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Title: The Children's Book of London
Author: Mitton, G. E. (Geraldine Edith)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Children's Book of London" ***

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The CHILDREN'S BOOK of LONDON

BY

G. E. MITTON

WITH EIGHT FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR


A. & C. BLACK, LTD., 4, 5 & 6 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.1


[Illustration: THE TOWER BRIDGE.]


PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN

_First Published 1903_


TO

RENA, CU, AND ELFIE



CONTENTS


BOOK I

LONDON AS IT IS


CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

    I. LONDON CHILDREN                                        3

   II. LONDON                                                16

  III. THE KING'S PALACES                                    29

   IV. TRAINS AND HORSES                                     42

    V. CHILDREN AT SCHOOL                                    52

   VI. LONDON MARKETS                                        64

  VII. CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS                                  77

 VIII. STREETS AND SHOPS                                     89

   IX. DOGS AND CATS                                        105

    X. ODDS AND ENDS                                        115


BOOK II

HISTORICAL STORIES


   XI. KING EDWARD V                                        131

  XII. TOURNAMENTS AND PAGEANTS                             154

 XIII. SIR THOMAS MORE                                      165

  XIV. LADY JANE GREY                                       182

   XV. GUNPOWDER PLOT                                       196

  XVI. CHARLES I                                            204

 XVII. THE GREAT PLAGUE AND FIRE                            222


BOOK III

THE SIGHTS OF LONDON


XVIII. THE TOWER OF LONDON                                  241

  XIX. THE TOWER OF LONDON--_continued_                     257

   XX. THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS                               270

  XXI. THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS--_continued_                  289

 XXII. THE BRITISH MUSEUM                                   303

XXIII. THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM                           311

 XXIV. WESTMINSTER ABBEY, ST. PAUL'S, AND THE CENOTAPH      332

  XXV. THE MINT, THE BANK, AND THE POST OFFICE              353

 XXVI. THE LORD MAYOR'S SHOW AND OTHER THINGS               370



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


THE TOWER BRIDGE                                 _Frontispiece_

                                                    FACING PAGE

QUEEN VICTORIA MEMORIAL AND BUCKINGHAM PALACE                30

TRAFALGAR SQUARE                                            132

THE TRAITORS' GATE, TOWER OF LONDON                         180

THE CENOTAPH, WHITEHALL                                     216

ST. MARY-LE-STRAND AND BUSH HOUSE                           244

THE CORONATION CHAIR, WESTMINSTER ABBEY                     340

ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL                                        348



BOOK I

LONDON AS IT IS

THE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF LONDON



CHAPTER I

LONDON CHILDREN


To begin with, the streets of London are not paved with gold; but I need
not have said that, for nowadays the very youngest child knows it. It
was Dick Whittington who first imagined anything so foolish; but then he
was only a country lad, and in his days there were not the same
opportunities for finding out the truth about things as there are now.
There were very few books for one thing, and those there were cost a
great deal of money, and would hardly be likely to come in Dick's way;
so that if there was by chance a book which described London as it was
then, it is not at all probable that he would have seen it. There were
no photographs, either, to show him what London was really like, so, of
course, he had to make up ideas about it himself, just as you who live
in the country and have heard people talking about London do now. Are
the stories you invent at all like the stories Dick Whittington made up
for himself? You can't answer because you're not writing this book, so I
must answer for you. Perhaps you think London is a place where there are
no lessons to do, and where there is always a great deal of fun going
on; where you can go to see sights all day long; the huge waxwork
figures at Madame Tussaud's, as big as real people; and lions and tigers
and elephants and bears at the Zoo; and you think that the boys and
girls who live in London spend all their time in seeing wonderful
things.

If this is what you think, some of it is true enough. There are a great
many wonderful things to be seen in London, and if you want to hear
about them at once you must skip all this chapter and a great many
others besides, and go on to page 241, where you will find them
described. But if you want to know what London itself is really like you
must wait a little longer. The best people to tell you would be the
children who live in London; they will read this book, and, of course,
they could answer all your questions, but they would not all answer in
the same way.

Some would say: 'Oh yes, of course we all know the Zoo, but that's for
small children; _we_ are quite tired of a dull place like that, where
everyone goes; we like balls, with good floors for dancing, and
programmes, and everything done as it is at grown-up balls; and we like
theatres, where we can sit in the front row and look through
opera-glasses and eat ices. Madame Tussaud's? Yes, it's there still; we
went to it when we were quite little babies, but it's not at all
fashionable.'

And another child might say: 'I don't mind driving with mother in the
Row when I'm really beautifully dressed.'

But I'll tell you a secret about the little boys and girls who talk like
this: they are not really children at all, they never have been and
never will be; they are grown-up men and women in child shapes, and by
the time their bodies have grown big they won't enjoy anything at all.
Master Augustus will be a dull young man, who hates everybody, and does
not know how to get through the long, dreary day; and Miss Ruby will be
a mere heartless woman, who only cares to please herself, and does not
mind how unhappy she makes everyone else. And all this will be because
their foolish father and mother let them have everything they wanted,
and allowed them to go everywhere they liked, and that is not at all
good even for grown-up people, and it is very, very much worse for
children.

There are, however, many other sorts of children in London, and it is
rather interesting to hear what they think of the town in which they
live. For instance, there are the children of people who are not at all
poor, who have nice houses and plenty of money, but who are yet sensible
enough to know that their children must have something else besides
pleasure. If we asked one of their children what he thought of London,
he might say: 'I've seen the Zoo, of course, and Madame Tussaud's, and
I've been to Maskelyne's Mysteries and the Hippodrome, and they're all
jolly, especially the Zoo; but those things generally happen in the
holidays: we don't have such fun every day.' A boy or a girl of this
sort has really a much duller time than one who lives in the country.
London is so big, so huge, that he sees only a wee bit of it.

London is the capital town of England, as everyone knows. In Dick
Whittington's time it was not very big, but it has grown and grown,
until it is seventeen miles in one direction and twelve in another. You
know what a mile is, perhaps; well, try to imagine seventeen miles one
after another, end to end, on and on, all streets of houses, with here
and there a park, very carefully kept, not in the least like a country
park. And all these streets and streets of houses are not very
interesting, and in many of them the houses are all alike, built of
dull-coloured stone or red brick, or else they are covered with plaster.

There is a great part of London where people only go to work, and from
which they come away again at nights. In the mornings hundreds and
hundreds of men pour into this part as fast as the trains can bring
them, and go to their offices, which are in great buildings, many
different offices being in one building; and the streets are filled with
men hurrying this way and that, always in a hurry. There is no one
standing about or idling. Omnibuses and carts and cabs are all mixed up
together in the roadway, until you would think it was impossible for
them ever to be disentangled again. And now and then some bold man on a
bicycle dares to ride right into the middle of it all, between the
wheels and under the horses' noses, and how he ever gets through without
being crushed up as flat as a paper-knife is a wonder!

At nights, when the men have done their day's work, they are in as much
of a hurry to get out of this part of London, which is called the City,
as they were to get into it in the morning. They go by cabs and
omnibuses and trains back to their homes and their children, and the
City is left still and silent, with just a quiet cat flitting across the
street, and making a frightened jump when the big policeman turns his
lantern on to her.

The children of rich people seldom see this part of London. Perhaps
their father goes there every day, and they hear him talk of the City,
but it is like another town to them, so vague and far away it seems.
These children probably have lessons with their governess at home, and
when twelve o'clock comes they go for a walk. When they open the
front-door they see a long street, stretching both ways, filled with
dark, dull-looking houses just the same as their own. The street
pavement is made of wood, which is quieter than stones, and when the
cabs run past they make very little sound. If the children are lucky
they live in a square, and there is a garden in the middle, with iron
railings round it, and everyone who lives in the square has a key to
open the gate; but it must not be left open, or other people would get
in and use the garden too. It has green grass in it and flower-beds,
and it is all very prim and proper, and not at all interesting; and,
worst of all, the dear dogs, Scamp and Jim, cannot go there, even when
they are led by a string. The gardener would turn them out, for he
imagines they would kick about in his flower-beds and rake out the
seeds. This is not the sort of garden that a country child would care
for. But Jack and Ethel are not country children; they are quite used to
their garden, and like it very much.

We can see them start on their morning walk with Miss Primity, their
governess. Both the children wear gloves--they never go out without
them--and in the street they walk quietly; but when they have passed
down the street and got into Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens, they can
run about as much as they like. In the Gardens there is a big round
pond, where Jack can sail his boat; and on Saturdays the water is
covered with white sails, and even men come down and join in the sport,
making their toy boats race against one another. The boats are often
quite large, and the scene is very gay and pretty. There are a great
many ducks, which clamour to be fed; and there are other children there
too. These may be friends of Jack's and Ethel's, and they can play
together, and Ethel can show her new doll, and Jack can boast of all the
things he means to do when he grows up. The Gardens are very nice, but
it is rather dull always having the same walk in the same place every
day, and sometimes the children get a little tired of it, and are glad
when a half-holiday comes and an aunt or uncle carries them off to see
some of the wonderful things of which London is full.

There is another part of London of which we have not yet spoken. We have
heard of the City and of the West End--the City, where business men
work, and the West End, where rich people live; but there is also the
East End, lying beyond the City, and the people who live here are nearly
all poor. If you asked any of the children of the East End if they had
seen Madame Tussaud's or the Zoo, they would grin, and say, 'Garn!' and
if you told them about these things they might say, 'Ye're kiddin',
ye're,' which is their way of saying they don't believe you, and think
you are telling stories. In the streets where these children live
everything is dirty and nasty. A number of families live together in one
house, perhaps even in one room, for I have heard of rooms where each
family had a corner. The women never do anything more than they can
help. They never mend their old dresses, or wash themselves or their
children, or try to cook nicely; they do nothing. They spend the day
sitting on their dirty doorsteps, with the youngest baby on their knees,
and their hair is all uncombed, and their dresses are filthy and torn,
and they shout out to other women across the street, and make remarks on
anyone who happens to pass. The poor little baby gets dreadful things to
eat--things that you would think would kill an ordinary child--bits of
herring or apple, and anything else its mother eats, and sometimes even
sips of beer or gin. If it cries, it is joggled about or slapped, and as
soon as ever it is able to sit up, it is put down on the pavement among
a number of other dirty, untidy children and left to take care of
itself. When a little girl is seven she is thought quite old enough to
look after all the younger ones, and on Saturdays she goes off with
other little girls, pushing a rickety old perambulator or a wooden cart,
with perhaps two babies in it and several smaller children hanging on to
her skirt; and she goes down the foul street and on until she comes to a
tiny little bit of ground, where there are seats and some bushes and
hard paths, and this is a playground. But what do you think it really
has been? A graveyard, and there are still graves and big stones,
showing that people have been buried there long years ago. But the
children who play in it do not mind this at all; they sit on the graves,
and think that they are very lucky to get this place away from the
street. Then the poor little babies are left in their go-carts or
perambulators, very often in the sun, with their heads hanging down over
the edge, while Liza talks to Bella; and they both put their hair in
curl-papers, and show each other any small things they have picked up in
the street. They have no need of dolls, for both Bella and Liza have
living dolls, which are often very troublesome; but they are quite used
to it, and if the live doll cries they just stop talking and rush up to
it and push it up and down, or take it out and shake it about for a few
minutes, and then put it back again and go on with their talk.
Sometimes, not often, they have a feast, and perhaps Bella brings out a
dirty bottle which she has picked up, and fills it with water at the
fountain; and Liza takes from her pocket an apple and some sticky
toffee, and perhaps one of the little ones has a bun. And then the apple
is rubbed until it shines with a dirty bit of rag called a
pocket-handkerchief, and they all sit down together in a row and share
the things; and even the baby has a hard lump of apple stuffed into its
mouth, for Liza and Bella do not mean to be unkind to their babies, for
they have mother-hearts in them.

Well, of course, there are many other sorts of children in London
besides these: there are the children of working men, who are neatly
dressed and go out on Sundays with their father and mother; there are
chauffeurs' children who live near the garage, or in the mews, where
rich people keep their motor-cars or carriages. It is not easy in London
to find rooms for cars or carriages close to the house, so a number of
stables were built together, making a long yard like a street, and the
people who lived near kept their carriages there, but there are fewer
carriages now, and often the rooms in the mews are empty or used by
outside people, while the cars are kept at some big garage a little
distance off. There are many others who are not so lucky as chauffeurs'
or coachmen's children; think of the little children who belong to the
organ-grinders, and who are taken about in a basket tied on to the
grinding organ, with the hideous noise in their ears all day. I wonder
that they can ever hear at all when they grow up. Many, very many, of
the children have no playground at all but the street, the pavement,
where people are passing all the time. They sit on the doorsteps and
breathe in the dust, and all their playthings, if they have any--and
even their food--are often thick with dust. I have seen a child rubbing
a bit of bread-and-jam up and down on the dirty stone before it eats it.
But the rich children and the poor children do not often meet, for if
the rich children go through the streets in the poorer parts they are in
motor-cars or cabs, and in their part of the park there are not many
poor children, while in the parks where the poor children go you do not
find many rich ones. And though there are parts of London where poor and
rich are very near together, yet their lives never mix as the lives of
country children do. Very often in the country a child knows the names
of all the other children in its village, and who they are and all about
them; but in London it is not so. And many rich children grumble all the
time if they do not have everything they want, and never think of their
poor little brothers and sisters, who would snatch eagerly at many of
the things they throw away.

Have you heard the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who piped so
wonderfully that he could make anything follow him when he liked, and
how he piped so that all the rats ran after him, and he led them to the
river and they were drowned? When he asked the mayor and chief men in
the town to be paid for what he had done, they laughed, and said: 'No,
now the rats are dead, you can't make them alive again; we have got what
we wanted, and we won't pay you.' So the piper was very angry, and piped
another tune, and all the children in the town followed him; and he led
them on and on toward a great mountain, where a cave opened suddenly,
and they all went in, and were never seen again. I think if that Pied
Piper came to London he would find very many more different sorts of
children than ever he found in Hamelin, where--


     'Out came the children running:
     All the little boys and girls,
     With rosy checks and flaxen curls,
     And sparkling eyes, and teeth like pearls,
     Tripping and skipping ran merrily after
     The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.'


There would be London children whose eyes did not sparkle, and who had
almost forgotten to laugh, as well as those like the children of
Hamelin, who were so bright and so gay.



CHAPTER II

LONDON


Now, we have seen something of the children who live in London, and it
is time to try to think a little of what London itself is like. As I
have said, the boys and girls who live there do not know very much about
it; they only know their own little corner of it, because London is so
big that it is almost impossible even for a grown-up person to know it
quite well in every part. I have told you it is about seventeen miles
long and twelve broad, but you cannot understand really how long that
is; you can only get some little idea. This great town stretches on for
mile after mile, houses and houses and streets and streets, with here
and there a park, but even the park is surrounded by houses. Children
who live in small towns can always get out into the country and see
green trees and grass and hedges, but many of the children who live in
London have never seen the country, and have no idea what it is like.

We heard in the last chapter just a little about this great town, how
it is divided into three parts, that is to say, the West End, where the
rich people live, and the City, where men go to work, and the East End,
where the poor people live. Of course, it isn't quite so simple as that,
because all the rich people don't live in the West End or all the poor
people in the East. Some of the poor ones live in the West End, too, but
roughly we may put it so, just to get some idea of the place.

Through this great London there rolls a great river, and there is
scarcely any need to say what the name of that river is, for every child
knows about the Thames. The great river cuts London into two parts, and
on the south side of it there are many poor streets with poor people
living in them, and close to the river is a palace, where the Archbishop
of Canterbury lives. He is head of all the clergymen and all the bishops
of the English Church. The palace has stood there for many hundreds of
years, and it is curious to think that this important man, who has so
much power, and who has the right to walk before all the dukes and earls
when he goes to Parliament, lives there among the poor people on the
south side of the river.

The City, where men have their offices and go to work, is really quite
a small part of London, but it is very important. Here there is the Bank
of England, where bank-notes are made, and where there is gold in great
bars lying in the cellars. The Bank has streets all round its four
sides, as if it were an island, and the streets were rivers, and inside,
in the middle of the building, there is a yard, with trees in it and a
garden. It does seem so funny to find a garden here amongst all the
houses. If you went into the Bank to see it, you would meet a man
wearing a funny cocked hat like those that men used to wear in old
times; and if you showed him that you had leave to go all over the
building, he would tell you where to go and be very civil. We shall hear
more about the Bank later on.

Close to the Bank is the Mansion House, where the Lord Mayor lives. The
Lord Mayor is a very grand person indeed. He is the head of the City,
and a new Lord Mayor is chosen every year. There are other big buildings
around near the Bank, and just here seven streets meet, and there is an
open space. Now, if you were suddenly dropped down into that open space
at, say, the middle of the day, you would most certainly be run over
unless you stood close beside the very biggest policeman you could see,
for every thing on wheels is coming in every direction--big
motor-omnibuses, generally painted the most vivid scarlet, crammed with
people inside and on the top; taxi-cabs with patient drivers, who would
not jump if a gunpowder explosion went off under their noses; they have
to keep good-tempered all day long, in spite of the tangle of traffic;
immense lorries loaded with beer barrels; and little tiny carts with
greengrocer's stuff, perhaps dragged by a dear little donkey, who looks
as if he could run right under the bodies of the big dray-horses. And
all these things are coming so fast and so close to one another, that it
seems a miracle anyone can get through. Not long ago an underground
passage with steps leading down to it was built, so that people can go
under instead of over the street, which is, I think, a very good thing.

In the City there are a great many churches, nearly all built by one
man, Sir Christopher Wren, a very clever man. But you will say, 'Why do
people want churches in the City? Didn't you say that everyone went away
to their own houses at night and on Sundays? Isn't the City, then, quite
empty?'

Yes, that is true; on Sundays the City is empty, except for people who
come down to walk round and look at it. But the churches are still
there, and there are still services in them on Sundays, because long
years ago good men left money to pay the clergymen, and no one has any
right to use it for any other purpose; so the clergymen preach, and very
few people are there to hear. It seems odd, doesn't it? But there are
many things odd in this great, dear, smoky London of ours. There used to
be many more churches in the City than there are now; at one time there
were seventy churches or more all in this small space! There aren't so
many now, but still there are a good many left.

If you went on beyond the City, further away from the West End, you
would come to that miserable part where the poor people live, and in
some parts here there are a great many foreigners, who come to England
to get work, and who earn very little money, and are rough and rude, and
all live together in one place. In some streets you would hardly hear
English spoken at all. On Saturday nights here the streets are quite a
sight, because the people have barrows or stalls by the sides of the
road instead of shops, and when evening comes they light them up with
flaming torches. And then they spread out all sorts of things for sale,
and yell and shout for people to come and buy; and crowds of people do
come, and the pavement is covered with people pushing and jostling to
get things cheaply. On one stall you will see piles of fruit--cheap
green grapes hanging in bunches, red apples, yellow oranges, and perhaps
tomatoes; and on another stall nothing but raw meat, and here the women
buy a little bit for their Sunday dinners; and on another stall there is
nothing but yards and yards of white embroidery. It seems such a queer
thing to sell there; but it is there: I have seen it, and the wonder is
it does not get so black that no one could use it. Then another stall
may have fish, and here all sorts of shell-fish will be lying in little
saucers with a pinch of pepper and a spoonful of vinegar over them, and
people take them up and eat them there and then. And all down the street
the lights flare, until you would think they must set fire to
everything, and the people at the stalls cry, 'Buy, buy, buy!' And
perhaps in the midst of all this noise and confusion you might see a
little baby, rolled up in a shawl, lying on the ground or in a box close
to a stall.

If you went down to the river from the East End you would find many very
wonderful things, but here hardly any London people from the West End
go; it is so far that very few of the people who live in London have
ever been there at all. The great river rolls on to the sea, and twice
in every day and night the sea sends a strong tide flooding up to
London, and the barges, bringing coal and straw and wood and many other
things, use the tide to come up the river, for otherwise they must have
a small steamboat to drag them. And by the side of the river there are
great houses built right on the edge of the water, where all day long
men work, either taking things out of steamers or putting other things
into other steamers to go away to foreign countries. The river is
covered with steamers and barges and boats, just as the streets are
crowded with omnibuses and cabs and carts. Always men are working and
bringing things to the great City and sending things out. If it were not
so the City could not live at all, because the people must be fed and
clothed, and they can't make everything they want or grow what they want
to eat in London itself.

Down in this part of London there are huge docks, but I am quite sure
you do not know what docks are. They are basins of water, like immense
ponds or lakes, shut in on all sides except for one entrance from the
river, and here ships can come in and lie snugly and safely without
being pushed about by the tides, and they can be painted and mended and
made fit to go to sea again. One of these docks on a fine afternoon in
summer is a very beautiful sight; all the tall masts and funnels of the
ships are mixed up together like a forest of trees, and the blue sky
peeps through them and the blue water ripples round them. When you saw
this sight you would understand a little what a wonderful city London
is, and how she sends her ships out to all parts of the world.

One of the great sights on the river is the Tower Bridge. This is not
the newest bridge, but it was built later than most of the others. It
has two great towers rising one on each side, to the sky, and the bridge
lies across low down between these towers. But when a big ship comes and
wants to get up the river under the bridge, what is to be done? The
bridge is not high enough! Well, what does happen is this, and I hope
that every one of you will see it one day, for it is one of the grandest
things in all London: a man rings a bell, and the cabs and carriages and
carts and people who are on the bridge rush quickly across to the other
side, and when the bridge is quite empty then the man in the tower
touches some machinery, and slowly the great bridge, which is like a
road, remember, rises up into the air in two pieces, just as you might
lift your hands while the elbows rested on your knees without moving,
and the beautiful ship passes underneath, and the bridge goes back again
quite gently into its place. This bridge has been called the Gate of
London, and it is a very good name, for it looks like a giant gate over
the river. Close to it is the Tower, of which you must often have read
in your history books--the grim Tower where so many people who were not
wicked at all were imprisoned, and where some of them were beheaded
because, in the time when they lived, there were no laws such as there
are now safeguarding people's lives. The Tower will have a chapter to
itself later on.

This is all I am going to tell you at present about the City and the
East End, because it is quite impossible to tell everything. In the West
End, too, there are many interesting things, and the most interesting of
them must have chapters to themselves; for instance, the palaces
belonging to the King, and the hospitals which are entirely for
children. But there are other things which belong to the whole of
London, and must be mentioned here. There is, for instance, the
Embankment--rather a long word, but not a difficult one. It means the
wall which was built for miles along beside the river to make a road and
to prevent the river flooding right up to the houses. In old days, when
people had their houses on the water's edge, when there came a high tide
or a strong wind, the water washed up over them, and did a great deal of
damage; so it was decided to build a strong wall beside the river, which
the water, even in the highest tide, could not leap over. It was a
wonderful piece of work. It is difficult to think of the number of
cartloads of solid earth and stone that had to be put down into the
water to make a firm foundation, and when that was done the wall had to
be built on the top. But though the river had been banked up it could
still make itself disagreeable. In 1928, driven by strong winds and high
tides, after much rain, it flowed up over the Embankment in some places
and broke through in others. It flooded many houses, and some people
were drowned. The river also helps to cause fog; it seems as though it
had gone to the smoke demon to find out what they could do to be
spiteful, and they had agreed they could not do anything each by
himself, but that together they could be very nasty. So every now and
then the damp air which rises from the river, and the heavy smoke which
comes out of the hundreds of chimneys, join together and make a thick
black veil, and hang over London and come down into the streets so that
people can't see where they are going, and when they breathe their noses
and mouths are filled with nasty, dirty smuts. You who are London
children know Mr. Fog-fiend very well. When you wake on a morning in
November and find the room still dark, and are told it is time to get up
when it looks like the middle of the night, then you know the fog has
come; and he visits rich and poor alike. There is no keeping him in the
East End.

With all her money and her cleverness London has never found out
anything good enough to tempt Mr. Fog-fiend to go right away. No, he
comes often, and stays, perhaps, for weeks together, and the eyes of
children smart and their throats feel thick, and they find it so dull to
do lessons by artificial light; and when the time comes for the daily
walk they cannot go out, because they might get run over, not being able
to see. And everything is very quiet, for the omnibuses and taxi-cabs
have to go at a walking pace for fear they might run into something.
And it is no wonder sometimes that children get cross and tired when
they cannot see the sun, which may be shining brightly in the country
all day long. Mr. Fog-fiend has many dresses; sometimes he puts on a
white one instead of a black one, and that is not so bad, because it is
quite light, but just as if soft white shawls were hung in front of your
eyes so that you couldn't see. But it is even more dangerous to try to
cross the road in a white fog than in a black one. It is like living
inside a big white cloud. Then there is a yellow dress, which is the
ugliest of all. It is like yellow smoke, and it gets into people's
throats and makes them cough, and it steals into all the rooms so that
even the lamp across the room looks quite dim; and the air is full of
it, and you taste it in all your food. But it is lucky that there are
not always fogs in London, or no one could live; they only come in the
last months of the year or the very early ones, and in the summer London
children do not see fogs any more than country children do, though
perhaps the sun does not shine always quite so brightly in London as it
does in the country.

Close to the river are the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey,
both very wonderful. I have not told you about Westminster yet, because
I was afraid of confusing you with too many things at once, but you
ought to know now. You can tell for yourselves which side of London it
is on from the name--that is, if you are not very stupid. Yes,
Westminster is on the west side of the City, but what is rather odd is
that once Westminster and London were two separate places with long
green fields and hedges lying between them, but the houses grew and grew
until they met. Westminster is very proud, and though now she is mixed
up with London, she says, 'I will be a city, too.' And so she is a city
within London, but there is no difference that you could tell between
the two; the houses run on just the same, and no one could find out,
merely by looking, where Westminster begins.

Well, this is enough for one chapter, and in the next we will see some
more things about this wonderful town of London, which can swallow a
whole city like Westminster and allow her still to be a city, and yet
not feel any indigestion!



CHAPTER III

THE KING'S PALACES


In the last chapter I said something about the King's palace. One of the
first things that foreigners ask when they come to London is, 'Where
does the King live?' and when they see his London house they are quite
disappointed, because Buckingham Palace is not at all beautiful. It
stands at one end of a park called St. James's Park, and it is a huge
house, with straight rows of plain windows. In front there is a bare
yard, with high railings round it, and beside the gate there are
sentries on guard. The palace is large, but very ugly, and anyone seeing
only the outside might wonder why the King of England, who is so rich,
lived in such a dull house while he was in London. But Buckingham Palace
is very magnificent inside, and if you saw it on a day when the ladies
go to Court to be presented to the King and Queen, you would no longer
think it dull. In the time of Queen Victoria, the ladies who wished to
be presented, which means to be introduced to the Queen, had to go
there in the daytime, and as they were obliged to wear evening dress and
to have waving white feathers in their hair, and sometimes had to wait
hours and hours before their turn came to kiss the Queen's hand, it
cannot have been much pleasure to them, and they must have felt often
very cross, especially when it was cold. But since the reign of King
Edward VII., the Drawing-rooms, as they are called, when ladies are
presented to their Sovereign, are in the evening, and Queen Mary has had
garden parties where young girls are 'presented' too, in afternoon
dress. It is not very interesting reading about descriptions of
furniture, so I will only say that the great staircase in the palace is
of white marble, and in the throne-room there is crimson satin and much
gilt, and the walls of the rooms are hung with magnificent pictures, and
everything is just like the palace that one reads about in fairy tales,
to which the Prince took home the Princess when he had won her.

[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA MEMORIAL AND BUCKINGHAM PALACE.]

Before Buckingham Palace was built, the house which stood here belonged
to a man called the Earl of Arlington, and in his time no one in England
knew anything about tea. Beer was generally drunk at every meal--beer
for breakfast, beer for dinner, beer for supper! But this Earl bought
a pound of tea in Holland for sixty shillings, which was a great deal to
give, for a pound of tea now costs about two shillings. And he brought
it home to his house and made the tea there, so that it seems very
likely that the first cup of tea ever drunk in England was made where
Buckingham Palace now stands, and I expect there are very few people who
know that.

At the side of Buckingham Palace there is a big garden with high
side-walls. In this garden are held the royal garden parties attended by
thousands in gorgeous raiment, including many Eastern potentates, as
well as ambassadors, generals, admirals, and others in uniform.
Marlborough House, which was used by Queen Alexandra, King George's
mother, during her lifetime, afterwards became the home of the Prince of
Wales. Both his father and grandfather, King George and King Edward,
lived here when they were Prince of Wales.

St. James's Palace is just opposite. It is much more picturesque but not
so convenient. With its rambling courtyards and turrets it really looks
old. You shall hear about its history presently.

The Duke of York, the second son of the King, is married. It was a joy
to the nation when he chose for himself Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon,
daughter of the Earl of Strathmore. Their baby daughter, Princess
Elizabeth, has already won all hearts.

All the children in our Royal Family have been very carefully and
properly brought up. The Queen is an excellent mother and has set an
example to all mothers. Not only have they received a special education,
including the fluent use of many foreign tongues, but they have been
taught manners and self-control and unselfishness. It is not so easy to
be a good prince as some of you might think. The Prince of Wales must
often be bored by all the hand-shaking and set speeches he has to
endure, but he must always look pleased, and remember that though he is
sick of these things yet the people he is speaking to consider it the
occasion of their lives.

The Prince's ready smile and pleasant nature have endeared him to
thousands beyond the seas. And in his tours to India and the Dominions
he has done more to bind together the British Empire than any statesman
who ever lived. He and his next brother, the Duke of York, are much
attached to one another. The Duke, who is still affectionately spoken
of as Prince Albert, is of a serious turn of mind, and has already taken
up philanthropic work for the hospitals and other institutions. Then
comes Princess Mary, the only girl in this large family, and a great
favourite, not only with her brothers, but with the whole nation. In
1922 she married Viscount Lascelles, and has two sturdy boys, Hubert and
Gerald. That she and her next brother should marry thus into the noble
families of Britain has drawn the ties between the nation and Royal
Family closer than before.

Prince Henry, the third son, is in the army, and has proved himself a
sportsman, excelling especially in polo and tent-pegging. He has chosen
the army as his profession. Prince George is a sailor by profession,
inheriting the love of the sea from the King.

There is a story told of the Prince of Wales as a very small boy, which
shows that, as well as being full of fun, he can also be very
thoughtful. The nurse who was looking after him said he must go to sleep
and not talk any more, so he answered: 'Well, I'll just say one thing
more, and then I'll go to sleep. You know, nurse, that if I live I shall
one day be King of England.' Yes, the nurse knew that very well. 'Then,'
said the Prince, 'when I'm King I shall do three things: first, I'll
make a law that no one is to cut off the puppy dogs' tails; then I'll
make a law that no one is to put bearing-reins on horses.' As he was
silent, the nurse asked what was the last thing. 'Oh, that,' he said:
'I'm going to do away with all sin.'

St. James's Palace is a very old place, and really looks like a palace.
It has high towers and a great clock, and is made of dark-red brick. It
was first built by King Henry VIII., and very many of the kings and
queens of England have lived there. If you guessed all day you would
never guess what stood here before the palace, so I will tell you. There
was a hospital for poor women who had leprosy. King Henry VIII. had
bought a good deal of the park, and he thought he would like to have the
hospital too, so he just took it. It was what he was in the habit of
doing when he wanted anything. But our kings and queens never do that
now. King Henry turned out the fourteen poor women who lived there, but
some people say he gave them money to make up for taking their home from
them, and we hope he did. Then he built St. James's Palace. When
Cromwell had beheaded King Charles I., there were some exciting times at
St. James's Palace. King Charles's children, the Duke of York and the
Duke of Gloucester and the Princess Elizabeth, were kept in prison
here, and at last the Duke of York borrowed some clothes from a woman,
and got out of the palace and into the park. Then he managed to get to
the river, and took a boat, and so went down the river and escaped
abroad, and was safe from his enemies. Afterwards, when England found
out what a mistake she had made, and how wicked she had been to kill her
King, she called back her King's son Charles to be Charles II. The Duke
of York was his younger brother, so when Charles II. died without
leaving any children, the Duke of York, who had escaped from the palace
dressed like a woman, became king as James II. The night before he was
crowned he slept at St. James's Palace, and he must have thought of the
difference between his position then and when he had had to run away in
terror at night, a poor frightened boy.

St. James's Park, where Buckingham Palace, Marlborough House, and St.
James's Palace stand, is very pretty. There is a great piece of water in
it, and on this live many ducks and some other kinds of rare birds.
During the war the water was partly drained off, though one end was left
for the birds, on the other part were put up wooden offices for the
clerks in government employ. Not far off you can see the permanent
Government offices, where the men who have been appointed to do all the
business of the country work. In the middle is the Horse Guards, where
two magnificent soldiers on black horses are on guard. They have shining
armour and helmets and waving white plumes, and look very splendid; but
it must be rather dull for them sitting there on their horses for so
many hours without moving until they are relieved by their comrades, who
take it in their turn.

In one of these great buildings, called the Treasury, all the work about
the money which England has to spend on her soldiers and sailors is
done; and in another, called the Admiralty, all the rules for the life
of the sailors are arranged, and there are many others.

A very long time ago, before anyone who is living now can remember,
there was a garden in the corner of St. James's Park called Spring
Gardens, and people used to go there to dance and enjoy themselves; here
there were cows, and fashionable ladies used to get up early in the
morning and go to drink the milk which had just been taken from the
cows. At this place there was a spring of water, which used to start up
from the ground if anyone walked over a particular piece of ground, and
so pressed the grass with his foot. Sometimes a person did not know
this, and would come walking quite gravely along and tread on that
place, and a great stream of water would jump out of the ground all over
him, and the other people would shout and laugh with amusement to see
him so unexpectedly drenched. We would not like that much now--we should
think it rather rude and unkind to laugh at such a thing; but people had
rougher manners then. Now there are houses built nearly all over Spring
Gardens. King Charles I., who had spent the night before he was murdered
at St. James's Palace, walked this way when he went to be beheaded.

There is a walk in St. James's Park called the Mall, and this name comes
from Pall Mall, which was the name of an old game Charles II. used to
play here. It must have been rather a funny game, and no one plays it
now. The players had long mallets, which were not quite like croquet
mallets, but more like golf clubs, and they had a wooden ball about the
size of a croquet ball, and they tried to hit the ball through a hoop
high up in the air hanging from a pole. It must have been difficult and
rather dangerous to have a ball as big as a croquet ball hopping about
and jumping up in the air, but we do not read of any accidents
happening.

Another palace in London, which is some way from the others and in
another park, is Kensington Palace, and this is not now used by the King
at all, but he allows some ladies and gentlemen to live there. This
palace will always be of very great interest to all of us, because it
was here that good Queen Victoria was born, and here she lived when she
was a little girl. Do you remember my telling you about Kensington
Gardens and the Round Pond, where Ethel and Jack went for their walk?
Well, the palace is there, and I wonder how many children who run and
play in the gardens every day ever think of the childhood of little
Princess Victoria. You know, when she was quite a little girl, it was
not known that she would be Queen of England, because there were other
persons between her and the throne; but they died one by one, so that at
last every one knew that Princess Victoria would one day be Queen of
England. But no one ever guessed what a long and glorious reign she
would have--longer than any other English Sovereign who has reigned; and
not only longer, but better. Her uncle, King William, who reigned
before her, was an old man, while she was still quite young, and he died
very suddenly in the night; so the Archbishop of Canterbury and one of
the most important Ministers of State rode off at once to Kensington
Palace to tell Victoria that she was now Queen. They arrived about five
in the morning, and, of course, everyone in the palace was asleep. So
they knocked and rang and thumped, and at last they made the porter
hear. But when they told him to tell the attendants they must see
Princess Victoria, her maid was sent for, and she told them she had not
the heart to wake the Princess, for she was in such a sweet sleep. So
then they said: 'We have come to the QUEEN on business, and even her
sleep must give way to that.' So the maid went away again and woke
Princess Victoria. Fancy being awakened out of your sleep to be told
that you were Queen of England! Victoria was told she must not keep the
lords waiting, and so she threw a shawl round her nightdress and slipped
her feet into slippers, and went through into another large room with
all her long hair hanging down; and when they saw her those two great
lords fell on their knees and kissed her hand. She was only eighteen
then, and she had before her such a wonderful life. It is said that she
had known for a little time before this that if anything happened to her
uncle she would be Queen. So she was not quite unprepared, and when she
had been warned of this, her first exclamation was; 'Oh, I will be
good!' Which showed she was good, for I think most people would have
been rather proud about it, and would not have thought just at that
moment of being good.

Kensington Gardens is one end of a great park, and the other end is
called Hyde Park, where the fashionable people drive in the afternoons.
There are now many who prefer to drive in motor-cars, but there are a
few who still use open carriages, with the fine horses tossing their
heads proudly as they trot. It is a great pity to see that so many
people will put the rein, called a bearing-rein, upon their horses. This
forces the poor animal's head up high, and holds it there, until his
neck aches; and he tries to get rid of it, and foams and chews his bit,
and then the ladies and men who are driving think he looks splendid, and
never mind that he is suffering pain. But to anyone who really loves a
horse there is nothing beautiful in this, and the horse looks far more
beautiful when he is free and holds his head high, or tosses it just
because he likes to do so.

The flowers in Hyde Park are often lovely, and in summer when they are
out, and form a background for the shining cars in which people wait for
the Queen to pass, there is no grander sight to be seen anywhere. On
Sundays, when it is fine, a great many fashionable people go to walk up
and down in the Park after they have been to church, and then there are
many smart dresses to be seen.

There is a great piece of water here called the Serpentine, because it
curves round like a serpent, and anyone can hire a boat and go for a
row, and sometimes the whole of the water is covered with boats. At
other times in the winter, when the ice is safe, there are hundreds and
hundreds of skaters to be seen. And in the mornings very early a good
many men and boys go here to bathe, so that the poor old Serpentine gets
well used; but perhaps he likes it, and it keeps him from feeling
lonely.

During the Great War the open spaces of the Park were freely used for
the drill and training of soldiers, and many people used to go to watch
the fresh-faced young lads springing out of the trenches they had dug
and prodding with their bayonets at stuffed swinging sacks representing
the enemy. There is always something going on and something to see in
Hyde Park.



CHAPTER IV

TRAINS AND HORSES


London is so large that it takes a long time to get from one end to the
other, and the men who go down to the City for their work and come back
every day want means of getting about cheaply and quickly. So there are
omnibuses and trains and cabs in numbers. But the trains in London do
not run above ground--there would be no room for them in the crowded
streets; so there are railways in the earth, deep down beneath all the
houses, and on them there are trains that run round in a circle. Those
of you who have frequently been by the Underground Railway think nothing
of it; to you it seems quite natural, for you are used to it. But it
really is a most astonishing piece of work, as you would realize if you
saw it for the first time. Just imagine how long it must have taken to
cut out and carry away all the masses of earth that had to be removed to
make a tunnel of such a length--a tunnel which should run right round
underneath London. The most wonderful thing is that the houses under
which it ran did not fall down and break through into it. But that has
never happened, for the men who built the tunnel made it very strong,
and lined it with bricks. And all day long, while people are walking
about in the streets and horses are trotting in the daylight, down below
the trains in the underground are running, running in the dark. It
cannot be a very pleasant life to be an engine-driver on this railway:
it must be almost like the life of a pitman who works down in the depths
of the earth; yet the men themselves seem quite happy. The worst part of
the railway used to be that as there are not many places where the smoke
and steam can get out into the air, they hung in the tunnels and made
the air very thick and bad, and there was, consequently, nearly always a
sort of fog down there, and it was unpleasant to breathe the thick air;
but all this has been remedied now, for the trains are run by
electricity instead of steam. There are other underground railways in
London also run by electricity, and they go through different districts,
so by means of one or the other people can get near to almost any street
where they want to go to visit their friends or to shop. In these, the
fares are on the same system as on other railways: you pay for your
ticket according to the distance you wish to go; but in the first one
you paid twopence for all distances alike--twopence if you wanted to go
right from the West End to the City, and twopence all the same if you
were going to get out at the next station. Therefore some people
nicknamed this railway 'The Twopenny Tube.'

Now, besides these underground trains, which are not seen, there are
many huge motor-omnibuses to convey people about the streets above
ground. These omnibuses are painted in very bright colours--generally
red--and the newest of all are made very conveniently so that the
passengers inside can mostly sit facing the way they are going, as they
do outside. You can go inside or out, and in summer it is a very good
way of seeing London to go on the top of an omnibus and watch all that
goes on in the streets below; in the old days the horse omnibuses were
often stuffy inside, with no windows to open at all, and it is a wonder
anyone could be found to go in them. When the motor-omnibuses are full
they carry a great many people. Those of the latest pattern carry
fifty-four passengers inside and out. There is now a regulation to make
omnibuses stop only at certain fixed places which are shown by
sign-boards with the numbers of the 'buses on them. This saves the
constant stopping and starting again, which is trying for the driver,
and wastes much time. People are often very inconsiderate about this;
they never think of getting off if the omnibus stops just a little way
before the place they are going to. I have seen a woman--I'm afraid
women are the worst in this respect--wave her umbrella to the conductor
of an omnibus that was going at a good pace, so the omnibus stopped, and
the woman took quite a long time to go across the street to it; and when
she reached it she asked if it were going to the place she wanted, and
it was not, so all the stopping and waiting had been for nothing. The
motor 'buses go very much faster than the old horse 'buses, and as they
carry, also, many more people, altogether, as we have seen, they do more
work in the way of conveyance altogether.

You can go a long way in an omnibus for a few pence, but taxi-cabs are
much more expensive; they are also very comfortable--no stopping and
waiting for other people then. You are carried swiftly and smoothly to
your destination, unless you are held up by the traffic; and you always
know just how much you will have to pay, as the little clock face
beside the driver marks up the extra payment as the cab covers the
ground.

The motor cabs in London are more comfortable than the hansoms were. But
the old hansom was very good for seeing in the streets, as the driver
was behind and not in front of you. The four-wheel horse cabs seem very
slow to us now, but they carried more luggage than the taxi-cabs can.
Some of us think that the old omnibuses and cabs were more interesting
than the modern ones.

I will tell you a story an omnibus horse told me. His name is Billy, and
he lives in the outskirts of London.

