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Title: London Souvenirs
Author: Heckethorn, Charles William
Language: English
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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 "London Souvenirs" ***

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                            LONDON SOUVENIRS


                                   BY

                       CHARLES WILLIAM HECKETHORN

                               AUTHOR OF
                  ’THE SECRET SOCIETIES OP ALL AGES,’
                      ’LINCOLN’S INN FIELDS,’ ETC.



                                 LONDON
                            CHATTO & WINDUS
                                  1899



                               *CONTENTS*

I.  GAMBLING-CLUBS AND HIGH PLAY
II.  WITTY WOMEN AND PRETTY WOMEN
III.  OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSES
IV.  OLD M.P.S AND SOME OF THEIR SAYINGS
V.  FAMOUS OLD ACTORS
VI.  OLD JUDGES AND SOME OF THEIR SAYINGS
VII.  SOME FAMOUS LONDON ACTRESSES
VIII.  QUEER CLUBS OF FORMER DAYS
IX.  CURIOUS STORIES OF THE STOCK EXCHANGE
X.  WITS AND BEAUX OF OLD LONDON SOCIETY
XI.  LONDON SEEN THROUGH FOREIGN SPECTACLES
XII.  OLD LONDON TAVERNS AND TEA-GARDENS
       I.  THE GALLERIED TAVERNS OF OLD LONDON
      II.  OLD LONDON TEA-GARDENS
XIII.  WILLIAM PATERSON AND THE BANK OF ENGLAND
XIV.  THE OLD DOCTORS
XV.  THE LOST RIVERS OF LONDON
XVI.  ROGUES ASSORTED
XVII.  BARS AND BARRISTERS
XVIII.  THE SUBLIME BEEFSTEAKERS AND THE KIT-KAT AND ROTA CLUBS
XIX.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE AND ITS MASTERS



                           *LONDON SOUVENIRS*



                                  *I.*

                    *GAMBLING-CLUBS AND HIGH PLAY.*


Philosophers may argue, and moralists preach, the former against the
folly, and the latter against the wickedness of gambling, but, as may be
expected, their remonstrances pass but as a gentle breeze over the
outwardly placid ocean of play, causing the fishes—the familiars of the
gambling world—languidly to raise their heads, and mildly to inquire:
’What’s all that row about?’  Gambling is one of the strongest passions
in the human breast, and no warning, no exhibition of fatal examples,
will ever stop the indulgence in the excitement it procures.  It assumes
many phases; in all men have undergone disastrous experiences, and yet
they repeat the dangerous and usually calamitous experiments.  In no
undertaking has so much money been lost as in mining; prizes have
occasionally been drawn, but at such rare intervals as to be cautions
rather than encouragements; and yet, even at the present day, with all
the experience of past failures, sanguine speculators fill empty shafts
with their gold, which is quickly fished up by the greedy promoters.

Some of the now most respectable West End clubs originally were only
gambling-hells.  They are not so now; but the improvement this would
seem to imply is apparent only.  Our manners have improved, but not our
morals; the table-legs wear frilled trousers now, but the legs are there
all the same, even the blacklegs. But it is the past more than the
present we wish to speak of.

Early in the last century gaming was so prevalent that in one night’s
search the Leet’s Jury of Westminster discovered, and afterwards
presented to the justices, no fewer than thirty-five gambling-houses.
The Society for the Reformation of Manners published a statement of
their proceedings, by which it appeared that in the year beginning with
December 1, 1724, to the same date in 1725, they had prosecuted 2,506
persons for keeping disorderly and gaming houses; and for thirty-four
years the total number of their prosecutions amounted to the astounding
figure of 91,899.  In 1728 the following note was issued by the King’s
order: ’It having been represented to his Majesty that such felons and
their accomplices are greatly encouraged and harboured by persons
keeping night-houses ... and that the gaming-houses ... much contribute
to the corruption of the morals of those of an inferior rank ... his
Majesty has commanded me to recommend it, in his name, in the strongest
manner to the Justices of the Peace to employ their utmost care and
vigilance in the preventing and suppressing of these disorders, etc.’

This warning was then necessary, though as early as 1719 an order for
putting in execution an old statute of Henry VIII. had been issued to
all victuallers, and others whom it might concern.  The order ran: ’That
none shall keep or maintain any house or place of unlawful games, on
pain of 40s. for every day, of forfeiting their recognisance, and of
being suppressed; that none shall use or haunt such places, on pain of
6s. 8d. for every offence; and that no artificer, or his journeyman,
husbandman, apprentice, labourer, mariner, fisherman, waterman, or
serving-man shall play at tables, tennis, dice, cards, bowls, clash,
coiting, loggating, or any other unlawful game, out of Christmas, or
then out of their master’s house or presence, on pain of 20s.’

There were thus many attempts at controlling the conduct of the lower
orders, but the gentry set them a bad example.  The Cocoa-Tree Club, the
Tory chocolate-house of Queen Anne’s reign, at No. 64, St. James’s
Street, was a regular gambling-hell.  In the evening of a Court
Drawing-room in 1719, a number of gentlemen had a dispute over hazard at
that house; the quarrel became general, and, as they fought with their
swords, three gentlemen were mortally wounded, and the affray was only
ended by the interposition of the Royal Guards, who were compelled to
knock the parties down with the butt-ends of their muskets
indiscriminately, as entreaties and commands were disregarded. Walpole,
in his correspondence, relates: ’Within this week there has been a cast
at hazard at the Cocoa-Tree, the difference of which amounted to
£180,000. Mr. O’Birne, an Irish gamester, had won £100,000 of a young
Mr. Harvey, of Chigwell, just started from a midshipman into an estate
by his elder brother’s death. O’Birne said: "You can never pay me."  "I
can," said the youth; "my estate will sell for the debt."  "No," said
O’Birne, "I will win £10,000; you shall throw for the odd £90,000."
They did, and Harvey won.’  It is not on record whether he took the
lesson to heart. The house was, in 1746, turned into a club, but its
reputation was not improved; bribery, high play, and foul play continued
to be common in it.

Another chocolate-house was White’s, now White’s Club, St. James’s
Street.  As a chocolate-house it was established about 1698, near the
bottom of the west side of St. James’s Street; it was burnt down in
1773. Plate VI. of Hogarth’s ’Rake’s Progress’ shows a room full of
players at White’s, so intent upon play as neither to see the flames nor
hear the watchmen bursting into the room.  It was indeed a famous
gambling and betting club, a book for entering wagers always lying on
the table; the play was frightful.  Once a man dropped down dead at the
door, and was carried in; the club immediately made bets whether he was
dead or only in a fit; and when they were going to bleed him the
wagerers for his death interposed, saying it would affect the fairness
of the bet.  Walpole, who tells the story, hints that it is invented.
Many a highwayman—one is shown in Hogarth’s picture above referred
to—there took his chocolate or threw his main before starting for
business.  There Lord Chesterfield gamed; Steele dated all his love news
in the _Tatler_ from White’s, which was known as the rendezvous of
infamous sharpers and noble cullies, and bets were laid to the effect
that Sir William Burdett, one of its members, would be the first baronet
who would be hanged.  The gambling went on till dawn of day; and Pelham,
when Prime Minister, was not ashamed to divide his time between his
official table and the piquet table at White’s.  General Scott was a
very cautious player, avoiding all indulgence in excesses at table, and
thus managed to win at White’s no less than £200,000, so that when his
daughter, Joanna, married George Canning he was able to give her a
fortune of £100,000.

Another club founded specially for gambling was Almack’s, the original
Brooks’s, which was opened in Pall Mall in 1764.  Some of its members
were Macaronis, the fops of the day, famous for their long curls and
eye-glasses.  ’At Almack’s,’ says Walpole, ’which has taken the _pas_ of
White’s ... the young men of the age lose £10,000, £15,000, £20,000 in
an evening.’  The play at this club was only for rouleaux of £50 each,
and generally there was £10,000 in gold on the table.  The gamesters
began by pulling off their embroidered clothes, and put on frieze
garments, or turned their coats inside out for luck.  They put on pieces
of leather to save their lace ruffles; and to guard their eyes from the
light, and to prevent tumbling their hair, wore high-crowned straw hats
with broad brims, and sometimes masks to conceal their emotions.
Almack’s afterwards was known as the ’Goose-Tree’ Club—a rather
significant name—and Pitt was one of its most constant frequenters, and
there met his adherents.  Gibbon also was a member, when the club was
still Almack’s—which, indeed, was the name of the founder and original
proprietor of the club.

Another gaming-club was Brooks’s, which at first was formed by Almack
and afterwards by Brooks, a wine-merchant and money-lender.  The club
was opened in 1778, and some of the original rules are curious: ’21. No
gaming in the eating-room, except tossing up for reckonings, on penalty
of paying the whole bill of the members present.  30. Any member of this
society that shall become a candidate for any other club (old White’s
excepted) shall be _ipso facto_ excluded. 40. Every person playing at
the new quinze-table shall keep fifty guineas before him.  41. Every
person playing at the twenty-guinea table shall keep no less than twenty
guineas before him.’  According to Captain Gronow, play at Brooks’s was
even higher than at White’s.  Faro and macao were indulged in to an
extent which enabled a man to win or to lose a considerable fortune in
one night.  George Harley Drummond, a partner in the bank of that name,
played only once in his life at White’s, and lost £20,000 to Brummell.
This event caused him to retire from the banking-house.  Lord Carlisle
and Charles Fox lost enormous sums at Brooks’s.

At Tom’s Coffee House, in Russell Street, Covent Garden, there was
playing at piquet, and the club consisting of seven hundred noblemen and
gentlemen, many of whom belonged to the gay society of that day (the
middle of the last century), we may be sure the play was high.

Arthur’s Club, in St. James’s Street, so named after its founder (who
died in 1761), was a famous gambling centre in its day.  A nobleman of
the highest position and influence in society was detected in cheating
at cards, and after a trial, which did not terminate in his favour, he
died of a broken heart.  This happened in 1836.

The Union, which was founded in this century, was a regular
gambling-club.  It was first held at what is now the Ordnance Office,
Pall Mall, and subsequently in the house afterwards occupied by the
Bishop of Winchester.

In the early days of this century the most notorious gambling-club was
Crockford’s, in St. James’s Street. Crockford originally was a
fishmonger, and occupied the old bulk-shop west of Temple Bar.  But,
having made money by betting, ’he gave up,’ as a recent writer on ’The
Gambling World’ says, ’selling soles and salmon, and went in for
catching fish, confining his operations to gudgeons and flat-fish’; or,
in other words, he established a gambling-house, first by taking over
Watier’s old club-house, where he set up a hazard bank, and won a great
deal of money; he then separated from his partner, who had a bad year
and failed.  Crockford removed to St. James’s Street, where he built the
magnificent club-house which bore his name.  It was erected at a cost of
upwards of £100,000, and, in its vast proportions and palatial
decorations, surpassed anything of the kind ever seen in London.  To
support such an establishment required a large income; yet Crockford
made it, for the highest play was encouraged at his card-tables, but
especially at the hazard-tables, where Crockford nightly took his stand,
prepared for all comers.  And he was successful, and became a
millionaire.  When he died he left £700,000, and he had lost as much in
mining and other speculations.  His death was hastened, it is said, by
excessive anxiety over his bets on the turf.  He retired from the
management of the club in 1840, and died in 1844.  The club was soon
after closed, and after a few years’ interval was reopened as the Naval,
Military, and Civil Service Club. It was then converted into
dining-rooms, called the Wellington.  Later on it was taken by a
joint-stock company as an auction-room, and now it is again a
club-house, known as the Devonshire Club.

We referred above to Watier’s Club.  It was established in 1807, at the
instigation of the Prince of Wales, and high play was the chief pursuit
of its members. ’Princes and nobles,’ says Timbs in his ’Curiosities of
London,’ ’lost or gained fortunes amongst themselves.’  But the pace was
too fast.  The club did not last under its original patronage, and it
was then, when it was moribund, taken over by Crockford.  At this club,
also, macao was the favourite game, as at Brooks’s.

One of the most objectionable results of promiscuous gambling is the
disreputable company into which it often throws a gentleman.

    ’That Marquis, who is now familiar grown
    With every reprobate about the town....
    Now, sad transition! all his lordship’s nights
    Are passed with blacklegs and with parasites..
    The rage of gaming and the circling glass
    Eradicate distinction in each class;
    For he who scarce a dinner can afford
    Is equal in importance with my lord.’


This is just what happened when gambling-hells were openly flourishing
in London, and what happens now when gambling-clubs abound, and are
almost daily raided by the police, when some actually respectable people
are found mixed up with the rascaldom which supports these clubs.  A
perfect mania seems to have seized the lower orders of our day to
gamble; but formerly, for instance, in Walpole’s time, in the latter
half of the last century, the upper classes were the worst offenders, of
which the just-mentioned statesman and epistolary chronicler of
small-beer, which, however, by long keeping has acquired a strong and
lasting flavour, gives us many proofs.  ’Lord Sandwich,’ he reports,
’goes once or twice a week to hunt with the Duke [of Cumberland], and,
as the latter has taken a turn of gaming, Sandwich, to make his
court—and fortune—carries a box and dice in his pocket; and so they
throw a main whenever the hounds are at fault, upon every green hill and
under every green tree.’  Five years later, at a magnificent ball and
supper at Bedford House, ’the Duke was playing at hazard with a great
heap of gold before him.  Somebody said he looked like the prodigal son
and the fatted calf both.’  Under such circumstances it could not fail
that swindlers _par excellence_ sometimes found their way among the
royal and noble gamblers.  There was a Sir William Burdett, whose name
had the honour of being inscribed in the betting-room at White’s as the
subject of a wager that he would be the first baronet who would be
hanged. He and a lady, ’dressed foreign, as a Princess of the House of
Brandenburg,’ cheated Lord Castledurrow (Baron Ashbrook) and Captain
Rodney out of a handsome sum at faro.  The noble victim met the Baronet
at Ranelagh, and addressed him thus: ’Sir William, here is the sum I
think I lost last night.  Since then I have heard that you are a
professed pickpocket, and therefore I desire to have no further
acquaintance with you.’  The Baronet took the money with a respectful
bow, and then asked his Lordship the further favour to set him down at
Buckingham Gate, and without further ceremony jumped into the coach.
Walpole writes to Mann, in 1750, that ’Jemmy Lumley last week had a
party of whist at his own house: the combatants, Lucy Southwell, that
curtseys like a bear, Mrs. Bijean, and Mrs. Mackenzy.  They played from
six in the evening till twelve next day, Jemmy never winning one rubber,
and rising a loser of £2,000....  He fancied himself cheated and would
not pay.  However, the bear had no share in his evil surmises ... and he
promised a dinner at Hampstead to Lucy and her sister.  As he went to
the rendezvous his chaise was stopped, and he was advised by someone not
to proceed.  But proceed he did, and in the garden he found Mrs.
Mackenzy.  She asked him whether he was going to pay, and, on his
declining to do so, the fair virago took a horsewhip from beneath her
hoop, and fell upon him with the utmost vehemence.’

Members of clubs were fully aware of the nefariousness of their devotion
to gambling.  When a waiter at Arthur’s Club was taken up for robbery,
George Selwyn said: ’What a horrid idea he will give of us to the people
in Newgate?’  Certes, some of the highwaymen in that prison were not
such robbers and scoundrels as some of the aristocratic members of those
clubs.  When, in 1750, the people got frightened about an earthquake in
London, predicted to happen in that year, ’Lady Catherine Pelham,’
Walpole tells us, ’Lady James Arundell, and Lord and Lady Galway ... go
this evening to an inn ten miles out of town, where they are going to
play at brag till five in the morning, and then come back, I suppose, to
look for the bones of their husbands and families under the rubbish.’
When the rulers of the nation on such an occasion, or any other occasion
of public terror, possibly caused by their own mismanagement of public
affairs, hypocritically and most impertinently ordered a day of fasting
and humiliation, the gambling-houses used to be filled with officials
and members of Parliament, who thus had a day off.

There was one famous gambling-house we find we have not yet mentioned,
viz., Shaver’s Hall, which occupied the whole of the southern side of
Coventry Street, from the Haymarket to Hedge Lane (now Oxenden Street),
and derived its name from the barber of Lord Pembroke, who built it out
of his earnings. Attached to it was a bowling-green, which sloped down
to the south.  The place was built about the year 1650, and the
tennis-court belonging to it till recently might still be seen in St.
James’s Street.



                                 *II.*

                    *WITTY WOMEN AND PRETTY WOMEN.*


Certain waves of sentiment or action, or both combined, have at various
times passed over the face of European society.  A thousand years ago
the Old Continent went madly crusading to snatch the Holy Sepulchre from
the grasp of the pagan Sultan, who, sick man as he is, still holds it.
The movement had certain advantages: it cleared Europe of a good deal of
ruffianism, which never came back, as it perished on the journey to
Jerusalem, or very properly was killed off by the justly incensed Turks,
who could not understand by what right these hordes of robbers invaded
their country.  Then another phase of society madness arose.  Some
maniac, clad in armour, on a horse similarly accoutred, would appear,
and challenge everyone to admit that the Lady Gwendolyne Mousetrap, whom
he kept company with, and took to the tea-gardens on Sundays, was the
most peerless damosel, and that whoso doubted it, would not get off by
paying a dollar, but would have to fight it out with him.  Then another
mailed and belted chap would jump up, and maintain that the Countess of
Rabbit-Warren—who was the girl he was just then booming—was the finest
woman going, and that that slut Gwendolyne Mousetrap was no better than
she should be.  Of course, as soon as the King and Court heard of the
shindy between the two knights a day was appointed when they should
fight it out, the combatants being enclosed in a kind of rat-pit,
officially called lists, whilst the King, his courtiers and their gentle
ladies looked at the sport; and if one of the knights was killed, or
perhaps both were killed, or at least maimed for life, the Lady
Gwendolyne and the Countess of Rabbit-Warren, who, of course, both
assisted at the spectacle, received the congratulations of the Court.
Sometimes one of the knights would funk, and not come up to the scratch;
then he was declared a lame duck, and the lady whom he had left in the
lurch and made a laughing-stock of would erase his name from her
tablets, and shy the trumpery proofs of devotion he had given her, a
worn-out scarf or Brummagem aigrette, out of an upper window.  This was
called the age of chivalry.  Then a totally different eruption of the
fighting mania—which is, after all, the universal principle in human
action—took place.  A vagrant scholasticus would appear in a University
town, and announce that he was ready to hold a disputation with any
professor, Doctor of Divinity, or Master of Arts, on any mortal subject,
the more subtle, and the more incomprehensible, and the more mystical,
the better. Thus, one such scholasticus got into the rostrum at
Tübingen, and addressed his audience thus: ’I am about to propound three
theses: the answer to the first is known to myself only, and not to you;
to the second, the answer is known neither to you nor to me; to the
third, the answer is known to you only.’  This was a promising
programme, and, indeed, proved highly edifying. ’Now, the first
question,’ resumed the scholasticus, ’is this: Have I got any breeches
on?  You don’t know, but I do; I have not.  The second question, the
answer to which is known neither to you nor to me, is: Shall I find in
this town any draper willing to advance on credit stuff enough to make
me a pair?  And the third question, the answer to which is known to you
only, is: Will any of you pay a tailor’s wages to make me a pair?  And
now that the argument is clearly before you, we may proceed to the
consideration of the parabolic triangulation of the binocular theorem;’
and then he would bewilder them with a lot of jaw-breaking words, which
then, as now, passed for learning.  This was called the age of
scholasticism.  It was succeeded by the Renaissance, which, after a good
boil-up of its intellectual ingredients, settled down into a literary
mud, an Acqui-la-Bollente, a Nile mud, pleasant to the soul, and
fertilizing to the mind, the protoplasm of diarists and letter-writers,
of whom—to mention but three—Evelyn, Pepys, and Horace Walpole were
prominent patterns in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

It is with the latter, Horace Walpole, of Strawberry Hill, we are
chiefly concerned.  Horace Walpole, after enlarging a cottage into a
Gothic castle, with lath and plaster, and rough-cast walls, and wooden
pinnacles, filled it with literary and artistic treasures.  But he also
gathered around him a select social circle, which included Garrick, Paul
Whitehead, General Conway, George Selwyn, Richard Bentley, the poet
Gray, Sir Horace Mann, and Lords Edgcumbe and Strafford. And of ladies
there was no lack; there were Mrs. Pritchard, Kitty Clive, Lady Suffolk,
the Misses Berry, and—would you believe it?—Hannah More!  It was the age
for chronicling small-beer and home-made wine, gossip, scandal, and
frivolity; and Horace Walpole enjoyed existence as a cynical Seladon or
platonic Bluebeard amidst this bevy of lively, gay-minded, frolicsome
beauties, young and old.  Happily, or unhappily, for him, he did not
become acquainted with the Misses Berry before 1788, when he was
seventy-one years of age.  He took the most extraordinary liking to
them, and was never content except when they were with him, or
corresponding with him.  When they went to Italy, he wrote to them
regularly once a week, and on their return he installed them at Little
Strawberry Hill, a house close to his own, so that he might daily enjoy
their society.  He appointed them his literary executors, with the
charge of collecting and publishing his writings, which was done under
the superintendence of Mr. Berry, their father, who was a Yorkshire
gentleman.  When Walpole had succeeded to the Earldom of Orford he made
Mary, the elder of the two sisters, an offer of his hand.  Both sisters
survived him upwards of sixty years. Little Strawberry Hill, which we
just mentioned as the residence of the Misses Berry, had, before their
coming to live in it, been occupied by Kitty Clive, the famous actress.
Born in 1711, she made her first appearance on the stage of Drury Lane,
and in 1732 she married a brother of Lord Clive, but the union proved
unhappy, and was soon dissolved.  She quitted the stage in 1769, leaving
a splendid reputation as an actress and as a woman behind her, and
retired to Little Strawberry Hill, where she lived in ease, surrounded
by friends and respected by the world.  Horace Walpole was a constant
visitor at her house, as were many other persons of rank and eminence.
It was said of her that no man could be grave when Kitty chose to be
merry. But she must have been a woman of some spirit, too, for when it
was proposed to stop up a footpath in her neighbourhood she placed
herself at the head of the opponents, and defeated the project.  She
died suddenly in 1785, and Walpole placed an urn in the grounds to her
memory, with the inscription:

    ’Here lived the laughter-loving dame;
    A matchless actress, Clive her name.
    The comic Muse with her retired,
    And shed a tear when she expired.’

The Mrs. Pritchard mentioned above was also an actress, of great and
well-deserved fame.  She lived at an originally small house, called
"Ragman’s Castle," which she much improved and enlarged.  It had, after
her, various occupants, and was finally taken down by Lord Kilmorey
during his occupancy of Orleans House, near which it stood.

Another of the constant visitors at Strawberry Hill was Lady Suffolk,
Pope’s ’Chloe.’  She was married to the Hon. Charles Howard, from whom
she separated when she became the mistress of the Prince, afterwards
George II., who, as Prince, allowed her £2,000 a year, and as King
£3,200 a year, besides several sums at various times.  He gave her
£12,000 towards Marble Hill, the mansion still facing the Thames, which
became her residence.  Her husband lived long enough to become Earl of
Suffolk, and dying, left her free to marry, when she was forty-five, the
Hon. George Berkeley, who died eleven years after.  She survived him
twenty-one years, and supplied her neighbour, Horace Walpole, with Court
anecdotes and scandal during all that period.  Walpole calls her
remarkably ’genteel’—a favourite expression of his, though now so
vulgar!—and, in spite of her antecedents, she was courted by the highest
in the land.  Such were the morals of those days.  According to Horace
Walpole, her mental qualifications were not of a high order, but she was
gentle and engaging in her manners, and she was a gossip with a good
memory—and that answered her host’s purpose admirably.  Pope also made
great use of her reminiscences.

Like Dr. Johnson, Horace Walpole liked to fill his house with a lot of
female devotees; but whilst Johnson seemed to prefer a parcel of
disagreeable, ugly, and cantankerous women, always quarrelling among
themselves and with everybody else, Walpole liked his women to be young
and fair, full of life and mirth.  By what strange circumstance was the
cynical and sarcastic Walpole led into a sort of friendship with the
mild and pietistic Mrs. Hannah More?  It was in 1784 that this queer
friendship began.  It appears that about that date Hannah More had
discovered at Bristol a milk woman who wrote verses, just such verses as
Hannah More and Walpole—neither of whom had an idea of poetry—would
consider wonderful.  A subscription must be started for the benefit of
the milkwoman, and Hannah More applied to Horace Walpole, who set up for
a Mæcenas, though he always expressed the utmost contempt for authors,
for a contribution.  Of course, Hannah More did not make this
application without a dose of fulsome compliment to Horace Walpole’s
genius, and he went into the trap, subscribed, and expressed his
admiration of the milkwoman’s poetry.  The woman’s name was Yearsley;
she was quite ready to receive the money, but, having evidently a very
high opinion of her own doggerel, she refused to listen to the literary
advice given to her by Horace Walpole and her patroness, with whom she
very soon quarrelled.  Walpole condoled with Hannah thus: ’You are not
only benevolence itself, but, with fifty times the genius of Dame
Yearsley, you are void of vanity.  How strange that vanity should expel
gratitude!  Does not the wretched woman owe her fame to you? ... Dame
Yearsley reminds me of the troubadours, those vagrants whom I used to
admire till I knew their history, and who used to pour out trumpery
verses, and flatter or abuse, accordingly as they were housed and
clothed, or dismissed to the next parish. Yet you did not set this
person in the stocks, after procuring an annuity for her.’  By this
letter we see what were Horace Walpole’s ideas of patronage: flattery
and a pittance, independence and the stocks.  Walpole was open to
flattery.  Dr. Johnson was not—at least, not from a woman; he despised
the sex too much to care for their praise.  When Hannah More laid it on
very thick in his case, he fiercely turned round on her and said:
’Madam, before you flatter a man so grossly to his face, you should
consider whether or not your flattery is worth his having.’  And, with
all his admiration for her character, Walpole could not help sneering at
what he called her saintliness, and venting his sarcasm on her silly
’Cœlebs in Search of a Wife,’ the absurdity of which has, indeed, been
surpassed by a few modern novels of the same tendency.  The last we hear
of their friendship is that he made her a present of a Bible—fancy the
satyr’s leer with which he must have presented it to her! She paid him
out for the implied irony by wishing that he would read it.

Among the ladies who were neighbours of Horace Walpole, we must not omit
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who lived for some years in a house on the
south side of the road leading to Twickenham Common. She may justly be
considered as one of the witty, if not of the pretty, women of Walpole’s
time.  He detested her.  Probably he was somewhat jealous of her, for
her letters from Constantinople on Turkish life and society earned her
the sobriquet of the ’Female Horace Walpole.’  He writes of her thus
whilst she was living at Florence: ’She is laughed at by the whole town.
Her dress, her avarice, and her impudence must amaze anyone.... She
wears a foul mob, that does not cover her greasy black locks, that hang
loose, never combed or curled; an old mazarine blue wrapper, that gapes
open and discovers a canvas petticoat.  Her face swelled violently on
one side, and partly covered with white paint, which for cheapness she
has bought so coarse that you would not use it to wash a chimney.’  In
another letter he describes her dress as consisting of ’a groundwork of
dirt, with an embroidery of filthiness.’  When he wrote of her then, she
was about fifty years of age, and seems to have retained none of the
beauty which distinguished her in her earlier years.  She was not only
coarse in looks, but in her speech and writings, which shock modern
fastidiousness.  She was not the woman to please Horace Walpole, who,
even when in the seventies, liked nothing better than acting as squire
or cicerone to fine ladies.  Lady Mary was not one of them.  She was, in
fact, what we now should call a regular Bohemian; and was it to be
wondered at?  She had been introduced into that sort of life when she
was a girl only eight years old by her own father, Evelyn, Earl of
Kingston.  He was a member of the Kitcat Club, whose chief occupation
was the proposing and toasting the beauties of the day.  One evening the
Earl took it into his head to nominate his daughter.  She was sent for
in a chaise, and introduced to the company in dirty Shire Lane in a
grimy chamber, reeking with foul culinary smells and stale
tobacco-smoke, and elected by acclamation.  The gentlemen drank the
little lady’s health upstanding; and feasting her with sweets, and
passing her round with kisses, at once inscribed her name with a diamond
on a drinking-glass.  ’Pleasure,’ she says, ’was too poor a word to
express my sensations.  They amounted to ecstasy.  Never again
throughout my whole life did I pass so happy an evening.’  Of course,
the child could not perceive the hideousness of the whole proceeding and
its surroundings: if the kisses were seasoned with droppings of snuff
from the noses above, which otherwise were not always very clean—even at
the beginning of this century Lord Kenyon, Chief Justice of the King’s
Bench, was an utter stranger to the luxury of a pocket-handkerchief, and
had no delicacy about avowing it—it did not detract from the sweetness
of the bon-bons with which she was regaled.

The founder of the Blue-Stocking Club, Mrs. Montagu, _née_ Elizabeth
Robinson, was another of Walpole’s witty and handsome lady friends.  As
a girl she was lively, full of fun, yet fond of study.  In 1742 she was
married to Edward Montagu, M.P., a coal-owner of great wealth. As a girl
the Duchess of Portland had called her ’La Petite Fidget’; but after her
marriage she became more sedate, and a great power in the literary
world.  She established the Blue-Stocking Club, of which herself, Mrs.
Vesey, Miss Boscawen, Mrs. Carter, Lord Lyttelton, Mr. Pulteney, Mr.
Stillingfleet, and Horace Walpole were the first members.  The name
originally came from Venice, where, in 1400, the Academical Society
_delle calze_ had been established, whence the name was transferred to
similar associations in France, there called _Bas Bleus_, and from the
latter country it was introduced into England.  Mrs. Montagu, having
been left a widow with £7,000 a year, built herself a mansion, standing
in a large garden at the north-west corner of Portman Square, and there
the Blue-Stocking Club continued to hold its meetings for a number of
years, including all the persons of her time who were celebrated in art,
science, or literature, among whom may be mentioned Boswell and Johnson,
the latter of whom, in the presence of ladies, somewhat modified his
bearish habits. Mrs. Montagu died in 1800, and the house she had built
eventually became the town residence of Viscount Portman.

Of course, Horace Walpole was acquainted with the Misses Gunning—’those
goddesses,’ as Mary Montagu styled them.  They were nieces of the first
Earl of Mayo, and so got a ready introduction into London society, which
literally went raving mad about them.  Horace Walpole tells us that even
the ’great unwashed’ followed them in crowds whenever they appeared in
public: there must have been an extraordinary appreciation of beauty in
the rabble—and what a rabble of ruffians it was!—of those days.  But
London then was no bigger than a provincial town, compared with what it
is now.  The two ladies speedily found husbands: the Duke of Hamilton
married Elizabeth, the younger, after an evening spent in the society of
the sisters and their mother at Bedford House, and was in such a hurry
about it that he would wait for neither licence nor ring, and, after
with some difficulty satisfying the scruples of the parson called upon
to celebrate the extempore ceremony, they were married with the ring of
a bed-curtain, at half an hour after twelve at night, at Mayfair Chapel.
Three weeks afterwards Lord Coventry married her sister, Maria.  The
Duke of Hamilton dying in 1758, six years after the strange nuptials in
Mayfair Chapel, the widow in the following year married Jack Campbell,
afterwards Duke of Argyll.  Lady Coventry did not wear her coronet long;
in 1760 she died, it is said, in consequence of her excessive use of
white paint.  Her sister, ’twice duchessed,’ survived her many years.

We have far from exhausted the list of the ladies distinguished for wit
and beauty who figure in Horace Walpole’s ’Letters,’ but our space is
exhausted.  We cannot, however, conclude without a few words on the
’Letters’ in question.  Their chief value consists in the lively
descriptions of public events; not as dry and cold history records them,
but by letting us have peeps behind the scenes, so as to see the
wire-pullers, the secret machinery, which set in motion the actors on
the political and social stage.  They show us lords and ladies in their
negligés, and how the conceit of a hairdresser, or the caprice of a
lady’s-maid, may make or mar the destinies of a nation.  This copious
letter-writing forms indeed an era in our literary history which will
never return or be renewed; the prying reporter and the irrepressible
interviewer now supply all the world with what the letter-writer
communicated to a few friends only. This present age may be called the
Age of Reminiscences: everybody is writing his; of making books there is
no end!



                                 *III.*

                      *OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSES.*


A comparatively small room, considering it was one for public use, with
dingy walls, a grimy ceiling, a sanded floor, boxes with upright backs
and narrow seats, wooden chairs, liquor-stained tables, lighted up in
the evening with smoky lamps or guttering candles, the whole room
reeking with tobacco like a guard-room—such was the coffee-house of the
later Stuart and the whole Georgian periods.  Its distinctive article of
furniture was spittoons.  In such dens did the noblemen, in flowing wigs
and embroidered coats, parsons in cassocks and bands, physicians in
sable suits and tremendous perukes, together with broken-down gamesters,
swindlers, country yokels, and out-at-elbows literary and theatrical
adventurers, meet, not only for pleasure, but for business too.  Dr.
Radcliffe, who in 1685 had the largest practice in London, was daily to
be seen at Garraway’s, now demolished, its site being included in
Martin’s bank; and another favourite resort of doctors hereby was
Batson’s, where, as the ’Connoisseur’ says, ’the dispensers of life and
death flock together, like birds of prey watching for carcases.  I never
enter this place but it serves as a _memento mori_ to me....  Batson’s
has been reckoned the seat of solemn stupidity.’

Coffee-houses, indeed, had their distinct sets of customers.  St.
Paul’s, for instance, was patronized by the clergy, both by those with
fat livings and by ’battered crapes,’ who plied there for an occasional
burial or sermon.  Dick’s was frequented by members of the Temple, with
whom, in 1737, Mrs. Yarrow and her daughter, who kept the house, were
great favourites; wherefore, when the Rev. James Miller brought out a
comedy, called ’The Coffee-House,’ in which the ladies were thought to
be indicated—the engraver having unfortunately fixed upon Dick’s
Coffee-House as the frontispiece scene—the Templars attended the first
representation, and hissed the piece off the boards. Button’s, in Covent
Garden, was the resort of Addison and Steele, of Pope and Swift, of
Savage and Davenant—in fact, of the wits of the time.  At this house was
the lion’s head through whose mouth letters were dropped for the
_Tatlers_ and _Spectators_.  The head was afterwards transferred to the
Bedford Coffee-House, under the Piazza, and eventually, in 1827, was
purchased by the Duke of Bedford, and is now at Woburn Abbey; Bedford’s
was the successor of Button’s, and is described in the ’Memoirs’ of it
as having been signalized for many years as ’the emporium of wit, the
seat of criticism, and the standard of taste.’  In 1659 was founded the
Rota Club by James Charrington, a political writer, and its members met
at Miles’s, in Old Palace Yard.  Pepys attended one of its meetings on
January 10, 1659-60.  It was a kind of debating-society for the
dissemination of Republican opinions. Coffee-houses, indeed, at that
period became important political institutions.  Nothing resembling the
modern newspaper then existed; in consequence, these houses were the
chief organs through which the public opinion vented itself, and so
threatening to the Court did, in course of time, their influence appear,
that on December 29, 1675, the King and his Cabal Ministry issued a
proclamation for shutting up and suppressing all coffee-houses, ’because
in such houses, and by occasion of the meeting of disaffected persons in
them, diverse false, malicious, and scandalous reports were devised and
spread abroad, to the defamation of his Majesty’s Government, and to the
disturbance of the quiet and peace of the realm.’  The opinions of the
judges were taken on this ridiculous edict, and they sapiently reported
’that retailing coffee might be an innocent trade, but as it was used to
nourish sedition, spread lies, and scandalize great men, it might also
be a common nuisance.’  On a petition of the merchants and retailers of
coffee and tea, permission was granted to keep open the coffee-houses
until June 24 next, under an admonition that ’the masters of them should
prevent all scandalous papers, books, and libels from being read in
them.’  This, of course, was a huge joke on the part of the Cabal, who
thus constituted the concoctors and dispensers of ’dishes’—to use the
hideous word then employed—of coffee and tea censors and licensers of
books, and judges of the truth or falsehood of political opinions and
intelligence.  After that no more was heard of the matter, and the
coffee-houses remained political debating clubs, as is proved by the
remarks on them in the _Spectator_ and similar publications. See, for
instance, Nos. 403, 476, 481, 521, etc.

The first London coffee-house was set up by one Bowman, coachman to Mr.
Hodges, a Turkey merchant.  Others say that Mr. Edwards brought over
with him a Ragusa servant, Pasqua Rosee, who was associated with Bowman
in establishing the first coffee-house in St. Michael’s Alley, Cornhill.
But the partners soon quarrelled.  They parted, and Bowman opened a
coffee-house in St. Michael’s Churchyard, from which we may infer that
the public took to the new drink.  Rosee issued handbills headed: ’The
vertue of the coffee-drink.  First made and publicly sold in England by
Pasqua Rosee, at the sign of his own head.’  The original of one of them
is preserved in the British Museum.  It is generally said that the
second coffee-house in London was that established as the Rainbow (now a
tavern) in Fleet Street, by one Fair, a barber, in the year 1657.  In
the _Mercurius Politicus_ of September 30, 1658, an advertisement
appeared, setting forth the virtues of the then equally new beverage,
namely, _tcha_, or _tay_, or _tee_, which was sold at the Sultaness Head
_Cophee-house_, in Sweeting’s Rents, by the Royal Exchange.  We thus see
that as early as 1658 there were already three coffee-houses in London.
But coffee met with opponents.  The vintners called it ’sooty drink’;
lampooners said it undermined virile power, and that to drink it was to
ape the Turks and insult one’s canary-drinking ancestors.  Fair, the
founder of the Rainbow, already mentioned, was indicted for ’making and
selling a sort of liquor, called coffee, whereby in making it he annoyed
his neighbours by evil smells, and for keeping of fire for the most part
night and day, to the great danger and affrightment of his neighbours.’
But Farr stood his ground, and in time became a person of importance in
the parish, and coffee-houses multiplied. Cornhill and its purlieus were
full of them.  There were the Great Turk, Sword Blade, Rainbow,
Garraway, Jerusalem, Tom’s, and Weston’s Coffee-Houses in Exchange Alley
alone; in St. Michael’s Alley, close by, there were, besides Rosee’s,
Williams’s, and other coffee-houses.  They also, as we have seen, had
been established further west than the City, and they were also, as
already mentioned, places of rendezvous, where appointments were made,
where lawyers met clients, and doctors patients, merchants their
customers, clerks their masters, where farce-writers, journalists,
politicians, and literary hacks went to pick up ideas, and, as it was
then called, watch, and if they could, catch the humours of the town.
The _Spectator_, in his very first number, acknowledges his indebtedness
to coffee-houses. ’There is no place of general resort,’ he says,
’wherein I do not often make my appearance.  Sometimes I am seen
thrusting my head into a round of politicians at Will’s (on the north
side of Russell Street, at the corner of Bow Street), and listening with
great attention to the narratives that are made in those little circular
audiences.  Sometimes I smoke a pipe at Child’s (St. Paul’s Churchyard),
and whilst I seem attentive to nothing but the _Postman_, overhear the
conversation of every table in the room.  I appear on Sunday nights at
St. James’s (the famous Whig coffee-house from the time of Queen Anne to
late in the reign of George III.), and sometimes join the little
committee of politics in the inner room, as one who comes there to hear
and improve.’

There was another Will’s in Serle Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which
was also a haunt of the _Spectator_, as were the other coffee-houses in
that neighbourhood.  He says in his ninety-ninth number: ’I do not know
that I meet in any of my walks objects which move both my spleen and
laughter so effectually as these young fellows at the Grecian, Squire’s,
Searle’s, and all other coffee-houses adjacent to the law, who rise
early for no other purpose but to publish their laziness.’  It appears
that it was usual to resort to the coffee-house as early as six o’clock
in the morning.  In ’Moser’s Vestiges,’ Will’s is thus referred to: ’All
the beaux that used to breakfast in the coffee-houses and taverns
appendant to the Inns of Court struck their morning strokes in an
elegant _déshabille_, which was carelessly confined by a sash of yellow,
red, blue, green, etc., according to the taste of the wearer.  The idle
fashion was not quite worn out in 1765.  We can remember having seen
some of these early loungers in their nightgowns, caps, etc., at Will’s,
Lincoln’s Inn Gate, about that period.’

But the coffee-houses were not all for beer and skittles only.  In the
City especially, the business of the City, and of England, in fact, was
transacted in them. Merchants and other business people, professional
men, brokers, agents, had not then their private offices, which could
only be reached through the ante-den of quill-driving _cerberi, milgo_
clerks.  All the transactions of daily life were then largely carried on
in public, as they are in all communities, until they arrive at a high
state of civilization.  Even now among the peasantry of various European
countries a man cannot have his child christened without the ceremony
being rendered a public spectacle.  And so here in England, in the
barbarous days of dingy and musty coffee-houses, they were
consulting-rooms, offices, counting-houses, auction-rooms, and shops.
When the business was done, or in order to further it, refreshments of
all sorts were handy, for the coffee-house did not confine itself to
that innocent beverage, but supplied stronger stuffs; it was, in fact, a
tavern, and many of the houses, now openly so called, were formerly
coffee-houses.  And the business transacted at them was, as may be
imagined, of the most varied character.  Agents for the purchase or sale
of estates, houses and other property, instead of seeing people at their
offices, met them at coffee-houses.  Thus one Thomas Rogers advertised
that he gave attendance daily at the Rainbow by the Temple; on Tuesdays
at Tom’s, by the Exchange, and on Thursdays at Will’s, near Whitehall,
for transacting agency business.  This was legitimate enough, but what
of the sale of human flesh at a coffee-house?  In 1708 an advertisement
appeared: ’A black boy, twelve years of age, fit to wait on a gentleman,
to be disposed of at Denis’s Coffee-house, in Finch-lane.’  And again,
in 1728: ’To be sold, a negro boy, aged eleven years.  Enquire at the
Virginia Coffee-house, Threadneedle-street.’  Sometimes the keeper of
the coffee-house sold goods on account of others; thus from an
advertisement in the _Postman_, January, 1705, we learn that Mr.
Shipton, at John’s Coffee-house, in Exchange Alley, sold someone’s
famous razor strops.  The landlords of those places, indeed, seem to
have been very accommodating, especially in the taking in of letters,
thus anticipating the practice of modern newspaper shops.  And they were
not squeamish as to the advertisements, answers to which were to be sent
to them.  Thus a gentleman (?) in the _General Advertiser_, October,
1745, expressed a wish to hear from a lady he had seen in one of the
left-hand boxes at Drury Lane, and who seemed to take particular notice
of a gentleman who sat about the middle of the pit (the advertiser, of
course).  Letter to be left for ’P.M.F.’, at the Portugal Coffee-house,
near the Exchange.  In 1762 a young man advertised for his mother, ’who,
in 1740, resided at a certain village near Bath, where she was delivered
of a son, whom she left with a sum of money under the care of a person
in the same parish, and promised to fetch him at a certain age, but has
not since been heard of ... if living, she is asked to send a letter to
"J.E.", at the Chapter Coffee-house, St. Paul’s Churchyard ... this
advertisement is published by the person himself [_i.e._, the son, born
near Bath] not from motives of necessity, or to court any assistance (he
being by a series of happy circumstances possessed of an easy and
independent fortune).’  It would, I fancy, be difficult at the present
day to find anyone, having a reputation of any note to keep up, willing
to receive answers to such an advertisement, which, if it was not a
fraud, looked terribly like an attempt at one.  It happened in those
days, as it occasionally does now, that the estates of gentlemen who
married late in life passed away to remote branches; the ’young
gentleman’ had no doubt reflected on this subject.  The Turk’s Head
seems, to judge by advertisements, to have been somewhat heathenish.
Here is another advertisement, also from the _Morning Post_, answers to
which it took in: ’Whereas there are ladies, who have £2,000, £3,000, or
£4,000 at their command, and who, from not knowing how to dispose of the
same to the greatest advantage ... afford them but a scanty maintenance
... the advertiser (who is a gentleman of independent fortune, strict
honour and character, and above reward) acquaints such ladies that if
they will favour him with their name and address ... he will put them
into a method by which they may, without any trouble, and with an
absolute certainty, place out their money, so as to produce them a clear
interest of 10 or 12 per cent.... on good and safe securities.  Direct
to "R.J.," Esq., at the Turk’s Head Coffee-house, Strand.’  We pity any
lady who fell into the clutches of this ’gentleman of independent
fortune’!  And how the Turk’s Head must have grinned when answers to
’R.J.’ arrived! About the same time a gentleman advertised that he knew
a method, which reduced it almost to a certainty to win a considerable
sum by insuring numbers in the lottery.  For ten guineas the gentleman
was prepared to ’discover the plan.’  Answers to be sent to the York
Coffee-house, St. James’s Street.  Another gentleman is willing to lend
£3,000 to anyone having sufficient interest to procure him a Government
appointment, worth £200 or £300 per annum.  Answers to this were to be
sent to the Chapter Coffee-house, St. Paul’s.  To some of the
coffee-houses it would seem porters were attached, ready to run errands
for customers, or the outside public; some of them seem to have earned a
reputation of a certain character.  Thus Cynthio (_Spectator_, No. 398)
employs Robin, the porter, who waits Will’s Coffee-house, to take a
letter to Flavia. ’Robin, you must know,’ we are told, ’is the best man
in the town for carrying a billet; the fellow has a thin body, swift
step, demure looks, sufficient sense, and knows the town ... the fellow
covers his knowledge of the nature of his messages with the most
exquisite low humour imaginable; the first he obliged Flavia to take was
by complaining to her that he had a wife and three children, and if she
did not take that letter, which he was sure there was no harm in, but
rather love, his family must go supperless to bed, for the gentleman
would pay him according as he did his business.’  He would seem to have
been a mild Leporello.

We find the cheapness of living at coffee-houses frequently extolled in
the publications and conversations of the day in which they were most
flourishing.  An Irish painter, whom Johnson knew, declared that £30 a
year was enough to enable a man to live in London, without being
contemptible.  He allowed £10 for clothes and linen.  He said a man
might live in a garret at 1s. 6d. a week; few people would inquire where
he lodged, and if they did, it was easy to say: ’Sir, you will find me
at such and such a place’—just as nowadays impecunious swells, who live
in garrets, manage to keep up their club subscription, and give as their
address that of the club.  By spending threepence at a coffee-house,
Johnson’s Irish painter further argued, a man might be for some hours
every day in very good company; he might dine for sixpence, breakfast on
bread-and-milk for a penny, and do without supper.  On clean-shirt day
the painter went out to pay visits, as Swift also did.

With regard to the persons employed in a coffee-house, we learn from one
advertisement: ’To prevent all mistakes among gentlemen of the other end
of the town, who come but once a week to St. James’s Coffee-house,
either by miscalling the servants, or requiring such things from them as
are not properly within their respective provinces, this is to give
notice that Kidney, keeper of the book-debts of the outlying customers,
and observer of those who go off without paying, having resigned that
employment, is succeeded by John Sowton, to whose place of caterer of
messages and first coffee-grinder William Bird is promoted, and Samuel
Bardock comes as shoe-cleaner in the room of the said Bird.’

Well, the coffee-houses are things of the past; a few survive as
taverns.  What may be considered as their successors are called
coffee-shops, patronized by working-men chiefly, but the ’humours’ are
of the tamest description; they may supply statistics to temperance
apostles, but no literary entertainment to the public.



                                 *IV.*

                 *OLD M.P.S AND SOME OF THEIR SAYINGS.*


Somebody has said that, on making inquiry after a man you have not seen
for a number of years, you may find him either in the hulks or in
Parliament. This somebody evidently was a bit of a philosopher, who knew
how to put the possibilities of human life in a nutshell.  He understood
that the same cause may have totally different effects: the same heat
which softens lead hardens clay, the same abilities which may send a man
to penal servitude may elevate him to the dignity of an M.P.  And thus
it happened that some queer people got into Parliament, which, no doubt,
was the fact which gave rise to somebody’s wise saw, and which was not
to be wondered at in the good old days, before Reform and Corrupt
Practices Prevention Acts, and similar humbugging interferences with the
liberty of the subject, were dreamt of.  In those good old days of
rotten and pocket boroughs men had Parliamentary honours thrust upon
them _nolentes volentes_.  Thus, a noble lord, who owned several such
boroughs, was asked by the returning officer whom he meant to nominate.
Having no eligible candidate at hand, he named a waiter at White’s Club,
one Robert Mackreth; but, as he did not happen to be sure of the
Christian name of his nominee, the election was declared to be void.
Nothing daunted, his lordship persisted in his nomination.  A fresh
election was therefore held, when, the name of the waiter having been
ascertained, he was returned as a matter of course, and Robert Mackreth,
Esq., took his seat in St. Stephen’s.  This was possible in the days of
Eldon and Perceval; in fact, in the early part of this century, 306
members, more than half of the House of Commons, were returned by 160
persons, and in 1830 it was admitted that, though there were men of
ability in the Cabinet, such as Brougham, Lansdowne, Melbourne,
Palmerston, the members of the House were ’persons of very narrow
capacities, of small reputation for talent, and without influence with
the people.’

However, the Reform Bill was passed in 1832, and pocket boroughs were
abolished.  There had been thirty-seven places returning members with
constituencies not exceeding fifty electors, and fourteen of those
places had not more than twenty electors.  There were three boroughs
each containing only one £10 householder. One of the boroughs only paid
in assessed taxes £3 9s., another £16 8s. 9d., a third £40 17s. 1d.
But, luckily for the public, the Reform Bill did not abolish the fun of
the flags, music, beer, and jokes of elections.  The delicate attentions
which could still be paid to candidates remained in full swing.  Thus,
we remember an election in the Isle of Wight: The father of one of the
candidates for Parliamentary distinction, in the Conservative interest,
had, in his youthful days, married a lady who, in a peripatetic manner,
dealt in oysters.  His rival, a Radical, paid him the compliment of
sending him daily barrows and truck-loads of oyster-shells, which were,
with his kind regards, discharged in front of the hotel where his
committee was established, and from whose windows he addressed the
electors.  It was splendid fun, and calculated to impress the
intelligent foreigner.  It showed how highly the British public
appreciated their elective franchise.  Pleasantries had, indeed, always
been the rule at election-time.  When Fox, in 1802, canvassed
Westminster, he asked a shopkeeper on the opposite side for his vote and
interest, when the latter produced a halter, and said that was all he
could give him.  Fox thanked him, but said he could not think of
depriving him of it, as no doubt it was a family relic.  At an election
at Norwich in 1875 the committee-room of the Conservative candidate was
attacked, but the agent kept up the fire and had red-hot pokers ready,
which, standing at the top of the stairs, he offered to his assailants,
but they would not take them!  In the same town the Liberals held a
prayer-meeting, at which the Conservatives presented each man with one
of Moody and Sankey’s hymn-books, with something between the leaves. In
fact, the Reform Bill had not made elections pure. William Roupell
obtained his seat for Lambeth by the expenditure of £10,000, ’and,’ said
a man well able to judge of the truth of his assertion, ’if he were
released from prison (to which he was sent for life for his forgeries)
and would spend another £10,000, he would be re-elected, in spite of his
having proved a criminal.’

Money carried the day at elections.  According to a speech made by Mr.
Bright at Glasgow in 1866, a member had told him that his election had
cost him £9,000 already, and that he had £3,000 more to pay. At a
contest in North Shropshire in 1876, the expenses of the successful
candidate, Mr. Stanley Leighton, amounted to £11,727, and of the
defeated candidate, Mr. Mainwaring, to £10,688.  At the General Election
of 1880, in the county of Middlesex, the expenses of the successful
candidates, Lord George Hamilton and Mr. Octavius Coope, were £11,506.
The cost of the Gravesend election, and the petition which followed and
unseated the candidate returned, was estimated at £20,000.  But the most
expensive contest ever known in electioneering was that for the
representation of Yorkshire.  The candidates were Viscount Milton, son
of Earl Fitzwilliam, a Whig; the Hon. Henry Lascelles, son of Lord
Harewood, a Tory; and William Wilberforce, in the Dissenting and
Independent interest.  The election was carried on for fifteen days, Mr.
Wilberforce being at the head of the poll all the time.  It terminated
in his favour and in that of Lord Milton.  The contest is said to have
cost the parties near half a million pounds.  The expenses of
Wilberforce were defrayed by public subscription, more than double the
sum being raised within a few days, and one moiety was afterwards
returned to the subscribers.  When Whitbread, the brewer, first opposed
the Duke of Bedford’s interest at Bedford, the Duke informed him that he
would spend £50,000 rather than that he should come in.  Whitbread
replied that was nothing, the sale of his grains would pay for that.
Now, John Elwes, the miser, knew better than that.  Though worth half a
million of money, he entered Parliament, by the interest of Lord Craven,
at the expense of 1s. 6d., for which he had a dinner at Abingdon.  From
1774 he sat for the next twelve years for Berkshire, his conduct being
perfectly independent, and in his case there had been no bribery that
could be brought home to him.  He was a great gambler, and, after
staking large sums all night, he would, in the morning, go to Smithfield
to await the arrival of his cattle from his farms in Essex, and, if not
arrived, would walk on to meet them.  He wore a wig; if he found one
thrown away into the gutter, he would appropriate and wear it.  In those
days members occasionally wore dress-swords at the House.  One day a
gentleman seated next to Elwes was rising to leave his place, and just
at that moment Elwes bent forward, so that the point of the sword the
gentleman wore came in contact with Elwes’s wig, which it whisked off
and carried away.  The House was instantly in a roar of laughter, whilst
the gentleman, unconscious of what he had done, calmly walked away, and
Elwes after him to recover his wig, which looked as if it was one of
those he had picked up in the gutter.

Bribes were expected and given, as we have seen.  Of course, the thing
was not done openly.  Tricks were practised, understood by all parties.
The agent would sit in a room in an out-of-the-way place.  A voter would
come in; the agent would say, ’How are you to-day?’ and hold up three
fingers.  ’I am not very well,’ the answer would be, when the agent
would accidentally hold up his hand, upon which the voter would say that
he thought fresh air would do him good, and look out of the window as if
examining the sky.  In the meantime the agent would place five
sovereigns on the table, and also go to look at the weather.  His back
being turned to the table, the voter would quietly slip the cash into
his pocket, and, saying ’Good-morning,’ take his departure.  And how
could any bribery be proved? But occasionally the people expecting
bribes were nicely taken in.  Lord Cochrane, when he first stood for
Honiton, refused to give bribes, and the seat was secured by his
opponent, who gave £5 for every vote.  On this Cochrane sent the bellman
round to announce that he would give to every one of the minority who
had voted for him 10 guineas.  At the next election no questions were
asked, and Cochrane was returned by an overwhelming majority.  Those who
had voted for him then intimated that they expected some acknowledgment
for their support.  He declined to give a penny, and when he was
reminded that, after the former election, he had given 10 guineas to
every one of the minority, he coolly replied that this was for their
disinterestedness in refusing his opponent’s £5, and that to pay them
now would be acting in violation of his principle not to bribe.  And the
disinterested voters marched off with faces as long as those of horses.

The Reform Bill of 1832, which was highly objectionable to old-fashioned
Conservatives, was accused by them of having introduced some very queer
and curious members into the House.  Through this Bill the bone-grubber,
as Raike calls him, W. Cobbett, was returned for Oldham, and Brighton,
under the very nose of the Court, returned two rampant Radicals, who
openly talked of reducing the allowance made to the King and Queen.
Nay, John Gully, a prize-fighter, was returned to the House for
Pontefract, and was re-elected at the next election.  He at one time
kept the Plough Inn in Carey Street, which was pulled down just before
the erection of the new Law Courts.  Eventually he resigned his seat on
account of ill-health, as he averred; but as he became a great patron of
racing, and was a constant attendant at the various race-courses, his
ill-health was probably only a pretence for quitting a sphere for which
he felt himself unfit.  On his first election the following epigram
appeared against him:

    ’If anyone ask why should Pontefract sully
    Its name by returning to Parliament Gully,
    The etymological cause, I suppose, is
    He’s broken the bridges of so many noses.’


Another member who may be reckoned among the curiosities who have sat in
the House was William Roupell.  He was the illegitimate son of Richard
Palmer Roupell, a wealthy lead merchant, who invested a large sum in the
purchase of land, to which he gave the name of the Roupell Park Estate.
William was his favourite son, though he had other legitimate children;
and it was not till a few days before his father’s death that he learnt
the secret of his own birth. The former had made a will, by which he
left this property to William, on condition of his making annual
payments to his brothers and sisters; but as this would have brought to
light the forgeries he had already committed during his father’s
lifetime, to the amount of about £150,000, he, on his father’s death,
managed to get hold of the will, which eventually he destroyed,
substituting a forged one, leaving all to his wife and William; and the
latter quickly persuaded his mother to confer the greater part of the
estates on him by deed of gift.  He soon obtained the social position
the great wealth he now possessed usually commands; he stood for
Lambeth, and by the expenditure of £10,000, as already mentioned, he
obtained the seat.  But Roupell was not only a rogue, but a fool.  By
gambling and extravagance he soon ran through the fortune he had
obtained by crooked means.  Finding the detection of his crimes
inevitable, he fled to Spain, but eventually returned, and gave himself
up to justice, confessing the forgeries he had committed.  Of course,
the persons who had purchased property then became aware that the deeds
by which they held it were worthless.  The court considered his offences
so serious that in 1862 it condemned him to penal servitude for life;
but he was released after an imprisonment of fourteen years.  In 1876 he
left Portland a free man again.  But it is with Roupell as a member of
Parliament we are chiefly concerned.  In that capacity he did not shine.
He remained in the House long enough to prove that he was disqualified
to represent a large borough like Lambeth.  He took no part in the
debates, nor did he appear to be able to grapple with and master any
question connected with politics.  Being asked one evening at the Horns,
when meeting his constituents, why he did not speak in the House of
Commons, he replied: ’Because I do not want to make a fool of myself.’
Next morning the _Times_ made merry with this confession.  He was
consequently regarded as a cipher, but he was supported by his supposed
wealth. But soon suspicious murmurs began to be heard, and he prepared
for his flight to Spain; and he decamped without making any application
for the Chiltern Hundreds, so that for a considerable time his place in
Parliament could not be filled up.  Advertisements in Galignani apprised
him of the omission, and at length the application was made.  He did not
meet with much pity, either from the public or the press; squibs without
end appeared against him in the papers.  We append a specimen of a short
one:

    ’Now, the Lambeth folks this wealthy gent
      As their member did decide on,
    But little they knew he’d happened to do
      Some things he didn’t oughter;
    For he’d forged a will and several deeds....

