A Day at Tunbridge Wells
gay to Profusion; where rich Cloaths, Jewels, and Beauty, dazzle the Eyes from one End of the Range to the other." During these hours those who were taking the cure would drink their second glass of the water; the rest would while away some time gazing at the windows of the shops under the portico, where Tunbridge ware, jewellery, china, and millinery, were exposed to tempt all and sundry to enter and purchase. Some would go to try their fortune raffling at the toy-shop; others to the Library 1 to turn over the new novels and look at the paper : almost all there would read the verses written by the visitors, placed for perusal in a prominent place.
Students of the social life of the eighteenth century are well aware that a favourite pastime of the fashionable world was the composition of vers de societe and vers d'occasion. It is probably no exaggeration to
1 There were in the latter half of the eighteenth century two Libraries, J. Sprange's and Nash's. Later Sprange's became Elliott's, and Mr. A. M. Broadley possesses bookplates also of the Libraries of E. Baker and Knight. In the early Victorian days there was the establishment of John Colbran, whence were issued guides to Tunbridge Wells, edited by James Phippen. Sprange in earlier days also published guides to the spa.