'Oh yes,' he says, 'it's a deal better than being a cab-horse, this is.
They think themselves very grand, and turn up their noses at us. Why,
yes, I've known a cab-horse that turned his nose up so high he could
never get it down again into his nose-bag when he wanted to eat his
dinner, and they had to have a special sort of nose-bag made for him.
Fact! And all along of an old bus-horse a-speaking to him friendly-like
as they stood side by side one day. Silly things! they're running all
day long, and never know how far they'll have to go, while I just have
my one journey a day, and then I go back to my stable. You ought to see
that stable. I live up two stories high, and I walk upstairs to bed
every night. What are you laughing at? It's true. There are three
stories at our place, and for staircases to reach the top ones there are
long sloping boards, like those you've seen put for chickens to get into
a hen-house, with little boards across to make steps, only, of course,
ours are a bit bigger than the chickens'. Why, yes, don't laugh; I could
not walk up a chicken-ladder, could I? In our stable we stand in long
rows, a row on each side, with our heels together in the middle, and
heads to the walls, and between the two rows of heels there's just
enough room for a man to pass. Kick? Why, no; only the bad uns do that,
and when they've done it once Tom (that's our stableman) he puts a rope
across their heels to keep 'em in, and to show people they must take
care. There's plenty to eat, and we don't have a bad time at all.
There's eleven of us belong to one omnibus; that's two each time for
five journeys, and one over. Well, in the mornings I go out with old
Sally perhaps, and we trot up to the City and back; it's a matter of
about eight miles each way. We don't have to go fast, but it's stop,
stop, stop whenever a silly old woman wants to get on and get off, and
it's a pull starting again, I can tell you. We know when the conductor
rings the bell that means to start, and off we go without the driver
telling us, and when the conductor rings again that's to stop; it's easy
learnt. At the other end, the City end, we have perhaps a quarter of an
hour or twenty minutes, and then we come back. The whole thing doesn't
take much over three hours, and we're done for that day; but our driver
he has to go on again with another pair, and then another, and so five
times there and back. It takes a long time that; but then, of course,
he's only got to sit up on the bus, and he doesn't pull it, and every
second day he is off for two journeys. Once in ten days we get a day
off, a holiday, while the odd horse, number eleven, he takes the bus in
the place of one of us. We have a doctor, too, to ourselves, and when
we're ill we get medicine just as you do. Did you say that you had heard
a bus-horse didn't live very long--that the work killed him? Well,
maybe; it depends on the horse. There's a mare there fifteen years old,
and quite good yet; but seven years does for most of us. What's that
you're giving me? Sugar, did you say? I don't know about that--I'd
rather not; but if you had an apple now, or a bit of bread, I'll eat it
and welcome.'

You see, he was a common horse, this--not a gentleman, but a
good-tempered, nice fellow, that wouldn't give his driver much trouble.
But they're not all like that. Listen now to a cab-horse.

'Did you say you'd been talking to a bus-horse? Nasty low creatures, not
fit to talk to! Now I can tell you all you want to know. Yes, I'm only a
cab-horse now, it's true, but once I was in a gentleman's carriage--one
of a pair, with a coachman and footman on the box, and my lady herself
used to pat my nose and give me sugar. They were grand times then--that
is, they seem grand when I think of them now--very little to do, and we
were scrubbed and polished until our coats were like satin. In the
afternoon we danced round the Park. Yes, I say danced, because there was
a horrid thing called a bearing-rein that hurt us so much that we had to
dance and throw out our legs, and people said it was splendid. It made
me feel so angry that I didn't know what to do. But then I had a bad
temper from the beginning, and it's my temper that has done for me. One
day I wheeled round and leaped over the traces, and kicked the coachman
hard. We were standing in the mews, and I dashed out and ran away, and
the other horse fell down, and the carriage was smashed. Well, then I
was sold, and---- But I'm not going to tell you about that. Yes, I know
it's my own fault, and I know I shouldn't have been a cab-horse if I'd
behaved; but I was wicked, and I used to bite, and now I've been whipped
and beaten until I daren't do anything. Yes, even now I kick, and I hate
my life and I hate my driver. He gives me sugar sometimes, too; but
that's just because he doesn't want me to run away and dash him off his
box, but I shall some day. I shall smash him up against a lamp-post just
because I hate everyone. Oh, it's not a fine life, I can tell you. It's
all very well when I stand here waiting; but perhaps just when I've got
my nose into my bag and begun to eat I hear a sharp whistle twice, and
that means someone wants a hansom, and my master whisks away my bag,
jumps on to his box, and gives me a cut that makes me furious, and we go
galloping round the streets to see where the whistle comes from. And
when we find the right house, where someone is waiting, perhaps a man
jumps in, and says: "To the station as fast as you can, and half a crown
if you do it in a quarter of an hour." Well, of course, it's my master
who gets the money, but it's I that have to earn it. So we tear off full
speed, and other things get in the way, and I have to pull up suddenly,
and the horrid curb-bit cuts my mouth till I could rear with the pain.
Then off again, and at last, all hot and angry, we dash up to the
station, and the man inside leaps out and throws up the money and runs
off. Then my master strokes me down, and says: "Jenny, old girl, I'm
sorry to fluster you so, but we must make a bit for the bairns at home,
eh, old girl?" And he pats me, and I'd bite his hand if I could. As if I
cared about his bairns! And so it goes on all day long, and at night I'm
in a nasty stuffy stable with other horses coming and going, until it
makes me wild. I'll be glad when it's all over, I can tell you; but I
have heard it said that there are worse things than even my life.'

That horse, you see, was not good-tempered, and so even the kind cabman
could not make her happy.

There are still many horses in London drawing carts of all kinds and
vans, and even private carriages, but every year they become fewer.



CHAPTER V

CHILDREN AT SCHOOL


Of course all London children must go to school or be taught at home,
just as all country children are. And there is nothing very interesting
in the ordinary schools in London, for they are like those anywhere
else. But there are some special schools which belong to London, even if
they are not still actually there; one of these is the Duke of York's
School for soldier-boys, which used to be at Chelsea, but has been moved
into the country near Dover. Five hundred little boys, the sons of
soldiers, who are nearly all going to be soldiers themselves, are here
trained. They are dressed in a scarlet uniform in summer, just like
soldiers, and in winter wear dark-blue uniform, and the school is like a
barracks where real soldiers live. The boys come here as young as nine
years old, and stay until they are fourteen or fifteen, and then if they
like it they go into the real army, and are drummer-boys. To see them on
Sunday is a pleasant sight. They have a chapel and a chaplain of their
own; on Sunday mornings the boys meet together and march up and down
like an army. They march beautifully, keeping step all the time, and
wheeling round just as the men do, for they are carefully drilled. Then
the band plays, for they have a capital band, and they all go to church.
During the service the boys are very good and still as mice, because
they are well trained. But it is not long. It is a bright, short
service, with a sermon, quite short and simple, so that the boys can
understand it. There are many hymns, and when it is over they go back
for dinner. Dinner is very important, but before I tell you about that I
will tell you what they get to eat for all their meals. They have cocoa
in the mornings for breakfast and bread-and-jam or bread-and-butter, and
they have the same again at tea-time. On extra days they get cake too.
For dinner on Sundays in winter they have pork, with potatoes and
apple-sauce. I don't know if you like apple-sauce, but the soldier boys
do, and they think it is waste to eat it with pork; so they leave it
until they have finished their meat, and then spread it on their bread
and eat it separately. Afterwards there are plum-puddings, an ordinary
big plum-pudding for every table, and at each table there are eight
boys. Each boy who sits at the head of a table marches out and marches
in again carrying a plum-pudding, which he sets down on his own table;
then he takes a knife and cuts it neatly across and across, making four
pieces; then he cuts it across and across again, and makes eight pieces,
and he gives each boy a piece, and there is no more plum-pudding. It is
a pretty big bit that, an eighth of a plum-pudding, but it all goes
somewhere; and the boy who cuts it has to be very careful to see that he
does it quite fairly, so that no one gets more than anyone else. I think
the plum-pudding and the pork must be a good mixture, for you hardly
ever see elsewhere such bright-looking faces as there are here.

There is a big playground, with plenty of room for games and sports, and
there are long bedrooms, called dormitories, with rows of neat little
beds. It is a good thing to think that these boys are growing up happy
and good, and passing on into the army to be among England's brave
soldiers. When it was decided to move this school into the country many
people were very sorry, but all agreed it was better for the boys.

There is another school very like this one for sailor-boys, only that
is not in London either, but a long way down the river, so there is not
much use in describing it here. There are homes for soldiers' daughters
and for sailors' daughters, too; there is nothing very different about
them from an ordinary school.

Another school which belongs to London, though it too has now gone into
the country, is the Foundling Hospital. It seems funny to call a school
a hospital, but in old times the word 'hospital' did not mean, as it
does now, a place for sick people, but any place where people were cared
for and made comfortable. This is rather a sad school in some ways, for
it is a home for the poor little children whose parents have deserted
them or who have no parents; and the faces of the children are quite
different from those of the boys in the Duke of York's School. The
Foundling Hospital is a very large place indeed, and there are in it
both boys and girls, who stay until they are old enough to earn their
own living. The Hospital was begun many years ago by a kind captain of a
ship, who had seen places like it when he went to foreign countries. He
did not quite know how to begin, but he was sure there were many poor
little neglected children in London who must need a home, so he gave
money to some men and asked them to see about it for him; and these men
put a notice in some papers, saying that any baby under two months old
that was brought would be taken in and no questions asked. You would be
astonished at the number of babies that were brought; it seemed quite
impossible that so many mothers could want to give away their little
children. And it was really like giving them away, for when the babies
were taken into the hospital the mothers never came to see them; and if
they did come to the school many years after and saw all the children
running about, they could not tell which was their little boy or girl.
Sometimes the nurses used to keep a locket or some little thing brought
with a child, so that if ever it was wanted they could say which child
belonged to which mother, but they never told anyone which was which.
And many children had no locket or any other kind of token, and when
they grew up they did not know who they were or who their mother and
father had been. Many were just left at the door, and others were put
into a big basket hung outside the door, and left there until someone
inside the hospital heard them crying and came and took them in. And it
was no wonder they cried, because sometimes the men or women who
brought them stole all the clothes and left the poor little naked baby
in the basket. Of course, these babies had no names, not even a surname,
and the people at the Hospital used to make up names for them, and very
funny some of them were; Richard No-More-Known was one little boy who
died at five years old. Dorothy Butteriedore was another, because the
little girl had been left beside a small door called a buttery-door,
through which people used to pass food from the kitchen. We are told of
Jane Friday-Street that she went to service aged six. Poor little Jane
Friday-Street! She must have been too much of a baby to do any work; one
would have thought she needed a nurse herself. The girl called Grace
That-God-Sent-Us ought to have been a very good girl, and there was
another Jane That-God-Sent-Us, too; and there was a boy called James
Cinerius, because he was found on a cinder-heap.

After a good many years it was found that there were far too many
children left at the Hospital, and they could not all be kept; and so
the men who looked after the place made a rule that the mother must
bring her child and tell all she could about it, and if she was very
poor, and the father would not give her money or take care of her and
the child, then the child was taken in and kept.

For a long time past babies who came to the hospital have been sent to
the country, and now the older ones live in the country too. Then, when
they are fourteen, the boys have to learn some trade to earn their
living, or become soldiers, and the girls begin to work as little
servants. The boys wear coats and trousers of a kind of chocolate colour
with brass buttons and red waistcoats, and the girls' dresses are the
same colour, and have trimmings of red. On Sundays the girls wear a high
snowy-white cap and a large white collar, and they used to sit in the
gallery of the chapel, the girls on one side of the organ and the boys
on the other. It was one of the sights of London; many people used to go
to the chapel on Sundays to see it.

After chapel the children march to their dining-rooms and walk in, and
stand round the table and sing their grace before dinner. On Sundays
they get mutton and potatoes and bread, and on some other days meat and
potatoes, and on some days fish and pudding. For breakfast they have
bread, with butter or dripping, and boiled milk, or cocoa, or porridge;
for tea they get bread-and-butter and milk, and for supper bread, with
cheese, butter, or jam.

It is a very good thing to think they are all being well taught and
looked after and helped to turn into honest men and women, but it is
very sad to think there are so many boys and girls whose parents don't
want them, and will willingly give them away; and we can't help feeling
that it can never be quite a happy place, for every child must feel that
it is only one in a crowd of others, and that no one loves it
especially.

In old times it was the fashion for good men and women to found schools
for children where all the children had to wear a particular sort of
dress, and some of these were called Blue-coat Schools, and some
Green-coat, and some Gray-coat; but they are very different now, and the
children don't wear the dress they used to. There is one very big
school, which went from London into the country, called the Blue-coat
School; this is just like any other school where big boys go, except
that the boys never wear hats, and have bright yellow stockings and a
long sort of skirt on to their coats, which must be very awkward for
them when they want to play cricket or football. What do you think they
do with it then? They just tuck the long skirt into their belts, and
run about like that, and very funny it looks. They will find this dress
even more awkward in the country than it was in London. The beautiful
school buildings that were begun by King Edward VI., who was a clever
and learned boy himself, and always tried to help other boys to learn,
are now pulled down. This is a great pity, and it will be a greater pity
still if the curious old dress is done away with and the boys dress just
like all other boys. It must be very odd never to wear a hat, whether it
rains or whether the sun shines; but I suppose the boys get used to
that, and would feel uncomfortable in a hat. This school is called
Christ's Hospital as well as the Blue-coat School, so, you see, here is
another instance of the word 'hospital' being used to mean a school or
home.

In old days the Blue-coat boys used to have a very hard time; their food
was bad, and they did not get enough of it, and they ate it off wooden
platters. There is a story told that the boys had a custom of never
eating the fat of a particular sort of meat; they called it 'gags,' and
though they might be very hungry they would never touch this fat. But
one day they saw a boy go and gather up all the 'gags' that his
companions had left, and take them away in his handkerchief. Very
disgusting, wasn't it? The other boys thought so too, and they watched
him to see if he went and ate them himself. But he did not; he slipped
away when the others were not looking and went out into the town. So
then they thought he went to sell them, and they were very angry, and
would not speak to that boy or play with him, and left him alone; but
still he used to get the 'gags' and carry them away. One day some other
boys followed him, and what do you think they found? That he used to
take the 'gags' to his own father and mother, who were very poor and
almost beggars, and had nothing to eat. So the master praised him for
being a good son, and not minding what the others said when he knew he
could do something to help his poor parents.

In those days when a Blue-coat boy tried to run away he was shut up in a
little dark cell like a prison cell, and had only bread and water given
to him, and saw no one and spoke to no one, and twice a week he was
taken out and flogged. It was no wonder the boys wanted to run away, for
the place was very wretched, and in the great dining-hall there were
swarms of rats that came out at night to pick up the crumbs, and the
boys used to go and catch them for fun, not in traps, but in their
hands. I don't think girls would ever have liked that game, and there
must have been some nasty bites and scratches sometimes.

A very small boy was crying one day when he came back to the school
after the holidays, and a master said to him: 'Boy, the school is your
father; boy, the school is your mother; boy, the school is your brother,
the school is your sister, your first cousin, your second cousin, and
all the rest of your relations.' I don't suppose it made that boy feel
any better. It is very different now, and the boys are very happy, and a
great many clever men have been taught at that school, but in those
early days it cannot have been very comfortable. But this is enough
about the Blue-coat School.

In one school the boys play on the roof, because they have no
playground. This is in the City, near the great big cathedral of St.
Paul's, and there is no room for playgrounds there; the land is too
valuable, and is wanted for houses and streets. The school is for the
choir-boys of the cathedral, who sing more beautifully than any other
boys in the world. And if you were walking past the school you might
suddenly hear a lovely voice rising higher and higher and higher, like
a skylark or a nightingale, and this would be one of the boys practising
his notes. The school is large and the roof is flat, and all over the
top and at the sides are high railings filled in with wire, so that the
balls at cricket or football can't jump over the edge and come down on
the heads of the people walking in the street below. That would be a
surprise, wouldn't it? to have a great football drop out of the sky on
to your head. It is a funny idea, playing up there among the chimneys
and the roofs, and I don't think it can be very clean; I expect the boys
have always to wash their hands before they put on their pure white
surplices and go into the great solemn cathedral to sing. There is going
to be a chapter in this book telling something about the cathedral of
St. Paul's, so you will remember this about the choir-boys when you come
to it.



CHAPTER VI

LONDON MARKETS


There are seven millions of people in London. That does not give any
idea of the real number, but if you were to begin now and count hard for
three days and nights, you would not have counted a million then, even
if you never stopped to eat or to sleep. Just think of it, that great
crowd of people all wanting to be fed, and many of them wanting three
good meals every day! If all the carts in the world were to be marching
into London the whole time, you would think they could hardly bring food
enough for this multitude of people. Yet somehow it is done, and it does
not seem to be very difficult either. I think I hear someone saying,
'But there are the shops; people can go and buy there.' Yes, they can,
of course, but where do the shopmen get their stuff from? Where does all
the meat come from, and the fruit and the flowers and vegetables, and
all the things that must be kept fresh? Where does the shopman buy
them? The shopman gets them from the markets, and the markets get them
from the country. There are many great markets, and to-day we will visit
three of them--that where we can see the meat, and that where the
flowers and vegetables are, and that where the fish are. The flower
market is much the nicest, of course, so we will keep it for the last.

The fish market is down close by the river, just where you would expect
it to be. If you want to see it you must not mind getting up very early,
long before any cabs or omnibuses are about--in fact, it will be very
difficult to get there at all unless you can bicycle or can walk a long
way without being tired.

Early one Saturday morning, then, when the light is still dim, and we
have the streets all to ourselves, we start. It is so quiet. Not even
the milkman is about yet, and the blinds of the houses are all down. The
whole of the inhabitants of London seem asleep except you and me. We go
right down into the City by London Bridge, and then in a very narrow
dark street we suddenly find a number of people and hear a great noise.
All over the street there are barrows and carts, and people are shouting
and pushing, and everyone is trying to get in and out of the market at
once. The market, which is called Billingsgate, is a great big place
like a barn, and when once we have pushed in among all the rough men and
women there, we see a wonderful sight. You would think you were at the
seaside from the smell, for there are great lumps of seaweed lying about
among the fish on the slabs, and they bring the breath of the sea with
them. Here is a crawling pile of black lobsters; they are alive, and
they turn bright-red when they have been boiled. Poor lobsters! they
can't think where they have got to, and they are stretching out their
long whiskers and looking about with their great goggle eyes, and the
man who wants to sell them is shouting, 'Come, buy! come, buy! fine
fresh lobsters alive, alive, oh!' All the fishmongers in London must be
here, you would think, there are so many; and they buy the fish in great
quantities, not as we do in the shops by the weight, but by the
number--so much for each fish, whether it is big or little. And then
they sell them for more money than they gave for them to the people who
want them for breakfast and dinner, and so they make their living.
Salmon, the king of all the fish, is always sold by weight, though, even
in this market. Look at the salmon--huge silver fish lying on the
stalls, with their scales gleaming in the early light. When they are cut
open their flesh is pink, and all the other fish have white flesh. King
Salmon was taking a little exercise one day, dashing about in the salt
sea or sailing up the river, perhaps, when he ran his great stupid head
into a net, and the more he struggled the worse it was, and strong as he
was--as strong as a fairly big dog--he could not break that net, and so
he was hauled out and brought to shore, where he died. Or perhaps he saw
something very attractive in the water, and made a rush at it, only to
find a cruel hook firmly fixed in his mouth. He might dash away or lie
quiet, but wherever he was he knew the hook was still there; and when he
was tired with all his struggles, the fisherman at the other end of the
line began to haul it in gradually, and poor old salmon was drawn nearer
and nearer to the land, and at last picked out of the water with a
landing-net. And now he lies at Billingsgate, waiting for someone to buy
him and take him to a shop to sell him again to be eaten. All round
there are many cries--indeed, a noise such as you never heard before.
What you hear is something like this: 'Haddock and cod, come buy! Fine
fresh fish, fresh cod, buy, buy! Here you are; couldn't buy any finer.
All this lot for ten shillings! Look here! look here! Whiting and
turbot! crabs crawling all alive, alive, oh! Shrimps do you want? Fine
shrimps, the very best! Here you are, buy! buy!' and so on, everyone
shouting out to make the fishmongers buy their fish. Perhaps a crab
crawls too near the edge of his stall, and falls over with a crash, and
the man who owns him picks him up and throws him back, and off jumps
Master Crab again as quick as you please, and does just the same thing
again. You would think he would not want to tumble down: it must hurt
him, even through such a thick shell; but he thinks if he goes on long
enough perhaps he'll find again those lovely rocks all soaked with the
great sea tide, which somehow he seems to have lost. So he goes on
scuttling about and tumbling down until someone picks him up and throws
him into a bag with the rest, and he is carried off to the shop, where,
poor crab! he will never have a chance of finding his dear rocks again
or hearing the water rushing in over the seaweed.

He was perhaps lying under a great mass of seaweed in a deep pool, when
a pole came walking along and poked into his side. He did not want it at
all--in fact, he got quite angry with it, and shook himself free; but
that pole only waggled about, and stuck into him again, and at last he
seized it with his claws, and the more it shook, the tighter he held on,
and he did not know that that was just what the man who was bending over
the pool wanted. So the pole was pulled out with Master Crab sticking to
it, and the man caught hold of him so neatly that he had not time to use
his claws, and popped him into a bag, and he has never found the seaside
since, and now he never will again. But perhaps he would not mind so
much if he knew that Mrs. Crab did not miss him at all, for she went out
to seek him when he did not come home, and she smelt a piece of dead
fish, just the very thing she liked most of all. So she crawled up the
side of the funny basket that was lying in the water, and found that the
bit of dead fish was inside it. But that did not matter, for there was a
hole at the top; so in popped Mrs. Crab, and there she had to stay, for
she could not get out again. She tried and tried, but the hole was made
with bits of stick pointed inwards, so that she could not get up to it
from the inside. Many lobsters have been caught that way, and now Mrs.
Crab was too; and when the men came in the evening to look at their
baskets, they were quite pleased, for they found not only Mrs. Crab,
but four of her friends whom she had invited inside because she felt
lonely. So Mrs. Crab went to the market too, but it was not to the same
market as her husband, and she did not meet him again. All those shrimps
lying near were caught by boys with nets. The boys ran into the water
with bare feet, and thrust their nets along the sandy bottom, and each
time they came out they picked out the shrimps from the net and threw
them into a pail, and only the very strongest managed to hop back on to
the sand again; nearly all of them went to market.

But while we have been looking at these things the market has been
getting emptier; and now there are only a few young lads left, who have
little barrows and carts, and are called costers, and they are walking
round the stalls and picking out what they will buy after the
fishmongers have got all the best of the fish. It is time to go away,
and soon Billingsgate will be nearly desolate. It is not a nice place,
and if there were not some policemen near I should not like to have
brought you here.

We cannot go to Covent Garden Market where the flowers are this morning,
for it is nearly seven o'clock, and too late, as we ought to be there
very early; but we can go to the meat market, which is not at all a
pretty sight, and a long way off. But it is very wonderful. Here there
is selling going on quite late, until about ten o'clock, perhaps, and
even to the middle of the day the place is still busy. It is a huge
place with a great glass roof, and there are rows of stalls with narrow
passages like streets between them, and everywhere are great masses of
raw meat. It is a city of meat; you walk down lanes of meat--meat
everywhere. All the butchers in London come here to choose what they
will buy, and from midnight onward all is bustle and business. Some of
the meat comes to the market in vans, but the greater part comes by
train. Right under the market there is a place scooped out in the earth
like a cellar, and the railway lines run in under there, and then from
the vans standing on the lines it is easy to lift the meat up into the
market. Outside there is a great square, and in the early morning this
square is filled with carts of every kind waiting to carry away the meat
which the butchers buy. But all the meat does not come from England. A
great deal of it comes from over the sea, from Australia and New
Zealand, for England herself would never have enough to feed all her
people. Close to the market at Smithfield there is another, where
nothing but poultry is sold. Rows and rows of dead chickens go every day
to fill all the shops--good chickens and bad chickens, the chickens that
obeyed their mothers and the chickens that didn't; they come here just
the same to supply the wants of the people of London.

The flower market is very pretty, and it is a treat to go there. If you
were grown up and had been to a ball in London, you might see, when you
were coming back in the early morning, a cart piled high with cabbages,
and a sleepy-looking man sitting on the shafts, while a dim lantern hung
beside him. This is one of the carts bringing in the vegetables that
London wants for her dinner next day. London itself is like a great
ogre--eating, always eating. You remember the story of the giant who
used to be quiet so long as the people brought him enough to eat? And
how all the people in the country used to work day and night to bring in
cartloads of things, for fear if they allowed him to go hungry he would
eat them instead? The giant could swallow up those cartloads as if they
were spoonfuls. And so it is with London. Men work day and night
bringing, always bringing, cartloads of meat and fruit and vegetables,
and London swallows them all up; and next day there are more carts and
more food from the country, and so it goes on always.

In the middle of the night, when most people are fast asleep, the man
who wants to sell his flowers or vegetables at Covent Garden Market must
be up and out. In the dim light he harnesses his horse and lights his
lamp. Perhaps his faithful dog watches him, and runs about quite pleased
to be going for a walk, even if it is in the middle of the night. Then
the man starts off on his long, slow journey into London. Mile after
mile over muddy or dusty roads, through villages where everyone is
asleep, where not even a dog barks, on and on to London. It may be very
cold, and the horse only goes slowly, so it cannot be very comfortable;
but this is the man's work, and he must do it. Perhaps the cartman has a
little boy, and takes him too, and you see the little boy, when the cart
is coming back empty in the morning, lying sound asleep on the straw
dead tired, while his father drives home.

All the carts gather up to the market, and then they are unloaded. One
brings vegetables, and another fruit, and another flowers, and by two
o'clock everything is in its place and ready to be sold. Then the buyers
come--shop people again, greengrocers and fruiterers--and they look
round and try to get the best they can at the lowest prices.

There is a great hall covered in with glass, and in this the flowers are
arranged. It is lovely--like a huge flower-show. Of course, the flowers
are different at different times of the year, but in the early summer
you can see banks and banks of roses, all colours--red and yellow and
white--and masses of sweet-scented carnations and lilies and heliotrope;
and the smell is very sweet, so different from the market at
Billingsgate. All the people here, except you and me, are busy people
come to buy in order to sell again, and some of them don't look very
rich. Do you see that girl there in the corner with a red shawl and a
hat with huge untidy feathers all out of curl? She is a flower-girl, and
she is going to spend two or three shillings on buying a basket of
flowers. These she will do up into little bunches, and if she is lucky
enough to sell them again she will make a few shillings before the
evening. When she has chosen her flowers she goes away and sits down on
a cold stone step, and begins pulling them about and blowing into the
roses to make them open, and if you feel as I do you will not care to
buy them then; you would much rather she left them just as they were
and did not finger them. But she thinks people will be more likely to
buy them if they are carefully arranged. When she has done she starts
off to walk a long way to a stand where she goes every day, perhaps a
place where two or three streets join and there is an open space. There
is one in the West End, where there is an island of pavement between
lines of traffic north and south, east and west; the flower-girls sit
here all day. They don't seem to mind the rain or wet at all; they are
quite used to it. They don't pay anything for being here; but they are
very angry if another comes and takes their place, and the girl or woman
to whom it belongs will perhaps fight the newcomer, and then the
policeman has to come and separate them.

Some of these places where the flower-women sit are made quite beautiful
by the baskets of flowers. In the spring, when the daffodils are out, it
looks as if a patch of sunshine had fallen from the sky into the dark
street. But all these flowers don't come from England. A great many are
grown abroad, and sent to Covent Garden Market from over the sea.

At the market, when the cartman has finished arranging his vegetables,
he goes to a coffee-stall. There are many there, and perhaps he gets a
great cup of strong coffee and an immense hunch of bread or cake for
breakfast, or perhaps he goes to the public-house at the corner; but at
any rate, before he goes back, he has something to eat, and then he
piles up his baskets, now empty, in which he brought the things and
starts off home. One of the most surprising things at Covent Garden is
the quantities of oranges that come there--boxes and boxes of oranges.
These have been brought to England up the river in ships, and the men,
with great cushions on their heads, carry them to the markets. The
cushion is to make it soft and prevent the hard wood of the box hurting
their heads, and they carry a huge boxful in this way more easily than
you or I would carry a book.

Long years ago, when London consisted of only a few houses and
Westminster of another few houses, this market, which is now in the
middle of streets, was really a garden, and it belonged to a convent for
nuns, and it is strange that it should be like a garden still with all
its fruit and flowers, though now it is part of a great town.



CHAPTER VII

CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS


We have seen children rich and children poor, children at work and
children at play, but we have not yet seen any of the poor little
children who cannot run about as others do, who have to be still, and
who very often suffer pain. A lady began a school for poor children who
were ill. She had been visiting poor people, and she had found out that
sometimes a mother had to leave her sick child the whole day long alone
in one dark room. And very often these children were not ill for a
little time only, as any of you might be, but ill always from babyhood,
without any hope of getting well. To take one case, little Beatrice
Annie Jones had a mother who was a widow, and used to go out to scrub
people's floors and clean the houses; that is what is called being a
charwoman. She had sometimes to go quite a long way to her work, and
could not come back in the middle of the day for dinner; so in the
morning before she went she used to give Beatrice Annie a bit of bread
and an egg, if she had enough money to buy one, and a few sticks, and a
little pan with water in it. Then she used to tidy up the room and go
away, leaving the child alone. The door must be locked, for a thief
might come in and steal the few bits of things there were. The window
was dirty and very high up; Beatrice Annie could only see out of it by
climbing on a rickety chair, and she could not stand there long, for it
hurt her legs and back, for they were not like other little girls' legs
and back, but weak and painful, so that she used to drag herself about
the floor on all fours, like a baby, rather than walk, even though she
was seven years old. The room she and her mother lived in was up many,
many stairs, and it was very seldom she could get out at all; for though
she was very light and small, her mother was too tired to carry her down
after her day's work. Beatrice Annie was suffering from a disease very
common with poor children, called rickets. It means that the bones are
not strong--they are like chalk, and will break very easily; even a fall
off a chair might do it--and it is sometimes caused by the children not
having had enough milk when they were babies.

When her mother left her alone, Beatrice Annie used to look round the
room and sigh. It was a very dreary room. When you are ill, everyone
brings you nice things--flowers and jellies and pictures--to pass the
time. This little girl had only one picture, a bright-coloured almanack,
with a likeness of the King dressed in the scarlet uniform of a soldier,
and she had looked at this so often she was tired of it. She was so
lonely that she would have been glad if even a little mouse had come to
play with her; but the mice did not come to that room; there were not
enough crumbs to please Mr. Mouse. Beatrice Annie could not read; she
had never been to school, for she was not strong enough. So she sat for
a long time on the wooden floor and wondered what she should do. She had
one dirty wooden doll, dressed in rags, and for a little time she washed
its face, wiping it with a bit of rag dipped in the corner of the little
pan she was going to boil her egg in; but she soon got tired of that.
Then she tried to climb on the chair to look out of the window, but when
she managed it, after trying several times, she could not stay long, it
made her legs ache so; and the street was very far down, she could not
see anything interesting. So the weary day went on. Long before one
o'clock she had boiled her egg, and she ate it with great enjoyment;
but that did not take very long, and then there were hours and hours to
wait before at last the old stairs creaked and her mother put the key in
the lock and came in with a tired face. She was a good woman this,
though so poor and wretched, and she could not help her little girl's
being left alone, and she always tried to bring home something for her
to cheer her up.

'Look, Beatrice Annie!' she cried, as she opened the door. 'What hever
do ye think I've brought for yer?' And she held up a bunch of red
radishes for a treat.

Well, when this lady found out that there were many children like
Beatrice Annie, she said that there might be a school just for such poor
sick children, and that they could do as much or as little work as they
liked. Several rich people joined in sharing the expense of starting the
school, and one doctor gave a carriage that had two seats in it on which
children could lie right down, and others where they could sit. Then a
good kind nurse was found, and every morning the nurse went round and
carried out or helped all the little sick children who were well enough
to come, and took them driving in their own carriage to school. She had
to begin very early, and go backwards and forwards several times, for
the carriage did not hold a great many children at a time, and there
were so many who wanted to come. She took them to a school in Tavistock
Place, not very far from the British Museum, in a part of London called
Bloomsbury, and by ten o'clock all the children were there.

Then they began work, a little reading and writing, and a few sums; but
they were always carefully watched, and if any child seemed tired she
was made to stop and lie down on a sofa. At twelve o'clock dinner-time
came. At first a few of the children used to bring their own dinners,
and as the mothers were very poor, sometimes the dinners were very
nasty, and not at all good for a delicate child. Perhaps one little boy,
with a white face and a big head, would unroll a filthy bit of
newspaper, and show some cold herring, which smelt horrid. Or another
would bring out a lump of greasy pudding, as heavy as lead. So it was
arranged that if the mother could give a few pence, varying from three
halfpence to threepence, according to her means, the children should
have dinner at the school, and for these sums it is marvellous what a
dinner they get. Beef and mutton, with vegetables, light puddings of
milk and fruit, and sometimes rich people send game, and then these
poor little gutter children have dinners like princes and princesses.

Though it is in the middle of London, there is a beautiful garden
behind, which belongs to the Duke of Bedford, and he allows them to play
there, for the house to which it belonged is now pulled down. Some of
the children go hopping about on their crutches, and even play games
upon the smooth turf under the great shady trees. After being out for an
hour, they come in and do such interesting work. All sorts of things
they make with their hands. The boys do iron work, and the girls lace;
or the boys do painting and basket-making, and the girls embroidery. So
that when they grow up and leave the school they may be able to earn a
living for themselves.

At about three o'clock the carriage comes again, and they begin to go
home. Now, cannot you fancy what a new world this is to the children?
Before they went to school they knew nothing about the world they lived
in, or about history, or about plants and animals. They had nothing to
think of to make them forget their pain. They could just sleep or lie
still all day, like little animals. Now they are bright and happy. If by
any chance they cannot go to school, or the carriage does not come,
they cry bitterly. There are other schools begun now like this one, so
perhaps in time all the children who are invalids can go to school.

Of course, there are some cases where a child is too ill to attend any
school, and then it must go to a hospital. There is one of these
hospitals in Chelsea, and it looks out over the great gray river Thames.
It is a large red-brick house, and boys and girls who can never get well
can be taken in here and made comfortable, and saved as much pain as
possible. It is a beautiful house, and it is very sad, but happy, too,
to see the children, and how bright they look. They wear little red
flannel jackets when they sit up in bed, and have a tray put across the
bed, and upon it for them to play with are the toys that kind people
have sent. The rooms are divided into two parts, for boys and girls, and
the children are received between the ages of three and ten, so there
are no tiny babies here. The large windows are down to the ground, so
the children can see what is going on outside, and I will tell you what
they see: first, the Embankment; I have told you about that. It is like
a broad road, and taxi-cabs and bicycles and many other things are
always passing and repassing. Then the river, up which the salt sea
tide rolls every day, and when the weather is very cold and stormy the
gray and white sea-gulls fly inland up the river, and wheel and scream;
and when people throw bread for them they dart down upon it and catch it
before it can touch the water, so quick are they.

On the river there are, in summer, pleasure-steamers crowded with
people; these stop at a pier quite near the children's hospital, and
sometimes they are so full that not another person can get on. Then
there are great barges going slowly along, dragged by a little
steam-tug; perhaps there are three or four barges one after another, so
low in the water that it almost washes over their decks. They carry
great piles of hay or coal further up the river, and they look like
great lazy porpoises being towed along by the fussy little steamer. If
they are coming in with the tide, so that the current helps them, they
do not need the steam-tug; but men stand up at one end and help the
barge along, and guide it by a huge oar called a sweep. Some of these
men and their wives live always on these barges, and earn their living
by taking things up the river. There is only a tiny dirty little cabin,
the size of the smallest room you ever saw, and so Mrs. Bargeman can't
bring fine frocks with her; but that doesn't matter, for it isn't likely
that she has any. The faces of the men and women get quite brown with
being out always in the open air. It is a queer life that, always going
up and down, to and fro, upon the gray water, watching the red sun sink
at night and seeing him rise again; watching the sunlight ripple in the
water by day, and seeing the lights from the shore shine out sparkling
like jewels at night.

The barges are quite low and have no funnels, so they can pass under the
bridges; but the steamers have to bow down their funnels when they come
to a bridge, and then they raise them up again, as if they were very
polite gentlemen saying, 'How do you do?' to the bridge.

Well, the children in the hospital can see these things, and for those
whose beds don't face the windows there are looking-glasses so arranged
that all that goes on is reflected in them, so that it is like a
wonderful picture-book, changing all day long. Though they look so
happy, poor children! some of them suffer dreadful pain, and it is sad
to think this hospital is for incurable children--that is, children who
can never be well in this world.

In one room there is a large picture; I am sure you have seen one like
it. It is Jesus Christ standing at a door, knocking, and the door is
fast shut, and briars and brambles have grown all over it; but still
Christ stands knocking, hoping it may open. In His hand there is a
lantern, and the picture is called 'The Light of the World.' Now, the
real picture, the one that the artist painted, from which all the others
like it have been printed, was painted just where this children's
hospital is; for the artist, whose name is Holman Hunt, had a house
there before the hospital was built. So he gave a very large copy of his
picture to the children, and wrote under it that it was from the artist
who made that picture, in that place, to Christ's little ones.

There are other hospitals for children, which are for all sorts of
illnesses and not only for incurable ones. There is one in Chelsea, not
far from here, and another, a very large one, in Great Ormond Street,
not very far from the school for sick children.

In the Great Ormond Street one they take in the very tiniest babies, and
so the nurses have plenty to do looking after these mites. Sometimes a
child is very naughty when it first comes in, and will do nothing but
scream and cry, and the nurses have to be very patient; but it always
happens that when it has been there for a time it loves them all so much
that it cries when it gets well and has to go home. It is a funny sight
to see a nurse or a sister having tea with perhaps three or four
children who are well enough to be up. They climb all over her like
little kittens, and love her so much she cannot get rid of them. In this
hospital each ward is named after some member of the Royal Family:
Helena Ward, Alice Ward, and so on, after the Princesses Helena and
Alice, daughters of Queen Victoria.

There is a home for cripple girls in London, and another for cripple
boys in a part of the West End called Kensington. Here the boys are
taken in and taught, not only lessons, but all kinds of things that boys
can do without having to walk. Some are tailors, and some make harness
for carriage-horses, and some carve wood, and learn carpentering or
shoemaking. And so they can earn their own living when they grow up to
be men. They all seem very happy, and when you meet them on a walk it is
a touching sight; but yet not really sad, because their faces are bright
and happy. Fancy meeting twenty or thirty boys going along together,
every one of them lame or deformed in some way! Some go on crutches, and
some hobble, and others limp; but they do not seem to mind, because,
perhaps, they have never known what it is to be active like other boys,
and there are plenty of pleasant things they can still do.



CHAPTER VIII

STREETS AND SHOPS


When I asked a little girl who was visiting London for the first time if
it was like what she had expected, she said, 'No,' and when I asked how
it differed from the idea she had had, she said: 'I expected to see long
rows and rows of houses, going on for miles and miles, but I never
thought there would be so many things in the streets--cabs and omnibuses
and people; it's all so much fuller and gayer than I thought.'

I think this is what would strike anyone who was seeing London for the
first time, especially if they came in what is called 'the season.' The
season lasts for three months--May, June, and July--and during that time
the people who live in the country, but are rich enough to have houses
in London, come up to town; and the people who have houses in London,
but who go away a great deal during the rest of the year, make a point
of being in London during the season; and many other people, who are
gay and rich, come up to town just for those three months to meet all
their friends and see what is going on. So the streets in the West End
are very full indeed. In the beginning of May, when the fine weather
comes, people in costly motor-cars appear in the Park in greater
numbers, until at the height of the season there are rows and rows of
them. If you were to go to the Park any fine afternoon about that time
of the year and were to stand near one of the great gates at Hyde Park
Corner, you would see all the traffic drawn up in double lines, with the
well-dressed women inside the carriages waiting for something. They are
interested in seeing H.M. the Queen, who is very fond of driving in the
Park. Perhaps also there may be with her the popular Duchess of York,
from her house in Piccadilly, and possibly baby Princess Elizabeth. When
the royalties come there is quite a stir of excitement. The great iron
gates opening on to Constitution Hill are thrown open--they are only
opened for royalty; everyone else has to go through the side gates--and
then there is a flash of scarlet liveries, and the crowd of people
standing in the open space before Hyde Park call out, 'The Queen, the
Queen!' And the much-loved Queen drives smiling through them, bowing
this way and that, with that gracious manner that has made everyone love
her; and the men raise their hats and the ladies wave their
handkerchiefs as the carriage dashes across the open space, kept clear
by the police, and goes into the Park, where all the waiting carriages
are. The Queen has another lady with her, or perhaps her only daughter
who has now a home of her own, and they drive round and round the Park
several times, enjoying the fresh ah.

The streets of London are in some places very narrow--too narrow to
allow tram-cars to run through them as they do in some other large
towns, and at the height of the season the blocks in the traffic in some
of the West-End streets are quite alarming. Imagine a tightly-packed
mass of vehicles, restive horses in splendid carriages, huge
motor-omnibuses, smart automobiles, taxi-cabs, and tradesmen's vans, all
squeezed together. Perhaps the policeman has held up his hand at a
crossing to let some carriages get across from a side street, and
everything has had to stop, public and private alike. Stand up on the
top of an omnibus and look this way and that: what can you see? Rows and
rows of great omnibuses crowded with people, both outside on the roof
and inside, all waiting just because one man has held up his hand.
Nothing astonishes foreigners more than this; indeed, some people say it
is the one thing Frenchmen like most to see in London--the power of the
policeman. He has perfect control of all the traffic, and if he says a
thing must stop, it must obey him even if it be the carriage of a duke.
In Paris they tried to imitate this, and they gave their policemen
little white wands to hold up to stop the traffic when it was necessary;
but the drivers of the cabs took no notice, and the poor French
policeman would run about yelling at them and waving his little white
wand and shouting to them to stop, and when they took no notice he grew
more and more angry until he was almost frantic--so different from our
calm, grave policeman with his majestic arm. Sometimes, when the roadway
is thick with carts and cabs and carriages, there is a roar in the
distance, a shout of many voices that makes your heart stand still. It
comes again, louder and louder, nearer and nearer, and all the vehicles
pull to one side and make a lane down the middle of the road. Right up
this lane dashes a shining fire-engine, with the smoke and sparks flying
out behind, the men in the glistening helmets clinging on to the sides,
and the driver guiding it so skilfully as it spins over the ground far
quicker than it takes to tell. In a minute they have dashed out of
sight; then the traffic closes up again. But there is another shout,
another roar, and another engine follows the first; the firemen clinging
to it are shouting all together a noise that sounds like 'Ah-h-h!
ah-h-h!' to warn other things to get out of their way. Soon a third
comes, and then follows a great red ladder on wheels, pushed by men on
foot--that is a fire-escape. The fire can't be far away, so we run after
the excited crowd, and soon come to a street blocked with people, where
flames and smoke are shooting out of the windows. It is a house where
many girls are employed in a dressmaking business, and some of them have
been got safely out; but there are others at those high windows,
screaming for help and stretching out their arms. The brave firemen
begin to send great spouts of water on to the raging flames; they put up
the fire-escape, and one man mounts it, going right into the smoke. He
brings down two of the girls from one story, and disappears for a moment
into the room; then he comes back, for the flames are beating fiercely
on him. In the wild confusion no one seems to know if all the girls are
out or not; but presently one cries out that two are still in the
back-rooms, now blazing fiercely. Up go the firemen again and plunge
into the windows right into the flames. A long time elapses. We hold our
breath; it seems as if the brave men must have perished. Then there is a
cheer as a fireman appears with something in his arms. It is a girl
unconscious; gently he lowers her down the ladder, and goes again to
help his comrade. They reappear and come down in safety. Are all out
now? No; for all at once, at the end of the building furthest from the
fire-escape, a woman appears shrieking wildly. She cannot wait, though
the men shout to her to do so; there are flames behind her clutching at
her, her hair is on fire and her clothes. She stands on the window-sill,
and it is seen she is going to leap into the street below; a blanket is
held, and a hush falls on the crowd as she plunges down. Hurrah! the
blanket has caught her; she will be no worse. All are out now, but still
the flames are fearful, and the houses on either side are threatened.
The firemen play water on to them to keep them from catching alight, and
an incessant stream of water spouts upwards from the great hose. The
roof goes in with a crash, but it is seen that the water is doing
something--the flames are quieter. Yet, with all the care and patience,
it is not for several hours the fire can be pronounced to have been put
out. If we came to see the house next day, it would stand up bare and
smoke-blackened, just four walls, with the roof burnt out, the
staircases gone, and inside only a mass of rubbish. Someone will have to
pay heavily, but, at any rate, at this particular fire no lives have
been lost.