    ’And the public said: "Well, this here Roupell
      Has got no more than he oughter."
    So there was an end of the wealthy gent
      As was member from over the water.’


Lambeth appears to have been unfortunate in the selection of its
Parliamentary candidates.  In 1852 the parochial party, wishing for a
local man, formed themselves into a committee to secure the election of
Mr. Joseph Harvey, of Lambeth House, a drapery establishment in the
Westminster Bridge Road. Mr. Harvey had never taken an active part in
public matters; his tastes lay not that way.  He shrank from public
life, and had no training or aptitude for addressing large meetings.
However, he was forced forward; but when he spoke at the Horns—the
speech was written for him by someone else—his total incapacity for the
position thrust on him became so apparent that he gave up the contest,
but not before he had afforded plenty of food to the squib-writers.

Parliament is not above the use of nicknames, either by way of praise or
in scorn.  Cobbett’s talent for fastening such names on anyone he
disliked was very great.  He invented ’Prosperity Robinson,’ ’Æolus
Canning,’ ’Pink-nosed Liverpool,’ ’unbaptized, buttonless blackguards,’
or Quakers.  Lord Yarmouth, from the colour of his whiskers, and from
the place which gave him his title, was known as ’Red Herrings.’  Lord
Durham so often opposed his colleagues in the Cabinet that he was called
the ’Dissenting Minister.’  Thomas Duncombe was so popular that he was
always spoken of as ’Honest’ or ’Poor’ Tom; his French friends called
him ’Cher Tomie.’  John Arthur Roebuck had a habit of bringing forward,
in a startling way, facts he had got hold of, and thus raising
opposition; and from a passage in a speech he made at the Cutlers’
Feast, at Sheffield, in 1858, obtained the nickname of ’Tear ’em.’  He
had just paid a visit to Cherbourg, and returned home with feelings very
unfriendly to the then ruler of France, to which he gave expression at
the feast, excusing himself at the same time for using such language
towards a neighbour by saying: ’The farmer who goes to sleep, having
placed the watch-dog, Tear ’em, over his rick-yard, hears that dog bark.
He bawls out of the window: "Down, Tear ’em, down!"  And Tear ’em does
not again disturb his sleep, till he is woke up by the strong blaze of
his corn and hay ricks.  I am Tear ’em.  Beware!  Cherbourg is a
standing menace to England.’  Michael Angelo Taylor was known by the
sobriquet of ’Chicken’ Taylor.  On some points of law he had answered
the great lawyer Bearcroft, but not without apologizing for his
venturing, he being but a chicken in the law, on a fight with the cock
of Westminster Hall.  Charles Wynn was brother to Sir Watkin Wynn, and
from a peculiarity in the utterances of the latter, and the shrillness
of Charles’s voice, the two went by the nicknames of ’Bubble and
Squeak.’  Sir Watkin was also known as ’Small Journal’ Wynn, from his
extensive knowledge of Parliamentary rule.  William Cowper, falsely
accused of having married a second wife whilst his first was still
alive, was known as ’Will Bigamy.’

Strangers formerly were not allowed to be present at the deliberations
of the House; now they are admitted to the Strangers’ Gallery, but never
to the floor of the House.  Yet sometimes there will be an intruder.
Once Lord North, when speaking, was interrupted by the barking of a dog
which had crept in.  He turned round, and said: ’Mr. Speaker, I am
interrupted by a new member.’  The dog was driven out, but got in again,
and recommenced barking, when Lord North, in his dry way, said: ’Spoke
once.’

We are near the limits of our space.  Let us conclude with recording a
few of the strange designations given to Parliaments.  The Parliament de
la Bonde was a Parliament in the reign of Edward II., to which the
Barons came armed against the Spencers, with coloured bands, or ’bonds,’
upon their sleeves, by way of distinction.  The Diabolical Parliament
was one held at Coventry in the thirty-eighth year of Henry VI.’s reign,
and in which Edward, Earl of March, afterwards King, and several of the
nobility, were attainted.  The Unlearned Parliament, held at Coventry in
the sixth year of the reign of Henry IV., was so called by way of
derision, because, by a special precept to the sheriffs in their several
counties, no lawyers were to be admitted thereto.  The Insane
Parliament, which was held at Oxford in the forty-first year of the
reign of Henry III., obtained this name from the extraordinary
proceedings of the Lords, who came with great retinues of armed men,
’when contention grew very high, and many things were enacted contrary
to the King’s prerogative.’  We might add to the list, but the gas is
being turned off; so _vale_!



                                  *V.*

                          *FAMOUS OLD ACTORS.*


There is a boom just now in the theatrical world. New theatres are
springing up, not only in London proper, but in all its suburbs, yet it
is only history repeating itself.  From 1570 to 1629 no less than
seventeen playhouses had been built in London, and London then extended
only from the Tower to Westminster, and from Oxford Street to Blackman
Street in the Borough.  The first London theatre was the Fortune,[#]
opened about the year 1600, a large round, brick building between
Whitecross Street and Golding—now Golden—Lane, which was burnt down on
December 9, 1621.  The town was then full of actors, for besides those
playing at the various theatres, there were royal comedians.  Many
noblemen kept companies of players, nay, the lawyers acted in the Inns
of Court, and there were actors of note among them.  But the inevitable
reaction ensued.  Amidst the storms of the Revolution the stage was
neglected.  Even Shakespeare had to take a back-seat till Garrick
brought him into fashion again, though it is chiefly to the learned and
enthusiastic criticism and appreciation of German students of
Shakespeare that the revival of his plays on the stage is due.  His
reputation was ’made in Germany,’ and the Germans we have to thank for a
Shakespeare who is presentable to a modern audience, which the original
writer was not; his plays were only fit to be acted before the savages
who delighted in bull and bear baiting.  This estimate of the
Shakespearian drama is not in accordance with the prevailing sentiment,
but we have a right to our opinions and the courage to express them.
However, this is only incidental to our theme, which deals more with
actors and acting than with the plays they took parts in.


[#] The Curtain is said to have been erected in 1570, on the site of the
present Curtain Road, but the date is doubtful, and it was more of an
inn than a playhouse.


There is a general opinion abroad that the realistic play is of quite
modern date, probably brought on the stage in ’L’Assommoir.’  In a
publication of July, 1797, I find it stated that ’our managers some time
ago conceived it would be proper to introduce realities instead of
fictions.  Hence we have seen real horses and real bulls on the stage,
gracing the triumphal entry of some hero.  Hence, too, real water has
been supplied in such quantities that Harlequin’s leap into the sea
would now really be no joke....  The introduction of water will, no
doubt, facilitate the introduction of real sea-fights, provided we can
get real admirals and seamen.’  But the writer seems to have been
oblivious of the fact that, in the middle of the last century, already
the water of the New River had been carried under the flooring of
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the boards being removed, for the exhibition of
aquatic performances. And as to this century, long before the more
recent realistic plays, we have seen in the sixties a real cab with a
real horse brought on to the stage to give the heroine, who is about to
elope, the opportunity of uttering the pun: ’Now, four-wheeler, wo!’
(for weal or woe!).  And a very good pun it is.

The formation of the English drama is chiefly due to the ’Children of
Paul,’ or pupils of St. Paul’s School, in those days nicknamed the
’Pigeons of St. Paul.’  The dramatic celebrity of these juvenile
performers goes back as far as the year 1378.  Originally they confined
themselves to ’moralities,’ but in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, before
whom they acted on various occasions, they appeared in the regular drama
with considerable applause.  They exhibited burlesque interludes and
farcical comedies.  Their schoolroom, which stood behind the Convocation
House near St. Paul’s, was their stage; but about the year 1580 the
citizens, bent on driving all players out of the city, caused it to be
removed.  The plague had, as usual, caused great ravages in London, and
it was thought that the actors were great means of spreading it,
wherefore their performances were altogether prohibited.  When the
’Children of Paul’ performed out of their own premises, it was generally
the Blackfriars Theatre they resorted to.  When they performed in the
school-house the admission was 2d. This charge was made to keep the
company select, and according to a passage in ’Jacke Drum’s
Entertainment,’ first printed in 1601, it _was_ select:

’SIR EDWARD: I saw the "Children of Paul’s" last night, and troth, they
pleased me prettie, prettie well. The apes in time will do it
handsomely.

’PLANET: I like the audience that frequenteth there with much applause.
A man shall not be choked with the stench of garlick, nor be passed to
the barmy jacket of a beer brewer.’

The stage did not attain a dignified position till the time of
Shakespeare.  He and his fellow-actors—Burbage, Heminge, Condell,
Taylor, Kemp, Sly—ennobled it, and since then the roll of English actors
who have gained distinction on the boards is very long, and our limited
space allows us to refer to but a few of them, and then only to some
characteristic traits.

Let us commence with a defence of Garrick’s conduct towards Johnson.
When the latter was preparing his edition of ’Shakespeare,’ Garrick
offered him the use of his choice library.  But, entering the room, he
found Johnson, according to his usual habit, pulling the books off the
shelves, breaking their backs, more easily to read them, and throwing
them carelessly on the floor. Garrick naturally grew very angry, for
which he has been much abused, charged with ’having acted in abominably
bad taste ... without any true gentlemanly feeling ... that knowing his
friend’s character ... Garrick ought to have been prepared for any
slight unfavourable consequences.  He ought to have known that much
might be excused in so great a man,’ etc. Now, this is most undeserved
censure on a man of greater parts than Johnson ever could boast of.  The
only thing he ever wrote which will live is his Dictionary. As to his
greatness, if unabashed bounce and a dictatorial jaw constitute
greatness, he certainly, judging him by Bozzy’s account, could lay claim
to such.  Garrick’s generosity induced him to offer a bear the use of
his books.  Still, he had a right to expect that even a bear, who
professed to admire and practise literature, would know how to treat
books.  But the bear remained a bear everywhere.  He treated Mr.
Thrale’s books no better.  But Garrick was generous in other ways.  He
was often visited at his villa, near Sunbury, by a gentleman with whom
he used to have long and violent arguments on various matters, the
visitor generally differing from, and contradicting, his host.  One day
Garrick, at the gentleman’s request, readily lent him £100.  Their
discussions continued, but the visitor was no longer so violent in his
arguments, nor did he contradict Garrick as he had done formerly.  On
one occasion, when Garrick had reintroduced an argument his friend had
always violently combated, but now mildly conceded, Garrick, who liked a
lively discussion, jumped up and exclaimed: ’Pay me my hundred pounds,
or contradict me!’  Garrick’s generous nature broke forth in that
exclamation, and he did not wish his friend to feel under an obligation.
That his character was gentle and chivalrous is proved by the fact that
his wife and he were considered the fondest pair ever known, though the
lady was a woman with plenty of spirit.  Her letter of remonstrance
against Kean’s Abel Drugger was brief: ’DEAR SIR,—You don’t know how to
play Abel Drugger.’  To which Kean courteously, yet wittily, replied:
’DEAR MADAM,—I know it.’  She must have been very sprightly, too, for
when at the age of ninety-eight, and about two months before her death
(November, 1822), she visited Westminster Abbey, she asked the clergyman
who attended her if there would be room for her by the side of her
David—’not,’ she said, ’that I think I am likely soon to require it, for
I am yet a mere girl!’  She was a Viennese danseuse, Madame Violette,
when Garrick married her, and Horace Walpole reports that it was
whispered at the time that she had been sent over to England by no less
a person than the Empress-Queen, Maria Theresa, to be out of the way of
that somewhat jealous lady’s husband.  Apprehensive that he might be
ridiculed for marrying a dancer, Garrick got some friend to satirize him
publicly beforehand.  But we have seen that the marriage turned out a
very happy one.  Garrick had been the pupil of Johnson, when the latter
kept, or attempted to keep, a school near Lichfield, and he and his two
fellow-pupils (he never had more than two) used to peep through the
keyhole of his bedroom that they might turn into ridicule the doctor’s
awkward fondness for Mrs. Johnson, who was by many years her husband’s
senior, and elephantine in her figure, with swollen cheeks and a red
complexion, produced by paint and the liberal use of cordials.  In
after-years Garrick used to exhibit her, by his exquisite talent of
mimicry, so as to excite the heartiest bursts of laughter.  This may
seem ungenerous, but Johnson paid Garrick back in the same coin.  Vexed
at Garrick’s great success in his profession, he made it his business
always to express the greatest contempt for actors.

Quin, the contemporary of Garrick, and his rival, was employed by Prince
Frederick to instruct the Royal children in elocution, and when he was
informed of the graceful manner in which George III. had delivered his
first speech from the throne, he proudly said: ’Aye, it was I who taught
the boy to speak.’  Quin could be witty.  Disputing concerning the
execution of Charles I., and his opponent asking, ’But by what laws was
he put to death?’  Quin replied: ’By all the laws he had left them.’
When playing at Bath, he was at an evening party, where the
transmigration of souls was being discussed.  A lady, remarkable for the
whiteness of her neck and bust, asked him what animal he would wish to
be transformed into.  Quin, looking sharply at a fly then travelling
over her white neck, with an arch glance at her, said: ’A fly!’  On
another occasion to Lady Berkeley, a celebrated beauty, he said: ’Why,
your ladyship is looking as charming as the spring.’  The season was
spring, but the day was raw and cold, and Quin, seeing he had paid the
lady but a poor compliment, corrected himself by adding: ’Or, rather, I
wish the spring would look a little more like your ladyship.’

In Clare Street, Clare Market, there is a public-house called the Sun.
John Rich, the harlequin and lessee of the Duke’s Theatre in Portugal
Street (long since taken down), returning from the theatre in a
hackney-coach, ordered to be driven to the Sun.  On arriving there, he
jumped out of the coach, and through the window into the public-house.
The coachman thought his fare was a ’bilk’; but whilst he was still
looking up and down the street, Rich again jumped into the coach, and
told the driver to take him to another public-house.  On reaching it,
Rich offered to pay the coachman, but the latter refused the money,
saying: ’No, none of your money, Mr. Devil; though you wear shoes, I can
see your hoofs’; and he drove off as quickly as possible. The theatre
called the Duke’s Theatre, in Portugal Street, was rebuilt by
Christopher Rich, the father of the above-mentioned John, but he died
before the building was quite finished, and it was opened by John; and
it is in this theatre that the modern stage took its rise, and here the
earliest Shakespearian revivals took place.  Quin was one of the
performers there; and there the ’Beggar’s Opera’ was first produced, and
acted on sixty-two nights in one season, causing the saying that it made
Gay rich and Rich gay.  The opera was written under the auspices of the
Duchess of Queensberry, who agreed to indemnify Rich in all expenses if
the daring speculation should fail.

Rich, in 1731, built himself a new theatre—the Covent Garden Theatre—on
a site granted by the Duke of Bedford, at a ground-rent of £100 per
annum.  When a new lease was granted, in 1792, the ground-rent was
raised to £940 per annum.  When Thomas Killigrew was manager of the
theatre in Bear Yard, Clare Market, he was a great favourite with
Charles II.  This King at times showed great indifference to the
business of the State, and refused to attend the Council.  One day, when
he had been long expected, Lord Lauderdale went to his apartments, but
was refused admission.  His lordship complained to Nell Gwynne, upon
which she wagered him £100 that the King would that evening attend the
Council. Then she sent for Killigrew, and asked him to dress as if for a
journey, and to enter the King’s rooms without ceremony, with further
instructions what he was to do then.  As soon as the King saw him, he
said:

’What, Killigrew!  Where are you going?  Did I not give orders that I
was not to be disturbed?’

’I don’t mind your orders, and I am going as fast as I can.’

’Why, where are you going?’

’To hell,’ replied the jester in a sepulchral tone.

’What are you going to do there?’ asked the King, laughing.

’To fetch back Oliver Cromwell, to take some care of the national
affairs, for I am sure your Majesty takes none.’

And the King went to the Council.

Another famous comedian of that day was Joe Haines, who was an Oxford
M.A., but a scamp of the first order, who managed to cheat even the
rector of the Jesuit College in Paris out of £40 by a pretended note
from the Duke of Monmouth.  Not long after, meeting with a simple-minded
clergyman, he told him that he was one of the patentees of Drury Lane,
and appointed him his chaplain, instructing him at the same time to go
to the theatre with a large bell, to ring it, and call out: ’Players,
come to prayers!’  Which the clergyman did, till he found he had been
hoaxed.  In the reign of James II., this Haines turned Roman Catholic,
and told Sunderland that the Virgin Mary had appeared, and said to him:
’Joe, arise!’  To this Sunderland dryly replied that she should have
said ’Joseph,’ if only out of respect for her husband.

The greatest actor at the time of Charles II. was undoubtedly Thomas
Betterton.  He joined the company of Sir William Davenant in 1662.
Pepys frequently went to see him.  In those days the pay of actors was
not what it is now; Betterton, in spite of the position he held in
public estimation, never had more than £5 a week, including £1, by way
of pension, to his wife, who retired in 1694.  In 1709 he took a
benefit, at which the money taken at the doors was £75, but he received
also more than £450 in complimentary guineas; and in the following year
he had another benefit, by which he netted about £1,000.  Of course,
according to modern notions, these are but small receipts; but they are
better than what seems to have been the standard of theatrical payments
in 1511—judging from a bill of that year, without name of place where
the acting took place, but which states that it was performed on the
feast of St. Margaret (July 20).  According to legend, the devil, in the
shape of a dragon, swallowed St. Margaret, but she speedily made her
escape, and was thus considered to possess great powers of assisting
women in childbirth.  The bill runs thus:

’To musicians, for three nights, £0 5s. 6d.; for players in bread and
ale, £0 3s. 1d.; for decorations, dresses, and play-books, £1 0s. 0d.;
to John Hobbard, priest, and author of the piece, £0 2s. 8d.; for the
place in which the presentation was held, £0 1s. 0d.; for furniture, £0
1s. 4d.; for fish and bread, £0 0s. 4d.; for painting three phantoms and
devils, £0 0s. 6d.; and for four chickens for the hero, £0 0s. 4d.’  We
see here the author received only 2s. 8d. for writing the play.  Matters
have improved since then; Sheridan realized £3,000 by the sale of his
altered play of ’Pizarro.’  In the early part of this century authors of
successful pieces received from the theatre from £250 to £500, and from
the purchaser of the copyright for publication from £100 to £400.  Then
actors received £80 a week; favourite performers—stars, as we should now
call them—were paid £50 a night.  Actors have at times found very
generous friends.  When, in 1808, Covent Garden Theatre, then under the
management of John P. Kemble, was burnt down, the loss was immense, and
the insurances did not exceed £50,000. The then Duke of Northumberland
offered Kemble the sum of £10,000 as a loan on his simple bond.  The
offer was accepted, and the bond given.  On the day appointed for laying
the first stone, the bond was returned cancelled!

Italian opera-singers have made large fortunes in England.  When Owen
McSwiney was lessee of the Haymarket, circa 1708, he engaged one
Nicolini, a Neapolitan, who really was a splendid actor and a
magnificent-looking man, with a voice which won universal admiration, at
a salary of eight hundred guineas for the season—at that time an
enormous sum.  Nicolini left the stage in 1712, and returned to Italy,
where he built himself a fine villa, which, as a testimony of his
gratitude to the nation which enriched him, he called the English Folly.
In 1721 a company of French comedians occupied the Haymarket, to the
disgust of native actors.  Aaron Hill, the dramatic author and
opera-manager, consequently had occasion to write to John Rich: ’I
suppose you know that the Duke of Montague and I have agreed that I am
to have that house half the week, and the "French vermin" the other
half.’  International courtesies were at some discount at the time!

A few theatrical anecdotes may close these lucubrations. Actors
sometimes are strangely affected by their own parts.  Betterton,
although his countenance was ruddy, when he performed Hamlet, through
the violent and sudden emotion of horror at the presence of his father’s
spectre, instantly turned as white as his collar, whilst his whole body
was affected by a strong tremor.  When Booth the first time attempted
the ghost, when Betterton acted Hamlet, that actor’s look at him struck
him with such horror that he became disconcerted to such a degree that
he could not speak his part.  Of Mrs. Siddons, it was said that by the
force of fancy and reflection, she used to be so wrought up in preparing
to play Lady Constance in ’King John,’ that, when she set out from her
own house to the theatre, she was already Constance herself.

Smith—better known as ’Gentleman Smith’—married a sister of Lord
Sandwich.  For some time the union was kept concealed, but an apt
quotation of Charles Bannister elicited the truth:

’"Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague!"’ said Bannister, when Foote
bantered Smith on the subject. The latter was not proof against the
sally, and acknowledged the marriage.  ’Well,’ said Bannister, ’I
rejoice that you have got a Sandwich from the family; but if ever you
get a dinner from them, I’ll be hanged.’  The prophecy proved true.

Michael Kelly was an English opera-singer, a musical composer, and at
one time Sheridan’s manager at Drury Lane.  He then went into the wine
trade, when Sheridan advised him to put over his door: ’Michael Kelly,
composer of wine, and importer of music.’



                                 *VI.*

                *OLD JUDGES AND SOME OF THEIR SAYINGS.*


When I was a little boy I drew most of my notions of life and mankind
from the picture-books for my use and instruction.  I thought that Kings
and Queens wore their crowns and sceptres all day long, and took them to
bed with them, for I had thus seen them in the pictures in the books.
One engraving, I remember, I saw of a severe-looking gentleman, who had
thrown a gray doormat over his head, and sat behind a little desk
everlastingly writing away with an enormous quill pen.  It was this
quill pen which specially riveted my attention.  I was always given a
steel pen in my writing-lessons.  Why not a quill?  I asked my mother
who the man was, and was told he was a judge, and that what I took for a
door-mat was a wig which he wore to look dignified, and the great weight
of which was, moreover, intended to prevent his great legal learning
from evaporating through the pores of his skull, which was bald, but
compelled it to come out through his mouth only.

He used a quill pen to take notes of what was said by the parties
contending before him, because that, being a natural production, could
not possibly tell lies, whereas a steel pen, as an artificial
contrivance, could not be depended on for veracity; wherefore, in all
law proceedings, even at the lowest police court, quill pens only could
be used, for the law on morality and public policy grounds strongly
objects to lies; it is itself so truthful!  Of course, I believed all my
mother told me; children are so easy of belief if you only look serious
when you tell them crammers.  But I know better now, and crowns no
longer represent to me sovereignty, nor wigs wisdom.  Of another
delusion, too, I have been cured.  When I was a young man I was told
that English law was the perfection of human wisdom.  I believed this
then, for I was only a bigger child without experience.  But when I
arrived at years of discretion—that is, when I began to observe and
reflect—I could come to no other conclusion than that the axiom of the
law’s wisdom was a delusion.  There are many ways of proving this, but
one argument presents itself, which renders all further proofs
unnecessary.  Can a code which comprises a number of laws, the
interpretation of whose import is liable to be declared by one judge to
mean ’Yes,’ whilst another as positively maintains it means ’No,’ be
called the perfection of human wisdom? The ever-growing frequency of
appeals alone is sufficient to show that the existing laws are ambiguous
in expression, and lend themselves to the idiosyncrasies of every
individual judge, which is very far from perfection. Laws should be as
precise in their definitions as mathematical formulæ.  To substantiate
my reasoning, let me quote an actual case: Some twelve or thirteen years
ago, the captain of a cargo steamer belonging to a London firm, while
loading maize at Odessa, signed bills of lading which were ante-dated.
Between the false date and the real one, a few days after, of loading,
there was a considerable fall in the price of maize, and the consignees,
who were the sufferers by it, brought an action against the owners of
the steamer, they—the consignees—having discovered the ante-dating, and
recovered £437 damages, which the shipowners paid. On the captain’s
return to England, he made a claim of £190 for wages, which claim was
admitted by the firm, but they set up a counter-claim for the damages
they had had to pay to the consignees, through the captain’s negligence
and breach of duty in signing the ante-dated bills.  The case went to
trial before Mr. Justice Field and a jury, and was decided in the
captain’s favour, both as to his wages and the counter-claim.  The
owners appealed, and the Divisional Court, consisting of Grove, Denman,
and Wills, ordered the judgment to be set aside, and a new trial
granted.  The Appeal Court ordered the original judgment in favour of
the captain to be restored.  The owners then took the cause into the
House of Lords, where Lords Watson, Blackburn, and Fitzgerald restored
the order of the Divisional Court in favour of the owners, with all the
costs they had incurred.  Now, here was a case of breach of duty as
plain as it could be, yet it took four trials, the costs amounting to
about £4,000, to decide the question. This is but one of a hundred
similar cases which might be cited.  With what wisdom can laws be framed
which can give rise to so many judicial contradictory decisions? And the
fault of this lies not with the judges, but with the legislators, whose
only wisdom seems to consist in surrounding plain matter-of-fact with a
network of sophistry, chicanery, and hair-splitting subtleties—a system
which is constantly regretted by the judges themselves, who are ever
ready to warn the public against indulgence in litigation, for English
judges, as a rule, are straightforward, honourable men, who are inclined
to take common-sense and impartial views, except when a political or
theological bias gives a twist to their judgment.  Nor can it be left
out of our consideration that men educated in the legal schools of the
Inns of Court, and by teachers strongly impressed with the dignity and
importance of their pursuit, should adhere to it with cast-iron
rigidity, thus opposing, as much as possible, the introduction of new,
and in their estimation, revolutionary and destructive opinions.  It is
due to this adherence to, and maintenance of, the principles of a
barbarous and an arbitrary regime that the judges still possess the
tremendous power of committing for contempt of court any person who may
make a remark displeasing to them, however innocently that remark may
have been made.  Years ago I defended an action brought against me by a
tradesman for certain goods he alleged he had supplied me with.  The
action was tried in a County Court.  The plaintiff made his statement,
which introduced several particulars which were as new to me as they
were false.  But my solicitor whom I had brought with me could not know
they were so.  I turned towards the judge, and stated that I could prove
in two minutes that there was not a word of truth in the plaintiff’s
statements.  But the judge turned quite savagely towards me, saying:

’You must not speak to me.  You have your solicitor here.’

’But,’ I replied, ’my solicitor cannot know that these assertions are
false!’

’Be silent!’ thundered the judge.  ’If you say another word I shall
commit you for contempt.’

Of course I said no more, but, like the parrot, thought a lot.  I knew
that a judge, a mere County Court judge, who passes his life amidst the
most sordid and depressing scenes of wretchedness, had the power of
sending me to prison, and to keep me there till I made the most abject
apology for a speech which was never intended to be offensive.  Persons
have been kept in prison for twenty years by the mere order of a judge,
who was plaintiff, jury, and judge in every such case.  This is scarcely
in accordance with our ideas of justice.  But this relic of a barbarous
age will be abolished in time, as the Courts of Doctors’ Commons, or the
Palace Court, where a number of sleepy old gentlemen

    ’Were sittin’ at their ease,
    A-sendin’ of their writs about,
    And drorin’ in their fees,’

have been abolished.  And there is no doubt that our modern judges are
superior in talent, adroitness, and acuteness to those of former days.
They are men of high-breeding, combining in their characteristics those
of the courtier and of the lawyer.  Judges of the past were different;
in fact, some of the old judges were noted for their eccentricities.
Lord Thurlow was one of them.  When he was still an aspirant for
forensic fame, he was one evening at Nando’s Coffee-house—now a
hairdresser’s shop, opposite Chancery Lane, falsely called the palace of
Henry VIII. and Cardinal Wolsey. Arguing keenly about a celebrated case
then before the courts, he was heard by some lawyers, who were so
pleased with his handling of the matter that next day they appointed him
junior counsel, and the cause won him a silk gown.  This was in 1754.
It is asserted that he was singularly ugly, and that when his portrait
was shown to Lavater, the physiognomist said: ’Whether that man is on
earth or in another place, which shall be nameless, I know not; but
wherever he is, he is a born tyrant, and will rule if he can.’  And the
opinion thus formed was a correct one, for Lord Thurlow was fierce and
overbearing as a statesman, and was more feared than any other member of
the Cabinet.  In 1778 he had become Lord Chancellor, and been raised to
the Peerage.  His ugliness must have been a fact, for the Duke of
Norfolk, who had at Arundel Castle a fine breed of owls, named one of
them, on account of its ugliness, Lord Thurlow.  Great fun was caused by
a messenger coming to the Duke in the Lobby of the House of Peers with
the news that Lord Thurlow had laid an egg.

In 1785 Lord Thurlow purchased Brockwell Green Farm, and other lands in
the neighbourhood of Dulwich and Norwood, and chose Knight’s Hill as a
suitable site for a house.  The house was finished, but Lord Thurlow
considered it too dear—it is said to have cost £30,000—and would never
live in it, but remained in a smaller house, called Knight’s Hill Farm.
As he was coming from the Queen’s Drawing-room, a lady asked him when he
was going into his new house.  ’Madam,’ he replied, ’the Queen has just
asked me that impudent question, and, as I would not tell her, I will
not tell you.’  Both the mansion and the farmhouse disappeared long ago.

The romantic marriage of Lord Eldon, then plain Mr. John Scott, of the
Northern Circuit, forms a pleasant episode in legal history.  Bessie
Surtees was the daughter of Aubone Surtees, a banker and gentleman of
honourable descent at Newcastle.  Scott had met and danced with her at
the assemblies in that town, and his pretensions were at first favoured
by her family; but Sir William Blackett, a patrician but aged suitor,
presenting himself, Bessie was urged to throw over Scott and become Lady
Blackett.  But Bessie was faithful, and one night descended from a
window into her lover’s arms, and they were married at Blackshiels,
North Britain.  The future Lord Eldon came to London with his young and
pretty wife, and settled in a humble, small house in Cursitor Street.
Their housekeeping at first must have been on a somewhat restricted
scale, for Lord Eldon, in after-life, used to relate that, in those
days, he frequently ran into Clare Market for sixpennyworth of sprats.
It was probably owing to these privations in the early days of their
married life that her husband had afterwards to complain of her
stinginess and her repugnance to society.  In fact, she seems to have
ruled him rather sternly, for we read of his often stealing into the
George Coffee House, at the top of the Haymarket, to get a pint of wine,
as Lady Eldon did not permit him to enjoy it in peace at home.  Cyrus
Redding, who tells us this, did not like Eldon either as a Tory or as a
man.  ’His words,’ he writes, ’were no index to his real feelings.  He
had a sterile soul for all things earthly, except money, doubts, and the
art of drawing briefs.’

Cyrus Joy, who was present at the funeral of Lord Gifford, who was
buried in the Rolls Chapel, relates that Lord Eldon and Lord Chief
Justice Abbott were placed in a pew by themselves, and that he saw Lord
Eldon, who was very shaky during the most solemn part of the service,
touch the Chief Justice, evidently for his snuff-box, for the box was
produced, and he took a large pinch of snuff, but the moment he had
taken it he threw it away.  ’I was astonished,’ says Joy, ’at the
deception practised by so great a man, with the grave yawning before
him.’  Whilst Lord Eldon held the Great Seal, in 1812, a fire occurred
at Encombe, his country seat in Dorsetshire.  As soon as it broke out,
Lord Eldon buried the Seal in the garden whilst the engine played on the
burning house.  All the men-servants were helping to supply it with
water.  ’It was,’ wrote Lord Eldon, ’a very pretty sight, for all the
maids turned out of their beds, and formed a line from the water to the
fire-engine, handing the buckets.  They looked very pretty, all in their
shifts.’  When the fire was subdued, Lord Eldon had forgotten where he
had buried the Seal, and all the gardeners and maids who had looked so
pretty by firelight were set to work to dig up the garden till the Seal
was found.  Lord Eldon could be very rude at times.  He and the
Archbishop dined with George III., when he said: ’It is a curious fact
that your Majesty’s Archbishop and your Lord Chancellor married
clandestinely.  I had some excuse, certainly, for Bessie Surtees was the
prettiest girl in all Newcastle; but Mrs. Sutton was always the same
pumpkin-faced thing that she is at present.’  The King was much amused,
as we are told.

Lord Eldon’s brother, Sir William Scott, had a strange matrimonial
experience.  His brother eloped with a man’s daughter, and thus entered
the wedded state somewhat illegally.  Sir William may be said to have
entered it, in the true sense of the word, legally—that is, as a result
of his legal status.  He and Lord Ellenborough presided at the Old
Bailey at the trial of the young Marquis of Sligo for having, while in
the Mediterranean, lured into his yacht two of the King’s sailors, for
which offence he was fined £5,000, and sentenced to four months’
imprisonment in Newgate.  Throughout the trial his mother sat in the
court, hoping that her presence would rouse in the bench or the jury
feelings favourable to her son.  When the above sentence was pronounced,
Sir William accompanied it by a long moral jobation on the duties of a
citizen.  The Marchioness sent a paper full of satirical thanks to Sir
William for his good advice to her son.  Sir William read it as he sat
on the bench, and, having looked towards the lady, received from her a
glance and a smile which sealed his fate.  Within four months he was
tied fast (on April 10, 1813) to a voluble, shrill termagant, who
rendered him miserable and contemptible.  He removed to his wife’s house
in Grafton Street, and, ever economical in his domestic expenses,
brought with him his own door-plate from Doctor’s Commons, and placed it
under the pre-existing plate of Lady Sligo.  Jekyll, the punster of the
day, condoled with Sir William at having to ’knock under.’  Sir William
had the plates transposed.

’You see, I don’t knock under now,’ he said to Jekyll.

’Not now,’ replied the punster; ’now you knock up.’

This was said with reference to his advanced age.

Lord Erskine, another famous judge, when dining one day at the house of
Sir Ralph Payne, afterwards Lord Lavington, found himself so indisposed
as to be obliged to retire after dinner to another room.  When he
returned to the company, Lady Payne asked how he found himself.  Erskine
took out a piece of paper and wrote on it:

    ’’Tis true I am ill, but I cannot complain,
    For he never knew pleasure who never knew Payne.’


After he had ceased to hold the Seals as Lord Chancellor—and the time he
held the office was one year only—he met Captain Parry at dinner, and
asked him what he and his crew lived on in the Frozen Sea. Parry replied
that they lived on seals.  ’And capital things too, seals are, if you
only keep them long enough,’ was Erskine’s reply.  Being invited to
attend the Ministerial fish dinner at Greenwich when he was Chancellor,
’To be sure,’ he answered; ’what would your dinner be without the Great
Seal?’  When Erskine lived at Hampstead he was asked at a dinner-party
he attended, ’The soil is not the best in that part of Hampstead where
your seat is?’  ’No,’ he answered, ’very bad; for though my grandfather
was buried there as an Earl near a hundred years ago, what has sprouted
from it since but a mere Baron?’  Erskine married when very young, and
had four sons and four daughters.  When a widower and getting old he
married a second time, and his latter days were passed in a state
bordering on indigence.  He died in 1823, in poverty.  On July 17, 1826,
a woman, poorly dressed, was brought before the Lord Mayor by a
chimney-sweep as a person deserving assistance.  The woman, being
interrogated, declared herself to be Lady Erskine.  The Lord Mayor
conducted her into his private room, where he heard her sad story.  She
had lived with Lord Erskine several years before he married her, which
he did in Scotland, whereby their children (four) were legitimatized.
His death left her destitute, though she had been promised a pension
from Government of twelve shillings a week, which had been paid very
irregularly, and finally withdrawn altogether, because she would not be
parted from her youngest child.  The others had been taken care of by
Government.  She had for years endeavoured to maintain herself by female
labour, but now she was totally destitute and actually starving.  The
Lord Mayor liberally supplied her present wants, and promised to
intercede for her with Government, with what result we have been unable
to ascertain.  It was Mr. H. Erskine, brother of Lord Erskine, who,
after being presented to Dr. Johnson by Boswell, slipped a shilling into
the latter’s hand, whispering that it was for showing him his bear.
Erskine could mould a jury at his pleasure, yet in Parliament he was not
successful as an orator.  But when pleading he was always ready with
repartee.  Once, when insisting on the validity of an argument before
Lord Mansfield, the latter said: ’I disproved it before you were born!’
’Yes, my Lord,’ replied Erskine, ’because I was not born.’  Lord Erskine
owned that the most discreditable passage in his life was his becoming
Lord Chancellor.  Some other judges seem to have had no faith in their
own works.  Lord Campbell was seated one day next to Chief Baron
Pollock, when they were both Members of the House of Commons, and said:
’Pollock, we lawyers receive the highest wages of an infamous
profession.’

Sir Nicholas Bacon was so learned in the law that he was appointed
attorney in the Court of Wards, and made a Privy Councillor and Keeper
of the Great Seal under Elizabeth.  When the Queen visited him at
Redgrave, she observed, alluding to his corpulence, that he had built
the house too little for himself.  ’Not so, madam,’ he answered; ’but
your Majesty has made me too big for my house.’  A man was brought
before Sir Nicholas accused of a crime which, under the Draconian laws
then in force, involved the penalty of death.  He was found guilty, and,
asked whether he had anything to say for himself, appealed to the
judge’s compassion, seeing that he was a kind of relation to him, his
name being Hogg.  ’True,’ replied Bacon; ’but Hog is not Bacon till it’s
hung.’  And hung, or hanged, to speak correctly, he was, and thus did
not save his bacon.  But the jest was a cruel one.



                                 *VII.*

                    *SOME FAMOUS LONDON ACTRESSES.*


Distance lends enchantment to the view, but the view frequently does not
return it, a common practice with borrowers!  Distance alone invests the
East with a halo of romance and beauty, to which it really can lay no
claim.  The romance is the invention of Western imagination, and the
beauty, if not tawdry, is monstrous.  In no respect is this excess of
imagination over the reality more apparent than in the eidolon the
European forms in his mind of Eastern female beauty.  He hears or reads
of houris, and nautch-girls, and bayaderes, and the dancing-women of
Japan and Burmah; but if ever he sees any of them he will be
disenchanted, for awkward figures they are, wrapped up in clothes like
so many sacks, twisted and tied over one another—if not old, at least
middle-aged women with rings in their noses.  Pooh! enough of them!  The
real beauties the European never gets a sight of, they are shut up in
harems.  But still he thinks the East the region of beauty, and longs
for it, even when he sees beauty in perfection in the West, where alone
it is to be found, because in Western lands alone physical and
intellectual or perfect beauty exists in combination. And this
combination is most frequently seen, as may be surmised from the nature
of her avocation, in the actress.  Women first appeared on the English
stage in 1660.  On December 6 in that year, at the performance of
’Othello’ at the Duke’s Theatre, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the prologue
spoken is entitled: ’A prologue to introduce the first woman that came
to act on the stage.’  Pepys went to see ’The Beggar’s Bush’ at the same
theatre on January 3, 1661, and reports: ’Here the first time that ever
I saw a woman come upon the stage.’  But the Queen had long before then,
namely, in 1633, acted in a pastoral given at Court.  The practice
having, however, been introduced at the Duke’s Theatre, was continued,
to the disgust of moralists, who looked upon the ’enormous shamefulness’
of female acting as a sinful practice.  Even the intelligent and
generally liberal-minded Evelyn speaks of the drama as abused to ’an
atheistical liberty,’ by the circumstance of women being suffered to
become performers.  In his Diary, October 18, 1666, he writes: ’This
night was acted my Lord Broghill’s tragedy, called "Mustapha," before
their Majesties at Court, at which I was present, very seldom going to
the public theatres for many reasons now, as they were abused to an
atheistical liberty, foul and indecent women now (and never till now)
permitted to appear and act, who, inflaming several young noblemen and
gallants, became their misses, and to some their wives, witness ye Earl
of Oxford, Sir R. Howard, P. Rupert, the Earl of Dorset, and another
greater person than any of them, who fell into their snares, to ye
reproach of their noble families, and ruin of both body and soul.’  By
’another greater person,’ Evelyn no doubt intended the King himself,
Charles II., who had at least three avowed mistresses taken from the
stage—Madam Davis, Mrs. Knight, and Nell Gwynne. Miss Davis was,
according to Pepys, a natural daughter of the Earl of Berkshire.  He
went to see her perform on March 7, 1666, in ’The English Princess,’ and
’little Miss Davis did dance a jigg after the end of the play, and there
telling the next day’s play, so that it came in by force only to see her
dance in boy’s clothes.’  Mrs. Knight was a famous singer.  Kneller
painted her portrait.  Of Nell Gwynne we shall have occasion to speak
further on.  At the same theatre Mrs. Davenport, the lady who played the
part of Roxalana in ’The Siege of Rhodes,’ was taken to be the Earl of
Oxford’s _misse_, as at this time they began to call lewd women, as
Evelyn says.  But Evelyn evidently was badly informed.  Mrs. Davenport
for a long time refused the Earl of Oxford’s presents and overtures,
but, on his offering to marry her, she consented.  The ceremony was
performed, and they lived together for some time, and then the Earl
informed her that the marriage was a sham, and that the mock parson was
one of his trumpeters.  In vain the deluded woman appealed to the laws,
in vain she threw herself at the King’s feet to demand justice.  She
might consider herself lucky to obtain a pension of £300.  Pepys saw her
afterwards at the theatre, and says: ’Saw the old Roxalana in the chief
box, in a velvet gown, as the fashion is, and very handsome, at which I
was glad.’

Moll Davies was another of the King’s favourites, and he is said to have
fallen in love with her through her singing ’My Lodging is on the Cold
Ground’ in ’The Rivals,’ a play altered by Davenant from Beaumont and
Fletcher’s ’The Two Noble Kinsmen.’  Pepys frequently mentions her as a
rival to Nell Gwynne.  She had one daughter by Charles, who was
christened Mary Tudor, and was married in 1687 to the son of Sir Francis
Ratcliff, who became Earl of Derwentwater.  When the King grew tired of
her he settled a pension on her of £1,000 a year.  It was as a
descendant of this Earl that the lady who called herself Amelia,
Countess of Derwentwater, in 1868 took possession of the old baronial
castle of Devilstone, or Dilston, claiming it and the estates belonging
thereto, but then and now vested in Greenwich Hospital, as hers.  But
the Lords of the Admiralty, in 1870, defeated her claim, and she
disappeared from public view.

Another famous actress in the days of Charles II. was Margaret Hughes,
of whom Prince Rupert became enamoured.  At first she pretended to be
fiercely virtuous, so as to secure a higher price for her favours. And,
in fact, the Prince settled on her Brandenburgh House, near Hammersmith,
in which she lived about ten years.  The house afterwards became the
residence of Queen Caroline, who died there, shortly after which it was
demolished.

Whatever may be said against women appearing on the stage, there is
something more repulsive in men and boys taking female parts in a play,
at least, so it seems to our moral feelings, and æsthetically the
practice is still more objectionable.  Male performers can never
represent the spontaneous grace, melting voice, and tender looks of a
female, and the ludicrous contretemps the custom frequently caused
further showed its absurdity.  Thus, on one occasion, Charles II.
inquired why the commencement of the play was delayed.  The manager
stepped forward and craved his Majesty’s indulgence, as the queen was
not yet shaved.  And whatever Prynne might say in his ’Histrio Mastix’
against female actors, the practice caught on and became general.  Of
course, the opposition did not cease at once; even in France it raised
its head as late as 1733.  A speaker against the stage spoke thus at the
Jesuits’ College in Paris: ’They (the actresses) do not form the deadly
shafts of Cupid, but they level them with the eye, and shoot with the
utmost dexterity and skill.  Such women I mean as represent destructive
love characters....  How artfully do they hurl the most inconsiderable
dart!  What multitudes are wounded by a single one!’  And, indeed, what
multitudes have our Nancy Oldfields, Bracegirdles, Gwynnes, Kitty
Clives, Perditas, Meltons, and the whole galaxy of theatrical beauties
not only wounded, but conquered, and sometimes killed!

The life of an actress had many ups and downs—as it has now—in former
days.  There was the eccentric Charlotte Charke, daughter of Colley
Cibber, who for some mysterious reason for many years went in male
attire, and who acted on the stage if she could get employment.  There
was then in Bear Yard, Clare Market, a theatre, occasionally used as a
tennis-court and as an auction-room.  ’Thither,’ she says in her
Memoirs, ’I adventured to see if there was any character wanting—a
custom very frequent among the gentry who exhibited in that
slaughter-house of dramatic poetry.  One night, I remember, the
"Recruiting Officer" was to be performed....  To my unbounded joy
Captain Plume was so unfortunate that he came at five o’clock to say
that he did not know a word of his part....  The question being put to
me, I immediately replied that I could do such a thing, but was ...
resolved to stand upon terms ... one guinea paid in advance, which terms
were complied with.’

We mentioned above that the life of an actress has many ups and downs
even now.  In justification of that statement let us quote from the
_Star_ of September 12, 1896: ’A pathetic story of an aged lady, who had
been a popular actress, but upon whom evil days had come, and who was
found dead in a poorly-furnished bedroom in a third-floor back at
Whitfield Street, Tottenham Court Road, was told yesterday to the
coroner.  The old lady was Louisa Marshall, aged seventy, sister of a
celebrated clown at Drury Lane, who died before her. She used to teach
the piano, and had a small pension from the Musical and Dramatic Sick
Fund.  The contents of her room, an old piano and some theatrical
dresses, were said to be worth fifty shillings at most.’  But, as Byron
says, let us lay this sheet of sorrow on the shelf, and speak of lively,
joyous Nell Gwynne, who drove that amorous Pepys nearly mad.  His Diary
is full of her.  First she is simply ’pretty, witty Nell’ (April 3,
1665).  On January 23, 1666, Nelly is brought to him in a box at the
theatre.  ’A most pretty woman....  I kissed her, and so did my wife,
and a mighty pretty soul she is.’  On March 2, in the same year, ’Nell
... comes in like a young gallant, and hath the motions and carriage of
a spark the most that ever I saw any man have.  It makes me, I confess,
admire her.’  On May 1, 1667, he writes: ’To Westminster.  In the way
many milkmaids with their garlands upon their pails, dancing with a
fiddler before them, and saw pretty Nelly standing at her lodging’s door
in Drury Lane, in her smock sleeves and bodice, looking upon one.  She
seemed a mighty pretty creature.’  But, according to her ardent admirer,
this ’mighty pretty creature’ could use mighty strong language too, for
he says of her (October 5, 1667): ’But to see how Nell cursed for having
so few people in the pit was strange.’  And again, on October 26, he
reports: ’Nelly and Beck Marshall (one of the great Presbyterian’s
daughters) falling out the other day, the latter called the other my
Lord Buckhurst’s mistress.  Nell answered her: "I was but one man’s
mistress, though I was brought up in a disreputable house to fill strong
waters to the gentlemen, and you are a mistress to three or four, though
a Presbyter’s praying daughter."’ And Nell may have been right, for Beck
Marshall seems to have been a trifle fast.  Pepys says, on May 2, 1668:
’To the King’s (play) house, where ... the play being over, I did see
Beck Marshall come dressed off the stage, and look mighty fine and
pretty, and noble; and also Nell, in her boy’s clothes, mighty pretty.
But, Lord! their confidence, and how many men do hover about them as
soon as they come off the stage, and how confident they are in their
talk!’  Pepys, in the end, seems to have cooled in his devotion to
pretty Nell, for on January 7, 1669, he wrote in his Diary: ’My wife and
I to the King’s play-house....  We sat in an upper box, and the jade
Nell came and sat in the next box, a bold, merry slut, who lay laughing
there upon people, and with a comrade of hers, of the Duke’s house, that
came in to see the play.’

Coal Yard, Drury Lane, seems to have been Nell Gwynne’s birthplace, a
low, disreputable locality, and she died in a fine house on the south
side of Pall Mall. Previously to that, she had lived in a house on the
north side, whose site is now occupied by the Army and Navy Club.
Though Drury Lane in the days of Nell Gwynne was a fashionable locality,
it would seem that only to the southern division this epithet could be
applied; the northern end, towards Holborn, had a low and mean
character, and Coal Yard consisted of miserable tenements.  It has
recently been rebuilt, and is now called Goldsmith Street.  Nell Gwynne
died in 1691, and was pompously interred in the parish church of St.
Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Dr. Tennison, the then Vicar, and afterwards
Archbishop of Canterbury, preaching her funeral sermon.  This sermon was
afterwards brought forward at Court to impede the doctor’s preferment;
but Queen Mary, having heard the objection, answered: ’Well, what then?
This I have heard before, and it is a proof that the unfortunate woman
died a true penitent, who through the course of her life never let the
wretched ask in vain.’  This was certainly as noble an answer to give on
the part of a Queen as it was mean on the part of King Charles II. to
say on his deathbed: ’Don’t let poor Nelly starve.’  Was it not in his
power to make provision for her, instead of leaving her to the charity
of the world?

Another both fortunate and unfortunate actress was Mrs. Montford, whose
husband was murdered as he had come to escort Mrs. Bracegirdle, after
Captain Hill’s attempt at abducting this lady, on her leaving the
theatre, of which more hereafter.  On Mrs. Montford, or Mountfort—the
name is found spelt both ways—Gray wrote his ballad of ’Black-eyed
Susan.’  Lord Berkeley’s partiality for her was so great that at his
decease he left her £300 a year, on condition that she did not marry; he
also purchased Cowley, near Uxbridge, for her—the place had been the
summer residence of Rich, the actor—and from time to time made her
presents of considerable sums.  She fell in love with a Mr. Booth, a
then well-known actor, but, not wishing to lose her annuity, she did not
marry him, though she gave him the preference over many others of her
suitors. Mrs. Montford had an intimate friend, Miss Santlow, a
celebrated dancer; but, through the liberality of one of her admirers,
she became possessed of a fortune, which rendered her independent of the
stage, upon which Mr. Booth proposed to her, and was accepted.  This so
affected Mrs. Montford that she became mentally deranged, and was
brought from Cowley to London to have the best advice.  As she was not
violent and had lucid moments, she was not rigorously confined, but
suffered to go about the house.  One day she asked her attendant what
play was to be performed that evening, and was told it was ’Hamlet.’  In
this piece, whilst she was on the stage, she had always appeared as
Ophelia. The recollection struck her, and with the cunning always allied
with insanity, she found means to elude the watchfulness of her
servants, and to reach the theatre, where she concealed herself till the
time when Ophelia was to appear, when she rushed on the stage, pushing
the lady who was to act the character aside, and exhibited a more
perfect representation of madness than the most consummate mimic art
could produce.  She was, in truth, Ophelia herself, the very incarnation
of madness.  Nature having made this last effort, her vital powers
failed her.  On going off, she prophetically exclaimed: ’It is all
over!’  As she was being conveyed home, ’she,’ in Gray’s words, ’like a
lily drooping, bowed her head and died.’

Lovely Nancy Oldfield, who quitted the bar of the Mitre, in St. James’s
Market, then kept by her aunt, Mrs. Voss, became, towards the end of the
seventeenth century, the great attraction at Drury Lane.  Her intimacy
with General Churchill, cousin of the great Duke of Marlborough,
obtained for her a grave in Westminster Abbey.  Persons of rank and
distinction contended for the honour of bearing her pall, and her
remains lay in state for three days in the Jerusalem Chamber!

We referred above to the attempt made by Captain Hill to carry off Mrs.
Bracegirdle.  Hill had offered her his hand and had been refused.  He
determined to abduct her by force.  He induced his friend Lord Mahun to
assist him.  A coach was stationed near the Horseshoe Tavern in Drury
Lane, with six soldiers to force her into it, which they attempted to do
as she came down Drury Lane about ten o’clock at night, accompanied by
her mother and brother, and a friend, Mr. Page.  The attempt was
resisted, a crowd collected, and Hill ordered the soldiers to let the
lady go, and she was escorted home by her friends.  She then sent for
her friend Mr. Montford, who soon after turned the corner of Norfolk
Street, where Hill challenged him, as he attributed Mrs. Bracegirdle’s
rejection of him to her love for Montford, which suspicion, however, was
groundless, and ran him through the body before he could draw his sword.
Hill made his escape; Montford died from his wounds.

Even in more recent days actresses have made good matches.  Miss Anna
Maria Tree, of Covent Garden, in 1825 married James Bradshaw, of
Grosvenor Place; in 1831, Miss Foote, the celebrated actress, became
Countess of Harrington; Miss Farren, Countess of Derby; Miss Brunton,
Countess of Craven; Miss Bolton became Lady Thurlow; Miss O’Neill
married a baronet; Miss Kitty Stephens became Countess of Essex; Miss
Campion was taken off the stage by the aged Duke of Devonshire.  The
list might be greatly extended, even to our own times; but the instances
quoted are sufficient to show the prizes ladies may draw in the
theatrical matrimonial lottery; and there are as good fish in the sea as
ever came out of it.



                                *VIII.*

                     *QUEER CLUBS OF FORMER DAYS.*


The Virtuoso Club was established by some members of the Royal Society,
and held its meetings at a tavern in Cornhill.  Its professed object was
to ’advance mechanical exercises, and promote useful experiments’; but,
according to Ned Ward, their discussions usually ended in a general
shindy, and results not to be described by a modern writer.  The club
claimed the merit of the invention of the barometer; but, for all that,
its proceedings afforded fine sport to the satirists: thus, the members
were said to aim at making beer without water, living like princes on
three-halfpence a day, producing a table by which a husband may discover
all the particulars of the tricks his wife may play him.  The ridicule
showered on the club at last reduced it to a little cynical cabal of
half-pint moralists, who continued to meet at the same tavern.
Convivially-disposed members of other learned societies have
occasionally formed themselves into clubs.  Thus some antiquaries, many
years since, formed a club styled ’Noviomagians.’  Mr. Crofton Croker
was its president more than twenty years, and many other distinguished
men were members.

A number of roistering companions used to hold a club at the Golden
Fleece in Cornhill, after which they named their club.  Each member on
his admission had a characteristic name assigned to him—as Sir Nimmy
Sneer, Sir Talkative Do-little, Sir Rumbus Rattle. They eventually
adjourned to the Three Tuns, Southwark.

The No-Nose Club, whether it ever existed or not, was a horrible idea in
itself; it flourished only during the lifetime of its founders.

The Club of Beaus was what its name implies—a club of fops and idiots.
The only merit they seem to have had was that their habits were always
scrupulously clean, though their language usually was filthy.  Their
meetings were held at an inn in Covent Garden.

The Quacks’ Club, or Physical Society, was really an offshoot of the
College of Physicians, which met at a tavern near the Exchange, where
they discussed medical matters.  The College of Physicians at that time
was in Warwick Lane, where it remained till removed, in 1825, to
Trafalgar Square.

The Weekly Dancing Club, or Buttock Ball, was held at a tavern in King
Street, St. Giles, and was patronized by bullies, libertines, and
strumpets; footmen who had robbed their masters and turned gentlemen;
chambermaids who had stolen their mistresses’ clothes and set up for
gentlewomen.  Though called a club, it was not really a close assembly,
but everyone was admitted on the payment of sixpence, and no questions
asked.  The Dancing Academy was first established about the year 1710 by
a dancing-master over the Coal Yard gateway into Drury Lane, and was so
successful that it was removed to the more commodious premises mentioned
above.  But at last it became such a nuisance that the authorities shut
it up.  The Coal Yard above mentioned, the last turning on the
north-east side of Drury Lane, is said to have been the birthplace of
Nell Gwynne.

A club cultivating a certain filthy habit, which I can only indicate as
one practised by the French peasantry, and as described in one of Zola’s
novels, was established at a public-house in Cripplegate.  The manner in
which the proceedings of the club are set forth by their chronicler is
as hideous and repulsive as the writer can make it; it could not be
reproduced in any modern publication without risk of prosecution, which,
indeed, would be well deserved.  But the manners of the eighteenth
century were excessively coarse.

The Man-Killing Club, besides admitting no one to membership who had not
killed his man, also bound itself to resist the Sheriff’s myrmidons on
their making any attempt to serve a writ on or seize one of them.  It
was founded in the reign of Charles II. by a knot of bullies, broken
Life-Guardsmen, and old prize-fighters. Its meetings were held at a low
public-house on the back-side of St. Clement’s.  The good old times!

The Surly Club was chiefly composed of master carmen, lightermen, and
Billingsgate porters, who held their weekly meetings at a tavern near
Billingsgate Dock, where City dames used to treat their journeymen with
beakers of punch and new oysters.  The object of their meetings was the
practice of contradiction and of foul language, that they might not want
impudence to abuse passengers on the Thames.  This society first
established the thumping-post at Billingsgate, to harden its members by
whipping never to bridle their tongues from fear of corporeal
punishment.  Billingsgate language was, as may be supposed, much
improved by them.

The Atheistical Club met at an inn in Westminster, and its name
sufficiently indicates its object, namely, to take the devil’s part.  A
trick was played on them by a man disguising himself in a bear’s skin
and making them believe he was the devil, which occurrence, it is said,
broke up the club.  Similar societies were discovered in Wells Street,
and at the Angel, in St. Martin’s Lane, and the members arrested; but,
it turning out that in these cases the devil was less black than he was
painted, the charges against them had to be withdrawn. The societies, in
fact, were more political, with republican tendencies, inspired by the
French Revolution, which was just then at its height, and the worship of
Reason seems to have been one of their principles.

