yes, I did think of trying to find it myself. Okay, first person to track down The Memoirs of the Life of the Late John Mytton, Esquire, of Halston, Shropshire, formerly MP for Shrewsbury, High Sheriff for the Counties of Salop & Merioneth, Major of the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry; with Notices of his Hunting, Shooting and Driving, then they must share it with the wider world.

  4. i came across mytton before (in fact i like the name and thought of purloining it for a char) while looking into rakes.but did you akshly write owt in jack's mad place?

  5. I found Mad Jack Mytton's biography online… hurrah!It's here: http://www.onread.com/book/Memoirs-of-the-Life-of-the-Late-John-Mytton-Esq-of-Halston-Shopshire-Formerly-M-p-for-Shrewsbury-High-Sheriff-for-the-Counties-of-Salop-And-Merioneth-And-Major-of-the-North-Shopshire-Yeomanry-Cavalry-With-Notices-of-His-Hunting-Shooting-Driving-589428(whoops, that's a big link)And this is just one of many, many amusing snippets:"Fingit equum tenera docilem cervice magister Ire viam, quam monstrat eques," writes Horace, when he shows that the temper of the horse depends upon his treatment when a colt. It is scarcely necessary for me to observe that, before he was ten years old, Master Mytton was as finished a Pickle as the fondest mother and his own will could possibly have made him. Indeed his neighbour, Sir Richard Puleston, with a felicity of expression peculiarly his own, christened him Mango, the king of the Pickles, and he proved his title to the honour even to the end of his life.

  6. Hi, As a child my parents told me that we were distantly related to John Mytton and that he was related to the royal family. Does anyone know of his royal connections?.Regards,John Salisbury.

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