The Fire Brigade is a wonderful power, and the brave men who belong to
it perform heroic things in daily life without making any fuss. There
are brigade stations all over London, and if a fire breaks out, it takes
only a few minutes for the brigade to be summoned. Not so very long ago
all the engines were drawn by specially trained horses who stood ready
in their stalls, with the harness swinging above them. At the first
sound of the alarm bell the harness was lowered, the straps buckled, and
in a few moments the fire-engines were on the road. But now all the
London fire-engines are run by motor power. In the streets there are
little red posts with a glass at the top. By breaking it a bell is rung
in the nearest fire station, and the men are warned. Mischievous boys or
men sometimes broke these glasses 'just for fun,' and then ran away, and
when the fire-engine dashed round the corner the men found no fire.
This has been stopped by the infliction of a very heavy fine. If anyone
is caught doing it now without cause he is made to pay richly for his
mischief, and quite rightly too. Yet it does happen sometimes that men
and engine are summoned on a false alarm, and when they arrive they find
only a smouldering chimney, or perhaps even only a smoky one, and the
people who have called them up have been needlessly alarmed. At
Hampstead, in the north of London, where the ground is very high, there
is a great tower rising many feet into the air, from which one can see
almost all over London, and here there is a man always on duty to watch
if fires break out. Of course, it would be a pretty big fire if he could
see it from there, but then he could communicate with the nearest
station and tell them to go to it. It must be a curious duty to stay all
night at that great height overlooking the vast city of London.
Sometimes a fire breaks out in some of the great warehouses down by the
river, and then there is a magnificent sight. One such warehouse was
full of paraffin oil, and you know paraffin burns more readily than
anything else. As the barrels were caught by the flames the oil streamed
out on to the water, and, floating on the top, seemed like a sea of
flame. It must have been wonderful to see. The heat was so great that
no one could go near, but on the opposite bank thousands of people
assembled and watched the flames. There were flames above and flames
below, fire shooting to the sky, and fire flowing down on the river's
tide. The water reflected the fire above, and the fire that floated on
its surface. It must have seemed like a burning world. That was a very
difficult task for the brigade.

Sometimes the brave men themselves are injured or killed in the
execution of their work, and at all times when engaged with a fire they
run some risk.

But we have got a long way from the street where we saw the engine
dashing down through the traffic, and we must come back again. All the
bustle and the fuss that we have been talking of is on the roadway. What
about the pavements? The pavement is often just as crowded, and though
policemen don't hold up their hands to prevent people walking there, yet
it is often quite a long time before you can get through, especially
outside a gay shop window, where all the women want to stand and stare.
In one place, where there are several big shops which stretch down one
side of the street, with very pretty windows full of beautiful things,
many nursemaids come to wheel babies in perambulators. This is not for
the sake of the children, who are too young to care about shop windows,
but it is for the sake of the nursemaids, who meet together and go
slowly along two together, talking of all the fine things they want to
buy, and staring with mouths and eyes round as saucers at the things
they see. Now two nursemaids with two perambulators on a narrow pavement
do not leave much room for anyone else, and people get tripped up and
have their toes crushed by the wheels, or have to step off into the
roadway to make way for Selina Ellen and Martha Theresa, who are far too
much interested in their conversation to make way for anyone. Once a
funny thing happened. An old gentleman was strolling along very slowly,
and Selina Ellen, never looking where she was going, pushed her
perambulator into him from behind. It took the old gentleman right off
his legs, whereupon he sat down backwards on to the perambulator, baby
and all! Poor baby! no wonder it screamed; it was a mercy it was not
squashed up altogether!

Yet there is some excuse for Selina Ellen and her kind, for the shops
are very beautiful. Those of you who have only seen shops in small
country towns can hardly imagine what they are like. The great
plate-glass windows stretch down the side of a street, and if you go
inside the shop you walk through room after room of beautiful things,
all arranged to show to the best advantage. The toy department would be
enough to make any little girl or boy happy even to look at it. There
are toys large and toys small; engines that can be wound up to run by
themselves; horses large enough to ride upon; balls of all colours and
sizes; and dolls--oh, the dolls! Dolls black-eyed and brown-eyed and
blue-eyed, dolls fair-haired and brown-haired, dolls dressed and
undressed. It is perhaps just imagination, but it always seems to me if
we could be there when the shop is shut up for the night and left quiet
we should hear and see some strange things.

One night, not very long before Christmas, in one of the largest shops,
the young men and women who had sold things to customers all day long
were putting away the ribbons and laces and folding up the great
curtains and the dress-stuffs to leave everything tidy for the night
before they went away to their homes. They had been there since nine
o'clock that morning, and were very tired, for people, even ladies, are
sometimes very tiresome when they come to buy; but the young men and
women have to be very polite always, and never lose their temper, or
they would be sent away. When the shop was just being shut up a lady
hurried in, and said:

'I want a doll, please, at once.'

'This way, madam,' said the tall man in the frock-coat very politely,
and he took her downstairs. 'Dolls, please,' he said to a tired,
sweet-looking girl who stood there.

'What sort of a doll did you wish, madam?' asked the girl.

'Oh, it must be a baby doll in baby clothes with real lace. My little
girl would not have one that wasn't dressed in real lace.'

'I'm afraid we haven't any with real lace, madam, but we have one or two
baby dolls,' said the girl, and she took down one or two from the
shelves.

'Oh no, those are hideous!' said the lady. 'The doll must have brown
eyes and red-gold hair.'

'I don't think we have any like that, madam. Here is one with blue eyes
and----'

'I didn't ask you for blue eyes,' said the lady rudely. 'If you can't
show me what I want I must go elsewhere.'

'One minute, madam; I believe there is just one doll such as you
describe, if it hasn't been sold.'

She looked about, and after a little while saw the doll she wanted on a
shelf. She reached up for it and tried to pull it down, but another
doll, rather larger, was leaning over it, so that she could not take one
without the other. She thought the two seemed very close, but she
disentangled them, and laid the baby doll on the counter. As she did so
the big doll fell forward on the shelf, with its arms hanging over as if
they were stretched out imploringly; but the girl never noticed it.

'I think this will be what you are wanting, madam,' she said.

The lady looked at it in a dissatisfied way.

'It hasn't got real lace on its clothes, but as its hair and eyes seem
right, I must take it, and tell my maid to sew some lace on to-night to
be ready for Gladys in the morning,' she said.

The girl tied it up in a parcel for her, and she left the shop. Very
shortly after this everyone went home, and all was still in the dolls'
department; and then suddenly there was a gentle little sniff, just as
if a very wee kitten were crying, and a little movement from the shelf
where the baby-doll had lain. Then a tiny little squeaky voice said:

'Well, you needn't make such a fuss about it; you knew the baby would
have to go some day.'

'I--I--can't help it,' sobbed a gentle little voice; 'I did love that
baby so.'

'You behaved very badly,' said a gruff voice; and the two dolls jumped,
for they knew it was the Gollywog speaking, and they were all afraid of
him. 'You did what no doll should ever do--you nearly showed you were
alive before human people.'

'I know it was very wrong of me,' said the gentle little doll meekly.
'But I did so want to keep that baby; I tried to lie on the top of her
so that she shouldn't be seen.'

'And you fell down and stretched out your arms. Let me tell you, madam,
that you have merited severe punishment; you have broken the laws of
dolldom, wherein we all swear never to speak or show a sign that we can
understand the human world. You have broken the most solemn law in a
daring way without provocation----'

'Oh,' said the second doll with the squeaky voice, 'please, Mr.
Gollywog, don't be so severe; I think she had provocation: she cared
very much for the baby.'

'What are you talking about?' growled the Gollywog. 'We don't want your
opinion. We're going to have a trial now, and no women-dolls can sit on
juries, so you won't have anything to say. Provocation, indeed! If she
had pins stuck into her all over, or been roasted in front of a fire
until she melted, as some dolls have done, you might have talked of
provocation. She might have squeaked then, though many dolls have
bravely endured these things in silence and died; but because a
baby-doll she had taken a fancy to went away, to show off like that! She
deserves death.'

Whereupon he stumped down off his shelf, and hunted about for a man-doll
to make a jury to try the poor gentle doll. It was rather difficult to
find, for there were so few men-dolls; but at last he rummaged out of a
corner a sailor-boy doll, who was terribly afraid of him, and of him he
demanded:

'What do you think that doll is guilty of?'

'Please, sir,' said the sailor-boy, trembling all over, 'what do _you_
think?'

'I think she is guilty of a crime that deserves punishment by death.'

'Punishment by death!' echoed the sailor-boy.

Thereupon the Gollywog made a spring upwards to the shelf, and the poor
little gentle doll gave a shriek and lost her balance, and fell head
first on to the floor, where she was smashed to pieces.

When the shopgirls came again in the morning, the one who had served
the lady found her lying there with her pretty wax face all broken.

'Oh dear,' she said, 'how careless of me! She fell off the shelf, to be
sure; I remember seeing her fall down when I took away the other doll. I
ought to have put her back.'

But the Gollywog, who had returned safely to his own corner, chuckled to
himself silently.



CHAPTER IX

DOGS AND CATS


Have you ever heard of the Dogs' Home? It is for all the poor lost dogs
that the policemen find in the streets of London. Once upon a time there
was a very naughty little dog called Scamp; he had long pepper-and-salt
hair, and very short legs, and he did not think it was fun to go with
the children of the house he lived in for their walk in the Park: he
wanted something more exciting, so he waited until they were not
looking, and then scampered off after another big dog he saw in the
distance. The big dog was very friendly, and began to play and run
about, and Scamp went after him as fast as his little short legs would
go; and by-and-by he grew tired, and lay down, panting, on the pavement,
and the big dog went away home. Then Scamp saw a cat coming very slowly
across the street to the little strip of grass that was surrounded by a
railing on the other side, and if there was one thing he hated it was
cats--nasty, cowardly, furry things! So he banged up suddenly, and the
cat went off like a shot, and Scamp after her; but when he had chased
her for quite a long time, she ran up a tree, and he could only stand
and bark. A greengrocer's boy pretended to bark too, and teased him; so
he grew cross, and thought he would go home. But he discovered all at
once that he did not know where home was, or even in which direction;
and he ran a little in one direction and a little in another, and then
set off running at full speed, with his long tail down between his legs.
A woman called to him and tried to stop him, but he only dodged her and
ran faster, until he came to a wide street full of shops, and here
people walking about, and carriages and cabs driving past, and he got
quite bewildered; and then, just when he was in despair, a policeman
caught hold of him and looked for his collar. Now, the silly little dog
had not got his collar on. Ethel had taken it off that morning to rub up
his name and address, and make them look nice and bright, and when she
wanted to put it on again, he had raced round the room and played, and
would not let her catch him until the governess had called out that it
was lesson-time; so Ethel had gone down, leaving the collar lying on the
table, and after lesson-time had forgotten all about it. So the big
policeman did not know to whom the dog belonged or where to take him.
Scamp was too well-mannered a little dog to bite, but he tried to get
down when the policeman took him up and struggled hard. The policeman
only laughed, and patted his head. 'No, no, my fine fellow,' he said
good-naturedly; 'there'll be someone looking for you, or I'm much
mistaken, and I must do my best to let them find you.' So he took him to
a police-station near, and very soon Scamp was sent down with a
shivering little fox-terrier to the Dogs' Home at Battersea.

He did not understand that it was his only chance of getting home; for
Ethel and Jack's father would know about the home, and send there to see
if he were there first of all. And he thought that the people at the
Dogs' Home were going to keep him all his life, and he did not like the
idea at all. For many dogs it would have been a comfortable place. There
were nice little kennels and good beds of hay, and plenty of drinking
water and clean good biscuit to eat, and little yards to run about in;
but Scamp was not happy. He was accustomed to live in the house and
sleep on the chairs, and be petted and made a fuss with, and nobody took
any notice of him here. He was very hungry, though, so he tried to eat
a little of the dog-biscuit; but in the middle he suddenly thought of
Ethel and Jack and how he loved them, and that he should never find them
again, and he stopped eating because a great lump seemed to stick in his
throat, and he went and sat down in a corner of the yard, just a heap of
gray hair and unhappiness. Presently a man came and patted him and spoke
kindly to him, but he took no notice. He thought how often he had been
cross when Ethel had hurt him in combing his hair, though she had only
been trying to make him look nice, and how sulky he had been many times
when she wanted to play with him; and he thought if only he could get
back he would be so good. All the bad things he had done in his life
came into his mind as he sat in the yard. He remembered that, when he
was only a puppy, about a year ago, he had worried one of Ethel's dolls,
and she had cried, and he had licked her face and tried to tell her he
was sorry, and she had flung her arms round him, and said: 'Never mind,
dear good old Scamp! I love you more than all the dolls, and I know you
didn't mean it.' How good she was always! He loved her better than Jack,
though she did tease him. She had often dressed him up in her dolls'
clothes and made him lie upside down in her arms in a very uncomfortable
position, while she pretended he was a baby.

He had killed a canary once, and once--it was very sad, and he did not
quite know how it had happened--he had got on to the sideboard and eaten
the cold beef while everyone was out at church on Sunday morning. The
beef had been left there uncovered, and he was very hungry, and it smelt
so good. He had climbed on to a chair and sniffed at it, and got a
little nearer and nearer, and all the time he knew quite well he was
doing wrong. And at last he jumped up and began to eat great juicy
mouthfuls of it. Oh, how good it was! And he pulled it this way and
that, and the cloth on the sideboard had got all crumpled up, and
suddenly down went a dish of beetroot with a smash, and all the rich red
juice streamed over the cloth and on to the carpet. He was frightened
then, and turned to run away; but his broad, flat paws had got into the
beetroot juice, and he left great marks all across the cloth. He heard
the latchkey in the front-door just at that moment, and he ran upstairs
and hid under Ethel's bed. Then the family came in, and he heard their
cry of dismay, and Ethel called for him; but he only hid deeper under
the bed. And then she came into the room, and said quite quietly, as if
she knew he was there, though she never looked under the bed: 'Oh,
Scamp! how could you?' And his broad tail went thump, thump against the
floor. So he was dragged out and whipped, and he felt very much ashamed
of himself.

Oh dear! if he could only get back to them all he would never do such
naughty things again!

In the morning two or three other dogs were put into his yard, and
though he wouldn't speak to them at all, and was too miserable to play,
he heard what they said. One of them had been here before, and he
explained that all the well-bred dogs, the good ones, were kept for a
certain time to allow their people to come and find them, and if at the
end of that time no one came for them they were sold; but the mongrels
and little dogs that were of no value--well, it was very curious what
happened to them. They went to sleep in a nice warm place like a drawer,
but they never woke up again. They did not suffer at all, and it was all
arranged very kindly. 'And of course,' said the dog who was speaking,
'it is quite right there should be some distinction between me and a
mongrel!' She was very proud of herself, being a King Charles's
spaniel, with soft brown and white hair and hanging ears and large
goggle eyes. She came up to talk to Scamp after awhile; but he would not
say anything to her, for his heart was sore within him. Yet what he had
heard gave him some hope. All that day he sat with his face pressed
close to the wires of the yard, watching, watching for his own people.
Why did they not come? They must have known he would be there. Once two
ladies came past--gentle, kind ladies of the sort to which he was
accustomed--and he sat up and begged. 'Oh, look at that dear doggie!'
cried one. 'We couldn't choose a nicer one; let us have him.' But when
they inquired about him they found that Scamp was not for sale just yet.

Then toward evening, when it was growing dusk, he suddenly heard a voice
that made his heart leap, and he jumped up and whined with excitement,
and Ethel cried: 'Oh, father, there he is! Don't you hear him?' And he
was let out, and she went down on her knees to kiss and hug him, and he
jumped about her so wildly that he nearly knocked her hat off. Surely
there was never a happier little dog went home that night than Scamp!

There are homes for cats in London, too; but often poor cats have a
much worse time than dogs. You remember that a great many of the
fashionable people only stay in London for the season, and then they
shut up their houses and go away into the country for several months.
Well, sometimes they are so thoughtless as to leave their poor cats
without any food or shelter--they forget about them. But a cat can't
live on nothing any more than a dog can. Perhaps poor puss has been out
for a walk, and comes back to find the house all shut and silent, and
she waits patiently a long time; but no one comes, and the boys in the
street throw stones at her. So she runs across to the square, and waits
there; but still the door is never opened. If she is lucky and clever at
hunting she may catch a little sparrow or find something in the roadway
to eat; but as the days go on she gets thinner and thinner, and weaker
and weaker, and at last, perhaps, dies of starvation unless some kind
person takes the trouble to send her to a cats' home. The cats' homes
are much the same as the dogs. If possible the cats are sold, and if not
they are quietly and painlessly killed--a much better fate than starving
in the streets. Sometimes the rich people do remember their cats, but
can't take them away; and so before they go they send them to a cats'
home, and pay for them to be kept there until they come back. Puss is
then well fed and happy; for a cat makes herself happy anywhere where
she is comfortable much more readily than a dog does, and then when the
family return for the winter she goes back to her own snug kitchen.

Some dogs who have lived in London all their lives as Scamp did, are
used to it, and are happy enough, but it is not a good place for dogs.
It is very difficult for them to run about enough, and they can't go out
by themselves for fear of getting lost or stolen, so often a dog has a
very unhappy time. There are dogs who are so much accustomed to London
that they will follow an omnibus if their master is on it, and keep
running by the side and looking up and barking. And they do not seem to
get at all confused by the many, many omnibuses passing and repassing,
but follow the right one all the time. But this is very exceptional.
Generally a London life is an unhappy one for any but a very small
house-dog.

In one part of Hyde Park there is a dogs' burial-ground, where people
can bury their pets. You can see it from the road as you pass, or you
can go in and look at it. It is very full. There are numbers of small
stones like little gravestones put to mark the places where many a loved
dog lies. Most of the stones are alike--small rounded ones with the
dogs' names on them, and some are flat on the ground. There are flowers
growing there, and the place is very bright and well cared for. We read
here the names of many dogs--Punch, Dinah, Crow, Ruby Heart, Bogey, and
Girlie. Strange names for dogs. The stones do not tell us what sort of
dogs they were, though that would have been interesting. We can't find
one in memory of Scamp, and I'm quite sure if he had died Ethel would
have had him buried here, so near the gardens where he often ran and
played. So Scamp must be living still. But other sorrowing mistresses
have lost their little companions, and the inscriptions show a world of
tenderness. We read, 'Alas, poor Zoe! as deeply mourned as ever dog was
mourned,' and 'Darling Vic,' 'Snow, a dear friend,' 'Loving little
Charlie,' 'Our faithful little friend Wobbles,' 'Jack, most loving and
most fondly loved,' and many another. It must have been a happy world
for such loved dogs as these.



CHAPTER X

ODDS AND ENDS


This is to be a chapter about all sorts of odd things that cannot be
fitted in anywhere else. For instance, have any of you heard about the
Messenger Boys? If not, I think that will interest you. Someone once
formed a scheme of having a number of boys trained to go messages, or
take parcels, or do anything that was required in London. And he set up
offices all over London, where anyone could get one of these boys and
send him on a message by paying his expenses and a small sum also,
according to the distance he had to go. At every one of the offices
there are a certain number of boys always going and coming. They take
the messages in order as they come, and they may get a nice one or a
nasty one. If you went into one of these offices and saw the boys
sitting on a bench waiting, you would soon see how it works. Some of the
boys are playing draughts, some are reading, but all are ready at any
minute to go where they are told. There is a young man in charge of the
office, and someone comes in with a message. So he turns to No. 1, a
bright, chubby-faced little lad, and says, 'Go to this address and call
for a parcel for this lady, whose name is written down, and take the
parcel to her house. Be as quick as you can, and you can take a
taxi-cab.' Off goes the boy, delighted to get such a nice job, and he
feels very important to call up a cab for himself. He knows exactly
where to go and how much to pay the cabman, for he has learnt all that
before. The next boy is a big, awkward-looking lad, very tall for his
age, and the young man laughs a little as he gives him a message: 'You
are to call at No. 50 in this street,' he says, 'and the lady will hand
over to you two children aged three and four. You are to take them to
the Zoo and let them have a good time, and bring them back before six
o'clock.'

The big boy makes a face. He does not fancy this idea at all; it is like
being a nursemaid, and he thinks how silly he will look with two wee
children. And all the other boys are grinning; but he cannot refuse. He
is like a soldier, and must do just what he is told. So off he goes and
asks for the children. But when he finds he can take them up in a cab,
and that they are dear, bright, happy little things, full of mischief,
he begins to enjoy himself, and they spend a lovely afternoon together;
and when he brings them back safely, and the mother gives him half a
crown for himself in addition to his fee, he feels he has had a good
day.

Some time elapses when he has left the office before smart little No. 3
gets anything to do, and then he is told to go to King's Cross Station
to meet two schoolboys and see their luggage is safe, and take them
across to Charing Cross. When he gets there he finds both the boys are
bigger than himself, but they are country boys going to school for the
first time, and are very frightened and bewildered, and little No. 3
cheers them up, so that they part quite good friends.

But these are a few of the odd things the boys have to do, and most of
their time is spent in taking notes about. You can see them anywhere in
London in their neat dark-blue uniforms with silver decorations. Once a
gentleman walked into one of the Messenger Boy offices, and said
quietly, as if he were saying nothing extraordinary, 'I want a boy to
take a note for me to America.'

The man in charge showed no surprise, but only asked when the boy was
to start. The gentleman said he might go the next day, which would give
him time to get his clothes together.

The boy who was next on the list was called Jaggers, and he was a
bright, intelligent little lad. He ran home eagerly to ask if his
parents would let him go, and having got permission, he went off
cheerfully the next day across the Atlantic Ocean to New York. He
arrived safely and delivered his message, and then went on to Chicago
and Philadelphia, as he had been instructed. He returned in eighteen
days, having travelled 8,000 miles, and he found he was quite a hero,
and the man who had sent him gave him a medal with a clasp or bar of
silver for each place he had gone to. I think many a boy might have been
frightened when told to go off to the other side of the world so
suddenly.

After Jaggers another boy did an even pluckier thing. His name was
Halsey, and he was sent to California, which is on the other side of
America, much further than New York, and he had to go right across the
continent and find the way all by himself, and he was given no time to
get ready as Jaggers was, but started almost immediately. That boy
afterwards fought for England in South Africa in the Imperial Yeomanry,
and is now in a responsible position in the Messenger Service. Another
boy was sent to the Sultan of Turkey to take a dog as a present. I think
that must have been the most difficult to do of the three things, for
the dog might have died on the way, and when the boy got to Turkey he
would have the disadvantage of being in a country where a foreign
language was spoken. These are exceptional cases, of course, but the
boys are still sometimes sent to the Continent with messages. But enough
about the Messenger Boys.

There is a sight to be seen in London nearly every evening, and
particularly on Saturday evenings, that always seems to me to be most
touching, and that is the rows of little children waiting outside the
shops for food that is sold cheaply. In great shops which sell food that
soon perishes--for instance, fish, or fruit, or bread-stuffs--there is
often a certain quantity left over at night that will not be quite fresh
in the morning, and so it is sold cheaply, and it is this that the
children of the poor come to buy. Some shops almost give it away. On
Saturday night, outside a pastry-cook's, there was a row of patient boys
and girls, each with a basket or bag, and some had been standing there
for a long time, because it is a case of 'first come, first served,' and
no pushing is allowed. As another little child arrived it took up its
stand at the end of the row, and waited until the time came for closing
the shop. Then each child paid so much--say sixpence--and got a large
quantity of bread, and so much cake, and if there was not enough to go
round the last ones had to go away without any.

At the fish shops there are different ways of doing this at different
shops. At one big shop all the fish that is over after the day's sale is
done is put into a large basket--there may be a piece of cod, and
several small fish, and some whiting or mackerel--and then each child
pays twopence, and the man in the shop deals out the fish as it comes,
giving so much to each, without asking what the children want. The poor
little bairns watch eagerly until their own turn comes. See that big bit
of cod? That would make a Sunday dinner for all of Ellen's people, and
Ellen watches it anxiously. There is a very small girl in front of
herself, and Ellen nearly cries when she sees the man put it into her
bag; but she cheers up again when a whole fish, of what kind she is not
quite sure, but still it looks very good, is passed on to her. There is
no waiting afterwards. How the little feet run home, and how the shrill
little voices cry, 'Mother, mother! look what I've got!' But it may be
also that a disappointed little girl goes away, crying softly, for she
came too late, so she had to stand quite at the end of the row, and when
her turn came there was nothing left. 'No more to-night,' the shopman
said cheerily, and seeing the pale, wistful little face, he added, 'Come
in better time another week, little girl.'

The little girl stole away quietly, but when she got to a dark corner
she sat down and cried bitterly; it was not so much for the sake of the
fish as because she knew she would get a beating from her drunken mother
when she went home without it. Yet she could not help it; she had had so
much to do that day--work, work, work from morning to night, partly at
school, partly at home--and she had run to the fish shop as soon as ever
she could, only to find herself too late. Children, there are sad times
in the lives of little girls such as these which none of you will ever
know.

But, as we have said once or twice, the lives of street children are by
no means all darkness; the merry games, the society of other children,
and the stir and life of London make up for a great deal. In some of
the streets you can see the boys running about on roller skates--bits of
wood on tiny wheels, strapped on to their boots. The smooth London
pavements are very good for this sport, and the boys skate about,
getting wonderfully clever at it, and enjoying themselves immensely.
Then they have their tops, which they spin on the pavements or in the
roadway among the feet of the people walking, without minding in the
least. There are tops all over the streets at some times of the year
spinning gaily. The girls have their skipping-ropes, which are apt to be
a nuisance to the people who want to walk on the pavements; but
sometimes there is a side alley where no one goes, and here the children
can skip undisturbed.

One game that seems a great favourite with the children is called
'Hop-scotch,' or 'London Town.' They draw a number of divisions on the
pavement with white chalk, and then hop from one to the other kicking a
bit of stone along the pavement with their toe; they must send it into
the next square at every hop, and they must not put the other foot to
the ground until they send it safely into the last division of all,
which is Home or London. The little girls get quite clever at this,
hopping lightly and daintily. Sometimes they draw a circle instead of a
square, which makes it more difficult to do, but the game is the same.

When the barrel-organ comes round, as it very often does, the children
dance; they don't mind that it has travelled in wind and weather for
perhaps ten years, and that it has lost all tune it may have had, and
only grinds out a horrible noise: they like the noise, and dance up and
down holding their little skirts, or twirling one another round in great
enjoyment. The streets do not allow of wild, romping games, and it would
be dangerous to dash about and try to catch one another, so most of
these are games that can be played on the pavement in safety.

The children who live near parks are luckier than those who have only
the streets for playgrounds, and these parks are filled with children,
especially on Saturday afternoons. There is one called Battersea Park,
near the river, where you may sit on a little knoll at one end, and, in
summer, as far as you can see there are boys playing cricket. They are
so mixed up that it is difficult to tell which ball belongs to which,
and often a good hit sends one ball flying into the middle of the next
game. Some of them have real wickets, and at one end there is a
carefully kept ground where men play; but some of the little boys have
no wickets, and only a bit of wood for a bat. So they get a stick from
somewhere and make it stand up in the ground, and then hang one of their
shabby little coats round it to make a wicket; but they shout loudly
with joy, and enjoy themselves at their game just as much as the bigger
boys with real wickets.

A thing you very often see in London, and, indeed, in other towns, too,
is a man sitting on the bare stone pavement drawing pictures on the
stones with coloured chalks. Sometimes he does them very well, and makes
scenes of battles and views of pretty places or ships at sea, but at
other times they are hideous and badly drawn. He does this in order that
people may give him pennies as they pass. He is not allowed to beg, and
if he tried to the policeman would come and take him up; but he doesn't
like hard work, so he sits beside his pictures and holds his cap out
piteously, and very often people give him pennies in passing, so he
makes a living without too much trouble. But unless he is old or
crippled, he ought to be doing better work than this. There are always a
great many odd men who have no work to do in London; there are some who
earn a living by going about in the early morning, when people put their
dustbins out, and picking out anything that they think they can sell--a
disgusting trade; others used to watch until they saw a cab with luggage
on it, and then they ran after it sometimes for miles and miles, and
when it stopped they would offer to carry the boxes upstairs. These men
certainly earned their money, for they had to run fast and far, and to
carry a box up the flights and flights of stairs in a London house is
not an easy task; but, unfortunately, they were generally men who were
out of work through their own fault, who had been drunken or idle or
rude, and they were not at all pleasant to deal with, and sometimes they
made themselves very disagreeable if they didn't get what they
considered enough money, and refused to go out of the house until a
policeman was fetched. So it is as well perhaps that now this means of
extorting money is impossible, for no man could run fast enough to keep
up with a taxi-cab.

The barrel-organ man we have already mentioned. He is frequently an
Italian, and has a dark-haired woman with him, and she wears a red
handkerchief over her hair to make her look more foreign; and they go
from house to house grinding out their awful tunes, and they get very
well paid, for the people in the poorer shops and in the foreign parts
of London like the noise, and give them pennies. Sometimes the man has a
monkey, which always attracts the children. Other men walk about with
barrows selling ice-cream; this is sold at a half-penny a time, and the
children lick it out of little glasses and have no spoons: one wonders
how often the glasses are washed. But that does not trouble the little
street children at all; they follow the ice-cream man in throngs like
flies in summer whenever it is hot. Poor little bairns! they have no
milk to drink or nice cool rooms to go to, only the hot, dusty street,
and they must often be thirsty. Well, all these things you can see in
the streets daily, and a great many more. I have not spoken of the
'sandwich' man; that is a funny name, and it means the man is sandwiched
between two great boards, which he carries on his front and back. On
these are written in large letters the name of a new play, or a
restaurant, or anything else to which someone wants to attract
attention. These men are paid a very little each day; they are hired a
large number together, and walk along by the side of the pavement with
their great boards one after another, so the people passing in the
street read the boards, and perhaps go to see the play or to dine at
the restaurant. The men are bound to keep on walking always together all
day, and they very often are ashamed of their work; for they may have
been something better than this, for to be a sandwich man is about the
lowest work a man can do, but, at any rate, it is earning money
honestly, without begging or stealing.



BOOK II

HISTORICAL STORIES



CHAPTER XI

KING EDWARD V


I think I heard someone ask for stories, and there are many stories
connected with London, though they are generally rather sad ones. There
was once a boy who became Edward V., King of England, who had a sad life
and a short one, and though he was a prince and a king I am sure he
would much rather have been neither. His father was Edward IV., and he
had not become King of England by inheritance, but because he had won
the crown by fighting.

Before him Henry VI. was king, and Edward claimed the throne by right of
his birth. So they fought, and there was a civil war. You know what that
is--a war between people of the same country who take different sides,
and it is the worst of all wars. As Edward IV. was Duke of York, his
side called themselves Yorkists, and wore a white rose as a badge; and
Henry VI.'s side called themselves Lancastrians, and wore a red rose.
Edward was very strong and very handsome, and a great many people
admired him and fought for him because they thought he would make a fine
king. And Henry was weak and feeble; but then he was king already, and
his father had been king before him; so a great many people took his
side for that reason. While they were still fighting Edward married
secretly a beautiful woman, a widow, called Elizabeth Woodville, and
soon after this he was so successful that he found he could settle in
London and have himself crowned king, while Henry and his wife and son
had to fly to Scotland. Then Edward told his great nobles that he was
married, and for a time all went on well. Edward and Elizabeth were very
happy. They lived in great state, and soon a little daughter was given
to them, and they called her Elizabeth. All the time poor Henry and his
brave Queen Margaret and his son Edward were hiding away in lonely
places. Little did they think then that the time would soon come when it
would be proud Edward IV. who had to fly and hide in his turn!

[Illustration: TRAFALGAR SQUARE.]

After awhile Edward IV. managed to capture Henry, and he put him in
prison in the Tower of London, and then, no doubt, he felt he was
very safe. But Edward had a follower called the Earl of Warwick, a
very powerful man. And he was angry, because he had wanted the King to
marry a sister of the King of France; but the King had not done as he
wished, for he had married Elizabeth Woodville. So the Earl of Warwick
waited for a good opportunity, and then raised up a disturbance in
Yorkshire.

King Edward was frightened when he heard of this, and travelled north to
quell the disturbance. And Warwick, who was in the north himself, seized
him and made him prisoner. It was very bold of him to make the King
prisoner in his own country. Now there were two kings in England both
prisoners--Edward in Yorkshire and Henry in London. However, King Edward
was not the sort of man to remain in prison long, and he soon escaped,
and Warwick had to fly to France. Here he found Queen Margaret, wife of
Henry VI., and with her he persuaded the French King to get together a
great army to go to England and fight against Edward. This was a
surprise for Edward, who had never expected it, and he could not get
together enough men to fight against Queen Margaret's army; so he had to
fly, and he went over the sea to Holland. But he did not take his Queen
with him; he left her in England with her children, for by this time
she had two other daughters besides Elizabeth, called Cicely and Anne.
Poor Queen Elizabeth was in great distress; she did not know where to go
or whom she could trust. But she was advised to go to the Sanctuary at
Westminster. You have heard of Westminster already, and you remember it
is a part of London, and at that time one of the King's palaces was
there. There was also a curious place like a strong, dark little castle.
It was a safety-place, and if anyone had killed a man or done any
wickedness and fled there he was safe; his enemies could not take him
out. That was why it was called the Sanctuary, and it was like the
cities of refuge in the Bible. It stood quite near to the place where
the Abbey stands now, and many hunted people rushed there for safety.

The Sanctuary was very dark, and had hardly any windows, and inside
there was a chapel. There was a flat roof, so that anyone who had gone
there for safety could climb up to the roof and peep over to see if his
enemies were waiting until he came out. It was not the sort of place for
a queen, and I should think Elizabeth must have felt very sad and lonely
there. Perhaps she had only straw to lie upon instead of a soft bed, and
bad food to eat instead of delicacies, and the darkness must have been
terrifying. Every moment she expected to hear the footfalls of a man
running with a message to say her husband had been caught or even
killed, because, of course, there were no papers or telegraphs; all the
news was sent by word of mouth or by messengers. Little Elizabeth was
only about six or seven years old, and her sisters were still younger,
and they could not have understood why they had to be in that nasty dark
place; but perhaps the Queen explained to them something of the reason.
It is very odd that little Elizabeth was afterwards Queen of England
herself. She married the man who was on the Lancastrian side and claimed
to be king when Edward her father and her two brothers were dead, and
Henry VI. and his son were dead also, and so the York and Lancaster
lines were joined in one.

Now while the Queen and her little daughters were there God sent them
some happiness, for a little baby-boy came to them, and he was Edward V.
afterwards. He was too little to know anything about his mother's
anxiety, and was, I dare say, quite as happy as most babies, and he must
have brought some brightness with him for his mother and sisters.

After this Edward IV. took heart again. Perhaps he felt that now he had
a son to succeed him he must win back the throne, and he returned to
England and fought again, and this time Queen Margaret and her men were
quite defeated, and her son was killed. He was an Edward, too, and he
was then about eighteen. Now Edward IV. was triumphant, and returned to
London, and the very day he came back his enemy Henry VI. died, so there
was no one to fight any more just then.

Cannot you imagine what a happy time that would be when Elizabeth showed
her husband the new little baby-boy? They christened him Edward after
his father, and as he grew up he was always treated like a prince, and
everyone knew that one day he would be king after his father. He had a
brother also, called Richard, two years younger, and some other sisters
younger still, called Katherine and Bridget. Bridget sounds to us now a
very queer name for a princess, but it was quite fashionable then. The
little boys were very beautiful; they learned to ride and play at games
and to shoot, and do all the other things that young nobles in those
days were taught. The royal brothers wore fine suits of velvet and
satin, with little daggers at their waists, and their hair grew long on
their shoulders. We should think long hair silly for boys now, but it
was the fashion then. Even men wore their hair quite long. These boys
and their younger sisters, Katherine and Bridget, had always been
treated like princes and princesses; they could not remember the time
when their father was an outcast and their mother had had to seek
shelter in sanctuary. Even the older children would have but a dim
recollection of those days of anxiety and gloom, and would think it
quite natural that they should be surrounded by pretty things, and that
everyone should serve them.

According to a curious custom prevailing at that time, kings sometimes
arranged marriages for their children when they were only a few years
old, and sometimes even when they were babies. All King Edward's
children were engaged to be married before they could speak! It
happened, however, that most of these engagements were afterwards
broken, but little Richard, who was created Duke of York, was actually
married when he was five years old to a little girl called Anne,
daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.

Edward and Richard were devoted to each other, and very happy together.
Perhaps this was partly because they were so unlike in disposition, for
people who are not like each other often agree the best. Edward was a
quiet, rather clever boy, and Richard was full of fun and very
mischievous. They had a great many uncles and aunts, for their mother
had five sisters all married to dukes and earls, and she had brothers as
well. Her eldest brother was Earl Rivers, and he was very good to his
nephews, and they loved him, and were always glad to see him. The boys
had also some step-brothers, their mother's sons by her first marriage,
and they liked these older brothers very much. So they had many people
who took an interest in them, and I dare say they were a little bit
spoilt.

Their father, King Edward, had two brothers younger than himself. One
was George, Duke of Clarence, and the other Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
The Duke of Clarence was a weak, discontented man, who grumbled
continually. The Duke of Gloucester was a hunchback, and he was as
deformed in mind as in body; for he was of a malicious disposition,
always ready to make mischief, and was so fond of his own way that he
would kill anyone who dared to oppose him. He was jealous of Clarence,
and so he told tales of him to King Edward; and King Edward believed
him, and had Clarence seized and taken to the Tower. Then Gloucester was
glad, and went about saying all the things he could think of against
Clarence so that he should never again be let out of prison.

At that time the Tower was both a prison and a palace, and the King
sometimes stayed there himself; but he lived generally at the palace of
Westminster, which stood where the Houses of Parliament stand now. The
great hall of this palace is still there, forming a part of the Houses
of Parliament, but the rest of the building is very different from what
it was in King Edward's time. Then there was a high wall all round the
palace, and within it were streets of quaint old houses, with gables and
angles, and in them lived the people who had to work for the King and
his Court--that is to say, all the carpenters, and blacksmiths, and
other work-people. And when the King and the princes went riding through
the streets on great occasions, these people used to hang out beautiful
pieces of cloth of many colours--red and blue and gold--so that the
curious narrow streets looked like fairyland. The great wall was a
protection to all the people who lived inside, and made the palace and
houses like a little town by themselves.

One day when young Edward and Richard rode in after they had been
playing with the nobles at some sports, they heard that their uncle
Clarence was dead. They dared not ask how it was that he, a man in the
prime of life, had died so suddenly, for their father looked very stern,
and their uncle Richard seemed pretending to be sorry. But the truth was
that Clarence had been killed by King Edward's orders, because Richard
had made up stories about him, and pretended that he had discovered a
plot of Clarence's to dethrone the King and make himself King instead,
and, unfortunately, King Edward had believed this wicked lie. No one
ever knew exactly how Clarence had been killed, but it was whispered
that, as he was a king's son, he had been allowed to choose his own
death, and he had chosen to be drowned in a great barrel of wine. This
was the beginning of Richard's wickedness, and later he grew worse and
worse, for he intended to be king himself some day, and so he
deliberately murdered everyone who stood in his way. He had begun with
Clarence, who was his elder brother, and who would have been king before
him if anything had happened to the King and his sons, but he did not
stop there.

Prince Edward was only eight years old when this happened, and Richard
was six.

Five years more went by, and during that time, though all seemed to be
well, there were really plots and schemes everywhere in the palace. The
Duke of Gloucester was always creeping about after the handsome King and
flattering him, and trying to win his confidence. The King still loved
his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and he gave her relations, the Woodvilles,
important posts about the Court and showed them favour. And this did not
please Gloucester at all, for he hated the Queen, and was jealous of her
relations; and so he made up stories against them and told them to the
King, as he had done in the case of poor Clarence, but this time the
King was not quite so ready to believe him.

But when little Edward was thirteen the King died suddenly, and then the
Duke of Gloucester and the Queen's relations both tried to get young
Edward into their own hands, for they thought that a boy so young would
be easily controlled and made to do as they wished. Edward, who was now
King Edward V., loved his mother and all her family, and wished to be
under the care of his aunts and uncles on her side of the family; so
when she told him to go into the country with his uncle, Earl Rivers,
and one of his half-brothers, Lord Grey, he went gladly. The Queen had
planned this to keep him out of the power of the Duke of Gloucester,
whom she feared. But the Duke was too clever a man to be put aside so
easily. He had made his brother, the dead King, say before he died that
he was to be young Edward's guardian, and on the strength of that he now
claimed the young King. Finding, however, that he had already gone to
the country, he sent a message to him saying he must come back, and he
himself started out for the country to meet him half-way.

You can imagine that Earl Rivers and Lord Grey were anxious when they
received that message. But what could they do? If they refused to bring
back the little King, the Duke would doubtless raise an army and come
against them and compel them to give him up. So they thought the best
way would be to pretend to do as Richard wished, but in reality to keep
themselves very near to the young King and to guard him from harm. They
set out for London, therefore, bringing Edward with them, and the Duke
of Gloucester soon met them. He had with him a powerful noble called
Lord Hastings, who, though he hated the Queen's relations and was
jealous of them, was still an upright, brave man, who would not have
hurt a hair of young Edward's head.

When the Duke of Gloucester and Lord Hastings met the other party, they
were very polite, and so friendly that Earl Rivers and Lord Grey thought
that they must have been mistaken, and that the Duke meant nothing but
good; so they foolishly gave up all precautions, and left themselves in
the power of the Duke. Then he seized them, and sent them off as
prisoners to a strong tower in Yorkshire.

Poor Edward V. was terrified when he heard this, and found that he was
alone with his uncle Gloucester, and he fell on his knees and cried--you
must remember he was only thirteen--and begged his uncle to release the
prisoners. Gloucester tried to comfort him, and assured him that he was
only doing what was best for the safety of everyone. He told Edward that
these men were bad men, and were plotting against him, and he said that
it was for his safety he had seized them; and then he said that he was
taking him back to London to his mother and brother and sisters, and
that when he got there he should be crowned King. Then Edward was a
little comforted.