The Split-farthing Club held its weekly meetings at the Queen’s Head in
Bishopsgate Street, and was supposed to be composed chiefly of misers
and skinflints. If any smoker among them left his box behind him, and
wanted to borrow a pipe of tobacco of a brother, it would not be lent
without a note of hand, which was generally written round the bowl of a
pipe so as to prevent the waste of paper.

The Club of Broken Shopkeepers held its meetings at the sign of
Tumble-Down Dick, a famous boozing den in the Mint in Southwark, a
sanctuary of knaves, sots, and bankrupts, honest or swindling, against
arrest for debt.  The sign of Tumble-Down Dick was set up in derision of
Richard Cromwell, the allusion to his fall from power, or ’tumble-down,’
being very common in the satires published after the Restoration.  There
was a house with the same sign at Brentford.  Of course, the professed
object of the meetings of the broken shopkeepers was that of driving
away and forgetting care; and any new-comer among them, if he had any
cash left, was liberally allowed to expend it for the furtherance of the
club’s object.

The Man-Hunting Club was composed chiefly of young limbs of the law;
uncultivated youths, though they were law students, formed themselves
into an association to hunt men over Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the
neighbourhood whom they might happen to meet crossing them at ten or
eleven o’clock at night.  They would be concealed upon the grass in one
of the borders of the fields till they heard some single person coming
along, when they would spring up with their swords drawn, run towards
him, and cry: ’That’s he; bloody wounds, that’s he!’  Usually the person
so attacked would run away, when they would pursue him till he took
refuge in an alehouse in some neighbouring street.  But if the
man-hunters encountered a person of courage, ready to fight them, they
would sneak off, like the curs they really were.  Their meeting-place
was at a tavern close to Bear Yard, Clare Market.

The Yorkshire Club held its meetings on market-days at an inn in
Smithfield.  It was composed of sharp country-folk, who assumed the
innocence of yokels. The most flourishing members among them, says one
authority, were needle-pointed innkeepers; nick and froth victuallers,
honest horse chaunters, pious Yorkshire attorneys; the rest good,
harmless master hostlers, two or three innocent farriers, who had wormed
their masters out of their shops, and themselves into them.  When met
for business, their deliberations were about horseflesh, blind eyes,
spavins, bounders and malinders, and how to disguise defects and get rid
of the animals.

The Mock-Heroes Club met at an alehouse in Baldwin’s Gardens, and was
composed chiefly of attorneys’ clerks and young shopkeepers.  On
admission the new member assumed the name of some defunct hero, and ever
afterwards was at the meetings called by that name; and as the club held
its meetings in the public room, though at a separate table specially
reserved for them, this formal and ridiculous way of addressing one
another caused no slight amusement to the other persons frequenting the
room.  In other respects their language was high-flown.  Thus, one would
face about to his left-hand neighbour, with his right hand charged with
a brimming tankard, saying: ’Most noble Scipio, the love and friendship
of a soldier to you.  The thanks of a brother to my valiant friend
Hannibal, whom I cannot but value, though I had the honour to conquer.’
’My respects to you, brave Cæsar,’ cries one opposite, ’remembering the
battle of Pharsalia.’  And so on, till they had drunk themselves under
the table.

The Lying Club, which held its meetings at the Bell Tavern, in
Westminster, is said to have been established in 1669.  Every member was
to wear a blue cap with a red feather in it; before admittance he had to
give proof of his powers of mendaciloquence; during club hours, that is,
from four to ten p.m., no true word was to be uttered without a
preliminary ’By your leave’ to the chairman; and if any member told a
’whopper’ which the chairman could not beat with a greater, the latter
had to surrender his office for that evening.  Ned Ward gives some
exquisite specimens of the ’whoppers’ told by members.

The Beggars’ Club held its weekly meetings at a boozing ken in Old
Street.  All the sham cripples, blind men, etc., belonged to it, and
there discussed the various stratagems they had adopted to excite public
compassion, or intended to adopt for that purpose.

About 1735 a number of young gentlemen, who were pretenders to wit,
formed themselves into a society, which met at the Rose Tavern, Covent
Garden, and which they christened the Scatter-wit Society.  But their
literary performances were poor specimens of wit, contributed nothing to
the reputation of the Rose Tavern as the resort of ’men of parts,’ and
consequently is not frequently mentioned in the literature of that day.

Bob Warden was the younger brother of Mr. Warden, a gentleman who,
’after having given a new turn to Jackanapes Lane, and promoted many
useful objects for the good of the public, was undeservedly hanged.’  We
may explain here that Jackanapes Lane was the original name of Carey
Street, north of the Law Courts, and the new turn Mr. Warden gave to it
is the western bend connecting it with Portugal Street.  Bob Warden,
after his brother’s death, was apprenticed to a painter, but, thinking
more of his palate than his palette, he dropped the latter, and with
some money left to him, established a convivial club at the Hill, in the
Strand, where all sorts of queer characters, such as ruined gamesters,
petticoat-pensioners, Irish captains, sharpers and cheats were welcome.
As the meetings took place in a cellar, the club became known as the
Cellar Club, and was the forerunner of the Coal Hole and the Lord Chief
Baron Nicholson.  Bob, amidst his roistering customers, drank himself to
death.

For about ten years the Mohawks, or Mohocks, kept London in a state of
alarm, though they seldom ventured into the City, where the watch was
more efficient, but confined themselves chiefly to the neighbourhood of
Clare Market, Covent Garden, and the Strand.  The _Spectator_ says of
them: ’Some of them are celebrated for dexterity in tipping the lion
upon them, which is performed by squeezing the nose flat to the face and
boring out the eyes with their fingers. Others are called the
dancing-masters, and teach their scholars to cut capers by running
swords through their legs....  A third sort are the Nimblers, who set
women on their heads and commit ... barbarities on them.’  Their conduct
in the end became so alarming that a reward of £100 was offered by royal
proclamation for the apprehension of any one of them. Curious stories
were current at various times as to the origin of this society.  In the
’Memoirs’ of the Marquis of Torcy, Secretary of State to Louis XIV., and
a famous diplomatist (born 1665, died 1746), the Duke of Marlborough is
said to have suggested to Prince Eugene ’to employ a band of ruffians
... to stroll about the streets by night ... and to insult people by
passing along, increasing their licentiousness gradually, so as to
commit greater and greater disorders ... that when the inhabitants of
London and Westminster were accustomed to the insults of these rioters,
it would not be difficult to assassinate those of whom they might wish
to be freed, and to cast the whole blame on the band of ruffians.’  This
project the Prince is reported to have rejected.  Swift, in his ’History
of the Four Last Years of Queen Anne,’ attributes the scheme to the
Prince himself on his visit to this country, through his hatred of
Treasurer Harley.  He proposed that ’the Treasurer should be taken off
... that this might easily be done and pass for an effect of chance, if
it were preceded by encouraging some proper people to commit small riots
in the night.  And in several parts of the town a crew of ruffians were
accordingly employed about that time, who probably exceeded their
commission ... and acted inhuman outrages on many persons, whom they cut
and mangled in the face and arms and other parts of their bodies....
This account ... was confirmed beyond all contradiction by several
intercepted letters and papers.’  It is just possible that popular panic
exaggerated the doings of the Mohawks.  Perhaps they did not exceed in
savagery the drunken frolics then customary at night-time.

The Hell Fire Club was an institution of a character similar to that of
the Mohawks.  It was abolished by an order of the Privy Council in 1721,
’against certain scandalous clubs,’ but it must have been revived in the
country, for John Wilkes, about 1750, was a notorious member of a club
with the above name at Medmenham Abbey, Bucks.

The Calves’ Head Club for a time had its headquarters at The Cock, an
inn long since demolished, in Suffolk Street, Pall Mall.  It was one of
the many inns at which Pepys was ’mighty merry.’  The club is said to
have been originated by Milton and other partisans of the Commonwealth;
and the author of the ’Secret History of the Calves’ Head Club’—probably
Ned Ward—gives an account of the melodramatic and diabolical ceremonies
observed at their banquets.  An axe was hung up in their club-room as a
sacred symbol—the destroyer of the tyrant.  But the eating and drinking,
for which, as Addison says, clubs were instituted, were not neglected by
the members.  At the banquet held in 1710 there was spent on bread,
beer, and ale the sum of £2 10s.; on fifty calves’ heads, £5 5s.; on
bacon, £1 10s.; on six chickens and two capons, £1; on three joints of
veal, 18s.; on butter and flour, 15s.; on oranges, lemons, vinegar, and
spices, £1; on oysters and sausages, 15s.; on the use of pewter and
linen, £1; and on various other items additional sums, bringing the
total up to £18 6s.  No wine, it will be noticed, is included in the
above bill, but there is no doubt a considerable amount for this item
should be added to it.

Early in the last century street clubs became common in various parts of
London, that is to say, clubs in which the inhabitants of one or two
streets met every night to discuss the affairs of the neighbourhood.
Out of these, we suppose, arose the Mug House Club, in Long Acre, which
soon found imitators in other parts of London. The members—gentlemen,
lawyers, and tradesmen—met in a large room.  A gentleman nearly ninety
years of age was their president.  A harp played at the lower end of the
room, and now and then a member rose and treated the company to a song.
Nothing was drunk but ale, and every gentleman had his own mug, which he
chalked on the table as it was brought in.

In 1770 some young gentlemen, on returning from the grand tour it was
then customary to make after leaving college—a tour which was supposed
to lick the young cubs into shape and refine their manners, of course an
illusion, since, whilst abroad, they associated chiefly with the scum of
English society then swarming on the Continent—some of these young
gentlemen, on their return, established in St. James’s Street the Savoir
Vivre Club, where they held periodical dinners, of which macaroni was a
standing dish.  This club was the nursery of the Macaronis, a phalanx of
mild Hyde Park beaux, who were distinguished for nothing but the
ridiculous dress they assumed.  An unfinished copy of verses found among
Sheridan’s papers, and which Thomas Moore considered as the foundation
of certain lines in the ’School for Scandal,’ delineates the Macaronis
in a few masterly strokes:

    ’Then I mount on my palfrey as gay as a lark,
    And, followed by John, take the dust in Hyde Park.
    In the way I am met by some smart Macaroni,
    Who rides by my side on a little bay pony;
    ... as taper and slim as the ponies they ride,
    Their legs are as slim, and their shoulders no wider,’ etc.


The Savoir Vivre Club did not outlive the reign of the Macaronis, which
lasted about five years, and the club ended its days—the chairmen and
linkmen never having understood its foreign appellation—as a
public-house bearing the name and sign of The Savoy Weavers. There were,
in the last century especially, no end of Small clubs, whose objects in
most cases were trivial and ridiculous.  Short notice is all they
deserve.

The Humdrum Club was composed of gentlemen of peaceable dispositions,
who were satisfied to meet at a tavern, smoke their pipes, and say
nothing till midnight.  The Twopenny Club was formed by a number of
artisans and mechanics, who met every night, each depositing on his
entering the club-room his twopence. If a member swore, his neighbours
might kick him on the shins.  If a member’s wife came to fetch him, she
was to speak to him outside the door.  In the reign of Charles II. was
established the Duellists’ Club, to which no one was admitted who had
not killed his man.  The chronicler of the club naïvely says: ’This
club, consisting only of men of honour, did not continue long, most of
the members being put to the sword or hanged.’

The Everlasting Club, founded in the first decade of the last century,
was so called because its hundred members divided the twenty-four hours
of day and night among themselves in such a manner that the club was
always sitting, no person presuming to rise till he was relieved by his
appointed successor, so that a member of the club not on duty himself
could always find company, and have his whet or draught, as the rules
say, at any time.

The tradespeople and workmen of the past seem to have had a passion for
clubs; but there is this to be said in their favour, theirs were only
drinking clubs. Our modern patrons of low-class clubs establish them for
the worse pursuits of gambling and betting.



                                 *IX.*

                *CURIOUS STORIES OF THE STOCK EXCHANGE.*


In the _Weekly Journal_ of January 2, 1719-20, can be read: ’It was the
observation of a witty knight many years ago, that the English people
were something like a flight of birds at a barn-door.  Shoot among them
and kill ever so many, the rest shall return to the same place in a very
little time, without any remembrance of the evil that had befallen their
fellows.’  The pigeons at Monte Carlo, whom the cruel-minded idiots who
fire at them have missed, instead of flying at once and for ever from
the murderous spot, perch on the cage in which their fellows are kept,
and are easily caught again, to be eventually killed.  ’Thus the
English,’ the _Weekly Journal_ concludes, ’though they have had examples
enough in these latter times of people ruined by engaging in projects,
yet they still fall in with the next that appears.’  And thus the Stock
Exchange flourishes.  That desolation-spreading upastree was planted in
the mephitic morass of the national debt.  It is considered deserving of
blame in an individual to get into debt, yet sometimes his doing so is
unavoidable—his means are insufficient for his wants. But a nation has
no excuse for taking credit and getting into debt.  There is wealth
enough in the country to pay cash for all it requires; and if it borrows
money merely to subsidize foreign tyrants to enchain their own subjects,
it commits a criminal act.  But nearly the whole of our national debt
has such an origin, and its poisonous produce is the Stock Exchange.
The word ’stock-jobber’ was first heard in 1688, when a crowd of
companies sprang into existence, and it was then that the Stock Exchange
was first established as an independent institution at Jonathan’s
Coffee-house, in Change Alley, in or about 1698.  Before then the
brokers had carried on their business in the Royal Exchange.  London at
that time abounded—at what time does it not?—with new projects and
schemes, many of them delusory, consequently the legitimate transactions
of the Royal Exchange were inconveniently interfered with by the
presence of so many jobbers and brokers—that pernicious spawn of the
public funds, as Noortbouck calls them—and they were ordered to leave
the Exchange.  They just crossed the road and went to Jonathan’s, ’and
though a public nuisance, they serve the purposes of ministers too well,
in propagating a spirit of gaming in Government securities, to be
exterminated, as a wholesome policy would dictate.’  There, at
Jonathan’s, ’you will see a fellow in shabby clothes,’ as we read in the
’Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London,’ ’selling £10,000 or
£12,000 in stock, though perhaps he may not be worth at the same time
10s., and with as much zeal as if he were a director, which they call
selling a bear-skin.’  Thus this latter expression seems very old.  The
business of stock-jobbing increased, in spite of some feeble repressive
attempts on the part of Government in 1720, the House of Commons passing
a vote ’that nothing can tend more to the establishment of public credit
than preventing the infamous practice of stock-jobbing’; and also
passing at the same time an Act enabling persons who had been sufferers
thereby to obtain an easy and speedy redress.[#]  In spite of this the
brokers contrived to thrive to such an extent that they found it
necessary to take a more commodious room in Threadneedle Street, to
which admission was obtained on payment of sixpence.  The Bank Rotunda
was at one period the place where bargains in stocks were made; but
there the brokers were as great a nuisance as they had been at the Royal
Exchange, and were turned out.  It was then they took the room in
Threadneedle Street, and in the year 1799 they raised £12,150 in 1,263
shares of £50 each, and purchased a site in Capel Court, comprising
Mendoza’s boxing-room and debating forum and buildings contiguous, on
which the present Stock Exchange was erected, and opened in 1801.  Capel
Court was so called from the London residence of Sir William Capel, Lord
Mayor of London in 1504.  Within the last decade the building has been
considerably enlarged and beautified.


[#] An Act passed in 1734 forbade time bargains under a penalty of £500
on brokers and their clients, and of £100 for contracting for the sale
of stock of which the person was not possessed. Both these statutes were
repealed circa 1860.


Stockbrokers are supposed to lead very harassed and restless lives—yes,
if they speculate on their own account and with their own money, a folly
which no experienced broker ever thinks of committing.  He speculates
for other people, and with their money, and, well, if before the
official hour of opening—viz., eleven o’clock—a chance presents itself
of a deal with a customer’s stock on the broker’s account, by which a
little benefit accrues to the latter, the customer knows nothing about
it, and what you are ignorant of does not hurt.  The broker is, in this
respect, very much like the lawyer.  Neither the broker nor the lawyer
can be expected to share their clients’ anxieties concerning investments
or disputed interests, and they don’t.  When either of them leaves his
office for his suburban villa or Brighton breezes, he leaves all
thoughts of business behind him in the office, considering that the
freedom from care he enjoys at home is honestly earned, and no doubt it
is—in his estimation.

Until within the first quarter of this century a singular custom
concerning the admission of Jews to the Stock Exchange was in existence.
The number of Jew brokers was limited to twelve, and these could secure
the privilege only by a liberal gratuity to the Lord Mayor for the time
being.  ’During the Mayoralty of Wilkes, one of the Jew brokers was
taken seriously ill, and Wilkes is said to have speculated pretty openly
on the advantage he would derive from filling up the vacancy.  The son
of the broker, meeting the Lord Mayor, reproached Wilkes with wishing
his father’s death.  ’My dear fellow,’ replied Wilkes, with the
sarcastic humour peculiar to him, ’you are in error, for I would rather
have all the Jew brokers dead than your father.’

The funds are much affected by political events; that goes without
saying.  Their rise or fall may be very rapid.  It was exceptionally so
in the early period of the French revolutionary war.  In March, 1792,
the Three per Cents, were at 96, in 1797 they were as low as 48, the
lowest they ever fell to.  The possession of prior or exclusive
intelligence enables persons to speculate with great success.  A broker
who casually became acquainted with the failure of Lord Macartney’s
negotiation with the French Directory, made £16,000 while breakfasting
at Batson’s Coffee-house, Cornhill, and had he not been timid, might
have gained half a million, so great was the fluctuation, owing to the
news being entirely unexpected.

But the magnates of the money market did not rely on casual
intelligence.  They left no stone unturned to obtain reliable
information in advance even of Government.  Thus Sir Henry Furnese, a
bank director, paid for constant despatches from Holland, Flanders,
France and Germany.  He made an enormous haul by his early intelligence
of the surrender of Namur in 1695.  King William gave him a diamond ring
as a reward for early information; yet he was not above fabricating
false news, and he had his tricks for influencing the funds. If he
wished to buy, his brokers looked gloomy, and, the alarm spread, they
concluded their bargains. Marlborough had an annuity of £6,000 from
Medina, the Jew, for permission to attend his campaigns.  During the
troubles of 1745, when the rebels advanced towards London, stocks fell
terribly.  Sampson Gideon, a famous Jew broker, managed to have the
first news of the Pretender’s retreat.  He hastened to Jonathan’s,
bought all the stock in the market, spending all his cash, and pledging
his name for more.  This stroke of business made him a millionaire.

During the last years of the French wars a difference of 8 per cent.,
and even 10 per cent., would occur within an hour, and thus great
fortunes might be won or lost within that short time.  It was also a
period of gigantic frauds, but of these later on.

Of all the sons of Maier Amschel Rothschild, Nathan, born in 1777, was
undoubtedly the most prominent. Inheriting his father’s spirit, he left
his home at the early age of twenty-two, and in 1798 opened a small shop
as a banker and money-lender at Manchester.  He had left Frankfurt,
where his father’s house had just been knocked into ruins by the
bombardment of Marshal Kleber, with only a thousand florins in his
pocket.  But the cotton interest was just then beginning to develop
itself, and Nathan took such clever advantage of the opportunities this
offered him, that at the end of five years he came from Manchester to
London with a fortune of £200,000, where he became the son-in-law of
Levi Barnett Cohen, one of the Jewish City magnates. The report of his
Manchester successes had preceded him to the Capital, and he immediately
engaged largely in Stock Exchange speculations.  Whilst houses of the
oldest standing were tottering or falling, owing to the State loan of
1810 having turned out a failure, and the fortunes of the Peninsular War
seemed most doubtful, some drafts of Wellington to a considerable amount
came over here, and there was no money in the Exchequer to meet them.
Nathan Rothschild, satisfied as to England’s final victory, purchased
the bills at a large discount, and finally found the means of redeeming
them at par.  It was a splendid speculation, which resulted in his
entering into closer intercourse with the Ministry, and he was chiefly
employed in transmitting the subsidies which England furnished—most
foolishly indeed—to the Continental Powers.  The circumstance that
Nathan was supplied by his brothers at Frankfurt and elsewhere with the
earliest and most reliable intelligence, and his trustworthy connections
and arrangements in London, enabled him to turn such knowledge to
immediate and profitable account.  But there being then neither railways
nor telegraphs, news was slow in coming. Nathan trained carrier pigeons,
and organized a staff of agents, whose duty it was to follow the march
of the armies, and daily and hourly to send reports in cipher, tied
under the wings of the pigeons.  His agents, by means of fast-sailing
boats, taking the shortest routes, indicated by Nathan himself—the
mail-boats between Folkestone and Boulogne of the present day follow one
of these routes—carried large sums between the coasts of Germany,
France, and England.  And when events on the Continent were coming to a
crisis, Nathan on more than one occasion hurried over to the Continent
to watch the course of affairs.  It is said that Nathan Rothschild, on
June 18, 1815, was on the field of Waterloo,[#] and watched the battle
till he saw the French troops in full retreat, when he immediately rode
back to Brussels, whence a carriage took him to Ostend. The sea was
stormy; in vain Nathan offered 500 francs, 600 francs, 800 francs, to
carry him across; at last a poor fisherman risked his life for 2,000
francs, and his frail barque, which carried Cæsar and his fortunes,
landed Nathan in the evening at Dover.  When he appeared on June 20,
leaning against his usual pillar in the Stock Exchange, everything and
everybody looked gloomy.  He whispered to a few of his most intimate
friends that the allied army had been defeated.  The dismal news spread
like wildfire, and there was a tremendous fall in the funds.  Nathan’s
known agents sold with the rest, but his unknown agents bought every
scrap of paper that was to be had.  It was not till the afternoon of
June 21 that the news of the victory of Waterloo became known.  Nathan
was the first to inform his friends of the happy event, a quarter of an
hour before the news was given to the public.  The funds rose faster
than they had fallen, and Nathan still leant against his pillar in the
southern corner of the Stock Exchange, but richer by about a million
sterling. From that day the career of Nathan was one of ever-increasing
prosperity; his firm became the agents of all European Governments; he
made bargains with the Czar of Russia and with South American Republics,
with the Pope and the Sultan.  About the morality of the Waterloo
episode the less said the better, but peers and princes of the blood,
bishops and archbishops, partook of his sumptuous banquets, whilst he
calculated to a penny on what a clerk could live!


[#] To an article I wrote twenty-five years ago on this topic I find
appended the following note: ’We give the following on the authority of
Martin, but must add that a private friend, who formerly filled an
office of trust in the firm of Rothschild Brothers, declares the whole
to be a fiction.’  But who this friend was we cannot now remember.


Another financier, who almost rivalled Rothschild as a speculator, was
Abraham Goldsmid, who was ruined by a conspiracy.  He, in conjunction
with a banking establishment, had taken a large Government loan. The
conspirators managed to cause the omnium stock to fall to 18 discount.
The result was Goldsmid’s failure and eventually his suicide, whilst the
conspirators made a profit of about £2,000,000.

Among other notable stockbrokers we must not omit Francis Bailey,
F.S.A., President of the Royal Astronomical Society, who retired from
the Stock Exchange in 1825.  In 1851 he repeated at his house in
Tavistock Place, Russell Square, the Cavendish experiment of weighing
the earth, and calculating its bulk and figure, and at the same time
verifying the standard measure of the British nation, and rectifying
pendulum experiments.  In the garden of the house a small observatory
was erected for those purposes, and is, we believe, still standing.

We alluded a little while ago to some gigantic frauds in Stock Exchange
operations.  One of the most extraordinary and elaborate of such frauds
was that carried out by De Berenger and Cochrane-Johnstone in 1814.
Napoleon’s military operations against the allies had greatly depressed
the funds.  On February 21, 1814, about one o’clock a.m., a violent
knocking was heard at the door of the Ship Inn, then the chief hotel at
Dover.  When the door was opened, a person in a richly-embroidered
scarlet uniform announced himself as an aide-de-camp of Lord Cathcart
(who was aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington in 1815), and as the
bearer of important news.  The allies had gained a great victory, and
entered Paris; Napoleon had been captured and killed by Cossacks, who
had cut his body into a thousand pieces.  Immediate peace was now
certain.  The stranger ordered a post-chaise, and departed for London,
but before leaving, he sent a note containing the news to the Port
Admiral, who received it about four a.m.; but the morning being foggy,
the telegraph could not be worked.  The sham aide-de-camp—really De
Berenger, an adventurer, afterwards a livery stable-keeper—dashed along
the road, throwing napoleons to the post-boys whenever he changed
horses.  At Bexley Heath it was clear to him that the telegraph could
not have worked, so he moderated his pace, spreading at the same time
the news of Napoleon’s defeat and death.  At Lambeth he entered a
hackney-coach, telling the post-boys to spread the news, which reached
the Stock Exchange about ten o’clock, in consequence of which the funds
rose, but fell again when it was found that the Lord Mayor had had no
intelligence.  But about twelve o’clock three persons, two of whom were
dressed as French officers, drove in a post-chaise over London Bridge;
their horses were bedecked with laurels.  The officers scattered papers
among the crowd, announcing the death of Napoleon and the fall of Paris.
They then paraded through Cheapside and Fleet Street, passed over
Blackfriars Bridge, and drove rapidly to the Marshgate, Lambeth, got
out, changed their cocked hats for round ones, and disappeared as
mysteriously as their confederate, De Berenger, had done a few hours
earlier.

The funds now rose again, but when, after hours of anxious expectation,
it was discovered that the news, on which many bargains had been made,
was false, there was, of course, wailing and gnashing of teeth. A
committee was appointed by the Stock Exchange to track out the
conspiracy, as on the two days before stocks to the amount of £826,000
had been purchased by persons implicated.  One of the gang had, for a
blind, called on Lord Cochrane, and Cochrane-Johnstone, a relation of
his, had purchased Consols for him, that he might unconsciously benefit
by the fraud.  The Tories, eager to destroy a political enemy,
concentrated all their rage on him, and he was tried, fined £1,000, and
sentenced to stand for one hour in the pillory; but this latter part of
the sentence was not carried out, as Sir Francis Burdett had declared
that if it was done he would stand beside his friend on the scaffold of
shame. Cochrane was further stripped of his knighthood, and his
escutcheon kicked down the steps of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor.  But
in his old age his innocence and the injustice done to him were
recognised, and his coronet restored to him unsoiled.  But could this
atone for all the wrong inflicted, and all the misery endured? Those who
wish to know all the details of this remarkable fraud will find them in
the two volumes of the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1814.  The first
volume gives a full account of the evidence produced at the trial.



                                  *X.*

                *WITS AND BEAUX OF OLD LONDON SOCIETY.*


A mere beau, a ’man of dress,’ as our dictionaries define him, is a
pitiful object—a walking and talking doll, painted and bedizened, and as
imbecile-looking as a wax figure.  The man who chooses to go in for
being a beau should, if he does not wish to be thoroughly contemptible,
possess, besides physical beauty, a stock of brains, elegant manners,
ready wit, and moral courage.  The gentleman who at the seaside dresses
altogether in white must have a personally distinguished appearance not
to be taken for his own _chef de cuisine_.  Beaux are rather out of
fashion just now—mashers and fops replace them.  In the last century
they were more plentiful.  Perhaps the then prevailing popinjay style of
dress, with its embroidered and many-coloured coats and waistcoats,
gaudy breeches, wigs and swords, lent itself more readily to the
assumption of the character than does our more subdued costume.  In
those days the aspirants to the title of beau were termed bucks,
gallants, macaronis; and one of their distinguishing features, as the
plays and portraits of those days abundantly demonstrate, was their
having small legs with slender calves—possibly to show they were not
footmen in disguise.  And, as a rule, in those days the valet had more
brains than his master.

Beaux have always been a fruitful and pleasant theme for the satirist’s
pen.  The _Spectator_, in No. 275, describes the dissection of a beau’s
head, which is found to contain no brain, but in the usual place for
one, smelling strongly of essences and orange-flower water, a kind of
horny substance, cut into a thousand little faces or mirrors.  Further,
a lot of ribbons, laces, and embroidery, billets-doux, love-letters,
snuff, fictions, vows, oaths, and a spongy substance, known as nonsense.
A muscle, not often discovered in dissections, was found, the _os
cribriforme_, which draws the nose upwards when by that motion it
intends to express contempt.  The ogling muscles were very much worn
with use.  The individual to whom this head had belonged had passed for
a man for about thirty years, and died in the flower of his youth by the
blow of a fire-shovel, he having been surprised by an eminent citizen as
he was paying some attentions to his wife. This analysis of a beau’s
head, or character, was written in 1712.  In 1757 an essayist described
him thus in doggerel:

    ’Would you a modern beau commence,
    Shake off that foe to pleasure, sense.
    Scorn real, unaffected worth,
    Despise the virtuous, good and brave,
    To ev’ry passion be a slave....
    Be it your passion, joy and fame
    To play at ev’ry modish game....
    Harangue on fashion, point and lace....
    Affect to know each reigning belle
    That throngs the playhouse or the Mall.
    Though swearing you detest a fool,
    Be versed in Folly’s ample school....
    These rites observed, each foppish elf
    May view an emblem of himself.’


The combination of wit and beau in one person has, nevertheless,
occasionally been seen, and the ordinary, or numskulled, beau has shared
in the reputation created by such a combination, just as all judges are
assumed to be sober.  But in the days when beaux flourished wit of a
very attenuated kind tickled the fancy of the public, who haunted the
taverns patronized by the so-called wits.  Even the jokes which passed
at the Mermaid between Shakspere, Ben Jonson, and other professed
jesters must appear to modern readers who are not absurdly prepossessed
in favour of all that savours of antiquity, as heavy, dull, and often
far-fetched.  To justify what may appear rank heresy, let me quote one
of Tarleton’s ’witty’ sayings.  Tarleton was Shakspere’s friend and
fellow-actor, _the_ low comedian of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, who
probably suggested to Shakspere some of his jesters and fools.  Now,
this is what is transmitted to us as a specimen of his wit: Tarleton,
keeping an ordinary in Paternoster Row, would approve of mustard
standing before his customers to have wit. ’How so?’ inquired one.  ’It
is like a witty scold, meeting another scold, begins to scold first.
So,’ says he, ’the mustard, being licked up and knowing that you will
bite it, begins to bite you first.’  ’I’ll try that,’ says a gull, and
the mustard so tickled him that his eyes watered.  ’How now?’ says
Tarleton.  ’Does my jest savour?’  ’Ay,’ says the gull, ’and bite too.’
’If you had had better wit,’ says Tarleton, ’you would have bit first.
So, then, conclude with me that dumb, unfeeling mustard has more wit
than a talking, unfeeling fool, as you are.’  And this was considered ’a
rare conceit’ in the days of Shakspere.  We are rather more exacting
now.

The beaux of the days we are speaking of were, indeed, poor specimens of
humanity.  They were a noisy, swaggering lot, as we learn from the
author of ’Shakspere’s England.’  ’If a gallant,’ he says, ’entered the
ordinary ... he would find the room full of fashion-mongers ...
courtiers, who came there for society and news; adventurers who have no
home ... quarrelsome men paced about fretfully fingering their
sword-hilts, and maintaining as sour a face as that Puritan moping in a
corner, pent up by a group of young swaggerers, disputing over cards....
The soldiers bragged of nothing but of their employment in Ireland and
in the Low Countries....  The mere dullard sat silent, playing with his
glove, or discussing at what apothecary’s the best tobacco was to be
bought.’

But let us, in the career of an individual, Beau Fielding, famous in his
day, show how beaux then acquired a reputation.  Scotland Yard was so
called from a palace which stood there, and was the residence of the
Kings of Scotland on their annual visit to do homage for their kingdom
to the Crown of England. On the union of the Scottish and English Crowns
the palace was allowed to go to decay.  Parts of it served as occasional
residences for various persons, one of whom was Robert Fielding, who
died there in the early part of the last century.  This Fielding was
generally known as Beau Fielding.  The _Tatler_, in August, 1709 (Nos.
50 and 51), thus describes him: ’Ten _lustra_ and more are wholly passed
since Orlando (R. Fielding) first appeared in the metropolis of this
island, his descent noble, his wit humorous, his person charming.  But
to none of these advantages was his title so undoubted as that of his
beauty.  His complexion was fair, but his countenance manly; his stature
of the tallest, his shape the most exact; and though in all his limbs he
had a proportion as delicate as we see in the work of the most skilful
statuaries, his body had a strength and firmness little inferior to the
marble of which such images are formed.  This made Orlando the universal
flame of all the fair sex; innocent virgins sighed for him as Adonis,
experienced widows as Hercules.  Thus did this figure walk alone, the
pattern and ornament of our species, but, of course, the envy of all who
had the same passions, without his superior merit, and pretences to the
favour of that enchanting creature, woman.  However, the generous
Orlando believed himself formed for the world, and not to be engrossed
by any particular affection....  Woman was his mistress, and the whole
sex his seraglio.  His form was always irresistible; and if we consider
that not one of five hundred can bear the least favour from a lady
without being exalted above himself ... we cannot think it wonderful
that Orlando’s repeated conquests touched his brain.  So it certainly
did, and Orlando became an enthusiast in love....  He would still add to
the advantages of his person that of a profession which the ladies
always favour, and immediately commenced soldier....  Our hero seeks
distant climes ... after many feats of arms ... Orlando returns home,
full, but not loaded, with years....  The beauteous Villaria (Barbara,
daughter and heiress of William Villiers, Lord Viscount Grandison, of
the Kingdom of Ireland) ... became the object of his affection....
According to Milton,

    ’"The fair with conscious majesty approved."

Fortune having now supplied Orlando with necessaries for his high taste
of gallantry and pleasure, his equipage and economy had something in
them more sumptuous and gallant than could be conceived in our
degenerate age, therefore ... all the Britons under the age of sixteen
... followed his chariot with shouts and acclamations....  I remember I
saw him one day stop, and call the youths about him, to whom he spoke as
follows: "Good youngsters, go to school, and do not lose your time in
following my wheels.  I am loath to hurt you, because I know not but you
are all my own offspring....  Why, you young dogs, did you never see a
man before?"  "Never such a one as you, noble General," replied a truant
from Westminster. "Sirrah, I believe thee; there is a crown for thee.
Drive on, coachman." ... Fortune being now propitious to the gay
Orlando, he dressed, he spoke, he moved as a man might be supposed to do
in a nation of pigmies ... he sometimes rode in an open tumbril, of less
size than ordinary, to show the largeness of his limbs, and the grandeur
of his personage, to the greater advantage....  In all these glorious
excesses did ... Orlando live ... until an unlucky accident brought to
his remembrance that ... he was married before he courted the nuptials
of Villaria.  Several fatal memorandums were produced to revive the
memory of this accident, and the unhappy lover was for ever banished her
presence, to whom he owed the support of his first renown and
gallantry....  Orlando, therefore, now rages in a garret.’  The Barbara
Villiers mentioned by the _Tatler_ was identical with Lady Castlemaine,
Duchess of Cleveland, whose scandalous history is notorious. She was
sixty-five years old when she fell in love with Fielding and married
him.  The ’unlucky accident’ of the _Tatler_ was the fact that a few
weeks before Fielding had been taken in by an adventuress, one Mary
Wadsworth, whom, taking her for a rich widow, he had married.  On his
second—bigamous—marriage, the first wife revealed the fact to Lady
Castlemaine, who, having been shamefully treated by Fielding, was glad
to get rid of him.  The first marriage was proved in a court of law, and
sentence passed on Fielding to be burnt in the hand.  By interest in
certain quarters he was spared this ignominious punishment; but he was
left destitute, and died forgotten and forsaken.

The _Tatler_ gave Fielding a noble descent, and he, in fact, claimed
descent from the Hapsburgs; and on the strength of his name ventured to
have the arms of Lord Denbigh emblazoned on his coach, and to drive
about the ring in Hyde Park.  At the sight of the immaculate
coat-of-arms on the plebeian chariot, ’all the blood of the Hapsburgs’
flew to the head of Basil, fourth Earl of Denbigh.  In a high state of
fury, he at once procured a house-painter, and ordered him to daub the
coat-of-arms completely over, in broad daylight, and before all the
company in the ring.  The beau tamely submitted to the insult.

Fielding had several competitors in the beau-ship; contemporary with him
were Beau Edgeworth and Beau Wilson.  Of the former but little is on
record; the latter’s career was cut short at an early date, for when he
was not much beyond his twentieth year he was killed in a duel between
him and John Law, afterwards so famous as the originator of the
Mississippi scheme. The duel took place on the site of the present
Bloomsbury Square.  A mushroom growth of beaux arose about the year
1770, some of whom having travelled in Italy, and introduced macaroni as
a new dish, they came to be designated by that name.  They dressed in
the most ridiculous fashion, wearing their hair in a very high foretop,
with long side-curls, and an enormous chignon behind.  Their clothes
were tight-fitting, while silk stockings in all weathers were _de
rigueur_.  This folly was of but short duration.

In the first half of the eighteenth century flourished Beau Nash—a great
contrast in manners, character, social position, and conduct to Beau
Fielding; but as his life was passed at Bath he cannot be reckoned among
London beaux.  Yet we mention him, as in his earlier years he was
slightly connected with the Metropolis, by the fact that he was entered
for the Temple, though he never followed the law as a profession.

We have to come down to comparatively recent times to encounter a beau
of some note; that beau was known as Beau George Brummel.  He was born
in 1777, and sent to Eton, where he enjoyed the credit of being the best
scholar, the best oarsman, and the best cricketer of his day.  His
father was Under-Secretary to Lord North, and left each of his children
some £30,000.  At Eton he made many aristocratic friends, and thus
obtained the entrée to Devonshire House, where the beautiful Georgiana,
Duchess of Devonshire, held her court, and where she introduced Brummell
to the Prince Regent, who gave him a commission in the 10th Hussars.
But the army, with its restraints, did not suit the beau; he left it,
and then resided in Chesterfield Street, where the Prince, finding in
him a kindred spirit of vanity and frivolity, used to visit him in the
morning to see him make his toilet, and to learn the art of tying his
neckerchief fashionably.  And frequently the Prince would stay all day
to enjoy his friend’s intellectual discourse, stopping to take a chop or
steak with him, and not returning home till the next morning, half-seas
over. The beau spent his time chiefly at Brighton and at Carlton House,
and regularly established himself as a leader of fashion, his horses and
carriages, his dogs, walking-sticks and snuff-boxes, but especially his
clothes, becoming patterns to all the empty-headed noodles who required
guidance in such matters.  But such show could not be supported on the
income derived from his patrimony; Brummell therefore went in heavily
for gambling, with varying luck.  Once at Brooks’s he played with
Alderman Combe, nicknamed ’Mash-tub,’ Lord Mayor and brewer.  The
dice-box circulated. ’Come, Mash-tub,’ said the beau, who was the
caster, ’what do you set?’  ’Twenty-five guineas,’ said the Alderman.
The beau won, and eleven more similar ventures.  As he pocketed the
money, he said: ’Thank you, Alderman; henceforth I shall drink no porter
but yours.’  ’I wish, sir,’ replied Combe, ’that every other blackguard
in London would say the same.’  At the Watier Club, established at the
instigation of the Prince of Wales, Brummell suffered heavy losses, so
that ever after he was in constant pecuniary difficulties, though
Fortune smiled on him at times.  Indulging in all the superstitious
tendencies of gamblers, he at one time attributed his luck to the
finding of a crooked sixpence in the kennel, as he was walking with Mr.
Raikes, who tells the story, through Berkeley Square.  He had a hole
bored in the coin, and attached it to his watch-chain.  As for the
succeeding two years he had great luck at the table and on the turf, he
attributed it to the lucky sixpence.  He is supposed to have made nearly
£30,000 during that time.

A coolness between the Prince and the beau arose after a few years;
various reasons are assigned for it. He was, for instance, said to have
taken the part of Mrs. Fitzherbert, who had been privately married to
the Prince Regent at Carlton House; he is reported to have asked Lady
Cholmondeley, in the hearing of the Prince, and pointing to him, ’Who is
your fat friend?’  Though it is also reported that this question was put
to Jack Lee, as he was walking up St. James’s Street, arm-in-arm with
the Prince, a few days after the beau had quarrelled with the latter.
But this blew over, and Brummell was again invited to Carlton House,
where he took too much wine.  The Prince said to his brother, the Duke
of York: ’I think we had better order Mr. Brummell’s carriage before he
gets quite drunk.’  Another version of the second rupture is that
Brummell took the liberty of saying to the Prince: ’George, ring the
bell.’  The Prince rang it, and told the servant who answered it: ’Mr.
Brummell’s carriage.’  This Brummell always denied; however, he was a
second time forbidden Carlton House.  For a few years he was a hanger-on
at Oatlands, the seat of the Duke of York, then, having lost large sums
at play, he was obliged to fly the country, and having lived for some
years in obscurity at Calais, he obtained the post of British Consul at
Caen—for which his previous career, of course, eminently fitted him!  He
died in that town in poor circumstances in 1840.

Let us conclude this short account of the poor moth, basking in the
royal sunshine for awhile, with one or two anecdotes.  One day a
youthful beau approached Brummell, and said: ’Permit me to ask you where
you get your blacking?’  ’Ah,’ said the beau, ’my blacking positively
ruins me.  I will tell you in confidence—it is made with the finest
champagne!’  He was once at a party in Portman Square.  On the cloth
being removed, the snuff-boxes made their appearance; Brummell’s was
particularly admired; it was handed round, and a gentleman, finding it
somewhat difficult to open, incautiously applied a desert-knife to the
lid.  Brummell was on thorns, and at last could contain himself no
longer, and addressing the host, he said, loud enough to be heard by the
company: ’Will you be good enough to tell your friend that my snuff-box
is not an oyster?’

England has had no regular beau since the time of Brummell, though
occasionally some crack-brained individual has attempted to wear his
mantle.  Such a one was Ferdinand Geramb, a tight-laced German General
and Baron, who in the second decade of this century strutted about the
parks, conspicuous for his ringlets, his superb moustaches, and immense
spurs. It was asserted that he was a German Jew, who, having married the
widow of a Hungarian Baron, assumed her late husband’s title.  His fiery
moustaches were closely imitated by many illustrious personages, and
gold spurs several inches long became the fashion—one fool makes many.
It is to him the British army is indebted for the introduction of hussar
uniforms.  Having to leave England under the Alien Act, he went to
Hamburg, where he set himself to writing against the Emperor Napoleon,
who shut him up in the Castle of Vincennes. There, in terrible fear of
being shot, he made a vow that should he regain his liberty he would
renounce the devil and his works, and join the Trappist community. He
was released at the Restoration, and at once entered a Trappist
monastery, under the name of Brother Joseph, and in course of time
became Abbot and Procurator-General of the Order.  No more fighting of
duels now, no more keeping the bailiffs who wanted to seize him for debt
at bay for twelve days in an English country house which he had
fortified; he submitted to the severest rules of the Order, and in 1831
made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and died at Rome in 1848.



                                 *XI.*

               *LONDON SEEN THROUGH FOREIGN SPECTACLES.*


In the year 1765 a Frenchman, who did not give his name, visited London,
and afterwards published in Paris an account of his visit.

’I reached London,’ he says, ’towards the close of the day ... and at
last, quite by chance, I found myself settled in an apartment in the
house of the _Cruisinier Royal_ in Leicester Fields.  This neighbourhood
is filled with small houses, which are mostly let to foreigners.’  On
the following day he walked down Holborn and the Strand to St. Paul’s,
then crossed London Bridge, and returned to his hotel by walking through
Southwark and Lambeth to Westminster, ’a district full of mean houses
and meaner taverns.’  The localities named have not greatly altered
their character since then.  In another place our traveller says: ’Even
from the bridges it is impossible to get a view of the river, as the
parapets are ten feet high....  The reason given for all this is the
inclination which the English, and the Londoners especially, have for
suicide.  It is true that above and below the town the banks are
unprotected, and offer an excellent opportunity to those who really wish
to drown themselves; but the distance is great, and, besides, those who
wish to leave the world in this manner prefer doing so before the eyes
of the public.  The parapets, however, of the new bridge [Blackfriars]
which is being built will be but of an ordinary height.’  Suicidal
tendencies must indeed have greatly declined, since the most recently
erected bridges, the new Westminster and Blackfriars, have particularly
low parapets.

Of the streets our author says: ’They are paved in such a manner that it
is barely possible to ride or walk on them in safety, and they are
always extremely dirty.... The finest streets ... would be impassable
were it not that on each side ... footways are made from four to five
feet wide, and for communication from one to the other across the street
there are smaller footways elevated above the general surface of the
roadway, and formed of large stones selected for the purpose.... In the
finest part of the Strand, near St. Clement’s Church, I noticed, during
the whole of my stay in London, that the middle of the street was
constantly covered with liquid stinking mud, three or four inches
deep....  The walkers are bespattered from head to foot....  The
natives, however, brave all these disagreeables, wrapped up in long blue
coats, like dressing-gowns, wearing brown stockings and perukes, rough,
red and frizzled.’

Well, we cannot find much fault with this description, unflattering as
it is, for in the last century London certainly was one of the most
hideous towns to live in, and its inhabitants the most uncouth,
repulsive set of ’guys’!  Concerning Oxford Street our author makes a
false prognostic: ’The shops of Oxford Street will disappear as the
houses are sought after for private dwellings by the rich.  Soon will
the great city extend itself to Marylebone, which is not more than a
quarter of a league distant.  At present it is a village, principally of
taverns, inhabited by French refugees.’

Our traveller sees but four houses in London which will bear comparison
with the great hotels in Paris.  To the inconvenience of mud, he says,
must be added that of smoke, which, mingled with a perpetual fog, covers
London as a pall.  We, to our sorrow, know this to be true even now.

But we have improved in one respect: our old watchmen or ’Charleys’ have
disappeared before the modern police.  Concerning these watchmen our
author says: ’There are no troops or guard or watch of any kind, except
during the night by some old men, chosen from the dregs of the people.
Their only arms are a stick and a lantern.  They walk about the streets
crying the hour every time the clock strikes ... and it appears to be a
point of etiquette among hare-brained youngsters to maul them on leaving
their parties.’

Our Frenchman formed a correct estimate of the London watchman of his
day—nay, it held good to the final extinction of the ’Charleys.’  In
December, 1826, a watchman was charged before the Lord Mayor with
insubordination.  On being asked who had appointed him watchman, the
prisoner replied that he was in great distress and a burden to the
parish, who therefore gave him the appointment to get rid of him.  The
Lord Mayor: ’I thought so; and what can be expected from such a system
of choosing watchmen?  I know that most of the men who are thus burdens
on the parish are the vilest of wretches, and such men are appointed to
guard the lives and property of others!  I also know that in most cases
robberies are perpetrated by the connivance of watchmen.’

But in some cases our author is really too good-naturedly credulous.
Says he: ’The people of London, though proud and hasty, are good at
heart, and humane, even in the lowest class.  If any stoppage occurs in
the streets, they are always ready to lend their assistance to remove
the difficulty, instead of raising a quarrel, which might end in murder,
as is often the case in Paris.’  This is really too innocent!  And our
French visitor must have been very fortunate indeed never to have got
into a London crowd of roughs or of pickpockets, who create stoppages in
the streets for the only purpose of pursuing their trade, and who seldom
hesitate to commit violence if they cannot rob without it.  Our author’s
belief, indeed, in London honesty is boundless.  ’In order that the
pot-boys,’ he says, ’may have but little trouble in collecting them [the
pewter pots in which publicans send out the beer], they are placed in
the open passages, and sometimes on the doorsteps of the houses.  I saw
them thus exposed ... and felt quite assured against all the cunning of
thieves.’  But more astounding is the statement that there are no poor
in London!  ’A consequence,’ says our visitor, ’of its rich and numerous
charitable establishments and the immense sums raised by the poor-rates,
which impost is one which the little householders pay most cheerfully,
as they consider it a fund from which, in the event of their death,
their wives and children will be supported.’  Fancy a little householder
paying his poor-rate cheerfully!  And what a mean opinion must our
author have had of the spirit of the householder who calmly contemplated
his family, after his death, going to the parish!

The Frenchman returns once more to our usual melancholy, ’which,’ he
says, ’is no doubt owing to the fogs’ and to our fat meat and strong
beer.  ’Beef is the Englishman’s ordinary diet, relished in proportion
to the quantity of fat, and this, mixed in their stomachs with the beer
they drink, must produce a chyle, whose viscous heaviness conveys only
bilious and melancholic vapours to the brain.’

It certainly is satisfactory to have so scientific an explanation of the
origin of our spleen.

Another French writer in 1784—M. La Combe—published a book, entitled ’A
Picture of London,’ in which, _inter alia_, he says: ’The highroads
thirty or forty miles round London are filled with armed highwaymen and
footpads.’  This was then pretty true, though the expression ’filled’ is
somewhat of an exaggeration.  The medical student of forty or fifty
years ago seems to have been anticipated in 1784, for M. La Combe tells
us that ’the brass knockers of doors, which cost from 12s. to 15s., are
stolen at night if the maid forgets to unscrew them’—a precaution which
seems to have gone out of fashion.  ’The arrival of the mails,’ our
author says, ’is uncertain at all times of the year....  Persons who
frequently receive letters should recommend their correspondents not to
insert loose papers, nor to put the letters in covers, because the tax
is sometimes treble, and always arbitrary, though in a free country.
But rapacity and injustice are the deities of the English.’  M. La Combe
does not give us a flattering character.  ’An Englishman,’ he says,
’considers a foreigner as an enemy, whom he dares not offend openly, but
whose society he fears; and he attaches himself to no one.’  Perhaps it
was so in 1784, but such feelings have nearly died out—at least, among
educated people.  M. La Combe, in another part of his book, exclaims:
’How are you changed, Londoners! ... Your women are become bold,
imperious, and expensive. Bankrupts and beggars, coiners, spies and
informers, robbers and pickpockets abound....  The baker mixes alum in
his bread ... the brewer puts opium and copper filings in his beer ...
the milkwoman spoils her milk with snails.’

Do more recent writers judge of us more correctly? We shall see.

I have lying before me a French book, the title of which, translated
into English, runs, ’Geography for Young People.’  It is in its eighth
edition, and written by M. Lévi, Professor of Belles-Lettres, of History
and Geography in Paris.  The date of the book is 1850. The Professor in
it describes London, and if his pupils ever have, or rather had,
occasion to visit our capital, they must have been unable to recognise
it from their teacher’s description of it.  Among the many blunders he
commits, there are some which are excusable in a foreigner, because they
refer to matters which are often misapprehended even by natives; but to
describe London as possessing a certain architectural feature which a
mere walk through the streets with his eyes open would have shown him to
have no existence at all is rather unpardonable in a professor who takes
on himself to teach young people geography.  But what does M. Lévi say?
He says: ’In London you never see an umbrella, because all the streets
are built with arcades, under which you find shelter when it rains, so
that an umbrella, which to us Parisians is an indispensable article, is
perfectly useless to a Londoner.’  M. Lévi evidently, if ever he was in
London, visited the Quadrant only, before the arcade was pulled down,
and thereupon wrote his account of London.  Yet he must have looked
about a bit, for he tells us of splendid cafés to be met with in every
street; the nobility patronize them; ’one of them accidentally treads on
the toes of another, a duel is the consequence, and to-morrow morning
one of them will have ceased to live.’

M. Lévi reminds us of the Frenchman who came over to England with the
object of writing a book about us. He arrived in London one Saturday
night, and being tired, at once went to bed.  At breakfast next morning
he asked for new bread; the waiter told him they only had yesterday’s.
Out came the Frenchman’s note-book, in which he wrote: ’In London the
bread is always baked the day before.’  He then asked for the day’s
paper, but was again told they had yesterday’s only. A memorandum went
into the note-book: ’The London newspapers are always published
yesterday.’  He then thought he would present the letter of introduction
he had brought with him to a private family, so having been directed to
the house, he saw a lady near the window, reading.  Not wishing to
startle or disturb her, he gave a gentle single rap.  This not being
answered, he had to give a few more raps, when at last a servant partly
opened the door and asked his business. He expressed his wish to see the
master of the house. ’Master never sees anybody to-day, but he will
perhaps to-morrow,’ replied the servant, and shut the door in his face.
Another memorandum was added to the previous ones: ’In London people
never see anyone to-day, but always to-morrow.’  Having nothing to do,
he thought he would go to the theatre.  He inquired for Drury Lane, and
was directed to it.  The doors being shut, he lounged about the
neighbourhood till they should open.  As it grew later and later, and
there was no sign of a _queue_, he at last addressed a passer-by, and
asked him when the theatre would open. ’It won’t open to-day,’ was the
reply.  This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.  Our
Frenchman hurried back to his hotel, wrote in his note-book, ’In London
there are theatres, but they never open today,’ took a cab, caught the
night mail, and hastened to leave so barbarous a country.

This description of London life is about as correct as that recently
given in Max O’Rell’s ’John Bull and his Womankind.’  What kind of
people did O’Rell visit?

I look at another book before me, written in Italian, and entitled:
’Semi-serious Observations of an Exile on England.’  The book was
published at Lugano in 1831, but the author—Giuseppe Pecchio—dates his
preface from York in 1827.

He speaks thusly of the approach to London by the Dover road: ’If the
sky is gloomy, the first aspect of London is no less so.  The smoky look
of the houses gives them the appearance of a recent fire.  If to this
you add the silence prevailing amidst a population of a million and a
half of inhabitants, all in motion (so that you seem to behold a stage
full of Chinese shadows), and the uniformity of the houses, as if you
were in a city of beavers, you will easily understand that on entering
into such a beehive pleasure gives way to astonishment.  This is the old
country style, but since the English have substituted blue pills for
suicide, or, still better, have made a journey to Paris—since, instead
of Young’s "Night Thoughts," they read the novels of Walter Scott, they
have rendered their houses a little more pleasing in outward appearance.
In the West End especially they have adopted a more cheerful style of
architecture.  But I do not by this mean to imply that the English
themselves have become more lively; they still take delight in ghosts,
witchcraft, cemeteries, and similar horrors.  Woe to the author who
writes a novel without some apparition to make your hair stand on end!’

In speaking of the thinness of the walls and floors of London houses, he
says: ’I could hear the murmur of the conversation of the tenant of the
room above and of that of the one below me; from time to time the words
"very fine weather," "indeed," "very fine," "comfort," "comfortable,"
"great comfort," reached my ears.  In fact, the houses are
ventriloquous.  As already mentioned, they are all alike.  In a
three-storied house there are three perpendicular bedrooms, one above
the other, and three parlours, equally so superposed.’  We know how much
of this description is true.

’Why are the English,’ he asks, ’not expert dancers? Because they cannot
practise dancing in their slightly-built houses, in which a lively caper
would at once send the third-floor down into the kitchen.  This is the
reason why the English gesticulate so little, and have their arms always
glued to their sides.  The rooms are so small that you cannot move about
rapidly without smashing some object,’ or, as we should say, you cannot
swing a cat in them.

’Strangers are astounded,’ continues our author, ’at the silence
prevailing among the inhabitants of London. But how could a million and
a half of people live together without silence?  The noise of men,
horses, and carriages between the Strand and the Exchange is so great
that it is said that in winter there are two degrees of difference in
the thermometers of the City and of the West End.  I have not verified
it,’ our author is candid enough to admit, ’but considering the great
number of chimneys in the Strand, it is probable enough.  From Chering
[_sic_] Cross to the Exchange is the cyclopedia of the world.  Anarchy
seems to prevail, but it is only apparent.  The rules which Gray gives
(in his "Trivia; or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London") seem to
me unnecessary.’

Signor Pecchio pretty well describes the movements of ’City men’:

’The great monster of the capital,’ he says, ’similar to a huge giant,
waking up, begins by giving signs of life at its extremities.  The
movement begins at the circumference, gradually extending to the centre,
until about ten o’clock the uproar begins, increasing till four o’clock,
which is the hour for going on ’Change.  The population seems to follow
the law of the tides.  Up to that hour the tide rises from the periphery
to the Exchange.  At half-past four, when the Exchange closes, the ebb
sets in, and currents of men, horses, and carriages flow from the
Exchange to the periphery.’

Like all foreigners, he has something to say about the dulness of an
English Sunday.  ’This country, all in motion, all alive on other days
of the week,’ he observes, ’seems struck with an attack of apoplexy on
the Lord’s day.’  Foreigners pass the day at Greenwich or Richmond,
where ’they pay dearly for a dinner, seasoned with the bows of a waiter
in silk stockings and brown livery, just like the dress of a Turin
lawyer.’  But if you want to see how John Bull spends the day, it is not
in Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens you must look for him.  ’If you want
to see that marvellous personage who is the wonder and laughing-stock of
all Europe, who clothes all the world, wins battles on land and sea
without much boasting, who works like three and drinks like six, who is
the pawnbroker and usurer of all Kings and all Republics, whilst he is
bankrupt at home, and sometimes, like Midas, dies of hunger in the midst
of gold, you must look for him elsewhere.  In winter you must descend
into underground cellars. There, around a blazing fire, you will behold
the English workman, well dressed and shod, smoking, drinking, and
reading....  For this class of readers special Sunday newspapers are
published....  It is in these taverns, and amidst the smoke of tobacco
and the froth of their beer, the first condition of public opinion is
born and formed.  It is there the conduct of every citizen is discussed
and appraised; there starts the road which leads to the Capitol or the
Tarpeian rock; there praise or blame is awarded to a Burdett issuing
triumphantly from the Tower, or to a Castlereagh descending amidst
curses to the tomb....  There are no rows in these taverns ... more
decency of conduct is observed in them than in our [Italian] churches.
When full of spirit and beer the customers, instead of fighting, fall
down on the pavement like dead men.’

After having so carefully observed the conduct of the British workman,
our Italian friend watches him in the suburban tea-garden, which he
visits with his family to take tea in the afternoon, or drink his
nut-brown ale. ’One of the handsomest,’ he says, ’is Cumberland
Gardens,[#] close to Vauxhall ... there he sits smoking long pipes of
the whitest clay, which the landlord supplies, filled with tobacco, at
one penny each. Between his puffs of smoke he occasionally sends forth a
truncated phrase, such as we read in "Tristram Sandi" [_sic_] were
uttered by Trion and the captain.  It being Sunday, which admits of no
amusement, no music or song is heard.’  Pretty much as it is at the
present day!


[#] In the early part of 1825, therefore shortly after our author wrote,
the tavern was burnt to the ground, and the site taken possession of by
the South London Waterworks.


Having heard what both Frenchmen and an Italian had to say about London,
let us listen to what a German authoress has to tell us on the subject.

Johanna Schopenhauer, in her ’Travels through England and Scotland’
(third edition, 1826), says: ’The splendid shops, which offer the finest
sights, are situate chiefly between the working City and the more
aristocratic, enjoying Westminster,’ a statement which, as every
Londoner knows, is only partially correct. ’The English custom of always
making way to the right greatly facilitates walking, so that there is no
pushing or running against anyone.’  Did our author ever take a walk in
Cheapside or Fleet Street?  ’Even Italians probably do not fear rain so
much as a Londoner; to catch a wetting seems to them the most terrible
misfortune; on the first falling of a few drops everyone not provided
with an umbrella hastens to take refuge in a coach.’  How well the lady
has studied the habits of Londoners!  What will they say to this?

’The police exercise a strict control over hackney-coaches.  Woe to the
driver who ventures to over-charge!’  And again: ’You may safely enter,
carrying with you untold wealth, a coach at any time of the night, as
long as someone at the house whence you start takes the number of the
coach, and lets the driver see that it is taken.’

Mrs. Schopenhauer tells us that it is customary to go for breakfast to a
pastry-cook’s shop, and eat a few cakes hot from the pan.  Truly, we did
not know it. Of course, she agrees with other writers as to the
smallness of the houses, every room of which you can tell from the
outside; but we were not aware that, as she informs us, all the doors
are exceedingly narrow and high, and that frequently the front-doors
look only like narrow slits in the wall.

’Bedrooms seldom can contain more than one bed; but English bedsteads
are large enough to hold three persons.  And it is a universal custom
not to sleep alone; sisters, relations, and female friends share a bed
without ceremony, and the mistress of the house is not ashamed to take
her servant to bed with her, for English ladies are afraid of being
alone in a room at night, having never been brought up to it....  The
counterpane is fastened to the mattress, leaving but an opening for
slipping in between the two.’

Again, we are told to our astonishment: ’The majority of Londoners,
workmen and shopkeepers, who form but one category, on the whole lead
sad lives.  Heavy taxes, the high prices of necessaries, extravagance of
dress, compel them to observe a frugality of living which, in other
countries, would be called poverty.

’The shopkeeper, for ever tied to his shop and the dark parlour behind,
must deny himself every amusement. Theatres are too far off and too
expensive; the wife of a well-to-do tradesman seldom can visit one more
than twice a year.

’During the week they cannot leave the shop between nine in the morning
and twelve at night.  The wife generally attends to it, while the
husband sits in the parlour behind and keeps the accounts.  True, on
Sundays all the shops are closed, but so are the theatres, and as all
domestics and other employés insist on having that day to themselves,
the mistress has to stay at home to take care of the house.

’Merchants lead lives nearly as dull.  They have to deny themselves
social pleasures indulged in by the rich merchants of Hamburg or
Leipsic.  English ladies are more domesticated, and not accustomed to
the bustle of public amusements.  But their husbands, after business
hours, occasionally seek for recreation in cafés and taverns.’

How very one-sided and imperfect a view of English middle life, even as
it was seventy years ago, when these remarks were written, is presented
to us by them is self-evident!

English ladies, according to our author, ’seldom go out, and when they
do, they prefer a shopping excursion to every other kind of promenade.
They also are fond of visiting pastry-cooks’ shops, and as these are
open to the street, ladies may safely enter them.  But that is not
allowable at Mr. Birch’s in Cornhill, whose shop ladies cannot visit
without being accompanied by gentlemen, the breakfast-room being at the
back of the house, at the end of a long passage, and lit up all the year
round (as daylight does not penetrate into it) with wax candles, by the
light of which ladies and gentlemen—usually amidst solemn
silence—swallow their turtle-soup and small hot patties.  The house
supplies nothing else ... but its former proprietor, Master Horton, by
his patties and soup made a fortune of one hundred thousand pounds, and
his successor seems in a fair way of doing the same.’  We hope the
assumption was verified.

According to Mrs. Schopenhauer, Londoners are not very hospitable, and
’prefer entertaining a friend they invite to dinner at a coffee-house or
tavern, rather than at their own homes, where the presence of ladies is
a restraint upon them.  Ladies are treated with great respect, but, like
all personages imposing respect, they are avoided as much as possible.’

Our traveller must have come in contact with some very ungallant
Englishmen.  She describes a dinner at a private house; we are told that
’there are twelve to fourteen guests, who fill the small drawing-room,
the ladies sitting in armchairs, whilst the gentlemen stand about, some
warming themselves by the fire, often in a not very decent manner.  At
the dinner-table napkins are found only in houses which have acquired
foreign polish, and they are not many.  The tablecloth hangs down to the
floor, and every guest takes it upon his knee, and uses it as a
napkin....  The lady of the house serves the dishes, and there is no end
to her questions put to her guests as to the seasoning, the part of the
joint, the sauce, etc., they like,’ questions which are exceedingly
troublesome to a foreigner who is not up to all the technical terms of
English cookery. Of course, the hobnobbing and taking wine with
everybody—a fashion now happily abolished—comes in for a good deal of
censure, which, indeed, is richly deserved. ’Conversation on any subject
of interest is out of the question during dinner; were anyone to attempt
it, the master would immediately interrupt him with, "Sir, you are
losing your dinner; by-and-by we will discuss these matters."  The
ladies from sheer modesty speak but little; foreigners must beware from
saying much, lest they be considered monstrous bold.’

Whilst, after dinner, the gentlemen sit over their wine, the ladies are
yawning the time away in the drawing-room, until their hostess sends
word down to the dining-room that tea is ready.  ’It is said,’ continues
our author, ’that the slow or quick attention given to this message
shows who is master in the house, the husband or the wife.’  Long after
midnight the guests drive home ’through the streets still swarming with
people.  All the shops are still open, and lighted up; the street-lamps,
of course, are alight, and burn till the rising of the sun.’  Has any
Londoner ever seen all the shops open and lighted up all night? Did our
author have visions?

A London Sunday, of course, is commented on.  The complaint raised quite
recently by some of our bishops seems but a revival of wailings uttered
long ago, for we learn from Mrs. Schopenhauer that in her time (sixty
years ago) ’some of the highest families in the kingdom were called to
account for desecrating the Sabbath with amateur concerts, dances, and
card-playing,’ so that it would indeed seem there is nothing new under
the sun. ’The genuine Englishman,’ says our authoress, ’divides his time
on Sundays between church and the bottle; his wife spends the hours her
religious duties leave her with a gossip, and abuses her neighbours and
acquaintances, which is quite lawful on Sundays.’

We allow Mrs. Schopenhauer to make her bow and retire with this parting
shot.  Still, that lady was not singular in attributing great drinking
powers to Englishmen.  M. Larcher, who in 1861 published a book entitled
’Les Anglais, Londres et l’Angleterre,’ says therein that in good
society the ladies after dinner retire into another room, after having
partaken very moderately of wine, while the gentlemen are left to empty
bottles of port, madeira, claret, and champagne. ’And it is,’ he adds,
’a constant habit among the ladies to empty bottles of brandy.’  And he
quotes from a work by General Fillet: ’Towards forty years of age every
well-bred English lady goes to bed intoxicated.’

M. Jules Lecomte says in his ’Journey of Troubles to London’ (’Un Voyage
de Désagréments à Londres,’ 1854) that he accompanied a blonde English
miss to the Exhibition in Hyde Park, where at one sitting she ate six
shillings’ worth of cake resembling a black brick ornamented with
currants.

According to M. Francis Wey’s account of ’The English at Home’ (’Les
Anglais chez Eux,’ 1856), at Cremorne Gardens the popular refreshment,
and particularly with an Oxford theologian, is ginger-beer. M. Wey
probably means shandy-gaff.  He agrees with M. Lecomte: the consumption
of food by one English young lady would suffice for four Paris porters!

A Russian visitor to London, the ’Own Correspondent’ of the _Northern
Bee_ Russian newspaper, who inspected London in 1861, asserts, in his
’England and Russia,’ that any English miss of eighteen is capable of
imbibing sundry glasses of wine ’without making a face.’

In the _Daily Graphic_ of November 1, 1893, a statement appeared,
according to which a French journalist at this present day informs the
world, through _Le Jour_, that in London—nay, in all England—not one
cyclist is to be found, the Government having rigidly suppressed them.
Well, M. Lévi has told us that there are no umbrellas in London; now we
learn that there are no cyclists (how we wish this were true!).  What
curious information we get from France about ourselves!

When will travellers leave off being Münchausens?



                                 *XII.*

                *OLD LONDON TAVERNS AND TEA-GARDENS.[#]*

               *I.—THE GALLERIED TAVERNS OF OLD LONDON.*

[#] This chapter is based on ancient and modern histories of London; on
works treating of special localities; on essays in periodical
publications; on the Transactions of Antiquarian and other Societies,
and as it is not a product of imagination, but of research, nothing new
to the student, but a great deal new to the general reader, may be
expected; though the stones are old, the house is new.


London abounded in taverns.  A folio volume might be filled with
accounts of the more important of them, but as we have only a limited
number of pages at our command, we shall confine ourselves to the
description of one peculiarly characteristic sort of them, namely, the
taverns with galleried courtyards, and, in consequence of their great
number, our notice of each will have to be brief.

These old taverns, very few of which are now left standing, formed,
architecturally, squares, the buildings surrounding a yard, furnished on
three sides with outer galleries to the floors above; and the reason why
this form of construction was adopted was because then the yards were
rendered suitable for theatrical representations, which, before the
erection of regular theatres, were usually given in inn-yards.  Access
to these yards was obtained either through the part of the tavern facing
the street, or through the gateway, through which coaches, carts and
waggons entered the yard. The stage was erected, in a primitive and
temporary manner, behind the front portion of the square, and faced the
galleries at the back and sides of it.  The yard itself then formed the
pit, and the galleries the boxes of the theatre.  A yard so surrounded
by galleries, with their banisters or open panels, often of elegant
design, looked very picturesque; but did this style of construction
contribute to the comfort of the guests?  Scarcely.  The ground-floors
of the inn-buildings, on the level of the yard, were given up to
stables, coach-houses, store-rooms, etc.  Access to the galleries was
obtained by staircases, often steep, twisted and narrow; along the
galleries were the bedrooms, the doors, and frequently the windows, of
which opened on to them, and there were no other means of reaching these
rooms.  Now, consider that these galleries were open, exposed to all the
changes of the weather, to wind, rain, hail, sleet and snow, which must
have been very trying, especially at night, when the bedrooms had to be
entered by the light of a candle, difficult to keep burning, whilst the
wind was driving rain or snow into the gallery.  Remember also that the
roughly paved yard and the stables surrounding it were full of noises,
not only during the day, but all the night through. There were the
horses kicking, coaches and waggons constantly coming in through the
gateway, or going out, stablemen, coachmen, carters shouting, horses
being harnessed to carts, and other vehicles starting early in the
morning on their journeys, and the rest of the sleepers in the bedrooms
along the galleries must have been sadly interfered with.  Nor can the
smell arising from the stables and from the manure heap, all confined
within the well formed by the surrounding buildings, have added to the
comfort of the guests staying at the inn.  As the bar of the inn
frequently was in the yard, the noises made by its visitors, and the
quarrels they occasionally indulged in, and which often would be settled
by a fight in the yard, were not calculated to promote sound sleep.  But
our ancestors were not so particular in these matters; even aristocratic
quarters of London were given up to dirt and rowdyism.  In St. James’s
Square offal, cinders, dead cats and dogs were shot under the very
windows of the gilded saloons in which the first magnates of the
land—Norfolks, Ormonds, Kents and Pembrokes—gave banquets and balls.
Lord Macaulay quotes the condition of Lincoln’s Inn Fields as a striking
example of the indifference felt by the most polite and splendid members
of society in a former age to what would now be deemed the common
decencies of life.  But the poorest cottage and the meanest galleried
inn-yard look well in a picture. Be glad that you have not to live in
either.  But a few generations ago, as we have pointed out, tastes and
habits were different, and even now there are old fogeys so wedded to
ancient customs that they still patronize the dark boxes yet found in
some antiquated taverns, which afford room for four or six customers,
who have to sit upright against the perpendicular backs of the boxes,
lest they slide off the twelve-inch-wide shelves on which they have to
perch and disappear under the table. Strange were the customs of the
days referred to.  The people seemed to live in taverns, physicians met
their patients and apothecaries there, lawyers their clients, business
men their customers, people of fashion their acquaintances.  ’Even men
of fortune,’ says Macaulay, ’who might in their own mansions have
enjoyed every luxury, were often in the habit of passing their evenings
in the parlour of some neighbouring house of public entertainment,’ in
the company of ill-bred, loud talking, roisterous and
spittoon-patronizing smokers. Johnson declared that the tavern chair was
the throne of human felicity.  To him it was, because there he found his
toadies, whom he could bully to his heart’s content.  But the man who
could say

    ’My mind to me a kingdom is’

did not care to sit on such a throne.

But we have insensibly strayed into side-openings; let us return to the
main avenue of galleried taverns. We shall have to mention so many, that
we see no better means of preventing our getting confused and losing our
way altogether than to arrange them alphabetically according to the
signs they were known by.

The first inn thus on our list is the Angel, at Islington.  Its
establishment dates back two hundred years.  Originally it presented the
usual features of a large country inn, having a long front, with an
overhanging tiled roof; the principal entrance was beneath a projection,
which extended along a portion of the front, and had a wooden gallery at
top.  The inn-yard, approached by a gateway in the centre, was nearly a
quadrangle, having double galleries supported by plain columns and
carved pilasters, with caryatides and other figures.  This courtyard, as
it was more than a hundred years, was preserved by Hogarth in his print
of a ’Stage Coach.’  There is also a view of it in Pinks’s ’History of
Clerkenwell.’  In olden days the inn was a great halting-place for
travellers from London, and from the northern and western counties.  On
the King’s birthday the royal mail coaches used to meet there, as shown
in an engraving of 1812, in the Crace collection in the British Museum.
In 1819 the old house was pulled down, and the present ordinary-looking
building erected in its stead, a grand opportunity, afforded by its
commanding position, ninety-nine feet above the Trinity high water-mark,
at the meeting of so many important roads, being thus stupidly lost.

There was another Angel inn, in St. Clement’s, Strand, ’behind St.
Clement Kirk.’  To this also was attached a galleried yard, but,
according to the woodcut in Diprose’s ’St. Clement Danes,’ there were
galleries to the first and second floors on one side of the yard only.
And from this house also seven or eight mail-coaches were despatched
nightly, and from here also the royal mails used to start on the King’s
birthday for the West of England.  Concerning the public conveyances of
those days, the following curious announcement reads amusing: ’On Monday
the 5th April, 1762, will set out from the Angel Inn, behind St.
Clement’s Church, a neat flying machine, carrying four passengers, on
steel springs, and sets out at four o’clock in the morning and goes to
Salisbury the same evening, and returns from Salisbury the next morning
at the same hour; and will continue going from London every Monday,
Wednesday and Friday, and return every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Performed by the proprietors of the stage coach, Thomas Massey, Anthony
Coack.  Each passenger to pay twenty-three shillings for their fare, and
to be allowed fourteen pounds’ weight baggage; all above to pay for one
penny a pound.  Outside passengers and children in lap to pay half fare.
N.B.—The masters of the machine will not be accountable for plate,
watches, money, jewels, bank-notes, or writings, unless booked as such,
and paid for accordingly.’  Why the proprietors should have called their
coach a ’machine’ is a riddle, and as it took a whole day, from four in
the morning till the evening, to get over the eighty-four miles between
London and Salisbury, its rate of progress could hardly be called a
’flying’ one.

The Angel inn was of very ancient origin, being mentioned in a
correspondence dated 1503.  In the _Public Advertiser_ of March 28,
1769, appeared the following advertisement: ’To be sold a Black Girl,
the property of J.B., eleven years of age, who is extremely handy, works
at her needle tolerably, and speaks English perfectly well; is of an
excellent temper and willing disposition.  Inquire of Mr. Owen, at the
Angel Inn, behind St. Clement’s Church.’  The inn was closed in 1853,
the freehold fetching £6,800, and on its site the legal chambers known
as Danes Inn were erected.

In Philip Lane, London Wall, anciently stood the Ape, an inn with a
galleried yard; all that now remains of this ancient hostelry is a stone
carving of a monkey squatted on its haunches and eating an apple; under
it is the date 1670 and the initial B.  It is fixed on the house
numbered 14.  The courtyard, where the coaches and waggons used to
arrive and depart, is now an open space, round which houses are built.
A view of the Ape and Cock taverns as they appeared in 1851 is in the
Crace collection.

We should be trying the reader’s patience were we to enter into a
discussion as to the origin of the sign of the Belle Sauvage, the inn
which once stood at the bottom of Ludgate, and whose site is now
occupied by the establishment of Messrs. Cassell and Company. The name
was derived either from one William Savage, who in 1380 was a citizen
living in that locality, or, more probably, from one Arabella Savage,
whose property the inn once was.  The sign originally was a bell hung
within a hoop.  As already mentioned, inn-yards were anciently used as
theatres.  The Belle Sauvage was a favourite place for dramatic
performances, its inner yard being spacious, and having handsomely
carved galleries to the first and second floors at the back of the main
building.  An original drawing of it is in the Crace collection.  In
this yard Banks, the showman, so often mentioned in Elizabethan
pamphlets, exhibited his trained horse Morocco, the animal which once
ascended the tower of St. Paul’s, and which on another occasion
delighted the mob by selecting Tarleton, the low comedian, as the
greatest fool present.  Banks eventually took his horse to Rome, and the
priests, frightened at the circus tricks, burnt both Morocco and his
master as sorcerers.  Close by the inn lived Grinling Gibbons, and an
old house, bearing the crest of the Cutlers’ Company, remains.

The old Black Bull (now No. 122), Gray’s Inn Lane, was, in its original
state, as shown by a woodcut in Walford’s ’Old and New London,’ a
specimen, though of the meaner sort, of the old-fashioned galleried
yard.

The Black Lion, on the west side of Whitefriars Street, was a quaint and
picturesque edifice, and its courtyard showed a gallery to the
first-floor of the building, rather wider than usual, and with massive
banisters, pillars supporting the roof.  The old house was pulled down
in 1877, and a large tavern of the ordinary uninteresting type now
occupies its site.

One of the once famous Southwark inns was the Boar’s Head, which formed
a part of Sir John Fastolf’s benefactions to Magdalen College, Oxford.
This Sir John was one of the bravest Generals in the French wars under
Henry IV. and his successors.  The premises comprised a narrow court of
ten or twelve houses, and two separate houses at the east end, the one
of them having a gallery to the first-floor.  The property was for many
years leased to the father of Mr. John Timbs, which latter, in his
’Curiosities of London,’ gives a lengthy account of the premises.  They
were taken down in 1830 to widen the approach to London Bridge. The
court above mentioned was known as Boar’s Head Court, and under it and
some adjoining houses, on their demolition, was discovered a
finely-vaulted cellar, doubtless the wine-cellar of the Boar’s Head.

Most noted among theatrical inns was the Bull, in Bishopsgate Street, so
much so that the mother of Anthony Bacon (the brother of the great
Francis), when he went to live in the neighbourhood of the inn, was
terribly frightened lest he and his servants should be led astray by the
actors performing at the inn. Tarleton, the comedian, often acted there.
It was while giving representations at the Bull that Burbage,
Shakespeare’s friend, and his fellows obtained a patent from Queen
Elizabeth for erecting a permanent building for theatrical performances,
though the Bull afforded them every convenience, its yard and galleries
being on a large scale and in good style.  It was at the Bull that the
Cambridge carrier Hobson, of ’Hobson’s choice,’ used to put up.[#]  A
portrait and a parchment certificate of Mr. Van Harn, a customer of the
house, were long preserved at the Bull inn; this worthy is said to have
drunk 35,680 bottles of wine in this hostelry.


[#] Though I find it stated in other authorities that he put up at the
Four Swans; possibly he resorted to both.


The Bull and Gate, in Holborn, probably took its name from Boulogne
Gate, as the Bull and Mouth in Aldersgate Street was a corruption of
Boulogne Mouth, and both were, no doubt, intended as compliments to
Henry VIII., who took that town in 1544.  Tom Jones alighted at the Bull
and Gate when he first came to London.

Holborn at one time abounded in inns.  Says Stow: ’On the high street of
Oldbourne have ye many fair houses builded, and lodgings for gentlemen,
inns for travellers and such like up almost (for it lacketh but little)
to St. Giles’ in the Fields.’  We shall have to mention one or two more
as we go on.

The Bull and Mouth inn alluded to above in the olden time was a great
coaching-place.  It had a large yard and galleries, with elegantly
designed galleries to the first, second, and third floors.  There is a
view of it in the Crace collection.  Its site was afterwards occupied by
the Queen’s Hotel, which was pulled down in 1887 to make room for the
post-office extension.

The Catherine Wheel was a sign frequently adopted by inn-keepers in
former days.  Mr. Larwood, in his ’History of Signboards,’ assumes that
it was intended to indicate that as the knights of St. Catherine of
Mount Sinai protected the pilgrims from robbery, he, the innkeeper,
would protect the traveller from being fleeced at his inn.  But this
surmise seems too learned to be true.  What did the bonifaces of those
days know of the knights of St. Catherine?  But in Roman Catholic
countries saints were, and are still, seen on numerous signboards, and
so the one in question may have descended in English inns from
ante-Reformation times, or it may have been the fancy of one particular
man, who may have read the story of St. Catherine, and been moved by it
to adopt the wheel.  St. Catherine was beheaded, after having been
placed between wheels with spikes, from which she was saved by an angel.
But to come to facts.

There were two inns in London with that sign.  One was in Bishopsgate
Street, and was in the last century a famous coaching inn, built in the
style of such inns, with a coach-yard and galleried buildings round.  It
has disappeared.  The other was in the Borough, and was a much larger
establishment, and a famous inn for carriers during the last two
centuries.  It remains, but has lost its galleries and other distinctive
features.

One of the oldest inns in London, bearing the sign of the Cock, stood
till 1871 on the north side of Tothill Street.  It was built entirely of
timber, mostly cedar-wood, but the outside was painted and plastered,
and an ancient coat of arms, that of Edward III. (in whose reign the
house is said to have been built), carved in stone, discovered in the
house, was walled up in the front of the house.  Larwood says that the
workmen employed at the building of the east end of Westminster Abbey
used to receive their wages there, and at a later period, about two
centuries ago, the first Oxford stage-coach is reported to have started
from that inn.  In the back parlour there was a picture of a jolly and
bluff-looking man, who was said to have been its driver.  The house was
built so as to enclose a galleried yard, and it no doubt originally was
one of some importance.  Under the staircase there was a curious
hiding-place, perhaps to serve as a refuge for a ’mass priest’ or a
highwayman.  There were also in the house two massive carvings, the one
representing Abraham about to offer up his son, and the other the
adoration of the magi, and they were said to have been left in pledge
for an unpaid score.  There is a water-colour drawing of the house as it
appeared in 1853 in the Crace collection.  It is supposed that the sign
of the Cock was here adopted on account of its vicinity to the Abbey, of
which St. Peter was the patron.  In the Middle Ages a cock crowing on
the top of a pillar was often one of the accessories in a picture of the
Apostle.

A sign frequently adopted by innkeepers was the Cross Keys, the arms of
the Papal See, the emblem of St. Peter and his successors.  There was an
inn with that sign in Gracechurch Street, having a yard with galleries
all round, and in which theatrical performances were frequently given.
Banks, already mentioned, there exhibited his wonderful horse Morocco;
it was here the horse, at his master’s bidding to ’fetch the veriest
fool in the company,’ with his mouth drew forth Tarleton, who was
amongst the spectators.  Tarleton could only say, ’God a mercy, horse!’
which for a time became a by-word in the streets of London.  At this inn
the first stage-coach, travelling between Clapham and Gracechurch Street
once a day, was established in 1690 by John Day and John Bundy; but the
house was well known as early as 1681 as one of the carriers’ inns.

The Four Swans (demolished) was a very fine old inn, with courtyard and
galleries to two stories on three sides complete.

Whether St. George ever existed is doubtful; probably the story of this
saint and the dragon is merely a corruption of the legend of St. Michael
conquering Satan, or of Perseus’ delivery of Andromeda.  The story was
always doubted, hence the lines recorded by Aubrey:

    ’To save a maid St. George the dragon slew,
    A pretty tale if all is told be true.
    Most say there are no dragons, and it’s said
    There was no George; pray God there was a maid.’


But the George is, and always has been, a very common inn sign in this
as well as in other countries. We are, however, here concerned with one
George only, the one in the Borough.  It existed in the time of Stow,
who mentions it in the list of Southwark inns he gives, and its name
occurs in a document of the year 1554.  It stood near the Tabard.  It
had the usual courtyard, surrounded by buildings on all sides, with
galleries to two stories on three sides giving access to the bedrooms.
The banisters were of massive size, of the ’footman leg’ style.  In 1670
the inn was in great part burnt down and demolished by a fire which
broke out in the neighbourhood, and it was totally consumed by the great
fire of Southwark some six years later. The fire began at one Mr.
Welsh’s, an oilman, near St. Margaret’s Hill, between the George and
Talbot inns. It was stopped by the substantial building of St. Thomas’s
Hospital, then recently erected.  The present George inn, although built
only in the seventeenth century, was rebuilt on the old plan, having
open wooden galleries leading to the bedchambers.  When Mrs.
Scholefield, descended from Weyland, the landlord of the inn at the time
of the fires, died in 1859, the property was purchased by the governors
of Guy’s Hospital.  The George now styles itself a hotel, but still
preserves one side of its galleries intact.

Dragons, though fabulous monsters, asserted themselves on signboards;
green appears to have been their favourite colour.  When Taylor, the
water poet, wrote his ’Travels through London,’ there were no less than
seven Green Dragons amongst the Metropolitan taverns of his day.  The
most famous of them, which is still in existence, was the Green Dragon
in Bishopsgate Street, which for two centuries was one of the most
famous coach and carriers’ inns.  It is even now one of the best
examples of the ancient hostelries, its proprietor having strictly
retained the distinctive features of former days, the only innovation
introduced by him being a real improvement, in the removal of one of the
objections to the open galleries of the old inns.  He has enclosed these
with glass, and on a trellis-work leading up to them creeping plants
have been made to twine, so as to give a cool and refreshing aspect to
the old inn yard in summer time.  Troops of guests now daily dine in its
low-ceilinged rooms with great beams in all sorts of angles, and shining
mahogany tables. The Dragon is great in rich soups and mighty joints of
succulent meat; in old wines, appreciated by amateurs.

The King’s Head was another of the many inns once to be found in the
Borough.  Their great number is easily explained by the fact that London
Bridge was then the only bridge from south to north, and _vice versâ_,
and that therefore the traffic of horses and men had to pass through
Southwark—of course, necessitating much hotel accommodation.  The King’s
Head was a great resort of big waggons, for the loading of which a large
crane stood in the yard, in consequence of which one side of the yard
had a gallery to the second floor only, the crane occupying the space of
the lower one, whilst on the other side there were galleries to the
first and second floors.

The Old Bell in Holborn, recently pulled down, bore the arms of the
Fowlers of Islington, the owners of Barnsbury Manor and occupiers of
lands in Canonbury. In its galleried yard the boys used to meet to go in
coaches to Mill Hill School.

The Oxford Arms stood south of Warwick Square and the College of
Physicians, and is mentioned in a carrier’s advertisement of 1672.
Edward Bartlet, an Oxford carrier, started his coaches and waggons
thence three times a week.  He also announced that he kept a hearse to
convey ’a corps’ to any part of England. The Oxford Arms had a red-brick
façade, of the period of Charles II., surmounting a gateway leading into
the yard, which had on three sides two rows of wooden galleries with
exterior staircases, the fourth side being occupied by stabling, built
against a portion of old London Wall.  This house was consumed in the
great fire, but was rebuilt on the former plan.  The house always
belonged to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, and the houses of the
Canons Residentiary adjoin the Oxford Arms on the south, and there is a
door from the old inn into one of the back-yards of the residentiary
houses, which is said to have been useful during the riots of 1780 for
facilitating the escape of Roman Catholics from the fury of the mob, by
enabling them to pass into the residentiary houses; for which reason, it
is said by a clause always inserted into the leases of the inn, it is
forbidden to close up the door.  John Roberts, the bookseller, from
whose shop most of the libels and squibs on Pope were issued, lived at
the Oxford Arms.

The Queen’s Head was another of the Southwark inns.  Its inner yard had
galleries on one side only, one to the first and another to the second
floor.  Like all others, the yard was approached by a high gateway from
the street, and another under the building between the outer and inner
yards.

At Knightsbridge there stood till about 1865, when it was pulled down,
the Rose and Crown, anciently called the Oliver Cromwell.  It was one of
the oldest houses in the High Street, Knightsbridge, having been
licensed above three hundred years.  The Protector’s bodyguard is said
to have been stationed in it, and an inscription to that effect was,
till shortly before its demolition, painted on the front.  This is
merely legendary, but there are grounds for not entirely rejecting the
tradition.  In 1648 the Parliament army was encamped in that
neighbourhood; Fairfax’s headquarters were for a while at Holland House.
There was a house not far from the inn called Cromwell House, and at
Kensington there still exists a charity called Cromwell’s Gift,
originally a sum of £45, but, having been invested in land in the
locality, of great value now.  Cromwell House was also known as Hale
House; a portion of the South Kensington Museum now occupies the site.

To return to the Rose and Crown.  Two sides of the yard had a gallery to
the first floor, but it was of the poorest description.  There were no
elegant banisters, the lower part of the gallery was closed up with
boards of the roughest kind, about breast high, and irregularly nailed
on to the posts supporting the roof.  Two water-colour drawings, dated
1857, showing the exterior of the house and the yard, are in the Crace
collection. Corbould painted this inn under the title of the ’Old
Hostelrie at Knightsbridge,’ exhibited in 1849; but he transferred its
date to 1497, altering the house according to his fancy.  In 1853 the
inn had a narrow escape from destruction by fire.  Before its final
demolition it had been much modernized, though leaving enough of its
original characteristics to testify to its antiquity and former
importance.  The Royal Oak at Vauxhall was an old inn with a galleried
yard.  It was taken down circa 1812 to make the road to Vauxhall Bridge,
then in course of construction.

One of the oldest of galleried inns in London was the Saracen’s Head, on
Snow Hill.  In 1377 the fraternity founded in St. Botolph’s Church,
Aldersgate, in honour of the Body of Christ and of the saints Fabian and
Sebastian, were the proprietors of the Saracen’s Head inn.  In the reign
of Richard II. they granted a lease of twenty-one years to John
Hertyshorn of the Saracen’s Head, with appurtenances, consisting of two
houses adjoining on the north side, at the yearly rent of ten marks.  In
the reign of Henry VI. Dame Joan Astley (some time nurse to that King)
obtained a license to refound the fraternity in honour of the Holy
Trinity.  In the reign of Edward VI. it was suppressed, and its
endowments, valued at £30 per annum, granted to William Harris.  The
antiquity of the inn was thus beyond question.  Stow, describing this
neighbourhood, mentions it as ’a fair large inn for receipt of
travellers.’  The courtyard had to the last many of the characteristics
of an old English inn: there were galleries all round leading to the
bedrooms, and a spacious gateway through which the mail-coaches used to
pass in and out.  It was at this inn that Nicholas Nickleby and his
uncle waited on Squeers, the schoolmaster of Dotheboys Hall.  It was
demolished in 1863, when the Holborn Valley improvements were
undertaken.  A view of the inn as it appeared in 1855 is in the Crace
collection.

As there were many inns on the Southwark side of London Bridge for the
reasons given when we spoke of the King’s Head, so for the same reason a
number of inns, some of which we have already mentioned, were on the
northern side of the bridge.  Besides those already named, there was the
Spread Eagle, in Gracechurch Street.  The original building had perished
in the great fire, but the inn was rebuilt after it.  It had the usual
yard and galleries to the two floors.  At first only a carriers’ inn, it
became famous as a coaching-house, the mails and principal stage-coaches
for Kent and other southern counties arriving and departing from here.
It was long the property of John Chaplin, cousin of William Chaplin, of
the firm of Chaplin and Horne.  The inn was taken down in 1865; the plot
of ground which it occupied contained 12,600 feet, and was sold for
£95,000.

The Swan with Two Necks is a curious sign, variously explained.  It is
supposed to mean the swan with two nicks or notches cut into swans’
bills, so that each owner might know his.  But these nicks being so
small as not to be discernible on an inn sign hung high up, there seems
no sense in referring to them.  More likely two swans swimming side by
side, and the neck of one of them protruding beyond that of the other,
took some artist’s fancy, and induced him to produce the illusion in a
picture.  However, the origin of the sign does not concern us, but the
inn with that sign.  There was a famous one in what was Lad Lane, and is
now Gresham Street.  It was for a century and more the head coach-inn
and booking-office for the North.  Its courtyard was of great size; the
galleries were of somewhat irregular arrangement, there being one only
at the back, communicating at one end with a lower and an upper gallery
on one side, whilst on the other side there was a gallery unconnected
with the others, and which also was wider and more elaborately decorated
than the others.  A view of it appeared in the _Illustrated London
News_, December 23, 1865.

An inn which has been rendered famous by Chaucer’s rhymed tales—we
cannot honestly call them poetry—of the Canterbury pilgrims is the
Tabard, in the Borough.  Its history must be pretty familiar to most
people.  It originally was the property of William of Ludegarsale, of
whom the Tabard and the adjoining house, which the Abbots made their
town residence, were purchased in 1304 by the Abbot and convent of Hyde,
near Winchester.  The pilgrimage to Canterbury is said to have taken
place in 1383.  Henry Bailly, Chaucer’s host of the Tabard at that time,
was a representative of the Borough of Southwark in Parliament during
the reign of two Kings, Edward III. and Richard II.  After the
dissolution of the monasteries, the Tabard and the Abbot’s house were
sold by Henry VIII. to John Master and Thomas Master; the Tabard
afterwards was in the occupation of one Robert Patty, but the Abbot’s
house, with the stable and garden belonging thereto, were reserved to
the Bishop Commendator, John Saltcote, alias Casson, who had been the
last Abbot of Hyde, and who surrendered it to Henry VIII., and who
afterwards was transferred to the See of Salisbury.  The original Tabard
was in existence as late as the year 1602.  On a beam across the road,
whence swung the sign, was inscribed: ’This is the inn where Sir Jeffry
Chaucer and the nine-and-twenty pilgrims lay in their journey to
Canterbury, ANNO 1383.’  On the removal of the beam the inscription was
transferred to the gateway.  The house was repaired in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, and from that period probably dated the fireplace,
carved oak panels, and other portions spared by the fire of 1676, which
were still to be seen at the beginning of this century. In this fire
some six hundred houses had to be destroyed to arrest the progress of
the flames, and as the Tabard stood nearly in the centre of this area,
and was mostly built of wood, there can be no doubt that the old inn
perished.  It was, however, soon rebuilt, and as nearly as possible on
the same spot; but the landlord changed the sign from the Tabard to the
Talbot; there is, nevertheless, little doubt that the inn as it remained
till 1874, when it was demolished, with its quaint old timber galleries,
with two timber bridges connecting their opposite sides, and which
extended to all the inn buildings, and the no less quaint old chambers,
was the immediate successor of the inn commemorated by Chaucer.
According to an old view published in 1721, the yard is shown as
apparently opening to the street; but in a view which appeared in the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_ of September, 1812, the yard seems enclosed. A
sign, painted by Blake, and fixed up against the gallery facing you as
you entered the yard, represented Chaucer and his merry company setting
out on their journey.  There was a large hall called the Pilgrims’ Hall,
dating of course from 1676, but in course of time it was so cut up to
adapt it to the purpose of modern bedrooms, that its original condition
was scarcely recognisable.  There are various views of the old inn in
the Crace collection: one without date, one of 1780, another of 1810,
another of 1812 (the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ print), one of 1831, and yet
another of 1841. The site is now occupied by a public-house in the
gin-palace style, which presumes to call itself the Old Tabard.

In Piccadilly, No. 75, there formerly stood on part of the site for so
short a time occupied by Clarendon House (1664-1683) the Three Kings
tavern.  At the gateway to the stables there were seen two Corinthian
pilasters, which originally belonged to Clarendon House. The stable-yard
itself presented the features of the old galleried inn-yard, and it was
the place from which the first Bath mail-coach was started.  Later, Mr.
John Camden Hotten, and afterwards Messrs. Chatto and Windus, carried on
their publishing business on this spot.

In the seventeenth century the Three Nuns was the sign of a well-known
coaching and carriers’ inn in Aldgate, which gave its name to Three Nuns
Court close by.  The yard, as usual, was galleried, but within recent
years the inn was pulled down and rebuilt in the form of a modern hotel.
Near this inn was the dreadful pit in which, during the Plague of 1665,
not less than 1,114 bodies were buried in a fortnight, from September 6
to 20.

The Criterion Restaurant and Theatre stands on the site of an old inn,
the White Bear, which for a century and more was one of the busiest
coaching-houses in connection with the West and South-West of England.
In this house Benjamin West, the future President of the Royal Academy,
put up on his arrival in London from America.  Here died Luke Sullivan,
the engraver of some of Hogarth’s most famous works.  The inn yard had
galleries to two sides of the bedchambers on the second floor, connected
by a bridge across.

We must once more return to Southwark, for besides the inns already
mentioned as existing in that locality, there was another famous one,
namely, the White Hart. It had the largest inn sign except the Castle in
Fleet Street.  Much maligned Jack Cade and some of his followers put up
at this inn during their brief possession of London in 1450.  The
original inn which sheltered them remained standing till 1676, when it
was burnt down in the great fire already mentioned.  It was rebuilt, and
was in existence till a few years ago, when it was pulled down.  It
consisted of several open courts, the inner one having handsome
galleries on three sides to the first and second floors.  There are two
views of it, taken respectively in 1840 and 1853, in the Crace
collection, and it was in the yard of this inn that Mr. Pickwick first
encountered Sam Weller.

The White Lion, in St. John Street, Clerkenwell, was originally an inn
frequented by drovers and carriers, and covered a good deal of ground;
but before its demolition it had already been greatly reduced in size,
the gateway leading into the yard having been built up and formed into
an oil-shop.  Inserted in the front wall was the sign in stone relief,
representing a lion rampant, painted white, and with the date 1714.  A
house on the other side of the central portion also seems to have formed
part of the original White Lion. The gate just mentioned led into a yard
similar to those attached to other ancient inns.  There were, in the
east front of the inn, strong wooden beams, which no doubt supported the
erection over the gateway, and that there was a yard surrounded by a
gallery is proved by the remains of door openings in the upper parts of
the back walls of the premises, which had been bricked up.  At one time
a bowling-green was attached to the tavern, and by the side of it a
pond, in which Anthony Joyce, the cousin of Pepys, drowned himself.  He
was a tavern keeper, and kept the Three Stags in Holborn, which was
burnt down in 1666.  Pepys records in his Diary, under September 5 of
that year: ’Thence homeward ... having ... seen Anthony Joyce’s house on
fire.’  The loss incurred by the fire preyed on Joyce’s mind, and is
supposed to have led him to commit the rash act.

Here we will close our selection, which embraces all the most important
galleried taverns once existing in London.  Their disappearance is much
to be regretted, though with the requirements of modern travellers it
was scarcely to be avoided.  But they formed picturesque features of
London, which has so very few of them, especially as regards hotels,
which in their modern style remind us only of slightly decorated
barracks, if they are not perfectly hideous, as, for instance, the
architectural nightmare in Victoria Street.  But there are plenty of
people yet who delight in old-fashioned houses and surroundings—the
revival of stage-coaches is proof of it.  A galleried tavern with modern
improvements would, we fancy, not be a bad spec.



                     *II.—OLD LONDON TEA-GARDENS.*


Names are often misleading.  Mr. Coward is a fierce fire-eater; Mr.
Gentle’s family tremble when they hear his footsteps on the pavement on
his return home from his office, for they know that immediately on his
entrance he will kick up a row with every one of them; whilst Mr. Lion
lives in awe of his termagant better, or worse, half.  We are led into
these reflections by the term ’tea-gardens.’  It sounds so very
innocent; it calls up visions of honest citizens, surrounded by their
wives and olive-branches, enjoying, amid idyllic scenes of rural
beauties, their fragrant bohea, bread-and-butter, cream and sillabub.
But the vision is delusive. Noorthouck, who wrote about 1770, when the
tea-gardens were most abundant and flourishing, speaks of them thus:
’The tendency of these cheap catering places of pleasure just at the
skirts of this vast town is too obvious to need further explanation;
they swarm with loose women and with boys whose morals are depraved, and
their constitutions ruined, before they arrive at manhood.  Indeed, the
licentious resort to the tea-drinking gardens was carried to such excess
every night that the magistrates lately thought proper to suppress the
organs in their public rooms; it is left to their cool reflection
whether this was discharging all the duty they owe to the public.’
Certes, the remedy seems hardly adequate when the grand jury of
Middlesex, as far back as 1744, had complained of ’advertisements
inviting and seducing not only the inhabitants, but all other persons,
to several places kept apart for the encouragement of luxury,
extravagance, idleness, and other wicked illegal purposes, which go on
with impunity to the destruction of many families, to the great
dishonour of the kingdom, especially at a time when we are involved in
an expensive war, and so much overburdened with taxes of all sorts,’
etc.  With such an indictment before them, the magistrates must have
been wooden-headed indeed if they thought to stop the evil by forbidding
the playing of organs at such places. And the evil must have been not
only serious, but widespread, seeing there were upwards of thirty of
these tea-gardens around London.  But our object is not to preach a
sermon on the wickedness of the world, but to describe the places where
it was practised.  We begin with Bagnigge Wells tea-gardens.

Who now, wandering about dreary King’s Cross, unacquainted with the
history of the place, would believe that this was once a picturesque
rural spot?  But such it was, and here Nell Gwynne had a summer
residence amidst fields and on the banks of the River Fleet, then a
clear stream, occasionally flooding the locality.  The ground on which
the house, a gabled building, stood was then called Bagnigge Vale.
Early in the eighteenth century the house was converted into a place of
public entertainment, in consequence of the timely discovery on the spot
of two wells, one of which was said to be purging and the other
chalybeate, and the water of which was sold at threepence a glass or at
eightpence by the gallon.  But one of the wells seems to have been known
by the name of Black Mary’s Well or Hole, which may have been a
corruption of Blessed Mary’s Well, or due to the alleged fact that a
black woman leased the well.  The gardens, it seems, were largely
patronized, hundreds of persons visiting them in the morning to drink
the waters, and on summer afternoons to drink tea, and something
stronger, too.  The grounds were ornamented with curious shrubs and
flowers, a small round fish-pond, in the centre of which was a fountain,
representing Cupid bestriding a swan, which spouted the water up to a
great height.  The Fleet flowed through a part of the gardens, and was
crossed by a bridge.  Two prints are extant (reproduced in Pinks’s
’Clerkenwell’), showing the gardens as they were in 1772 and again early
in the present century. But in December, 1813, the gardens came to
grief; the whole of the furniture and fittings were sold by auction by
order of the assignees of Mr. Salter, the tenant, a bankrupt.  The
fixtures and fittings were described as comprising the erection of a
temple, a grotto, alcoves, arbours, boxes, green-house, large lead
figures, pumps, cisterns, sinks, counters, beer machine, stoves,
coppers, shrubs, 200 drinking tables, 350 forms, 400 dozen bottled ale
[which shows that tea was not the only drink consumed there], etc.  The
house itself remained standing till 1844, when it was demolished; the
Phoenix brewery afterwards occupied the site, which is now covered with
dreary streets.  All that reminds you now of the gardens is a stone
tablet set into the wall of a dull house in the neighbourhood, which
shows a grotesque head and the inscription: ’This is Bagnigge House,
neare the Finder a Wakefield, 1680.’  It may be added that at the time
the gardens were in existence the place was environed with hills and
rising ground, every way but to the south, and consequently screened
from the inclemency of the more chilling winds. Primrose Hill rose
westward; on the north-west were the more distant elevations of
Hampstead and Highgate; on the north and north-east were pretty sharp
ascents to Islington.  But the ground, which, as shown then, was in a
deep hollow, has in modern times been considerably raised above the
former level, and no vestige remains of the gardens or the springs.  But
the gardens were so famous in their day as to cause their name to be
adopted by a similar establishment in a totally different direction.
Towards the end of the last century the New Bagnigge Wells tea-gardens
were opened at Bayswater.  Whether these were identical with the new
Bayswater tea-gardens mentioned in a London guide we have not been able
to ascertain, but probably they were.  Sir John Hill, born about 1716,
had a house in the Bayswater Road, in whose grounds he cultivated the
medicinal plants from which he prepared his tinctures, balsams, and
water-dock essence, and though the profession called him a charlatan and
a quack, he must have been a learned botanist.  His ’Vegetable System’
extends to twenty-six folio volumes. His garden is now covered by the
long range of mansions called Lancaster Gate, but towards the close of
the last century the site was opened to the public as tea-gardens.  The
grounds were spacious, and contained several springs of fine water lying
close to the surface. The Bayswater Bagnigge Wells was opened as a
public garden as late as 1854, shortly after which time, the visitors
having grown less and less, it was shut up, and eventually seized by the
land-devouring speculating builder.

The similarity of names has carried us from the north of London to the
west, but as the former locality, in consequence of its natural
features, always was a favourite one for tea-gardens, we will return to
it.  On the top of the hill we referred to as rising from Bagnigge Wells
to Islington there stood, where the Belvedere Tavern now stands, a house
of entertainment known as Busby’s Folly, so called after its owner, one
Christopher Busby, whose name is spelt Busbee on a token, ’White Lion at
Islington, 1668,’ of which he was the landlord.  Why the cognomen of
Folly was given to it is not very apparent, since, to judge by the
prints extant, there was nothing foolish about the building.  But it
appears that then, as it is now, it was customary to call any house
which was not constructed according to a tasteless, unimaginative
builder’s ideas a Folly; at Peckham there was Heaton’s Folly. From
Busby’s Folly the Society of Bull Feathers’ Hall used to commence their
march to Islington to claim the toll of all gravel carried up Highgate
Hill, to which they asserted a right in a tract published by them and
entitled ’Bull Feather Hall; or, the Antiquity and Dignity of Horns
amply shown.  London, 1664.’  Busby’s Folly retained its name till 1710,
after which it was called Penny’s Folly, and here men with learned
horses, musical glasses, and similar shows entertained the public.  The
gardens were extensive, and about 1780 the house seems to have been
rebuilt and christened Belvedere Tavern, which name it still bears.
Close to it was another tavern known as Dobney’s, and which originally
was called Prospect House, because in those days, standing as it did on
the top of what was then styled Islington Hill, it really commanded a
fine prospect north and south.  In 1770 Prospect House was taken for a
school, but soon reopened as the Jubilee Tea-Gardens, in commemoration
of the jubilee got up at Stratford-on-Avon by Garrick in honour of
Shakespeare, and the interior of the bowers was painted with scenes from
his plays.  In 1772 one Daniel Wildman here performed ’several new and
amazing experiments never attempted by any man in this or any other
kingdom before.  He rides, standing upright, one foot on the saddle and
the other on the horse’s neck, with a curious mask of bees on his head
and face ... and by firing a pistol makes one part of the bees march
over a table and the other swarm in the air and return to their proper
hive again.’  He also advertised that he was prepared to supply the
nobility and gentry with any quantity of bees from one stock in the
common or newly-invented hives.  In 1774 the gardens fell into a ruinous
condition, but there were still two handsome tea-rooms.  In 1780 the
house was converted into a discussion and lecture room, but the
speculation did not answer; the place was cleared, and about 1790
houses, known as Winchester Place, were erected on it. But a portion of
the gardens remained open till 1810, when that also disappeared, and the
only remains on the site of this once famous tea-garden is a mean court
in Penton Street called Dobney’s Court.  The Prospect House to which the
gardens belonged still stands behind the present Belvedere Tavern, but
there is no sign of antiquity about it.

In 1683 the well known as Sadler’s Well was discovered, and Sadler’s
Musick-House, as it was originally called, thenceforth became Sadler’s
Well.  But as it was, as its name implied, rather a house for musical
entertainment than a tea-garden, and as its history is pretty well
known, we pass it by to speak of a well adjoining it, namely, Islington
Wells or Spa, or New Tunbridge Wells.

This well was already in repute when the well on Sadler’s land was
discovered, and as the two wells were contiguous, the Spa was frequently
mistaken for Sadler’s. About the year 1690 it was advertised that the
Spa would open for drinking the medicinal waters.  In 1700 there was
’music for dancing all day long every Monday and Thursday during the
summer season; no masks to be admitted.’  A few years later the Spa
became fashionable, being patronized by ladies of such position as Lady
Mary Wortley Montagu.  In 1733 the Princesses Amelia and Caroline,
daughters of George II., came daily in the summer and drank the waters;
in fact, such was the concourse of nobility and others that the
proprietor took upwards of thirty pounds in a morning.  Whenever the
Princesses visited the Spa they were saluted with a discharge of
twenty-one guns, and in the evening there was a bonfire.  Ned Ward
described the place:

    ’Lime trees were placed at a regular distance,
    And scrapers were giving their awful assistance.’

It also furnished a title to a dramatic trifle, by George Colman, called
’The Spleen, or Islington Spa,’ acted at Drury Lane in 1776.  The
proprietor, Holland, failing, the Spa was sold to a Mr. Skinner in 1778,
and the gardens were reopened every morning for drinking the waters, and
in the afternoon for tea.  The subscription for the season was one
guinea; non-subscribers drinking the waters, sixpence each morning.  At
the beginning of this century part of the garden was built on, and about
1840 what remained was covered by two rows of cottages, called Spa
Cottages.  At present there is at the corner of Lloyd’s Row a small
cottage with the inscription on it, ’Islington Spa, or New Tunbridge
Wells.’

The Islington Spa must not be confounded with a similar neighbouring
establishment in Spa Fields, adjoining Exmouth Street.  The locality was
originally called Ducking Pond Fields.  Hunting ducks with dogs was one
of the barbarous amusements our ancestors delighted in.  The
public-house to which the pond belonged was taken down in 1770, and on
its site was erected the Pantheon, built in imitation of the Oxford
Street Pantheon.  It was a large round building, with a statue of Fame
on the top of it.  Internally it had two galleries and a pit, and in the
winter it was warmed by a stove, having fireplaces all round, the smoke
from which was carried away under the floor.  To the building was
attached an extensive garden, disposed in fancy walks, and having on one
side of it a pond, at one end of which was a statue of Hercules, at the
other end stood a summer-house for company to sit in.  There were also
boxes of alcoves all round the gardens, and two tea-rooms in the main
building itself.  The place was well patronized, the company usually
consisting, as described in the _Sunday Ramble_, of some hundreds of
persons of both sexes, the greater part of which, notwithstanding their
gay appearance, were evidently neither more nor less than journeymen
tailors, hair-dressers, and other such people, attended by their proper
companions, milliners, mantua-makers, and servant-maids, besides other
and more objectionable characters of the female sex.  According to a
letter addressed to the _St. James’s Chronicle_, 1772, the Pantheon was
a place of ’infamous resort,’ the writer declaring that of all the
tea-houses in the environs of London, the most exceptional he ever had
occasion to be in was the Pantheon.  He was particularly annoyed at
being frequently asked by the Cyprian nymphs swarming in the place to be
treated with ’a dish of tea.’  He ought to have heard the requests of
our modern Cyprians!  The place, however, did not prosper; the Rotunda
had been built by a Mr. Craven; whilst it was being erected Mrs. Craven
visited it, and was so overcome by the gloomy thoughts that troubled her
mind that she gave vent to tears, and remarked to a friend of hers: ’It
is very pretty, but I foresee that it will be the ruin of us, and one
day or other be turned into a Methodist meeting-house.’  The lady had a
prophetic mind, for in 1774 her husband became bankrupt, and the
Pantheon, ’with its four acres of garden, laid out in the most agreeable
and pleasing style, refreshed with a canal abounding with carp, tench,
etc., and commanding a pleasing view of Hampstead, Highgate, and the
adjacent country,’ were sold by auction, and finally closed in 1776.
The Rotunda, as foreseen by Mrs. Craven in 1779, became one of the
chapels of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, under the name of Spa Fields
Chapel.  It is now replaced by the Episcopal Church of the Holy
Redeemer.

To the south of the Pantheon, in Bowling Green Lane, stood, in the
middle of the last century, the Cherry Tree Public House and Gardens,
with their bowling-green.  The gardens took their name from the large
number of trees bearing that fruit which grew there.  There were
subscription grounds for the game of nine-pins, knock-’em-downs, etc.,
and the house was much resorted to by the inhabitants of Clerkenwell.
But there was yet another well in this locality, which seems to have
been a very solfatara for springs, for near King’s Cross there was a
chalybeate spring, known as St. Chad’s Well, supposed to be useful in
cases of liver attacks, dropsy, and scrofula.  St. Chad[#] was the
founder of the See and Bishopric of Lichfield, and was cured of some
awful disease by drinking the waters of this well, wherefore his name
was given to it.  He died about 673, and in those days the names of
saints were as commercially valuable in starting a well or other natural
or unnatural phenomenon as the names of lords are on modern business
prospectuses.  And St. Chad brought lots of custom to the well, for as
late as the last century eight or nine hundred persons a morning used to
come and drink these waters.  Nay, fifty years ago they drew visitors to
themselves and the gardens surrounding the well.  On a post might be
seen an octagonal board, with the legend, ’Health preserved and
restored.’  Further on stood a low, old-fashioned, comfortable-looking,
large-windowed dwelling, and frequently there might also be seen
standing at the open door an ancient dame, in a black bonnet, a clean
blue cotton gown, and a checked apron.  She was the Lady of the Well.
The gardens might be visited and as much water drunk as you pleased for
£1 1s. per year, 9s. 6d. quarterly, 4s. 6d. monthly, and 1s. 6d. weekly.
A single visit and a large glassful of water cost 6d.  The water was
warmed in a large copper, whence it was drawn off into the glass.  The
charge of 6d. was eventually reduced to 3d.  There was a spacious and
lofty pump-room and a large house facing Gray’s Inn Road, but all that
now remains is the remembrance of the well in the name of a narrow
passage, called St. Chad’s Place, closed at its inner end by an
old-fashioned cottage with green shutters.


[#] He is a saint in the English calendar, and his day is March 2.


We will ascend Pentonville Hill again to Penton Street, at the corner of
which stands Belvedere Tavern, formerly Busby’s Folly, and, going up
Penton Street a little way, we come to what was once the site of White
Conduit House, the present White Conduit House, tavern covering a
portion of the old gardens.  It took its name from a conduit, built in
the reign of Henry VI., and repaired by Sutton, the founder of the
Charter House.  The house was at first small, having only four windows
in front; but in the middle of the last century the then owner could
advertise that ’for the better accommodation of gentlemen and ladies he
had completed a long walk, with a handsome circular fish-pond, a number
of shady, pleasant arbours, enclosed with a fence seven feet high to
prevent being incommoded by people in the fields; hot loaves and butter
every day, milk directly from the cows, coffee, tea, and all manners of
liquors in the greatest perfection; also a handsome long-room, from
whence is the most copious prospects and airy situation of any now in
vogue.’  A long poem in praise of the house appeared in the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ in 1760.  It was written by William Woty, a Grub Street poet.
A frequent visitor to White Conduit House was Goldsmith, who used to
repair thither with some of his friends, after he had discovered the
place, as he relates in Letter 122 of the ’Citizen of the World.’  The
passage, I must confess, does little honour to his genius or his taste,
and I wonder he did not have it expunged from his collected writings.
As is customary with such places of amusement, in course of time the
company did not improve, though in 1826 it was attempted to revive the
reputation of the place, partly by calling it a Minor Vauxhall; but
nightly disturbances and the encouragement of immorality thereby, caused
it to be suppressed by magisterial authority on the proprietor’s
application for the renewal of his license.  About 1827 the grounds were
let for archery practice, and in 1828 the old house was pulled down and
a new one erected in its place, which was opened in 1829.  The new
building was somewhat in the gin-palace style: stucco front, pilasters,
cornices and plate glass.  It contained large refreshment rooms, and a
long and lofty ballroom above, where the dancing, if not very refined,
was vigorous.  Gentlemen went through country dances with their hats on
and their coats off.  Eventually the master of the ceremonies objected
to the hats, and they were left off, as the coats continued to be.  In
1849 this elegant place of amusement was demolished and streets built on
its grounds, as also the present White Conduit Tavern.