Lord Hastings, however, began to be anxious: he did not like the way in
which Richard was getting all the power into his own hands; so though he
was no friend of the Queen mother's, he sent her a message to say that
he feared the Duke of Gloucester, and she would be wise to go to a place
of safety. I expect Gloucester found out about this message, for he
always hated Hastings afterwards, and never rested until he had punished
him, as you shall hear.

When the Queen received the message she left the palace at Westminster
and hurried to the Sanctuary, where she had been once before, and she
took all her children with her.

A bishop went to see her there, and he wrote a book about it, so we can
tell now just how he found her. She was sitting upon rushes, which in
those days were used instead of carpets, and all around her were bags
and bundles and furniture, which had been hastily brought across from
the palace. The Queen could be more comfortable this time than she had
been in the first dark and lonely days, for she had been able to bring
some of her own belongings to the gloomy Sanctuary. All the children
were there except Edward. The eldest girl, Elizabeth, was now seventeen,
and must have been a great comfort to her mother; yet, in spite of all
this, it was a hard time for all of them, and more so when Richard fell
ill. Perhaps it was because he couldn't run about as usual; but they all
took great care of him, and presently he began to get better. I must
tell you that on the very place where the Sanctuary used to stand is now
a large hospital called the Westminster Hospital; and so where little
Prince Richard was nursed by his frightened mother more than 400 years
ago, other people, and among them children, are now nursed back to
health and strength.

To go back to Edward and his uncle. The Duke was still pretending to be
a good, kind uncle, and he treated Edward as a king. When they entered
London the Lord Mayor and Aldermen came out to meet them. It was a
splendid sight. The Lord Mayor was dressed in scarlet, and 500 of the
citizens of London were in violet, and Edward himself, a very handsome
boy, sat his horse like a king, while his long fair curls fell down over
his blue velvet cloak. And the Duke of Gloucester took off his hat and
bowed, and said to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, 'Behold your Prince and
Sovereign Lord!'

Then, as they rode on into the town, he told Edward that he should be
crowned in a month. I wonder if Edward believed him? They went first to
the Bishop of London's house, and then on to the Tower; but Edward did
not feel afraid, because, as I said, the Tower was a palace as well as a
prison, and as the palace at Westminster was very old and uncomfortable,
it was natural to go to the Tower instead.

Now, the wicked Richard of Gloucester had got one of the little boys
into his power; but that was no use unless he could get the other one,
for if he killed Edward the people would say Richard, Duke of York, must
be king. And he dared not kill either of them while Lord Hastings was
alive. So he thought of a plan, and this is what he did. He called a
meeting of the great nobles to the Tower to talk about business of
State. Lord Hastings came, of course, among the others. At first Richard
seemed to be in very good spirits, and laughed and jested; but as the
morning went on he grew crosser and crosser, and at last he scowled so
much that all the nobles were afraid of him. Then suddenly he stretched
out his bare arm, and showed them that it was shrivelled and old. It
had been like that since he was a baby, but now he pretended that it had
only happened suddenly, and that it was done by poor Queen Elizabeth,
who was then in sanctuary with her children; and he said she was a witch
and had bewitched him, and turning quickly to Lord Hastings, he said:
'What should be done to those who did this thing? Ought they not to be
killed?'

Lord Hastings knew quite well that the Queen had not done it; but he did
not dare to say so, so he answered: 'Ay, my lord, _if_ they have done
this thing they deserve death.'

Then Richard roared out in a fury: 'Dost thou answer me with "ifs"? By
my head! I will not dine until thy head is off!'

And he made a sign to some soldiers he had placed there before, and they
rushed forward and carried out poor Lord Hastings on to the little strip
of green outside, and there, before anyone could interfere, chopped off
his head on a log of wood that lay there. No one dare do anything, for
they were all afraid of the Duke of Gloucester; and Hastings suffered
simply because he had been loyal to his little King. Richard had no
heart to feel sorry for his victims; he just mowed down the people who
stood between him and his wishes as if they had been daisies.

Now at last he could get his own way, for the two most powerful men who
would have opposed him were out of the way: the King's uncle, Rivers,
was imprisoned at Pontefract in Yorkshire, and Hastings was dead. So
Richard's next idea was to get the little Duke of York and take him to
the Tower to his brother, and then he would have everything in his own
hands.

Even Richard of Gloucester could not go and drag his little nephew
straight out of sanctuary, for the Archbishop would not have allowed it,
and all the people would have been horrified at the sacrilege and risen
against him; so he sent some men to try to persuade the Queen to give
the boy up.

The Archbishop and some nobles went on this errand, and they found Queen
Elizabeth sitting in the midst of her children in the dark Sanctuary,
and when they told her their reason for coming she said never would she
let Richard go. She knew his uncle only wanted him to kill him, and she
said of the Duke of Gloucester, 'He hath so tender a zeal unto him that
he feareth nothing but that he should escape him,' which showed she
guessed his wicked plans. Besides, she added, the boy had been ill, and
he was only a little boy eleven years old, and he was better with his
mother than with men in that gloomy Tower. But they told her Edward was
lonely and wanted his brother to play with; so she answered that there
were many other boys, the sons of nobles, he could play with instead of
his little brother, who still was not well enough to play.

It seems dreadful that these men, who must have known the reason why
Gloucester wanted his little nephew, should have gone on trying to
persuade the poor mother to give him up; but they did, and they said
that sanctuary was not meant for children at all, only for people who
had done wrong, and this boy had done nothing wrong, so he could not
claim the right of sanctuary. Then poor Queen Elizabeth saw that they
would take him whatever she said, and she could do no more. So she gave
him to the Archbishop, and said he must be responsible for him, and if
anything happened to the boy his blood would be on the Archbishop's
head. Yet the Archbishop took him.

So Richard kissed his mother and sisters and ran out, and the first
person he met was his wicked uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. And
Gloucester caught him up in his arms and kissed him, and pretended to
be very fond of him, and took him at once to Edward. The brothers had
not seen one another for some time, and Richard cried out with surprise
when he found how tall Edward had grown--much taller than himself, and
in the joy of meeting at first they were very happy together.

The little boys were kept prisoners in the Tower, and suddenly they
heard that all the preparations which had been made for Edward's
coronation were going to do for the Duke of Gloucester's, and that he
was going to make himself king even while his nephews were alive! Cannot
you imagine how angry a high-spirited boy like Edward must have felt?
But he could do nothing; he was in prison, and no one helped him. Then
came the dreadful news that his two dear friends, his uncle Rivers and
Lord Grey, had been beheaded in Yorkshire. And, worse than all, some
page came talking, and said before Edward that he believed his uncle was
going to have him to walk in his train at the coronation--walk behind
his uncle like a page!

Perhaps Edward cried out, and said furious things at this; for if ever
the Duke of Gloucester had meant to do it he gave up the idea. Perhaps,
also, his idea had been at first just to keep his nephews prisoners
without harming them; but now he saw that every year they grew older
they would be more dangerous to his plans, and so he resolved on a
terrible deed.

He sent for Robert Brackenbury, the keeper of the Tower, and told him
plainly that if he would murder the little princes he should be well
paid. Brackenbury was a brave man, and he refused boldly, saying he
could not do such a wicked thing for all the money in the world. Then
Richard said angrily: 'Will no man do what I want?' And a page who was
sleeping on a couch near the door to guard it heard, and answered that
he knew a man who would do anything the Duke wanted. Richard told him to
fetch this man, who was Sir James Tyrrell, and between them they made up
their dreadful plot. Tyrrell was to ask Brackenbury to give him the keys
of the Tower for one night, and in that night he would see the deed was
done. Now Brackenbury could not refuse. He might guess what was going to
happen; but if he refused to give the keys his head would be cut off,
and the little princes would be killed just the same. So he agreed, and
went away sorrowfully.

Then in the dark of the night Sir James Tyrrell took with him two
men--rough, odious men, called Dighton and Probyn, who would have killed
anyone for money. One was a gaoler at the Tower, and the other was
Tyrrell's own groom, and the three crept up the dark winding stair to
the room the boys were sleeping in. Even those rough men were horrified
at what they had come to do when they saw those two beautiful boys with
their curling golden hair falling on their shoulders and their faces
close together, sleeping so sweetly. But they remembered the money they
were to have if they succeeded and the anger of wicked Richard if they
failed, and they took up great pillows and held them down over the boys'
faces until they were smothered. Perhaps the boys did not suffer at all,
but just dreamed away into death.

When it was done the men showed the two bodies to Tyrrell, who was
waiting, and then, hurrying down the heavy stone staircase, they pulled
out some of the great stones at the foot, and buried them there and
covered them up with stones. So that no one knew certainly what had
become of the princes at the time. But two hundred years after, in doing
some repairs, workmen came upon the bones of two boys, just about the
sizes of the two little princes, at the foot of the stairs, and so the
secret came out. And now, if you visit the Tower, you can see the very
spot where they were buried.

Well, that is the end of the story of Edward V., and perhaps he was no
more unhappy dying as an innocent child than if he had lived to be a man
and ruled England for many years. But wicked Richard did not enjoy the
throne he had gained by so many murders; for he only reigned two years,
and then he was conquered by another Henry, a relation of Henry VI., who
married Elizabeth, the boys' sister, and they two were the next king and
queen.



CHAPTER XII

TOURNAMENTS AND PAGEANTS


In the last chapter I spoke about the young nobles who played with the
little princes, and of their sports. In this chapter I will try to
explain how very different the lives of boys were then from what they
are now.

It was the fashion then for the sons of nobles to be taken from their
homes when they were about twelve and sent to some other nobleman's
house, to be brought up there and educated. These boys were called
pages, and there were a great many of them about the Court. At the
palace of Westminster especially there would be many, for it was
considered a great thing for a boy to be noticed at Court. Every noble
who came to see the King would bring with him some of these pages. The
life must have been on the whole very pleasant for the boys, but there
were many things in it that were disagreeable. For instance, it was one
of the duties of the pages to wait at table and to carve the dishes on
the sideboard, and they were taught to be very particular, and always to
wash their hands before carving. We are told of one boy that his
gentility was so great that he would not wipe his hands like the others,
but waved them about in the air until they were dry! I think this must
have made them red and rough, which would not be very genteel.

The pages were gaily dressed, with short doublets of velvet and fur, and
little daggers, and caps with a feather in them, and often they were
much petted by the ladies, and were much spoilt in consequence.

The boys joined in all the sports of the time, and there were many more
sports then, when England was a wild country without many towns in it,
than there are now. The chase of the wild boar or the wolf was a
favourite sport, and stag-hunting was very popular. It was part of the
duty of pages to know how to skin and cut up the stag. Can you fancy a
refined boy of twelve enjoying that? The pages had to ride with their
masters and lead an extra horse if it were wanted, and they were
supposed always to be bright and courteous. This training served instead
of going to a public school, as boys do at present. As for games, they
had as many as the boys of the present time. One was the quintain. This
was an upright post with two arms at the top, that swung round very
easily. Tied to the end of one was a bag of sand and to the other a
shield. The boy had to run up and hit the shield, and if he did not get
out of the way very fast the bag of sand swung round and hit him on the
back. Probably they played this in the courts of the palace, where are
now the Houses of Parliament, and where one of the yards is still called
New Palace Yard. Other old games of which we know only the names were
'Hoop and Hide,' 'Harry Racket,' 'Hoodwink Play,' 'Loggats,' and
'Stooleballe,' which was like our cricket. These were all very much
liked in the days about the time that Edward's sister Elizabeth married
Henry VII. and became Queen.

When a boy grew older he ceased to be a page, and became an esquire.
Nowadays everyone puts esq., meaning esquire, on letters in an address,
but at that time a man had really to be an esquire before he could be
called so. He served some knight and rode with him to the wars, or
attended him at home. While he had still been a page he had waited on
the ladies and played to them on the harp, or read to them while they
embroidered; but when he became esquire he very seldom saw the ladies,
and was taught to consider them almost as far above him as angels. For
the next few years he had a great deal to do. He had to dress and
undress his master as if he had been a servant. He had to look after his
master's horse, and when there was any fighting he had to carry a shield
and ride beside his master, ready to die for him if necessary.

Among the games he played indoors were chess and draughts, both of which
people still play. One knight had perhaps many squires, and they were
all supposed to love him very much, and to be perfectly obedient to him.
The young squires had games among themselves, and the squires of two
different knights had little contests, each trying to beat the others.
The squires were able to run and jump straight on to a horse even when
they were covered all over with heavy armour. They danced and turned
somersaults, and performed many other exercises to make them strong and
agile. Even princes had to be squires before they could be knights, and,
if you remember, when Edward the Black Prince was fighting the French at
Crecy, he was not then a knight, but was made a knight because he had
been so brave on that occasion. He took King John of France prisoner,
and brought him to London to a great castle called the Savoy; and when
he had brought him there he did not treat him as a prisoner at all, but
himself took the part of a humble squire, and waited on the French King
while he had supper. Very few princes would have done that; they would
rather have gloried in showing their superiority to their captive. The
palace of the Savoy was in London, further down the river than
Westminster. It is all gone now except the chapel, where people still go
to church on Sundays.

Down beside this part of the river now runs a street with houses and
shops on each side, and it is called the Strand. I wonder if you have
ever heard of the strand at the seaside? It is an old word, meaning the
beach beside water, and the Strand in London reminds us of the time when
there was no embankment, but the houses were right on the edge of the
water. Great palaces most of them were, where all the haughty nobles
with their following of squires lived. They have all gone now, these
great palaces, but one gate remains, a very handsome stone gate with
steps, and this was the gate of a great palace belonging to the Duke of
Buckingham, and here boats could come up so that the Duke could step
into one from his stairs at the water gate; but when the embankment was
made the river was hemmed in, and could not come so far up, and now the
gate stands back a long way from the river in the middle of a green
garden. The people used the river a great deal then, going by water as
we go by land, and the water was covered with gaily-coloured barges and
boats.

After being a squire, the next thing was to be a knight. It was not
every man who could be a knight. A man must have done some brave deed,
or shown himself very faithful, or be the son of a powerful noble, or
something of that kind; but when it was decided that a young man might
be made a knight, he had to watch his armour alone all night in a
church, and pray to be made worthy, and then in the morning he vowed
always to help the weak and avenge them, and never to draw back or be
afraid, and never to use his sword except for the right. Then the King
received him, and he knelt down, and the King gave him a light blow on
the shoulder with the flat side of the sword, and this made him a knight
and gave him the right to use the title 'Sir' before his name.

The knights used to have games that you and I would think were more like
real fighting than play. They put on armour and mounted their horses,
and then met to try to knock one another off. These fights were called
tournaments, and all the ladies came to watch them as nowadays they go
to watch men play at polo or cricket. The chief place in London for
tournaments was a place we have been to already, called Smithfield. That
is where the meat market is now, and it is still a wide, open square. A
great many things happened at Smithfield, and we shall hear of it again
before this book is finished.

On the day of a grand tournament everything was made ready very early.
There were high wooden seats arranged all round, covered with scarlet or
purple cloth, and there were special seats like thrones for the King and
Queen; and people came flocking up as if to a fair, dressed in crimson
and gold and blue and green, with clothes made of velvet and silk, much
brighter than anything we have now, and the men were quite as gay as the
ladies. Before the time for the tournament, the knights who were going
to take part in it would ride up on their prancing horses; some came
from the Tower of London, and there is a street not far from St. Paul's
Cathedral still called Knightrider Street, because the knights used to
come riding up there to the tournaments at Smithfield.

Cannot you imagine how a young knight's heart would beat when he first
took part in a tournament? Perhaps he was just one-and-twenty, and still
only a boy in heart, and when he rode into that great open space
everyone cheered him, and he saw the ladies rising, sitting on tiers of
seats that rose higher and higher, making a beautiful mass of colour,
like a bed of flowers; and there was one there who he knew would see
him, a girl only seventeen, very sweet and fair and shy, who was among
the Queen's maids-of-honour, and the young knight could not see her just
then for the crowds of other people there. But he knew that she would be
watching, and that he was to fight for her. For the glove he wore fixed
on to his helmet was hers: she had given it to him the day before; no
one else knew it was hers. But if he fell off his horse and rolled in
the mud, that glove would be rolled in the mud too, and then he would be
so much ashamed he would never dare to look her in the face again.

So he plucked up his courage, and looked round as if he were not at all
nervous, and he saw the man he had to fight come riding toward him, a
big strong man on a great black horse. The two knights held up their
long lances to salute the King and Queen and ladies, and bowed to each
other. A trumpet sounded, and the two horses rushed toward one another,
the lances came against the strong armour with a crash, and the young
knight felt a wrench, for his horse was thrown back on its haunches; but
it recovered itself and dashed on, passing the other knight, until he
wheeled it round and came to meet his opponent again. This time, just as
they were going to meet, the horse of the older knight swerved, and his
lance, striking crossways, broke in two, and the young knight could
easily then have knocked him off his horse. But it was considered
disgraceful to strike an unarmed man, so he lowered his lance and rode
past without touching him, and all the people cheered. There was one
more meeting to be faced, only one, and if he could manage to
distinguish himself then, that fair girl would be proud of him, and
perhaps smile sweetly when he met her again, and allow him to kiss her
hand. The thought so fired the young knight that when his opponent had
obtained a new lance and was awaiting him, he came on with such a pace
and such a rush that he carried the other man clean out of his saddle,
and laid him full length on the ground, where he lay helpless in his
heavy armour until his squires ran across the field and raised him up.
Then all the people shouted wildly, and the young knight rode modestly
off the field feeling very happy.

If you saw Smithfield now you would not think such things could ever
have happened there, for it is so bare and dull, and it was then so
magnificent.

Besides the tournaments, the people of London had many other shows. When
Queen Elizabeth was crowned there was a wonderful procession. We all
heard a great deal about the coronation of King George V. Well, it is
rather interesting to think that about three and a half centuries
before, Queen Elizabeth, when crowned, had a grand ceremony, and
afterwards made a tour round the city, as the King of England always
does to this day after the ceremony has taken place. We have accounts of
Elizabeth's procession that tells us exactly what it was like. The Queen
went very slowly and stopped very often, and whenever she stopped a
child came forward and recited dull verses to her. It must have taken a
long time and been rather tiresome. But there were all sorts of
beautiful things to look at in the meantime. In one place there was a
high wooden scaffolding built up, and on it figures of Henry VII. and
his Queen Elizabeth, who was the grandmother of the real Queen
Elizabeth. You remember how Henry VII. married her because she was the
sister of Edward V., and so the York and Lancaster sides were joined in
one? Well, to show this there sprouted out of the hands of these two wax
figures great boughs of roses, red and white mixed together, as a sign
that the red and white roses of York and Lancaster were joined. At one
place a child came forth and handed Elizabeth a copy of the Bible in
English, the first copy that the English people had ever had in their
own language; for, you know, the Bible was not written first in English,
but in Hebrew and Greek, and up to this time no one had translated it
into English. And everywhere children came out of odd places and said
curious verses. I have heard one story, though I do not know if it is
true, that a little child had been covered all over with gold paint, and
was to be let down in a swing to greet the Queen as she passed
underneath; and when the time came, and the little gilt child was
lowered, it was found to be quite dead, stifled by the gold paint.

That was a sad thing, and I did not want this chapter to be sad, because
history is too full of sad things, and tournaments and games ought to be
gay.



CHAPTER XIII

SIR THOMAS MORE


Sir Thomas More belongs entirely to London, because he was born there,
he lived there, and he died there, so that his story cannot be missed
out. But it is a story that is in some ways rather difficult to
understand. When Sir Thomas was a little boy he was not Sir Thomas at
all, but probably just Tom. He was born in a street called Milk Street,
a name not difficult to remember. It is close by St. Paul's Cathedral,
and now is a little narrow street full of warehouses, where merchants
keep their goods. When Tom was fifteen he was sent, according to the
custom of the times, to be a page. And the household to which he went
was a very great one indeed, nothing less than that of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, whose palace was not far from Westminster, on the other side
of the river. At this time Henry VII. was king, and England was resting
in peace after the long Wars of the Roses. Thomas waited at table like
other pages, and learnt many things, such as riding and tilting, as well
as Latin and Greek; but though he was a very bright, sweet-tempered boy,
he was always more inclined to learning than to sport, and when he grew
a little older it was thought a pity he should not learn more, so he was
sent to Oxford University. When he had finished his time at Oxford he
came back to London, and became a barrister, and very soon after he
began to think about marrying.

He knew at that time three girls, sisters, and he liked the second one
very much; but then it was considered rather a disgrace if a younger
sister were married before an elder one. And someone told him that the
eldest sister liked him very much, so what did he do but propose to the
eldest and marry her. She seems to have been a nice girl, and for six
years they lived very happily together; and then she died, leaving him
with four children--three little daughters, Margaret, Elizabeth, and
Cicely, and one son, John.

More felt that he could not leave his little ones motherless when they
were so young, and so he determined to marry again, and this time he was
not so fortunate, for he chose a rather plain, cross woman, many years
older than himself, who was a widow. He thought perhaps she would be a
careful manager, but the choice was unfortunate for him.

King Henry VII. was now dead, and his son, the Henry VIII. who married
six wives one after the other, was on the throne. He was very fond of
More, and often had him at the Court at Westminster, and gave him all
sorts of honours and dignities, and finally made him a knight, so that
he was Sir Thomas, and his cross wife could call herself Lady Alice
More, a title that pleased her very much.

More had never liked the life of a city, and now that he was richer,
owing to the King's kindness, he removed to a place that was then a
village three miles from London called Chelsea. It seems odd to think of
Chelsea ever being a village by itself, for it is now all a part of
London. The houses have crept on and on, and covered up all the space
between until Chelsea is right in London.

It is still a very pretty place beside the river, with shady trees and
beautiful houses, and in More's time it must have been charming. He had
a large house with a garden stretching right down to the side of the
water, and from this he could step into his barge and go down to
Westminster to see the King.

His little girls grew up here, and spent a happy childhood. They all,
especially the eldest, adored their father. More himself was a very
loving father, but he never spoilt his children, and always took care
that they learnt their lessons. He used to say: 'Children, virtue and
learning are the meat, and play but the sauce.' When any of them
grumbled at little hardships, he used to say: 'We must not look to go to
heaven on feather beds.' He was very fond of all of the children, but he
loved the best his eldest daughter Margaret, Meg as he called her, and
every day as Meg grew older she and her father were more and more to
each other. Meg was clever, too; when still only a girl she could write
letters in Latin and read many very difficult books.

The home life was rather different from that which we know now. There
were some pages in the household, boys of good family, who came to learn
from More as he had learnt from the Archbishop. One of these, William
Roper, was a very nice fellow, and he afterwards married Margaret. Then
there was the Fool. It seems to us now such an odd idea to have a man
paid to make jokes, but in those days it was the fashion. Some man who
had a gift for saying funny things used to live in the household of a
great nobleman and be as amusing as he could, and for this he received
payment. More's fool was often rather impertinent, and at one time when
there was a big dinner, and one of the guests happened to have a
particularly large nose, the fool said out loud: 'What a terrible nose
that gentleman has got!' So all the family pretended not to hear, and
were rather uncomfortable, and when the fool saw that, he said: 'How I
lied when I said that gentleman's nose was monstrous; now I come to look
at it I really think it's rather a small nose!' Well, of course, no one
could help laughing after that, and they all went off into peals of
merriment, even the poor gentleman himself.

In the early mornings when the air was fresh and sweet, and in summer
the garden full of roses, More would wander round with his dear Meg, and
perhaps the other children would come, too, to look at all the pets.
They kept a number of strange animals; there were rabbits, a monkey, a
fox, a ferret, a weasel, and many others, and the children themselves
kept the cages clean, and were taught to be kind to them. Lady More did
not care for these things, she liked better to dress herself very
smartly and lace herself very tight; and when her husband laughed at
her, she said, 'Tilly, vally, Sir Thomas! tilly, vally!' just as we
should say, 'Tut, tut!'

She once found a stray dog, however, to which she took a great fancy,
and she petted it and fed it; but after a few days a beggar-girl walking
in the street, who met her with the dog, suddenly cried out that it was
hers, and the dog knew her, and rushed and danced round her and licked
her hands. Lady More was very angry, and said it was her dog, and
ordered her footman to pick it up and carry it back home. The
beggar-girl followed them all the way, crying; but when she arrived at
the house the door was shut, and she was left outside. When Sir Thomas
came home that evening in his barge, as he stepped out on the land he
saw a poor little dirty girl with her face all stained with tears. He
was always kind, so he stopped and asked her what was the matter, and
she told him all her story about having lost her dog. Now, Sir Thomas
was at that time the head of all the judges in England, having been made
Lord Chancellor, and he was a very just man, so he would never let his
wife take what did not belong to her. He went, therefore, into his own
great hall and sent for Lady More; then he asked her to stand at the
top end of the hall, and placed the little dirty girl down at the lower
end. Then he ordered a footman to bring in the dog and hold it in the
middle between the two, and he said that the dog should decide for
itself; it must know its own mistress. And when he gave the word the man
must let it go, and both the women who claimed to be its mistress must
call it, and whichever it chose to go to should keep it.

So he gave the word, and Lady More cried out all the soft things she
could think of; but the little girl just said the one word, the dog's
name, and the dog bounded toward her in a moment, for it loved her, and
did not care for Lady More. So Sir Thomas said that settled it; the dog
clearly belonged to the little girl and not to his wife. Lady More then
offered the girl much money if she would sell the dog, and as she was
very poor she did sell it at last, and left it behind with its new
mistress.

There were always a great many people coming and going in More's house,
and the table was always laden with good things, and much money was
spent; but Sir Thomas himself did not care about eating and drinking,
and liked best to have only vegetables and fruit and brown bread, and
perhaps a little salt beef, which was much eaten in England then.

Every day he said good-bye to his little girls, and told them to be good
at their lessons, and then he went off in his barge up the river to the
Court.

The two elder girls, Meg and Elizabeth, learned very difficult things;
but Cicely and little John were not so clever. John seems to have been
rather a stupid boy. It is said that the first Mrs. More wanted a boy
very much, and when he came and grew a little, and they found he would
never be very clever, More said: 'Thou hast wanted a boy, and now thou
wilt have one that will be a boy all his life.'

In the evenings, when the barge came sweeping up the river, no doubt the
girls watched for it, and ran to greet their father, and then they would
all go in together to the house. Perhaps he had brought with him some
clever and learned men who were his friends from London, or a young
Dutch painter called Holbein, who was hardly at all known then, but is
now counted among the greatest painters in the world.

Sometimes, later in the evening, there would be seen a very grand barge
indeed, with scarlet and cloth of gold, sweeping up to the
landing-place; and then someone would call out 'The King!' and presently
King Henry VIII. himself would step out and come up to see his
Chancellor, and would walk up and down the garden with his arm round
More's neck. He was very fond of More, and asked his advice about all
sorts of things. More wanted to show him young Holbein's paintings, so
he had his hall hung with many of them, and one day, when the King came
in unexpectedly, he took him in there to show them to him. Henry was so
delighted with them that he ordered Holbein to paint a picture of
himself and others of many of his courtiers, and Holbein was well paid,
and made a large fortune.

One day, when the King had been very gracious, and had left Chelsea to
go back to Westminster, young Roper said to More how lucky he was to be
such a favourite with the King; but More knew what a tyrant Henry was,
and how dangerous it was to have anything to do with him, and he
answered at once he had no cause to be proud, for if his head would win
the King a castle in France it would go. He was quite right; for his
head went afterwards for a much less thing than that.

When More was still in the height of his power his daughter Margaret
married William Roper. But More could not bear to part with Meg, and the
house was large, so he said the young married couple should go on living
with him and his wife just the same as before.

More built a chapel on to Chelsea old church--a chapel which is there
now, and you may see it--and in it there is a large monument to his
memory. Of his great house and garden all is gone except a bit of
red-brick wall, which is said to have been the wall of the garden.

Now, just about this time Henry had grown tired of his wife, Catherine
of Arragon, and wanted to marry Anne Boleyn, so he thought he would
divorce Catherine. But even a king can't get rid of his wives whenever
he likes; so he asked all his lords and nobles to say that he was quite
right, and that Catherine ought to be divorced, and that he ought never
to have married her, because long years before she had been married to
his brother, who had died. A great many of the nobles would have said
anything Henry wanted, but More was braver than that; he said plainly
that it would not be right for Henry to do this thing. So the King was
very angry, and More found it impossible to continue to be Lord
Chancellor; so he gave up his office, even though it meant that he would
have to change all his way of living and be a poor man again. Lady More
used to go to service in Chelsea church, and More sat in another part of
the same church, and on Sundays she used to wait to hear that her
husband was outside before she got up to go, and in order to let her
know this a footman used to come and open the pew-door for her, and say:
'Madam, the Chancellor has gone.'

There is a story told that on the Sunday after More had given up being
Chancellor he had not spoken to his wife about it, for he knew she would
be very angry, and he always loved a joke; so he himself walked up the
aisle and held open the pew-door, and said: 'Madam, the Chancellor has
gone.' At first Lady More could not understand him, but when she did,
and knew that he was no longer Chancellor, she was very angry indeed.

Now, More said they must send away some of their servants and live very
plainly, and Margaret and her husband went into a little house near; and
so badly off were the Mores that they could not afford fires, and when
the weather grew colder, More and his wife and children used to gather
together in one room and burn a great bundle of fern just to make a big
blaze and send them warm to bed. But through it all More was quite
happy. He had never wanted to be a great man: he preferred to live
simply with those he loved; but he was not long to be allowed to do even
that.

Henry devised a plan by which he could put More in prison. He drew up a
long paper saying that the King was the head of the Church, and that
whatever he did was right, and that if he chose to divorce his wife he
could do it, because the power was in his own hands; and then he
summoned all the bishops and More to sign this.

Sir Thomas More knew quite well what this meant, that it was only a plan
to get hold of him, for he could not sign what he did not think. It was
on a spring morning that he left his house to go down to Lambeth Palace,
where the paper was lying ready to be signed, and he knew quite well
that it was very likely he should never come back; and he was quite
right: he never did come back. He said good-bye to his children and
stepped into his barge. When he got to Lambeth he found that all the men
there assembled had signed except one called Bishop Fisher. Now, Fisher
and More were Roman Catholics; that is to say, that they still believed
in the power of the Pope--and they could not sign the paper without
signing what they thought a lie. They had been taught this, and so they
believed it, and they acted bravely according to their own consciences.
More was given five days to think it over, but he did not go back to
Chelsea, and at the end of five days he was taken to the Tower with old
Bishop Fisher.

When he landed at the Traitor's Gate, of which you shall hear more
presently, the porter asked him for his outside clothes, according to a
very bad custom of the time, which allowed the porters to rob the
prisoners thus. More gave him his cap, but the man was not content with
that, and he had to give his outside coat as well.

It was just the beginning of the summer when the two men went to the
Tower, and they were put in separate cells. At first they were not
treated badly, and were allowed pens and paper to write letters; but
afterwards these were taken from them, and More had to write his letters
with a coal. However, he had one great consolation--his daughter was
sometimes allowed to come to see him. Perhaps the King thought that she
would persuade him to give in and sign the paper so that he might go
back home.

When the summer had passed and the weather grew colder, More and Fisher
both suffered from the cold, but especially poor old Bishop Fisher,
whose clothes were in rags. And it was not until a whole year after they
had been sent to the Tower that they were brought up to be tried. More
was taken on foot through the streets to Westminster, a very long
way--more than three miles. He was dressed in common clothes and
surrounded by a guard. Then he was tried at Westminster, and accused of
treason in not acknowledging the King's authority, but the real reason
was that he would not say the King was right in marrying Anne Boleyn.

He was condemned to death. There was a custom in those days that when a
man was condemned to death the executioner walked out of the
judgment-hall before the prisoner with the sharp edge of the axe turned
backwards towards him.

More had been tried in Westminster Hall, of which you have heard
already, and inside there it was very dark; but when he came out into
the bright sunshine he was quite dazzled for the moment and could not
see. But there was someone else who saw--someone who had been waiting in
the crowd in terrible anxiety, and when he saw that axe turned with the
sharp edge toward More he knew it meant death; and he gave a great
shriek, and thrust himself through the guards and flung himself at
More's feet. This was his son-in-law, William Roper, Margaret's husband.

More was allowed to go back to the Tower by boat, and a sorrowful voyage
it must have been, not for himself, but for thinking of all those dear
ones he must leave.

When he arrived at the Tower he saw standing on the quay two
figures--his son John, then a man of twenty-five, and a tall, slight
woman in deepest black, his dear Meg. Even the soldiers made way for her
as she flung her arms round her father's neck and cried out of her
breaking heart, 'My father! oh, my father!'--a cry which so touched some
of those rough guards that they turned aside to hide the tears in their
own eyes. More tried to comfort her, and presently gently drew himself
away. He felt it was almost too much for him; but as she turned away she
could not bear to let him go, and once more threw her arms round him
with that pitiful cry, and only gave way when at last she sank fainting
on the ground.

More then went on and left her so, and when she came to herself she knew
it was all over, and that she had no more hope. Six days later, at nine
o'clock in the morning, More was led out to suffer beheading, as Bishop
Fisher had already suffered. When he had first gone to the Tower he had
been a man of middle age with a brown beard and brown hair; now after a
year of confinement and anxiety his hair was quite gray. When he was
told to make ready for his execution, he put on a silk robe, which when
the gaoler saw he asked him to change for a common woollen one. More
asked why, and was told that the clothes he was killed in became the
property of the executioner, and the clothes he left behind in the Tower
were taken by his gaolers, and that this gaoler thought the silk robe
too good for the executioner. So More quietly changed to a commoner
dress, for it mattered little to him. When he reached the scaffold, he
found he was too feeble to climb up the steps without help, and he asked
one of the men to give him an arm, adding: 'I pray you see me safe up;
as for my coming down, I may shift for myself.' The executioner asked
his forgiveness, which was granted; and then More knelt before the
block, and carefully put his beard aside, saying: '_That_ at least has
committed no treason.' Then with one stroke his head was cut off. His
body was buried near the chapel in the Tower; but, according to the
custom of that time, his head was stuck up on London Bridge.

[Illustration: THE TRAITOR'S GATE, TOWER OF LONDON.]

Fancy the horror of his loving daughter Meg when she heard this! What
could she do? She could not suffer it to stay there, so she bribed two
men and took a boat, and, going down the river, stole her own father's
head, and, wrapping it in a cloth, returned with her gruesome burden to
Chelsea, where she is said to have buried it in the church. Can you
picture anything more awful than the task of this brave woman?

Another of More's daughters was married, too, and she and Meg were both
happy mothers with families of their own; but we may be quite sure that
so long as they lived they never forgot their dear father.



CHAPTER XIV

LADY JANE GREY


There once lived a girl who was called Queen of England for twenty days,
but who was never crowned; who lived a good and innocent life, yet was
beheaded when she was only sixteen. This was Lady Jane Grey. She was a
cousin of young King Edward VI., who succeeded his father Henry VIII.
when he was a little boy of nine. At that time England had lately
established the Protestant religion, the Church of England as we have it
now, and all Roman Catholics had been forced to become Protestants or to
leave the churches to those who were. Edward was a delicate little boy,
and he had only reigned five years when he caught measles. He never
seemed to recover from them; he had a cold afterwards, which settled on
his chest, and it soon began to be whispered that the boy-king must die.
At this there was much talking among the great nobles who were
Protestants, for they knew that the next heir to the throne was
Edward's elder sister Mary, a woman of thirty-eight, a strong Roman
Catholic; and they feared that if Queen Mary sat on the throne all the
Roman Catholics would be restored to their places, and the Protestants
would be persecuted and perhaps murdered, all of which afterwards really
did happen. Mary had a younger sister Elizabeth, who was only twenty,
and she was a Protestant; and if the nobles could have put her on the
throne instead of Mary, all would have been well with England. But that
they could not do, for to set aside an older sister for a younger one
would have been impossible. So they looked around for someone else, and
fixed on little Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane was one of the three daughters of a nobleman called the Duke
of Suffolk; she was the eldest, and through her mother she was a cousin
of King Edward's, and of his sisters Mary and Elizabeth, too. If Edward
had had no sisters, Lady Jane would have been Queen after him. The
nobles had wanted her to marry Edward, who was just her own age; but the
boy had been too ill to think of marrying, and now he was going to die,
and it was too late to make any arrangement of that sort. His guardian,
the Duke of Northumberland, was a powerful and ambitious man, and he
planned a scheme by which he would be still more powerful. He persuaded
Edward that Lady Jane must reign after him, for if she did not England
would suffer; and Edward, who loved the Protestant religion, consented.
He made a will saying that Lady Jane was to be Queen instead of his
sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Of course, he had no right to do this, for a
king cannot say who is to reign after him; the throne must go to the
next heir. But Northumberland thought if he and all the nobles declared
Lady Jane Queen, they could force the people of England to acknowledge
her. Then the clever Northumberland went further; he got Edward to
consent to the marriage of Lady Jane to Northumberland's only son, young
Lord Guildford Dudley. Dudley was then a boy of seventeen, and Lady Jane
only fifteen, but that was quite old enough for marriage in those days.

Lady Jane had lived very quietly up to this time; she was a gentle
little girl who loved her books, and never thought of thrones and kings
and queens. When she was quite young she could speak French and Italian,
wrote Latin, and understood Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic. This was
the more wonderful because in those days ladies were not supposed to
know very much; if they could do beautiful tapestry work and ride and
sing a little, it was considered quite enough. There is a story told of
Lady Jane that one day when a very clever man named Roger Ascham came to
stay with her father, he found her sitting in a window-seat reading a
book. Outside stretched the beautiful park, with its green grass and
great shady trees, and the voices of the visitors and the other little
girls who were amusing themselves came in at the window; but Lady Jane
sat curled up, as many little girls do nowadays, reading diligently, and
never taking any notice of the bright world outside. And the book she
was reading was the work of an ancient Greek philosopher called Plato,
who wrote very interesting books, but ones that are hard even for
grown-up people to understand. It must have made a pretty picture, that
little pale girl bending over her book; and if anyone had said that in
one short year she would be married, have been called Queen of England,
and have been beheaded, it would not have been believed.

Roger Ascham stopped and asked her why she read instead of playing, and
she told him she loved books, and they gave her much more pleasure than
the things in which people usually tried to find pleasure. Then he
wanted to know how she had managed to learn so much, and she answered:

'Sir, God hath blessed me with sharp and severe parents and a gentle
schoolmaster; for when I am in the presence of either father or mother,
whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry
or sad, be sewing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it, as it
were, in such weight, measure, and number, even as perfectly as the
world was made, or else I am so sharply taunted and cruelly
threatened--yea, presently sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and
so cruelly disordered, that I think myself in hell until the time come
that I go to Mr. Aylmer, who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with
such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time as nothing
that I am with him; and thus my book hath been so much my pleasure, and
bringeth daily to me more pleasure and more, that in respect of it all
other pleasures in very deed be but trifles and very troubles to me.'

That is not quite the way a little girl would speak now, I think.

When Jane had been younger she had seen a good deal of her cousin
Elizabeth, who was about five years older, and they had been in the
same house together; and, of course, if she had ever thought about it at
all, she knew that first Mary, and after her Elizabeth, had the right to
be Queen when Edward died. Before Edward died, however, Jane was told
suddenly that she must marry young Guildford Dudley. He was a handsome
boy and very gentle, and Jane seems to have loved him very dearly; so
she made no objection, and the marriage took place in a great hurry. And
at the same time her younger sister Katharine was also married to Lord
Herbert, the son of the Earl of Pembroke, so the quiet life in the
beautiful home in Leicestershire came to an end.

Lady Jane knew, of course, that her cousin Edward was ill, and it must
have grieved her very much; for she was fond of him, and being just the
same age, they had learnt the same lessons together. But when Edward
died she was not told of it until she received a message from her
father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland, to go to his great house,
called Sion House, on the Thames, not far from London. She went, never
thinking what was going to happen or why she was wanted; and when she
was there Northumberland himself and her own father, the Duke of
Suffolk, and some other lords came into the room, and, kneeling before
her, told her that her young cousin Edward was dead, and that she must
succeed him as Queen of England. Poor Lady Jane was so shocked and
startled that she fainted away. When she came round again they told her
she must be obedient and do as they told her. She pleaded with them, and
said Mary must be Queen, and that for herself she was so young--only
sixteen; and she did not care to be Queen, but only wanted to live a
quiet life with her husband, Lord Dudley. But they argued with her, and
told her she was a coward; that it was for the good of England, and that
if she refused she would be wicked; and at last she consented. Then all
her life was changed.

As I have said before, people used the river then a great deal more than
they do now, and all persons of importance had state barges with rowers
to row them up and down the water. Some of these barges were very
magnificent, with scarlet cloth and gold fringe, and looked like
gorgeous birds floating on the water. A beautiful barge was waiting for
Lady Jane in front of Sion House, and she stepped into it, and was rowed
down the river through London to the Tower.

Now up to this time this story has not had much to do with London, but
after this all the rest of it happened in London. When Lady Jane entered
the Tower the man who was then Lord Treasurer of England came to her,
and, kneeling down, offered her the crown of England. And afterwards
Northumberland and his party lost no time, but sent men all round London
to cry out that Lady Jane Grey was now Queen of England.

Meantime, Mary had been in the country. She had only just heard of her
brother's death, when she heard, too, of what Northumberland had done.
Now, she did not resemble her poor little cousin; she was not only very
much older, but of a very stern disposition--not at all likely to sit
down quietly and let another take her crown. So she made people go over
all the countryside where she was and say that she was Queen, and that
men might come and fight for her. Now many people felt that even if Mary
were hard and cruel, still, it was fair that she should be Queen; so
many nobles and gentlemen came to her, and she presently had a large
army. When the story of the two Queens was heard, nearly everyone in
England felt that Mary was right, and Northumberland began to think he
had a harder fight before him than he had expected.

Even the people in London began to riot and say that Mary was Queen,
and when one of the nobles on her side went to St. Paul's Cathedral, and
there, standing beside a cross called St. Paul's Cross, where
proclamations were made, cried out Mary was Queen, all the people
shouted for joy. Bonfires were lit in the streets, and everywhere was
feasting and rejoicing, and no one seemed to care about Lady Jane in the
Tower.

So Northumberland saw how foolish he had been, and he hastened to send
Jane back to Sion House; but he stayed in London himself, and cried out
like the rest that Mary was Queen. For only three weeks Jane had been
Queen, and all that time she had stayed in the gloomy Tower wishing she
were back in her country home.