A former proprietor of White Conduit House, Christopher Bartholomew,
died in positive poverty in Angel Court, Windmill Street, ’at his
lodgings, two pair of stairs room,’ as the _Gentleman’s Magazine_,
March, 1809, says.  He once owned the freehold of White Conduit House
and of the neighbouring Angel inn, and was worth £50,000; but he was
seized with the lottery mania, and paid as much as £1,000 a day for
insurances.  By degrees he sank into poverty, but a friend having
supplied him with the means of obtaining a thirty-second share, that
number turned up a prize of £20,000.  He purchased an annuity of £60 per
annum, but foolishly disposed of it and lost it all.  A few days before
he died he begged a few shillings to buy him necessaries.  But does his
fate, and that of many others equally deluded, act as a warning to
anyone?  We fear not.

White Conduit House was sold in 1864, by order of the proprietor, in
consequence of ill-health.  The lease had then about eighty years to
run, at the rent of £80 per annum.  The property fetched £8,990.  What
price would it fetch now?  Public-houses have gone up tremendously since
then.

Close to White Conduit House was another famous house of entertainment,
that is to say, Copenhagen House, which was opened by a Dane when the
King of Denmark paid a visit to James I., but the house did not attract
much attention till after the Restoration, when the once public-house
became a tea-garden, with the customary amusements, fives-playing being
a favourite.  Hazlitt, who was enthusiastic about the game, immortalized
one Cavanagh, an Irish player, who distinguished himself at Copenhagen
House by playing matches for wagers and dinners.  The wall against which
they played was that which supported the kitchen chimney, and when the
ball resounded louder than usual the cooks exclaimed, ’Those are the
Irishman’s balls!’  ’And the joints trembled on their spits,’ says
Hazlitt.  The next landlord encouraged dog-fighting and bull-baiting, in
consequence of which he lost his license in 1816.  The fields around
Copenhagen House, now all built over, were the scene of many riotous
assemblies at the time of the French Revolution, Thelwall, Horne Tooke,
and other sympathizers with France being the chief instigators and
leaders of those meetings.

Going considerably northward, we reach Highbury Barn, which, with lands
belonging thereto, was leased in 1482 by the Prior of the monastery of
St. John of Jerusalem to John Mantell, described as citizen and butcher
of London.  The property thus leased comprised the Grange place, with
Highbury Barn, a garden, and ’castell Hilles,’ two little closures
containing five acres, and a field called Snoresfeld, otherwise
Bushfield. Highbury Barn was at first a small ale and cake house, and as
such is mentioned early in the eighteenth century.  Gradually it grew
into a tavern and tea-garden.  A Mr. Willoughby, who died in 1785,
increased the business, and his successor added a bowling-green, a
trap-ball ground, and more gardens.  The barn could accommodate 2,000
persons at once, and 800 people have been seen dining together, with
seventy geese roasting for them at one fire.  Early in this century a
dancing and a dining room were added.  Near this house there was, in
1868, found in a field a vase containing nearly 1,000 silver coins,
consisting of silver pennies, groats and half-groats, two gold coins of
Edward III., and an amber rosary.  The manor of Highbury having, as we
have seen, belonged to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, the coins
may have been buried by them at the time of the insurrection of Wat
Tyler, whose followers destroyed the monastery and also made an attack
on the Prior’s house at Highbury.  The coins are now in the British
Museum.

But we find we have got to the end of the space allotted to us, and
though we have only, as it were, dipped into the bulk of our subject, we
must defer for some other opportunity the description of the large
number of old tea-gardens still to be noticed.  We will here only
indicate the most important of them: Camberwell Grove, Cuper’s Gardens,
Chalk Farm, Canonbury House, Cumberland Gardens, Cupid Gardens, Sluice
House, Eel-pie House, St. Helen’s, Hornsey Wood, Hoxton, Kilburn Wells,
Mermaid, Marylebone, Montpellier, Ranelagh, Paris Gardens, Shepherd and
Shepherdess, Union Gardens, Yorkshire Stingo, Jew’s Harp, Adam and Eve,
Tottenham Court Road; Adam and Eve, St. Pancras; the Brill, Mulberry
Gardens, Springfield, and others of less note.



                                *XIII.*

              *WILLIAM PATERSON AND THE BANK OF ENGLAND.*


Some London streets have strange and unsuitable names; thus you will
find an alley of wretched hovels, with muddy yards, containing nothing
but cabbage-stumps and broken dustbins, called Prospect Place; whilst a
lane adjoining the shambles styles itself Paradise Row.  And what a
curious name for a street is that of Threadneedle[#] Street!  How came
the street to be so named?  However, such is its name, and in this case
it is not inappropriate.  For lives there not in that street the Old
Lady who is, year in, year out, everlastingly threading her diamond
needle with gold and silver threads, and working the gorgeous embroidery
of the financial flags of her own and of almost every other country in
the world?  Her dwelling is palatial; to be merely admitted into her
parlour is in itself a positive proof of your respectability, for you
gain no entrance thereto unless you are a stockholder; as to her
drawing-room, the glories of Versailles and the Escurial are as
miserable shanties, for _her_ drawing-room contains, leaving alone other
treasures, engravings worth from five pounds each to fifty thousand—nay,
a hundred thousand pounds each.  There is no five o’clock tea there, but
plenty of music all day long; its notes, indeed, are silent, but the
gold and silver instruments, whose fascinating and entrancing sounds
have more magic in them than has the finest orchestra, vocal or
instrumental, are audible enough.  And as to her cellars, the treasures
the Old Lady keeps there would buy up half a dozen such caves as that
into which Aladdin descended.


[#] Stow calls it Three Needle Street, as Hatton supposes, from such a
sign.  It has also been written Thrid Needle and Thred Needle Street,
but our ancestors were not so particular as to spelling as we are.


The reader has by this time discovered who the Old Lady of Threadneedle
Street is—namely, the Bank of England—the most gigantic monetary
establishment in the world, the financial reservoir, the opening or
shutting of whose sluices causes not only the commercial ebb and flow of
east and west, of north and south, but sets in motion or prevents the
’pomp and circumstance of glorious war.’

The history of this mighty establishment has often been told, but it
seems to us that but scant justice has as yet been done to its founder,
William Paterson. The injustice done to him, in fact, dates from an
early day, for soon after the foundation of the Bank, of which he
naturally was one of the directors, intrigue drove him from that
position, and envy and obloquy pursued him ever after.  But let us
briefly recount his early history.

Born on a farm in Dumfriesshire in 1658 of a family notable in old
Scottish history, he was, at the age of sixteen, transferred to the care
of a kinswoman at Bristol, on whose death he inherited some property.
Bristol was then a great commercial emporium, doing with much legitimate
business a little in the slave trade, and his connection with that town
was afterwards injurious to him, for whilst his friends said that he
visited the New World as a missionary, his enemies asserted that he was
mixed up with slave-dealing, and occasionally indulged in piracy.  But
the fact of his marrying the widow of a Puritan minister at Boston is
more in accordance with the statements of his friends than with those of
his enemies.  Anderson, the historian of commerce, who as a lad must
have known him in his old age, speaks of him as ’a merchant who had been
much in foreign countries, and had entered far into speculations
relating to commerce and the colonies.’

He was in England in 1681, and, among the various schemes he started, he
took a leading part in the project for bringing water into the north of
London from the Hampstead and Highgate hills.  He made a heavy
investment in the City of London Orphans’ Fund; in the improved
management and distribution of that charity he took a profound interest,
a fact which leaves no doubt of his philanthropic and public spirit.  It
was in 1684 that he first conceived the idea of the Darien scheme, and
though this turned out so unfortunate, he from first to last acted with
rare disinterestedness; his errors were those such as a well-balanced
and generous mind might fall into without reproach.  Nor is the failure
of that enterprise to be attributed to him, but to the conduct of
William III., who had sanctioned, but afterwards, at the instigation of
the East India Companies of England and Holland, discouraged and
positively thwarted, it.  How deeply he felt the disastrous results of
the expedition is shown by the fact that for a time his mind was
deranged in consequence of it.  And who will now deny that Paterson was
right in calling the Isthmus of Panama the ’door of the seas and the key
of the universe’?  In 1825 Humboldt recommended the scheme of a canal
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the enterprise of Lesseps will yet
be carried to a successful issue.

However, we have to deal with Paterson chiefly as the founder of the
Bank of England, and with the long and fierce battle he had to fight to
accomplish his object, for there was great opposition to it from
interest and prejudice.  Paterson had been long in Holland, and when he
propounded his scheme of a Bank of England, the people objected to it as
coming from Holland; ’they had too many Dutch things already,’ just as
now there is a prejudice against things ’made in Germany.’  Moreover,
they doubted the stability of the Government of William III.  At last,
however, they consented to the Bank, on the express condition that
£1,200,000 should be subscribed and lent to the Government.  The money
was subscribed in ten days.  The Bank Act was obtained in spite of all
opposition, which perhaps would have prevailed had not Queen Mary,
acting on the instruction of William (then in Flanders), during a six
hours’ sitting, carried the point, and the company received their royal
charter of incorporation in July, 1694.  Almost as soon as it had been
established the Bank was called upon to assist the Government in the
re-coinage of the silver money.  The notes of the new Bank were destined
to fill up the vacuum occasioned by the calling in of the old coin, but
as the notes were payable on demand, they were returned faster than coin
could be obtained from the Mint; a crisis ensued, during which the notes
of the Bank fell to a discount of 20 per cent.  But the Bank passed
safely through its difficulties, as also through the troubles caused by
the South Sea Bubble.  The opposition in the first crisis was due
chiefly to the goldsmiths, who detested the new corporation because it
interfered with their system of private banking, hitherto monopolized by
them. Paterson’s advice was of the greatest assistance in his capacity
of director, yet such was the animus against him that, as we mentioned
above, in 1695 he sold out the stock he held (£2,000), which from the
first was a director’s qualification, and retired from his office.  But
he did not withdraw from public life.  The Darien Expedition already
referred to was organized by him in 1698, and its disastrous results
were, as we have shown, in nowise attributable to him, and this was, in
fact, eventually admitted by the nation, Parliament in 1715 passing an
Act awarding him an indemnity of upwards of £18,000 for his losses in
that enterprise. In other ways Paterson continued to interest himself in
matters affecting the public welfare; he rendered his Sovereign signal
services by the wise and shrewd advice he gave him during the latter
part of his troubled reign; he published many tracts on the management
of the National Debt and the system of auditing public accounts; he was
a zealous advocate of Free Trade, and his views on the subject of
taxation were far ahead of the ideas of his day.  His undoubtedly great
talents, his thorough honesty and genuine patriotism, fully entitle him
to the praise given him by his friend Daniel Defoe, as ’a worthy and
noble patriot, one of the most eminent, to whom we owe more than ever he
would tell us, or, I am afraid, we shall ever be sensible of, whatever
fools, madmen, or Jacobites may asperse him with.’

We cannot attempt to give a history of the Bank of England in our
limited space, but a short account of the Bank building may not unfitly
close this notice of the founder of the establishment.  The business was
originally started at Mercers’ Hall, and next removed to, and for many
years carried on at, Grocers’ Hall in the Poultry.  In August, 1732, the
governors and directors laid the first stone of their new building in
Threadneedle Street, on the site of the house and garden formerly
belonging to Sir John Houblon, the first Governor of the Bank.  At first
the buildings comprised only the centre of the principal or south front,
the Hall, Bullion Court, and the Courtyard, and were surrounded by St.
Christopher-le-Stocks Church, three taverns, and several private houses.
From the year 1766 onwards considerable additions were made to the
building.  All the adjoining houses on the east side to Bartholomew
Lane, and those occupying the west side of that lane almost to Lothbury,
were taken down, and their places occupied by offices of the Bank. The
south side buildings, forming the eastern continuation of the
establishment, presented a range of fluted columns in pairs, with arched
intervals between, pointing out where windows should have been placed,
which, however, were filled up with stone.  This necessitated the rooms
within being lighted by small glass domes in the roof, a circumstance
much complained of at the time by the clerks as injuriously affecting
their eyes. It was intended to extend the façade on the western side by
taking down the Church of St. Christopher, which by the removal of that
part of Threadneedle Street had been deprived of a great part of its
parish. Noorthouck, who wrote in 1773, says: ’How far so extensive a
plan may answer the vast expense it will call for to complete it is a
question proper for the consideration of those who are immediately
concerned; an indifferent spectator cannot view this expanded fabric
without comparing it with the growth of public debts negotiated here,
and trembling more for the safety of the one than of the other.’  Could
he see the Bank now, covering nearly four acres of ground, what would he
say?

One Ralph, architect, whose ’Critical Review of the Buildings, Statues,
and Ornaments in and about London’ was published in 1783, says: ’The
building erected for the Bank is liable to the very same objection, in
point of place, with the Royal Exchange, and even in a greater, too.  It
is monstrously crowded on the eye, and unless the opposite houses could
be pulled down, and a view obtained into Cornhill, we might as well be
entertained with a prospect of the model through a microscope.  As to
the structure itself, it is grand ... only the architect seems to be
rather too fond of decoration; this appears pretty eminently by the
weight of his cornices ... rather too heavy for the building.’  The
objectionable buildings here referred to were the triangular block of
houses which formerly stood in front of the old Royal Exchange, but was
removed on the building of the new.

At the beginning of this century the Bank on the south side was of the
same extent as now; on the east side also it extended to Lothbury, on
the west it reached to about half the length of the present Princes
Street, which, however, then did not proceed in a straight line, as it
does now, but took a sharp turn to north-east, coming into Lothbury at a
point nearly opposite St. Margaret’s Church, and thus cutting off a
corner of the Bank site, which would otherwise have been nearly square.
But when, early in this century, Princes Street was extended in a
straight line to Lothbury, the condensed portion of the street, together
with a block of houses on the west side of it, were added to the Bank
site, and the Bank assumed its present shape. But great architectural
improvements had in the meantime been introduced.  The original or
central portion, eighty feet in length, which was of the Ionic order
raised on a rusticated basement, was altered to what it now is; the
attic seen on it was added in 1850.  This original portion was from the
design of George Sampson.  The east and west wings were added by Sir
Robert Taylor, after whom Sir John Soane was appointed the Bank
architect, and he rebuilt many of those parts constructed by Sampson and
Taylor; and on Sir John’s death in 1837 Mr. Cockerell succeeded him in
the position.  He again greatly modified many features of the building.
The eighty feet of the original south side now extend to 365 feet; the
length of the west side is 440 feet, of the north side 410 feet, and of
the east side 245 feet.  Both internally and externally classical models
have been followed.  The hall known as the Three Per Cent. Consol (three
per cent., alas! gone) Office, ninety feet long by fifty wide, is
designed from models of the Roman baths, as are the Dividend and Bank
Stock Offices.  The chief cashier’s office is forty-five feet by thirty,
and designed after the Temple of the Sun and Moon at Rome.  The Court
Room of the composite order, about sixty feet long and thirty-one wide,
is lighted by large Venetian windows on the south, overlooking what once
was the churchyard of St. Christopher’s Church, and into which in 1852 a
fountain was placed, which throws a single jet, thirty feet high,
amongst the branches of two of the finest lime-trees in London.  The
north side of the Court Room is remarkable for three exquisite
chimney-pieces of statuary marble.  The original Rotunda was roofed in
with timber, but in 1794 it was found advisable to take it down, and the
present Rotunda was built, which measures fifty-seven feet in diameter,
and about the same in height; it is of incombustible material, as are
all the offices erected by Sir John Soane.  There are a number of courts
within the outer walls of the buildings; they are all of great
architectural beauty; the one entered from Lothbury is truly
magnificent.  It has screens of fluted Corinthian columns, supporting a
lofty entablature, surmounted by vases. This part of the edifice was
copied from the beautiful temple of the Sybils, near Tivoli.  A noble
arch, an imitation of the arch of Constantine at Rome, gives access to
the Bullion Court, in which is another row of Corinthian columns,
supporting an entablature, decorated with statues representing the four
quarters of the globe.  The north-west corner of the Bank is modelled on
the temple of Vesta at Rome.  We have yet to mention the Old Lady’s
Drawing-Room, or the pay-office, where bank-notes are issued, or
exchanged for cash.  It is a fine hall, seventy-nine feet long by forty
wide, and we have left the mention of it to the last because it suggests
to us some particular reflections. We have seen that Paterson was the
real founder of the Bank of England, and we may take this opportunity of
adding that Charles Montague and Michael Godfrey are entitled to share
in Paterson’s glory for the assistance they lent him in this
undertaking; but the Bank ignores its founder, and had not even a
portrait of him till Mr. James Hogg, the founder of _London Society_,
presented them with one.  In the Pay Hall stands the statue of William
III., and in the Latin inscription underneath he is called ’founder of
the Bank.’  It is the old story: when a prize is taken at sea the
biggest share of it, the lion’s share, goes to the ’Flag’; the real
fighters must put up with the leavings.

Let us end with another philosophical reflection. _Facts are more
astounding than fiction_, as we will show by two facts.  Gaboriau’s
novel ’La Dégringolade’ (The Downfall), in one of its earliest chapters
describes the opening of a grave in the Parisian cemetery of Montmartre,
to discover whether it contains the body of a certain person or not.
The coffin is found to be empty.  This is a fiction, but are we not
likely to see its realization shortly?  Paul Féval’s romance ’Les
Mystères de Londres’ gives a long account of the fictitious attempt of
some villains to get at the treasures in the cellars of the Bank of
England by digging a tunnel under Threadneedle Street; they are, of
course, foiled in the end.  But now, according to accounts published at
the end of the month of November, 1898, in the _Daily Mail_, the tunnel
is actually dug by a railway company, and so close to the walls of the
Bank as to actually compel its governors and directors to call in the
assistance of Sir John Wolfe Barry to advise means to avert the danger
which threatens the building, already affected by the excavations.
Truly _fact is stranger than fiction_.



                                 *XIV.*

                           *THE OLD DOCTORS.*


The lines of modern doctors have fallen in pleasant places.  Their
position is certainly somewhat different from what it was in the days
when they were contemptuously called leeches, when their scientific
investigations exposed them to persecution and death.  Vesalius, the
father of modern anatomy, was condemned to death by the Inquisition for
dissecting a human body, but by the intervention of King Philip II.,
whose physician he was, the punishment was reduced to a pilgrimage to
the Holy Land; on his return the ship was lost on the island of Zante,
where he perished of starvation in 1564.  Now Government licenses
doctors to practise vivisection! At Dijon, in 1386, a physician was
fined by the bailiff fifty golden francs, and imprisoned for not having
completed the cures of some persons whose recovery he had undertaken.
In a schedule of the offices, fees, and services which the Lord Wharton
had with the Wardenry of the city and castle of Carlisle in 1547, a
trumpeter was rated at 16d. per day, and a surgeon only at 12d.  Edward
III. granted Counsus de Gangeland, an apothecary of London, 6d. a day
for his care and attendance on him while he formerly lay sick in
Scotland.  A knowledge of astrology was in those days requisite for a
physician; the herbs were not to be gathered except when the sun and the
planets were in certain constellations, and certificates of their being
so were necessary to give them reputation.  Sometimes patients applied
to astrologers, who were astrologers only, whether the constellations
were favourable to the doctor’s remedies.  Then, if the man died, the
astrologer ascribed the death to the inefficacy of the remedies, while
the doctor threw the blame on the astrologer, he not having properly
observed the constellations.  Then the latter would exclaim that his
case was extremely hard; if he made a mistake, his calculation being
wrong, heaven discovered it, whilst if a physician was guilty of a
blunder, the earth covered it.  Even then doctors were considered like
the potato plant, whose fruit is underground.  To see the doctor’s
carriage, whose motto should be ’Live or die,’ or ’Morituri te
salutant,’ attending a funeral, reminds a cynic of a cobbler taking home
his work.

In England the medical profession rose in public estimation from the
time when Henry VIII., with that view, incorporated several members of
the profession into a body, community, and perpetual college, since
called the College of Physicians.  The seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, with their opposite characteristics of vulgarity and romance,
of squalor and luxury, of ignorance and grand discoveries in science, of
prejudice and intelligence, were highly conducive to the formation and
cultivation of individualism and originality of character; hence those
two centuries abounded in ’oddities’ and ’eccentricities,’ and in no
section of society more than in the medical.  The members of that
profession could very readily and appropriately then be divided into two
great schools—the Rough and the Smooth, the fierce dispensers of
Brimstone and the gentle administrators of Treacle.  The present
century, with its levelling tendencies, opposed to all originality and
so-called eccentricity in speech, custom, and costume, reducing all
gentlemen in full dress to the rank of waiters, has nearly abolished the
sulphury Galen; in fact, he would scarcely be tolerated now. People
submit to certain foolish pretensions now, such as those of
thought-reading and pin-hunting cranks, and similar mental
eccentricities; but they must be administered mildly, there must be a
treacly flavour about them, for—

    ’This is an age of flatness, dull and dreary,
      Society is like a washed-out chintz,
    Which scandal renders somewhat foul and smeary;
      And yet, without its malice, lies, and hints,
    E’en fashion’s children would at last grow weary
      Of looking at the faded cotton prints
    To which respectability subdues
      Our uncontrolled imagination’s hues.’

Hence the medical showmen of the present day must accompany the
’exhibition’ of their nostrums with dulcet sounds and honeyed speeches,
especially when treating those nursed in the lap of affluence; and,
accustomed as they are to adulation, the medico who can condescend to
feed them with well-disguised flattery, or assume the tone of abject
servility, has too often the credit of possessing superior skill and
science.  And the patients, in the words of Byron, travestied—

    ’They swallow filthy draughts and nauseous pills,
    But yet there is no end of human ills.’


It was, of course, not every doctor who could, at the beginning of his
career, go in for the brimstone system. Unless he was backed by very
powerful patronage, or wrote a book or pamphlet which attracted
attention—as Elliotson’s practice rose from £500 to £5,000 a year
through his papers in the _Lancet_—or was by some lucky accident pitched
into a position which by itself alone inspired the public with an
overwhelming belief in his skill, the experiment of treating his
patients with rudeness and indifference would have been fatal to his
prospects. But let him once make a hit, either by being luckily on the
spot when a king or prince was thrown off his horse, or by a successful
operation, or by writing a book which ’caught on,’ and the public were
at his feet, and he could trample on them as much as he liked.  But it
did not follow that, after such success, he must necessarily abuse his
privileges.  Dr. Arbuthnot, the son of a non-juring clergyman in
Scotland, came to London about the time of the Restoration, and at first
earned a living by teaching mathematics, though he had studied medicine.
He happened to be at Epsom on one occasion when Prince George, who was
also there, was suddenly taken ill.  Arbuthnot was called in, and having
effected a cure, was soon afterwards appointed one of the physicians in
ordinary to the Queen.  And, of course, his practice was established on
a solid foundation, and he carried it on with considerable professional
distinction.  But his success did not spoil him, for he was a man of a
genial disposition, who turned neither to brimstone nor to treacle, but
always maintained a dignified demeanour.  He was a wit and a man of
letters, and enjoyed the esteem of such men as Swift, Pope, and Gay.
Before coming to London he had chosen Dorchester as a place to practise
as a physician, but the salubrity of the air was opposed to his success,
and he took horse for London.  A friend meeting him, asked him where he
was going.  ’To leave your confounded place, where I can neither live
nor die.’  It was said of him that his wit and pleasantry sometimes
assisted his prescriptions, and in some cases rendered them unnecessary.
He died at the age of sixty from a complication of disorders, so little
is the physician able to cure himself.

Sir Astley Cooper (b. 1768, d. 1841) also did not belong to the
brimstone school.  His surgical skill was very great, and he liked to
display it.  He always retained perfect self-command in the operating
theatre, and during the most critical and dangerous performances on a
patient, he tried to keep up the latter’s courage by lively and
facetious remarks.  When he was in the zenith of his fame, a satirical
Sawbones said of him:

    ’Nor Drury Lane nor Common Garden
    Are, to my fancy, worth a farden;
      I hold them both small beer.
    Give me the wonderful exploits,
    And jolly jokes between the sleights,
      Of _Astley’s Amphitheatre_.’


When Sir Astley lived in Broad Street, City, he had every day a numerous
morning levee of City patients. The room into which they were shown
would hold from forty to fifty people, and often callers, after waiting
for hours, were dismissed without having seen the doctor. His man
Charles, with more than his master’s dignity, would say to disappointed
applicants when they reappeared on the following morning: ’I am not sure
that we shall be able to attend to you, for our list is full for the
day; but if you will wait, I will see what we can do for you.’  During
the first nine years of his practice Sir Astley’s earnings progressed
thus: First year, £5 5s.; second, £26; third, £64; fourth, £96; fifth,
£100; sixth, £200; seventh, £400; eighth, £600; ninth, £1,100.
Eventually his annual income rose to more than £15,000; the largest sum
he ever made in one year was £21,000.  A West Indian millionaire gave
him his highest fee; he had successfully undergone a painful operation,
and sitting up in bed, he threw his nightcap at Cooper, saying, ’Take
that!’  ’Sir,’ replied Sir Astley, ’I’ll pocket the affront;’ and on
reaching home he found in the cap a cheque for one thousand guineas.

Dr. Matthew Baillie (b. 1761, d. 1823) was a physician who occasionally
indulged in the brimstone temper, and was disinclined to attend to the
details of an uninteresting case.  After listening on one occasion to a
long-drawn account from a lady, who ailed so little that she was going
that evening to the opera, he had made his escape, when he was urged to
step upstairs again that the lady might ask him whether, on her return
from the opera, she might eat some oysters.  ’Yes, madam,’ said Baillie;
’shells and all!’

Dr. Richard Mead (b. 1673, d. 1754) was physician to George II., and the
friend of Drs. Radcliffe, Garth, and Arbuthnot, and a great patron of
literary and artistic genius.  In his house in Great Ormond Street he
established what may be called the first academy of painting in London.
His large collection of paintings and antiquities, as well as his
valuable library, was sold by auction on his death in 1754.  In 1740 he
had a quarrel with Dr. Woodward, like himself a Gresham professor; the
two men drew their swords, and Mead having obtained the advantage, he
commanded Woodward to beg his life.  ’No, doctor,’ said the vanquished
combatant, ’that I will not till I am your patient.’  But, nevertheless,
at last he wisely submitted.  In Ward’s ’Lives of the Gresham
Professors’ is a view of Gresham College, with a gateway, entering from
Broad Street, marked 25.  Within are the figures of two persons, the one
standing, the other kneeling; they represent Dr. Mead and Dr. Woodward.
Dr. Mead was of a generous nature.  In 1723, when the celebrated Dr.
Friend was sent to the Tower, Mead kindly took his practice, and, on his
release by Sir Robert Walpole, presented the escaped Jacobite with the
result, £5,000.

Dr. Mead, about 1714, lived at Chelsea; about the same date there lived
in the same locality Dr. Alexander Blackwell, whom we introduce here
chiefly on account of his singularly unfortunate life and very tragical
end.  Blackwell was a native of Aberdeen, studied physic under Boerhaave
at Leyden, and took the degree of M.D.  On his return home he married,
and for some time practised as a physician in London. But not meeting
with success, he became corrector of the press for Mr. Wilkins, a
printer, and some time after commenced business in the Strand on his own
account, and promised to do well, when, under an antiquated and unjustly
restrictive law, a suit was brought against him for setting up as a
printer without his having served his apprenticeship to it.  Mr.
Blackwell defended the suit, but at the trial in Westminster Hall a
dunderheaded jury, probably of narrow-minded tradesmen, all anxious to
uphold their objectionable privileges, found a verdict against him, in
consequence of which he became bankrupt, and one of his creditors kept
him in prison for nearly two years.  By the help of his wife, who was a
clever painter and engraver, he was released.  She prepared all the
plates for the ’Herbal,’ a work figuring most of the plants in the
Physic Garden at Chelsea, close to which she lived.  A copy of this book
eventually fell into the hands of the Swedish Ambassador, who sent it
over to his Court, where it was so much liked that Dr. Blackwell was
engaged in the Swedish service, and went to reside at Stockholm.  He was
appointed physician to the King, who under his treatment had recovered
from a serious illness.  Dr. Blackwell had left his wife in England; she
was to follow him as soon as his position was placed on a solid basis.
But ere this could take place he was accused of having been engaged with
natives and foreigners in plotting to overturn the constitution of the
kingdom.  He was found guilty, and sentenced to be broken alive on the
wheel, his heart and bowels to be torn out and burnt, and his body to be
quartered. He was said, under torture, to have made confession of such
an attempt, but the real extent of his guilt must always remain
problematical.  That he, a person of no influence, and unconnected with
any person of rank, should have aimed at overthrowing the constitution
seems very improbable.  It is more likely that he was made a scapegoat
to strike terror into the party then opposed to the Ministry.  The awful
sentence passed on him, however, was commuted to beheading, which fate
he underwent on July 29, 1747.  He must have been a man of great nerve
and a humorist, for, having laid his head wrong, he remarked jocosely
that this being his first experiment, no wonder he should want a little
instruction!

The Dr. Woodward we mentioned above seems to have been a very irascible
and objectionable individual. He so grossly insulted Sir Hans Sloane,
when he was reading a paper of his own before the Royal Society in 1710,
that, under the presidency of Sir Isaac Newton, he was expelled from the
Society.

Among medical oddities of the rougher sort we may reckon Mounsey, a
friend of Garrick, and physician to Chelsea Hospital.  His way of
extracting teeth was original.  Round the tooth to be drawn he fastened
a strong piece of catgut, to the opposite end of which he fastened a
bullet, with which and a strong dose of powder he charged a pistol.  On
the trigger being pulled, the tooth was drawn out.  Of course, it was
but seldom he could prevail on anyone to try the process. Once, having
induced a gentleman to submit to the operation, the latter at the last
moment exclaimed: ’Stop! stop!  I’ve changed my mind.’  ’But I have not,
and you are a fool and a coward for your pains,’ answered the doctor,
pulling the trigger, and in another instant the tooth was extracted.

Once, before setting out on a journey, being incredulous as to the
safety of cash-boxes and safes, he hid a considerable quantity of gold
and notes in the fireplace of his study, covering them with cinders and
shavings. A month after, returning luckily sooner than he was expected,
he found his housemaid preparing to entertain a few friends at tea in
her master’s room.  She was on the point of lighting the fire, and had
just applied a candle to the doctor’s notes, when he entered the room,
seized a pail of water which happened to be standing near, and throwing
its contents over the fuel and the servant, extinguished the fire and
her presence of mind at the same time.  Some of the notes were injured,
and the Bank of England made some difficulty about cashing them.

’When doctors disagree,’ etc.  Do they ever agree? Yes, when, after a
consultation over a mild case which has no interest for any of them,
they over wine and biscuits agree that the treatment hitherto pursued
had better be continued.  To discuss it further would interrupt the
pleasant chat over the news of the day!  But when they meet over a
friendly glass at the coffee-house they go at it hammer and tongs.  Dr.
Buchan, the author of ’Domestic Medicine,’ of which 80,000 copies were
sold during the author’s lifetime, and which, according to modern
medical opinion, killed more patients than that—doctors like cheap
medicine as little as lawyers like cheap law—Dr. Gower, the urbane and
skilled physician of Middlesex Hospital, and Dr. Fordyce, a fashionable
physician, whose deep potations never affected him, used to meet at the
Chapter Coffee-House, and hold discussions on medical topics; but they
never agreed, and with boisterous laughter used to ridicule each other’s
theories.  But they all agreed in considering the Chapter punch as a
safe remedy for all ills.

Dr. Garth, the author of the ’Dispensary,’ a poem directed against the
Apothecaries and Anti-Dispensarians, a section of the College of
Physicians, was very good-natured, but too fond of good living.  One
night, when he lingered over the bottle at the Kit-Kat Club, though
patients were longing for him, Steele reproved him for his neglect of
them.  ’Well, it’s no great matter at all,’ replied Garth, pulling out a
list of fifteen, ’for nine of them have such bad constitutions that not
all the physicians in the world can save them, and the other six have
such good constitutions that all the physicians in the world cannot kill
them.’  The doctor here plainly admitted the uselessness of his supposed
science, as in his ’Dispensary’ he admitted drugs to be not only
useless, but murderous.

    ’High where the Fleet Ditch descends in sable streams,
    To wash the sooty Naiads in the Thames,
    There stands a structure[#] on a rising hill,
    Where Tyros take their freedom out to kill.’



[#] Apothecaries’ Hall.  A doctor, I forget his name, having obtained
some mark of distinction from the Company of Apothecaries, mentioned at
a party that the glorious Company of Apothecaries had conferred much
honour on him.  ’But,’ said a lady, ’what about the noble army of
martyrs of patients?’


In Blenheim Street lived Joshua Brookes, the famous anatomist, whose
lectures were attended by upwards of seven thousand pupils.  His museum
was almost a rival of that of John Hunter, and was liberally thrown open
to visitors.  One evening a coach drew up at his door, a heavy sack was
taken out and deposited in the hall, and the servants, accustomed to
such occurrences, since their master was in the habit of buying
subjects, were about to carry it down the back-stairs into the
dissecting-room, when a living subject thrust his head and neck out of
one end and begged for his life.  The servants in alarm ran to fetch
pistols, but the subject continued to beg for mercy in such tones as to
assure them they had nothing to fear from him.  He had been drunk, and
did not know how he got into the sack.  Dr. Brookes ordered the sack to
be tied loosely round his chin, and sent him in a coach to the
watch-house.  How he got into the sack may easily be surmised: Some
body-snatchers, a tribe then very much to the fore, had no doubt found
the man dead drunk in the street, and knowing the doctor to be a buyer
of subjects, had taken him there, in the hope that the doctor might
begin operating on the body before it recovered consciousness, so as to
enable them afterwards to claim the price.  In the days when there were
dozens of executions in one morning at Newgate, the doctors had a good
time of it, for the bodies of the malefactors were handed over to them
for dissection.  In fact, under the steps leading up to the front-door
of Surgeons’ Hall, a handsome building which stood next to Newgate
Prison, there was a small door, through which the corpses were
introduced into the building. Surgeons’ Hall was pulled down in 1809, to
make room for the new Sessions House.

The doctors of the previous two centuries were mostly Sangrados, who
bled and purged their patients most unmercifully; but we must say this
to their credit, they did not descend to the sublime atrocity of
microbes, bacilli, and all the other horrors of the microscopic mania
now sending unnumbered nervous people into lunatic asylums.  And so they
had not, like their modern compeers, the chance of amusing themselves
and paying one another professional compliments by sending glass tubes,
filled with the deadly spawn, from one country to another by ship and
rail.  Fancy one of those tubes getting accidentally broken, or being
intentionally smashed for a lark on board a passenger steamer.  Why,
this would speedily become a vessel laden with corpses!  At least,
according to modern teaching, which, _entre nous_, we have no more faith
in than we have in many other medical dicta.  A man is ill from over
gorging or drinking, a child ails from a surfeit of sweets or from
catching a disease playing with other children in the streets or at
school.  The doctor is called in, and instead of telling the man, ’You
have made a beast of yourself,’ or correctly indicating the cause of the
child’s illness, he sniffs about and says: ’There is something the
matter with your drains: I can smell sewer-gas.’  And presently the
sanitary inspector arrives, and orders the pulling up and renewal of the
drains, and for days the house is filled with the effluvia supposed to
be poisonous.  How is it the whole family do not die off?  Well,
scavengers who daily deal with offal and garbage of the most offensive
kind, the men who work down in the sewers, enjoy robust health; the
latter only suffer when they are suddenly plunged into an excess of
sewer-gas, but it is the quantity and not the quality that injures.

The excessive treacliness of modern doctors, as we have just shown, is
as objectionable as was the brimstone treatment of some of their
predecessors.  A principle with modern doctors is never to acknowledge
themselves nonplussed.  The old doctors now and then confessed
themselves beaten.  Said an Æsculapius who had been called in to
prescribe for a child, after diagnosing, as the ridiculous farce of
tongue-speering and pulse-squeezing is called: ’This here babe has got a
fever; now, I ain’t posted up in fevers, but I will send her something
that will throw her into fits, and I’m a stunner on fits.’  And modern
doctors, indeed, have no occasion to admit ignorance since the invention
of the liver.  When they cannot tell what is the matter with a man, or
they are too urbane to reproach him with his excesses, his liver is out
of order—and that is an organ which cannot possibly be examined and its
condition be verified so as to prove or disprove the practitioner’s
assertion.  I assume that nine out of ten people don’t know where or
what the liver is—I’m sure I don’t, and don’t want to; but as Sancho
Panza blessed the man who invented sleep, the doctors should bless their
colleague who invented the liver!  Abernethy, of whom more hereafter,
with all his eccentricity, was honest enough to confess that he never
cured or pretended to cure anyone, which only quacks did.  He despised
the humbug of the profession, and its arts to mislead and deceive
patients.  He only attempted to second Nature in her efforts.  He
admitted that he could not remove rheumatism, that opprobrium of the
faculty, and no doctor can; a residence in a warm and ever sunny clime,
or a long course of Turkish baths, can do it.  Hence sings Allan
Ramsay’s ’Gentle Shepherd’:

    ’I sits with my feet in a brook,
    And if they ax me for why,
    In spite of the physic I took,
    It’s rheumatiz kills me, says I.’[#]


[#] In searching for material for these pages I had occasion to read the
lives of a good many doctors; half of them, I should say, died of
rheumatism and gout.


This was the desperate remedy taken by Caroline, Queen of that brute
George II., when he expected her to take her usual walk with him, though
both her feet were swollen with rheumatism.  She plunged them in a bath
of cold water, and managed to go out with him that afternoon.

I read in some publication—_London Society_, I think—in an article on
medicine, that it is a sensible plan, adopted by some wise people, to
pay a medical man a yearly sum to look up a household periodically and
keep them in good health.  This seems to me as insane a plan as can well
be imagined.  Fancy the physicking such a family, especially the
children and servants, must all the year round undergo!  For the doctor
does not like to take his money and do nothing for it; so, if there
happens to be no real illness, he must exhibit his draughts and pills,
just to show that he is honestly earning his fee.  The regular
attendant, the family doctor, means that the family are hospitalizing
all the year round.  Better go and live in the island of Sark. Sir
Robert Inglis, in his account of the Channel Islands, says that at Sark
there is no doctor, and that in the years 1816 and 1820 there was not
one death on the island, containing a population of five hundred
persons, and that on an average of ten years the mortality is not quite
one in a hundred.  But let us return to the old doctors.

Dr. George Fordyce, who came in 1762 from Edinburgh to London, very
speedily made himself a name by a series of public lectures on medical
science, which he afterwards published in a volume entitled ’Elements of
the Practice of Physic,’ which passed through many editions.
Unfortunately he was given to drink, and though he never was known to be
dead drunk, yet he was often in a state which rendered him unfit for
professional duties.  One night when he was in such a condition, he was
suddenly sent for to attend a lady of title who was very ill.  He went,
sat down, listened to her story, and felt her pulse.  He found he was
not up to his work; he lost his wits, and in a moment of forgetfulness
exclaimed: ’Drunk, by Jove!’  Still, he managed to write out a mild
prescription. Early next morning he received a message from his noble
patient to call on her at once.  Dr. Fordyce felt very uncomfortable.
The lady evidently intended to upbraid him either with an improper
prescription or with his disgraceful condition.  But to his surprise and
relief she thanked him for his prompt compliance with her pressing
summons, and then confessed that he had rightly diagnosed her case, that
unfortunately she occasionally indulged too freely in drink, but that
she hoped he would preserve inviolable secrecy as to the condition he
had found her in.  Fordyce listened to her as grave as a judge, and
said: ’You may depend upon me, madam; I shall be as silent as the
grave.’

Another doctor who made his reputation by lecturing was Dr. G. Wallis,
of Red Lion Square.  He had originally established himself at York,
where he was born, but being much attached to theatrical amusements, and
a man of wit, he had written a dramatic piece, entitled ’The Mercantile
Lovers: a Satire.’  It contained a number of highly caustic remarks,
either so directly levelled at certain persons of that city, or taken by
them to themselves, that he lost all professional practice, and had to
leave York, when he came to London, and, as already mentioned, commenced
lectures on the Theory and Practice of Physic.  He published various
medical works, and died in 1802.

In the reign of James I. lived Dr. Edward Jorden, whom we mention on
account of two curious circumstances in his life.  The doctor, being on
a journey, benighted on Salisbury Plain, and not knowing which way to
ride, met a shepherd of whom he made inquiry what places were near where
he could pass the night. He was told there was no house of entertainment
for travellers near, but that a gentleman of the name of Jordan, and a
man of great estate, lived close by. Looking on the similarity of the
names as a good omen, Jorden applied at the house, where he was kindly
received, and made so good an impression on his host that the latter
bestowed on him his daughter with a considerable fortune.

The second circumstance was this: James, as is well known, was a firm
believer in witchcraft.  Now, it happened that a girl in the country was
said to have been bewitched by a neighbour.  The King had her sent for,
and placed under the care of Dr. Jorden, who very soon discovered the
girl to be a cheat; in fact, she confessed as much, saying that her
father, having had a quarrel with a female neighbour, had induced her
(his daughter) to accuse the woman of having bewitched her and brought
upon her the fits she simulated.  This confession Jorden reported to the
King, the doctor not being courtier enough to see what James wanted,
namely, a witch to burn.  But as the girl had for a short time given him
the prospect of such a treat, the King, though she by her own confession
was a diabolical liar—for everyone in those days knew that the charge of
witchcraft involved the risk of losing life by a fiery death—James
actually gave her a portion, and she was married, ’and,’ as the account
naïvely observes, ’thus was cured of her inimical witchery.’

Of Dr. Francis J. P. de Valangin (b. 1719, d. 1805), of the College of
Physicians, London, though a native of Switzerland, it was said that to
his patients he was kind and consolatory in the extreme—nothing of the
rough element in him; he was, as the obituary notice of him says, the
friend of mankind and an honour to his profession.  About the year 1772
de Valangin purchased ground in Pentonville, near White Conduit House,
where he erected a residence on a plan laid down by himself; and as the
design was not that of ordinary builders or architects it was called
fanciful, chiefly because of a high brick tower rising from it, which
the doctor built for an observatory.  Of course the next tenant, a
timber merchant, had nothing more pressing to do than immediately to
pull down the features which distinguished the building from the dulness
of orthodox architecture.  Valangin had christened the elevation on
which his house stood ’Hermes Hill,’ after Hermes Trismegistus, the
fabled discoverer of the chemist’s art.

Dr. Anthony Askew, one of the celebrities of St. Bartholomew’s in the
last half of the last century, was as famous in literature as he was in
medicine.  He had a collection of Greek MSS., purchased at great expense
in the East, more numerous and more valuable than that of any other
private gentleman in England.  His house in Queen Square was, moreover,
crammed with printed books; the sale of his library in 1775, which
lasted twenty days, was the great literary auction of the time.

Another famous physician of St. Bartholomew’s was Dr. David Pitcairn,
who died in 1809.  He also was distinguished as a literary man and lover
of art.  His earnings were very large, for he was frequently requested
by his brethren for his advice in difficult cases.  His manners as a
physician were simple, gentle, and dignified, and always sufficiently
cheerful to inspire confidence and hope.  It is said that he was
occasionally affected in his speech; thus he is reported to have asked a
lady for a pinch of snuff in the following terms: ’Madam, permit me to
immerse the summits of my digits in your pulveriferous utensil, to
excite a grateful titillation of my olfactory nerves.’

Of Dr. John Radcliffe, the physician of the reigns of William III. and
Queen Anne, many strange anecdotes are told, for he was a man of rough
Abernethy manners, even with kings.  When called in to see King William
at Kensington, finding his legs dropsically swollen, he said: ’I would
not have your two legs, your Majesty, not for your three kingdoms.’  The
remark gave great offence.  But on another occasion he was even more
brusque.  ’Your juices,’ he said to the King, ’are all vitiated, your
whole mass of blood corrupted, and the nutriment mostly turned to water.
If your Majesty will forbear making long visits to the Earl of Bradford’
(where the King was wont to drink very hard), ’I’ll engage to make you
live three or four years longer, but beyond that time no physic can
protract your Majesty’s existence.’  On one occasion, when he was sent
for from the tavern, to which he resorted but too often, by Queen Anne,
he flatly refused to leave his bottle. ’Tell her Majesty,’ he bellowed,
’that it’s nothing but the vapours.’  He advised a hypochondriacal lady,
who complained of nervous singing in the head, to ’curl her hair with a
ballad.’  He cured a gentleman of a quinsy by making his own two
servants eat a hasty-pudding for a wager, which caused the patient to
break out into such a fit of laughter as to burst the quinsy.  Sir
Godfrey Kneller and Radcliffe were at one time neighbours in Bow Street,
Covent Garden, and the painter having beautiful pleasure-grounds, a door
was opened for the accommodation of his neighbour.  But in consequence
of damage done to his flower-beds, Sir Godfrey threatened to close the
door, to which Radcliffe replied, he might do anything with it but paint
it.  ’Did Dr. Radcliffe say so?’ cried Sir Godfrey.  ’Go and tell him,
with my compliments, that I can take anything from him but his physic.’
In spite of his cynicism and rudeness, he made a very large income, on
the average twenty guineas a day, and when he was told that the £5,000
he had invested in South Sea stock was lost, he could with placid
sangfroid say: ’Well, it is only going up another 5,000 stairs.’  But
though he so heavily taxed his patients, he was very much opposed to
paying his debts, especially such as he owed to tradespeople.  A pavior,
whom he had employed and constantly put off paying, at last waited for
him at his (the doctor’s) door, and, when his carriage drove up, roughly
asked for his money.  ’Why, you rascal,’ said the doctor, ’do you expect
to get paid for such a bad piece of work?  You have spoiled my pavement,
and covered it with earth to hide your bad work!’  ’Doctor,’ replied the
pavior, ’mine is not the only bad work the earth hides.’  ’You dog,
you!’ cried the doctor, ’you must be a wit, and want the money. Come
in.’  And he paid him.  Curiously enough, the man who left the splendid
library, known by his name, to Oxford, at one time, on being asked where
his library was, pointed to a few phials, a skeleton, and a herbal, in
one corner of his apartment, and said, ’Sir, there is my library!’  He
was a Tory in politics, and it was said that he kept Lady Holt alive out
of pure political animosity to the Whig Chief Justice Holt, because she
led her lord such a life.

Of a more genial disposition, though no less original character, was Dr.
John Cookley Lettsom.  He was born in a small island near Tortola,
called Little Van Dyke, which belonged to his father.  A view of it may
be seen in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, December Supplement, 1815.  When
only six years of age he was sent to England for his education, being
entrusted to the care of a Mr. Fothergill, then a famous preacher among
the Quakers.  His father dying before he came of age, that gentleman
became his guardian, and with a view to his future profession sent him
to Dr. Sutcliffe.  For two years he attended St. Thomas’s Hospital, and
then returned to his native place in the West Indies to take possession
of any property that might remain; but on his arrival he found himself
£500 worse than nothing, his elder brother, then dead, having run
through an ample fortune, leaving to his younger brother only a number
of negro slaves, whom he at once emancipated. He entered on the medical
profession, and in five months made the astonishing sum of £2,000, with
which he returned to Europe, visited the medical schools of Paris and
Edinburgh, took his degree of M.D. at Leyden in 1769, and was admitted a
licentiate of the College of Physicians of London in the same year.  His
rise in his profession was rapid.  In 1783 he earned £3,600; in 1784,
£3,900; in 1785, £4,015; in 1786, £4,500; and in some years his income
reached £12,000.  But he was at the same time giving away hundreds—nay
thousands—in gratuitous advice, and the poorer order of the clergy and
struggling literary men received not only gratuitous advice, but
substantial aid.  He was one of the original projectors and supporters
of the General Dispensary, of the Finsbury and Surrey Dispensaries, of
the Margate Sea-Bathing Infirmary, as well as of many other charitable
institutions.  In 1779 he purchased some land on the east side of Grove
Hill, Camberwell, where he erected the villa which for years was
associated with his name, and where he entertained some of the most
eminent literati of his time.  The house contained a library of near ten
thousand volumes, and a museum full of natural and artistic curiosities.
The grounds were most tastefully laid out and adorned with choice trees,
shrubs and flowers.  The avenue of elms, still retaining the name of
Camberwell Grove, formed part of the small estate and the approach to
the house.  It is sad to relate that Dr. Lettsom’s excessive devotion to
science and literature impaired his resources, and compelled him
eventually to quit Grove Hill.  He died in 1815, aged seventy-one years.
He being in the habit of signing his prescriptions ’J. Lettsom,’ some
wag, putting forth the lines as the doctor’s own composition, wrote
thus:

    ’When patients comes to I,
    I physics, bleeds, and sweats ’em;
    Then, if they choose to die,
    What’s that to I?  I lets ’em.’


Everyone has heard, and has a story to tell, of Dr. John Abernethy (b.
1764, d. 1831), so we do not know whether in telling our stories of him
we shall be able to tell the reader anything new; but as he was a
medical eccentricity, we cannot omit him from our portrait gallery.  But
let us premise that if we call him eccentric we refer to his manners
only, in which he did not take after his chief instructor, Sir Charles
Blick, who was a fashionable physician of the extra-courteous school.
In scientific knowledge Abernethy greatly excelled all his colleagues,
though he got less fame by that than by his oddities.  When he had made
up his mind to marry he wrote off-hand to a lady a note of proposal,
saying that he was too busy to attend in person, but he would give her a
fortnight for consideration. His irritable temper at times rendered him
very disagreeable with patients and medical men who consulted him.  When
the latter did so, he would walk up and down the room with his hands in
his pockets and whistle all the time, and end by telling the doctor to
go home and read his (Abernethy’s) book.  On being asked by a colleague
whether a certain plan he suggested would answer, the only reply he
could obtain was: ’Ay, ay, put a little salt on a bird’s tail, and you
will be sure to catch him.’  He could hardly be induced to give advice
in cases which appeared to depend on improper diet.  A farmer of immense
bulk came from a distance to consult him, and having given an account of
his daily meals, which showed an immense amount of animal food,
Abernethy said: ’Go away, sir; I won’t attempt to prescribe for such a
hog!’  A loquacious lady he silenced by telling her to put out her
tongue; she having done so, ’Now keep it there till _I_ have done
talking,’ said Abernethy.  A lady having brought her daughter, he
refused to prescribe for her, but told the mother to let the girl take
exercise.  Having received his guinea, he gave the shilling to the
mother and said: ’Buy the girl a skipping-rope as you go along.’  When
the late Duke of York consulted him, he stood whistling with his hands
in his pockets, and the Duke said: ’I suppose you know who I am?’
’Suppose I do,’ was the uncourtly reply, ’what of that?’  To a gentleman
who consulted him for an ulcerated throat, and wanted him to look at it,
he said: ’How dare you suppose that I would allow you to blow your
stinking, foul breath in my face!’  But sometimes he met a Tartar.  A
gentleman who could not succeed in getting the doctor to listen to his
case, suddenly locked the door, put the key into his pocket, and took
out a loaded pistol.  Abernethy, alarmed, asked if he meant to murder
him.  No, he only wanted him to listen to his case, and meant to keep
him a prisoner till he did. The patient and the surgeon afterwards
became great friends.  The Duke of Wellington having insisted on seeing
him out of his usual hours, and abruptly entering his room, was asked by
the doctor how he got in.  ’By that door,’ was the reply.  ’Then,’ said
Abernethy,’ I recommend you to make your exit by the same way.’  He
refused to attend George IV. until he had delivered his lecture at the
hospital, in consequence of which he lost a royal appointment.  To a
lady who complained that on holding her arm over her head she felt pain,
he said: ’Then what a fool you must be to hold it up!’  He was fond of
calling people fools.  A countess consulted him, and he offered her some
pills, when she said she could never take a pill.  ’Not take a pill!
What a fool you must be!’ was the courteous reply.

Abernethy usually cut patients short by saying: ’I have heard enough.
You have heard of my book?’  ’Yes.’  ’Then go home and read it.’  This
book gives admirable rules for dieting and general living, though few
persons would be willing to comply with them rigidly; he himself did
not.  When someone told him that he seemed to live like most other
people, he replied: ’Yes, but then I have such a devil of an appetite!’
One day a lawyer suffering from dyspepsia, brought on by want of
exercise and good living, went to consult Abernethy.  As he came out of
the consulting-room he met another lawyer, a friend of his. ’What the
devil brought you here?’ said one, and the other echoed the question,
and the reply of each was the same.  ’What has he prescribed for you?’
asked the newcomer.  The prescription was produced and read as follows:
’Read my book, p. 72.  J. Abernethy.’  The first lawyer agreed to wait
for his friend whilst he went to consult the doctor.  In about a quarter
of an hour he came out, well pleased apparently with his interview.
’Well, what is your prescription?’ inquired lawyer number one.  Number
two produced a slip of paper, on which was written: ’Read my book, p.
72. J. Abernethy.’  That was what each got for his guinea. But Abernethy
deserves praise for three utterances, viz., that mind is a miraculous
energy added to matter, and not the result of certain modes of
organization, as modern scientists maintain; that an operation is a
reproach to surgery, and that a patient should be cured without recourse
to it; and that vivisection experiments are morally wrong and
physiologically unsafe, because unreliable.

That Dr. Abernethy, with his uncouth manners and vulgar repartee, should
have been so successful in his profession is a marvel; certainly few
people of the present day would tolerate such rudeness as his. Possibly
in former days the doctor’s distinctive dress had a secret influence of
its own.  The gold-headed cane, the elaborate shirt-frill, the massive
snuff-box, tapped so argumentatively in consultation, the pompous manner
and overbearing assurance, no doubt exercised a spell with which we are
unacquainted now.

Abernethy had imitators, but they had been pupils of his.  Tommy
Wormald, or ’Old Tommy,’ as the students called him, was Abernethy over
again in voice, style, appearance and humour.  To an insurance company
he reported on a bad life proposed to them: ’Done for.’  When an
apothecary wanted to put him off with a single guinea at a consultation
on a rich man’s case, he said: ’A guinea is a lean fee, and the patient
is a fat patient.  I always have fat fees from fat patients.  Pay me two
guineas instantly; our patient is a fat patient.’  Some rich but mean
people would drive to St. Bartholomew’s to get advice gratis as
out-patients.  To this Tommy meant to put a stop. Seeing a lady dressed
in silk, he thus addressed her before a roomful of people: ’Madam, this
charity is for the poor, destitute invalids; I refuse to pay attention
to destitute invalids who wear rich silk dresses.’  The lady quickly
disappeared.  Will no Old Tommy arise at the present day and put an end
to the abuse, which is as rampant as ever?

Doctors are not agreed as to what constitutes medical science.  By an
empiric a quack is meant.  Now, an empiric goes by observation only,
without rational grounds; yet Sir Charles Bell asserted that physiology
was a science of observation rather than of experiment, which is the
rational ground the quack is said to disregard.  Who is right?  Without
attempting to answer the question, which would lead us too far, we must
rest satisfied with the fact that the profession and the public have
agreed to stigmatize certain individuals as quacks who, with or without
any medical training, pretend to cure diseases by charms, manipulations,
or nostrums, which have no scientific or rational basis. Quacks have
existed at all times, for mankind, especially suffering mankind, has
ever been credulous.  Henry VIII. endeavoured to put down those of his
own times by establishing censors in physic, but the public would not be
enlightened, and so the quacks flourished.  In 1387 one Roger Clerk, of
Wandsworth, pretending to be a physician, got twelve pence in part
payment from one Roger atte Haccke, in Ironmonger Lane, for undertaking
the cure of his wife, who was ill.  He put a charm, consisting of a
piece of parchment, round her neck, but it did her no good, whereupon
Roger brought him before the chamber at Guildhall for his deceit and
falsehood, and Roger Clerk was sentenced to be led through the middle of
the city with trumpets and pipes, he riding on a horse without a saddle,
the said parchment and a whetstone[#] for his lies being hung about his
neck, a urinal also being hung before him, and another on his back.  In
the reign of Edward VI. one Grig, a poulterer in Surrey, was set in the
pillory at Croydon, and again in the Borough, for cheating people out of
their money by pretending to cure them by charms or by only looking at
the patient.


[#] Early in English history we find the whetstone as the symbol of a
liar.  Why?  Does lying imply a sharpened wit, as a whetstone sharpens a
blade?  The custom is referred to in ’Hudibras,’ II., i. 57-60.


Was Valentine Greatrakes, whom Charles II. invited to his Court, a
quack?  If he was, he was a harmless one, since he gave no physic, but
only pretended to cure by magnetic stroking.  Our modern magnetizers are
not so modest; they have added much hocus-pocus to Valentine’s simple
process.

From among the medical oddities of the latter part of the last century
we must not omit Dr. Von Butchell, who lived in Mount Street, and
pretended to cure every disease.  He applied for the post of dentist to
George III., but when the King’s consent was obtained he said he did not
care for the custom of royalty. When his wife died, he had her embalmed
and kept in his parlour, where he allowed his patients to see the body;
so that the modern showman who exhibited the dead body of his wife at
Olympia was, after all, only a copyist.  But whilst the doctor was
half-mad, the world was altogether mad; for his exhibiting the corpse of
his wife was not considered as eccentric as his letting his beard grow,
which then was held to be the height of madness.  And there seems to
have been method in _his_ madness, for he sold the hairs out of his
beard at a guinea each to ladies who wished to have fine children. He
used to ride about the West End on a pony painted with spots by the
doctor himself.  There is an engraving extant of him, showing him
astride on it.  The horse was afterwards, in consequence of a dispute
with the stable-keeper who had charge of it, sold at Tattersall’s,
where, as a curiosity, it fetched a good price. There was a wonderful
inscription on the outside of his house, extending over the front of the
next, and his neighbour rebuilding his frontage, half the inscription
was obliterated.  Butchell was also a great advertiser, and his
advertisements even now afford amusing reading. He never would visit a
patient, though as much as £500 was offered him for a visit—patients had
to go to his house.  ’I go to none,’ he said in his advertisements. Many
persons used to visit him, not for getting advice, but simply to
converse with such an original.  He was twice married.  His first wife
he dressed in black, and his second in white, never allowing a change of
colour. He was one of the earliest teetotalers.  The profits he and some
of his contemporaries made on their quack draughts and pills led, in
1788, to the imposition of the tax on ’patent medicines.’