Then Mary rode in state into London, and went straight to the Tower. Her
first care was to have Edward's funeral celebrated--for he had not yet
been buried--and then she began to think about her enemies.
Northumberland, of course, was her prisoner, together with some other
nobles, and Northumberland and two others were condemned to death. So a
very short time after he had brought his son's wife to the Tower as a
queen the Duke of Northumberland had his head cut off at the same
Tower. Lady Jane and her husband were brought to the Tower as prisoners
also, but were allowed to walk in the gardens, and were well treated;
for at this time Mary seemed to think that they were not to blame,
having been a mere boy and girl made to do wrong by their fathers, which
was true. Perhaps they would have stayed in captivity for many years but
for the foolish friends, who, by trying to help them, made their fate
much worse. For after Mary had been Queen a short time she was hated.
Her stern manners and her hard face made people fear her, and shortly
after she was crowned people began to rise in different parts of England
and say that Lady Jane ought to be Queen instead. And for some time Mary
had to send troops to fight against the rebels, as those who rose in
favour of Jane were called. At last one day an alarm was given that a
man named Sir Thomas Wyatt had collected a large army, and was actually
advancing on London. Mary was at that time staying at Whitehall Palace,
and news came that Wyatt and all his men were going to attack the palace
and carry her off. They really did come, too, and the army spread all
over St. James's Park and all round the old palace--everywhere were
soldiers. At that time there was a great gateway, called the Holbein
Gate, that stood across Whitehall, and in this Queen Mary stayed and
watched the fighting. With all her faults she was very brave, and when
she saw her own guards driven in and dispersed, she showed no sign of
fear. Then a gentleman rushed up to her, and, falling on his knees,
said, 'All is lost,' and begged her to get into a barge on the river and
fly to the Tower, where she would be safer; but Mary refused to go, and
said all was not lost, and by her bravery and her words she so
inspirited the men that they fought again, and succeeded in beating off
Wyatt's men. So Wyatt went on toward the city, and all the way he had to
fight, and at last he was taken prisoner on Ludgate Hill, which is not
far from St. Paul's Cathedral.

Then Mary knew that she was safe again; but she must have passed a
sleepless night and thought a great deal, for she at last made up her
mind she would order Lady Jane Grey and her husband to be beheaded, for
so long as they lived other men would rise, as Wyatt had done, and try
to make Jane Queen.

It was a dreadful thing to do, but we must remember that in those days
executions were not thought so much of as they would be now. In these
days anyone would be horrified to hear that a man's or woman's head was
to be cut off, and even the very worst murderers are only hanged; but in
Mary's day a great many people were beheaded every year. So in the
morning, when Mary rode down to the city to thank her nobles and knights
for fighting so bravely and defending her, she knew that before the day
was ended she would have signed the death-warrant of Lady Jane. When she
came to Temple Bar she stopped. Now, Temple Bar was a great gateway that
stood in the Strand, just where the City of London begins, and on it
there were ugly iron spikes; and sometimes the heads of those who had
been executed were stuck on these spikes, and stayed there until they
rotted away. All the people passing along the street could look up and
see the heads, and sometimes, when the wind was high, a ghastly head
came tumbling down into the street. We cannot think of such things
without horror; but in those days people were accustomed to them, and
did not mind them very much. When Mary came to Temple Bar she asked for
ink and paper, and wrote there the order for young Lady Jane and her
husband to be beheaded.

Lady Jane was in the Tower when the news was brought to her. She had now
been a prisoner six months, and perhaps sometimes she had thought she
might die as her father-in-law had died; so when the priest Queen Mary
sent came to tell her the news, she received it quite calmly and without
a shudder. But when he tried to make her turn Roman Catholic, she told
him she should never do that. The priest hurried back to Queen Mary, and
said if the execution could be put off three days he might make Lady
Jane a Roman Catholic, so Queen Mary consented to delay a little. But
when Jane was told that she was to live a little longer, she was sorry,
for it was worse to wait than to be killed at once. During those three
days she must sometimes have shuddered to think that not only must she
die, but her young husband, so full of life and strength, must die too;
yet she never gave way before people or seemed afraid. She was asked if
she would see Guildford to say good-bye; but she said it was better not,
for the parting might be too heartrending, and make them both break
down. He was to die first, and when the morning came, very early the
guards led him past Lady Jane's window on his way to death. Then indeed
she must have felt that the bitterness of death was past. She had
written a long letter to Queen Mary explaining how everything had
happened, and that it was never her wish to be a queen; and she had
written another to her father, knowing that he must be very sad, feeling
it was all his fault that she had been led into this sad position; and
another to her younger sister Katharine to say good-bye. And now all was
done, and soon her husband would be dead, and what had she left to live
for?

The execution of Guildford did not take long. Presently a low rumble of
cart-wheels over the stones told Lady Jane that they were bringing back
his dead body, and then she knew her turn must come.

One can imagine the horror with which she heard the door open and saw
Sir John Brydges, the man who was to lead her out, standing and waiting.
But she was very brave; she neither fainted nor screamed, but rose up,
and, taking his hand, walked with him to the scaffold. When she arrived
at the place of execution she made a little speech, saying that she
ought never to have allowed anyone to persuade her to be queen; but that
she was young--she had not known what was right. And then, without any
show of fear, she laid her head on the block, and it was cut off at one
blow.

So died the poor girl at only sixteen--a girl who loved her books, and
would have lived a quiet life if it had not been for the ambitious plans
of her own father and her father-in-law.



CHAPTER XV

GUNPOWDER PLOT


There is no need to tell anyone who lives in the country what happens on
the fifth of November, for they are sure to know well. The beautiful
fireworks, with their streams of coloured fire; the crackling of the
squibs; the gorgeous catherine-wheels and the coloured Roman candles;
the great rockets that shoot up into the air with a swish, leaving
behind them a long tail of golden fire, and then burst into showers of
stars--all these may be seen on the fifth of November; and if you are
really lucky children, there will follow the great bonfire, with barrels
of tar poured over it to make the flames roar upward. They lick the bare
sticks put ready for them, and climb over the logs until they reach the
figure of Guy Fawkes himself, a stuffed figure like a scarecrow, which
stands at the highest point. The flames crackle gaily; the heat is in
contrast with the fresh air of the November evening; all the people
standing by look strange and unlike themselves with that weird glow on
their faces. Then Guy's hands curl up, an arm wavers, and he topples
headlong into the glowing flames, to be burnt up altogether. Guy is only
made of straw, so we need not be sorry for him; but it is a curious
custom, and we have to go to history to find out what it means. That
there was a real man, a Guy Fawkes, who lived in James I.'s reign, you
know perhaps. This Guy was at first a Protestant, and as a little boy
used to go to church with his mother; but as he grew older he became a
Roman Catholic. Now, at that time in England there were many very hard
and unjust laws against the Roman Catholics, not allowing them to hold
offices in the State, and preventing them from doing many things that
Protestants might do. People are wiser now, and realize that a man may
be a good man and a good servant of the country whatever his religion so
long as he is in earnest, but in those days it was not so. Well, a
certain number of lords and gentlemen who were Roman Catholics tried to
get these laws altered; but they could not, and so they were very angry
and bitter against the King and his Ministers, and joined together to
make a plot to be revenged on them. Guy Fawkes was one of the men in
this plot, and it may have been he who suggested the dreadful idea that
was at last decided upon. However that may be, at first nothing was
done, but the conspirators used to meet together in secret to talk
things over. They dare not meet openly, for if so many Catholic
gentlemen had been discovered together, the King and his Ministers would
have suspected something wrong. In one great house in the country
belonging to a young man called Sir Everard Digby, they met in a secret
room, with a floor that moved, so that if ever the King's officers came
suddenly to surprise them there, they could all escape by means of the
floor, which slipped up and let them out, whence they could go from the
house by means of a secret passage. Digby was quite young, little more
than a boy, and he had just married a young and beautiful girl, when he
became entangled in the detestable Gunpowder Plot.

The plot, when it finally took form, was that the conspirators should
hire a house near to the Houses of Parliament and dig an underground
tunnel, which should reach right beneath the part of the House where the
King would be when the Houses of Parliament were opened the next time;
that they should then put gunpowder there, and blow up the whole
building, killing the King and many of the great Ministers. While
everyone was thrown into terror and confusion by this, the other
conspirators were to seize one of the young princes, the King's sons,
and carry him off; then, when everything was thus in the hands of the
Catholics, they expected to be able to make their own terms, and get the
laws against Catholics repealed by the nation.

All this sounded very grand, but it was very difficult to do. It is
wonderful that the conspirators managed to do so much as they did. They
actually took a room near the Houses of Parliament, and began to dig
their underground passage. But they found this a much more difficult job
than they had anticipated, for every bit of the soil they dug out had to
be carried away in baskets secretly by night; for people would naturally
have noticed it if they had seen it, and begun to ask what was being
done. But just when they had discovered how hard the work was going to
be, they heard that a cellar right under the Houses of Parliament was to
be let. Here was a chance! They took it at once, and gave up digging out
their tunnel. Guy Fawkes was appointed to see that the scheme was
carried out, and his was the dangerous part. He had to buy barrels of
gunpowder singly and at different times, and see that they were carried
into his cellar without anyone seeing them. Then he bought a great deal
of wood in faggots and stacked it over the barrels of gunpowder, so that
if anyone did come into that cellar, he would never suspect it was
anything but an ordinary cellar for storing wood. The meeting of
Parliament was to take place in October, and by August all was ready;
then the meeting of Parliament was delayed, and the conspirators heard
it was not to be until the fifth of November. The time now drew very
near. Then it occurred to some of the conspirators that perhaps some of
their own friends who were members of Parliament would be blown up with
the rest, and they grew uneasy. Each one wanted to warn his own friend
not to go to Parliament that day, but no one knew how to do it for fear
of betraying the plot. At last, however, one of the conspirators, who
was a brother-in-law of Lord Mounteagle's, sent Lord Mounteagle a
letter, saying that he had better not go to Parliament on the day of
opening, for the Parliament was to receive 'a terrible blow, and yet
shall not see who hurts them.' Lord Mounteagle was naturally distressed
to receive such a letter, without any sign who had sent it, and he took
it to the King. James was a clever man in some ways, and he saw at once
that a terrible blow, yet not seen, must mean something to do with
gunpowder; so he had the cellars under the Houses of Parliament
searched, and discovered the barrels of gunpowder. Now Guy Fawkes knew
nothing of this, but came the night before the fifth to be in time to do
his dreadful deed. He was a brave man, though a wicked one, caring
little what evil he was doing. He had arranged a train of gunpowder
running along the floor to what is called a slow match--that is to say,
a long match that burns for perhaps five or ten minutes, so that the
person who lights it has time to get away before the explosion
occurs--and then he waited until the time when all the members of
Parliament and the King should be there before setting a light to it.
Cannot you picture Guy Fawkes alone in that gloomy cellar that night? He
did not know that the plot was discovered; he thought that everything
had been kept very secret, and that to-morrow he would set a light to
that match and hurry away, and before he had got very far he would hear
a sound that would seem to tear the very sky, and with a crash the
Houses of Parliament would reel and fall, burying in their ruins
hundreds of men and the King of England. These were not the same Houses
of Parliament that stand now, but were burnt down many years after.

In the dark shadows Guy waited; perhaps a mouse ran across the floor,
and made him start. And then there was a sound of footsteps at the door,
a whispering and a creaking of boots, and before he had time to do
anything he found himself surrounded by soldiers, and knew that all was
over; that the least he could hope for was death, which he had richly
deserved, for he had intended to murder hundreds of men who had never
wronged him.

All the implements for his terrible scheme were found upon him--the slow
match and the lights, and when the faggots were thrown aside there were
the barrels of gunpowder. If the people could have got at Guy Fawkes, he
would have been torn in pieces; but he was kept from them by the
soldiers, and hurried off to the Tower. So all the people could do was
to make a false Guy Fawkes stuffed with straw and burn him on a bonfire,
and that is the origin of our fifth of November.

Guy Fawkes was not put to death at once, as you will hear in the account
of the Tower; he was tortured on the rack to make him give up the names
of those who had been in the conspiracy with him. Again and again he
refused, but at last the awful suffering weakened him so that he hardly
knew what he was doing; and when the torturers told him some of his
comrades had been taken, which was not true, he believed them, and
moaned out the names of two or three of his fellow-conspirators. Among
them was poor young Sir Everard Digby, who, when he heard that all was
lost, mounted his horse and tried to get away to the sea to go across to
the Continent; but he was taken, and with many of the others, including
Guy Fawkes himself, was hanged.

This, then, was the famous Gunpowder Plot which we celebrate on the
fifth of November.



CHAPTER XVI

CHARLES I


The story of Charles I. is one of the most dreadful in English history.
It seems impossible to believe that so many of the English people could
stand calmly round and watch their King executed like a common criminal
without raising a finger to save him.

We have met Charles once before in this book, if you remember, when he
walked across Spring Gardens on his way to be murdered. He was born in
Scotland, and he had an elder brother, Prince Henry, so that it was
thought at first that Charles would not be King. But Prince Henry died
when Charles was only twelve, and so Charles became Prince of Wales and
heir to the throne.

By this time the Kings of England lived, when in London, not in
Westminster Palace, but in another palace called Whitehall. When Henry
VIII. was King, the old palace of Westminster, of which you have heard
so much in the story of Edward V., had fallen into ruins, so Henry
looked about for another. Quite close to Westminster Palace there was a
great house called York House, which belonged to the Archbishops of
York, and which they used when they came to London. Henry arranged that
he should have this for a new palace, so he moved there. It was not just
one great building as we picture palaces in these days, but a number of
smaller ones--courts and long ranges of houses--and in it lived all the
people connected with the Court, as they had done at Westminster Palace.
It was a little town in itself. There were no trains then, and when the
King went from one of his palaces to another everything had to be taken
in carts. We are told that three hundred carts went from Whitehall to
Greenwich Palace at one time laden with linen cloths for the tables,
wine, and gold and silver plate, and dresses and kitchen things, pots
and pans, and other things. In that time people had tapestry hanging on
the walls instead of our paper and paint. They had rough trestle-tables,
which were only boards, and were put up and taken down again when they
were not wanted. The floors were strewn with green leaves and scented
plants, which had to be put there freshly every day. It was all so
different from our own time that we can hardly imagine it.

James I. was the father of Charles, and he gave many splendid
entertainments at this palace, in which, no doubt, Prince Charles took
part. There were dinners and dances, and other things not so harmless;
for instance, it was supposed to be great sport to see two poor cocks
fight until they tore each other almost to pieces, and people used to
bet on one cock or the other. There were also fights between bears and
greyhounds; and a wretched bull was tied to a stake and a number of
savage dogs let loose on him, and the more the bull threw his head this
way and that, and stuck his great horns into the dogs, and the more the
dogs seized him at the back, where he could not defend himself, and tore
his flesh with their teeth, the more the people laughed and applauded.
Even ladies watched these sports. Prince Charles was never a strong boy,
and always rather quiet and thoughtful, and he cannot have liked such
cruelty; but then it was the fashion--everyone did it, so he thought it
must be all right. King James was very fond of hunting, and while he
lived the Court was always gay. But the palace was getting more and more
old and inconvenient, and at last James thought he would build a new
one. So he sent for his architect, a wonderful man called Inigo Jones,
and ordered him to draw plans for a new palace that should be far more
splendid than the old one. Inigo Jones did so. We still have copies of
his plans, and we can see what a wonderful palace he meant to have
built. It was to face the river on one side and to have rows of windows
and high round towers, and all along the roof there were to be figures
as large or larger than life standing on the parapet. It would have cost
thousands and thousands of pounds. But this beautiful palace was never
completed. The King died and Inigo Jones died, and the only bit of this
great new palace that was ever built is still standing, and you can see
it any day in London if you go down Whitehall. It is larger than an
ordinary-sized house, and has pillars running up the front and two rows
of windows, and is called the Banqueting Hall.

Well, when James died his son Charles became King. Charles was then
twenty-five years old, and was still delicate and thin, and not very
tall. His hair was long, parted in the middle, and falling on each side
of his face to his collar. His little neat beard was cut to a point, and
his eyes were very sad. He liked better to live quietly than to be a
king.

Almost directly after his father's death he married a French Princess.
She was young and gay, and if she had known she was going to marry the
only King of England who was ever beheaded, I think she would have
stayed in France. She was only just sixteen when she came to London, and
all the strange faces and the strange language must have frightened her
very much. Charles had never seen her before, and when they met he
looked at her as if she was not quite so small as he had expected; and
she laughed and showed him the heels of her shoes, which were quite
flat, and said: 'Sir, I stand upon mine own feet. I have no helps of
art. Thus high I am, and am neither higher nor lower.'

Henrietta Maria was dark, with black eyes and dark-brown hair, and was
very quick and bright, and Charles loved her always to the end of his
life.

After a time Henrietta was given Somerset House, a magnificent house in
the Strand, for herself, and all her French attendants lived there with
her. Perhaps Charles felt that the old palace at Whitehall was hardly
fit for this bright little French woman, and perhaps it annoyed him to
hear all the French people chattering about his own Court. Somerset
House had been built by an uncle of Edward VI., the Duke of Somerset,
who was such a greedy man that he had pulled down numbers of churches
in order to take the stone of which they were built to make his own vast
mansion. The Duke never lived there, for before it was finished he was
imprisoned in the Tower, and then beheaded. When Henrietta was there the
furniture was very magnificent and rich. We are told that one of the bed
coverlets, of embroidered satin, was worth £1,000!

This Somerset House was pulled down when George III. was King, and
another great house called by the same name was built instead. This one
is still standing, and in it there are offices belonging to the
Government. In one part are all the wills that people have left when
they died, and if anyone wants to see a particular will he can go there
and see it if he pays a shilling.

One day when Queen Henrietta Maria lived in old Somerset House, Charles
came and told her he was going to send all her French attendants back to
France except her lady's-maid and one other, for the French people were
saying things against the King and making mischief. Henrietta was much
grieved, but she had to obey the King, so she sent them back to France.
Long years after the death of her husband, when her son was King, after
many terrible wars, Henrietta once again came back to London and lived
at her old home. Not far from Somerset House, close by Charing Cross
Station, was another great house in the Strand called York House. I
spoke of this before when I told you about the fine old water-gate still
standing. That water-gate belonged to a handsome man called the Duke of
Buckingham. Buckingham had been a great favourite with the old King,
James I., and he had travelled abroad with Charles when he was Prince of
Wales. Charles loved him very dearly, though he knew he was an
ambitious, selfish man, fond of pleasure. Charles and Henrietta had been
married three years, and during that time people had grumbled against
Buckingham because he was the King's favourite; but though he was
disliked, no one ever guessed what would happen. Buckingham had gone
down to Portsmouth to arrange some matters about shipping, and there he
was stabbed to the heart by a man named Felton. When Felton was brought
to London to answer for his crime, the people followed him with shouts
and acclamations, so pleased were they that he had killed the hated
Buckingham. But King Charles himself was very sad at the loss of his
friend. He was beginning to find out that being a king was not all
pleasure.

For one thing, he wanted money, and the Parliament would not give it to
him. Then he asked rich people to lend him some, and many refused. Of
course, he had a good deal of money; but he had very great expenses, and
he wanted more. So he quarrelled with the Parliament, and that was the
beginning of a long, sad contest. However, it did not get very serious
all at once; but the quarrels between the King and the Parliament
gradually grew worse and worse for many years.

Charles and Henrietta had been married about five years when a little
son came to them, and they called him Charles after his father. He was
not long without a playfellow; for a year after there was a daughter
called Mary, and then another son called James. There is still in
existence a letter which his mother, the Queen, wrote to Prince Charles
when he was a very little boy and was naughty, and would not take his
medicine. Here it is:


     'CHARLES,

     'I am sure that I must begin my first letter by chiding you,
     because I hear that you will not take physic. I hope it was only
     for this day, and to-morrow you will do it; for if you will not I
     must come to you and make you take it, for it is for your health. I
     have given order to my Lord Newcastle to send me word whether you
     will or not, therefore I hope you will not give me the pains to go.

                             'Your affectionate,
                                             'MOTHER.

     'To my dear son the Prince.'


I do not know where Henrietta was when she wrote that letter; perhaps
she was staying away at one of the palaces in the country. In London
King Charles still lived in Whitehall Palace, though he had another, of
which you have heard, called St. James's Palace, in St. James's Park,
quite near. In either of these he was not far from the Houses of
Parliament, and it was to the members of Parliament he applied for
money. When they would not give him any more he dissolved Parliament,
and sent all the members away; but when he found he could not get money
any other way, he called them together again.

After these wretched quarrels it must have been a pleasure to him to go
back to the royal nursery, and forget about being a king for a time in
playing with his children. When little Charles was five years old there
came another little daughter, Elizabeth, and she, as she grew up, was
the favourite of her sad, gentle father.

Mary was a good girl, affectionate and warm-hearted; but she was not
clever like Elizabeth. I think Charles must have been a nice boy; but
his brother James was such a horrid man when he came to be King years
afterwards that he cannot ever have been nice at all, even as a boy.

When Mary was ten a great event happened: she was married to a boy
prince, the Prince of Orange, who lived in Holland. She still lived with
her father and mother; but she knew when she grew up she would be
Princess of Orange--would have to go to live in Holland with her
husband. Her son, who married his cousin Mary, daughter of James II.,
became King of England, as William III., many years after.

It was not very long after this that the quarrels between King and
Parliament grew so bad that Charles was afraid, and had to fly for his
life. Little Charles, Prince of Wales, was twelve, and Elizabeth, the
younger girl, was seven, and there was a younger boy, Henry, Duke of
Gloucester, only four years old. Henry was far the nicest of the boys,
and it was a pity he could not be King; but you shall hear more of him
afterwards.

Henrietta, the Queen, fled to France and afterwards to Holland, where
she sold her jewels to raise money to pay soldiers to fight for the King
her husband. The two eldest boys were sent over to France too. Princess
Mary went to her husband's family in Holland, and little Elizabeth and
Henry were taken prisoners by the Parliament.

The story of the battles between Charles and the Parliament can be read
in history, and does not belong particularly to London. The end was very
sad. The King was taken prisoner by the Parliamentarians, who were now
led by a man called Oliver Cromwell.

Queen Henrietta had gone back to France, leaving a little baby named
after herself in England. When this baby was two years old the Countess
of Dorset, who had charge of her, wanted to take her over to her mother
in France, and she was afraid that the little Princess would be
recognised and seized by Cromwell's men, so she dressed her in a coarse
stuff frock instead of the pretty laces and ribbons she had been
accustomed to wear. But when they started on the journey the little
child carefully explained, in her lisping, baby way, to everyone who
spoke to her that she was generally dressed very differently, and the
poor Countess was much afraid that people would find out she was a
little princess. In spite of this they got safely over to France. When
Henrietta grew up she was a gay, frivolous girl, very fond of clothes,
as one might judge she would be from this story; and she married a
Frenchman.

To return to Charles and his two younger children, Elizabeth and Henry,
who were now left in London. The King was taken to Westminster, and then
for many days there was what the Parliamentarians called a 'trial.' They
accused their King of breaking laws, of trying to hinder the liberty of
the people, and of many other things. Through it all Charles was patient
and gentle, and even at the end, when they condemned him to death, he
showed no fear or horror. Some day you can go to Westminster and walk
into that great hall where this mock trial took place, and imagine the
scene. It is all bare now, a great empty place with a stone floor and
stone walls and no seats, and it is not used for anything; but when the
King was there it was filled with eager, bustling crowds all gone mad
for a time, and willing to kill their King. Then Charles was told to
prepare for death, but told also that he might see his children once
again to bid them good-bye.

These two children had been taken from one place to another by their
enemies, and not treated at all like a prince and princess. Elizabeth
was now fourteen and Henry ten. They had been called plain Master and
Miss instead of Prince and Princess, and had lived very plainly in the
houses of persons who were supposed to take care of them.

When they saw their father and heard what he had to tell them, they were
very unhappy. Charles said to his little boy: 'Sweetheart, now they will
cut off thy father's head. Mark, child, what I say--they will cut off my
head, and perhaps make thee King; but mark what I say, you must not be a
king so long as your brothers Charles and James do live, for they will
cut off your brothers' heads (if they can catch them), and cut off thy
head, too, at the last; and therefore I charge you, do not be made a
king by them.' At which the child, sighing, said: 'I will be torn in
pieces first.'

Charles thought that the Parliamentarians might make Henry King because
he was a little boy, and they could force him to do as they liked; but
they did not do that.

[Illustration: THE CENOTAPH, WHITEHALL.]

Then Charles went on to say that the two children must always be
Protestants, and never become Roman Catholics. Their mother Henrietta
was a Roman Catholic, and he was afraid she might try to make them
change their religion. And he was quite right; for afterwards, when
Henry went across to France, the Queen did everything in her power to
make him change. She was very cruel to him, took away his dinner, and
would not let him play or ride, and at last was going to send him to a
Roman Catholic school. But Henry's brother Charles, who was still
wandering about on the Continent, and had not then regained the throne,
wrote to her saying that his brother must come to him, and he would take
care of him. So brave little Henry was rescued. He lived to be nineteen,
and to see his brother an English King, and then he died of small-pox.

King Charles, after telling both the children they must never be Roman
Catholics, turned to Elizabeth, and told her what books she must read so
as to understand about the Protestant religion, and very difficult books
they were for a little girl of fourteen; and he told her many other
things, and that she must give his love to the other children. Then he
said: 'Sweetheart, you will forget this?' And she answered: 'No, I
shall never forget it while I live.'

It must have been awful for those poor children to tear themselves away,
knowing that their father, the King of all England and Scotland and
Ireland, was to be killed. However, at last it was over, and Elizabeth
and her brother were taken down to be kept in Carisbrooke Castle in the
Isle of Wight. Here the little girl pined away, and died when she was
only fifteen. She was found kneeling before her open Bible with her head
lying on the text 'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy
laden,' and she had passed into her rest.

When King Charles had said good-bye to them, he tried to fix his
thoughts on the other world, and to forget all his wicked enemies. He
slept that night at St. James's Palace, where our present Prince and
Princess of Wales lived with their children until a short time ago. In
the morning Charles walked across the Park and Spring Gardens, where, as
he passed, he pointed out a tree that had been planted by his own elder
brother Henry, who had died young. Then he went across to the Banqueting
Hall.

Hundreds and hundreds of people were waiting in Whitehall. They cannot
all have been wicked, but they must all have been cowards, for not one
dared to shout out and say, 'They must not, shall not, do this fearful
wrong.' If anyone had, perhaps others would have joined in and helped to
save their King. But no, all were silent. Perhaps they felt to the last
minute that it could not be true, that something would happen to prevent
it.

King Charles walked right through the Banqueting Hall under a beautiful
ceiling which he himself had paid a great painter to paint. You can walk
there yourself now under the same ceiling, for the place is a museum,
and anyone can go to see it.

Then he went through one of the windows upstairs--no one is quite sure
which, but it is supposed to be the second one from one end--and when he
stepped out on to the scaffold there was the dreadful executioner, with
his black mask on and his sharp axe. It was the custom for the
executioner to wear a mask, and I think he must have been glad of it
that day. The scaffold was all draped in black, and on it was a block,
at which the King must kneel, and on which he must rest his head. He
said gently the block was very low, and he had expected it to be higher;
but they told him it must be so, and he said no more.

Then he took off a beautiful star he wore, the decoration of an order,
which he handed to a captain in the army, a friend of his own, in whose
family it still remains, and some other things, which he gave to Bishop
Juxon, who stood by, and as he did so he said: 'Remember.' No one has
ever quite known what he meant by that, for the Bishop never told. It is
supposed either he meant that Bishop Juxon was to remember to give these
things to his son Prince Charles, or that he was to tell Prince Charles
to remember to forgive his father's murderers.

Then King Charles said to the executioner that he would put his head on
the block, and when he stretched out his hands he might strike. In a few
minutes he finished praying, and stretched out his hands. Down fell the
sharp axe, and a deep groan rose up from all the multitude as King
Charles was beheaded. Now every day hundreds of people walk up and down
on the pavement before the Banqueting Hall, but hardly one thinks of
that awful day when a King's blood was shed on this very place.

The old palace of Whitehall has quite gone. Over the place where it was
are houses and gardens; some of the houses are large and some are quite
old. Only the Banqueting Hall remains, that part of the magnificent
palace that Inigo Jones meant to build for James I.

At the top of Whitehall at Charing Cross there is a statue of King
Charles on a horse, as if he were riding down toward the place where he
died. On the very spot where it stands, before it was put up, the worst
of the men who murdered Charles were themselves executed only a short
distance from the place of the King's execution. For after Cromwell's
death England realized her wickedness, and Charles's son came back to
reign. But never, never can be forgotten the dreadful deed that happened
in Whitehall more than two hundred and fifty years ago.



CHAPTER XVII

THE GREAT PLAGUE AND FIRE


Of all the awful calamities that have befallen London, there is none
more awful than the Great Plague, which happened when Charles II., son
of King Charles I., was on the throne. He had been restored to his
kingdom for less than five years when it happened. Two people died quite
suddenly in Westminster, and men looked grave and said it was the
plague. But at first they did not think much of it, for the plague had
often visited England before. But this time it was to be far, far worse
than anything anyone had ever known. It is said that the infection was
brought over from the Continent in some bales of goods that merchants
were bringing to sell in London, but this was never known for certain.
All at once two more people died unaccountably, and then it seemed as if
the plague leaped out from every corner, and people began dying all over
London. There had been a hard frost, and it was when the frost thawed
that the plague seemed to gain fresh strength. Everybody began to ask
questions. What were they to do? Couldn't they go away at once? What
were others doing to stop the spread of the infection? The awful
suddenness of it terrified everyone. Persons who had been talking gaily
and feeling quite well complained of feeling a swelling on the throat or
a little sickness, and in an hour they were dead. Sometimes it began by
a swelling that came under the arm (this was a sure sign), and sometimes
by swellings on the neck. As the plague grew worse men dropped down in
the streets seized with it, and before their friends could be found they
were dead. All sorts of odd things were offered in order to keep away
the infection. One, that a great many foolish people believed in, was a
dried toad strung on a string round the neck--as if that could have made
anyone safe!

Very soon all the rich people left London and fled away into the
country, though, of course, the country people did not want them, for
fear that they had brought the infection. But there were hundreds and
hundreds of people who stayed in London and even tried to carry on their
business. At first they struggled bravely and pretended nothing was the
matter, but very soon this was impossible.

You could not imagine what London looked like then. No one drove in the
streets, no one walked there if he could help it; grass grew up between
the cobble-stones, and nearly all the houses had shutters up, showing
that their inhabitants had gone away. A nurse would come quickly along
holding a little red staff in her hand to show she had been nursing a
plague patient, and that other people had better avoid her. Then slowly
down the street would come a cart, with a man walking beside the horse,
and he would call out: 'Bring out your dead! bring out your dead!' just
as if he were shouting to sell coals. And in the cart were the bodies of
the people who had died of the plague. It was extraordinary that any man
could be found to drive that cart, and he had to have very high wages;
and even then he must have been a low sort of man, without any
imagination, a man who did not mind much what his work was so long as he
had some money to spend in drink. One of these men was sitting on his
cart one day when it was noticed that he seemed to be ill, and the next
moment he fell off dead, having caught the plague.

When people were dying by hundreds and hundreds there was no time to
bury them properly: and yet they had to be buried, or the dead bodies
would make it impossible for anyone to live at all. So great pits were
dug many yards wide, and into these the bodies of men, women, and
children were put in rows and rows, one row on the top of another, and
the whole covered in with stuff called quicklime. Whenever anyone began
with the plague, it was the duty of the head of the household to see
that a red cross was marked on his door as a warning to others to keep
away, and it must have been very sad to see these long red crosses on so
many doors, with the grass-grown street in front of the houses, and the
slow plague-cart going down the street.

Another rule was that if anyone had a case of the plague within his
house, he and all his household must be shut up indoors for forty days
for fear of carrying the infection; but many people hated this so much
that they used to hide the cases of the plague when they happened, and
pretend that everyone was alive and well in their houses. When the
police-officers found this out they used to visit the houses, and if
they found anyone sick in one of them they would carry him or her off to
a hospital called a pest-house, where all the sick could be together. If
it is true what we read of these houses, it must have been almost worse
to go there than to die. The smells and sights were so awful, and the
shrieks of the poor wretches who had been seized with the plague were so
terrifying, that there was not much chance of anyone who went there
recovering.

The people who were forced to stay in London, either because they had no
money to go away or nowhere else to go to, used to meet in St. Paul's
Cathedral and ask one another the news. This was not the same cathedral
that is standing now, but one that was afterwards burnt in the Great
Fire. The long aisle was called Paul's walk, and here in better times
there were stalls for the sale of ribbons and laces and many other
things, and people laughed and talked and strolled up and down, just as
if it were a street and not a church at all. Now, in the plague time
most of the stalls were shut, and the people no longer came to buy, but
to ask in hushed voices how many had died last week, and if there were
any sign that this awful disease was going to stop. It is almost
impossible to believe, but it is true, that thieves were very busy then.
They used actually to go into the houses deserted by their owners, or
left because someone had died there of the plague, and steal things,
without minding the risk of infection.

The country people soon stopped bringing in fresh milk and vegetables,
butter and eggs from the country, because they dared not come into the
town; and so it was difficult to get these things at all, and those who
were in London were worse off than ever, and in danger of starving.

We can imagine children crying for bread, and their mother going out at
last to try to find something for them to eat, and never coming back.
Then the eldest boy would begin to be afraid that she had caught the
plague and had died in the streets, and he would leave his little
sisters and brothers and creep along the streets until he met the awful
death-cart; and then he would ask, and perhaps the man would tell him
where to go to find out about his mother, and someone might be able to
describe a woman who had fallen down in the street seized by the plague,
and had at once been carried off and buried. The boy would guess that
that must have been his mother; and yet he could never be quite certain,
for she had been buried in a plague-pit with dozens of others, and he
would never see her. Perhaps he would beg a little oatmeal, and run back
hastily to his brothers and sisters, and when he got there find them all
frightened and crying, for the eldest girl was very sick. He might turn
down her dress, and see on her neck the awful plague-spot, and know that
she, too, would die. And very likely by the next day the whole of that
family would be dead. Many people must have died of starvation, for all
work was stopped, but for the money given by charitable persons. The
King himself gave £1,000 a week.

There is a story of a man who had a good deal of money, and he shut
himself and his household up in his house, and allowed no member of his
family to go out. The doors and windows were closed, so that it was all
dark, and food was only got by tying a basket to a string and letting it
down at a certain time each day, when a person who had been paid to do
so filled it with food. In the morning the whole family had breakfast
together in a lower room, and afterwards the children were sent up to
play in the garret. In this way the greatest danger of infection was
escaped.

Of course, so soon as foreign nations heard of the plague they sent no
more ships to England, and instead of being covered with vessels from
all lands, the Thames was deserted and silent. Worse than that, numbers
of people threw the dead bodies of their friends who had died into the
water, and these floated down with the tide, or, catching in some pier
or beside some boat, hung there until the air was filled with the
dreadful smell of the rotting bodies. Cats and dogs were drowned, too,
for fear that they should carry the infection, and their dead bodies
made the river loathsome. Everywhere there were awful sights and sounds
and smells; not even by the water could anyone escape. When the hot
weather came in summer the plague grew worse; in one week four thousand
persons died of it. Four thousand! It is difficult to imagine. But this
was not the worst: the deaths went on until London was a city of the
dead, and the living were very few. Fathers had lost children, husbands
wives, children parents; there was no household that had not suffered
from the plague. A preacher who used to go about the streets dressed
only in a rough garment of fur like John the Baptist had prophesied that
the grass should grow in the streets, and that the living should not be
able to bury the dead. It was long since the first part of this had been
true, and now the second became true, too. The people who were left were
not enough to bury those who died, and even in the streets the bodies
lay unburied. St. Paul's itself was used as a pest-house--that is to
say, as a hospital for the plague-stricken. We can imagine that the
people who were left alive felt as if they were living in some
nightmare dream from which they could not awake. They must have lost all
hope of ever seeing London restored to itself, and the streets clean and
bright once more. It was not until the summer was past and the cold
weather began that the deaths were fewer, and when the number was only
one thousand a week everyone began to get hopeful again. People who had
fled into the country began to come back, a few shopkeepers opened their
shops, the country people came timidly to bring vegetables for sale, and
so gradually things got a little better.

The houses were cleaned and whitewashed, the streets were cleansed, and
large fires were lit to burn up any rubbish that might still hold
infection. St. Paul's Cathedral was cleaned out, and the beds that the
patients had used were burned, and all seemed better.

Then happened another terrifying thing, even more alarming than the
plague to the unfortunate people who lived in London at that time. One
night, when everyone had gone to bed, the church bells in the city began
tolling, and soon feet were heard hurrying on the streets; cries of
alarm woke even the laziest, and everyone hurried out to see what was
the matter. Against the darkened evening sky they saw a lurid colour
like a crimson flag, and this changed and waved as columns of smoke
passed in front of it; there was no doubt that a big fire had been
lighted somewhere.

At first some may have thought this was only one of the bonfires that
the police had lighted to burn up the rubbish, but they soon found it
was much worse than that. Whole streets were on fire and burning, and,
worse than all, a strong wind was blowing the flames right over London.

The houses then were nearly all of wood, and, being old, were very dry.
They burned splendidly; no man could have made a better bonfire. The
flames seemed alive; they leaped from one to the other, they licked up
the woodwork on the gable fronts, they danced into the windows and in at
the doors--no one could stop them or save the houses once they had been
touched. The great red demon Fire licked up house after house as if he
swallowed them with his great red mouth, and the more he ate the more he
wanted; his appetite grew larger instead of less. There were only old
fire-engines, not like those we have to-day, and water was very scarce,
and at first the people stood terrified, staring stupidly, and then
began to run away. It was not for some time that the authorities
thought of pulling down some houses so as to make a gap over which the
great red flames could not leap. But it is not easy work to pull down
houses, and before it could be done the flames leaped on again and again
and drove them back. At first the poor people whose houses had caught
fire threw their furniture and goods into the streets to save them. But
they very soon saw this was no use; the flames got them just the same,
for there was no time to carry the goods away, and what the flames did
not get thieves in the crowd seized and ran away with.

Now the wind seemed fairly to get hold of the fire, and drove it on with
a roar like a steam-engine; the shrieks of people in the streets were
drowned by the crash of the burning timbers as the roofs fell in. The
heat was so great that some persons, pressed too near to the fire by the
crowd, covered their scorched faces with their hands and screamed aloud.
Everywhere was confusion and running to and fro, and yet no one could do
anything to stop those terrible flames. When a big brewery was attacked
by the fire, men rushed in and pulled out the casks into the street, and
then, forgetting the perils of the plague and of the fire, drank until
they reeled about the streets, and some even fell into the flames and
were burnt.

The place where the fire began was not far from London Bridge, and the
red light reflected in the water lit the city up with an awful glare.
Some of the people in the houses which were then standing on the bridge
got into boats, and, without heeding the awful heat and the showers of
smuts, rowed away up the river to a safer place.

The churches began to go soon, and when one was fairly caught its high
spire was seen to quiver for a moment as if it were in pain, and then
topple right over with a crash. The dangers were increased by the
falling of such great masses of stone. The whole of that night the
flames roared on, and devoured everything in their course. Even those
whose houses were at the west end began to tremble. King Charles II.
himself had now come back to London, and when he was told of the great
danger that threatened his city, he was the first to go to help and to
suggest that houses must be pulled down to stop the flames. This was
very difficult, because the houses to be pulled down had to be a long
way in front of the fire, or there would not have been time to get them
down before the fire reached them. And when the people to whom they
belonged were told that they must come out because their houses were to
be destroyed, they very naturally objected, and said they were quite
sure the fire would never get so far as that; and, anyway, why should
their houses be pulled down and not others?

The fire had begun first in a poor quarter, but it soon came on to the
houses of wealthy merchants, and then a strange sight was seen: these
men, hastily gathering up their gold and silver, their rich bales of
stuff and merchandise, hurried westward, and the streets were filled
with carts and men laden with goods jostling, pushing, and hurrying in
both directions. At the end of that day the fire still burned as if it
would never stop; surely never before had there been such a bonfire. Not
a single person in London could go to bed. How did he know that he might
not be awakened by the flames leaping in at his windows? No, everyone
was in the streets, either watching or talking or shouting, and very few
did any good or knew what to do; they mostly got in the way of others
who were trying to stop the flames.

When that second awful night was past, the day dawned; but there was
little light, for a great cloud of black smoke hung over everything,
blotting out the sun. On the river were boats and barges and vessels of
all sorts laden with goods; in the streets the same weary, excited
crowd.

Out in the fields there were tents put up for the people whose houses
had been destroyed, and numbers of people camped there, crying and
bemoaning their losses; many of them had lost all they possessed in the
world, and had no clothes and sometimes no food.

At last it was seen that the flames must reach St. Paul's Cathedral, and
even those who were most careless held their breath at the thought of
the destruction of so splendid a building. At that time St. Paul's was
being repaired, and the scaffolding round the walls served as fuel for
the flames, which leaped upon it and got such hold of it that the very
stones became red hot. The roof and the tower of the cathedral were a
blaze of fire; soon the lead with which the roof was covered began to
melt, and ran down in golden rain from every gutter into the street
below. You have perhaps seen in fireworks showers of golden rain, but
that was harmless; this was real boiling lead, and if it had struck
anyone would have scorched him up. Streaming as it did from that great
height, it came down with force, and set everything that it fell on in
a blaze. The flames got inside the cathedral, and roared upwards through
the staircases as through so many funnels, and then it was seen that the
fall of the roof was inevitable. It came at last with a tremendous
crash, and showers of sparks shot upwards, lighting up the country for
miles around.

For the whole of the next day the flames continued, and on into the day
after that; and then the wind fell, and the fire burnt with less fury.
By this time, too, people had pulled down houses, and made great gaps
which could not be bridged over by the flames, and so the Great Fire
ceased.

A most curious thing was that the fire had begun in the house of a baker
in Pudding Lane, and the part where it was finally stopped was at Pye
Corner, near Smithfield. It was very odd that both these names should
have had to do with eating. No one knows how it began, but the general
idea is that a servant-girl who was drying some sheets let them fall
into the fire, and then, seeing them flame up, was afraid, and thrust
them into the chimney; so the chimney caught fire, and the house, which
was very dry and built of wood, flamed up, and the fire spread. But
other people say it was done on purpose by a man throwing a light into
the house window.

Close to the spot where it began was put up later a tall monument, a
great column, which is hollow inside, with a staircase to the top, and
anyone may go up by paying threepence; and on the summit there is a
little platform, which is caged in to prevent people from falling or
flinging themselves over. From here there is a fine view of London; you
can see the river, and the ships going up and down, and the bridges, and
the tall steeples of all the churches built by Sir Christopher Wren for
the new London that rose out of the ashes of the old.

At the place where the fire is said to have stopped there is the figure
of a funny little fat boy put up, and that you can see at Smithfield if
you care to go there.

The greater part of London was completely wiped out; the streets were
all gone--none knew even where their own houses had stood; there were
heaps of ashes everywhere, so hot that the boots of those who walked
over them were scorched. For long afterwards, when the workmen were
opening a pile to take away the rubbish and begin to build a new house,
flames which had been smouldering below burst out again. The great task
of rebuilding the city demanded all the energy and sense of which the
people were capable. There were many quarrels, of course, between people
who claimed more land than they ought to have had, and between others
who were both quite sure their houses had stood on one spot. It was a
long time before a new London was built. But though the fire cost the
Londoners many millions of pounds, and though it ruined many persons and
caused fearful loss, it was really a blessing, for it burnt away things
that might have carried the plague infection; and it burnt the old
unwholesome dirty wooden houses, and in their place were built better
houses and wider streets, and health and comfort were greater.



BOOK III

THE SIGHTS OF LONDON



CHAPTER XVIII

THE TOWER OF LONDON


If anyone were staying in London for the first time, what do you suppose
he or she would want to see most? It would depend on the character and
age of that person. If it were a boy, he would be almost sure to say the
Zoological Gardens. A girl might choose Madame Tussaud's. But besides
these there are many other things that could be chosen--St. Paul's
Cathedral; the British Museum; Westminster Abbey. Also places of
entertainment, like Maskelyne's Mysteries, where there is conjuring so
wonderful that, having seen it no one can believe the sight of his own
eyes. At Christmas time many of the large shops turn themselves into
shows, with all sorts of attractive sights to be enjoyed free, so that
people may be brought into the shop and possibly buy something. All
these things are attractive. But there is one thing not yet mentioned,
which is the best of all, and interesting to both boys and girls alike,
as well as to men and women. This is the Tower of London.

I am now going to imagine that you are staying with me on a visit, and
every day we will do something enjoyable, and go to see something fresh.
We could go on for days and days doing this in London, and not come to
the end of the sights. But the first thing to see, the very first, ought
to be the Tower, because it is one of the few old buildings left in
London, and there are so many stories connected with it they would make
a big fat book in themselves.

On the first morning of your visit to London you would get up in a
rather excited frame of mind, and be anxious to start off at once. That
would be as well, because if we are to go to the Tower it will take us a
long time to get there.

Before the west end of London was built the Tower was in the important
part of London. All that could then be called London clustered round it.
In those days, when the country was unsettled and enemies appeared
suddenly outside a town, and might burn and destroy houses, and steal
all that they could lay hands on, it was necessary to have a wall all
round the city. This wall was very strong and high, and could be
defended by men with spears and arrows. It ran right round the city on
three sides, and on the fourth was the river.

In the reign of William the Conqueror there was no strong castle or
palace for the King in London, but only an old fortress on one side of
this wall, the east side, quite near to the river. This fortress had
stood there for a long time. No one knew when it had been built. King
William ordered it to be pulled down, and in its place he caused a
strong castle to be built. Part of the city wall was pulled down to make
room for this castle, and so began the Tower of London.

If we, living in the West End, want to get to the Tower, we must take an
omnibus or train and go right through the City until, at the place where
the City and the East End meet, we shall find the Tower.

It is a very fine building, with a great square tower in the middle.
Round it are the gardens, and round the gardens, again, there is another
line of buildings, which have smaller towers set here and there upon
them at intervals. Circling round the outermost walls is a huge, deep
ditch, as big and broad as a river. This was once a moat full of water.
The water from the Thames ran into it and filled it, and it formed a
strong barrier of defence for the Tower, and attacking forces would have
found it a difficult matter to swim across that water with the archers
and soldiers shooting down from the walls above, with flights of arrows
as thick as flights of pigeons. And, of course, the enemies would never
have been allowed to put a boat on the water, for the archers would have
shot them while they were doing it. In old times the kings who lived
here must have felt very safe with their huge thick stone walls and the
great rolling stream of gray water all round. The windows were made very
small, so that arrows could not get into them easily to wound the people
inside the rooms, and the staircases were of stone, very narrow, and
they wound round and round up into one of the towers. They were made so
because then, if ever the enemies did manage to get inside the Tower and
tramped upstairs, they would find that only one, or perhaps two, of them
could get up the steps together to fight, and the men who were guarding
the tower could keep them back for a long time. As I said also, the
gardens are inside the Tower, so the people who lived there could walk
safely in them surrounded by the great gloomy high stone walls.

[Illustration: ST. MARY-LE-STRAND AND BUSH HOUSE.]

Oh, how many stories that Tower has to tell! Every stone of it must have
heard something interesting. But saddest of all must have been the
groans and cries of sorrowful prisoners, for besides being the King's
palace, as I have told you, it was also a prison. That seems very odd to
us now. Fancy if we made part of Buckingham Palace, where the King
lives, into a gaol! But in old times palaces and prisons were often in
one building, partly because it was necessary for both to be very strong
and to resist force, and it was not easy to build two strong buildings
in one place, so they made one do for both. When William the Conqueror
died he had not finished his building, and William Rufus, his son, went
on with it. Rufus finished the square building in the middle, which has
four little corner towers, and this is called the White Tower, not that
it is white at all, though it may have been when first built. Now it has
been blackened by many centuries of smoke. It was not until the reign of
Richard Coeur de Lion that the moat was made, and by that time the Tower
had grown very much, and was a strong place. John, Richard's brother,
who tried to get the throne for himself while Richard was away fighting
in the Holy Land, knew that the stronger he could make the Tower the
better, for if he could hold it he would be King in London, and no one
could seize him and punish him. We shall hear something more about John
later. The moat was made when Richard was away in the Holy Land.

When we draw near we see the White Tower standing up above all the rest.
To cross the moat we have to go over a bridge, once a drawbridge--that
is, a bridge which could be drawn up and let down again as the people in
the Tower liked.

Close by the drawbridge was, until just before Queen Victoria's reign, a
place where lions and tigers and all sorts of wild animals lived. It
seems curious they should have been kept there, where they could not
have had any room to wander about, and when they were moved to the
Zoological Gardens it must have been much better for them. The animals
were here through the reigns of all the kings and queens of England,
from Henry I. to Queen Victoria. If we go to the front of the Tower,
which faces the river, we shall see a fine sight. There is the splendid
Tower Bridge that we read of before; there is the gray, glittering
river; and there are many ships and barges floating up and down on the
water.

Underneath our feet is a deep channel, now dry, where the river once ran
in to fill up the moat. It flowed under a great gloomy archway with a
gate, and when the river was running here everyone who came to the
Tower by water had to land at that gate. It has an awful name, and some
of the very saddest memories belong to it. It is called Traitor's Gate.
In those old days, when people used their river much more than we do
now, they owned barges, great boats covered with an awning, and when
they wanted to go from Westminster to the Tower they did not think of
driving, for the streets were narrow and badly paved, the roads between
London and Westminster quite dangerous; and they could not go by train,
for no one had ever imagined anything so wonderful as a train, so they
went by water.

When the prisoners who were in the Tower had to be tried before judges
they were taken up the river in barges to Westminster, where all the
evidence was heard, and then they were brought back again. How many of
them made that last sad journey and entered the Traitor's Gate never to
come out again! They had been to Westminster to be tried, feeling quite
sure something would happen in their favour, and they would be set free;
and then they had heard the sentence that they were to be beheaded! They
came back down the river, and the sunshine might be just as gay, the
water as sparkling, as when they went, but to them it would all seem
different. The journey was short, too short for a man who knew it was
his last! Then when they reached the Tower the barge would sail on up to
the Traitor's Gate, and the dark shadow of the heavy walls would fall on
the prisoner, and he would feel a chill at his heart as he stepped out
on to those cold gray stones.

Of some of those who suffered in the Tower you have heard. Sir Thomas
More landed here when he came in his barge from Chelsea, but we know
that he was too brave and good to feel much fear. Lady Jane Grey landed
here when her father and father-in-law brought her here, calling her
Queen; she came as a queen, but stayed here afterwards as a prisoner.
Did any warning tell her this when she stepped out of the boat?

Queen Elizabeth came here, too, when she was only a princess. Her sister
Mary was on the throne, and Mary feared that people would make Elizabeth
queen, so she sent her as a prisoner to the Tower. We know the very
words Elizabeth said as she landed, though nearly three hundred and
fifty years have passed since then. She exclaimed: 'Here landeth as true
a subject, being a prisoner, as ever landed on these stairs, and before
Thee, O God, I speak it, having none other friends but Thee.' Then she
sat down on a stone, and said: 'Better sit on a stone than in a cell.'
And only the entreaties of her attendant moved her to get up and go on.
She was a prisoner for several years, and at first was not allowed to go
out of her cell at all. Afterwards, when she became Queen on Mary's
death, one of the first places she visited was the Tower, perhaps
because she felt pleased at being a Queen instead of a prisoner, and
wanted to enjoy the contrast.

There were many, many others who landed here, never to come forth again
as free men. Some died in imprisonment; some were beheaded; some
suffered for their crimes; some were innocent, but suffered because they
had aroused the anger of a jealous king. Some went into those walls to
suffer tortures worse than death--tortures of the thumbscrew and rack,
to make them betray the names of their companions. Some came here as
martyrs, because they believed in God, and thought the suffering of the
present time as nothing to the glory hereafter.

Having looked long at the Traitor's Gate, we can pass on into the Tower
and see what else is there.

The prisoners went sometimes from the Traitor's Gate to the Bloody
Tower, so called from the fact that it was in a room here Edward V. and
his brother were murdered by the order of their wicked uncle. The boys'
bones were afterwards found at the foot of a staircase in the White
Tower. The Bloody Tower was not always called this awful name; it used
to be known at first as the Garden Tower. In the Bloody Tower the Duke
of Northumberland, who tried to make Lady Jane Grey a queen, was
imprisoned before he was beheaded. He must have known he well deserved
his fate; but if he had any conscience he must often have felt very
miserable to think of Lady Jane and her young husband, his own son, who
would be likely to suffer for his fault too.

Very soon the dark walls beheld another prisoner, Archbishop Cranmer, a
martyr in Queen Mary's reign. Cranmer was not a strong man by nature,
and the long wearing imprisonment tried him so much that at last he gave
in to his enemies, and said he would renounce his faith. He thought then
he would be released; but no, he heard that he was to be burned all the
same. We can imagine the horror of the poor prisoner, who had denied his
religion and yet not saved his life. He realized then how weak he had
been, and, like St. Peter, no doubt he wept bitterly. However, when the
day came, and he was taken to Oxford to be burnt, he had recovered all
his strength of mind. He declared himself firmly a Protestant, and when
the faggots were stacked up round him and the fire lit, he held one arm,
his right arm, into the flames, saying it should burn first, as it had
signed his denial. He held it there until it was all burned away, and
died the death of a brave martyr.

Another well-known man was imprisoned in the Bloody Tower after Cranmer.
This was Sir Walter Raleigh, who, as a handsome, gay young man, had
attracted great favour from Queen Elizabeth. It is said that one day
when she was going to cross a puddle Raleigh sprang forward and flung a
beautiful cloak he was wearing over the mud as a carpet for her feet.
The cloak was very rich and handsome, as were the cloaks the nobles wore
then. Of course it was spoilt, and Elizabeth was much flattered by the
courtesy of the young man. She made him a knight, and he was raised to
great honour. He sailed across the seas and discovered new lands, and he
brought back tobacco and introduced smoking into England. When the
Spaniards attacked England, the gay and gallant Sir Walter fought
valiantly, and came back covered with honour and glory. No man could
have had a brighter life, no man could have risen higher. And then came
his downfall. He was accused of plotting against King James, who had
succeeded Queen Elizabeth. He was condemned to death and sent to the
Tower. There seems to be no reason to believe that Raleigh was guilty,
but, guilty or innocent, he spent fourteen years in the Tower. He was
not the kind of man to sit idle, so he set to work and wrote a book on
the history of the world, which kept him occupied, and showed that he
was clever as well as gay and daring. Then once more he was let out for
a short time while he sailed to the West to discover a gold-mine of
which someone had told him. King James, who always wanted money, had let
him go on giving his promise he would come back. Raleigh did not find
the gold-mine, but he was a man of his word. He came back, though he
knew the terrible prison and perhaps the block and axe were waiting for
him. He was beheaded in Whitehall, where King James's own son was so
soon after to be beheaded too. Raleigh's long imprisonment must have
been dreadful to a man full of life and energy. Yet he had
compensations: he was allowed to walk in the garden, and his history
must always have been a solace to him.

There were many others imprisoned in the Bloody Tower; but we must pass
on.

In walking from one part of the Tower to another we meet some men
dressed very curiously in red dresses with velvet caps. These are the
Beef-eaters, who guard the Tower, also called the Yeomen of the Guard.
Their odd name and odd dress always attract people, and they are such
fine men that children sometimes wonder if they are called Beef-eaters
because they eat a lot of beef! That is not so. The name is said to come
from an old French word _buffetier_, which means a man who waited at a
buffet or sideboard; and in old times the beef-eaters waited on the King
and Queen, and they still wear the same costume they wore three hundred
years ago. Every night before midnight the chief Beef-eater goes to find
the chief warder; the Beef-eater carries the keys of the Tower, and with
a guard of men the two go together to lock up the outer gate. When the
sentinel who keeps watch hears them, he calls out, 'Who goes there?' and
the answer is, 'The Keys!' Then says the sentinel, 'Advance, King
George's Keys!' This is a curious old custom. Close by the Bloody Tower
is the Jewel House, where the crowns of the King and Queen and other
royalties are kept. They are made of gold and set with precious stones,
so big that it is difficult to believe that they are real--great rubies
and pearls as large as pigeon's eggs, and huge glittering diamonds. In
this room there is a man always on watch, day and night. Yet the jewels
were once stolen by a daring man called Colonel Blood, who managed to
get away from the Tower, but was caught soon after with the King's crown
under his cloak. This was in the reign of Charles II.

In the White Tower are rooms full of armour worn by English
soldiers--armour of all the different ages, from the time when a man
wore so much iron that if he fell down he could not get up again, and
sometimes was actually smothered before he could get out of it, up to
the present day.

In the White Tower there is one very awful dungeon, a little narrow
cell, without a ray of light, no window at all--nothing but dense
blackness. There must have been many prisoners kept here, for on the
walls there are sad cuttings, now half worn away, which tell how the
poor men occupied their time in chipping their names in the stone. Many
of the martyrs of Queen Mary's reign must have felt this terrible
blackness, for there are texts of which the dates show that they were
cut at that time. One of these is, 'Be faithful unto death, and I will
give thee a crown of life.' The hand that traced out these letters long
years ago is still. The martyr has long since passed from the darkness
of the narrow cell to the great brightness of eternal light.

The torture instruments are shown in the White Tower too, and many of
these brave martyrs felt the torture before they reached the light. The
rack was very commonly used. On it men--yes, and women too--were
sometimes stretched as on a bed; their wrists were tied with cords above
their heads, and their ankles with cords to the other end of the rack.
Then a man turned a handle, and the hands and feet were slowly drawn in
opposite directions. The poor wretch might shriek and scream, or he
might turn as white as death and let never a sound escape him; but it
was all the same: the rack moved on. There was a doctor there to feel
the victim's heart and say when he could bear no more without dying. And
then, when that happened, perhaps he fainted with the agony and was
released, and carried away to be allowed to recover a little, only to be
brought back another day. Sometimes he would bear it bravely enough the
first time, but at the second time his courage would give way, and he
would cry out and say he would do whatever it was his persecutors
wanted, perhaps change his religion, perhaps reveal the names of his
companions in a plot. There were other tortures, too--a kind of iron
cage, called the Scavenger's Daughter, with a collar of iron to fasten
round a man's neck and irons round his arms and legs, which cramped him
up in an awful position, in which he was left for hours, until every
bone ached as if it were red-hot. The thumbscrew was a little thing, but
caused great agony. It was fixed on to anyone's thumb, and then made
tighter and tighter, until sometimes the wretched victim fainted away.
Another way that people were tortured was by being hung up by their
thumbs, so that the whole weight of their bodies rested on the cords. In
this position they were left for hours together.

There is a very beautiful chapel in the White Tower which we must
certainly see. Outside in the garden, opposite to another chapel, called
St. Peter ad Vincula, is the execution ground, where so many people were
beheaded. But I think this is enough for one chapter, and we will learn
something more about the Tower in the next.



CHAPTER XIX

THE TOWER OF LONDON--_continued_


Nearly all the people condemned to be beheaded at the Tower were
executed on Tower Hill, which lies outside the walls; only a few who
were of royal birth or especially favoured were beheaded inside the
walls, where they could not be seen by the great multitude. And the plot
of ground outside the chapel is the place where these favoured few were
killed. We can stand now on the spot where gentle Lady Jane Grey laid
her little head on the block. She was not the first near the throne to
have been executed here. Two of the Queens of the bloodthirsty Henry
VIII. had died at the same place--Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. Both
these Queens had been received here by Henry in great state before their
marriages, and little had they thought when they arrived and were
greeted with guns firing and flags flying that very soon the bell would
be tolling for their death. It is difficult to believe in the
cold-heartedness of a man like Henry. Anne Boleyn was a bright, gay
little woman; she was the mother of Queen Elizabeth, and she had done
nothing whatever to merit death. But Henry had seen someone else he
wanted to marry, so he ordered his wife to be beheaded. It is said that
he waited under a great tree on a height in Richmond Park, some miles
away, to see a rocket fired up from the Tower, which was to announce the
death of Anne, and to let him know he could marry Jane Seymour. Anne had
only been his wife three years when he tired of her, and she was
twenty-nine when she was executed. Four years later the King married
Katherine Howard, having had two wives--Jane Seymour and Anne of
Cleves--in between. Poor Katherine was Queen only for two years, when
she followed Anne to the block.

The handsome and gallant Earl of Essex, who had been a favourite of
Queen Elizabeth's, also suffered here. He had lost the Queen's favour,
and, after having been one of the principal men at the Court, was
treated with coldness and disdain. Essex's proud temper could not endure
this, and he made plots against the Queen, one of which was to kidnap
her and carry her off as his prisoner. Elizabeth heard of this, and sent
her soldiers to seize him. Essex had then a house in the Strand, near
St. Clement's Church, and he barricaded his house and defied the Queen's
soldiers. Nothing could have been more mad. Elizabeth was furious when
she heard it. Cannon were placed on the tower of St. Clement's Church,
and from there they were fired at the house of the reckless Earl, who
was at last forced to submit. He was tried, found guilty of high
treason, and condemned to death. But all the time Elizabeth, who must
still have cared for the high-spirited Essex, felt sure that he would
not really be killed; for long years before she had given him a ring,
and told him that whenever he was in great need he had only to send that
ring to her, and she would help him. So she expected to receive the ring
from him, and was very slow in signing his death-warrant; but the ring
never came, so she signed the warrant, and then she recalled it. Yet
still there was no sign from Essex. Elizabeth began to grow uneasy, and
thought perhaps that the Earl was too proud to ask help from her when he
had defied her. Well, if that were so, she could do nothing to save him,
for she was a queen, and was too proud to give help where it was not
asked for; so she signed the death-warrant a second time. Meantime,
Essex was in the Tower, and he had remembered the ring and the Queen's
promise; he had been rebellious and he was very proud, but now that he
was going to die in the full strength of his manhood it did not seem too
hard a thing to do to ask a favour from Elizabeth, who had been so kind
to him and was his Queen. After all, he had behaved very badly, and he
knew it, and it was right to ask pardon. Perhaps this was what he
thought, and he gave the ring to the Countess of Nottingham to take to
the Queen. But the Countess of Nottingham did not want the Earl to live;
she was jealous of his influence over Elizabeth, and she thought that if
she kept back the token Essex would surely die.

So the time slipped away, and Elizabeth in her palace and Essex in his
prison both thought bitterly of each other. The execution drew very
near, and at last one day in February Essex was brought out to die.
Perhaps he thought up to the last minute that a messenger would ride up
carrying a pardon from the Queen; but no, no one came, and at last he
laid his head on the block, and perished thinking hard things of his
Queen. Not long after the Countess of Nottingham herself fell ill, and
on her deathbed confessed to Elizabeth the wicked thing she had done.
The knowledge that Essex had died believing her to have been faithless
to her word so enraged the Queen that she said to the dying Countess:
'May God forgive you, for I never can!'

Many people spent most of their lives in the Tower. We have heard of Sir
Walter Raleigh, who was here for fourteen years; but there were others
imprisoned much longer. One man, a Duke of Orleans, afterwards King of
France, was here for twenty-five years; and Lord Courtenay, son of the
Earl of Exeter, who was of the Royal Family and descended from Edward
IV., was kept in the Tower almost his whole life for fear that he might
lay claim to the crown.

When the King or Queen of England used the Tower as a palace, the part
they occupied was quite distinct from the prison. This part is now the
Governor's house, and the Governor, who is called the Lieutenant of the
Tower, lives in it. Here there are many splendid rooms, including a
great council-room, where the King and his nobles used to meet for
consultation. Underneath the house is a room where Lord Nithsdale was
imprisoned, and the story of his escape from the Tower is one of the
most exciting in all history.

In the reign of George I. a nobleman called the Earl of Nithsdale had
joined in a plot to restore the Stuarts to the throne. You will remember
that after the reign of James II. people said that Prince James was not
his son at all, but a baby which had been adopted by the King, who had
no son of his own; and as this was generally believed, after the King
had been driven into exile, his daughters, the Princesses Mary and Anne,
came to the throne and reigned one after the other. When they died the
English crown was offered to a distant cousin, who was George I. But
many English noblemen and gentlemen said that this was unfair, and that
the son of James II. and his son after him should have been King. We can
never tell now which was right; but all this caused a great deal of
unhappiness and much fighting. Those who took up the cause of the
Stuarts were called Jacobites, and among this number was the Earl of
Nithsdale. He was taken prisoner, and condemned by King George to die
with several others, and he was sent to the Tower, there to wait his
fate.

But he had a beautiful and determined wife, who was resolved to save his
life. It was in the winter time, and, of course, there were then no
trains to carry people swiftly and comfortably through the frosty air.
So she started on her journey from Scotland on horseback, and rode as
far as Newcastle; but she was not a great horse-woman, and being wearied
with her exertions, she there took a coach and proceeded to York, taking
with her her faithful maid Evans. But when they got to York they found
that so much snow had fallen that the coach could not go on to London at
all. Now, all this time the days were passing, and every day that passed
made Lord Nithsdale's execution nearer. His poor wife was in a terrible
state of suspense; but she did not sit down and despair. She said that
if there were no coach then must she ride to London. And so she
did--rode about one hundred and eighty miles through all the snow, which
was often up to her horse's girths, and at times she thought she would
not be able to get through after all. But at last she did, and when she
arrived in London her husband was still alive. Never thinking of herself
or of her own weariness, Lady Nithsdale went to the Court, and used all
the influence she possessed to get King George I. to pardon her husband.
But he was an obstinate, cruel little man, and he refused even to hear
her, though she flung herself before him and caught at his coat.

Then she saw that there was nothing for it but to help her husband to
escape out of that gloomy Tower. She therefore begged permission to go
to see him. At first even this was refused her, but she gave the guards
money, and at last they let her into the Tower. What a meeting that must
have been, and how cheered the husband must have been to think of the
strong love that had made his wife do so much for his sake!

But they had little time to talk about what was past, for they had to
arrange for the future. Brave Lady Nithsdale formed a plan, but to carry
it out it was necessary to get the help of two other women. She found
one in a Mrs. Mills, in whose house she was lodging, and after some
difficulty she found another, a friend of Mrs. Mills, called Mrs.
Morgan. Now, by this time it was the day before that fixed for Lord
Nithsdale's execution, and everything depended on getting him out of the
Tower at once. Lady Nithsdale told her companions of her plan, which was
to make her husband walk out boldly through the guards dressed like a
woman; and for this end she made Mrs. Morgan, who was a little fair,
slim woman, wear two sets of clothes one over the other, and one set she
meant that Lord Nithsdale should wear. Mrs. Mills was a big, stout
woman, with fair eyebrows and fair hair, and Lady Nithsdale hoped that
when her husband came through dressed in woman's clothes the guards
would think he was Mrs. Mills. When they arrived at the Tower, the poor
wife got out and asked to be allowed to take a friend in to say farewell
to her husband, and she was told she might take one lady in at a time.
Accordingly, she and the thin Mrs. Morgan went in, and while they were
in the cell where Lord Nithsdale was, Mrs. Morgan took off the extra
clothes she had brought and left them for him to put on. Then she
hurried back and told Mrs. Mills to come in. Lady Nithsdale ran to meet
Mrs. Mills, who pretended to cry very much, and kept her handkerchief up
to her face; and when she got into the cell they waited a little while
and talked, for they hoped the gaolers, having seen some ladies passing
backwards and forwards, would now forget how many had gone into the
cell. After a time Mrs. Mills went out again, and Lady Nithsdale kept
calling after her to tell her that she wanted her maid, and that the
maid must come quickly, and then she went back again to her husband. She
had painted his dark eyebrows fair, and she had put rouge on his cheeks
and dressed him up in her own petticoats and the clothes Mrs. Morgan
had left; and she had told him not to stride like a man, but to take
little mincing steps, so that the guards should not notice any
difference. But there was one thing she could not hide, and that was his
beard, and she had no time to cut it off; so she tucked it into his
cloak in front, and told him to keep his head down and hold his
handkerchief to his face and pretend to be crying bitterly. It was now
getting dusky, and she was afraid that if they waited any longer the
gaolers would bring candles and see what was being done. How the hearts
of both husband and wife must have been beating when they opened the
door and stepped forth into the anteroom where the guards were! Lady
Nithsdale talked a good deal rather loudly, and said she could not
understand why her maid had not come, and that she must come at once;
and she begged her husband, whom she called 'Mrs. Betty,' to run down to
her lodgings to see if the maid were there and send her to the prison.
And when they got to the outer door she let him go, and ran back to the
cell herself. Then she talked again as if she were talking to her
husband, so that the gaolers should hear, and made answers for him in a
deep man's voice. Brave heart! she must have been well-nigh fainting
with terror, and expecting to hear every minute a noise which would
tell her she had been discovered. But after a time, when all seemed
right, and when she could talk no more, she left the cell very slowly,
and, shutting the door behind her, said to the gaolers that they need
not take in lights until Lord Nithsdale asked for them, for he was
praying, and did not wish to be disturbed. Then she went down to her
coach.

And he really did get safely away; and the King was furious, and said
Lady Nithsdale had given him more trouble than any woman in Europe. But
Lady Nithsdale went and waited at a friend's house until she heard where
her husband was in hiding in a little poor house, and then she joined
him, and they stayed there together until things could be arranged for
him to get over to France. A friend brought them a bottle of wine and
some bread, and on this they lived from Thursday to Saturday. But I do
not expect they cared much what they ate, they must have been so happy
to be together again.

It was very seldom indeed anyone had escaped from the Tower. Once a man
tried to, and let himself down by a rope from his window; but the rope
broke, and he fell headlong and was killed. The countess's plan was much
better. Luckily, she and her husband had good friends, and one of them
lent Lord Nithsdale the livery of his servant, and, pretending he was a
footman, took him to Dover, where he got a boat and managed to cross
over to France in safety. His estates were all taken from him, but that
was a little thing when he had saved his life. His devoted wife joined
him in Rome, and they lived abroad for the rest of their days.

Guy Fawkes, of whom we heard before, was examined in the King's house in
the Tower, and the judges tried to make him give up the names of his
companions; but villain as he was, Guy Fawkes was no coward, and he
refused to turn traitor. Finding that he was obdurate, the judges
decreed that he should suffer the torture of the rack, and accordingly
he was racked again and again. At last in his agony he cried out that he
would tell the history of the conspiracy, but not reveal the names of
his fellow-conspirators. This was not enough. Once again he was brought
to suffer the awful torture, and this time his gaolers told him that
some of his comrades had been already taken, and were in the hands of
the police. So Fawkes gave way and made a full confession, which was
signed 'Guido Fawkes,' and is still kept. This was in November, and on
the last day of the following January he and three of his associates
were executed at Westminster.

They were brought from the Tower to be executed, and Guy Fawkes was so
weak and ill from the terrible tortures he had suffered that he could
scarcely climb up the scaffold.

In other parts of the Tower numbers of men and women were imprisoned,
but we might as well write a history of England as tell all their
stories here. In one tower there is the word 'Jane,' cut in the wall by
Lady Jane Grey's husband, the young Lord Dudley, and on many of the
walls are names and records cut by sorrowful men and women almost
without hope.

It is all changed now. No longer sobs and cries and executions are here,
but only the voices of soldiers drilling or calling out to one another,
the voices of little children at play on the wharf by the river, or of
visitors who come to see the place. The soldiers are in barracks in the
Tower, and they drill in the bottom of the deep moat, which is now quite
dry.

If we pass from the Tower we shall find outside Tower Hill, where by far
the greater number of executions took place. It is just a wide, open
space, paved like a street or market-place, and many people walk over it
every day without giving a thought to all that has happened there in
bygone times.



CHAPTER XX

THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS


If you go to the Zoological Gardens you ought to be a good walker and
not easily tired. The animals are in cages, but they are not all close
together; there are long stretches of green grass and trees and
beautiful flower-beds between, and to go over the Zoo thoroughly takes a
very long time. But it is not likely that any of you would want to know
it thoroughly; the things you want most to look at are not the curious
rare small animals or different sorts of birds, but the largest and
best-known animals, such as the lions and tigers, the bears, elephants,
and giraffes. Of all these the lions are the most interesting.

If we arrive at the Zoo a little before four o'clock in the afternoon we
ought to go straight to the lion-house, for four o'clock is the lions'
dinner-time. The house is light and warm, and the cages are all down one
side in a row. Behind them are the railed-in gardens belonging to the
beasts; but sometimes the doors between are shut, and the lions are not
allowed to walk in their gardens. On fine sunny days, however, we can
see them there outside, licking their great lips and rolling about
lazily on the warm ground. In the lion house about ten minutes to four
all the great animals begin to get restless; they walk up and down and
whine or howl, and as four o'clock draws near they get more and more
excited, some of them going round and round in circles, always quicker
and quicker. Though they have no watches, they know the time exactly,
which is rather wonderful, for there is nothing to tell them four
o'clock is near. This is their one meal in the day, so no wonder they
look forward to it; and when you see what they get, it doesn't seem much
for such a great big animal as a lion. Soon a rumbling sound is heard,
and a little truck laden with raw meat runs up through a little passage
between the cages, and the keeper pushes it along the front of the cages
to the end. Then the animals get frantic; the sight of the raw meat
makes them savage; they leap and howl--great howls that would make your
blood run cold if you heard them on a dark night when you were out in
the forest. The animal that goes round in circles goes so fast he
nearly tumbles on his head, and the others trot backwards and forwards,
and all is noise and confusion. The keeper undoes a bar at the bottom of
the cage, which leaves just enough room to put the meat in; then he
picks out the piece he means for that animal and thrusts it through at
the end of an iron rod. The lion or tiger pounces on it, and growling,
carries it into a corner of its den. The keeper replaces the bar, and
goes on to the next one, and so on until all are fed. Then a deep
silence follows; there is only a licking of great lips, a sort of
purring of content, and a sound of bones being crunched or scraped, and
we can look at the animals more easily than when they are running about.
Here in front is a magnificent lion, with a great tawny mane; his broad
nose is wrinkled as he crunches his bone. He has torn all the meat off
it almost at once, and his rough tongue has licked it clean until it is
quite polished; but he still goes on chewing it with those huge white
teeth as long as your finger--teeth that would crunch through your arm
in a moment. This old fellow is usually good-tempered for a lion, but
when feeding-time comes his wife Mrs. Lioness has to go into the back
den shut off by a little door to eat her dinner alone, or they would
fight. Suddenly Mr. Lion raises his head and looks round grandly, as if
he were ashamed of all those people who come to stare at him. He was a
king in his own country, and now, alas! he is only a captive king.
Perhaps he sees a woman carrying a little baby in her arms, and he fixes
his eyes on that baby until it is out of sight. What a delicious morsel
it would make for dessert! But he knows he cannot get through his bars;
he learnt that long ago when he was first brought here. He was not born
in the Zoo--oh no; he had been caught when he was full grown. He
remembers quite well the wild, free life, where, if he were not sure of
a dinner every day, at least every now and then he got more than he
could eat. While he licks his bone he is in a quiet mood, and if you
listened very hard you might hear him talking.

'Yes,' he says (Lick, lick), 'that bone was very good, but there wasn't
enough on it, and now I'm not going to get any more until to-morrow. Oh,
those stupid humans, how they do stare! Have they never seen a gentleman
eat his dinner before? They would open those silly round eyes a bit
wider if these bars were not between us. I wish they could have seen me
that day we caught the zebra. It was grand that!' (Lick, lick.) 'I had
hunted all one night without getting even the whisk of a tail; and also
during the day in the glaring, hot African sun, when I wanted to go to
sleep; and I was very hungry. We, I and my wife, lay down in the shade a
little while towards evening before we parted to see what we could pick
up. There were the little ones to be considered, for when they had come
running up and seen me with nothing, all their little tails dropped
down, and you never saw such a set of little cats in your life. I told
them I would bring them something next time for certain; and so I set
off alone, as I said before, in the evening.

'The sun had burnt up all the grass, which was a kind of dusty brick-red
colour; but that's not a bad thing for a lion, because he doesn't show
against it. It was a very wide open plain where I was, with just a few
shrubs and odd bits of tree for shelter. Well, I crouched down under one
of these, trying to make myself as small as I could, and praying that
the still air wouldn't send the smell of me over the plain to warn all
those silly creatures I wanted to catch.

'Presently I smelt zebra. Now, good tender zebra makes a dish fit for a
king, but the brute can trot at such a rate that I knew I shouldn't have
a chance to catch him running. I must hide and leap out. The smell got
stronger and stronger, and then I saw them half a mile off, a whole
herd, galloping just as straight as they could come towards my
hiding-place. I grew hot and cold then, I can tell you, and my tail
quivered so I was afraid they would see it. I was in fine condition, and
I reckoned that at the distance they would pass I could just by a very
long spring land on the back of the leader. But then they might at any
moment scent me, and I should be done for; up with their heels, and
nothing more of supper should I see but a cloud of dust. So I waited,
and they came right on. I shook with excitement. Then, just at the right
moment, I gathered myself up, and with a great spring I cleared the
distance and landed clean on the back of the leader. That was a surprise
for him, I can tell you. He went down as if he had been shot, and the
others, with snorts of terror, flew away like the wind. One stroke of my
paw killed him, and then I stood up over his striped and quivering body
and roared as loud as I could for my wife and little ones. They weren't
far off, and they came as fast as they could; and to see those little
beggars dancing about that zebra was a sight, almost as good a feeling
it gave me as when I landed on that zebra's back. It had been a record
jump that. We measured it afterwards in strides, and my wife said she
was proud of me, and she always knew I could jump better than any other
lion in South Africa.

'Well, those little beggars jumped on that zebra, and bit at him; but
the skin was too tough for their little teeth, bless them! It was the
funniest sight. But when the old woman and I started in, we did more
than that, I can tell you; we tore off great chunks of him, and the
little ones ate what they could. They got in the way, too, and we had to
give them a slap now and then to keep them in order; and they snarled
and swore at each other until their mother had to quiet them. When we
had done we felt as if we could hardly walk, and we just wanted to get
home as fast as we could and do no more that night. We had pretty well
finished up that zebra before we walked off, and the vultures came
hopping round to clean up what we had left. I was feeling all right
then, and we lay down comfortable and satisfied. Oh dear! I had quite
forgotten where I was; and now I wake up to find myself in this dull
place, where there is no hunting and no fun, where we are caged up in
horrid bars.'

Just as the lion finished speaking, Mrs. Lioness came out from the
inner den. She was not nearly so handsome as her husband, and he thought
her not nearly so handsome as his first wife, who had hunted with him in
South Africa; still, she was company, and that was something.

We have stayed a long time at this lions' cage, and we must pass over
all the rest of the lions--some of them born in captivity, who have
never known the delight of a wild, free life--and go on to the great
striped Bengal tiger, with his magnificent head and handsome face. There
is not the same tremendous strength in his appearance as in the lion's,
but there is something almost more terrible in his long, gliding body
and catlike movements, more ferocious altogether. In the wild state the
lion prefers to prey upon animals, and will not turn on man unless he is
desperate. But a tiger sometimes takes to the life of a man-eater for no
reason but because he likes the taste of human flesh; and once he has
begun to eat human beings, he is a man-eater to the end of his days. He
turns man-eater sometimes, too, when he is old and his strong teeth
fail; and then he will hang about outside villages to pounce on a
soft-flesh man, who is easier to catch than a wild animal.

Tigers are very fierce; a mother tiger with her cubs will attack
anything. When the cubs are little she teaches them to hunt for
themselves, taking them out with her on expeditions and showing them how
to catch smaller animals, such as young calves or pigs, until they are
strong enough to hunt larger ones, when they leave her and begin
housekeeping on their own account. A great many tigers live in India,
and many a wretched native has ended his life by being caught by one of
them. You would think, to look at the royal tiger, with his reddish
markings and black stripes, that he could be easily seen at a great
distance, but this is not so. In the jungle where he lives the stems of
the bamboos are light, and the markings of the tiger are so like his
surroundings that you might get quite close to him and never know it. He
walks through the dense thick jungle with the loose, springy step of a
cat, and woe be to any luckless animal he sees! Sometimes he will find
an enclosure with some young bullocks in it; then he will take one, and
leave the others, for, unless he is a very young tiger, he does not kill
for the love of it, but for food. He carries off his prey, and comes
back a night or two after for a second one; and if the owner of the
bullocks does not remove them he will soon have none left.

Quite near to the lion house, on the other side, is the reptile house,
where live snakes, crocodiles, and lizards, and all sorts of curious
animals. The most interesting are the enormous snakes, called
boa-constrictors, with bodies nearly as thick as a child's, and many
yards in length. They are not in cages, but in glass houses, like glass
boxes. The glass is very thick and strong, and the snake does not dash
himself against it to get out. He would not take the trouble to do that,
for he moves slowly, and when you see him at the Zoo you would think him
very lazy. There he lies, with his oily body, covered with little
scales, hanging round the branch of a dead tree which has been put into
his house, or perhaps lying coiled up on the gravel floor in rings and
rings, so beautifully neat that you wonder how he can take the trouble
to fold himself up so nicely before he goes to sleep. He certainly would
not get crumpled if he lay anyhow, as your clothes would get crumpled if
you did not fold them up. Watch him very closely. You can see he
breathes, and perhaps he glances up and winks with one eye, or darts out
a wicked little tongue. How can a creature like that, so big and so
slow, ever get any food? Well, he can go fast enough at times, and he
does not often want a meal, because he eats so much at one time that it
lasts him for many days. He writhes his great body along the ground in
the thick woods of his native country, and lies so still that you might
tread on him without seeing him. He lives in Brazil and other parts of
South America. Perhaps a young deer comes down to drink, all unconscious
of the hideous beast lying in watch. He stoops his pretty head, then,
with a writhing movement, the boa is upon him. The deer struggles
frantically, but the great folds of the snake close ever tighter and
tighter round him with a strength that breaks his delicate bones and
squeezes the life out of him. When the animal, crushed and breathless,
ceases to struggle, the boa opens his gaping mouth, and bit by bit the
whole animal--it may be still palpitating--is forced into that awful
throat. The snake cannot tear his prey; he has no hands or feet, no
claws or hoofs. He can only swallow it whole. It would seem impossible
sometimes that he could get that mass into his comparatively narrow
throat; but his muscles are elastic. He stops half-way through his
horrid meal and lies still to rest, then another swallow and another. In
the meantime, his teeth, like little sharp saws bent backwards, covering
all the roof of his mouth as well as the jaws, are firmly fixed into
the victim, so that it cannot draw back. When the disgusting meal is
done the great snake lies helpless and swollen, and has to wait until
his food is digested before he can get about comfortably.

When he is in the Zoo he doesn't get anything so large as a deer, but
rabbits and small things that he can swallow easily, and frogs, of which
all snakes are very fond, perhaps because they are slimy and slip down
quickly. There are many other snakes beside the boa, some not so large,
but more poisonous. The boa is not poisonous. He relies on his huge
strength to kill his enemies; but other snakes, such as vipers and
rattlesnakes, are. Even when the head of a viper has been cut off it
still remains poisonous, and may cause death. The rattlesnake is so
called because it makes a funny rattle with its tail before it strikes.
It is about five feet long sometimes, and the sound of its rattle sends
terror into the heart of anyone who is near, as he knows that at any
moment the snake may dart out upon him with its hideous head aloft and
its wicked eyes gleaming. The rattlesnake is found in North America.

The reptile house has been rebuilt and is very hot and damp, to suit the
animals who live there. In the middle there is a large tank with
numbers of ugly crocodiles living in it. They are dark greeny-brown,
like a log that has been a long time in the water, and if you were
floating down the Nile, or any river where crocodiles live, in a boat,
and saw something floating that you thought a bit of old wood, it might
very likely be the back or head of a crocodile. He has a bony coat like
a suit of armour, and it would be very difficult indeed to break through
it, and he swims along, using both his strong tail and his flat feet. He
is what is called an amphibious animal, because he lives partly on land
and partly in the water. He must breathe air, but he can shut up his
nostrils by a fold of skin as we shut our eyes, and can remain under the
water without breathing for some time. His enormous jaws are like a pair
of great shears, and woe be to any animal or man who gets his leg
between them. It will be cut off as cleanly as the gardener cuts a tall
flower with his shears. The crocodile lives in water, and catches fish
and other things; he comes out at times and lies on the banks, and in
the evening, when the land animals come down to drink, he hides himself
in the water, and catches anything he can with his ugly snout. Fancy a
dainty antelope finding suddenly that his delicate nose was pinched
tightly by Mr. Crocodile's teeth, and that he was being drawn down, down
to a hideous death!

But we have stayed much too long in the reptile house, and have not even
mentioned the pretty little green frogs and the many other things to be
found there.

On the other side of the lion house, away from the reptiles, is the
sea-lions' pond. Sea-lions are not the least little bit like real lions,
but when sailors heard them roaring on the rocks far out to sea they
thought they must be lions, and so they gained the name. There are
several of them at the Zoo, huge clumsy looking creatures with big
whiskers, and a skin like india-rubber. At one end of their pond is a
mass of artificial rock with caves and terraces, and when the sea-lions
are out of the water they gallop about on this in an astonishing way,
considering that they have no legs, and only end in a fish's tail. They
lollop along on two front flippers and their strong muscular tail, and
then plunge off the rocks into the water as quick as a flash of light.
Once in the water they seem to be everywhere at once, their movements
are so fast and graceful. Diving at one end of the pond, they are up at
the other before you have had time to take breath.

The best time to see them is when they are fed, which is after the real
lions. The keeper goes into the enclosure with a basket of fish, and in
their excitement the sea-lions writhe and wind and chase each other till
the pond seems full of gigantic eels. He throws the fish one by one in
all directions, and the great beasts simply dance after them. Even after
the last fish has gone, still the happy commotion continues for several
minutes.

A great change was made in the Zoo when the Mappin terraces were built.
These were presented by a Mr. Mappin who wanted the animals to be seen
in a more natural state than is possible when they are in cages. The
great idea is that the animals are not separated from the sight-seers by
bars, but by a very deep and wide ditch, ditch isn't the right word,
fosse would be better, but fosse is not a very common word.

Across this, people can look at the bears in safety, and see them far
better than under the old conditions; while the bears themselves are in
the open air, and have a good space to roam over and a fine pond to
bathe in. They are some beautiful shaggy brown bears here, just the very
model on which Teddy bears are made; and, if you are kind to them, and
throw them bits of biscuits across the fosse, some of them will sit up
in the most engaging way and hug their hind feet, rocking themselves
backwards and forwards in their excitement about the promised dainty.