But to come down to more recent times, in 1700 one John Pechey, living
at the Angel and Crown, in Basing Lane, an Oxford graduate and member of
the College of Physicians, London, advertised that all sick people might
for sixpence have a faithful account of their diseases and plain
directions for their cure, and that he was prepared to visit any sick
person in London for 2s. 6d.; and that if he were called by any person
as he passed by, he would require but one shilling for his advice.  A
physician who in our day advertised like this would be deprived of his
diploma.  In 1734 one Joshua Ward became a celebrity even among quacks
by his pills, which he extensively advertised, and which were patronized
by the Queen herself.  There was a rhyming quack, Dr. Hill, who also
wrote a farce, and wanted Garrick to produce it, till the latter
published the following distich on him:

    ’For farces and physic his equal there scarce is,
    His farces are physic, his physic a farce is.’


A Dr. Hannes, a contemporary of Dr. Radcliffe, ordered his servant to
stop a number of coaches between Whitehall and the Royal Exchange, and
to inquire at each whether it belonged to Dr. Hannes, as he was called
to a patient.  Entering Garraway’s Coffee-House, the servant put the
same question.  Dr. Radcliffe happening to be there, he asked who wanted
Dr. Hannes.  The servant named several lords who all wanted him.  ’No,
no, friend,’ said Radcliffe; ’Dr. Hannes wants the lords.’

Quacks were never more flourishing than they are now, and they always
will be, for the public like mysterious remedies, and are anxious to
recommend them and to force them on their friends.  In nothing is a
little knowledge more dangerous than in medicine; mothers and nurses
especially, who have acquired some smattering of it from their
conversations with doctors, may do a lot of mischief.  To them are due
nearly all so-called diseases of children—as if children must
necessarily have diseases—a superstition which is shared by some
doctors, who also encourage the reading of their books.  The reading of
those books has physically the same effect on the body that the reading
or hearing of ghost stories has morally on the mind: the reader or
hearer everywhere feels dis-ease and sees ghosts; _ergo_ beware of
medical books and goblin stories—both are unwholesome.  Modern invalids
are fortunate in escaping the tortures inflicted on patients in earlier
days.  Edmund Verney thus writes concerning his father, Sir Ralph
Verney, of Claydon House, in 1686: ’He hath been blooded, vomited,
blistered, cupt and scarified, and hath three physicians with him,
besides apothecary and chirurgian.’  And then he wonders that ’he still
continues very weak.’  The marvel was that he survived at all.  Had not
Molière a few years before the above date said: ’You must not say that a
man died of such and such a disease, but of so many physicians, surgeons
and apothecaries’?

The most pungent and most witty definition of the doctor’s character
probably is that given, I think, by Talleyrand.  When Napoleon, in a fit
of despondency, said that he would forsake war and turn physician, the
sarcastic courtier said _sotto voce_: ’_Toujours assassin?_’



                                 *XV.*

                      *THE LOST RIVERS OF LONDON.*


London is deficient in two conditions to render it picturesque: it lacks
diversity of surface, and it lacks water.  In so vast an expanse of
ground as is covered by London, Ludgate Hill and Notting Hill are mere
molehills.[#]  As to water, it has the Thames, but that is accessible at
short and broken intervals only.  There is the Embankment from
Blackfriars to Westminster; a short bit at Chelsea, and the Albert
Embankment.  But the City people during the day have no time to waste on
their Embankment, and in the evening they are gone to the suburbs, and
so this grand promenade is given up to occasional country cousins’
visits, and to permanent ruffianism.  For, of course, no one from the
more northern parts of London ever thinks of coming so far to take a
stroll on that Embankment, from which nothing is to be seen but
mud-banks in the near prospect, as by a perverse arrangement of nature
it is generally low water when you want to take a walk; on the opposite
bank only dismal wharves present themselves.  As to the Chelsea
Embankment, that is patronized by the dwellers in that region only, if
they do not neglect it altogether, as people generally do who live in a
rather picturesque locality.  The less we say about the Albert
Embankment the better; its characteristics are dingy hovels and
smoke-belching pottery chimneys on one side, smoke and cinders from
passing steam-barges and penny steamers on the river, and a dreary
outlook on the opposite side, scarcely relieved by the Tate Gallery,
which, for reasons unknown to the general public, but self-evident to
those who can see the wire-pulling behind, has been pitched, like a King
Log, into the Pimlico swamp.  All other parts of the river are
inaccessible to the public, and therefore as good as non-existent for
the Londoner.


[#] The highest point north is Hampstead Hill, 400 feet above sea-level;
to the south Sydenham Hill, 365 feet; Primrose Hill, about 260 feet;
Herne Hill, about 180 feet; Denmark, about 100 feet; Orme Square, 95
feet; Broad Walk, 90 feet; North Audley Street, 83 feet; Tottenham Court
Road, 85 feet; Regent Circus, 90 feet; Cornhill, 60 feet; Charing Cross,
24 feet; Euston Road, 90 feet; Cheapside, 59 feet; Farringdon Street, 28
feet; St. Katherine’s, Regent’s Park, 120 feet; Camberwell Green, 19
feet.


Thus much for the Thames.  As to other pieces of water to be found in
public parks, they are mere ponds, and of benefit only locally.  As to
public fountains, which form the peculiar charm of so many Continental
cities, where the melodious splash of water is heard day and night,
London possesses none.  True, there are two squirts in Trafalgar Square,
and the Shaftesbury fountain is making asthmatic efforts to assert
itself, whilst the Angel at the top seems to be shooting Folly as it
flies all around him in the savoury purlieus of the Haymarket.  The
small drinking fountains found here and there are evidences of
philanthropy, which may be grateful to children and tramps, to horses
and dogs, but do not add much to the aquatic features of London. There
are canals, it is true, but they are private property, and so fenced,
hoarded, and walled in, as to be of no use to the public.  And as a rule
their water is so dirty that no one with a nose would walk by the side
of them, even if allowed to do so.

But London was not always so deadly level and so waterless as it is now.
In ancient days there were high hills and deep valleys in the very heart
of it.  From the river Lea to the river Brent on the northern side of
London there were numerous rivulets and brooks descending from the
northern heights through the City and its western outskirts into the
Thames, brooks and rivulets which at times assumed such dimensions as to
cause serious inundations.  It was the same in the south of London,
where from the Ravensbourne to the Wandle similar watercourses reached
the Thames from the southern hills.

All those brooks between the four rivers we have named, and which alone
are still existing, have totally disappeared.  What were their features,
when they still flowed from northern and southern heights, and what were
the causes and the process of their disappearance, we now intend to
investigate, by proceeding from east to west, and taking the northern
shore of the Thames first.

The site on which the Romans founded London was the rising ground on the
northern bank of the Thames, from the present Fish Street Hill, or
Billingsgate, to the Wallbrook.  At a later date of their occupation
they extended the City eastward to the Tower, and westward to the valley
of the Fleet.  Then the valley of the Wallbrook divided the City into
two portions of almost equal size.  To the north the buildings extended
to the present Aldgate and to Moorfields, and westward to Newgate and
Ludgate.  The wall which encompassed the town began at the Tower, and in
a line with various bends in it terminated at the Arx Palatina,
somewhere near the present _Times_ office.  On the east of the town,
where the country was flat, there was a marsh, extending to the river
Lea.  To the north-west were dense forests stretching far into
Middlesex, and abounding with deer, wild boar, and other savage animals.
This forest was partly the cause of the many brooks, which in those days
watered London from the northern heights; it being a well-known fact
that trees absorb and retain moisture.

It is doubtful whether there were any Roman buildings west of the Fleet;
Fleet Street and the Strand certainly were then undreamt of, and did not
come into existence till centuries after the Romans had left our island.
To the west of the present Strand, the ground lying very low, it was
frequently inundated by the river, and there are persons still living
who can remember Belgravia and Pimlico as a dismal swamp. Westminster
Abbey stood on an island, which rose above the marshy environs, and even
as late as the times of Charles II. occasional high tides converted the
palace of Whitehall into an island.

The great forest of Middlesex above mentioned came close to the City
wall; it had, in fact, occupied a portion of the site on which the City
was built, and as much of it had been cut down, and so much space
cleared, as the builders required for their operations. But the nature
of the forest ground could not be as readily changed.  It was still full
of moisture, and numerous rills continued to flow through it.  Now, one
of the most important of them was the Langbourne.

This watercourse, so called because of its length, took its rise in
ground now forming part of Fenchurch Street.  It ran swiftly through
that street in a westward direction, across Grass, now Gracechurch
Street, into and down Lombard Street—where many Roman remains have been
discovered—to the west of St. Mary Woolnoth Church, where it turned
sharply round to the south and gave name to Sherbourne Lane, so termed
of sharing or dividing, because there it broke into a number of rills
and so reached the Thames. From this watercourse Langbourne Ward took
its name.  Thus says Stow, but he adds that in his day (1598) this
bourne had long been stopped up at the head, and the rest of the course
filled up and paved over, ’so that no sign thereof remaineth more than
the name aforesaid.’

Some modern historians, Mr. Loftie, for instance, deny the existence of
the Langbourne altogether. ’Stow says that the Langbourne rose in
Fenchurch Street and ran down Lombard Street.  It does not seem to have
occurred to him that the course indicated is up hill,’ Mr. Loftie
objects.  But Fenchurch Street was then, as it is now, considerably
higher than the outfall of the Langbourne into the Thames, and what do
we know of the then levels of the streets through which it was said to
have run?  Upwards of thirty feet under the present level of Lombard
Street Roman remains have been found, and the Langbourne, as we know
from various documents, was covered in as early as the latter part of
the twelfth century, a time when building increased rapidly under
Fitz-Alwyn, the first Mayor of London; moreover, the fenny condition of
Fenchurch Street is said to have been due to the overflowing of the
Langbourne at its source.  Mr. Loftie says that the original name of the
Langbourne was Langford; but a ford implies a watercourse, and not a
mere ditch or artificial trench, which, receiving the drainage of the
immediate locality, fell into the Wallbrook, as Mr. Burt would have us
believe.  If the Langbourne never existed, whence did Langbourne Ward
derive its name?

Proceeding westward, we come to a much more important stream, namely,
the Wallbrook.

No more striking instance of the changes which Time will effect in the
topographical aspect of a locality can be found than that which the
disappearance of the Wallbrook has produced within the limits of its own
course and in its surroundings.  Where now a smooth expanse of asphalte
paving covers firm ground (except where rendered treacherously dangerous
by sewer-like railway tunnels, in which human beings are shot to and fro
like so many rats enclosed in traps in a drain!), extending from Princes
Street right across to the Mansion House, and to and down the street
called Wallbrook, there, centuries ago, yawned a wide ravine with
precipitous sides, at the bottom of which flowed the brook called the
Wall-brook, because, rising in the upper fenny grounds of Moorfields, it
entered the city through an opening in the wall, somewhere near the
northern end of the present Moorgate Street.  The brook, towards its
southern termination, must have been of considerable width, for barges
could be rowed up to Bucklersbury—a fact commemorated by Barge Yard,
formerly a kind of dock, but now solid ground, opening into
Bucklersbury.  The width of the Wallbrook near its outfall was no doubt
increased by tributaries, which, flowing from the opposite portion of
the City, found an exit on the western bank.  There is no doubt that
there was a watercourse along the line of Cheapside; the fact is stated
positively by Maitland. He says: ’At Bread Street corner, the north-east
end, in 1595, one Thomas Tomlinson causing in the High Street of Chepe a
vault to be digged, there was found at fifteen feet deep a fair
pavement, like that above-ground, and at the further end, at the
channel, was found a tree, sawed into five steps, which was to step over
some brook running out of the west towards Wallbrook.  And upon the edge
of the said brook there was found lying the bodies of two great trees,
the ends whereof were then sawed off, and firm timber as at the first
when they fell.  It was all forced ground until they went past the trees
aforesaid, which was about seventeen feet deep, or better.  Thus much
has the ground of this city been raised from the main.  And here it may
be observed that within fourscore years and less, Cheapside was raised
divers feet higher than it was when St. Paul’s was first built, as
appeared by several eminent marks discovered in the late laying of the
foundation of that church.’  The mention of Cheapside as a highway does
not go back to very early times.  In the eleventh century it must have
been a mere bog; for, when in 1090 the roof of Bow Church was blown off
by a tempest, the rafters, which were twenty-six feet long, penetrated
more than twenty feet into the soft soil of Cheapside.  The course of
the brook just mentioned west of Bread Street is not known; it is
doubtful whether it struck off northward by about Gutter Lane, and so
towards springs known to exist near Cripplegate, or whether it came from
further westward, from the springs which supply the ancient baths in
Bath Street (formerly called Bagnio Court), north of Newgate Street.

But we must return to the Wallbrook itself; and, first, as to its
course.  After entering the City through the opening in the wall, it
curved eastward, ran along Bell Alley, crossed Tokenhouse Yard and
Lothbury, close by St. Margaret’s Church, curved westward again, passing
through ground now covered by the north-west corner of the Bank of
England; crossing the present Princes Street and the Poultry, it ran
under what is now the National Safe Deposit, whence, by an almost
semicircular bend, it reached Cannon Street, which it crossed, turning
westwardly towards St. Michael’s Church, and crossing Thames Street,
flowed past Joiners’ Hall into the Thames.  There were various bridges
over the said watercourse.  There was one close to Bokerelsberi
(Bucklersbury), which in 1291 four occupiers of tenements adjoining the
bridge were ordered to repair, according to clauses in their tenancies.
There was another over against the wall of the chancel of the church of
St. Stephen, which it was the duty of the parishioners to repair, as
they were ordered to do, for instance, in 1300.  At Dowgate Hill, at the
outfall of the Wallbrook into the Thames, there was discovered in 1884
an ancient landing-stage, a Roman pavement in tile, set upon timber
piles, with mortised jointing. The stage stood on the left bank of the
Wallbrook, facing not the Thames, but the brook.  It was twenty-one feet
below the present level of Dowgate Hill, and below the churchyard of St.
John’s.  A large quantity of stout oak-piling was also _in situ_, and
the sill of the bridge which crossed from east to west at this spot was
seen very plainly.  Another landing-stage appears to have existed on the
brook at a spot now covered by the National Safe Deposit: it consisted
of a timber flooring supported by huge oak timbers, and running parallel
with the stream.  Adjoining this were evidences of a macadamized
roadway, which extended in a line with Bucklersbury, until it reached
the apparent course of the brook.  Upon the opposite side similar
indications appeared, so that here also a bridge may have existed.
Another bridge seems to have spanned the brook near London Wall, in
Broad Street Ward, with yet another a little more south.  It appears
that in the year 1300 both these bridges required repairs, and that the
Prior of the Holy Trinity, who was liable for those of the first, and
the Prior of the New Hospital without Bishopsgate, who was bound to do
those of the second, were in that year summoned by the Mayor and
Aldermen of London ’to rebuild the said bridges and keep them in
repair.’

When in the seventies the National Safe Deposit Company dug down some
forty feet into the ground, and reached the ancient course of the
Wallbrook, they found in its bed, among other debris, enormous
quantities of broken vessels and kitchen utensils.  No doubt the
careless cooks and housemaids of the ancient Romans found the brook
handy for getting rid of the evidences of mishap or recklessness; but
their successors on the banks of the stream seem to have treated it with
even greater disrespect.  In the records of the City we find constant
references to the disgraceful condition of the Wallbrook.  In 1288 the
Warden and Sheriffs of the City of London had to order that the
watercourse of the Wallbrook should be made free from dung and other
nuisances, and that the rakes should be put back again upon every
tenement extending from Finsbury Moor to the Thames.  In 1374 the Mayor
and Aldermen granted to Thomas atte Ram, brewer, a seven years’ lease of
the Moor, together with charge of the watercourse of Wallbrook, without
paying any rent therefor, upon the understanding that he should keep the
said Moor well and properly, and have the Wallbrook cleansed for the
whole of the term, clearing it from dung and other filth thrown therein,
he taking for every latrine built upon the said watercourse twelve pence
yearly.  And if, in so cleansing it, he should find aught therein, he
should have it for his own.  But it would seem that Thomas atte Ram did
not properly perform his contract, for at the expiration of it, namely
in 1383, we find by an Ordinance of the Common Council that, ’whereas
the watercourse of the Wallbrook is stopped up by divers filth and dung
thrown thereinto by persons who have houses along the said course, to
the great nuisance and damage of all the City, the Aldermen of the Wards
of Coleman Street, Broad Street, Chepe, Wallbrook, Vintry and Dowgate,
through whose wards the said watercourse runs, shall inquire if any
person dwelling along the said course has a stable or other house,
whereby dung or other filth may fall into the same; or otherwise throws
therein such manner of filth by which the said watercourse is stopped
up, and they (the Aldermen) shall pursue all such offenders.  But it
shall be lawful for those persons who have houses on the said stream to
have latrines over it, provided they do not throw rubbish or other
refuse through the same ... and every person having such latrines shall
pay yearly to the Chamberlain two shillings for each of them.’

With such arrangements, and the constant increase of buildings on the
brook, and the decrease of water supplied to it by the springs in
Moorfields, which were gradually being laid dry, the Wallbrook, from a
clear stream, became a foul ditch, an open sewer, so that it was found
necessary to convert it into a covered one in reality.  The brook was
filled up with all kinds of debris and partially bricked over, so that
when Stow wrote (in 1598) he was obliged to say: ’This watercourse ...
was afterwards vaulted over with brick, and paved level with the streets
and lanes ... and since that houses also have been built thereon, so
that the course of Wallbrook is now hidden underground, and thereby
hardly known.’  The stream was covered in at least three centuries
before the covering in of the Fleet river, but its course can still be
traced by the many important buildings which lined its banks. Commencing
at its influx to the Thames, there were along its course on the western
side the halls of the Innholders, the Dyers, the Joiners, the Skinners,
the Tallow-chandlers, and the Cutlers; the churches of St. John, St.
Michael, St. Stephen (which originally stood on the western side), St.
Mildred, and St. Margaret; also the Grocers’ and the Founders’ Halls,
the estates of the Drapers and Leathersellers, and in Bucklersbury
Cornet’s Tower, a strong stone tower which was erected by Edward III. as
his ’Exchange of money there to be kept.’  In the sixteenth century it
seems to have come into the possession of one Buckle, a grocer, who
intended to erect in its place a ’goodly frame of timber,’ but,
’greedily labouring to pull down the tower,’ a part thereof fell upon
and killed him.

In 1835 a curious discovery, the import of which was then unsuspected,
was made close to the Swan’s Nest, a public-house in Great Swan Alley,
Moorgate Street. A pit or well was laid open, in which was found a large
quantity of earthen vessels of various patterns.  This well had been
carefully planked over with stout boards; the vases it contained were
placed on their sides, embedded in mud or sand, which had settled so
closely round them that a great number were broken in the attempt to
extricate them.  A coin and some iron implements were also found in the
well, which was about three feet square, and boarded on each side with
narrow planks about two feet long.  The object with which these vessels,
etc., had been deposited in this well was not at the time surmised, but
it was made clear by a subsequent discovery.  When the National Safe
Deposit Company’s premises, already referred to, were built, a similar
wooden framework was discovered at a depth of about thirty feet below
the present level of the street.  It was of oak, and about three feet
square, and the contents of the box were similar to those found at the
Swan’s Nest.  Fortunately this find came under the observation of Mr.
John E. Price, F.S.A., and Honorary Secretary of the London and
Middlesex Archæological Society, who recognised the remains as those of
an _arca finalis_, a monument employed by the Roman surveyors to
indicate the situation of limits of public or private property,
answering to a landmark or boundary stone.  Similar structures,
occasionally of stone or tiles, have been discovered in other parts of
England, as also on the Continent.  It is therefore evident that the box
found higher up the stream was also such an area.

To return once more to Wallbrook.  A bridge across it we have not yet
mentioned was Horseshoe Bridge, situate where the brook crossed Cloak
Lane, which was a famous shopping-place of the ladies of those early
days, fancy articles being mostly on sale there.  It is, however, time
to leave the Wallbrook; let us part from it with such a picture on our
minds as will leave a vivid and pleasant impression.  Remember that its
banks were favourite sites for villas, as is proved by all the evidences
of wealth and luxury of the ancient dwellers on the Wallbrook ravine and
adjoining streets, now buried fathoms deep underground, which have been
found on and near the banks of the river.  ’A villa in beautiful grounds
on the Wallbrook to be let’—think of that!

From the valley of the Wallbrook the ground of the City rises gently
towards St. Paul’s, and Panyer’s Alley, the highest point; thence it
falls almost precipitously towards the valley of the Fleet River, so
precipitously, indeed, that one of the descents from the Old Bailey to
Farringdon Street obtained the name of Breakneck Steps.  When the
increase of the population of the old City rendered it desirable to seek
new habitations, the citizens looked across the river Fleet, and saw the
opposite Holborn, Back, and Saffron Hills as yet unoccupied, stretching
out as open country—though roads had begun to be established thereon,
such as Field Lane, then in the fields—and began to erect dwellings on
the western bank of the river.  This led to the erection of bridges; we
think Holborn Bridge was the first to be built.  But before we enter
into an account of the bridges, it is necessary to speak of the river
itself.

The Fleet, then, which once formed so important a feature of London
topography, took its rise in the dense clay of the district just below
Hampstead; at Kentish Town its volume was increased by an affluent from
Highgate Ponds; it then made its way through the hill near College
Street—whence some writers infer that the name of Oldbourne, by which
the river was known for some distance, was really a corruption of
Hole-bourne—and entered the valley formed by the hills of Camden Town
and the Caledonian Road, pursuing its course to Battle Bridge—since 1830
known as King’s Cross—where it received an affluent from the west, which
rose in the high ground to the south of the Hampstead Road.  From Battle
Bridge the river bent round to the east, and flowed through the grounds
of Bagnigge Wells, once the residence of Nell Gwynne, and thence, still
with an easterly trend, past the walls of the House of Correction,
thence across Baynes Row, where it received another western affluent,
taking its rise at the western end of Guilford Street.  Thence it flowed
to the northern end of Little Saffron Hill, and in this part of its
course it sometimes was called the River of Wells, because it was fed by
a number of wells or springs, all situate in Clerkenwell, and known as
Clerks’ Well, Skinners’ Well, Faggs’ Well, Loder’s Well, Rad Well, and
Todd’s Well, this latter a corruption of its proper name, God’s Well,
from which Goswell Street took its name.  The river thence flowed down
the valley between the old City and the Holborn hills, and here it
occasionally went by the name of Turnmill Brook, because of the mills
which here stood on its banks.  On its eastern side was a street called
Turnmill Street, which in later days acquired a very bad reputation, its
inhabitants being abandoned characters.  Originally it was a respectable
street, the houses having gardens going down to the river, which was
fenced on both sides.  In its southward course the river presently
reached Holborn Bridge, where it received the affluent called the
Hol-bourne, which rose somewhere near St. Giles’.  The existence of this
brook is denied by some topographers, but it is distinctly shown in a
very old map of the manor of Blemundsbury (Bloomsbury), reproduced in
Mr. W. Blott’s ’Chronicle of Blemundsbury,’ 1892.  And we see no reason
for doubting the correctness of the map, and therefore adopt the
Holbourne as a fact.  The Fleet then passed under Chick Lane, afterwards
called West Street, which crossed the river at right angles, and in
quite recent times was the refuge of thieves, burglars, and other
criminals; and means of concealment and of escape by way of the river
were revealed when, in the forties and fifties, West Street was pulled
down for the improvements then in progress in that locality.  After
passing under Holborn Bridge, the river was known as the Fleet, not
because of the fleetness of its course, as some writers would have it,
for it never had much of that quality, but because of the flood or high
tide it participated in with the rise of the Thames.

Having thus traced the river from its source to its mouth, we may
describe the bridges which crossed it.

In the northern part of its course the river, where it passed through
what in the early days was still country, was no doubt here and there
crossed by bridges, but they were probably wooden bridges of light
construction, as the traffic was but limited.  The first solid bridge we
have any record of is the one which existed at Battle Bridge, which
derived its name from the battle between Suetonius Paulinus and
Boadicea, the Queen of the Iceni, which is said to have been fought on
the spot, and from the brick bridge which in early times there crossed
the Fleet.  Originally it was built of wood, but at an uncertain date
later on it was replaced by one of brick, consisting of a number of
arches. Battle Bridge, from the lowness of its situation, was exposed to
frequent inundations.  In the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, May, 1818, we
read: ’From the heavy rain which commenced yesterday ... Battle Bridge,
St. Pancras, and part of Somers Town was inundated. The water was
several feet deep in many of the houses, and covered an extent of
upwards of a mile.  The carcases of several sheep and goats were found
... and property was damaged to a very considerable amount.’  Various
Acts were passed at the beginning of this century for the improvement of
the locality: the river was completely arched over, and in 1830 the spot
assumed the name of King’s Cross from the ridiculous structure erected
in the centre of the cross roads; it was of octagon shape, surmounted by
a statue of George IV.  The basement was for some time occupied as a
police-station, then as a public-house, and the whole was taken down in
1845, and a tall lamp erected on the spot.

The Fleet was next crossed by an ornamental, somewhat rustic bridge in
the grounds of Bagnigge Wells; of course it disappeared with the gardens
and buildings of the Wells in 1841.  In the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, when Clerkenwell, from an almost rural became an urban
district, streets began to cross the Fleet, such as Baynes Row, Eyre
Street Hill, Mutton Hill, Peter Street, and others.  The next old bridge
we came to was Cow Bridge, by Cow Lane, or the present Cow Cross.  It
dated from the middle of the sixteenth century.  Stow, writing, it will
be remembered, in 1598, says: ’This bridge being lately decayed, another
of timber is made by Chick Lane.’  In the time of Elizabeth the ground
from Cow Cross towards the Fleet River, and towards Ely House, on the
opposite bank, was either entirely vacant or occupied with gardens.

We next come to Chick Lane, afterwards known as West Street.  Stow,
writing in 1603, refers to Chicken Lane, ’toward Turnmill Brook, and
over that brook by a timber bridge into the field.’  This must have been
Chick Lane, which was really a bridge of houses, the most noticeable of
which was one which once had been known as the Red Lion Inn, and which
at its demolition is supposed to have been three hundred years old. For
the last hundred years of its existence it was used as a lodging-house,
and was the resort of thieves, coiners, and other criminals.  Its dark
closets, trap-doors, sliding panels, and secret recesses rendered it one
of the most secure places for robbery and murder; openings in the walls
and floors afforded easy means of getting rid of the bodies by dropping
them into the Fleet, which for many years before its final abolition was
only known as the Fleet Ditch.  The history and description of the
houses in West Street were rendered so well known at the time of their
demolition that we need not enter into them here; besides, they are
beyond the scope of our inquiries.

South of Chick Lane was Holborn Bridge, which was built of stone, and,
according to Aggas’ map of London in 1560, had houses on the north side
of it.  The date of its original foundation is not given in any
chronicle, but it must have gone far back, probably was coeval with the
building of London Bridge, since it was on the great highway from east
to west.  At first it was, like all the other bridges on the Fleet,
constructed of wood; after its erection in stone, with a width of some
twelve feet, it seems to have been gradually widened to accommodate the
increasing traffic.  According to Mr. Crosby, a great authority on the
antiquities of the Fleet valley, Holborn Bridge consisted of four
different bridges joined together at the sides.  Yet in 1670 the bridge
was found to be too narrow for the traffic, and it had to be rebuilt, so
that the way and passage might run in a ’bevil line’ from a certain
timber-house on the north side, known by the name of the Cock, to the
Swan Inn.  Wren built the new bridge on the north or Holborn side
accordingly, and the name of William Hooker, Lord Mayor in 1673-74, was
cut on the stone coping of the eastern approach.  What was meant by the
’bevil line’ is to us obscure, and we are not much enlightened by what
Sir William Tite says, who in 1840 was present at the opening of a sewer
at Holborn Hill, and saw the southern face of the old bridge
disinterred.  ’The arch,’ he says, ’was about twenty feet span.  The
road from the east intersected the bridge obliquely, and out of the
angle thus formed a stone corbel arose to carry the parapet.’  Of
course, with the disappearance of the Fleet Ditch the bridge also
vanished.

The next bridge we come to started from Fleet Lane on the east side to
Harp Alley on the Holborn side. As it was about half-way between Holborn
and Fleet Street bridges, it was sometimes called Middle Bridge. It was
built of stone, with a stone rail and banister, and was ascended by
fourteen steps, and as high as Bridewell and Fleet bridges, to allow
vessels with merchandise to pass under it.  It had been erected in 1674,
and disappeared with the other bridges on the covering in of the Fleet.

The Fleet Bridge, which we reach next, joined Ludgate Hill to Fleet
Street.  This bridge was, in 1431, repaired at the charges of John Wels,
Mayor. It was destroyed by the Great Fire, and the new one erected in
its stead was of the breadth of the street, and ornamented with
pineapples and the City arms. But though larger in breadth, it had not
the length of the old bridge, the channel having then been already
considerably narrowed.  The bridge was taken down in 1765.

To the south of Fleet Bridge the river was spanned by a building, which
seems to have been a dwelling or a warehouse.  It is distinctly shown on
Aggas’ map.

Bridewell Bridge, the last over the Fleet before its entering the
Thames, and the last built (in the sixteenth century), was at first a
timber bridge, between Blackfriars and the House of Bridewell, on the
site of the Castle Mountfiquet, which originally stood there. In 1708,
or thereabouts, it was replaced by one of stone, much higher than the
street, being ascended by fourteen steps.  It was for foot passengers
only.  It was pulled down in 1765.

We may now conclude our account of the Fleet with a few statements
concerning the vicissitudes it passed through.

A great many antiquities—British, Saxon, and Roman—have been found in
the bed of this river, such as coins of silver, copper, and brass, but
none of gold; lares, spur rowels, keys, daggers, seals, medals, vases,
and urns.  An anchor, three feet ten inches in height, encrusted with
rust and pebbles—a sketch of which is given in the October number of the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1843—is said to have been discovered near the
site of Holborn Bridge, which may be genuine, as ships are known to have
ascended so far up the river in the fourteenth century.  But early in
that century already the river was choked up ’by the filth of the
tanners and others, and by the raising of wharves, and especially by a
diversion of the water in the first year of King John (1200) by them of
the New Temple for their mills without Baynard’s Castle, and by other
impediments, the course was decayed, and ships could not enter as they
were used.’  Upon this complaint of Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, the
river was cleansed, the mills removed, and other means taken for its
preservation; but it was not brought to its former depth and width, and
so was soon filled with mud again. The scouring of the river seems to
have been necessary every thirty or forty years, at a great expense to
the City.  We find that it was so cleansed in 1502, and once more
rendered navigable for large barges, but the dwellers on its banks would
continue to make it the receptacle of all the refuse, and the wharves
built on its banks proved unsuccessful, as vessels could not approach
them.  Consequently, in 1733 the City of London, seeing that all
navigation had ceased, and that the ditch, as it was then called, was a
danger to the public on account of its unsanitary state, and because
persons had fallen in and been suffocated in the mud, began covering it
in, commencing with the portion from Fleet Bridge to Holborn Bridge, and
the new Fleet Market was erected on the site in 1737.  The part from
Fleet Street to the Thames was covered in when the approaches to
Blackfriars were completed between 1760 and 1768.  One stubborn citizen,
however, would not surrender a small filthy dock; a barber, from
Bromley, in Kent, was, in 1763, found in it standing upright and frozen
to death.

Like all brooks descending from hills, the Fleet was liable to sudden
increases of volume, causing inundations.[#]  The melting of snow and
ice by a sudden thaw and heavy and long-continued rains have frequently
turned the Fleet into a mighty and destructive torrent flood.  In 1679
it broke down the back of several wholesale butcher-houses at Cow Cross,
and carried off cattle dead and alive.  At Hockley-in-the-Hole barrels
of ale, beer, and brandy floated down the stream.  In 1768 the Hampstead
Ponds overflowing after a severe storm, the Fleet grew into a torrent,
and the roads and fields about Bagnigge Wells were inundated; in the
gardens of the latter place the water was four feet deep; in Clerkenwell
many thousand pounds’ worth of damage was done.  In 1809 a sudden thaw
produced a flood, and the whole space between St. Pancras and
Pentonville Hill was soon under water, and for several days people
received their provisions in at their windows. In 1846 a furious
thunderstorm caused the Fleet Ditch to blow up.  The rush from the drain
at the north arch of Blackfriars Bridge drove a steamer against one of
the piers and damaged it.  The water penetrated into basements and
cellars, and one draper had £3,000 worth of goods ruined.  From Acton
Place, Bagnigge Wells Road, to King’s Cross, the roads were impassable.
In 1855 the Fleet, as one of the metropolitan main sewers, became vested
in the then newly-established Metropolitan Board of Works.  Shortly
after the Metropolitan Railway was planned, and in 1860 the work was
commenced.  One of the greatest initial difficulties the engineers of
that enterprise had to contend with was the irruption of the Fleet Ditch
into their works; the Fleet gave, as does the last flare of an expiring
candle, its ’last kick,’ made a final effort to assert itself.  The
ditch, under which the railway had to pass two or three times, suddenly
though not unexpectedly filled the tunnel with its dark foetid liquid,
which carried all before it; scaffoldings constructed of the stoutest
timbers and solid stone and brick walls and piers.  But the Metropolitan
Board of Works and the railway company, by gigantic and
skilfully-conducted efforts, succeeded in forming an outlet for the
flood into the Thames; the damage was made good, and the work was
successfully carried out.


[#] Wherever there are such brooks the same phenomenon appears.
Visitors to Nice may have witnessed the sudden rise of the Paillon, and
the Birsig at Basle, usually a fine thread of water, has repeatedly
risen five or six feet high in the market-place of that town.


Here we take our leave of the Fleet, and proceeding westward, find
nothing to arrest our steps till we come to a spot which once went by
the name of the Strand Bridge; not Waterloo Bridge, which originally was
so called, but a ’fair bridge,’ as Stow calls it, erected many hundred
years ago over a brook which crossed the Strand opposite to the present
Strand Lane, and descended from the ponds in Fickett’s Fields, part of
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, now all built over.  This bridge probably
disappeared about the year 1550, when an Act was passed for paving the
streets east and west of Temple Bar, and ’Strand Bridge’ is specially
mentioned in the Act; the paving of the Strand seems to have done away
with the brook and the bridge over it.  The name of Strand Bridge was
also given to the landing-stage at the bottom of Strand Lane, which
descends in a tortuous line from the Strand down to the Thames. In this
lane there is at the present day the old Roman bath, which, it is
supposed, is supplied from the well which gave its name to Holywell
Street, and which supply never fails.

There are no written records or other traces of any brook descending
from the northern heights through London west of the Strand, till we
come to the Tyburn.

This brook, like the Fleet, took its rise near Hampstead, but turning
westward, and receiving several tributary streamlets, it ran due south
through the Regent’s Park, where it was joined by another affluent from
the site of the present Zoological Gardens, from which point it turned
to the west and crossed the Marylebone Road opposite Gloucester Terrace,
and after running parallel with it for a short distance it took a sharp
turn to the east, following the hollow in which the present Marylebone
Lane stands, the windings of which indicate the course of the brook. On
reaching the southern end of High Street, it again turned to the south,
crossed Oxford Street, ran down part of South Molton Street, turned west
again to the south of Berkeley Square; thence it flowed through the
narrow passage between the gardens of Lansdowne House and Devonshire
House, whose hollow sound seems to indicate the existence of the
watercourse below.  It next crossed Piccadilly, ran due south through
the Green Park, passed under Buckingham Palace, directly after which it
divided into three branches, one of which ran through the ornamental
water in St. James’s Park, whence it fell into the Thames: the middle
branch ran into the ancient Abbey at Westminster, where it turned the
mills the monks had erected there.  But from old maps it appears that
this arm of the Tyburn, at a point a little north-west of the Abbey,
threw out a branch which in a northerly course rejoined the park, and
then in a curved line to the east reached the Thames at a point not far
from Westminster Bridge, and to the north-east of it.  The spot where
this branch touched St. James’s Park was close to Storey’s Gate.  Now
last year (1898) when the ground was being excavated for the foundations
of the new Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the workmen came upon the
piles and brickwork of an ancient wharf. The structure was wonderfully
well preserved; it had evidently been well constructed, probably by the
monks, and may have been for the accommodation of the fishermen bringing
their goods to the monastery.  But at present, and until further
information is obtained, if ever it is obtained, we can only form
conjectures as to the purposes of the wharf; but its discovery on that
spot is curiously illustrative of the history which still lies hidden
under our streets.

We have yet to mention the third branch of the Tyburn, which started
south of Buckingham Palace. It ran in a southerly direction across
Victoria Street, for a short distance skirted the Vauxhall Bridge Road,
then crossed it and ran through the marshy grounds then existing down to
the Thames a little to the west of Vauxhall Bridge.

Such was the course of the Tyburn.  Of the bridges that once must have
crossed it not a vestige remains; but we have the record of one which
was at the spot which is now Stratford Place, and where the Lord Mayor’s
Banqueting-house stood, to which he resorted when he, the Aldermen, and
other distinguished citizens went to inspect the head conduits from
which the City conduits were supplied, on which occasions they combined
pleasure with business, hunting the hare before and the fox after
dinner.  The Tyburn must at one time have been a stream of considerable
size; in the year 1238 it was so copious as to furnish nine conduits for
supplying the City with water.  It had rows of elms growing on its
banks, and as it generally, but erroneously, is supposed to have flowed
past the southern corner of the Edgware Road, the name of Elm Place was
given to a street (now pulled down) west of Connaught Place.  How this
error arose we shall show when speaking of the West Bourne.  On the
Tyburn stood the church of St. Mary _la bonne_; by the vulgar omission
of letters ’burn’ became ’bone,’ hence Marylebone.  The Tyburn, like the
other brooks already discussed, is now a mere sewer.

Proceeding still further west, we come to the Westbourne, which, like
the other brooks, rose in the northern heights above London.  Around
Jack Straw’s Castle at Hampstead various rills sprang from the ground,
which, forming a united stream a little north of the Finchley Road, that
stream, flowing west towards the spot known as West End, continued its
western course till it reached Maygrove Road; it crossed that road, and
taking a sudden turn south, it ran through Kilburn down to Belsize Road,
south of which a small lake was formed, by its confluence there with a
considerable tributary in the form of a two-pronged fork and its handle,
coming from the lower southern heights of Hampstead.  From the lake the
Westbourne flowed in a westerly course, and near Cambridge Road received
another affluent from the high ground where Paddington Cemetery now
stands; still running west at Chippenham Road, its volume was further
increased by the reception of a stream coming from the neighbourhood of
Brondesbury, and from this point it ran due south, but with many
windings, through Paddington, and across the Uxbridge Road, through part
of Kensington Gardens, through the Serpentine in Hyde Park and across
the Knightsbridge Road, and what was then called the Five Fields, a
miserable swamp, and formed the eastern boundary of Chelsea till it
discharged itself into the Thames, west of Chelsea Bridge, but divided
into a considerable number of small streams.

Such was its course, and from its description we see that it was no
insignificant stream, and may assume that the first settlers in those
northern parts of London must be looked for on its banks.  Like the
Fleet, it had various names in different localities; thus at Kilburn it
was known as the Keele Bourne, Coldbourne, and Kilbourne; at Bayswater
it was called the Bayswater Rivulet; the name of Bayswater itself is
supposed to be derived from Baynard, who built Baynard Castle on the
Thames, and also possessed lands at Bayswater.  At the end of the
fourteenth century it was called Baynard’s Watering-place, which in time
was shortened to its present appellation.

The bridge which gave Knightsbridge its name was a stone bridge; by whom
or when erected is not on record, but probably Edward the Confessor, who
conferred the land about here on the Abbots of Westminster, also built
the bridge for their accommodation. The road was the only way to London
from the west, and the stream was broad and rapid.  The bridge was
situated in front of the present entrance into the Park by Albert Gate,
and part of it still remains underground, while the other portion was
removed for the Albert Gate improvements.  In the churchwardens’
accounts of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, are the following entries
regarding the bridge:

    1630.  Item, received of John Fennell and Ralph        £ s. d.
           Atkinson, collectors of the escheat, for repair
           of Brentford Bridge and Knightsbridge . . . .  23 6  4

    1631.  Item, paid towards the repairs of Brentford
           Bridge and of Knightsbridge, etc. . . . . . .  24 7 10


The Westbourne was occasionally a source of inconvenience and even
danger to the inhabitants of Knightsbridge.  After heavy rains or in
sudden thaws it overflowed.  On September 1, 1768, it did so, and did
great damage, almost undermining some of the houses; and in January,
1809, it overflowed again, and covered the neighbouring fields so deeply
that they resembled a lake, and passengers were for several days rowed
from Chelsea to Westminster by Thames boatmen.

On the site now covered by St. George’s Row, Pimlico, there stood in the
middle of the last century a house of entertainment known as ’Jenny’s
Whim.’  A long wooden bridge over one of the many arms of the Westbourne
led up to the house.  The present Ebury Bridge over the Grosvenor Canal,
which this river-branch has become, occupies the site of this old
bridge.  ’Jenny’s Whim’ had trim gardens, alcoves, ponds, and facilities
for duck-hunting; in the gardens were recesses, where, by treading on a
spring, up started different figures, some ugly enough to frighten
people, a harlequin, a Mother Shipton, or some terrible animal.  Horace
Walpole occasionally alludes to ’Jenny’s Whim’; in one of his letters to
Montagu, he says: ’Here (at Vauxhall) we picked up Lord Granby, arrived
very drunk from Jenny’s Whim.’  Towards the beginning of this century
’Jenny’s Whim’ began to decline; at last it sank down to the condition
of a beershop, and in 1804 it was finally closed.  The origin of the
name is doubtful.  Davis, the historian of Knightsbridge, accepts the
account given him by an old inhabitant, that it was so called from its
first landlady, who directed the gardens to be laid out in so fantastic
a manner as to cause the noun to be added to her own Christian name.
Other reports say that the place was established by a celebrated
pyrotechnist in the reign of George I.; but that does not account for
the name.

Like other London rivers, the Westbourne in the end became a sewer; it
was gradually covered up; of the two chief branches by which it reached
the Thames, the eastern one became the Grosvenor Canal, and the western
the Ranelagh Sewer.  The canal was crossed by several other bridges,
Stone Bridge being one of them.

We stated above that the Westbourne formed the western boundary of
Chelsea; its eastern boundary was also a river, or rather rivulet, which
it appears never even had a name, though in one old map I find it called
Bridge Creek.  It rose in Wormwood Scrubs, skirted the West London and
Westminster Cemetery, and entered the Thames west of Battersea Bridge,
where, in fact, there is still a creek going some distance inland. The
rest of the stream has been absorbed by the West Kensington Railway.  No
vestige of it remains, and it has no history.

Brook Green took its name from a brook which once rose near Shepherd’s
Bush, but it has no records.

The next river we should come to, if we pursued our journey westward,
would be the Brent; but as that is still existing—how long will it
continue to do so?—it does not enter into the scope of our
investigations.

Having now given an account of all the extinct brooks north of the
Thames, we will cross that river and see what watercourses formerly
existed on the Surrey side.

The southern banks of the Thames, being low and flat, originally were a
swamp, continually overflowed by the river—Lambeth Marsh commemorates
that condition of the locality.  Down to Deptford, Peckham, Camberwell,
Stockwell, Brixton, and Clapham did the flood extend.  But by the
gradual damming up of the southern bank of the Thames, the erection of
buildings on the Surrey side, and the draining of the soil, the latter
was gradually laid dry, and the numerous rivulets which meandered
through the marsh were reduced to three between the still-existing
rivers—namely, the Ravenscourt to the east, and the Wandle to the west.
The first brook, again going from east to west, is the Neckinger, which
rose at the foot of Denmark Hill and adjacent parts, and, after passing
in two streams under the Old Kent Road, united north of it, and reached
the Thames at St. Saviour’s Dock, which, in fact, is the enlarged mouth
of the old river.  But according to some old maps we have consulted, it
had a branch running in a more easterly direction, and entering the
Thames at a point near the present Commercial Docks Pier.  But of this
latter branch no trace remains, whilst the northerly course to the
Thames is indicated by various roads, such as the Grange and the
Neckinger Roads.  The brook ran past Bermondsey Abbey, up to the gates
of which it was navigable from the Thames. The Grange Road took its name
from a farm known as the Grange, and here the Neckinger was spanned by a
bridge.  When Bermondsey Abbey was destroyed, a number of tanneries were
established on the site, which took their water from the Neckinger, in
connection with which a number of tidal ditches, to admit water from the
Thames, were cut in various directions.  Near the Upper Grange Road
stood a windmill, and at the mouth of the Neckinger a water-mill, the
owner of which shut off the tide when it suited his purpose, which led
to frequent disputes between him and the tanners.  But in time the
latter sank artesian wells, the mill was driven by steam-power, and the
water of the Neckinger being no longer required for manufacturing
purposes, the river was neglected and finally built over.  The Neckinger
Mills had been erected in the last century by a company to manufacture
paper from straw; but, this enterprise failing, the premises passed into
the hands of the leather manufacturers.  A street to the east of St.
Saviour’s Dock, and parallel with it, is still known as Mill Street.
There was another bridge over the Neckinger where it crossed the Old
Kent Road, near the spot where the Albany Road joins the latter road.
It was known as Thomas-a-Watering, from St. Thomas, the patron of the
dissolved monastery or hospital of that name in Southwark.  The bridge
was the most southern point of the boundary of the Borough of Southwark,
and in ancient days the first halting-place out of London on the road to
Kent.  Chaucer’s pilgrims passed it on their way to the shrine of St.
Thomas-a-Becket at Canterbury:

    ’And forth we riden ...
    Unto the watering-place of St. Thomas,
    And then our host began his hors arrest.’


Deputations of citizens used to go so far to meet royal or other
distinguished personages who came to visit London.  From the end of the
fifteenth century the spot was set apart for executions, and numerous
are the records of criminals who were hanged there until about the
middle of the last century.

In 1690 two very handsome Janus heads—i.e., heads with two faces—were
discovered near St. Thomas-a-Watering. They were found near two ancient
piers of a large gate—Janus was the God of Gates.  One was taken up and
set up on a gardener’s door; but the other, being embedded in quicksand,
from which springs flowed out pretty freely, was left.  Dr. Woodward,
who founded the Professorship of Geology in the University of Cambridge,
afterwards purchased the head which had been saved, and added it to his
collection of curiosities. At the beginning of this century there was
still a brook running across the Kent Road on the spot mentioned above,
with a bridge over it, and the current from the Peckham and Denmark
hills was at times so strong as to overflow at least two acres of
ground.  East of the Mill Street above mentioned there is a spot which
has been rendered famous by Dickens in ’Oliver Twist’—namely, Jacob’s
Island.  As the description he gives of it is known to everyone, we need
not here repeat it; it applies, partially only, to the locality now.

It is, or to speak correctly was, a ’Venice of drains.’  But it was not
always so; in the reign of Henry II. the foul, stagnant ditch, which
till recently made an island of this pestilential spot, was a running
stream, supplied with the waters which were brought down in the
Neckinger from the southern hills.  On its banks stood the mills of the
monks of St. John and St. Mary, dependencies of the Abbey of Bermondsey,
which were worked by it.  In those days the neighbourhood consisted of
blooming gardens and verdant meadows.  Close to Jacob’s Island were
Cupid’s Gardens, a kind of Ranelagh on a small scale, but still a very
pleasant place of public entertainment.  Tanneries, and many still more
objectionable trades now carried on in the locality, were then undreamt
of.

Many of the horrors of Jacob’s Island are now things of the past.  The
foul ditch, in whose black mud the juveniles used to disport themselves,
undeterred by the close proximity of the unsavoury carcasses of dead
dogs and cats, is now filled up and turned into a solid road. Many of
the tumble-down houses have been pulled down—in fact, the romance of the
place is gone.

Let us proceed westward; we come to the once important Effra, which
remained a running stream till within the sixties, when it, like others,
became a mere sewer. It rose in the high grounds of Norwood, and ran
down Croxted Lane, till within the last two or three years a perfectly
rural retreat; at the Half Moon Inn at Herne Hill it received an
affluent, which rose between Streatham Hill and Knight’s Hill.  Skirting
the park of Brockwell Hall, it ran along Water Lane, past the
police-station in the Brixton Road.  Here it took a sharp turn to the
north, and ran parallel to the Brixton Road, access to the houses on the
eastern side being gained by little bridges, till it reached St. Mark’s
Church, where it took a sharp turn to the west.  But before reaching
that point, a branch of the river, at a spot somewhere between the
present Clapham and South Lambeth Roads, in what used formerly to be
called Fentiman’s Fields, turned in a northerly direction towards the
South Lambeth Road, flowing through what was then Caroon Park,
afterwards the Lawn Estate, a portion of which has recently become
Vauxhall Park.  The river ran along the lane leading by the side of the
present Vauxhall Park to the Crown Works of Messrs. Higgs and Hill, at
the corner of the lane turning almost at right angles up the South
Lambeth Road towards Vauxhall Cross.  As in the Brixton Road, little
bridges here gave access to the houses on the eastern side of the South
Lambeth Road.  According to an old map, this branch of the Effra sent
off another across the South Lambeth Road and a Mr. Freeman’s land,
lying between it and the Kingston Highway, as the Wandsworth Road was
then called, and thus reached the Thames.  The main stream, which we
left at St. Mark’s Church, continued its course along the south side of
the Oval, sending off in a north-westerly direction a branch which fell
into a circular basin, probably on the spot where the great gas-holders
now stand in Upper Kennington Lane.  It then turned towards Vauxhall,
where it passed under a bridge, called Cox’s Bridge, and fell into the
Thames a little northward of Vauxhall Bridge.

At Belair, one of the show-houses of Dulwich, a branch of the Effra ran
through the grounds; the Effra itself also traversed the Springfield
Estate near Herne Hill, now given up to the builders.  The river there
appears to have been much wider than elsewhere, and in depth about nine
feet, with banks shaded by old trees. The present writer remembers the
Effra as a river, and was told by a gardener, now deceased, who had
worked on the Caroon Estate, which extended from the present Dorset Road
to the Oval, for more than fifty years, that he had often seen the Effra
along Lawn Lane assume the proportions of a river, wide and deep enough
to bear large barges, which statement gives countenance to the tradition
that Queen Elizabeth frequently in her barge visited Sir Noel Caroon,
the Dutch Ambassador, who lived at Caroon House, on the site of which
stand the mansion and factory of Mark Beaufoy, Esq., who is also the
owner of the Belair House above-mentioned. Dr. Montgomery, sometime
Vicar of St. Mark’s, and now Bishop of Tasmania, in his ’History of
Kennington,’ says that, in 1753, the whole space occupied by the Oval
and a number of streets was open meadow through which the Effra
meandered at will.  It was a sparkling river running over a bright
gravelly bottom, and supplied fresh water to the neighbourhood.  A
bridge crossed the Effra at St. Mark’s, and was called Merton Bridge,
from its formerly having been repaired by the Canons of Merton Abbey,
who had lands for that purpose.  Curiously enough, the author from whom
we take this, Thomas Allen, in his ’History of Lambeth,’ published in
1827, when the Effra was yet a running stream, refers to it only on the
above occasion, when he calls it a ’small stream.’  ’Et c’est ainsi
qu’on écrit l’histoire.’

One more ’lost river’ remains on our list, the Falcon Brook, which,
rising on the south side of Balham Hill, flowed almost due north between
Clapham and Wandsworth Commons to Battersea Rise, which it crossed,
after which it turned sharply to the west, ran along Lavender Road,
crossed the York Road, and discharged itself into the Thames through
Battersea Creek, which is all that now remains of the river, except the
underground sewer which represents its former course.  Once many
pleasant villas stood on its banks; at the present day the entire valley
through which it flowed is covered by one of the densest masses of dingy
streets to be seen anywhere near London.  Nothing remains to recall even
its name, except the Falcon Road, and a newly-erected public-house which
has supplanted the original Falcon, a somewhat rustic building, which,
however, harmonized well with the then surroundings, which were of a
perfectly rural aspect, such as, looking at the present scene, we can
scarcely realize.  But it can be seen in a rare print of the river,
engraved by S. Rawle, after an original drawing by J. Nixon.  He was an
artist, who, passing the Falcon, which was then kept by a man named
Robert Death, saw a number of undertaker’s men regaling themselves after
a funeral on the open space in front of the inn.  They were not only
eating and drinking and smoking, but indulging in various antics,
endeavouring to make the maids of the inn join in their hilarity. This
scene, and the queer coincidence of the landlord’s strange name, induced
Nixon to make a sketch of it, which was engraved and published in 1802,
the following lines from Blair’s poem ’The Grave’ being added to the
print:

    ’But see the well-plumed hearse comes nodding on,
    Stately and slow, and properly attended
    By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
    The sick man’s door, and live upon the dead,
    By letting out their persons by the hour
    To mimic sorrow, when the heart’s not sad.’


A cantata was also published about the same time, supposed to be sung by
undertakers’ merry men, to celebrate the pleasure and benefit of burying
a nabob, and drink to their

    ’...next merry meeting and quackery’s increase!’


Here we close our journey and our records at a funeral. Well, the finale
is not inappropriate.  Have we not been attending the funerals of so
many gay and bright and sparkling, joyfully leaping and rushing, and
sometimes roaring, brooks and rivers, descending from the sunny
hillsides, finally to be buried in dark and noisome sewers?  And the
lost river, alas! is but too often the type of the lost life.  But
moralizing is not in our line—we think it sad waste of time; it is no
better than doctors’ prescriptions.  We would rather remind the reader,
who in these notes may miss elegance of style and picturesqueness of
description, that such qualities were incompatible with the compactness
of details the space at our command imposed upon us.  Besides, a more
florid style must borrow something from imagination; but here we had
only to deal with facts, and if the reader finds as much pleasure in
studying as we did in collecting them, though the labour was great, he
will not regret the time bestowed on their perusal.



                                 *XVI.*

                           *ROGUES ASSORTED.*


On Horwood’s Map of London, dated 1799, just one hundred years ago,
there is shown a road, starting from Blue Anchor Lane, Bermondsey, at
almost a right angle to the latter, and running in an easterly
direction, but with a considerable curve in it, and this road is called
Rogues’ Lane.  It is more than half a mile long, perfectly solitary, not
a house on or near it, the land around it being a wild waste, and as
deserted as a lonely moor in the recesses of Wales or Cornwall. How did
this lane acquire its name?  Did the inhabitants of the East End of
London construct it as a kind of sewer for carrying off into the
outlying wilderness the rogues who infested their streets? or did the
rogues of that day, openly or tacitly acknowledging themselves to be
such, choose the lane as a kind of rendezvous, as a sort of peripatetic
exchange for the transaction of their rascally schemes?  The East End of
London seems, indeed, in those days, to have been a favourite resort of
rogues—Stepney had its Rogues’ Well—now they prefer the West End.  But
the rogues of old were somewhat different from the modern specimens;
they were chiefly thieves, footpads, burglars, sneaks, low cheats, sham
cripples, and such mean fry—modern civilization, with its panacea of
education, had not yet asserted itself.  Culture, which licks all the
world into shape, has even reached the rogues; the petty scoundrels of
old are replaced by the magnificent swindlers of the present day, who
deal not in paltry pence, but in weighty sovereigns—who do not cheat a
silly countryman out of the few shillings his purse may contain, but
wheedle trusting spinsters and mad and greedy speculators out of
thousands of pounds.  The modern rogue is either a promoter of bogus
companies, or a director who issues bogus shares, an embezzling
bank-manager or trustee, or a man who lives far beyond his means, even
when he knows that all his available assets are gone in betting, racing,
and Stock Exchange speculation, or a fraudulent bankrupt.  And there is
no slitting of noses, no whipping, not even exposure on the pillory
ominously looming at the end of their career; when the game is up, no
more cash to be obtained by loans, and the infuriated creditors become
troublesome, he attempts one more big haul, the proceeds of which, if
successful, he prudently settles on his wife, and then the unfortunate
victim of circumstances, over which, as he pathetically says, he had no
control, leisurely takes a walk to Carey Street, has a comfortable wash
and brush up in the financial lavatory which hospitably stands open
there, and he comes out, thoroughly whitewashed and rid of all
importunate claims upon him, after which he hires a fine mansion in
Belgravia, fares sumptuously every day, and bespatters with the mud of
his chariot-wheels the deluded shareholders and tradespeople whom his
wily schemes have ruined.  It is all, or nearly all, the outcome of
modern education, which, by ramming notions totally unsuited to the
minds and characters under tuition into juvenile minds, bears such
bitter fruit.  But educational cranks have it all their own way now,
though it is wrong to call them ’educational’; they fancy that education
means ’cramming,’ never mind whether the food is assimilated with the
body, whilst education really means the very opposite—namely, a drawing
out, not a putting in: a drawing out of the hidden properties of mind
and character. But let us come to our theme—the London rogues of old;
their evil deeds were done long ago, and will therefore not rile as does
the rascality we see around us now. We will take the beggars first: not
all beggars are rogues, but the majority are.  They fared variously
under various Kings; some protected, some persecuted them.  Strange it
is that, under the juvenile, gentle Edward VI., one of the most severe
laws was passed against them: a servant absenting himself for three days
or more from his work was to be, on his re-capture, marked with a hot
iron with the letter V (vagabond), and be his master’s slave for two
years, and fed on bread and water; should he run away again, he was, on
being caught, to be marked on his forehead or cheek with a hot iron with
the letter S (slave), and be his master’s slave for life; for a third
escape the punishment was death.  This diabolical law was repealed two
years after. Under Elizabeth sturdy beggars were whipped till the blood
came.  James I. rather sympathized with them; he, like them, always was
in need of ’siller.’  Hence the country, and especially London, swarmed
with rogues of every description, known by various cant terms, such as
Rufflers, Upright Men, Hookers, Rogues, Pallyards, Abraham Men, Traters,
Freshwater Mariners or Whipjacks, Dommerars, Swadders, Bawdy Baskets,
Doxies, with many other names of the same slang category; and, of
course, the object of all the members of these various associations was
to cheat the unwary and charitable.  In course of time some of these
terms went out of use—the cant of rogues is always on the move—but new
ones took their places; and, in spite of all the laws passed against
them, beggars continued to flourish. In 1728 a spirited presentment to
the Court of King’s Bench was made by the Grand Jury of Middlesex
against the unusual swarms of sturdy and clamorous beggars, as well as
the many frightful objects exposed in the streets; and, the nuisance not
abating, a similar presentment was made in 1741, with the same
unsatisfactory result.  And as long as there are people who will not,
and people who cannot, work, and as long as there are thoughtless people
who will indiscriminately give alms, beggars will infest our streets.
Referring to such, Sir Richard Phillips, in his ’Morning’s Walk from
London to Kew’ (1820), tells us that the passage from Charing Cross to
St. James’s Park through Spring Gardens was a favourite haunt of
beggars.  Says he: ’A blind woman was brought to her post by a little
boy, who, carelessly leading her against the step of a door, she gave
him a smart box on the ear, and exclaimed, "Damn you, you rascal! can’t
you mind what you are about?" and then, leaning her back against the
wall, in the same breath she began to chaunt a hymn.’  Even now you may
hear a psalm-singing woman, who has hired two or three children to
render the show more effective, when these get weary, growl, in a hoarse
whisper between her Hallelujahs, ’Sing out, ye devils!’  The Rookery in
St. Giles’s, demolished to make room for New Oxford Street, was the very
paradise of beggars.  They there held an annual carnival, to which Major
Hanger on one occasion accompanied George IV., when still Prince of
Wales.  The chairman, addressing the company, and pointing to the
Prince, said: ’I call upon that ’ere gemman with a shirt for a song.’
The Prince got excused on his friend agreeing to sing for him, who then
sang a ballad called ’The Beggar’s Wedding; or, the Jovial Crew,’ with
great applause.  The beggars drank his health, and he and the Prince
soon after managed to make good their retreat.