High over the bears' open places, rise rocks on which various sorts of
chamois and goats live happily. They can climb far above our heads and
look down on us, or leap from rock to rock as if they were in their
native haunts. I often wonder what they think of the bears running about
below them! Sometimes they must watch in surprise as they see the bears
chasing each other. There are one or two together in most of the big
spaces, and they go through the most absurd antics, plunging in and out
of their ponds, and eyeing one another cautiously as they stand with the
water running off their fur.

There are a great many other bears too, for whom there is not room on
the Mappin terraces. These are in the old bear-quarters, which look
rather like two rows of open fronted shops standing back to back. Here
are black bears with big yellow or white collars and very smooth coats.
They come from Malay, and are not at all like one's ordinary idea of a
bear. There are also funny little bears who go head-over-heels to make
people look at them. There is an open cage here, too, with a pond in
it. Sometimes the grizzlies live here; very fearful they look too, with
their terrible claws, as long as fingers. Or there may be a family of
young ones romping together.

Bears are to be found in nearly all parts of the world, and they are
very different from one another. Bears in their natural state would not
attack men, but when men follow them up and try to hunt them they become
very savage. There is a bear-pit at the end of the double row of cages,
and if we go up on the top and look down we shall see the two brown
bears who climb up a pole to get buns.

Now we will go back again to visit the Polar bears who live in a
spacious place at the end of the Mappin terraces, and deserve a little
more attention than the rest because they are so very different in their
appearance and habits.

One day I caught Mr. Polar Bear in a good humour, so that he was
actually willing to talk to me. 'It's not so bad here sometimes,' said
he. 'The keeper does give us plenty of fish. It isn't so good as seal,
though. That's what I like--seal rich and juicy, and almost alive. But
it doesn't matter much, after all, for I have no appetite, it's so hot,
always hot; my great thick coat makes me feel abominably warm. The only
comfortable place is the bath, and that's lukewarm. Cold, do you call
it? Oh, you don't know what cold is--real keen, cutting cold, which
makes one feel young again and ready for anything. Oh for those long
blue Arctic nights, when the sun never rises for days together, and the
stars flash like diamonds, and the aurora shoots over the gleaming
sky!--nights when everything is still, held in the grip of a frost
greater than you can imagine; where for miles and miles there is only
the glittering ice reflecting the flashing sky and the deep blue shadows
under hillocks of frozen snow. Then it's worth while to live. Shall I
ever see it again? My wife used to say before she died that she didn't
know what was the matter with me, I had grown so cross; I only growled
at her. But I knew what was the matter with me. I can't breathe here,
it's all so stuffy and dull--no excitement. You've never caught a seal
in your life? Then you don't know what excitement is. You just try, and
then come and tell me if it isn't the best sport in the world. These
seals--silly things!--make holes in the ice, and come up to breathe now
and then; and these holes are regular traps. Right down below the
ice-cold water lies fathoms deep, still and dark, and we cannot get the
silly things there; but here in the ice is a nice little round hole. I
have been walking with great long silent strides over the beautiful
frosty snow, and I come on one of these, and lie down beside it, hiding
myself. I have to be very still; the slightest movement would send Mr.
Seal far away. When I have waited there hour after hour, perhaps I hear
a faint sound in the water, a little ripple, so faint that anyone not
used to it would never notice it; and then I feel thrills all over me.
By-and-by the silly round head of the seal peers out, all glistening
with the wet. I am lying behind a hummock of snow--we call them hummocks
there--and he looks all round, and finally drags himself up on to the
ice; then with a bound I am on him. But there is only time for one
try--he is as quick as lightning, I can assure you--and if I miss him,
he's into that hole and down, down, down for ever, and there's my supper
gone too. But if I get him, what a juicy feast, what masses of soft
flesh and oily fat, what tearing and rending! Ah, the taste of seal!'

He licked his lips, was silent suddenly; then, with a great growl,
turned away. He had remembered where he was, poor fellow, and that the
joys of seal-hunting would never be his any more!



CHAPTER XXI

THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS--_continued_


We are now not far from the monkey house, where there are great cages
the height of a room, with bars filled in by wire to prevent the monkeys
from getting their little hands through to snatch, for if ever any
saying was justified it is that one, 'as mischievous as a monkey'; yet,
in spite of the bars, mischief is sometimes done. Stand near with a hat
trimmed with flowers, and you will not have to wait long to prove it.
That large monkey who has been sitting in a corner very quietly spies
the brilliant flowers. He begins to move slowly and stealthily; then,
with a sudden wild spring, almost before you realize what has happened,
he has grabbed the bright flowers, torn them out, and danced back to the
very highest corner of his cage, where, jabbering with delight, he picks
the petals off one by one, and lets them float down to the ground. He is
big, so none of the others dare take his prize from him; but woe betide
any little monkey who finds such a treasure. He darts off with it, and
then begins a wild race right across the cage; one monkey after another
joins in, leaping in the air from one swinging rope to another, and
springing up the bars of the cage. The little monkey jumps, catches a
rope, drops to the ground, and springs at another rope. Now he is in a
corner, the others have him; but no, with a dive and a wriggle he has
slipped through them, and is chattering and grimacing on the other side
of the cage.

Feed one of them with nuts, a little wrinkled black hand is put out to
receive them; if you touch it, you will feel it cold and clammy. The
little black palm holds the nuts for a second, and then the monkey crams
them into its cheek, which makes a sort of pouch, and, retiring to the
top of the cage, cracks them one by one, throwing down the shells just
as a boy would do. They are very human the monkeys; you cannot help
feeling all the time they know a great deal more than they pretend. Have
you ever looked into a monkey's eyes? If not, do so the next time you
have the chance; they are the saddest eyes on earth--just as if the poor
little monkey thought a great many things in his small head, but could
never express them, and so was very unhappy. There are a large number
of monkeys at the Zoo; they are never still, and so funny that they make
you laugh outright sometimes. The bigger monkeys, which are called apes,
are also very interesting, but are in another house altogether. They
have glass in front of their cages. Of all of them the chimpanzees are
the most human, and one or two of these are in separate cages, where
they are bathed in artificial sunlight all day long to keep them in good
health, as they are very delicate.

One of the latest additions to the Zoo is a wonderful Aquarium, where
all sorts of strange fishes and sea-creatures can be seen swimming about
in natural surroundings, lit from above. From the huge wicked-looking
octopuses with their snake-like feelers, to the tiny sea-horses with
heads very like those of the knights in chess pieces, there are wonders
untold.

On this side of the Gardens there are many things we have not yet seen,
but we must leave them and see the big animals, the elephants and
rhinoceroses. To reach these, we go through a tunnel and come up on the
other side.

The first thing we see here is a row of most brilliantly coloured
parrots; I do not suppose you ever saw such colours anywhere else--the
brightest reds and blues and greens and oranges, all in the same bird.
It seems almost impossible to believe that the feathers really grow like
that; it seems as if someone must have taken a big paintbrush and daubed
on the colours. If it is warm and fine the parrots are out of doors,
each sitting on a perch, and tied by a little thin chain to one leg.
What must it be to see them in their own native forests flying about
among the green trees? Fancy, if we came across a great bird, as large
as the largest doll, brilliantly coloured, flying about in the garden at
home! The parrots come from South America, New Zealand, and Australia;
so they like hot countries, but they seem to do very well in England,
and look quite perky and happy. I will tell you what I think is the
reason of this, the parrots are so conceited that they are pleased when
people admire them, and they like nothing better than to be at the Zoo,
where dozens of people come past every day and say:

'Oh, just look at that one! Did you ever see such a beauty? Look at his
scarlet and blue! Now, who would have thought a bird could be like
that?'

On dull or cold days the parrots are indoors, and if you go into their
house you will hear a tremendous noise. All of them are shrieking and
screaming at once. Perhaps suddenly in the midst of all this din you
will hear a funny parrot voice saying: 'Thank you, my dear; Polly's
quite well,' which will make you jump. When you turn round you will see
it is one of the birds who is talking. They cannot all talk, and those
who do just know a sentence or two without knowing the sense of it, and
say it on all occasions; but very proud they are of the accomplishment.
There are dear little green parrakeets, too, who fly about in flocks in
Australia, looking like flights of animated green leaves.

Besides parrots there are in the same house toucans, birds who have
enormous bills and rather small bodies--in fact, they seem to have spent
their time growing bills. The bill, or beak, is like the claw of a
lobster, and is rich orange colour. The toucan's eye has bright blue
round it, and round that again orange colour. The bird himself is black,
but he has tips of scarlet on his costume and a white throat, so he is
altogether very grand, and he is so solemn that you think he must
imagine himself very superior.

Just beyond the parrot house is a long range of buildings like a large
stable, and here are the elephants and other big animals. Perhaps the
elephant is out earning his living by walking round the Gardens with a
seat on his back, on which anyone can have a ride who likes. He is very
gentle and tame, though his enormous height and great swinging trunk
make him appear rather fearful.

If he is at home, and we pay him a visit, he coils up his trunk or lifts
it over his head, and shows a huge three-cornered mouth, into which, he
gently insinuates, he would like you to throw biscuits. There are both
Indian and African elephants, and the African are generally the larger.

Elephants as a rule have very good characters, and get fond of their
keepers. They are big and gentle; yet in some cases they have suddenly
turned savage without any apparent reason. In the wild state they live
in dense forests, and unless they were very strong and their hides were
very thick they could never get through the trees and shrubs at all; but
they force them asunder with their great strength, and snap the long
twining plants that hang from tree to tree. Any other animal would be
wounded and torn with the spikes and thorns, but the elephant's hide is
as strong as a board. He does not mind prickles, and the only sensitive
part of him is just behind the ear, so when he is tamed a man sits on
his neck, and with a little sharp-pointed spike pricks him behind the
ear on the side he wants him to go. It does not hurt, but the elephant
feels it and soon understands, and follows the directions as a horse
follows the pull of the reins in driving. Elephants live entirely on
green food and vegetables, and never want to eat flesh. In their forests
they can find plenty of food, and they tear down great branches of rich
trees with their long trunks, and then strip the leaves off neatly and
put them into their mouths. When the elephant is thirsty he goes to a
deep watercourse and drinks, and then, sucking up water in his trunk, he
squirts it over his back and sides in a cooling shower-bath.

If you understood elephant language, and came here one evening when the
day's work was done and there were no other people about, you might hear
the elephants talking.

'Those silly fools of humans!' says the Indian elephant; 'not one of
them can throw straight. I can tell you half my time is spent in picking
up the bits of biscuit they mean to throw into my mouth and throw
somewhere else. I would have a school for teaching them to throw
straight if I were in authority. The bits are so little when you get
them too--mere atoms.'

'Always thinking about eating,' says the African one, who is a lady.
'Really, I wish they would give you more hay or something to stuff
yourself up with. For me, I don't care what I have to eat, but I do long
for a little heat and a good plunge in a real river with soft muddy
banks instead of my wretched tank sometimes.'

'Ah!' the Indian elephant answers, 'is there anything like it, that
plunge after a long, hot, sleepy day, when one has stood about under the
trees? I used to have a particular tree I always went and leaned
against. It just fitted my side, and I wore the trunk quite smooth. And
there I stood all the long, hot day, with sound of the rich forest life
in my ears, the buzz and hum of the myriad things that fly and swarm,
and the dense leaves kept off the sun; it was dark and hot. Then, when
evening came, and it grew a little cooler, we used to join together, all
of us who belonged to the same herd, and go down to the water. Then what
romping and splashing, what trumpeting and fun! We squirted each other
with mud and water, and came out fresh and cool. Ah, those were grand
times!'

'You were a fool to get caught,' said the African one rudely, for she
had not very good manners. 'How did it happen?'

The Indian elephant looked quite sad, and winked his little eyes as if
he thought he should cry. 'It was a terrible story that,' he said, 'and
the lesson is, never depend on women. I met one day a handsome elephant
in the forest, who seemed to me the nicest I had ever seen. She was not
very big, but her ears were particularly large, and hung down so
gracefully; and as for her feet, I don't think I've ever seen such
beautiful great flat feet on an elephant. Well, I loved her, and she
seemed to like me, and we talked together and rubbed trunks, and were
very happy, and I forgot where I was quite; and the next thing was I
found I was shut in between high palisades, and when I tried to get out
the gate was shut. And then men threw ropes over me, and tied my feet to
great poles; and the wicked little elephant ran away grinning, for she
was a decoy. You've heard of them perhaps--elephants who are tamed by
humans, who teach them to be wicked and go out into the forest just in
order to trap their own kind and bring them into captivity? It was sad,
very sad!'

'But you are happy and contented here as a rule,' said the African.

'Yes, yes, I can't grumble; they are very good to me, and I get some
exercise walking about, and as some day I shall grow old, it's as well,
perhaps, to be looked after. It's terrible to be old when one lives in
the forest; besides, I should feel strange to go back to the old life.
I've been here now thirty years.'

'And I twenty. How time does go past!'

All this and much more you might hear if you knew the elephants'
language, for they are quite too clever not to have some means of
talking to each other.

The rhinoceros is very different. His eyes are wicked, he turns his head
from side to side; he would like to stick that horn at the end of his
nose into you if he could, and, holding you down with his great flat
feet, rummage about inside you with it, and you would not live very long
under that treatment. His skin hangs in great thick folds like plates of
armour, and is so loose that it looks as if his tailor had fitted him
very badly. He is much smaller than the elephant, and his thick-set body
shows great strength. He is hideously ugly according to our ideas; but
rhinoceros' ideas are different, and he would probably think the smooth
pink-and-white skin of a child hideous. He lives in the jungle and eats
the leaves of trees, which he tears off with his long upper lip. Some
rhinoceroses have two horns on their nose and some only one. You can
see both sorts in the Gardens. When the rhinoceros in its wild state has
a little calf, as its young one is called, the little one runs along in
front of the mother at the sound of any danger, and the mother follows
in a wallowing trot behind, so that if necessary her body could guard it
from danger. Sometimes hunters shoot rhinoceroses and kill them, and
then eat part of them, which they say is very good, just like beef.

After leaving the elephant and rhinoceros house, we pass some sheds and
yards, with deer and other animals, and then come to another set of
buildings like stables, where there are the hippopotami and giraffes. If
you thought the rhinoceros ugly, what will you think of the
hippopotamus, with his great shovel-like nose and little ears? He looks
like a stupid fat pig, only many, many times larger than the largest pig
that ever lived. There are two of these animals in the Gardens now--a
lady hippo, born at the Zoo, and about thirty years old, and another,
quite a boy yet, only ten or eleven years old, who was born in the
Zoological Gardens at Antwerp. Neither of them have known what it is to
wallow in the soft mud on the sides of rivers or the joy of living wild
and free; they are fat, sleepy, stupid, and contented. There is a tank
in their yard at the back, and they are free to walk out as much as they
please. Sometimes they lie in the water with only their backs out for a
whole afternoon at a time.

The yards of the giraffe are next door, but separated by a high wire
fence, so that even the long neck of the giraffe cannot bend over and
touch the hippos. Of all animals, the giraffe is, perhaps, the most odd,
his neck is so very long, and his markings so rich. He looks as if he
had a stiff neck, he holds his head so high, and seems so grand.
Giraffes are very delicate animals, and great care must be taken of
them. When you think how difficult it must be to bring an animal with a
neck like that over the sea and in a railway train to England, it seems
wonderful that the Zoo ever owns one at all. Giraffes live on the open
plains in Africa, and if they take fright they fly away over the ground
with their long legs, covering yards at each stride. If ever a hunter
gets near enough to one to throw a rope round him, he may think himself
lucky indeed. If a giraffe has been caught like this, the hunters draw
him, kicking and struggling, up to a tree, tie him there, and leave him
to fight and try to get free for a whole day and a night; sometimes he
fights so desperately that he kills himself. However, if he is still
alive in the morning, the hunters come and find him exhausted, and they
can then take him away without so much danger of being killed by a blow
from his great hoof or a swing of his hard head, which he uses to strike
with. Once down at the sea, a special place has to be made in the ship
so that his long neck may not be cramped; and when landed in England
there is a long box-like arrangement fitted on to a compartment of a
train, and this can be bent down flat along the roof of the train when
it passes under a tunnel. Just think of the many difficulties there are
before a giraffe can be transferred from his native plains to England!
If you look at a tall giraffe, with his sad, lovely eyes, you will think
it cruel that he should be brought into captivity; but, after all, when
he is here he is well looked after, and everything is done to make him
comfortable. And if he had not been brought here, thousands of people
would never have seen one of the most curious animals in the world. The
giraffes at the Zoo are continually changing, for though some have been
born here, they do not live long, and new ones have to be brought from
Africa at great cost.

Not far from the giraffe house are the zebras, with their beautiful
black and white stripes, looking like wonderfully marked donkeys. They
are very wild and untameable and of uncertain temper; it is best not to
go too near them. Well, with the zebras we have finished seeing all the
well-known animals of the larger kinds, and so we must say good-bye to
the Zoo, perhaps to come again another day.



CHAPTER XXII

THE BRITISH MUSEUM


The British Museum is a very wonderful place, so wonderful that few
people understand what they see there. They wander along the corridors
looking vaguely at the cases of precious and rare objects on every side;
they are impressed by the size of the place, but they do not come to the
Museum with the idea of looking for anything particular, and they go
away without learning anything. No one man, however clever, could
understand about all the things that he will find there; and as for a
child appreciating even a small part of the treasures there collected,
it is impossible. Supposing a very clever man, who had travelled in many
foreign countries, had begun while he was still young to gather together
all the valuable and curious things he saw to make a little museum, that
would be worth seeing; but probably it would be made up of only certain
things that that particular man liked and understood. Now, the British
Museum is the museum belonging to the nation, and instead of only
certain things being collected, there are curious and valuable things
belonging to every kind of study. For instance, if you were studying the
different nations or wild tribes of the earth, you would find things
belonging to various tribes of people in the Museum; or if you were
interested in rare old books, you would find more of them at the Museum
than anywhere; or if you wanted to find out anything in any branch of
study, you would find clever men at the Museum who would help you.

Sometimes a man who has made a collection of interesting things in his
lifetime leaves it to the Museum at his death, or perhaps the Museum
buys his collection for the nation; and so every year more and more
things are accumulated, until the value of the treasures stored in the
great building is greater than anyone could imagine. I expect when you
have read all this you will say: 'Then do let us go to the Museum. Even
if I don't understand, I'd like to see it.'

So we will go to this solid massive building across the wide space of
gravel in front, where the pigeons wheel round our heads and run about
on the ground almost under our feet, up the wide, shallow steps under
the huge columns into the great entrance-hall. It is all free. The
smallest child and the most important man can walk in there alike
without anyone's asking questions. As we stand in the entrance-hall
there is a wide staircase on one side, and in front of us are swinging
glass doors leading by a passage to a great room called the
reading-room. To go into this room it is necessary to get permission
from the attendants in the hall, who make you sign your name on a piece
of paper. Once inside, the size of the vast room almost takes your
breath away. There is a great dome ceiling, and the walls are lined with
books; there are shelves upon shelves, and thousands and thousands of
them. In the middle of the room is a circular desk, where some men are
sitting; and round this desk, again, there are shelves lined with huge
books, and all these books are filled with nothing but the names of the
other books which are kept at the Museum, and which anyone can see by
taking certain precautions. People are allowed to walk in just to see
the room, by asking in the hall; but if anyone wants to study here he
has to write beforehand for a ticket, then he can go in and look in the
catalogue (that is what the big books full of names are called) for the
book he wants. He writes it on a slip of paper, and puts on the paper
also the number of any seat in the room he has chosen. Then he places
the piece of paper in a basket and goes away and waits, perhaps twenty
minutes, for the books he wants--for he can ask for any number at one
time--and presently a man brings them to him.

From the centre desk there are other long lines of desks like the spokes
of a wheel stretching out from the middle to the sides of the room, and
here numbers of people sit reading all day long. It is very interesting
that so many people should work so hard. Look at one of them. He is an
old clergyman, gray-haired, and with many wrinkles on his face. He is
reading books of sermons so that he can preach next Sunday a sermon made
up out of the books. Next to him is a young girl dressed very plainly.
She has eyeglasses on, and looks severe. She belongs to an office, and
has been sent down here to write out some quotations from a book that
cannot be got anywhere else than at the Museum. She earns her living by
working for the office, and she likes it very much, and would not change
her life with another girl who drives about in a carriage dressed in
fifty-guinea frocks, and pays calls on rich people, even if she could.
Near her there is a dark-skinned man, a negro. What can he want? Perhaps
he is working up to pass an examination. And near him is a worn,
tired-looking old fellow, who has gone to sleep over his books. He was
well-off once and enjoyed his life, and many people were glad to be
invited to his house. But he was foolish and lost all his money, and now
he comes up and asks for a few books just as a pretence, so that he can
sit there in the warmth and comfort for a little while. There are many
authors in the room busy making books, books, still more books, out of
those that have been already written. When will it stop?

A copy of every book that is published has to go to the British Museum.
The publishers are bound by law to send a copy here, and so hundreds of
books pour in continually; there is no end to them. Even in the days of
Solomon it was said: 'Of making many books there is no end, and much
study is a weariness of the flesh.' But the books that were then written
were as nothing to those that have since been written, and every year
brings forth more than the one preceding.

You have noticed that round this vast room the walls are covered with
books looking gloomy and grey. But these are only a tiny part of the
books stored here. If you ask the attendant in charge he will take you
behind those walls, where you will think you have stepped straight into
a dream-world, for there are passages and passages all lined with books.
You might lose yourself, and wander on and on between streets of books
higher than your head for many and many an hour. But the storage of
books is not the only difficulty the librarian has. He has to keep
copies of all the principal newspapers, too. Now, a newspaper in itself
is a little thing, small and thin; but when you think of newspapers by
the hundred, newspapers by the thousand, going on growing and
accumulating, then you can understand how difficult it must be to find
room for them all.

Well, we can leave the book-room and go to other parts of the Museum. We
can wander down corridors filled with beautiful statues or with mighty,
enormous figures, far bigger than you can conceive until you have seen
them--figures whose fist is bigger than your whole body, whose fingers
are about the size of you, made by the ancient Egyptians, the wonderful
people who held the Israelites in captivity--great frowning, mighty
figures brought here from across the sea. Or you can go down other
corridors lined with many things from savage lands--curious ornaments
and boats, and rough skin clothes; or you can see, too, the most
interesting part of all, where there are mummies.

In the days long ago, when the land of Egypt was very great and
powerful, while England was a lonely little island inhabited by savage
men, who knew of nothing beyond their own shores, the Egyptians used to
spend much time and money on preserving the bodies of their dead, for
they thought that if a man's body were allowed to decay he could never
live again in the other world; so when anyone died the body was cut open
and filled with rich spices and wrapped in many bandages all steeped in
certain ointments. And these things really did preserve the bodies from
decay, so that now, two or three thousand years after, we, the English,
who have learned to travel and understand many things, go to the land of
Egypt, now not great and mighty any more, and pull out the dead bodies
of their kings and queens, who lived and loved and reigned when our
ancestors were savages, and we bring them back to England and put them
in glass cases for everyone to see. There they lie, these people who
thought so differently from us, who never knew anything about us, who
were rich and powerful, and now are of no consequence. It seems strange,
doesn't it? Some are still in the painted wooden cases, into which they
fit as into coffins; others have been taken out, and are shown with all
the red-brown bandages wound round and round their limbs, and in some
cases part of these bandages have been undone and the foot or the leg of
a mummied man or woman is visible.

There is not much else here that can be explained in writing, though
many things that you would care to see.

At South Kensington there are many large fine buildings, and the finest
of them all is the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was opened by King
Edward in 1909. It contains all sorts of wonderful and beautiful art
work.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM


The Natural History Museum at South Kensington is a large building, and
it is newer than the British Museum and not so gloomy. It is built of
different sorts of yellow brick, and has tall towers, and stands among
well-kept green lawns. When you go into the hall you see long galleries
stretching out on each side. In one there are most beautifully stuffed
birds of every sort you could name, and a great many you could not name.
All of these are set up in glass cases, with the flowers and grass or
bushes round that the birds choose to make their nests in when they are
alive. We can see here all the different ways that birds take to hide
their nests and young ones. Poor birds! they have so many enemies--the
weasel, who sucks their eggs; the cat, who loves to eat their young
ones; the birds larger than themselves, who prey upon them; and last,
but not least, the cruel boys who destroy the nests 'for fun,' and a
poor sort of fun it is.

There are two ways birds hide their nests: one by really hiding
them--that is to say, building them under a deep bank or in the thickest
part of a tree--and the other by making them so like their surroundings
that it is difficult to see them at all. You all know instances of the
first way; the second is not so common. But perhaps the commonest is the
plover, who just brings together a few straws on the mud of a field and
lays her eggs there without any protection; yet the eggs are so like the
mud-coloured surroundings that you might hunt for a long time, and even
walk over them without seeing them.

Down the middle of the room at the Museum are the more common British
birds, and we will look at one or two. But it is quite impossible to
talk about all of them, or we should still be talking when the keeper of
the Museum came to turn everyone out and shut up the building for the
night.

Look first at this pretty clump of grass, with a bramble trailing over
it and a bunch of primroses growing near. You would hardly have found
the nest, so well hidden, unless you had known it must be there. It is a
robin's, and the mother is bringing a caterpillar for her little
family. Which of the three gaping yellow mouths will get the delicious
morsel? Quite near is a wren's nest in some ivy, and so neatly is the
nest made of moss woven together that there is only one tiny little hole
left for the heads of the little wrens to peep out. The perky little
father, with his tail cocked up, stands near. He is very shy and
jealous, and so is his mate; if you put just the tip of your finger on
the edge of a wren's nest the birds would desert at once, leaving the
wretched young ones to starve. The little brown bird in the next case is
the nightingale, who sings so sweetly; he is not much to look at, yet he
has a picturesque home, with meadow-sweet and wild roses growing over
it.

It is odd how many birds build on or near the ground, which you would
think was dangerous. The robin is particularly fond of this; it chooses
an overhanging bank if it can find one, and though the nest is well
hidden, there is nearly always a cat prowling near to seize the young
ones just when their first feathers are growing, so it seems wonderful
that robins ever escape at all. On the left side is the wood-wren, with
a nest just like a handful of hay flung down among some dead leaves.
Near here, too, are the house-martins, and further on the swallows and
other birds, who build under the projecting eaves of houses; of all the
nests, these look the most safe and cosy. The house-martin is a really
clever builder; he takes little mouthfuls of clay in his beak and sticks
them one by one under the deep overhanging tiles or slates of a house or
barn, and gradually forms a complete nest like a ball of clay, which
dries hard, and is stuck against the wall, with only one opening like a
lip at the top. The nest does not look comfortable, but it is, for
inside it is lined with the softest white feathers, whereon are laid the
pearly-white eggs. The sand-martin, the house-martin's cousin, prefers
the side of a cliff. He digs into a cliff or sandbank a long tunnel
quite as long as your arm, and just big enough for him to pop in and out
with comfort. At the very far end of this in the warm darkness he puts
bits of straw and feathers to make a bed, and here the young are
hatched. Until they grow older they never go down that long mysterious
tunnel where mother and father run in and out, but only see in the
distance the white gleam of a round hole. What a wonderful world it must
seem to the young bird when he first steps out! He is very timid, and as
he gets near the opening he hears the beating of the waves on the shore
perhaps, and then the great wide ocean opens before him and the
illimitable sky. What a big world! He must turn almost giddy with fright
and amazement.

Some birds choose furze-bushes to build in, which must be prickly and
uncomfortable, but are thick. Here there is a woodpecker family. The
woodpecker is a fairly big bird, and he has a beautiful crimson streak
on his head; with his strong bill he carves out a deep hole in a tree,
right into the trunk--it is wonderful that the bird should have the
strength and patience to cut into the solid wood--and when he has made a
deep hole, he begins to make it bend down, and in the dip he makes his
nest. The young woodpeckers are therefore shut in very tightly and
safely. The parent birds run up and down the trees seeking for insects,
on which they live. To see them run straight up a tree as a cat would do
is very curious; but they are shy birds, and not often seen.

Other birds, like the reed-warbler, build in reeds; this seems a very
safe plan. Here you see several tall green reeds growing out of the
water, and about a foot above the water the bird has made a clever nest,
twisting bits of roots and grass together, and lacing them in with the
reeds, which are strong enough to hold such a dainty thing. So the
little nest swings and sways with the wind over the water, and the
reed-warbler is safe from cats, at all events; but one imagines the
young birds must sometimes tumble out and get drowned before they can
fly.

A very odd bird is quite near this, and that is the butcher bird. He
really is a butcher--that is to say, he kills tiny animals and even
other little birds, and keeps them in a larder for use. For this purpose
he chooses a bush with thorns, perhaps a hawthorn, and then when he
catches any small creature he sticks it on the thorns and leaves it
there spiked until it is wanted. Look at this one's larder. He has a
wretched little dead sparrow hanging by its neck from a big thorn, and
two or three bumble-bees spiked too. We can imagine the mamma saying to
the little ones: 'No, dears, you mustn't have any sparrow to-night just
before you go to bed; it would give you indigestion and make you dream.
Papa will have some of that for his supper, but if you'll be good
children I'll give you each a bit of bumble-bee.' The mother bird is
talking to a young one who has got out of its nest. They are fat, strong
little birds, as they should be with such food.

After this we come to bigger birds--ducks and puffins. Puffins have
beaks like poll parrots, and are about the size of a rook; they have
neat white shirt-fronts, and their beaks are red and yellow and blue,
but they have silly faces, as if they thought of nothing but their own
fine clothes. They live near water on cliffs, and sometimes use an old
rabbit burrow for a nest, in which they lay one pure white egg, and one
only. When the young one is hatched the parent birds feed it on tiny
fish and minnows. You can see here the puffin bringing up a minnow in
his beak for supper.

Beyond are great grey and white gulls, with their keen beaks and strong
legs. They are pirates, the gulls, and will eat other birds' eggs if
they can get them; they are wild and fierce. Another sea-bird, very
different in appearance, is the little stormy petrel. Very small and
graceful; he is a thin little bird, with a dark-brown coat, but at heart
as wild as the proud gulls. He is never happy except when dancing over
the cold grey waves and feeling the dash of the spray. The petrel is at
sea all day, and scorns the quiet land and delights of home. The howl of
the storm, the clash of the water is music to it, and it would pine and
die in a cage on land. When it wants to lay an egg, it makes a nest not
far from its beloved sea, and lays there one egg; but even when the
young one is hatched the mother cannot give up her wandering life. She
is a wanderer by nature, and she only comes back at nights to see that
the little one has food; then away to the wild tossing grey water again.

The next set of birds are the owls, and very wicked and ferocious some
of them look. There is the long-eared owl, with his bent-in, short,
hooked nose and funny feathered ears standing straight up. The little
owls are balls of soft fluff, and are eagerly looking at the dead mouse
that father owl has brought for them to eat. They have a very rough
nest, merely a platform of pine-twigs thrown together in the fork of a
fir-tree; but they are hardy little birds, and do not mind that at all.
Close by is a monster owl, called the great eagle owl. He has bright
yellow eyes, with very large pupils as black as jet; his tail is spread
like a turkey-cock's, and altogether he looks very terrifying. You would
not like to meet him alone if you had made him angry, for he is as large
as a fair-sized dog, and his ugly claws and savage beak would make short
work of your soft face and bright eyes. Luckily, you are not likely to
meet him, for he doesn't live in England.

It is worth while to cross over here to the other side of the gallery
and see the great bustard, with his wonderful curving white feathers. He
is about the size of a small turkey, whose cousin he is, and his plumes
are like those on a field-marshal's helmet. Near here are two curious
sorts of nests--one the Norfolk plover, or, as he is called, thick-knee;
the eggs are just laid on the sand, and are so much the same colours as
the speckled stones around that you have to look hard to find them, and
at a little distance they seem to vanish altogether. The funny little
wee birds, too, are just like rough sand, and have two black lines down
their backs; crouching down without moving, they would be well hidden.
The common tern lays its eggs amongst rough stones, where you would
think that anything so fragile as an egg would easily get broken. Near
his case there is a beautiful pure white gull, who lives in the Arctic
regions among the ice and snow. It is a wonderful law of Nature that
birds and animals often resemble their surroundings. We have seen that
the tiger is not easily seen among his bamboo-stems, and that birds the
colour of sand live on sand; well in the Arctic regions, where there is
perpetual ice and snow, nearly all the creatures are pure white, from
the great Polar bear down to the rabbits and gulls. This is explained by
the fact that if an animal is not white he shows up against the ground,
and then his enemies, other animals waiting to prey upon him, see him,
and catch him and eat him; so the white ones escape, and as children
take after their parents they are white, too. And if one of the children
happens to be darker he is quickly eaten, and his whiter brothers and
sisters escape. This white gull has made a nest that looks like nothing
but a muff of moss lying on very rough and sharp stones; there is not
much reason why the little ones should want to climb out, at all events,
while their feet are tender. Some enormous eagles attract attention: one
with strong beak and claws. A condor near is one of the largest birds in
the world. His native place is in South America, and at first when
travellers brought accounts of this gigantic bird they were not
believed; but at last someone managed to shoot one and brought it to
England, so then he had to be believed. The one here in the Museum has
spread his wings, and the length from end to end is larger than the
tallest man. The hideous vultures near have scraggy necks, with a ruff
round them. The vultures never kill animals for their own food, but live
on the refuse that is left by other animals or men. The eagle is like
the lion among the animals, and the vulture is like the jackal, who runs
about picking up all the nasty bits no one else will have. In the cases
beyond there are graceful swans and chubby ducks and flamingoes, birds
whose long pink legs make them look as if they stood on painted stilts,
and who have beautiful rose-coloured edges to their white wings. At the
very end of the gallery there are two huge cases as big as the side of
an ordinary room, and it is well to sit down here and look at them, for
both are full of interest. In part of one the space is taken up with a
great cliff, in which is the home of the golden eagle, wildest and most
untameable of all eagles. He lives far up on lonely mountain heights,
where the air is cold and pure. His great wings sail over vast dark
chasms, where men have sometimes lost their lives. His eye sees an
extraordinary distance, and his flight is very swift. He chooses for his
home a cave or natural hole on the face of a high cliff; this is called
the eyrie, and here he gathers together sticks, and odds and ends to
make a kind of bedding for his young. When the little eaglets are young
they are just like balls of white cotton-wool, with streaks of black
here and there, all fluff and down, like those you see here. The mother
and father birds go sailing high up in the sky, and suddenly they
descend with a swift dive and pounce on some tiny lamb who has strayed
from his mother's side, and perhaps fallen over the edge of a cliff and
cannot get back again. He has been bleating loudly to call his mother to
him, for he is too little to know he may attract enemies as well as
friends; and his cries have been heard by the eagle, who comes down like
an avalanche, and, seizing him firmly in its great talons, carries him
away higher and higher to the nest in the cliff. Then there is a whirr
and swoop, and the mother or father eagle, whichever it is, alights on
the rough platform in the cliff and lays the still warm and only
half-dead woolly lamb before the young ones. There is not much chance
for it then, but let us hope it has been stunned and made unconscious
long before this by its swift whirling voyage through the air. Eagles
catch rabbits, too, and anything they can find. In one nest there were
found the remains of nine grouse, four hares, part of a lamb, and many
other things. Here in the eagles' nest in the gallery you can see a
half-eaten rabbit's leg hanging out over the edge, and other nasty
remains.

Crossing over to the big case on the other side, we see another cliff,
bare and gray, and covered with white birds--geese and gulls of many
different sorts. This is a copy of a bit of a famous rock off the coast
of Scotland called the Bass Rock, which rises out of the sea like an
enormous stone many hundreds of feet high. At the times of the year when
birds make their nests it is white with wild sea-birds, and the nests
are laid along the crevices and shelves of the bare rock, so near
together that the birds can easily touch one another while they are
sitting on them. If anyone fired a gun near the rock there would be a
sudden flight up into the air of hundreds of birds all at once, like a
gigantic cloud, flying, whirling, screaming, mixed up together, rising
higher and higher in great circles till you would feel stunned and
deafened and almost frightened, as if a piece of the sky had suddenly
taken shape and broken up over your head. These wild birds know they are
safe on the Bass Rock, and they take no care to protect their nests; no
one could climb up those sheer precipices and steal the eggs. The birds
sit there safely, looking down upon such heights as would make you
giddy even to see; and in front the blue sea stretches for miles. It is
a wild, free life.

Going back down the room, there may be time to notice the cases on the
sides of the partitions full of stuffed birds, many very beautiful, but
not so interesting as those that are shown with their nests and young
ones. Quite near the door is a case with some large birds as tall as a
child of seven in it. They are cassowaries, with drooping dark-brown
feathers that look rather out of curl, and necks of crimson and blue.
Further on there is a family of ostriches, the great father bird very
grand and with a black coat, and magnificent white tail-feathers--those
feathers that ladies buy for their hats, and for which they give so much
money. Ostriches are kept on farms in South Africa, and their
tail-feathers are pulled out at certain seasons of the year; and then
they grow, again and are soon ready to be pulled out again, and people
make much money this way. I do not know how much pain this gives the
ostrich, but it cannot be pleasant; and perhaps he wishes sometimes he
was not quite so grand, but was dressed in a plain dull-brown suit
trimmed with dirty white like his humble wife. The ostrich is very
savage, and can never be depended on; he may turn upon the keeper who
has fed him and cared for him for years, and, seizing him, kick him with
his great feet until he is stunned, or dance upon him for no reason at
all. He does not look safe; his narrow flat head and cruel eyes would
make you think he was a tyrant. The little ones running about at his
feet look so ridiculously small in comparison that you would hardly
think they could be his children; but in time they, too, will grow big
like papa and have splendid tails, and lord it over their poor wives.

On the other side of the room are birds of paradise, who have also
beautiful tails, but in quite a different style from the ostrich. They
are smallish birds, but their long tails, reddish or yellowish in
colour, fall like cascades or fountains of water on both sides. Ladies
also wear these in their hats sometimes when they want to be very grand.
Near them is one of the birds with the queerest habits of any bird. It
builds a little bower or grotto, and decorates it with shells and
whatever else it can pick up--it really seems to like to make it pretty;
and then it runs about in and out of its bower for amusement. So it is
called the bower bird. These birds live in Australia, and their bowers
are made of bits of strong grass or thin stick woven over to make a
sort of tunnel through which the bird can run. But the funniest thing is
that they like to put bright things, such as shells or pretty stones
about for decoration.

We must now leave the birds, which have taught us so much, and go on to
other galleries. Just across the great hall is a long gallery entirely
filled with the bones and skeletons of animals which are now no longer
found on earth. This does not sound attractive, but it is, almost more
so than the birds we have just left, though, of course, we shall not
find anything pretty here.

Have you ever heard that there was a time when huge animals, larger than
the largest elephant, lived and walked about on earth, not only in hot
countries, but in England, too? If man lived at all in those days he
must have been a poor, frightened, trembling little creature going in
peril of his life from all the monsters who were around him. In England
the river Thames was surrounded by a thick jungle, with mighty trees and
creeping plants, like the jungles in India; and the climate was hot and
steamy like the inside of a greenhouse. Here lived enormous elephants
called mammoths. As we enter the gallery we see one in front of us, a
monstrous creature, who makes the ordinary elephant put behind him to
compare with him seem small. But larger still is the head of another
behind that again. Can you even imagine a beast that could carry tusks
about twelve feet long? That is to say, if two of the tallest men were
laid end to end they would be as long as that elephant's tusks, and the
thickness of the tusks was as great as a man's thigh. Think of all this
weight! And it was resting on the head and neck of the elephant! His
strength must have been like the strength of an engine. You would have
been less to him than a mouse is to us. It is not only guessing that
makes us say these animals lived in England, for here are the real
skulls and skeletons actually found buried in the earth. Further on is
what is called a sea-cow, a great fat beast weighing an enormous amount,
which floated in the sea. And at the end of the room is one of the
strangest of animals. Picture a creature as high as the room, standing
up on its hind legs like a kangaroo, and having very strong fore-arms,
with which it clutches a small tree. This is the skeleton we see now. It
could have packed you away inside it and never known you were there;
but, luckily for the children who lived on earth when it did (if there
were any), it did not eat flesh, but only the leaves of trees and other
vegetable things. It was called the giant ground sloth, and, as you may
judge from this name, was not very quick in its movements. It was not
found in England, but in South America, and there are now no more like
it in existence; and if we had not got its skeleton we should never have
known it had lived at all. There were many other curious creatures on
earth then--some that lived in the water and had long necks like snakes,
and fat bodies, and others like enormous lizards. There was also a big
bird, bigger even than the ostrich, this you can see in a case near the
sloth. Then in the centre of the room is the tall skeleton of a very,
very big stag, which is to other stags as a giant would be to you. He is
the Irish elk, and his skeleton was found in the peat bogs of Ireland;
he must have been a magnificent creature to look at when alive, with his
proud, free head and branching horns.

Passing through the hall, we see three or four cases showing examples of
the different colours of animals--the white ones among the snow, and the
yellow ones on the sand, the protective colouring of which we spoke
before; and on the staircase sits a statue of Darwin, the wonderful man
who found out this about animals, and also many other wonderful things,
and made us see animal life in altogether a new way. When you are a
little older you will find many things of great interest in Darwin's
books. Upstairs on one side is a gallery full of humming-birds, tiny
birds some of them, no bigger than butterflies, and as brilliant as
jewels, red and blue and green and yellow. It must be wonderful to see
them flashing about in their native land and hovering over the gorgeous
flowers; but here, so many together in one case, they lose half their
beauty, and they lack the sunshine to bring out their lovely colours.
There is also a gallery full of pressed flowers, and here you can learn
anything about flowers, leaves, and seeds; and on the other side there
is one full of stuffed animals. Now, we have seen the living animals at
the Zoo, and we do not care to see the dead ones here so much, though we
can just glance around it. But there is one animal you must see, because
there is no living animal like it in the Zoo.

This is a new animal called the okapi, only discovered during the last
fifty years in the dense forests of Africa, and its skin was stuffed and
set up and is now here. One would have thought that all the animals now
living would have been known long ago, and it seems almost ridiculous
to speak of a 'new' animal; but this one was new to us. He is very much
like a mixture of several other animals. He is about the size of a large
antelope, and he has a long upper lip like a giraffe, and a meek,
patient face. His back slopes down like a giraffe's, too, and his body
is a reddish colour like that of a cow; but his hind-legs are striped
like a zebra. Now, what do you think of that for a new animal? You or I
might have invented something more original. It is just as if he had
been round to the other animals, and said: 'Please, I want to live. Will
you give me something?' And the antelope had said: 'Well, you may be
rather like me in size, but don't make yourself a shape that anyone
could mistake for me.' So the poor, meek okapi had made himself the
colour and size of the antelope, but had taken the sloping back of a
giraffe; and then he had gone to the antelope, and said: 'Will this do?'
And the antelope had not been altogether pleased, and he had said:
'Humph! I'm not sure if it will; you've taken my colour, too. Some fool
might think you were me at a distance.' So the meek okapi had added a
few stripes on his legs, like a zebra, just to make him less like the
scornful antelope.

He lives in dense forests, and eats grass as a cow does, and is very
shy; and the only people who have seen him alive are the natives, who
told an Englishman about him, and then managed to shoot one, and bring
its skin to sell to the Englishman. But now that he is known of, it will
probably not be long before a live one is captured. He is so gentle that
they might make him into what is called a domestic animal, like the cow;
if he once understood that men were his friends and did not want to hurt
him, then his shyness might vanish, and his gentleness would make him
safe and easy to deal with.