Among the most infamous rogues of the last century were men of the
Jonathan Wild stamp—_agents provocateurs_, as we should now style
them—who not only led people into crime, but shared the proceeds of it
with the felons; nay, worse, they got persons who were quite innocent
convicted, by perjured witnesses, of crimes which had never been
committed.  It was practices like these which at last brought Jonathan
Wild himself to the scaffold.

The tricks of rogues change their names, but remain the same; what is
now known as the ’confidence trick,’ which, though it has been exposed
in police-courts and reported in the press thousands of times, even in
our day finds ready victims, was formerly called ’coney-catching,’ and
there were generally three confederates—the Setter, the Verser, and the
Barnacle.  The Setter, strolling along the Strand, Fleet Street, or
Holborn, on the look-out for flats, on espying a coney, whom his dress
and general appearance pronounced to be a man from the country, would
make up to him, and, as a rule, quickly find out what county he came
from, his name, and other particulars.  If he could not induce him to
have a drink with him, he would manage to convey to his confederate, the
Verser, close by, the information gained, whereupon the Verser would
suddenly come upon the countryman, salute him by his name, and ask after
friends in the country.  He proclaimed himself the near kinsman of some
neighbour of the coney, and asserted to have been in the latter’s house
several times.  The countryman, though he could not remember these
visits, was yet taken unawares, and readily accepted the invitation to
have a drink.  They then induced him to play at cards, and soon left him
as bare of money as an ape is of a tail, for in those days
coney-catching was practised by the assistance of a pack of cards.  But
if all these lures were wasted on the coney, the Setter or Verser would
drop a shilling in the street, so that the coney must see it fall, when
he would naturally pick it up, whereupon one of the confederates would
cry out, ’Half-part!’ and claim half the find.  The countryman would
readily agree to exchange the money, but the Setter or Verser would say,
’Nay, friend; it is unlucky to keep found money,’ and the farce would
end in the money being spent in drink at a tavern; then cards would be
called for, and the coney induced to take an interest in them by being
initiated into a new game called ’mum-chance,’ at which he was allowed
to win money.  While so engaged, the door would be opened by a stranger,
the Barnacle, who, on seeing the players, would say, ’Excuse me,
gentlemen: I thought a friend of mine was here.’  The stranger would be
invited to have a glass of wine, and join in the game, which he would
readily do, ’to oblige the company’; and the end would be that the
coney, after having been allowed to win for some time, would gradually
begin to lose his money, then his watch, or any other valuables he might
have about him, and finally be left with no property but the clothes he
was standing up in.  This, as we have stated, was called
’coney-catching,’ or ’coney-catching _law_,’ for those rogues possessed
a great regard for law; all their practices went by the name of
’law’—’high law’ meant highway robbery; ’cheating law,’ playing with
false dice; ’versing law,’ the passing of bad gold; ’figging law,’ the
cutting of purses.

Vagrants and tramps in those days called themselves by the more
dignified appellation of ’cursitors’; and the counterfeiter of epilepsy
was a ’counterfeit crank’; money-dropping and ring-dropping were even
then old tricks of cozenage.  Those who are acquainted with the modern
way of coney-catching, or the confidence trick—and who is not that lives
in London?—will know that the trick is now much simplified, and yields
much quicker and more satisfactory results—to the rogues.  And though,
as we mentioned above, the trick has been exposed over and over again,
new fools are found every day to go into the trap.  In fact, all the old
rogueries flourish at the present time, besides a few new ones invented
in this century.  The holders of sham auctions; the horse-makers, who,
by means of drugs and other devices, make old horses look as good as new
till they are sold; the free foresters, who during the night rob
suburban gardens of roots and flowers, and sell them next day off their
barrows, all ’a-growing and a-blowing’; the dog stealers; the beer and
spirit doctors, who double and treble Master Bung’s stock by vile
adulteration; the sellers of established businesses, which never had any
actual existence—all these are types of venerable institutions which
survive to this day, and not only survive, but flourish in everlasting
youth.  The racing, betting and Stock Exchange swindles perform their
eternal merry-go-round, as they did when first started several centuries
ago, and the home employment deception still draws the last shillings
from the purses of poor people.  And in most cases, unfortunately, the
law is powerless to reach the rogues; our foolish humanitarianism, the
interests of trade, the freedom of the subject to contract, the
technicalities and quibbles of legislative acts, and the uncertainty as
to their meaning, are at the bottom of all this failure of justice. We
ought to cease prating about the dignity of man—as if there were any
dignity in such paltry rogues!—and return, perhaps in a modified form,
to the drastic remedies of our forefathers, who retaliated on those who
made their neighbour suffer in health or in purse by inflicting on them
bodily pain and personal disgrace, and not merely fining them, as is the
custom with us. In the ’Memorials of London and London Life,’ extracted
from the City Archives, and extending from the years 1272 to 1419, will
be found between twenty and thirty condemnations to the pillory, the
stocks, imprisonment, and being drawn through the city on a hurdle, for
deficiency of weight in bread, coals, etc., for false measure, for
enhancing the price of wheat, for swindling, such as selling brass rings
and chains for gold, for selling false bowstrings, putrid meat, fowls
and fish, and in these latter cases the articles condemned were burnt
under the noses of the culprits, as they stood in the pillory.  Even
women had to undergo the punishment of the pillory, one specially
constructed for them being used on such occasions; it was called the
thewe.

At the commencement we referred to a Rogues’ Lane at Bermondsey, but
there was another lane of that name in the very centre of London, Shire
Lane, which was close to Temple Bar, and pulled down when room had to be
made for the new Law Courts.  The Kit-Kat Club held its meetings in that
lane; but in spite of the dukes and lords frequenting that club, the
lane never was considered respectable, and in the days of James I. was
known as Rogues’ Lane, it being then the resort of persons coming under
that denomination.  In the Bible public-house—a printers’ house of
call—there was a room with a trap in it, by which Jack Sheppard, who
used the house, could drop into a subterranean passage which led to Bell
Yard.  The Angel and Crown, another public-house in the same lane, was
the scene of the murder of a Mr. Quarrington, for which Thomas Carr and
Elizabeth Adams were hanged at Tyburn. One night a man was robbed,
thrown downstairs and killed in one of the dens of Rogues’ Lane.  Nos.
13 and 14 were bad houses; Nos. 9, 10 and 11, where thieves used to
meet, was known as ’Cadgers’ Hall’; Nos. 1, 2 and 3 were houses of
ill-fame, and there existed a communication with the house No. 242,
Strand, through which the thieves used to escape after ill-treating
their victims.  In Ship Yard, close to Shire Lane, there stood a block
of houses which were let out to vagrants, thieves, sharpers, smashers
and other disreputable characters.  Throughout the vaults of this
rookery there existed a continuous passage, so that easy access could be
obtained from one to the other, facilitating escape or concealment in
the case of pursuit.  The end house of this block was selected for the
manufacture of bad coin, and was known as the ’Smashing Lumber.’  Every
room had its secret trap or panel, and from the upper story, which was
the workshop, there was a draft connected with the cellar, to which the
base coin could be lowered in case of surprise.

It is astonishing, and shows us the hollowness of the pretence to
civilization and decency set up on behalf of the velvet-dressed, lace
and gold-bedizened aristocrats of those days, that persons, not only of
respectability, but of rank and title, could live in such close quarters
with thieves and vagabonds of the lowest grade.  Yet, as already
mentioned, the Kit-Kats had their club in Shire Lane; in 1603 there was
living in it Sir Arthur Atie, in early life secretary to the Earl of
Leicester; Elias Ashmole also inhabited the lane, so did Hoole, the
translator of Tasso, and James Perry, the editor of the _Morning
Chronicle_, who died worth £130,000.

London in the last century, and even in this, was full of retreats for
criminals.  The demolition of West Street, formerly Chick Lane, and of
Field Lane, so recent as to be still fresh in the memory of living
persons, brought many of them to light.  The Dog, a low public-house in
Drury Lane, was known as the ’Robbers’ Den’; in fact, the whole street
had a bad reputation, and is even now a disgrace to London.  But beside
these private retreats, the rogues and villains of the past had their
public refuges, where even the officers of the law had to leave them
unmolested—the sanctuaries at Westminster, St. John of Jerusalem, St.
Martin’s-le-Grand, Whitefriars and the Mint, and Montague Close in
Southwark, some of which retained their privileges to the middle of the
last century.  The name Sanctuary, still given to a certain spot near
Westminster Abbey, commemorates the actual sanctuary formerly existing
in that locality, and the narrow street called Thieving Lane, now
demolished, received that name because thieves, on their way to Gate
House Prison, were taken through it, to prevent their escape into the
sanctuary.

It is said that when rogues fall out honest men come to their own again.
Yes, when their ’own’ is still come-atable, but as a rule it is not;
rogues seldom keep what they gain by trickery—lightly earned, lightly
spent is the rule with them.  Rogues are as great fools as are the fools
they cheat, and the fools at heart are rogues too, without the wit of
the rogues.  The fool who is done out of his money or other property by
trusting a perfect stranger is so done because he fancies himself more
clever than the cheat, and hopes to beat him. The victim scarcely
deserves any pity, for it is only a case of diamond cut diamond.  And
unfortunately, as we intimated above, honest men do not come to their
own again, when rogues fall out, or are detected.  The rogue who has
cheated a commercial firm out of goods to the value of thousands of
pounds, which he immediately pawns for half they are worth, rushes off
to a turf tipster or bookie, and though his betting turns out lucky, he
cannot get his winnings from the said bookie, who resists payment on the
plea that the transaction was illegal.  The rogues fall out, a lawsuit
is the result, the speculator loses his case, but the firm do not get
their money; that is irretrievably gone.  Plenty of such cases happened
hundreds of years ago, and continue to happen to the present day, and
there are various resorts in the City and West End of London where it
might truthfully be written up, _Si sceleratos quœris, circumspice_!



                                *XVII.*

                         *BARS AND BARRISTERS.*


The profession of a barrister is a curious one. Theoretically, he is the
champion and protector of right and justice; but, practically, he often
is but the hired advocate of wrong and injustice.  It is only when he
has attained high distinction at the Bar that he can, like Serjeant
Ballantine, be independent enough to say that he will undertake no case
of the justice of which he is not fully satisfied.  True, counsel is
assumed to base his arguments on behalf of his client on the
instructions he receives from the solicitor who employs him; yet he,
counsel, having had a legal education, and practice, too, cannot fail to
see the weak points, supposing there are any, in the case before him,
and the evidence adduced in examination and cross-examination must very
soon satisfy him as to the real merits of his case; hence we often see
counsel throwing up his brief.  It is related in Laud’s Diary that, when
he was standing one day near his unfortunate master, then Prince
Charles, the Prince said that, if necessity compelled him to choose any
particular profession, he could not be a lawyer, ’for,’ said he, ’I
could neither defend a bad cause, nor yield in a good one.’  By the
Roman laws every advocate was required to swear that he would not
undertake a cause which he knew to be unjust, and that he would abandon
a defence which he should discover to be supported by falsehood and
iniquity.  This is continued in Holland at this day, and if an advocate
brings forward a cause there which appears to the court plainly to be
iniquitous, he is condemned in the costs of the suit; and if, in
consequence of this, a cause, just in itself, should not be able to find
a defender because of some strong and general prejudice concerning it,
the court has authority to appoint a counsel.

The universal opinion that advocates are ready to support injustice for
the sake of gain—that they will undertake more work than they can
possibly attend to—is of very ancient date.  The Lord Keeper Puckering,
directing attention to the grasping habits which too frequently
disgraced the leaders of the Bar, observed: ’I am to exhort you also not
to embrace multitude of causes, or to undertake more places of hearing
causes, than you are well able to consider of or perform, lest thereby
you either disappoint your clients, when their causes be heard, or come
unprovided, or depart when their causes be in hearing.’  That the
administration of justice is much improved in modern days is
sufficiently proved by the fact that now no judge would be allowed, as
he was in the closing years of the fourteenth century, to give opinions
for money to his private clients, although he was forbidden to take gold
or silver from any person having ’plea or process hanging before him.’

It is, in fact, still a moot point, and, we suppose, always will be,
what lengths an advocate may go to, consistently with truth and honour,
in pleading the cause of a client whom he knows to be guilty.  The
conduct of Charles Phillipps, in defending Courvoisier, has always been
condemned.  Courvoisier did not confess his guilt to his counsel, but
admitted to him that he had made away with some plate from Lord William
Russell’s house immediately after the murder.  This was damning
evidence, but the communication was made by the prisoner not to admit
his guilt, but merely to prepare his counsel to deal with the evidence.
But Phillipps made a remark in his speech which the Bar considered as
unjustifiable.  He said: ’Supposing him to be guilty of the murder,
which is known to God Almighty alone, I hope, for the sake of his
eternal soul, he is innocent.’  These words were not only in bad taste,
but conveyed a positive falsehood.  Counsel’s part is to lay before the
jury possibilities, and not his own opinion of the prisoner’s guilt or
innocence; and a strange feature of the etiquette of the Bar is that if
counsel is prepared to throw up his brief because he sees his cause to
be bad, yet he is bound, after accepting the retainer, to continue
defending the case if his client insists on his doing so.  He may then
be compelled to go on arguing on behalf of a man whom he knows to be a
thorough scoundrel.

Barristers were first appointed by Edward I. about 1291, but there is an
earlier mention of professional advocates in England, who were of
various ranks, as King’s or Queen’s Counsel, Serjeants, etc.  At more
recent dates we read of utter or outer and inner barristers; these terms
appear to have been derived from local arrangements in the halls of the
Inns of Court.  In the public meetings held in these halls, the benchers
and readers—superior to barristers—occupying the daïs, which was
separated by a bar, some of the barristers who had attained a certain
standing were called from the body of the hall to the bar—that is, to
the first place outside the bar—for the purpose of arguing doubtful
questions and cases, whence they probably obtained the name of outer
barristers.  The course of legal education consisted principally of
readings and mootings.  The readings were expositions of important
statutes.  These readings being accompanied by costly entertainments,
especially at Lincoln’s Inn, their original object was forgotten in the
splendour of the tables, for which the benchers were severely
reprimanded by Charles I.  The readings were eventually suspended, but
were revived about 1796.  Mootings were questions on doubtful points of
law, argued between certain of the benchers and barristers in the hall.
There was also another exercise in the Inns of Court, called
’bolting’—not gastronomically—which was a private arguing of cases by
some of the students and barristers.  The term was probably derived from
’bolter,’ a sieve, with reference to the sifting of cases.

As to the fees paid to barristers, how they have altered!  In 1500 the
Corporation of Canterbury paid for advice regarding their civic
interests 3s. 4d. to each of three Serjeants, and gave the Recorder of
London 6s. 8d. as a retaining-fee.  Five years later Mr. Serjeant Wood
received a fee of 10s. from the Goldsmiths’ Company.  In the sixteenth
century it was customary for clients to provide food and drink for their
counsel. In a bill of costs in the reign of Edward IV. we find:

                                                    s. d.
    For a breakfast at Westminster to our counsel . 1  6
    To another time for boat hire and breakfast . . 1  6

In like manner the accountant of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, entered in
the parish books: ’Paid to Roger Fylpott, learned in the law, for his
counsel given, 3s. 8d., with 4d. for his dinner.’

In Elizabeth’s reign, and during the time of her successors, barristers’
fees showed a tendency to increase. Counsel then received 20s. fees,
though 10s. was the usual fee.  A ten-shilling piece was then called an
’angel,’ whence arose the witty saying: ’A barrister is like Balaam’s
ass, only speaking when he sees the angel.’  When Francis Bacon was
created King’s Counsel to James I., an annual salary of £40 was assigned
to him; but at present the status of a Q.C. is simply an affair of
professional precedence, to which no fixed emolument is attached.  But
Francis Bacon, though he received as his official salary £40 only, made
£6,000 in his profession; other King’s Counsel earned even larger sums
in fees.  But the barristers were not all greedy.  In the days of Sir
Matthew Hale, professional etiquette permitted clients and counsel to
hold intercourse without the intervention of an attorney.  When those
who came to Hale for his advice gave him a sovereign, he used to return
half, saying his fee was 10s.  When appointed arbitrator, he would take
no fees, because, as he said, he acted in the capacity of a judge, and a
judge should take no money.  If he took bad money, as he often did, he
would not pass it on again, but kept it by him.  At last he had a great
heap of it, and his house being once entered by burglars, this
accumulation of bad money attracted their attention, and they carried it
off in preference to other valuables, fancying that this must be the
lawyer’s hoarded treasure.

Readers who wish to know in what estimation lawyers were held in the
seventeenth century should study the pamphlets and broadsides of the
Commonwealth, which show how universal was the belief that wearers of
ermine and gentlemen of the long robe would practise any sort of fraud
or extortion for the sake of personal advantage. How happy we are to
live in this century, when the legal profession is in a state of high
purification!  It does, indeed, sometimes surprise an outsider that so
many barristers should be necessary to carry through one case—it looks
as if they were brought in merely for the benefit of the lawyers; but,
in justice to the profession, let us say that this is not so.
Barristers have their special gifts, and a long and involved case brings
them all into play to the advantage of the client.  One man has
unrivalled powers of statement; another is sound in law; another excels
in cross-examination; another in reply; another has the ear of the
court, or is all-persuasive with the jury.  A barrister, to be
successful at the Bar, needs, indeed, many qualifications.  Lord
Brougham states that Mansfield’s powers as an advocate were great; he
possessed an almost surpassing sweetness of voice, and it was said that
his story was worth other men’s arguments, so clear and skilful were his
statements. Concerning Lord Erskine, another famous debater in the
forensic lists, juries declared that they felt it impossible to remove
their looks from him when he had riveted and, as it were, fascinated
them by his first glance; and it used to be a common remark of men, who
observed his motions, that they resembled those of a blood-horse—as
light, as limber, as much betokening strength as speed.  His voice was
of surpassing sweetness, clear, flexible, strong, less fitted, indeed,
to express indignation or scorn than pathos.  Lord Sandwich, First Lord
of the Admiralty, having brought an action for libel against persons who
had charged him with having appointed landsmen as Greenwich pensioners
to serve his own electioneering purposes, Erskine undertook the defence,
and such was the effect of his speech that, before he left the court,
thirty retainers were presented to him.  Fortune comes to those who can
wait.  Lord Ellenborough first distinguished himself as the leading
counsel for Warren Hastings, and soon after rose to the head of the
Northern Circuit; Lord Brougham attained his subsequent position by his
defence of Queen Caroline.

But counsel must not only be able to expound his case clearly, bringing
into prominence all its favourable points, and effacing or putting out
of sight all those of an opposite character, but he must also be
observant and quick enough on the spur of the moment to take advantage
of any rift in his opponent’s flute, of any weakness in his argument; he
must be sharp in dealing with the plaintiff, supposing he is for the
defendant, and especially so with his witnesses.  He should, in civil
cases, by skilful cross-questioning, entrap the principal or his
witnesses into damaging admissions and contradictions. The following
case, if not _vero_, is _ben trovato_ to illustrate our meaning.  A man
brought an action against a coach proprietor, for having by the
carelessness of the latter’s servants suffered bodily hurt, to wit, been
thrown from the coach on to the ground, the hind wheels of which passed
over his body, and injured his chest and lungs.  In his
examination-in-chief he testified to these facts.  Then the defendant’s
counsel took him in hand.  As the plaintiff was about to leave the box,
’One moment, my friend,’ said counsel quite blandly.  ’According to the
evidence you have just given, you obviously have suffered much; your
voice is gone, you say?’

’Yes, sir; I cannot speak above a whisper.’

’Very sad.  The coach, you say, gave a sudden lurch backwards, and thus
threw you off the hind seat under the coach wheels?  Were you sitting or
standing just then?’

’Well, I was standing up just then.’

’What made you stand up whilst the coach was in motion?’

’Well, you would have stood up had you been there.’

’Just answer my question; never mind what I should have done.’

’I don’t know why I should answer this question.’

The judge pointed out to him that he must answer it.

’Well, I wanted to look at a pretty girl who had passed the coach; you
would have done so.’

’Possibly.’  Counsel might have given him a sharper reply, but he did
not want to lose his hold over the witness by riling him.  So he went
on: ’Possibly. And then, like the gallant gentleman you are, you kissed
your hand to the lady, and then the accident happened?’

’That’s about it,’ innocently replied the plaintiff.

’That’s how it happened,’ said counsel, turning to the jury.

And then, turning to the plaintiff again: ’And the coach-wheels passing
over you broke no bones, but ruined your voice, which we all can hear is
very weak; this must be a sad affliction, for you especially, because I
am given to understand that you were before this accident a famous
singer at free-and-easies and other convivial meetings, and made much
money by your voice?’

’That’s the fact,’ hoarsely whispered the plaintiff.

’Very sad.  I am told your voice was not only melodious, but very
powerful.  Perhaps,’ continued counsel in the most insidiously
flattering tones, ’you might give his Lordship and the jury a specimen
of what your voice was before this unlucky accident.’

And the fool, entrapped by counsel’s apparent sympathy and the petty
vanity clinging to all singing men to show off, actually broke forth
into a rollicking drinking song, which shook the walls of the building.
Thereupon counsel asked for a verdict for his client the defendant, and
for costs, and got the first, if not the second.

The terms barrister and counsel are often used indiscriminately; every
barrister is a counsel, but not every counsel a barrister.  There are
barristers whose names are in everybody’s mouth, and who earn their
thousands a year; there are counsel unknown to the public, who never, or
only under peculiar circumstances, appear at the Bar, but who are well
known to the legal profession, and make more than twice as much as the
barrister practising at the Bar; they are ’consulting’ counsel. When you
go to a joiner and tell him to make you a cabinet, he takes your order,
and sets about making the piece of furniture you want; he does not say
that, as such an article is not one he ever heard of in his trade, he
will go and learn from someone more experienced than himself how to
execute your order, and that you will have to pay for his improving
himself in joinery. But if you go to your lawyer with a case which is
not of the most usual description, he informs you that he must have
counsel’s opinion, for which you have to pay from two to five guineas,
to improve your lawyer’s legal knowledge.  And he sends a number of
questions to a ’consulting’ counsel.  Now, as every lawyer of any
standing has in his library all the legal handbooks and reports of cases
which are the consulting counsel’s only guides, the lawyer might as well
look up the precedents himself, but that would not be etiquette, nor so
profitable all round, and so the more expensive method must be followed.
The consulting counsel sits in his chambers as the soothsayers of old
sat in their temples, whence, like them, he sends forth oracular
utterances as obscure and ambiguous as those of the ancient mummers, and
straightway solicitors and clients feel relieved of all anxiety: they
have counsel’s opinion and their case is as good as won.  For their
counsel’s opinion is favourable, or, at all events, this is the
interpretation they put on it, though counsel’s opinion on the same case
on the other side reads the very reverse.  Should it so happen that on
the day in which counsel has given his opinion a case should be decided
in a law-court, which shows that his opinion is not worth a rap, will
counsel rush off to the lawyer to tell him so?  Not he; he is not going
to admit that he is fallible.  And he will not give his opinion on the
same case twice.  A lawyer’s clerk having obtained such an opinion from
counsel, and passing a pub, where he had agreed to meet a friend of his
to settle a little betting transaction, left the opinion in the omnibus
in which he had come, and did not discover his loss till it was too late
to go to counsel again the same day.  So he went the next day, prepared
to pay out of his own pocket for another copy of the document. Counsel
honestly said: ’I could not do that, my friend, for to-day I might give
you an opinion totally opposed to the one I gave you yesterday, which
would be awkward if the first should turn up.’

Sometimes consulting counsel will condescend to come into court to argue
some disgustingly technical point about ’contingent remainders’ or
’conveyancing.’  On such occasions they evince unbounded contempt for
the court, whose ignorance necessitates their presence. They will
consume a whole day in dull and dry arguments, and send some judges to
sleep, and those who remain awake after counsel’s speech know less of
the matter than they knew before; their brains are muddled with the
legal rigmarole they have been listening to. The ecclesiastical counsel,
who flourished in the days before the Probate and Divorce Courts were
established, and from ’doctors’ became ’counsel,’ when called out into
the general practice of the new system, were like so many owls suddenly
brought into daylight, Sir Cresswell Cresswell so bedevilled them, and
yet did it so politely that they could not complain.

Barristers had a good time of it in those old days of the Ecclesiastical
Courts; the system of appeal was splendidly organized—the pettiest case
could gradually be raised into one of great importance.  There were
courts throughout the country—royal, archiepiscopal, episcopal, decanal,
sub-decanal, prebendal, rectorial, vicarial, and manorial.  A case
arises in any one of these courts, and the verdict being unsatisfactory
to one of the parties, he appeals to the courts of the archdeacons and
others, where the case is again heard, decided, and again appealed
against.  Poor men, who cannot go on for ever, must stop; but the party
who can afford it goes to the Consistorial Court, where the whole
process of hearing, deciding, and appealing is repeated.  The third step
is the Chancellor’s Court; the fourth the Court of Arches.  If the
appellant still has some money left, he may go to the Privy
Council—formerly to the Court of Delegates at Doctors’ Commons, now
abolished.  This is no mere imaginary case.  ’There was a case,’ says
Dr. Nicholls, ’in which the cause had originally commenced in the
Archdeacon’s Court at Totnes, and thence there had been an appeal to the
Court at Exeter, thence to the Arches, and thence to the Delegates; and
the whole question at issue was simply the question which of two persons
had the right of hanging his hat on a particular peg.  Fancy, what an
army of barristers must have grown fat on this oyster!’

Success at the Bar comes to barristers in the most capricious manner.
In this profession, as in many other pursuits, modest merit but slowly
makes its way. Manners make the man, but impudence an advocate; without
this latter quality even high connections and powerful patronage often
seem ineffectual.  Earl Camden, the son of Chief Justice Pratt, was
called to the Bar in his twenty-fourth year, and remained a briefless
barrister for nine long years, when he resolved to abandon Westminster
Hall for his College Fellowship; but at the solicitation of his friend
Healey, afterwards Lord Chancellor Northington, he consented once more
to go the Western Circuit, and through his kind offices received a brief
as his junior in an important case.  His leader’s illness threw the
management of the case into Mr. Pratt’s hands; his success was complete,
and, after many years’ lucrative practice, he was made Attorney-General,
and three years after, in 1762, raised to the Bench as Chief Justice of
the Common Pleas.  In 1766 he was made Lord Chancellor, and raised to
the peerage.  The Earl of Eldon was on the point of retiring from the
contest for clients, when fortune unexpectedly smiled upon him, and the
records of the Bar are full of similar instances.

We have spoken of cross-examination.  Its legitimate object is not to
produce startling effects, but to elicit facts which will support the
theory intended to be put forward; but in most cases the first is aimed
at, and frequently with success.  Counsel, however, must perform this
operation with much discretion.  To a barrister who was recklessly
asking a number of questions in the hope of getting at something, Mr.
Baron Alderson said: ’You seem to think that the art of
cross-examination consists in examining crossly.’  Judges frequently
give hints to counsel; to one who was terribly long-winded, the judge
said: ’You have stated that before, but you may have forgotten it—it was
so long ago.’  Counsel must not allow himself to be carried away by the
fervour of his oratorical powers, and thus overshoot the mark. Arabin,
the Commissioner, a shrewd, quaint little man, uttered absurdities
without knowing he did so.  ’I assure you, gentlemen,’ he one day said
to the jury, ’the inhabitants of Uxbridge will steal the very teeth out
of your mouth as you walk through the streets.  _I know it from
experience_.’  When technical expressions are likely to be brought up in
a case before the court, counsel should be careful to get posted up in
them, or he may make a strange and laughable mess of it.  A question of
collision between two boats down the river Thames was being
investigated.  The master of one of the boats was in the witness-box.

’Now,’ said counsel, cross-examining him, ’what time was it when the
other boat ran into you, as you say?’

’It was during the dog-watch,’ replied the mariner.

’You hear this, gentlemen?’ said counsel, turning to the jury.
’According to this man’s evidence, a boat, laden with valuable
merchandize, is left in charge of a dog!  And, guilty of such
contributory negligence, this man has the impudence to come into court
and claim compensation and damages!’  And, turning to the witness again:
’Was your boat attached to a landing-stage?’

’No; to a buoy.’

’A boy!  These are curious revelations.  A mere boy is made to hold the
boat!  And where was the boy?’

’Why, in the water, of course!’

’This is getting more strange every moment.  The poor boy is actually
kept standing in the water whilst he is holding the boat!  I had no idea
such cruelties were practised in the shipping—shipping interest.  The
Legislature should see to this.’  Then, fumbling among his papers,
counsel went on: ’You said, when questioned by my learned friend, that
you had gone on shore? Why did you go on shore?’

’To get a man to bleed the buoy.  It wanted bleeding very much.’

’You went to get a surgeon, you mean?’

’No; a workman from the yard.’

’What, to bleed a boy!  To perform so delicate an operation on a boy,
then standing in the water, and, in the state of health he was in, no
doubt in great pain, whilst holding the boat all the time—shocking
inhumanity!’

Here judge and jury thought it time to interfere. They all knew the
meaning of the technical terms; but as they enjoyed the fun of seeing
counsel getting deeper and deeper into the mire, they allowed him to go
on, and the court being full of sailors, who cheered counsel
vociferously as he stumbled from blunder to blunder, the trial was one
of the most amusing in that court, and gave judge and jury a splendid
appetite for their lunch.

Some counsel are very fond of reminding a witness at every other
question they put to him that he is ’on his oath.’  The practice is
absurd, the very reminder sounds sarcastic.  This ’taking the oath’ is a
relic of ancient barbarism and superstition; for the man who means to
tell the truth it is unnecessary, and on the man who intends to tell a
lie it is no check; he looks on the proceeding as a ridiculous ceremony.
The very official who administers the oath in court, by the way he
rattles it off, shows in what estimation he holds it.  Nay, in matters
far more important than the mere stealing of a piece of cheese off a
counter, on occasions when one would expect taking the oath to be
invested with some solemnity, how is it done?  I once accompanied an
Italian friend of mine, who was being naturalized in this country, to
the court where he was to take the oath of allegiance.  This is how the
official authorized to administer the oath rushed through it: ’I A. B.
do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty
Queen Victoria her heirs and successors according to law so help me God
it will be half a crown.’  My friend produced the half-crown, which, I
suppose, stood in place of a seal, and the performance was over.  With
the court ’So help me God it will be half a crown’ was evidently the
chief point, the crowning glory and confirmation of the allegiance
business.

Swearing children as witnesses leads to very ludicrous scenes, enough to
cover the whole proceeding with contempt, and show its utter futility.
Montagu Williams, Q.C., tells a good story:

At a trial a discussion arose as to whether or no a boy of very tender
age was old enough to be sworn. The judge, at the suggestion of counsel
for the prosecution, interrogated the boy: ’Do you know what will become
of you if you tell an untruth?’

The boy, evidently brought up in the Spurgeon school, replied: ’Hell
fire.’

’What will become of you if you play truant, and do not go to school?’

’Hell fire,’ again answered the boy.

’What if you spill the milk?’

’Hell fire.’

His lordship ran through a list of trifling faults; the punishment was
always the same—’Hell fire.’

Counsel then suggested that the boy was scarcely intelligent enough to
be sworn.  But the judge thought otherwise, and expected he would grow
up a very good man, seeing he believed that the most trifling error
involved the penalty of hell fire, and the boy was sworn. The boy, of
course, was a fool, through no fault of his, but through that of his
bigoted teachers.

It was mentioned above that in the days of Sir Matthew Hale professional
etiquette allowed clients to have interviews with counsel without the
intervention of a solicitor.  But gradually, after his time, the public
were deprived of this privilege, and a rigid rule was enforced that all
communications to counsel must be through the solicitor only, a rule
highly detrimental to litigants, since it caused constant
misunderstandings and misleading instructions.  It is a roundabout way
of doing business, which would not be tolerated for a day in any
commercial transaction.  It was from the first a tyrannical assumption
on the part of the profession that the public should submit to a
restriction, based nominally on professional etiquette, but really on
professional interest.  The public have begun to object to the rule, and
in 1888 the Attorney-General (Sir R. Webster), on being asked to express
his views in reference to the occasions when a barrister may advise and
otherwise act for a client without the intervention of a solicitor,
replied that in contentious business, necessitating inquiry into facts,
which could not possibly be undertaken by a barrister, it was essential
that the latter should have the advice of a solicitor.  But might this
advice not be given in the presence of the client to exclude the
possibility of misapprehension?  As to non-contentious business Sir
Richard allowed of direct communication between counsel and client.  My
own rule, whenever it has been my misfortune to be involved in a legal
dispute, has always been to push aside this bogie of professional
etiquette, and insist on telling counsel my own story myself.

The profession, as we hardly need remind the reader, has produced many
distinguished characters; to choose from amongst them those most
deserving of praise would be difficult, and perhaps invidious; still,
the actions of those whose conduct has not imparted to them the mere
splendour of passing meteors, but has conferred permanent benefits on
the country, seem to entitle them to a certain pre-eminence.  A man
entitled to such pre-eminence and the grateful remembrance of Englishmen
was Sir Samuel Romilly.  His father was a jeweller in Frith Street,
Soho; the boy was first placed with a solicitor, then with a merchant,
and finally articled to one of the sworn clerks of Chancery. At the
expiration of his articles he qualified himself for the Bar, but he had
to wait long before he was rewarded with any practice.  But when briefs
came, they came in a flood; his income rose to about £9,000 a year.  He
was returned to Parliament in 1806 by the electors of Westminster,
without the expenditure of a shilling on his part—a significant fact of
his merits in those days of bribery and corruption.  He was also
appointed Solicitor-General and knighted.  He distinguished himself in
the House by his speeches in favour of the abolition of the slave trade,
but his great claims to the gratitude of the nation are the efforts he
made to mitigate the Draconic code of the criminal law, in which nearly
three hundred offences, varying from murder to keeping company with a
gipsy, were punishable with death.  The first success he had was the
repeal of the statute of Elizabeth which made it a capital offence to
steal privately from the person of another. He next tried to get several
statutes repealed which made it a capital offence to privately steal
from a house or a shop goods to the value of five shillings.  But this
Bill was lost.  What bloodthirsty savages the members of the House must
have been in those days!  Some of this savagery remains in their blood
now, for when the abolition of training children to become acrobats,
contortionists and similar horrors, the abolition of vivisection and
such-like cruelties, are mooted in the House, the introducer of the Bill
is hooted down.  Romilly, as we have seen, did not succeed in all his
humane efforts, but he kept on agitating session after session, and
cleared the way for the modification and mitigation of the ferocious
laws which turned England into human shambles.  And what Romilly had
been striving for was a long time in coming.  In the first decades of
this century it was no unusual sight to see from a dozen to twenty
criminals, many for slight offences only, hanged in one morning in front
of Newgate.  The end of Romilly was sad; it showed the malignity of
fate.  He who had spent his life in endeavouring to lighten the lot of
others was terribly stricken himself.  In 1818 he lost his wife, whom he
had married twenty years before, and her loss was such a shock to him
that he fell into delirium, and in an unwatched moment he sprang from
his bed, cut his throat, and expired almost instantly.

Nowadays briefless barristers utilize their legal knowledge as
financiers and company promoters; before those two honest pursuits had
been invented they had to turn their attention to other specs.  Thus
Francis Forcer the younger, the son of Francis Forcer, a musician, had
received a liberal education, and, on leaving Oxford, entered Gray’s
Inn, and was afterwards called to the Bar, where he practised for a
short time. He was very gentlemanly in his manners, and in person
remarkably tall and athletic.  In 1735, having been disturbed by legal
interference, or some other cause, he petitioned Parliament for a
license for Sadler’s Wells, which application, we are told, was rejected
at first, but in the end it must have been granted, for we are informed
that he was the first who exhibited there the diversions of rope-dancing
and tumbling, and performances on the slack wire.  It is doubtful
whether the speculation paid, for at the time of his death (he died in
1743) he directed by his will that the lease of the premises, together
with the scenery, implements, stock, furniture, household stuff and
things thereunto belonging, should be sold for the purpose of paying his
debts, which direction was carried out soon after his decease. This
seems as if the refreshment bar, for which Mr. Forcer had left the legal
Bar, had not proved very remunerative; perhaps he had better have stuck
to the litigation oyster, than to the native he dispensed at Sadler’s
Wells.



                                *XVIII.*

                   *THE SUBLIME BEEFSTEAKERS AND THE
                        KIT-KAT AND ROTA CLUBS.*


The last two centuries were very prolific in the production of clubs,
founded to gratify rational purposes or fanciful whims.  In those days,
as soon as a set of men found themselves agree in any particular, though
ever so trivial, they immediately formed themselves into a fraternity
called a club.  The Apollo Club, which held its meetings at the Devil
tavern in Fleet Street, comprised all the wits of Ben Jonson’s day; the
Cauliflower in Butcher Hall Lane was the sober symposium of Paternoster
Row booksellers.  Humdrum clubs were composed of peaceable nobodies, who
used to meet at taverns, sit and smoke and say nothing.  A few of these
latter clubs survive.  But Addison, who knew something of the club life
of his day, said: ’All celebrated clubs were founded on eating and
drinking, which are points wherein most men agree, and in which the
learned and the illiterate, the dull and the airy, the philosopher and
the buffoon can all of them bear a part.’  Just so, though not every
club would acknowledge it; but the Beefsteakers boldly proclaimed their
object in the name they assumed; theirs was the worship of beef-steaks.

Now, chops and steaks are relics of barbarism, of ages when men, having
not as yet invented cooking apparatus, made a fire between some stones,
and laid their slices of raw meat on the top, and ate them when half
burnt and blackened.  Steaks done on a gridiron are antediluvian enough,
but mutton chops diffusing, when undergoing this roasting process,
throughout the room the stench of a tallow candle just blown out, are
enough to turn the stomach, not of the refined _gourmet_ only, but of
the untutored savage.  It is only custom which enables the visitor to
the grill-room to stand its effluvium, and to eat the food placed before
him.  Steaks are not so bad, because they have not the sickening smell
of the chop, and so they actually found a set of worshippers, who formed
themselves into a society to pay due adoration to their idol.  Of
course, in this age of higher culture and more widely diffused
intelligence, such a proceeding must appear to us not only childish, but
somewhat degrading; it was, however, a phase of the convivial life and
tendency of the Georgian era, and as such merits a record; but lest we,
in producing it, should be suspected of sympathizing with it, we deem it
necessary to preface it with the above remarks.

The Beefsteak Club[#] was founded in the reign of Anne, and was composed
of the ’chief wits and great men of the nation,’ who were, however,
silly enough to wear suspended from the neck by a green silk ribbon a
small gridiron of gold, the badge of the club.  Dick Estcourt the
player, and landlord of a tavern called the Bumper, in Covent Garden,
was made caterer of the club.  He was, we are told, a man of good
manners and of infinite wit, or of what in those days passed for wit,
though much of it at the present time would be declined by the editor of
the poorest comic paper.  Steele, however, grows quite enthusiastic over
him.  The club first established itself at the sign of the Imperial
Phiz, just opposite the famous conventicle in the Old Jewry; here the
superintendent of the kitchen was wont to provide several nice specimens
of their beef-steak cookery. Eventually the boys of Merchant Taylors’
School were accustomed to regale the club on its nights of meeting with
uproarious shouts of ’Huzza, Beefsteak!’  But these attentions in course
of time became irksome, and the club withdrew to more quiet quarters,
but its final fate is left in the dark.  Ned Ward, in his ’Secret
History of Clubs,’ from whom we get our chief information concerning the
Beefsteak Club, simply says: ’So that now, whether they have healed the
breach, and are again returned into the Kit-Kat community, whence it is
believed, upon some disgust, they at first separated ... I shan’t
presume to determine, ... but, though they are much talked of, they are
difficult to be found.’


[#] Not to be confounded with the ’Sublime Society of Steaks,’ founded a
few years after the club, and of which we shall speak more fully
presently as the more important of the two associations.


The Beefsteak Society, or the ’Sublime Society of Beefsteaks,’ as they
chose to designate themselves, whilst severely objecting to be called a
club, originated with George Lambert, the scene-painter of Covent Garden
Theatre during Rich’s management (1735), where Lambert often dined from
a steak cooked on the fire in his painting-room, in which he was
frequently joined by his visitors.  This led to the foundation of the
society in a room in the theatre.  Afterwards the place of meeting was
at the Shakespeare tavern in the Piazza, and subsequently at the Lyceum,
and on its destruction by fire (1830), at the Bedford Hotel, and on its
being rebuilt in 1834, at the theatre again.  The members used to meet
on Saturdays, from November to the end of June, to partake of a dinner
of beefsteaks. The room in which they met was appropriately fitted up,
the doors, wainscoting and roof, of English oak, being ornamented with
gridirons; Lambert’s original gridiron, saved from two fires, formed the
chief ornament in the centre of the ceiling.

Among the members of this society, restricted to twenty-five, were
George, Prince of Wales, and his brothers, the Dukes of York and Sussex,
Sheridan, Lord Sandwich, Garrick, John Wilkes, the Duke of Argyle, the
Duke of Leinster, Alderman Wood, and many other men of note.  The club
had its president and vice-president, its bishop, who said grace, and
its ’boots,’ as the steward was called; the Dukes of Sussex and Leinster
in their turn discharged the office of ’boots.’  Its festivals were of a
somewhat bacchanalian character; the chief liquors consumed were port
and punch, and fun, the more rampant the more relished, followed the
feast.  They had their bard, or laureate, Captain Morris, who had been
in the Life Guards.  Here is a stanza of one of his songs:

    ’Like Britain’s island lies our steak,
      A sea of gravy bounds it;
    Shallots, confusedly scattered, make
      The rockwork that surrounds it.

    Your isle’s best emblem there behold,
      Remember ancient story;
    Be, like your grandsires, first and bold,
      And live and die with glory.’


Now what can we think of the literary taste then prevailing in the
highest quarters, when we are told that this song rendered Morris so
great a favourite with the Prince of Wales that he adopted him in the
circle of his intimate friends, and made him his constant guest both at
Carlton House and the Pavilion at Brighton? Truly, in those days fame
and distinction were lightly earned!  But does not our own time admire,
or pretend to admire, the jerky platitudes of a Tennyson, and the jejune
prose, cut up into measured lines, of a Browning as poetry?  By the
society Morris was presented with an elegant silver bowl for his
’pottery.’

In the decline of life and fortune Morris was handsomely provided for by
his fellow-steak, the Duke of Norfolk, who conferred upon him a charming
retreat at Brockham in Surrey, which he lived to enjoy until the year
1838, surviving his benefactor by twenty-three years, whilst hundreds of
men of real merit were left to fight the battle of life unaided and
unrewarded.  But those who amuse the idle hours of fools with foolish
nonsense are always more highly thought of than those who instruct and
impart useful knowledge.  There is more money spent at a State or
Municipal banquet in one evening than would suffice for maintaining a
scientific institution for a whole year.  What did the Queen’s Jubilee
cost the nation, and what lasting benefit has this extravagant
expenditure conferred on the nation?  Of all this firework, what remains
but the sticks and the burnt-out cartridge tubes?  Carlyle, with whom we
agree in few things, was right in what he said about the aggregate of
fools.  But return we to the ’sublime’ Beefsteakers.  The epithet they
assumed reminds us that there is indeed but one step from the sublime to
the ridiculous.  When a society, formed for the mere purpose of gorging
and swilling, and howling drinking songs, the most stupid of all songs,
calls itself ’sublime,’ may we not ask, Where are the ’Lofty
Taters-all-’ot’ and the ’Exalted Tripe and Onioners?’

There were some queer members in the society.  A wealthy solicitor,
named Richard Wilson, popularly called Dick, having been to Paris, and
not knowing a word of French, praised French cookery, and said that its
utmost perfection was seen in the way in which they dished up a
’rendezvous’; he meant a _ris de veau_. Being asked if he ate partridge
in France, Dick said ’Yes,’ but he could not bear them served up in
’shoes’; he meant _perdrix aux choux_.  William Taylor, another member,
believed firmly that Stonehenge was formed by an extraordinary shower of
immense hailstones which fell two thousand years ago.  The society, we
know, claimed to be a literary society, and had actually offered a prize
of £400 for the best comedy.  It had many dramatic authors among its
members.  One of them was Cobb, who, among other plays, wrote ’Ramah
Drug’—drug or droog meaning in India, where the scene was laid, a
hill-fort;[#] he was complimented by his fellow-members on the happy
titles he always chose for his pieces.  ’What could be better for your
last attempt to ram a drug down the public throat than "Ramah Drug"?’
said one of the Beefsteakers.  But Arnold, a rival dramatist, disputed
Cobb’s claim to admiration on this account.  ’What worse title,’ said
he, ’could he have chosen for his "Haunted Tower"?  Why, there is no
spirit in it from beginning to end!’


[#] The tower known as Severndroog on Shooter’s Hill commemorates the
taking of the fort of that name on the coast of Malabar.


When the Beefsteak Society was broken up in 1869, the pictures of the
former members, mostly copies, were sold for only about £70.  The plate,
however, brought high prices; the forks and table-spoons, all bearing
the emblem of the club, a gridiron, fetched about a sovereign apiece;
the punch-ladle realized £14 5s.; a cheese-toaster brought £12 6s.; an
Oriental punch-bowl, £11 15s.  Wine-glasses, engraved with the gridiron,
sold for from 27s. to 34s. a pair.  The actual gridiron, plain as it
was, fetched 5-½ guineas.  Eulogies have been written on the society, as
if it had been a really meritorious institution, and endless anecdotes
are told, chiefly illustrating the gluttony of the members; but such
details are neither attractive in themselves nor profitable to the
reader, and we will not enter into them.  We agree with Thackeray’s
estimate of the club-life of the last century: ’It was too hard, too
coarse a life....  All that fuddling and punch-drinking, that club and
coffee-house boozing, reduced the lives and enlarged the waistcoats of
the men of that age.’  But such were the convivial clubs of the past; it
is as well to see the other side of things.

Addison, in support of his assertion that all clubs were founded on
eating and drinking, says that the Kit-Kat Club itself is said to have
taken its original from mutton-pies.  If he means its name, he is, as
far as can now be known, right; but if he means that its object was the
consumption of pies, as the consumption of steaks was that of the
’Sublime’ Beefsteaks, he was wrong.  The Kit-Kat was the great Whig club
of Queen Anne’s time; it consisted of the principal noblemen and
gentlemen who had opposed the arbitrary measures of James II., and was
instituted about the year 1700 for the purpose ostensibly of encouraging
literature and the fine arts, but really for promoting loyalty and
allegiance to the Protestant succession in the House of Hanover.  Among
the forty-eight members were the Dukes of Marlborough and Newcastle; the
Earls of Halifax, Dorset, and Wharton; Sirs Robert Walpole, John
Vanbrugh, Richard Steele, Samuel Garth, Godfrey Kneller; Addison,
Congreve, Pulteney, Walsh, and other persons, illustrious for rank or
talent.

The real founder of the club is said to have been Jacob Tonson, the
bookseller; he was for many years their secretary, and, in fact, the
very pivot upon which the society revolved.  Their meetings were
originally held at a house in Shire Lane, close to Temple Bar, a lane
which in time became infamous as the resort of thieves, rogues, and
ruffians of every kind, though in previous years it had been
fashionable.  The house where they met was kept by one Christopher Katt,
a pastrycook, famous for his mutton pies, which immortalized his name,
since they became known by it, Kit being then a vulgar abbreviation of
Christopher, and Katt being his surname, and from these pies the club
took its name, the pies always forming part of its bill of fare.  It
seems strange that with so simple a derivation the origin of the name
Kit-Kat should have been unknown even to Pope or Arbuthnot—it is
uncertain to whom the lines are attributable—who wrote:

    ’Whence deathless Kit-Kat took his name
      Few critics can unriddle:
    Some say from pastrycook it came,
      And some from Cat and Piddle.
    From no trim beans its name it boasts,
      Grey statesmen or green wits,
    But from this pell-mell pack of toasts,
      Of old Cats and young Kits.’

Surely the name is simply that of the pastrycook, Kit (Christopher)
Katt, given to his pies, and has no reference to old cats or young kits
or kittens.

As regards the pies, Dr. King, in his ’Art of Cookery,’ wrote:

    ’Immortal made as Kit-Kat by his pies;’

and in the prologue to ’The Reformed Wife,’ a comedy, 1700, is the line:

    ’A Kit-Kat is a supper for a lord.’


Tonson had his own and the portraits of all the members painted by Sir
Godfrey Kneller; each member gave him his.[#]  The canvas was 36 inches
by 28 inches, sufficiently long to show a hand, and the size is still
known as the Kit-Kat.  There were forty-two of those portraits, and they
were first hung up in the club-room, but Tonson in time removed them to
his country-house at Barn Elms, where he built a handsome room for their
reception, and where the club frequently met. At his death in 1736,
Tonson left them to his great-nephew, also an eminent bookseller, who
died in 1767. The paintings were then removed to the house of his
brother at Water-Oakley, near Windsor, and on his death to the house of
Mr. Baker, one of the sons of Sir William Baker, who had married the
elder of the two daughters of old Tonson; the house of this Mr. Baker is
called the Park, situate at Hertingfordbury, where they still remain.


[#] They were all engraved in mezzotinto by the younger Faber.


As regards the room at Barn Elms referred to above, Sir Richard
Phillips, in his ’Morning Walk from London to Kew,’ in 1816, gives an
account of his visit to it.

’A lane,’ he says, ’brought me to Barn Elms, where now resides a Mr.
Hoare, a banker, of London.  The family were not at home, but on asking
the servants if that was the house of Mr. Tonson, they assured me, with
great naïveté, that no such gentleman lived there. I named the Kit-Kat
Club as accustomed to assemble here, but the oddity of the name excited
their ridicule, and I was told that no such club was held there; but
perhaps, said one to the other, the gentleman means the club that
assembles at the public-house on the common....  One of them exclaimed:
"I should not wonder if the gentleman means the philosopher’s room."
"Aye," rejoined his comrade, "I remember somebody coming once before to
see something of this sort, and my master sent him there."  I requested,
then, to be shown to this room, distinguished by so high an appellation,
when I was conducted across a detached garden and brought to a handsome
erection in the architectural style of the early part of the last
century, evidently the establishment of the Kit-Kat Club! ... The man
unfastened the decayed door of the building, and showed me the once
elegant hall filled with cobwebs, a fallen ceiling, and accumulated
rubbish.  On the right the present proprietor had erected a copper, and
converted one of the parlours into a wash-house.  The door on the left
led to a spacious and once superb staircase, now in ruins, presenting
pendant cobwebs that hung from the lofty ceiling, and which seemed to be
deserted even by the spiders....  I ascended the staircase; here I found
the Kit-Kat Club-room nearly as it existed in its days of service.  It
was about 18 feet high, 40 feet long, and 20 wide.  The mouldings and
ornaments were in the most superb fashion of the day, but the whole was
tumbling to pieces from the effects of the dry rot....  The marks and
sizes [of the portraits] were still visible, and the numbers and names
remained as written in chalk for the guide of the hanger....  On
rejoining Mr. Hoare’s man in the hall below ... he told me that his
master intended to pull [the room] down....  Mr. Tonson’s house had a
few years since been taken down.’

In ’A Pilgrimage from London to Woolstrope,’ communicated to the
_Monthly Magazine_ of June, 1818, the then home of the Kit-Kat Club
pictures is thus referred to: ’I reached Hartingfordbury, and the
magnificent seat of Wm. Baker, Esq....  Here I paid my homage to the
forty-two portraits of the Kit Kat Club, and found myself in a splendid
apartment. They [the portraits] are all in as fine a condition as though
they had been painted but last year.  I regretted, however, that the
characteristic features are lost or disguised by the enormous perukes
which disfigured the human countenance in their age.  The whole looked
like a wiggery, and the portrait of Tonson in his velvet cap was the
only relief afforded by the entire assemblage.’

But even the Kit-Kat Club in time

    ’Descended from its high politic flavour,
    Down to a sentimental toasting savour.’
      _Byron improved_.

The club was invaded by a spirit of gallantry. When a number of
fashionable gentlemen meet, politics are all very well for a time;
horses will afford the next subject of entertainment, but the women must
come in in the end.  And so the members of the Kit-Kat Club established
the custom of every year electing some reigning beauty as a toast.  To
the queen of the year the members wrote epigrammatic verses, which were
etched with a diamond on the club glasses, or a separate bowl was
dedicated to her worship, and the lines engraved thereon.  Some of the
most celebrated of the toasts had their pictures hung up in the
club-room. How Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, when only eight years old, was
introduced and declared the beauty of the year, has often been told.  Of
course, to our more refined ideas of propriety the conduct of her
father, the Duke of Kingston, in thus thrusting his infant daughter into
the society of his roistering boon-companions, cannot but appear as
highly reprehensible.  Among the more celebrated of the toasts were the
four daughters of the Duke of Marlborough: Lady Godolphin, Lady
Sunderland, generally known as the Little Whig, Lady Bridgewater, and
Lady Monthermer. Swift’s friend, Mrs. Long, and the niece of Sir Isaac
Newton were two others.  Others were the Duchesses of Bolton, St.
Albans, Richmond and Beaufort; also Lady Molyneux, who, Walpole says,
died smoking a pipe.

We will conclude our account of this club with a few stray notes.

Three o’clock in the morning seems to have been no uncommon hour for the
club to break up.  Addison and Steele usually got drunk, so did Dr.
Garth, the poet laureate of the club, wherefore a Tory lampooner said
that at this club the youth of Anne’s reign learned

    ’To sleep away the days, and drink away the nights.’

When Tonson had gone to live at Barn Elms, the members generally held
their meetings at his house. In the summer they would resort to the
Upper Flask tavern, near Hampstead Heath; but this practice did not
continue long: there was too much difficulty in getting home after
strong potations.  The Upper Flask eventually became a private house,
and was occupied by George Steevens, the celebrated critic and
antiquary, till his death.  The Kit-Kat Club died out before the year
1727, and we now take leave of it.