In this gallery we see all the animals of the Zoo, stuffed and peaceful.
The tiger no longer prowls round and round his cage when the dinner-hour
draws near, he will never be hungry again; the lion no longer is angry
when the crowd stare, he cannot see them; the patient elephant has given
up for ever carrying children on his back, and the hippo has ceased to
wallow in the waters of his beloved bath. Even the silver-white polar
bear does not mind the heat, and pines no longer for his ice and snow.
All are at rest, at rest!



CHAPTER XXIV

WESTMINSTER ABBEY, ST. PAUL'S, AND THE CENOTAPH


There are two great cathedrals in London called Westminster Abbey and
St. Paul's. Westminster is much the older of the two, for, as you have
heard, St. Paul's was burnt down in the Great Fire and entirely rebuilt
then, so that it is not yet two hundred and fifty years old, but
Westminster is much more ancient. Long years ago, before the Saxons
invaded England, there was some sort of church at this place built by
monks. In those days there were not all the bridges there are now over
the river, but only one, London Bridge, and as there was a ford or
shallow place in the water near Westminster, many people who were
travelling and wanted to cross the river came down here, where they
could wade across without fear.

In very early times Westminster was an island called the Isle of
Thorney, from the brambles that grew over it. The island lay very low,
so that when the tide swept up the river it stood but little above the
water; and even after many years, when the ditch running round the
island was dried up, yet still the land was marshy. It was an odd place
to choose for the building of a church. Then, as you have read in
history, came the invasion of the Saxons, and the monks had to fly and
leave their church, for the Saxons were not Christians, and they came to
harry and ravage and burn; but after a long time, when the Saxons had
made themselves lords of London and settled down, the Saxon king himself
became a Christian, and so he rebuilt the church by the river. There is
an old legend told about Westminster which, whether you believe it or
not, is pretty. It is said that on the eve of the day when the new
church was to be consecrated and dedicated to St. Peter, one Edric, a
fisherman, who lived close by, was awakened in the night by a voice
calling him. He thought the voice came out of the darkness on the other
side of the river, and as he often had to bring people across in his
boat, he went to find the person who called. On landing he found a very
venerable-looking man, who carried some vessels that looked like holy
vessels used in church. Edric wondered, but said nothing, and rowed him
across, and when they reached the church the stranger entered, and all
at once the church was lit up by a radiant light, and a thousand lovely
voices were heard singing like angels. Then when they ceased the light
disappeared as suddenly as it had come, and the stranger turned and
said: 'I am St. Peter, and I have hallowed the church myself. I charge
thee to tell the bishop, and for a sign put forth upon the river and
cast in thy nets, and thou shalt receive a miraculous draught of
fishes.'

So the fisherman did as he was told, and he found that the fishes
enclosed in his net were so many that he could scarcely raise them from
the water.

The same fate befell the Saxon church that had befallen the British one,
for the Danes came down on England to plunder and to harry the Saxons,
as the Saxons had harried the Britons, and they destroyed the church.
After a hundred years the Danes, too, became Christians, and then the
church was built once more. King Edward the Confessor caused a great
part of this new church to be built, and since his time the magnificent
Abbey that now stands has grown up bit by bit around his church, being
added to and enriched by many kings.

Since the very earliest times it has been used as the burial-place of
kings and great men. It would be quite impossible to tell the names of
all those who lie here--poets, soldiers, artists, statesmen, and
authors--their graves are thick beneath the stones of the Abbey. It is
the greatest honour that the nation can offer any man to give him burial
in Westminster Abbey. In one corner there are many poets buried, and
this is called the Poets' Corner. Another is peculiarly dedicated to the
men who have ruled England as Prime Ministers or who have held office
under the King. Near to the east end are many kings and queens and
princes and princesses buried. But of all these there is one that stands
out by itself without any like it. This is the grave of the 'Unknown
Warrior,' a soldier who fell in the Great War, without any record of his
name or regiment. His body was brought here to be buried with all honour
so that he might represent the thousands who died for Britain.

The coronation chair is in the Abbey, the chair which encloses the stone
brought from Scone in Scotland. Do you know that story? When Edward I.
made raids into Scotland to try to conquer the country which then had a
king of its own, he brought away with him the sacred stone on which all
the Scottish kings had been crowned up to that time, and he had it
enclosed in a chair, and all the English kings since then have used it
as their coronation chair. But now England and Scotland are one, and it
was a Scottish and not an English king who first joined the two
kingdoms. James, who was James VI. of Scotland, was, on the death of
Queen Elizabeth, the heir to the throne of England through his mother,
and England had not had a King James before; and so he was James I. of
England and VI. of Scotland, and the two kingdoms were made one under
the name of Great Britain.

The last coronation was that of King George V., who was crowned on June
22, 1911. All the streets of London had been made brilliant with flowers
and lights until they were like those of a fairy town. Thousands and
thousands of pounds had been spent, and people had given large sums for
seats to see the procession going to the Abbey and coming away again.
Great stands were erected at every open space and outside many of the
houses on the route of the procession. Even standing room in a window
was eagerly sought for, and very many people who had left their
arrangements to the last minute could not find places at all.

When I learned history at school Queen Victoria was still on the
throne, and she had reigned so long a time that people had to be a great
age to remember history books which ended at the reign of her uncle
William IV. The two reigns before her were short ones and so was that of
her son, Edward VII., who came after her. He reigned only nine years and
died at the age of sixty-eight; by far the greater part of his long life
had been spent preparing, as Prince of Wales, for the throne he filled
so short a time. He was well over middle age before he became king.

King Edward's eldest son, Prince Albert Victor, had died before him
after he had grown to manhood. He had never been strong. So the only
remaining son became our King, George V. Long before this, after the
death of his brother, he had married a distant cousin, 'Princess May,'
now our beloved Queen Mary; and, before their grandfather's death in
1910, all the royal children at present living had been born. Prince
Edward was seventeen when he was made Prince of Wales in 1911.

So they all took part in the coronation of their parents. A very gallant
figure was the fair young Prince of Wales in his magnificent dress. But
he was not then known to the Empire as he is now when he has travelled
thousands of miles to visit his father's dominions in the uttermost
parts of the earth.

Coronations do not happen very frequently and for this one people came
from immense distances and from many foreign countries.

When did the people begin gathering up in the streets to see the King on
his way to be crowned? No one can certainly tell, but it was before the
daylight dawned on June 22, 1911. In the darkness of the night the
police marched to their positions in hundreds, and the soldiers who were
to line the route that the King and Queen would traverse made their
appearance. But even before the soldiers and the policemen took up their
stations came shadowy forms, who crept up to good places in the glimmer
of the street-lamps as they blew in the night wind. These were people
who were so anxious to see the procession that they would gladly wait
all night in the streets, so as to get a good view on the day itself.
They gathered and gathered, and when the first rays of morning dawned
every inch of pavement which commanded a front view was full already,
and those who came after six o'clock could hardly find standing room.
Unfortunately, the day was not brilliantly fine as the first one had
been, but dull and cloudy. Hours went by before carriages containing
the princes and princesses began to pass toward the great Abbey where
the ceremony was to be, and though the people cheered a little at the
sight of them they were not very enthusiastic, for they were waiting
breathlessly to see the King and Queen, and princes and princesses did
not seem very important on this great day.

Just before eleven o'clock the splendid state coach drawn by eight
cream-coloured horses came round from the stables to the front of
Buckingham Palace, and then the people waiting near grew more intensely
excited. The coach was just such as you might expect. It was all gold
and glass, and swung upon high springs so lightly that as it stopped the
body of the coach swayed about, and had to be steadied by the footmen.
The cream-coloured horses wore harness of crimson and gold, and they
tossed their heads and pawed the ground, as if they knew quite well what
was expected of them and how important they were. Then the King and
Queen took their seats, and as they were seen there was a great outburst
of shouting, taken up and echoed again and again; it was a royal salute,
and the volley of cheering rolled along the crowd from one to another,
on and on, announcing to those who waited farther off that King George
was really on his way to be crowned King of the greatest kingdom in the
world. The King and Queen were in royal robes, and they both bowed and
smiled, and the Queen's fair hair shone out like gold. As Princess she
had been popular but as Queen and a model mother to her children, the
darlings of the nation, she was to win a special position in the hearts
of the people. The Royal couple did not wear their crowns on the way to
the Abbey, but they would return in them after the ceremony.

As it went along under the trees in the park, the royal procession
passed close by some large stands built near St. James's Palace, these
were filled with children from the Foundling Hospital, the homes for
soldiers' sons and daughters and sailors' sons and daughters, of which
you have read in another chapter.

One of the most pathetic figures at the coronation was that of the
widowed Queen-Mother, Alexandra, who had come as a beautiful young girl
nearly forty years before from over the sea to marry King Edward.

[Illustration: THE CORONATION CHAIR, WESTMINSTER ABBEY.]

The royal coach was followed by an escort of soldiers, and all the way
to the Abbey that loud roar of cheering was kept up. It must have
been very delightful for the King and Queen to think how warmly all
their people loved them, and how glad they were to see them crowned.

Meantime, at the Abbey itself everything had been got ready for the
ceremony. It is the custom at a coronation that all the peers and
peeresses should be present, and that they should all dress alike in
rich robes of crimson velvet and white ermine, and each peer and peeress
has a little coronet which he or she does not put on at first, but keeps
on a cushion until the King puts on his crown. Then all the little
coronets are put on at the same instant. Now, the arrangements for the
coronation were very difficult to make, for all the peers and peeresses
had to have seats in the Abbey given to them, and there were so many
that it was difficult for them all to get in. Quite early that morning,
at seven o'clock, the Abbey doors had been opened, and the dukes,
marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons, with their wives, had rolled
up in their carriages, and alighted and gone inside there to wait. I
expect a good many of them had never been up so early in their lives,
and had never waited patiently for so long before. Some of them did not
come in carriages, but as it was fine walked across from their houses,
which were only a short way off, and what a sight they made! Nowadays to
see a man dressed in crimson velvet and white ermine, with white silk
stockings, and with a page carrying a coronet on a cushion by his side,
and another page holding up his long train, is not very usual. The
people watching must have enjoyed all this unusual grandeur, and felt as
if they were living in a page of English history.

Then the royal carriages, with the scarlet-clad coachmen and footmen,
began to sweep up, and the great festival had begun. The guns boomed
out, telling that the King and Queen had left Buckingham Palace, and not
very long after they arrived at the hall which had been built at one end
of the Abbey, and there the Duke of Norfolk, bareheaded, waited to
receive their Majesties. The Queen, being nearest to him, stepped out
first, and she was clothed in cloth-of-gold, which shone and glittered
even on that dull day. The King followed her, looking up with pleased
surprise at the beautiful reception-hall that was prepared for him, and
they entered the Abbey hall to make ready for the procession in the
Abbey itself.

Already we have spoken so much of the grandeur of the spectacle that it
is difficult to say more; perhaps no one who did not see it can ever
realize quite what it was like. The peers and peeresses took their
places in the Abbey, and then the procession which was to walk up the
aisle was formed. First came princes and princesses, with distinguished
persons bearing their trains; then guests, invited by the King, and many
high officials and nobles, with coronets carried after them by pages;
and then the clergy, who were the King's own chaplains. After that came
the Queen, with all her attendants and ladies and many more nobles, and
the jewels of the coronation called the Regalia; and then the King, with
bishops before and on either side. He was attended by eight royal pages,
boys of about twelve to fourteen years, who were dressed alike in
scarlet coats, with bunches of white ribbon on their shoulders. Most of
these boys were peers in their own right, their fathers having died, and
the titles having descended to them. They were followed by more nobles
and more of the Court officials, and so the grand procession swept up
the Abbey aisle to the east end to begin the service.

The boys of Westminster School, which adjoins the Abbey, have the
privilege of shouting out 'Vivat Rex!' at the coronation of their
Sovereign--this means 'Let the King live'--and right heartily did the
hundreds of young voices greet their King and Queen in this quaint way,
shouting, 'Vivat, Vivat, Vivat Rex Georgius!' as the King was seen
advancing up the aisle. The organ rang out, trumpets sounded, and a
glorious mass of sound ascended to the roof and died away in echoes in
the gray arches that have seen so many kings crowned and buried.

We have heard that the first English Edward, the Confessor, began to
build the present Abbey, and that the last Edward, seventh of that name,
was crowned King in that place. It was an Edward, too, called the First
of England, who had brought here the coronation stone. On the chair
which enclosed this stone sat the King. Among other notable people
present that day were the Duke of Connaught, the late King's only living
brother, and the Princess Royal, King George's eldest sister, with her
two daughters. Also his other sisters the Queen of Denmark and Princess
Victoria.

Among the reigning monarchs of other countries, who were guests, was the
ex-Kaiser, of Germany, now living in exile. His mother was King Edward's
sister. It is fortunate for her that she died before she saw all the
misery and slaughter caused by her son in the Great War. There were
perhaps some present even then who knew the Kaiser's evil dreams of
world-power, and his wicked ambition, and feared what it might cause.

After prayer the King turned to face the representatives of his people,
and the Archbishop presented him, and everyone shouted together, 'God
save King George!' There were many more prayers and beautiful singing by
the rich voices of well-trained choir-boys; and then came the anointing,
during which the Archbishop touched the King with oil in the form of a
cross on head, breast, and hands. After many other ceremonies, in the
course of which the King received the sceptre and the orb, made of gold
and mounted with precious stones, symbols of his authority, the crown
was brought forward, the magnificent crown, covered with rubies,
sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds, and the Archbishop held it above the
King's head, and a great hush fell on all that vast congregation. Slowly
it was lowered, it touched the King's forehead, and the trumpets
sounded, and all the nobles raised their coronets, and, putting them on
their heads, shouted: 'God save the King!'

Then, after many prayers, and the blessing, the nobles headed by the
Archbishop, came to do homage to the newly-crowned King. The Archbishop
knelt down and vowed to be faithful, and, rising, kissed the King's
cheek, and then slowly made way for the Prince of Wales, who in his turn
knelt and promised fidelity to his father, and kissed him on the cheek.
Then all the nobles did the same in order of their importance and rank.
There are very precise rules about all this. Those who bear title of the
same rank take precedence of one another according to the ancientness of
the title they bear. But the whole question of title is a puzzling one
and we cannot go into it here.

After this came the crowning of the Queen. A great pall of gold was
supported at four corners by four duchesses, who held it up while the
Queen knelt before the King to swear to be true to him always. She was
then anointed and crowned, and as her crown was put on her head by the
Archbishop the coronets of all the peeresses flashed on to their
wearers' heads at the same moment, as the peers' coronets had done at
the moment the King was crowned.

The service was ended by the Holy Communion, and the King and Queen,
wearing their crowns and looking like a fairy king and queen, went back
in their royal coach to their palace, and the show, so far as
Westminster Abbey was concerned, was ended. Westminster Abbey will
always be associated with this great and splendid ceremony, which has
been described so minutely, and whenever you visit the Abbey you will
think of King George's coronation.

Before leaving the Abbey there are some things you must certainly see.
The first is the tomb of the 'Unknown Soldier.' This was a wonderful
idea thought of after the Great War. So many thousands of men in the
army gave their lives for their country, unknown and uncommemorated,
that the body of one, unidentified, was chosen as a symbol for the rest,
and buried with all the ceremony given to the most honoured dead of the
nation. There the humble warrior lies, surrounded by the dust of kings
and statesmen, authors, poets, and sages. Other countries imitated this
idea, and now each nation of the Great War has its 'Unknown Soldier's'
grave. In the Abbey, besides the many splendid statues, there is a set
of curious wax figures, only eleven in number, representing Queen
Elizabeth, King Charles II., King William and Queen Mary, Queen Anne,
Admiral Nelson, and five other persons of less importance.

So much for Westminster Abbey, the crowning-place of kings and the
burial-place of kings and great men.

St. Paul's Cathedral cannot claim the coronation of the kings, but it is
a splendid building, with its great dome overlooking London far and
wide. We can climb up through the belfry to the gallery which encircles
the dome, and, looking down upon the street below, see the people
crawling about like ants. Around us the pigeons flash their wings in the
sun, and beyond the houses we can catch a glimpse of the gray river
flowing down to the sea. Inside St. Paul's there is a great gallery
running all around the dome, and if you stand at one side of this and
whisper gently, the whisper runs round the walls, and reaches the person
standing on the opposite side many yards away, across a great space.
This is very curious, and because of it the gallery is called the
Whispering Gallery.

[Illustration: ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL.]

Though St. Paul's cannot claim the coronations, it has always been the
place to which our Sovereigns go for their services of thanksgiving.
After great victories in old time, after deliverance from deadly
illness, after unexpected blessings, the King or Queen of England has
journeyed to St. Paul's to hold a thanksgiving service. The greatest of
all these services were those at the Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee of
Queen Victoria. Of course, you all know that good Queen Victoria, the
mother of King Edward, reigned longer than any English Sovereign had
done before her. The three who came nearest to her in this respect were
George III., who reigned sixty years; Henry III., who reigned fifty-six
years; and Edward III., who reigned fifty years. It was an odd
coincidence that each should be the third of his name. Queen Victoria's
reign was marked not only by its length, but by its happiness and
prosperity. When she had been on the throne fifty years, she celebrated
what is called a Jubilee, and then many foreign princes and sovereigns
came over to England and joined in a procession, and went with her to
give thanks in St. Paul's Cathedral. Ten years later, when she had
completed her sixtieth year on the throne, it was felt that she ought to
have another Jubilee, called a Diamond Jubilee, for having equalled the
period of the longest reign in English history, and the Diamond Jubilee
was hardly less splendid than the first one. After this Queen Victoria
lived to the beginning of 1901, thus having reigned very nearly
sixty-three years and a half. It is very rare for any sovereign to do
this. To begin with, the sovereign must be quite young when he ascends
the throne, and that is not always the case, and then he must live to a
great age. Queen Victoria was only eighteen when she became Queen, and
she was eighty-one when she died. At the two Jubilees the carriages of
the Queen, with all the gorgeous attendants and outriders, formed a
group outside the great west door of St. Paul's, and waited while the
service was held; and all the stands and seats were thronged with
people, and everyone cheered the Queen, who will in future times be
known as Victoria the Good. The whole of the route to St. Paul's was
magnificently decorated, and every window and balcony, and even the
roofs, were crowded with spectators.

Some very famous men are buried in St. Paul's, though not so many as
there are in Westminster Abbey. Those who are here are chiefly military
men, and the greatest soldier England has ever had is included among
them, namely, the Duke of Wellington.

If you have read history you will all know how the Duke of Wellington
conquered Napoleon, who had so terrified the countries of Europe that
none dare face him; and if England had not sent her soldiers under the
great Duke to fight Napoleon, the whole course of European history would
now be different. Napoleon had gone on from one success to another,
until he began to think he was not to be conquered at all; but he met
his fate at the Battle of Waterloo, and his career was ended. The King
of England at that time was George III., who was very old and insane,
and his son George was Prince Regent; and after the great victories of
Wellington there was a procession formed to go to St. Paul's, and
Wellington carried the sword of state before the Prince Regent to the
cathedral.

Our greatest sailor as well as our greatest soldier lies in St. Paul's,
and we can see here his tomb. We have already seen his wax effigy in
Westminster. The name of Nelson is familiar to every child, and his
sea-fights are perhaps more exciting to read about than the land
victories of Wellington. Nelson died nearly fifty years before
Wellington, and his coffin was made of the wood of the ship _Orient_.

Earl Haig, whose name became a household word to every British child
during the Great War, had expressed a wish to be buried in the ruins of
Dryburgh Abbey, near his own home, before he died, so his body is not
found here, though as one of England's great generals it might well be
here.

The great architect who built the Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren, is
buried here, too, and in the inscription on his tombstone there are
words in Latin, which mean, 'If thou desirest to see my monument, look
around thee,' meaning that the splendid Cathedral is his best memorial.

There is one monument in London which attracts, and will always attract,
not only the attention of visitors, but the homage of the ordinary
everyday man going about his business in the London streets. This is a
curiously shaped great block of stone in the midst of Whitehall, about
which the traffic divides and passes on either side. It rears itself up
like a great cliff, and its base is never without wreaths and flowers
swathing it. This is the Cenotaph, the national memorial to the British
soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918. It is simple
in form, but very solemn in outline, and you could not help knowing that
it meant something to do with the dead. On Armistice Day, each November
11--for you know that the Great War ended at the eleventh hour of the
eleventh day of the eleventh month--there is a solemn service here, and
during the two minutes' silence, after the strokes of Big Ben have begun
to sound, thousands of people stand bareheaded and absolutely immovable
around it.



CHAPTER XXV

THE MINT, THE BANK, AND THE POST-OFFICE


Has it ever occurred to you that money must be made somewhere? We do not
find it ready made in the earth or growing on trees; and if you think a
little, that could not be, for every country has its own money with its
own King's or President's head on the coins. Here in England we have the
King's head on one side and various designs on the other, which are
different according to the coins they adorn. It would be rather nice if
money did grow on bushes. Supposing we could have a row of them in the
garden. The penny ones might be like gooseberry bushes, rather low down
and stumpy, and mother would say, 'Now, who will go and see if there are
any ripe pennies for me to-day?' and we should see the great round brown
pennies hanging ready to drop, and the little wee ones just beginning to
grow, or perhaps having grown to the size of halfpennies; and we might
ask, 'Shall we gather all we find, or leave the halfpennies for another
day to grow into pennies?'

Then there would be silver trees, where shillings and half-crowns grew,
and we should be told, 'You must not go near those, they are too
valuable. You might drop some of the money and lose it in the mud;' and
the gold, I think, would have to be reared in hothouses only, and kept
locked up very carefully.

Well, of course, this is just imagination. Take out a shilling and look
at it. It probably has the King's head on it, or it may have King
Edward's, or Queen Victoria's head if it is a very old one. Anything
further back than that would be valuable as a curiosity. All these
shillings are the same value, and it makes no difference which one you
use, and they have all been made at the Mint in London. It is not
difficult for anyone to get leave to go to see over the Mint, and it is
a very interesting thing to do. The building is near the Tower, and does
not look at all grand; in fact, it is difficult to believe that such
riches can come out of any building so poor looking. Here all the money
for England is coined--gold, silver, and copper. If we are lucky, the
day we go we shall find the workmen making gold sovereigns, and pouring
them out so fast that it is like the old fairy story of Rumpelstiltskin.

In the first room there are great furnaces, with dirty-looking caldrons
hanging over them, and in these caldrons there is not soup or anything
to eat, but gold, pure gold. This gold has been found in far-away
countries and brought to England, and the men who bring it get paid so
much for it according to its weight, and then the Mint people turn it
into coins. The gold is all liquid, seething and boiling. The man who
stands by the caldron has a pair of thick leather gloves to protect his
hands in case sparks fly out. Suddenly he seizes the caldron with a pair
of pincers, and, dragging it from the fire, he tilts it up so that the
molten gold runs out in a stream into a number of tubes like long
straight jars joined together. The gold flows in, bubbles up, and that
one is full to the top; and then the next is filled, and the next, and
so on to the end. Then the gold is left to cool. The big caldron goes
back on to the furnace to boil more gold. As the gold boils a tiny
quantity of it gets into the sides of the caldron and sticks to them,
and this is too valuable to lose, and so after the caldron has been used
a certain number of times it is broken up and melted so as to recover
this gold again, and not a grain is lost.

When the gold which has been poured into the jars has cooled it is solid
again, and has taken the shape of the jars--that is to say, it is in
bars of gold. You will be given one to handle and feel; it is a flat bar
of gleaming gold weighing a great deal. The bars are then taken and put
under a machine something like a mangle, and the machine squeezes and
presses them with such terrific force that they are squeezed out thinner
and thinner, and, of course, get longer and longer in the process. Just
think what tremendous force must be used to press out a bar of gold!
When at last they are ready these long thin slabs of gold are the
thickness of a sovereign.

Now, each of these bars is passed through a machine, which cuts out of
it a double row of holes just the size of sovereigns all the way down,
and the little gold pieces thus neatly cut out drop down below into a
box. Take one up and look at it; it is smooth and clean and round, the
size of a sovereign, but it has as yet no King's head on it, and the
edges are smooth, not rough as in a real sovereign. So each of these
little round gold pieces is taken away to another room to be finished,
and the remainder of the long thin strip out of which they were cut goes
back to the caldron to be boiled up again and made into more sovereigns.

You will notice that every time we go through a door at the Mint it is
unlocked for us to go through, and locked again behind us; this is
because the gold is so valuable. No one is allowed to pass in and out
without being watched, lest they should carry some away with them. Every
night each one of these rooms is carefully swept out, and the sweepings
boiled up to get any little particles of gold that are lying about, and
a large amount of money is saved in this way. The men who work in each
room are responsible for the gold in it; the gold is weighed on coming
in and on going out, and any weight lacking has to be made up by the men
out of their wages.

Now we have got the little round sovereigns, which are cleaned and
polished and put into another machine; this machine has what is called a
die in it--that is, a stamping instrument with the King's head on it
ready to print on the coin. The little sovereign is put on to a tiny
round place, with a little collar of metal all round, and this collar is
rough, like the edge of a shilling or a sovereign. Down comes the die
with enormous force, and stamps on the coin King George's head; the
force is so great that the coin is a little flattened out and pressed
against the rough collar, so the edges become rough, too. Thus are both
sides done, and the sovereign is now a real sovereign, and could be used
to buy things at a shop.

There are rows of these machines all hard at work, and we feel we are in
a fairy tale when we see the little round clean bits of gold drop, drop,
drop without stopping on to the tiny round table with the collar; and
the machine goes up and down, up and down, never stopping, and every
time it does its work, and a new sovereign drops away into a box below.
Drip, drip, drip, sovereigns are raining down, dozens every minute, all
newly made; it seems as if we could easily get rich if we were allowed
to make money like this. But the sovereigns are not finished yet; they
must go to be weighed, and all those that are not exactly the right
weight, but either too heavy or too light, go back to the melting-pot to
be made all over again; and only those that are exactly right are passed
out new-minted to the Bank, from whence they go to all the people in
Great Britain and Ireland. It is reckoned that so many as one in every
three has to go back to the melting-pot, and be boiled and hammered and
squeezed all over again; so it is a good thing gold cannot feel.

On other days silver and copper are made in the same way, but gold is
much the most impressive to see.

After leaving the Mint we might pay a visit to the Bank, which stands at
the meeting of many streets in the very midst of the City. It is a
strong place built round a courtyard, with all the windows inward so
that burglars cannot get in. In the vaults below the Bank are many bars
of gleaming gold, like those we have seen at the Mint; these are sent
here for safety, and in time will go to the Mint to be coined. The Bank
of England is very strong and safe, and anyone who keeps his money there
has no fear that he will lose it. The Bank is allowed by law to make
notes of its own, which are as good as money, and are received instead
of money, but it cannot make more than a certain number of these notes
in any one year. You have heard of bank-notes, perhaps? Have you ever
seen one--a crisp, crackly bit of paper, with some printing on it, that
could be burnt up any minute? These seem very unsafe to keep, but they
are convenient. If a man wants to go away for some time he could not
carry with him a great many gold sovereigns, for they would be so
heavy; but if he takes a number of bank-notes they are quite light and
easy to carry, and are just as good as money. The most common is a
five-pound note. Of course, accidents do happen sometimes when people
are careless. I heard of a man who lit his pipe with a five-pound note,
thinking it was just an ordinary bit of paper, but this was very
careless; it was an expensive pipe-light to cost five pounds.

In the Bank you are shown many interesting things, and one of the chief
of these is a book where are kept all the imitation bank-notes, called
forgeries, that men have made and tried to persuade people were real
ones. In some cases these are so cleverly done that even the bankers
themselves hardly knew the difference, and many, many people had been
cheated by them.

The great machines for printing bank-notes are inside the bank, and each
note has a different number. Let us follow one throughout its life. It
is printed on special paper made for the bank, and not sold to anyone
else, and it is printed in the Bank's own machine. It goes in at one end
of the machine, just a blank bit of paper, and comes out at the other
worth five pounds. This seems almost more wonderful than making gold
coins. Downstairs, in the office of the Bank, a man comes in who has an
account with the Bank--that is to say, he has given the Bank people a
large sum of money to keep for him--and he takes out some of it when he
likes. He comes this morning to ask for twenty pounds, and it is given
to him in four five-pound notes, which he folds up and puts in his
pocket-book and then he goes away. He has just got outside the Bank,
when a friend comes up, and says: 'I say, old man, what about that five
pounds you owe me?'

So the first man gives him one five-pound note. The second man has to
pay his landlady's rent, and he owes her three pounds; so he gives her
the five-pound note, and she gives him two pounds in gold back again.
From the landlady the note passes to a shopkeeper, and from him to
another man; and so it goes on, wandering and wandering through the
hands of hundreds of people. It started a very nice clean new note; but
it gets crumpled and dirty, and at last one day it comes to a man who
has had some money given to him which he wants to put into the Bank, and
he pays this five-pound note in with the rest. So after its life it has
rest. It never goes out again into the world; but when once it comes
back to the Bank it is torn up and destroyed. A great many men are kept
at work only tearing up bank-notes; so every day, while many new ones
are being made, many old ones are being torn up, and the number keeps
about the same.

An old woman bought a mattress at a sale, and she thought she would undo
it and shake up the stuff inside and make it softer, and when she cut it
up she found among the stuffing some bits of paper that looked like
bank-notes; but they were little tiny bits not bigger than a sixpence.
She took them to the Bank, which examined them, and saw that, though a
great deal was missing, there was enough left to show that there had
been twelve five-pound notes sewn up inside the mattress. They gave the
old woman sixty pounds for them, saying that a bank-note meant a promise
on the part of the Bank to pay, and they would keep their promise,
however long ago it had been made. So the old woman did a good day's
work when she bought that mattress.

From the Bank we might pass on to the General Post-Office, and see how
London's letters are dealt with. You may say that there cannot be
anything interesting in that--that it is quite simple to sort out
letters and send them to the right persons. Yes, if you or I had perhaps
six letters we could do it easily; but if we had six thousand it would
be rather more difficult. The business of the General Post Office grows
and increases every year, and the buildings are frequently enlarged.
Even now they form the whole of a street to themselves. On one side is
the telegraphic department, where all the telegrams are received. We can
understand very little about this, because it requires a long training;
but we can see something of the enormous number of people whose whole
work in life it is to take and send telegrams. If we get there about
five o'clock in the afternoon, we shall see some girls and little
telegraph-boys hurrying about with trays, on which are piles of cut
bread-and-butter, and with great tin cans, like the cans in which hot
water is carried up for your bath. These cans are full of strong, hot
tea. Then we enter one room, so big that it almost startles you, and
see, seated at rows and rows of tables, many men, and nearly all of them
are working away at the telegraph instrument before them--tick, tick,
tick, tack; they cannot hear what you say, even though you talk quite
close to them, for all their attention is taken up by their work. For
eight hours every day they sit here and take and send telegrams. Here
comes the tea; it is poured out into the large cup waiting for it, and
the man takes a drink or a bite as he works. Some of the workers buy jam
to spread on their bread. In one place we see a tray with a large pile
of cakes and biscuits; but these are being sold, though the tea and
bread-and-butter are supplied by the Post-Office to its workers free. It
must be a big business to make tea for about fifteen hundred persons
every day. No wonder cans are used to carry it about, for teapots would
be of very little use. In one room there are men doing all the telegrams
for the daily papers--accounts of great speeches, or races, or anything
important that people expect to hear about--and by means of one
instrument one man can send the same news to five different places at
the same time. This sounds like a miracle to us, who do not understand
how it is done. In another room there are many girls who do just the
same work, and keep the same hours as the men, but are not paid so much
simply because they are women; they are having tea too. They seem to be
very fond of shrimp-paste, which they spread on their bread-and-butter
instead of jam. In every room there is always a loud noise like the wash
of waves; that is made up of hundreds of busy little instruments ticking
away hard all at once. It seems wonderfully quiet when we leave it
behind, and step out into the street again where the lamps are being
lit.

It is nearly six o'clock now, and opposite is the large building of the
Post-Office where the letters are dealt with. Up the steps in front we
see the huge letter-box, with a great gaping slit of a mouth into which
boys and men are pouring letters as fast as they can; for at six o'clock
the country letters are sent off, and any posted after that will not be
delivered first thing next morning in the country, but will arrive
later.

Come inside; we have a special order so that we can be admitted without
any difficulty. Now we see from the inside what we saw from the outside
a minute ago. It is like looking at the inside of a piece of machinery.
We see now only the big slit and the eager hands thrusting letters into
it, more letters and more, which fly down inside like a snowstorm of
enormous flakes. They drop into great clothes baskets, which are filled
up every minute, and when full are dragged away by the postmen inside,
who thrust others into their places, others which, incredibly quickly,
are filled up, too, and dragged away. Rattle, rattle; down come the
letters. One boy outside has a bag, which he empties by tipping it up so
that a stream of letters runs down; he must be from an office. Here is
another, and another; but at last six o'clock strikes, the great baskets
have been dragged away, and no more letters for the country go until
much later. The basketfuls have been emptied into sacks; these sacks are
tied up with string and sealed with a piece of sealing-wax a good deal
thicker than your wrist, and then they are flung down into the bright
scarlet carts, which belong to the Post-Office, and which stand waiting
outside. Each driver starts off punctually with his load, and drives to
another great office in London where the country letters are sorted out
and sent off. All this business used to be done here where we are, but
in the last year or two it has been found better to keep the London and
the country letters separate.

Now we turn to look at the London ones. There is a separate box for them
to be posted in. Perhaps you who live in the country have never seen
that. At every large London office there are two boxes side by side, and
into one the people put their letters meant for the country, and into
the other those for London. The London letters are gathered from the box
and thrown out upon large tables, and down each side a row of boys and
men stand and sort them out like a pack of cards, putting them all
together, face up, and with the stamp in the same position. When they
are arranged the boys carry a great bundle to another man who has to
stamp them, so as to mark the stamp in case it should be used again.
There is a very clever contrivance for this. A little round wheel spins
at a tremendous pace, and on it are dark lines covered with wet ink. A
man holds the letters and pushes them one by one up to the wheel, which,
when it touches them, drags them through a narrow space in front, and as
they pass the wheel the ink-lines run across the stamp and mark it so
that it cannot be used again. So quickly does the little wheel whirr and
the letters spin past that five hundred are done in a minute. Think of
that; it means nearly nine a second. Nine letters stamped while you say
'One--two,' which is a second. Some letters are too thick and others too
big to go through the little space by the wheel, so the man who is
looking after them picks out those and throws them up on to a tray, from
which they are gathered up and carried to another man, who stamps each
by hand, a much slower process.

When the letters are stamped they are carried off to other men, who sort
them out, throwing them into different divisions, according to the part
of London for which they are intended, and any that he cannot read, any
that have not got a sufficient address, or any that have not a stamp on,
are put aside. Those with bad or insufficient addresses are called
'blind,' which is a funny word to use in this sense; they are carried
off to some men, who sit with ponderous books in front of them, and who
work solemnly, hunting out names and addresses. Perhaps one address is
so badly written that it looks to you and me just as if a beetle had
fallen into an ink-bottle and walked over the paper. But the man at the
desk is accustomed to bad writing, he soon makes it out, and writes it
neatly so that it can be read and the letter sent on. Another person has
put the street, perhaps on his envelope, but not the district of London,
and this is hunted up and supplied, and so on; and always as the men
work, gradually reducing the pile of letters before them, more are
added, so that it seems as if their work would never end. Near the first
men who were sorting letters are others sorting out packets and throwing
them into baskets. Fast as they work, they cannot keep up with the fresh
piles always poured in. They pitch the parcels into the baskets with
speed and accuracy generally, but sometimes in their haste a packet
flies over the rail and hits the head of a person walking past.

Here is a little table where a man is standing looking at some odd
things--a clothes brush, a box of flowers, a locket, and a pair of
gloves. What is he doing? These are things which have been badly tied
up, and have consequently come undone in the post, and some of them have
no addresses, but perhaps there is a letter inside the parcel. This
letter begins 'My darling,' but there is no time to read it; all that is
wanted is the address of the sender, to which the things can be
returned. This is quickly found, and the parcel is tied up again and
sent back. But if you do not want to have any of your letters seen by a
man in the Post-Office, you had better tie them up very carefully when
you send them by post. The things for which no addresses can be found go
to the Dead Letter Office, and every now and then there is a sale of
them.

But the Post-Office does its best always to find the people to whom the
things should be sent, and tries to please everyone, which is a
difficult task, and it very often comes in for a great deal of blame.
But we wonder as we leave the great building, not at the things that are
occasionally lost, but at the great mass, the millions of letters, that
are sent safely through to their journey's end without being either lost
or delayed.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE LORD MAYOR'S SHOW AND OTHER THINGS


We have now seen a good deal of London, and know something about it; but
there are a few facts that do not come very well into any of the
preceding chapters, and so to end up I am going to make a chapter about
the odd things.

You remember that when Dick Whittington, weary and disheartened, would
have gone away from London, he heard the bells of Bow Church ringing,
and what they seemed to say to him was, 'Turn again, Whittington, thrice
Lord Mayor of London.' And he was so much encouraged that he did turn
again, and persevered, and in the end he rose so high as to be Lord
Mayor, not once, but three times.

It is a great thing to be the Lord Mayor. He is chosen every year, and
rules the city for a year, and then resigns his grand position to his
successor. There is a splendid house right in the heart of the City
called the Mansion House, and here the Lord Mayor lives while he is
Lord Mayor, and here he gives great banquets. Sometimes the King and
Queen come to lunch with him, and all the great people from abroad who
visit England go to see the Lord Mayor. When the King makes a procession
through London in state he is met at Temple Bar, where the City begins,
by the Lord Mayor, who hands him the keys of the City; not that there is
any longer any gate that needs unlocking, but this ceremony is kept up
in memory of the time when London was surrounded by a high wall, which
prevented anyone getting in except by the gates.

The ninth of November is Lord Mayor's Day. On that day the new Lord
Mayor, who has been chosen for the year, makes a procession all round
London. This is a great holiday; the shops are shut, and people put on
their best clothes and turn out into the streets, and very early in the
morning the police begin to stop the omnibuses and cabs that are going
down the City streets and turn them into other streets more out of the
way. Then the crowds grow thicker and thicker, walking all over the
roadway, so that there would be no room for anyone to drive through even
if it were permitted. At last the signal is given that the procession
is coming. Then the police hurry about and push the people back, and
make a way for the procession, and everyone stands on tiptoe and strains
to see over his neighbour's shoulders. First come bands playing gay
tunes and soldiers marching, and then more soldiers and more bands, and
then perhaps sailors, and it may be the fire-engine, not racing along to
put out a fire, but with the horses trotting gently, while the people
shout and cheer, for everyone admires the Fire Brigade.

These are followed by the lifeboat men, who save life at sea, and fight
with the waves as the firemen fight with the flames. They have a great
lifeboat on a car, and the people cheer themselves hoarse at the sight
of it. Then follow shows, with people dressed up to represent India or
Asia, dragged along on great cars. One year there were men dressed up to
represent all the Lord Mayors there had been in the City since very
early times, and the gay colours and the curious old-fashioned clothes
were very pretty. There may follow next the Duke of York's little
soldier boys that you have read about, marching along with their band
playing, and enjoying themselves very much. It is a holiday for them.

There are also carriages with the officers of the City, the sheriffs
and aldermen, who help the Lord Mayor with his duties, and who will
perhaps themselves take his place in turn; and at last there is a great
shouting and cheering, and a huge coach appears painted with crimson and
gold, like the glass coach that the fairy godmother made for Cinderella.
It comes swinging along with the Lord Mayor inside. There are four
horses covered with rich harness, and the fat coachman on the box, with
his three-cornered hat and brilliant livery, looks very proud of himself
and his position.

When the procession has passed the people close in over the road again,
and jostle and push and laugh, and everyone seems to be going in
different directions, and Lord Mayor's Show is done for another year.

When I began writing about the Lord Mayor I mentioned Dick Whittington
and Bow bells. Bow Church is a very famous church. One way of expressing
the fact of being a Londoner used to be to say 'born within sound of Bow
bells.'

The old church was burnt down with all the others in the Fire, and the
church that now stands was built by Sir Christopher Wren. In the old
church it was a rule that the bell should be rung every night, and when
the shopmen heard the bell they shut up their shops. Now, the men who
rang the bell sometimes were late, and this made the apprentices, the
young men who worked in the shops, very angry, for they wanted to get
away from their work and go out into the streets to enjoy themselves;
but their masters would not let them go until the bell rang. So the
young apprentices made up a rhyme:


     'Clarke of the Bow bell, with thy yellow lockes,
     For thy late ringing, thy head shall have knockes.'


And the clerk was frightened, and said:


     'Children of Cheape, hold you all still,
     For you shall have Bow bell rung at your will.'


Cheape was the name of the street where the church stands, and it is now
called Cheapside. I expect the clerk kept his promise, for the young
apprentices were very sturdy, and they would have given him 'knockes' at
once. I do not know how they liked being called children.

On the top of Bow spire there was a figure of a dragon, which looked
very fine when the sun shone; and in another part of the City, near the
Bank and the Mansion House, there was on the top of the Royal Exchange a
grasshopper, which was the sign of a great merchant of Queen
Elizabeth's time, who built the first Exchange. Now, there was an old
saying that when the grasshopper from the Exchange and the dragon from
Bow Church should meet, the streets of London would run with blood. But
this did not seem at all likely to happen, for there is a long distance
between the Exchange and Bow Church. But rather less than a hundred
years ago the dragon was taken down to be cleaned, and at the same time
someone thought the grasshopper wanted repair, and, as it happened, he
took it to the very same builder's yard where the dragon was, and the
dragon and the grasshopper lay side by side. Then someone remembered
that old saying, and was terrified; but there was no fighting, and the
streets of London did not run with blood, which shows that old sayings
do not always come true.

London City is now lighted by electricity, which has almost displaced
gas, but there was a time not so long ago when the only lighting of the
streets was done by candles, and every man who owned a window looking
out on to the street was forced to burn a candle there from six to ten
o'clock every night.

You can imagine that these candles did not make a very good light, and
there was plenty of opportunity for thieves and ruffians to annoy
honest men. When people went out at night they used to hire boys with
torches to run beside them. These boys were called link-boys, and they
waited in the streets to be hired, just as cabmen wait about now. The
torches they carried were flaming pieces of wood, which burned very
brightly and made many sparks and much smell, and one would have thought
they were very dangerous, as they might have set alight the ladies'
dresses, but we never hear of any such accidents having happened.

Well, this is all I am going to tell you about London at present, but it
is by no means all there is to tell; only some things are not easy for
children to understand, and others are difficult to describe in writing.
For these you must wait until you are older, and until you can go to see
them for yourselves. But if you understand ever so little from this book
what a great and wonderful town London is, you will not have wasted your
time in reading it.


THE END


PRINTED BY MORRISON AND GIBB LTD., LONDON AND EDINBURGH





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