We have given accounts of a purely convivial, of a literary and
artistic, and now will shortly describe a purely political club, of
which, however, but little is known, namely, the Rota.  It took its name
from its object, namely, to promote the changing of certain Members of
Parliament annually by rotation.  It held its meetings at the Turk’s
Head, otherwise known as Miles’ Coffee-house, in New Palace Yard, not
far from the residence of James Harrington, which was in the Little
Ambry (Almonry), looking into the Dean’s yard. It was founded in 1659
for the dissemination of republican ideas, which Harrington had
glorified in his ’Oceana,’ and for resisting Cromwell’s attempt to do
without a Parliament and to establish an undisguised military despotism.
The republicans took the alarm, and formed themselves into a debating
society, says the Royalist Anthony Wood, to discuss the best form of
government.  Their discourses, according to this author, of ordering a
commonwealth were the most ingenious and smart ever heard, for the
arguments in the Parliament House were flat to these.  This gang had a
balloting box ... the room was every evening very full.  Beside James
Harrington and Henry Nevil, who were the prime men of the club, were
Cyriac Skinner, Major Wildman, Roger Coke, author of the ’Detection of
the Four Last Reigns,’ William Petty and Maximilian Petty, and a great
many others.  The doctrines were very taking, and the more so because to
human foresight there was no possibility of the King’s return. The
greatest of the Parliament men hated this rotation and balloting, as
being against their power.  Henry Nevil proposed it to the House; the
third part of the House should vote out by ballot every year, and not be
re-eligible for three years to come, so that every ninth year the Senate
would be wholly changed.  No magistrate was to continue above three
years, and all were to be chosen by a sort of ballot.  It is probable
that Milton was a member of the Rota; Aubrey belonged to it in 1659.
After the death of Cromwell the Rota gave great publicity to its
proceedings, and acquired a high reputation for learning, talent, and
eloquence, so that it became a question whether it were more honourable
to belong to the Rota or the Society of Virtuosi, which had been
designated by Boyle in 1646 ’the Invisible or Philosophical Society.’
The members of the Rota threw into the teeth of their rivals that they
had an excellent faculty of magnifying a louse and diminishing a
commonwealth.  Charles II., who was a virtuoso himself, avenged this
taunt by erecting, in 1664, the Virtuosi into the Royal Society, by
dispersing the members of the Rota, and exiling Harrington for life to
the island of St. Nicholas, near Plymouth; but he was afterwards
released on bail, and died at his house in the Almonry in 1677.  The
statement that the Royal Society was established for political reasons,
though it has often been contradicted, would thus seem not to be without
foundation.  In the third canto of the second part of ’Hudibras,’
Sidrophel is said to be

      ’... as full of tricks,
    As Rota-men of politicks.’



                                 *XIX.*

                *HAMPTON COURT PALACE AND ITS MASTERS.*

                       *I.—HAMPTON COURT PALACE.*


The environs of London are very beautiful, and full of scenic and
architectural contrasts.  Let us render our exact meaning clear by
taking two of the most striking contrasts.  To the north of London lies
the vast expanse of Hampstead Heath, a locality famous for charms due to
Nature alone, whilst to the south of London we have Hampton Court, which
all the arts of the highest civilization and noblest genius have for
centuries striven to invest with a grandeur and loveliness found in few
other spots.  Painting and sculpture, architecture and horticulture,
have here found their grandest exponents, and Time, which alone could do
it, has added thereto the dignity of historic interest and the
fascination of romantic associations. Not only are the rooms and halls,
the corridors and courtyards of the palace, artistic caskets in
themselves, they are filled with treasures of art.  And how easily can
imagination re-people these now usually deserted chambers and passages,
and with the mind’s eye see again the famous—and sometimes infamous—men
who here disported themselves, the charming lovely—and sometimes the
reverse—women, whose dazzling beauty, lofty demeanour, dangerous and
bewitching glances, led those men to fortune or the scaffold.  But that
imagination may do this, not only is an accurate knowledge of the
localities needed, but also of the historic occurrences which have taken
place therein, wherefore our account of Hampton Court Palace, which we
have undertaken to give in a necessarily condensed form, will after
describing the structure architecturally record, briefly also, the
events it has been the scene of.

We assume the local position of the Palace to be sufficiently well
known, and therefore not necessary to be described.  It has, not
inappropriately, been called the St. Cloud of Londoners.  In the time of
Edward the Confessor Hampton Manor belonged to Earl Algar, a powerful
Saxon nobleman, and its value then was estimated at £40 per annum.
After the Norman Conquest it is mentioned in Doomsday Book as held by
Walter de St. Valeri, who probably gave the advowson of the living to
the Priory of Takeley, in Essex, which was a cell to the Abbey of St.
Valeri, in Picardy; from the port adjoining it William the Conqueror
sailed for England.  Hampton Manor subsequently became the property of
Sir Robert Gray, whose widow in 1211 left by her will the whole manor
and the manor-house of Hampton, the site of the present Hampton Court
Palace, to the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, whose
chief residence in England was the Hospital of St. John, Clerkenwell,
and of which now nothing but the gate remains.  The manor thus
bequeathed was of enormous extent.  It comprised within its boundaries
the lesser manors of Kingston-on-Thames, Walton Legh, Byflete,
Weybridge, East and West Moulsey, Sandon, Weston, Innworth, Esher,
Oatlands, together with the manors of Hampton, Hanworth, Feltham,
Teddington, and even Hounslow Heath.

Tradition says that Cardinal Wolsey, at the summit of his power, was
desirous of building a palace suitable to his rank; but he was equally
desirous of enjoying health and long life, and employed the most eminent
physicians in England, and even called in the aid of learned doctors
from Padua, to select the most healthy spot within twenty miles of
London.  They agreed that the parish of Hampton was the most healthy
soil, and the springs in Coombe Wood, south of Richmond Park, the purest
water within the limits assigned to their researches.  Upon this report
the Cardinal bargained for a lease with the prior of St. John of
Jerusalem, and the following is a précis of the lease as still extant in
the Cottonian MS. in the British Museum, and first published in the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_ for January, 1834.

The indenture was made between Sir Thomas Docwra, prior of the Hospital
of St. John of Jerusalem and his brethren knights of the one part, and
Cardinal Wolsey, Primate of England, of the other part.  It granted a
lease of ninety-nine years, to date from January 12, 1514, to Cardinal
Wolsey at a yearly rent of £50, the lessee agreeing to the usual
covenants of a repairing lease.  If the rent should remain unpaid during
two whole years, the lessors to have the right of re-entry, and a new
lease to be granted for another ninety-nine years should such be desired
by the lessee. The lessors did not foresee the future, which would, by
_force majeure_, put an end to all their lease-granting.

As soon as Wolsey had obtained the lease, he pulled down the old
manor-house, in which hitherto a prior and a few knights had been
accommodated, and began erecting in a style of grandeur, heretofore
unsurpassed in this country, a mansion of unparalleled magnificence. But
who was this Wolsey?

A most unmitigated villain, on a par with that other villain, Henry
VIII., whose master, through being his pimp, he was for a time, till, in
perfect accordance with his character, he became his abject whining
slave.  I am well aware that it is not usual to apply such a term as
villain to a King or his chief adviser—courtly historians have flowery
terms for the crimes of Kings by the ’grace of God,’ and holy
’Fathers-in-God,’ who misuse the powers foolish nations have entrusted
them with to the vilest purposes—but the spirit of justice, which
directs thinking and logical minds, rejects the flimsy arguments of
sycophantic apologists; it will not have Nero whitewashed.

Thomas Wolsey was born at Ipswich in March, 1471. He was the son of a
butcher, who also possessed some land, and was sufficiently well off to
send his son to the University of Oxford.  In those days the chief and
easiest avenue to distinction, office, and wealth was through the
Church, and Thomas appears to have been an apt scholar, for at fourteen
years of age he was Bachelor of Arts, and thence was called the Boy
Bachelor.  He soon after became Master of Arts, and had charge of the
school adjoining Magdalen College, where he educated the three sons of
Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset, who presented him in 1500 to the rectory
of Lymington.  This was indeed a rapid rise for the son of a butcher.
But he had not long resided on his benefice when Sir Amias Paulet, a
justice of the peace, set him in the stocks for being drunk and making a
disturbance at a fair in the neighbourhood.  Wolsey was mean enough to
take a cruel revenge for this punishment, which, no doubt, he richly
deserved, and which must at the time have been approved by the
community, for it was no trifling thing in those days to set a rector in
the stocks.  When Wolsey was Lord Chancellor he sent for Sir Amias, and
after a severe jobation confined him for six years in that part of the
Temple which long passed for Henry VIII. and Wolsey’s palace, and
afterwards was Nando’s, a famous coffee-house.  Wolsey compelled Paulet
to almost entirely rebuild the house.  When Wolsey’s patron, the Marquis
of Dorset, died, the former looked out for new means to push his
fortunes, for his avarice was boundless.  He accordingly got himself
admitted into the family of Henry Dean, Archbishop of Canterbury; but
that prelate dying in 1502, he found means of ingratiating himself with
Sir John Nanfan, treasurer of Calais, who being weakened by age and
other infirmities, committed the direction of his post to Wolsey, who by
his recommendation was made one of the King’s chaplains, and in 1506 was
instituted to the rectory of Redgrave, in the diocese of Norwich.  But
it was on the accession of Henry VIII. that he had the opportunity of
developing his ambitious and covetous schemes by the vilest means. He
recommended himself to the King’s favour by adapting himself to his
capricious temper and vicious inclinations, acting as his pimp, and
participating in all his debaucheries.  And so well did he play his
cards with the King that shortly after the attainder of Sir Richard
Empson—executed with his coadjutor Dudley in 1510, nominally for
extortion, but really because that extortion was not practised on the
King’s behalf, but on their own—shortly after this attainder the King
conferred on Wolsey a grant of several lands and tenements in the parish
of St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, which by the knight’s forfeiture devolved
to the Crown.  In the grant Wolsey is styled counsellor and almoner to
the King.  In the same year he was presented by his royal master to the
rectory of Torrington, in the diocese of Exeter.  Early in the following
year he was made a Canon of Windsor and Registrar of the Order of the
Garter.  In 1512 he was advanced by Archbishop Bambridge to the prebend
of Bugthorp, in the church of York, of which afterwards he also was made
a Dean. In 1513 he attended the King in his expedition to France, who
committed to him the direction of the supplies and provisions to be made
for the army—a profitable concession, which Wolsey knew how to turn to
his own good account.  On the taking of Tournay Henry VIII. made Wolsey
Bishop of that city, and not long after Bishop of Lincoln.  In 1814, on
the death of Cardinal Bambridge, he was translated to the Archbishopric
of York.  The utter recklessness with which the King bestowed on one man
so many high offices, the duties of which from their very multiplicity
must be totally neglected by this one man, this recklessness in the
bestowal of ecclesiastical dignities and emoluments on an upstart whose
moral character was of the vilest in every respect, and openly known to
be such, was only equalled by the greed and vanity of the recipient.
But Fortune had greater favours yet in store for him.  In September,
1515, he was, by the interest of the two Kings of England and France,
made Cardinal of St. Cecilia, and in December of the same year Lord
Chancellor of England, which dignity had been resigned by the Archbishop
of Canterbury, who resented the arrogance of, and the powers conferred
on, Wolsey.  The Archbishop’s resignation led to the retirement of all
the other great officers of the Crown, and thus Wolsey became absolute
master of the situation, and whilst he was really carrying out his own
schemes, he had the address to persuade the King, jealous of his own
power, that he was only blindly executing his royal master’s behests and
wishes.  The position of England between the Emperor and the King of
France rendered Henry VIII. to some extent the arbitrator of Europe.
Wolsey cleverly exploited the situation; he first secured the goodwill
of Francis I. of France by restoring to him, in 1516, Tournay, receiving
in return an annuity of 12,000 livres.  But the Pope was the most
anxious to secure the Minister’s friendship, and therefore, after the
recall of Cardinal Campeggio, made Wolsey his Legate a Latere, or
Extraordinary Envoy, which virtually raised him to the rank of Pope of
England.  Though Wolsey’s income was already tremendous from the various
bishoprics and other high offices he held, and the presents and pensions
he received from foreign princes, the Pope granted him an annuity of
7,500 ducats on the bishoprics of Toledo and Placentia.  With Wolsey’s
increase of power rose his arrogance, his covetousness, and his love of
ostentation; the beggar was put on horseback.  His revenues almost
exceeded those of the Crown; the splendour displayed in his mode of
living was greater than that of many Kings.  When, after the election of
Charles V. as Emperor of Germany, the latter quarrelled with Francis I.,
each endeavoured to draw the Cardinal to his side.  In 1520 he arranged
an interview between the three Sovereigns, but at last sided with the
Emperor, who granted him an annuity of 7,000 ducats, and held out to him
the prospect of the Papal crown. After having, in 1521, attempted at
Calais a reconciliation between Henry VIII. and Francis I., he entered
into a secret treaty with the Emperor, according to which the English
King was to declare war against France.  The death of Leo X. and the
subsequent election of Hadrian VI. to the Papal dignity almost led to a
breach between him and the Emperor; but the latter’s promise that after
old Hadrian’s death he would certainly procure him the Papal crown
satisfied Wolsey, especially as the Emperor added 2,500 ducats to the
former annuity, and gave him besides another of 9,000 dollars in gold
for his loss of the French pension.  In 1522 Henry VIII. commenced the
war against his former ally by entering and devastating France. Wolsey
having to find money for this war, he had recourse to financial
oppression, which roused the indignation of the English people.  But at
the new Papal election in 1523 Wolsey saw himself again passed over,
which induced him to lead the King to take the part of Francis I., who
was then a prisoner. Henry VIII. had to retire from the war, to enter in
1525 into an alliance with the French Regency, for which service Wolsey
received a present of 100,000 crowns, and in 1528 to declare war against
the Emperor. Thus the proud and blustering Henry VIII. became the mere
tool of an ambitious and disappointed priest, who used him and the
resources of England to avenge the slight the Emperor had put upon him
at the last Papal election.  After the peace of Cambray in 1529, Wolsey
was on the summit of his power, but also terribly near to his fall.  At
first he had, from hatred of her nephew, Charles V., not opposed the
King’s desire to obtain a divorce from Catherine of Aragon; but when he
found that the King wanted to marry Anne Boleyn, he disapproved of the
divorce, as he feared that Anne’s relatives might endanger his position
at Court.  In obedience to the King’s orders, he indeed for some time
urged on the suit, but grew less zealous when he found that the Pope
himself, out of consideration for the Emperor, was against the divorce.
Henry VIII. looked upon the delay as due to the intrigues of Wolsey, in
which opinion he was strengthened by Anne Boleyn, who had a special
reason to hate him, for it was through him that her marriage with young
Lord Percy, a member of Wolsey’s establishment, one of the many scions
of the nobility who were placed under the guidance of the Cardinal, had
been broken off.  When Anne, who had been dismissed the Court, after her
recall found it necessary to augment her rising influence over the King
to dissemble, and therefore treated Wolsey with the greatest outward
respect, she secretly took every opportunity to foster the dislike Henry
had taken to him, and it was her underhand influence which hastened his
downfall, and not reasons of statecraft, as ’philosophical’ historians
would have us believe.  Long before the catastrophe Wolsey, who had not
failed to notice that the brutal tyrant’s favourable sentiments towards
his minion were on the wane, had tried to conciliate the King by
presenting Hampton Court to him in 1526; but the gift had not been one
of love, but of fear and despair, and the chief cause of the surrender,
according to tradition, was the following:

The King’s fool was paying a visit to the Cardinal’s fool—for both the
King and the Cardinal were such fools themselves as to find pleasure in
the gabbling of professional fools—and the couple went down into the
wine vaults.  For fun one of them stuck a dagger into the top of a cask,
and, to his surprise, touched something that gave a metallic sound.  The
fools thereupon set to work, got the head of the cask out, and found it
to be full of gold pieces.  Other casks, by the sound, indicated that
they held wine.  The King’s fool stored up the fact in his memory, and
one day when the King was boasting about his wine, the fool said, ’You
have not such wine as my Lord Cardinal, for he has casks in his cellar
worth a thousand broad pieces each;’ and then he told what he had
discovered.  Whether this be true or not, it is certain that Wolsey was
awake to the fact that he was losing his power over the King, and so he
threw him the magnificent sop of his palace, which, however, did not
save him; the King was determined to be rid of him.  In October, 1529,
the Great Seal was demanded of him, his palace at Whitehall and all his
goods were seized for the King’s use, and he was ordered to retire to
his palace at Esher.  The King, indeed, promised Wolsey his protection,
and that he should continue to hold the bishoprics of York and
Winchester.

As Wolsey was travelling towards Esher, he was overtaken by a messenger
from the King, who brought him that comfortable assurance, whereupon the
Cardinal dismounted from his mule, knelt down, and blessed the ground on
which he had received so gracious a message; and to show his gratitude
to his King, he made him a present of—what do you think?—his fool.  Had
Wolsey in his disgrace shown any manliness or dignity of character, we
might think that this present to the King was ’kinder sarcastic,’
intimating that a fool was about the only individual fit to be Henry’s
companion, and whom he could appreciate.  But from Wolsey’s conduct
during the closing years of his life, we cannot give him credit for so
much wit and moral courage as the attempt to give the King such a hint
would have implied, and we must therefore assume that the gift was a
_bonâ fide_ one; and as in those days it was considered the proper thing
for great people to associate with fools, and take delight in their
forced and artificial jokes, too poor for a halfpenny comic paper of the
present day, there was nothing extraordinary in the gift, and no doubt
the King thought it highly complimentary to himself.  But however
favourably the King might at certain moments feel disposed towards
Wolsey, and though, from his influence in the country as head of the
Church, it was necessary to go to work cautiously, his ruin was
determined on.  Parliament, which, after an interval of seven years, was
allowed to reassemble in 1529, impeached him by a charge of forty-four
articles, relating chiefly to the exercise of his legatine power
contrary to law, and the scandalous irregularities of his life.  The
impeachment passed the House of Lords; but when it came to the House of
Commons it was effectually defeated by the energy and address of Thomas
Cromwell, who had been his servant, so that no treason could be fixed
upon him.  He remained in his retirement at Esher until about Easter,
1530, when he was ordered to repair to his diocese of York, where, in
November of the same year, he was arrested by the Earl of Northumberland
for high treason, and committed to the custody of the Lieutenant of the
Tower, who had orders to bring him to London.  This so affected his mind
that he fell sick at Sheffield, in the Earl of Shrewsbury’s house,
whence, by short stages, he went as far as Leicester, where he is said
to have taken poison, which no one knowing his really pusillanimous
character will believe; however, he died on November 29, 1530, and was
buried in the Abbey of Leicester.  The words attributed to him as his
last utterances, that if he had served God as he had served his King, he
would not be thus forsaken, were false in substance and contemptible in
form.  He never served the King but when it served his own purposes, and
a mean-spirited coward only would have attributed his fall to such a
cause.  He fell most ignominiously, without even an attempt of
resistance against the King’s arbitrary decrees, without a struggle to
reassert his former ascendancy over his royal master.  But probably the
ascendancy was irrecoverable; he had himself resigned it when he
surrendered his palace of Hampton Court to Henry in an access of
cowardly panic; and no ascendancy which is not moral or intellectual
ever has any vitality in it, and that of Wolsey over the King had never
been any other than that of the practised debauchee over the unpractised
one.  Wolsey was Henry’s senior by twenty years.  When the pupil had
become as depraved as his teacher, he required his assistance no longer,
and in moments of reflection, which come to the most frivolous, he must
have felt how debased such teaching had been, and the greater its
iniquity the greater the pupil’s abhorrence of the instructor, whose
constant presence must act as a perpetual reproach; when the orange is
sucked dry, the shapeless husk becomes an offensive object to look at.

Cardinal Wolsey is credited with a love of learning and schemes to
promote it, as his foundation of a college at Oxford, now Christ Church,
which, however, he only partly accomplished, and his school at Ipswich.
But these were not so much establishments to advance learning as to
support and glorify the Church, of which he was the chief pillar and
personal representative, and which therefore it was his pride and
interest to strengthen and exalt, even at some personal sacrifice.

Such was the man who built the palace of Hampton Court, to the
description and history of which we must now proceed.

We stated above that immediately on having entered into possession of
the estate, Wolsey pulled down the ancient manor-house; early in 1515 he
began the new buildings.  All researches have failed to bring to light
the architect employed by the Cardinal.  The name of James Bettes occurs
as master of the works, as also that of Nicholas Townley as chief
comptroller, and that of Laurence Stubbes, paymaster of the works, and
that of Henry Williams, surveyor; but probably the design of Hampton
Court must be attributed to Wolsey himself, who had the examples of
other mediæval prelatic builders to guide him.  In fact, we are inclined
to think that the entrance to the first court was somewhat of an
imitation of the centre of Esher Place, on the river Mole, a building
erected by William of Waynfleet, Bishop of Winchester, in 1447.  Of this
building nothing now remains but the two octagonal towers of the centre,
just as the gateway of Wolsey’s college at Ipswich only remains, which
also bears a striking resemblance to that of Esher Place.

One of the distinguishing features of Wolsey’s palace at Hampton Court
was that it did not present to the beholder a moat,[#] a drawbridge, or
loopholes, or frowning battlements or watch-towers, without which up to
that time no nobleman had thought of erecting a mansion.  Wolsey, being
a Churchman, naturally selected the monastic style, and the first and
second courts, all that remains of Wolsey’s original building, display
it in all its picturesque features.  At present the palace consists of
three courts, the two just referred to, and the third, built by William
III., comprising the buildings surrounding the Fountain Court.  On the
north side of the palace there are a number of minor courts and
passages, around which are grouped domestic offices, stables, and other
dependencies of a large mansion.


[#] In Law’s ’History of Hampton Court Palace’ we are told that a moat
surrounded the whole of the palace, but Hollar’s view of it (_temp._
Henry VIII.) shows no indication of one.


And here by way of interscript, though the reader may have seen that we
hold Cardinal Wolsey’s character as a Churchman in but slight
estimation, we must give him credit for proofs of æsthetic culture,
which was unusual in his age, when even the most affluent nobles of the
land lived in a state of rude habits and surroundings.  At the
conclusion of the reign of Henry VII. the annual expenses of the
powerful family of Percy scarcely exceeded the sum of £1,100.  The
furniture of even princely households was coarse and comfortless; homely
plenty and stately reserve in their entertainments was the rule.  The
love of pomp and refined pleasure must have been acquired by Wolsey
through his visits and residences abroad, and though he indulged in both
from personal inclination and political purpose, yet, whatever his
motive, his practice led to the amelioration of national taste and
manners favourable to the growth of art and the development and advance
of home industries.  His palace became an example of an interior
arrangement suited to liberal, polished, and dignified entertainment.
It afforded hints for the improvement of domestic architecture.  Till
then the attainment of security had been the chief object of the
builder; the times having become less turbulent, the external and
internal embellishment and comfort of the mansion, no longer a mere
castle, became the ruling principle, and Wolsey led the way in these
improvements in the palace he built at Hampton.

Originally, as Camden and Hentzner assert, there were five courts.
Camden calls them ’large’ courts, and the palace is traditionally said
to have extended further towards the east, but this is very doubtful;
probably the ground-plan of the palace now embraces as much space as it
did at any time.  As stated above, it now consists of three courts; but
there are several minor courts appertaining to parts of the original
structure, and it is possible that Camden, when he called the courts
large, had the really large ones in his mind, and that Hentzner, the
German traveller, who visited England in 1598, and greatly admired all
he saw amongst us, included them in his enumeration, so as to justify
the eulogy he bestows on the palace. ’The rooms,’ he said, ’being very
numerous [there are altogether about 1,000 rooms in the palace], are
adorned with tapestry of gold, silver, and velvet, in some of which were
woven history pieces; in others, Turkish and Armenian dresses, all
extremely natural.  In one chamber are several excessively rich
tapestries, which are hung up when the Queen [Elizabeth] gives audience
to foreign ambassadors.  All the walls of the palace shine with gold and
silver.  Here is likewise a certain cabinet, called ’Paradise,’ where,
besides that everything glitters so with silver, gold, and jewels as to
dazzle one’s eyes, there is a musical instrument made all of glass
except the strings....  The chapel of this palace is most splendid, in
which the Queen’s closet is quite transparent, having its windows of
crystal.... In her bedchamber the bed was covered with very costly
coverlids of silk.  At no great distance from this room we were shown a
bed, the tester of which was worked by Anne Boleyn, and presented by her
to her husband, Henry VIII....  In the hall are these curiosities: a
very clear looking-glass, ornamented with columns and little images of
alabaster; a portrait of Edward VI., brother to Queen Elizabeth; the
true portrait of Lucretia; a picture of the battle of Pavia; the history
of Christ’s passion, carved in mother-of-pearl; the portrait of Mary
Queen of Scots; the picture of Ferdinand, Prince of Spain, and of
Philip, his son; that of Henry VIII., under which was placed the Bible,
curiously written upon parchment; an artificial sphere; several musical
instruments.  In the tapestry are represented negroes riding upon
elephants; the bed in which Edward VI. is said to have been born, and
where his mother, Jane Seymour, died in childbed.’  Grotius (b. 1583, d.
1645) also described it as the most splendid palace in Europe.  Says he:
’If e’er a Briton what is wealth don’t know, let him repair to Hampton
Court, and then view all the palaces of the earth, when he will say:
"Those are the residences of Kings, but this of the gods."’

The above descriptions, of course, apply to a period posterior to the
occupation of the palace by Wolsey, but we shall presently see how great
was its splendour in the days of the Cardinal, before the alterations
made by Henry VIII., who wished as much as possible to extinguish
Wolsey’s memory; but the old dark-red brick walls, with still darker
lines of bricks in diamond shapes running along them, the mixture of
Gothic archways and square mullioned windows, the turrets and cupolas,
and tall twisted and cross-banded chimneys of the first and second
courts, all belong to the period of Wolsey.

Let us enter these courts.

The usual approach to the palace is from the west. Here on the right and
left are seen ranges of subordinate chambers and domestic offices,
which, it would seem, appear formerly to have taken a wider circuit than
at present, as on Hampton Court Green are many coeval buildings,
including a handsome gateway.  The kitchens with their dependent offices
were on the north side of the palace, where they still remain, and are
provided with avenues and suitable passages, communicating with the
great hall and principal rooms.  The entrance to this office range is by
a plain but handsome gateway in the western front, to the left of the
chief gateway, which gives admittance to the first court. This gateway,
built of brick, with stone embellishments, has over the portal a
bay-window, adorned with the royal arms, and divided by mullioned
compartments into two series of lights.  This central division of the
west front is flanked by octagon towers.  The gateway was originally
provided with fine oak gates; these were for many years put aside as
lumber, but have lately been rehung, after undergoing careful repair.
They are of massive dimensions, are ornamented with the usual linen-fold
pattern, and are evidently of Wolsey’s time.  Their outer face is
pierced with shot and bullet holes, which may have been occasioned
during the skirmishes in the civil wars, when fighting was going on
outside the palace between the Cavaliers and Roundheads, or, as has been
suggested, the holes may have been made through the gates having been
set up as targets for the villagers of Hampton.  Before then bows and
arrows were the arms used in war, but it appears that during the great
rebellion the practice of archery fell into disrepute.  However, at the
restoration of Charles II. the noble sport was again revived; in 1682
the Finsbury archers marched to Hampton Court, and there, in front of
the palace, shot for prizes. Charles II. patronized their exercise by
his presence, but the day being rainy, after staying for about two hours
he was obliged to quit the field.  There is nothing new under the sun; a
modern military commander stopped a review on account of the rain!  He
should have taken an example by the British workman, who scorns to carry
an umbrella, whilst the foreign mason or carpenter never goes to his
work without one should the day look threatening.

Through the portal just mentioned you enter the first or entrance court,
which is 167 feet 2 inches from north to south, and 162 feet 7 inches
from east to west. On the west side of this court is a bay-window,
corresponding in character with that over the west front of the arched
entrance, and, like that, enriched with the royal arms; on the turrets
are placed the initials E.R. Over the portal in the centre is a
bay-window of considerable beauty, with octangular towers on each side,
and on the face of the towers are introduced busts of Roman emperors in
terra cotta, which had been sent to Cardinal Wolsey by Leo X.  On the
left is seen the western end of the Great Hall, which here has a broad
and richly designed window.  In this court also are rooms appropriated
to families who have obtained small Government pensions.

Through a groined archway, finely ornamented, we pass to the second or
middle, or Clock Tower court. This court is somewhat smaller than the
former, measuring 133 feet from north to south, and about 100 feet from
east to west.  The exterior of the buildings surrounding this court
appears to have experienced little alteration since the days of the
founder.  The general effect of this court is superb.  The eastern side
comprises a third portal, flanked with octangular turrets, and is of
greater richness than the preceding fronts. On the face of each turret
are again introduced busts of the Cæsars.  Some repairs were effected in
this division by George II. in 1732, as is signified by an inscription
on the exterior.  On the north side is the Great Hall.  Wolsey had
projected it; it formed so important a feature in the design of the
mansion, that the exterior walls may safely be ascribed to the Cardinal,
but he did not live to finish the work; the interior was not completed
till 1536, by Henry VIII.  It is 106 feet long, 40 wide, and 60 high.
The roof is elaborately carved.  There are seven large windows on one
side and six on the other, with a large window at each end.  A
bay-window on the daïs, extending from the upper part of the wall nearly
to the floor, contributes greatly to the cheerful aspect of the hall.
The window at the eastern end is an oriel window, divided into
compartments by mullions of stone.  There was formerly a lantern in the
roof, but, for some reason unexplained, it was removed; the compartment,
however, whence it took its springing remains.  Near the east end of the
hall is the withdrawing room, of noble dimensions, and displaying
externally, as well as internally, more of the character of the ancient
structure than any other room of equal extent throughout the palace.

A highly interesting object in this court is the astronomical clock in
the tower and gateway giving access to the third court.  The original
clock was, according to a notice engraved on the wrought-iron framework,
put up in 1540 by N.O.  Who is meant by these initials is quite unknown.
It was, till its removal, the oldest clock in England that kept pretty
correct time.  From an entry mentioned in Wood’s ’Curiosities of Clocks
and Watches,’ we learn that a payment was made in 1575 to one George
Gaver, ’serjeant painter,’ ’for painting the great dial at Hampton Court
Palace, containing hours of the day and night, the course of the sun and
moon.’  No doubt since Gaver decorated the dial-plate many clockmakers
must have repaired and altered the works.  In 1649 a striking part had
been added to the works.  In 1711 it was found that in consequence of
the removal of certain wheels and pinions, probably by ignorant or
careless workmen, the clock could not for a long time past have
performed its functions correctly.  It seems indeed to have been left
neglected for many years.  Somewhere in the thirties of this century G.
P. R. James, the novelist, addressed a poem of eleven stanzas to the
’Old Clock without Hands at Hampton Court.’  The first and last stanzas
we reproduce, not for their merit, but because apposite to our subject:

    ’Memento of the bygone hours,
        Dost thou recall alone the past?
    Why stand’st thou silent midst these towers,
        Where time still flies so fast?
      *      *      *      *      *
    ’The future?  Yes! at least to me
        Thus plainly thus thy moral stands!
    Good deeds mark hours!  Let not life be
        A dial without hands!’


In 1835 the works of the old clock were removed, but what became of them
is not known; probably they were sold for old brass and iron.  A new
clock was put up, and on the removal of this in 1880 there was found
this inscription on the works: ’This clock, originally made for the
Queen’s Palace in St. James’ Park, and for many years in use there, was
A.D. 1835, by command of His Majesty King William IV., altered and
adapted to suit Hampton Court Palace by B. L. Vulliamy, clockmaker to
the King’; and on another plate on the clock: ’Vulliamy, London, No.
352, A.D. 1799.’  Vulliamy’s address was 74, Pall Mall, which was then
the first house at the south-western end of the street, next to the
entrance-gates to Marlborough House.  The motive power of this clock had
evidently not been sufficient to drive in addition the astronomical
dial, and the useless dial had been taken down and stowed away in a
workshop in the palace, the gap left being filled by a painted board.
This antiquated timepiece was entirely removed, and in 1880 a new clock
erected by Messrs. Gillett and Bland, which shows not only the hours of
the day and night, but also the day of the month, the motion of the sun
and moon, the age of the moon, its phases and quarters, and other
interesting matters connected with lunar movements.  The dial is
composed of three separate copper discs of various sizes, with a common
centre, but revolving at various rates.

We have yet to notice on the south side of this court the colonnade,
supported by Ionic columns, built by Sir Christopher Wren; the effect
produced by the introduction of this classical colonnade amidst the
venerable turrets and parapets of Wolsey’s building is discordant and
unpleasing.  But William III. would have it so, and the great architect
had to comply.

We will now pass through the gateway leading into the third or Fountain
Court.  Here we are surrounded by a totally different style of
architecture, again that of William III.  Wren had been appointed to the
office of Surveyor-General of His Majesty’s Works in 1668, and employed
by him to pull down part of the old palace, and to build in its place
the quadrangle now under notice.  It is not a favourable specimen of his
art.  The studies made by him from the buildings of Louis XIV. had but
too visible an effect on his palaces and private buildings, so that, as
Horace Walpole says, ’it may be considered fortunate that the French
built only palaces, and not churches, and therefore St. Paul’s escaped,
though Hampton Court was sacrificed to the god of false taste.’  But the
King’s fancies were paramount, though he readily took the blame on
himself, for when the arrangement of the low cloisters in the Fountain
Court was criticised, he admitted that it was due entirely to his
orders.

The Fountain Court is nearly a square, more than 100 feet each way.  In
the centre there is a fountain playing in a circular basin.  This court
occupies the site of the chief or grand court, which was described by
Hentzner in the reign of Queen Elizabeth as ’paved with square stone,
and having in its centre a fountain, finished in 1590, which throws up
water, covered with a gilt crown, on the top of which is a statue of
Justice, supported by columns of black and white marble.’  The
alterations were made gradually; the south and east sides of the old
court were first taken down, and the present state apartments in those
divisions erected. The west and north sides, comprising a room of
communication 109 feet in length, and the Queen’s Guard Chamber and
Great Presence Chamber, retain internal marks of ancient structure; but
a new front was given to the whole by Sir Christopher Wren.  As we are
not writing a guide-book, we need not enter into a description of the
state apartments, or of the external appearance of the building
containing them; it will be sufficient to mention that this modern
portion of Hampton Court was commenced in 1690, and finished in 1694;
that the south and eastern façades are each about 330 feet long; that
the eastern front faces the grand gravel walk, open to the public;
whilst the south front opens on the Privy Garden, which was sunk 10 feet
for the purpose of obtaining from the lower apartments a view of the
river Thames.

Of the state of the gardens and park, about 44 acres in extent,
surrounding the palace and forming a regular peninsula, the east and
west sides being entirely enclosed by the Thames, whilst the northern
boundary is formed by the road from Kingston—of the then state of the
gardens and park we have but scanty accounts, but they no doubt
corresponded in beauty, as far as the comparatively short time of his
occupancy of the palace would allow him, with Wolsey’s sumptuous pile.
Certes the situation did not seem inviting. The Thames, so lovely in
many of its windings, is here skirted on both shores by a dull expanse
of level woodless soil, which the utmost efforts of taste and skill
seemed scarcely able to render picturesque, and in the time of the
founder of the palace, and even in the days of Henry VIII., landscape
gardening had not yet become an art.  At that period a park was chiefly
valued for the security of lair it afforded to the deer sheltered in the
royal chase.  An old guide to Hampton Court of the year 1774 says that
’notwithstanding the immediate vicinity of the Thames, the park and
garden are not in the least incommoded by the rise of the waters, which
in other places is too often occasioned by sudden floods, and though not
far from the reflux of the tides, yet they are at such a convenient
distance as never to be influenced by any impurities which the flowing
of the tides is apt to create.’  This may have been one of the reasons
which induced Wolsey’s hygienic advisers to select the spot for its
salubrity.

The gardens were greatly improved by Elizabeth and Charles II.  Norden,
writing in the time of the former, describes the enclosures appertaining
to the palace as comprising two parks, ’the one of deer, the other of
hares,’ both of which were environed with brick walls, except the south
side of the former, which was paled and encircled by the Thames.  A
survey, made in 1653, divides these enclosures nominally into Bushey Old
Park, the New Park, the Middle or North Park, the Hare-warren and
Hampton Court course.  This latter division seems to have comprised the
district now termed Hampton Court Park.  But it was not till the reign
of William III. that the grounds were brought to the perfection in which
we see them now.  They are in his favourite, the Dutch, style—lawns,
shaped with mathematical precision, bordered by evergreens, placed at
regular distances; straight canals; broad gravel walks, statues, and
vases.  At this period the art of clipping yew and other trees into
regular figures and fantastic shapes reached its highest point, and was
greatly favoured by the King.  But he also laid out and planted the
’Wilderness’ to hide the many smaller buildings, outhouses, courts, and
passages to the north of the palace.  In this part of the grounds is the
maze. A broad gravel walk extends from the Lion Gates, which give
admission from the Kingston road to the gardens and to the Thames.
These gates, adjoining the King’s Arms inn, are very handsome, being
designed in a bold and elegant style.  The large stone piers are richly
decorated, their cornices supported by fluted columns, and surmounted by
two colossal lions, couchant. The elegant ironwork of the gates was the
work of Huntingdon Shaw.[#]  At the south-west corner of the gardens is
the pavilion, erected by Sir Christopher Wren, and occasionally occupied
by the rangers of the park.  Throughout the park there are fine trees,
and here and there masses of verdure less formally disposed. There may
also be seen some lines of fortifications, which were originally
constructed for the purpose of teaching the art of war to William, Duke
of Cumberland, when a boy—the same Duke who afterwards became so famous
in the Scottish rising of 1745.  In the centre of the park there is a
stud-house, founded by the Stuarts, but greatly extended in its
operations of breeding race-horses by George IV.  The cream-coloured
horses used on state occasions by the Sovereign are kept here.  They are
descended from those brought over from Hanover by the princes of the
Brunswick line; they are the last representatives of the Flemish horses,
once so fashionable.  The canal in the grounds is fed by the Cardinal’s
or Queen’s River, issuing from the river Colne, near Longford, and
passing over Hounslow Heath and through Hanworth and Bushey Parks.


[#] Or, according to Mr. Law, of Jean Tijou, a Frenchman.


We stated, when mentioning the reasons which induced Cardinal Wolsey to
fix on Hampton Court as his future residence, that the springs in Coombe
Wood supplied excellent water; with this water the palace is supplied.
It is brought to it in leaden pipes, for which some 250 tons of lead
were employed, and as that metal was then £5 per ton, the cost of the
material alone amounted to a large sum; the pipes pass under the
Hogsmill River, near Kingston, and under the Thames at a short distance
from the palace, and their whole length is upwards of three miles, so
that Mr. Law, the latest historian of Hampton Court, may not be far out
in estimating the cost of the whole work at something like £50,000 of
our present money.

The tennis-court, said to be the largest and most complete in Europe, is
where Charles I. passed many hours of his captivity when detained a
prisoner, or quasi-prisoner, by the Parliament.

The Home Park is separated from the gardens by a modern iron railing,
600 yards long, having at every 50 yards wrought-iron gates, 7 feet
high, of most elegant workmanship, and some ornamented with the initials
of William and Mary; others with the thistle, rose, and harp.  They were
erected by William III.



                           *II.—ITS MASTERS.*


In the foregoing description of the palace and grounds several
historical incidents have already been introduced, but such casual
notices are insufficient for our purpose; the topographical warp and
woof of our canvas has to be embroidered with the facts—nay, the
romance—of human action to present a living picture of the past, to put
animation and reality into the silent shadows which flit around us on
all sides.  We therefore proceed to enter into details, within the
limits of our space, of the lives and fortunes of those persons whose
connection with the palace invest it with a personal interest.

We have seen that Wolsey lived in regal splendour at Hampton Court—nay,
his train, his furniture, were more numerous and gorgeous than that of
the King, which at an early stage roused the latter’s envy.  The
Cardinal had no less than 800 persons in his suite.  In his hall he
maintained three boards with three several officers: a steward who was a
priest, a treasurer who was a knight, and a comptroller who was an
esquire; also a confessor, a doctor, three marshals, three ushers of the
halls, and two almoners and grooms.  In the hall kitchen were two
clerks, a clerk comptroller and surveyor of the dresser, a clerk of the
spicery; also two cooks with assistant labourers and children turnspits,
four men of the scullery, two yeomen of the pastry, and two paste-layers
under them.  In his own kitchen was a master cook, who was attired daily
in velvet or satin, and wore a gold chain, under whom were two cooks and
six assistants; in the larder, a yeoman and a groom; in the scullery, a
yeoman and two grooms; in the ewry (linen-room), two yeomen and two
grooms; in the cellar, three yeomen and three pages; in the chandry
(candle-room), two yeomen; in the wardrobe of the dormitory, the master
of the wardrobe and twenty different officers; in the laundry, a yeoman,
groom and thirteen pages, two yeomen purveyors and a groom purveyor; in
the bakehouse, two yeomen and two grooms; in the wood-yard, one yeoman
and a groom; in the barn, one yeoman; at the gate, two yeomen and two
grooms; a yeoman in the barge and a master of the horse; a clerk of the
stables and a yeoman of the same; a farrier and a yeoman of the stirrup;
a maltster and sixteen grooms, every one keeping four horses.  In the
Cardinal’s great chamber and in his privy chamber were the chief
chamberlain, a vice-chamberlain, and two gentlemen ushers; there were
also six gentlemen waiters and twelve yeomen waiters.  At the head of
all these people, ministering to the state of this priest of a religion
whose founder had not where to lay His head, as he must often have
proclaimed from the pulpit in his preaching days, were nine or ten
lords, with each their two or three servants.  There were also gentlemen
cup-bearers, gentlemen carvers, six yeomen ushers and eight grooms of
his chamber.  In addition to these there were twelve doctors and
chaplains, the clerk of the closet, two secretaries, two clerks of the
signet, and four counsellors learned in the law.  He also retained a
riding-clerk, a clerk of the crown, a clerk of the hamper, fourteen
footmen ’garnished with rich riding-coats.’  He had a herald-at-arms, a
physician, an apothecary, four minstrels, a keeper of his tents; he also
kept a fool.  All these were in daily attendance, for whom were
continually provided eight tables for the chamberlains and gentlemen
officers, and two other tables, one for the young lords and another for
the sons of gentlemen who were in his suite.

Such is the account given of the Cardinal’s household. Of his own daily
habits we are told: The Cardinal rose early, and as soon as he came out
of his bed-chamber he generally heard two masses.  Then he made various
necessary arrangements for the day, and about eight o’clock left his
privy chamber ready dressed in the red robes of a Cardinal, his upper
garment being of scarlet or else of fine crimson taffeta or satin, with
a black velvet tippet of sables about his neck, and holding in his hand
an orange, deprived of its internal substance, and filled with a piece
of sponge, wetted with vinegar and other confections against pestilent
airs (surely there could not be any at Hampton Court, chosen because of
its very salubrity!), which he commonly held to his nose when he came to
the presses (crowds) or was pestered with many suitors.  (Were such
unsavoury people allowed to come between the wind and his nobility?)
This may account for so many portraits representing him with an orange
in his hand.  The Great Seal of England and the Cardinal’s hat were both
borne before him by ’some lord or some gentleman of worship right
solemnly,’ and as soon as he entered the presence chamber, the two tall
priests with the two tall crosses were ready to attend upon him, with
gentlemen ushers going before him bare-headed, and crying: ’On, masters,
before, and make room for my lord!’  The crowd thus called on consisted
not only of common suitors, but often of peers of the realm, who chose,
or by circumstances were obliged, thus to crouch to an upstart.  In this
state the Cardinal proceeded down his hall, with a sergeant-at-arms
before him, carrying a large silver mace, and two gentlemen, each
carrying a large plate of silver.  On his arrival at the gate or
hall-door, he found his mule ready, covered with crimson velvet
trappings.  The cavalcade which accompanied him when he took the air or
went to preside over some meeting was of course equally pompous,
consisting of men-at-arms and a long train of nobility and gentry.

Fancy what a life to lead day after day!  None but the vainest of
coxcombs, the most conceited, arrogant, and ostentatious of small-minded
parvenus, could have borne it for any length of time.  But it agreed
with Wolsey’s shoddy greatness; he delighted in all that has ever
delighted small minds—idle show and pompous exhibitions.  Both at
Whitehall and Hampton Court he held high revel, as we learn from George
Cavendish, his gentleman usher, especially when the King paid him a
visit.  ’At such times,’ says Cavendish, ’there wanted no preparations
or goodly furniture, with viands of the finest sorts ... such pleasures
were then devised for the King’s comfort and consolation as might be
invented or by man’s wit designed.’  Of course, Cavendish wrote like the
flunkey he was: ’The banquets were set forth with masks and mummeries in
so gorgeous a sort and costly manner that it was a heaven to behold.’

Pageantry has indeed at all times been the device of rogues to catch
fools.  Of course, sometimes the rogue takes as much pleasure in getting
up and participating in the show as the fool does in beholding it.
Wolsey took delight in it, because it enabled him to display his wealth;
but there was also policy in it when such display seemed to prove his
loyalty.  But the exhibition is not without its dangers.  When it is
made to a man who is envious and covetous, and, moreover, has not only
the will but the power to gratify his avaricious longings, the risk is
very great.  As we have already seen, it was fatal in Wolsey’s case.  He
had to surrender Hampton Court to Henry VIII. much as a traveller gives
up his purse and watch to the well-armed highwayman.  True, for this
truly princely present Henry bestowed upon Wolsey the manor-house of
Richmond, an old and favourite residence of his predecessor, Henry VII.,
and also of Henry VIII. himself in the early part of his reign; but it
was particularly galling to the ancient servants of Henry VII. to see
the recent habitation of their Sovereign occupied by one whom they
considered an upstart, and they joined in the popular outcry against
Wolsey, concerning whom it was remarked that strange things had come to
pass since ’a bocher’s dog should live in the manor of Richmond.’

But though the palace of Hampton Court was now the King’s property,
Wolsey’s connection with it was not totally severed from it at once.  In
1527 Wolsey, by the desire of the King, feasted the ambassadors from the
King of France in the building.  The preparations for, and the feast
itself, are related with terrible prolixity by the gentleman usher
Cavendish, already quoted; as his description gives a fair specimen of
what was then a grand banquet, we quote from it the following passages:

’Then there was made great preparation for this great assembly at
Hampton Court.  The Cardinal called before him his principal officers,
as steward, treasurer, controller and clerk of his kitchen ...
commanding them neither to spare for any cost, expense, or travail, to
make such a triumphant banquet as they might not only wonder at it here,
but also make a glorious report of it in their country....  They sent
out caters, purveyors, and divers other persons; they also sent for all
the expert cooks within London or elsewhere.  The purveyors provided,
and my lord’s friends sent in such provision as one would wonder to have
seen.  The cooks wrought both day and night with subtleties and many
crafty devices; the yeomen and grooms of the wardrobe were busy in
hanging of the chambers and furnishing the same with beds of silk and
other furniture. Then wrought the carpenters, joiners, masons, and all
other artificers.  There was the carriage and re-carriage of plate,
stuff, and other rich implements.  There was also provided two hundred
and eighty beds furnished with all manner of furniture to them
belonging.... The day was come to the Frenchmen assigned, and they ready
assembled before the hour of their appointment, whereof the officers
caused them to ride to Hanworth, a park of the King’s within three
miles, there to hunt and spend the day until night, at which time they
returned to Hampton Court, and every one of them was conveyed to their
several chambers, having in them great fires, and wine to their comfort
and relief.  The chambers where they supped and banqueted were ordered
in this sort: first the great waiting chamber was hanged with rich
arras, as all others were, and furnished with tall yeomen to serve.
There were set tables round about the chamber, banquetwise covered; a
cupboard was there garnished with white plate, having also in the same
chamber, to give the more light, four great plates of silver set with
great lights, and a great fire of wood and coals.  The next chamber,
being the chamber of presence, was hanged with rich arras, and a
sumptuous cloth of estate furnished with many goodly gentlemen to serve
the tables.  Then there was a cupboard being as long as the chamber was
broad, garnished with gilt plate and gold plate, and a pair of silver
candlesticks gilt, curiously wrought, and which cost three hundred
marks.  This cupboard was barred round about, that no man could come
nigh it, for there was none of this plate touched in this banquet, for
there was sufficient besides.  The plates on the walls were of silver
gilt, having in them large wax candles to give light.  When supper was
ready the principal officers caused the trumpeters to blow; the officers
conducted the guests from their chambers into the supper rooms, and when
they all had sat down their service came up in such abundance, both
costly and full of subtleties, with such pleasant music, that the
Frenchmen (as it seemed) were wrapt into a heavenly paradise.  You must
understand that my lord Cardinal had not yet come, but he came in before
the second course, booted and spurred, and bade them "preface" [a
contraction of four French words, meaning "Much good may it do you!"],
at whose coming there was great joy, every man rising from his place.
He, the Cardinal, being in his apparel as he rode [why he did so is not
very clear], called for a chair, and sat among them as merry as ever he
had been seen.  The second course with many dishes, subtleties, and
devices, above a hundred in number, which were of such goodly proportion
and so costly, that I think the Frenchmen never saw the like.  There
were castles with images; beasts, birds, and personages most lively
made; a chessboard of spiced plate with men thereof, which was put into
a case to be taken to France.  Then took my lord a bowl of gold filled
with ippocrass, and drank to his lord the King, and next to the King of
France. The guests, of course, did the same, and the cups went so
merrily around that many of the Frenchmen were fain to be led to their
beds.  Then rose up my lord, went into his privy chamber to pull off his
boots, and then went he to supper, making a slight repast, and then
rejoined his guests, and used them so lovingly and familiarly that they
could not commend him too much.’  Cavendish’s account of the banquet,
which he evidently wrote _con amore_, is much longer than our extract,
and that probably is too long for our readers.  To them we apologize for
entertaining (?) them with so tedious a description of trivialities,[#]
but in a special historic précis of Hampton Court such details must
necessarily be inserted, just as in making an inventory of the contents
of a mansion, not the grand furniture of the drawing and dining-room
only has to be enumerated, but also the humble pots and pans of the
scullery.


[#] In the Middle Ages and Renaissance days banquets, masks and revels
were thought a great deal of; yea, so great was the rage for them that
nowhere were masks more frequently performed than at the very last place
one would expect them to be indulged in, namely, at the Inns of Court,
where grave and learned lawyers, under the presidency of the Master of
the Revels—an office which led more readily to knighthood than
professional merit—discussed the cut and colour of the shepherdesses’
kirtles.  Whoso likes to read of such doings will find plenty about them
in the ’Progresses of Queen Elizabeth,’ and in Whitelock’s ’Memorials.’
An account of the revival of the ’Maske of Flowers’ at Gray’s Inn in
July, 1887, will be found in the journals of that date.


The banquet just described took place, as already mentioned, after
Wolsey’s surrender of the palace to the King, and by the latter’s
orders.  Henry VIII. no doubt knew that the Cardinal was the man to
carry them out well, for he would take a personal interest and pleasure
in so doing, seeing that the banquets and masques so prevalent in that
King’s reign had nowhere been more magnificently ordered than at Hampton
Court and Whitehall, as already intimated above.  But it is strange that
the King should have abstained from appearing at the banquet given to
his royal friend’s ambassadors.

As soon as Henry had obtained possession of Hampton Court, he began
making extensive alterations in the buildings; the Great Hall as it now
appears was his work.  Having a taste for art,[#] he employed Holbein,
many of whose works are now at Hampton Court. Items of the expenses of
building have come down to us.  Thus in 1527, from February 26 to March
25, there was paid to the Freemason builders, to the master, John
Molton, at 12d. per day, 6s.; to the warden, William Reynolds, at 5s.
the week, 20s.; to the setters, Nicholas Seyworth and three others, at
3s. 8d. per week, 13s. 8d.; to others, at 3s. 4d. the week, 13s. 4d.
Some of the workmen evidently took frequent holidays. The clerk of the
works had 8d. a day, and the writing clerks 6d. each.


[#] A superstition has been cherished from classical days that artistic
and literary culture softens and refines manners. Henry VIII. had both,
and yet what a brute, brutal in every respect, he was!  Dr. Johnson was
another instance of bearishness coupled with learning; and Porson,
soaked though he was with Greek and Latin lore and wisdom, was a savage,
with whom no gentleman could associate for any length of time. _Emolliet
mores_, what a delusion!


The Great Hall was on many occasions during the reign of Henry VIII.
used for royal banquets, but as one banquet is very much like another,
the reader need not be wearied with a repetition of the one already
described: banquets mean eating and drinking, and undergoing the
wet-blanket of dreary speeches one day, and what the Germans elegantly
call ’pussy’s lamentation’ the next.  In 1536 Henry married Jane
Seymour, and in the following year she died at Hampton Court, after
giving birth to Edward VI.  On this occasion the English Bluebeard went
into mourning, and compelled the Court to do the same.  Having been
married to Jane but seventeen months, he had probably not had time to
get tired of her.  He actually remained a widower for some time, but
eventually, in order to strengthen the Protestant cause in England, at
the suggestion of Thomas Cromwell he married, much against his
inclination, the ’Flanders mare,’ Anne of Cleves.  In less than six
months he obtained a divorce from her, and sent Cromwell to the block.
Then in 1540 the ill-fated Catharine Howard was openly shown as the
future Queen at Hampton Court Palace, and the marriage performed with
great pomp and joyous celebrations.  But in less than two years the
royal voluptuary cut off her head on account of faults she had committed
before knowing him.  At Hampton Court also Henry married his last wife,
Lady Catherine Parr, who survived him, but her head was once in great
danger.  She opposed the King on some religious question, and in great
wrath he ordered an impeachment to be drawn up against her; but she,
being warned of her danger, spoke so humbly of the foolishness of her
sex that when the Chancellor came to arrest her Henry ordered the
’beast’ to be gone.

In 1538 Henry VIII., who was particularly fond of hunting, but who was
then so fat and unwieldy that he required special facilities for
following his favourite sport, and needed them close at hand, extended
his chase through fifteen parishes.  These he kept strictly preserved
for his own use, and they were enclosed by a wooden paling, which was
removed after his death, the deer sent to Windsor, and the chase thrown
open.

During the Christmas of 1543, Henry VIII. entertained Francis Gonzaga,
the Viceroy of Sicily, at Hampton Court, and Edward VI. on this occasion
likewise presided, in puerile magnificence, over the table in the high
place of the hall, an occurrence over which grave historians grow quite
enthusiastic, whilst at the same time describing the splendour of the
entertainment. But after reading all this gush it is quite a relief to
come on a passage like the following, showing the seamy side of regal
pomp.  It is from a curious old manuscript, containing some very
singular directions for regulating the household of Henry VIII.:

’His Highness’ baker shall not put alum in the bread, or mix rye, oaten
or bean flour with the same, and if detected he shall be put in the
stocks.  [This prohibition implies that the thing had been done, and by
the King’s own highly-paid baker!]  His Highness’ attendants are not to
steal any locks or keys, tables, forms, cupboards, or other furniture
out of noblemen’s or gentlemen’s houses where they go to visit.  [The
King’s attendants must have been worse than modern burglars, who are not
known to steal tables and cupboards!]  Master cooks shall not employ
such scullions as go about naked, or lie all night on the ground before
the kitchen fire.  ["High life below stairs" was, it would seem, then in
its infancy with scullions going about naked!]  The officers of his
privy chamber shall be loving together, no grudging or grumbling, nor
talking of the King’s pastimes.  [Fancy the officers of the privy
chamber, those grand gentlemen, having to be taught how to behave, and
not to indulge in shindies among themselves, nor, like a parcel of low
lackeys, to sit in judgment on their master’s doings!]  The King’s
barber is enjoined to be cleanly, not to frequent the company of
misguided women, for fear of danger to the King’s royal person.  [A wise
King, knowing that his barber was given to such practices, would have
sent him to the deuce, and given up being shaved!]  There shall be no
romping with the maids on the staircase, by which dishes and other
things are often broken. [The crockery being smashed was his Majesty’s
chief concern in _this_ matter!]  Care shall be taken that the pewter
spoons and the wooden ones used in the kitchen be not broken or stolen.
[What a lot of paltry thieves there must have been in the royal
household!]  The pages shall not interrupt the kitchen maids.  [Those
pages then, as now, must have been awful fellows!]  The grooms shall not
steal his Highness’ straw for beds, sufficient being allowed for them.
[How those grooms, who were, as we have seen, so busy in furnishing the
rooms with 280 beds of silk, must have enjoyed the straw they slept on!]
Coal only to be allowed to the King’s, Queen’s, and Lady Mary’s
chambers.  [Rather hard on the other inmates of the palace!]  The
brewers are not to put any brimstone in the ale.  [His Majesty did not
want to taste sulphur before his time!]’

When the Knights Hospitallers of St. John granted the lease of Hampton
Court to Cardinal Wolsey, they were on or before its expiry prepared to
renew it; but they never had the chance of doing so, for as in 1540
Henry VIII. suppressed all the monasteries and confiscated their
property, the Knights Hospitallers shared that fate, and Hampton Court
became royal property. On Henry’s death the palace was chosen by the
guardians of Edward VI., then a minor, as his residence; he was placed
under the special care of his uncle, the Duke of Somerset, Protector of
the Council of Regency. But serious dissensions arose amidst the
Council, and it was proposed to deprive the Duke of his royal ward, and
an alarm having been given that this was to be done by force, the
household and the inhabitants of Hampton armed themselves for the
protection of the young King.  The Protector, however, removed him to
Windsor Castle, lest the Council should obtain possession of his person.
In 1550 Edward and his attendants removed from London to Hampton Court,
in consequence of an alarm that the ’black death’ had made its
appearance there—in fact, two of Edward’s servants were said to have
died of it.  In 1552 Edward held a chapter of the Order of the Garter at
Hampton Court Palace; the knights went to Windsor in the morning, but
returned to this palace in the evening, where they were royally feasted,
and where Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, was created Duke of Suffolk,
and John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, Duke of Northumberland.

In 1553 Mary I. became Queen of England, and in the following year she
married Philip, son of the Emperor Charles and heir to the Spanish
crown.  This alliance with the leading Catholic Power highly displeased
the English people, and, in fact, they soon began to feel the effects of
Mary’s bigoted adherence to her own, the Roman Catholic, faith.  She and
her husband passed their honeymoon in gloomy retirement at Hampton Court
in 1554, but in 1555 they kept their Christmas there with great
solemnity, and the Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, was
invited as a guest, though there was little love between the two
sisters.  At this Christmas festivity the great hall was illuminated
with 1,000 lamps.  The Princess Elizabeth supped at the same table with
their Majesties, next the cloth of state, and after supper was served
with a perfumed napkin and plate of comfits by Lord Paget; but she
retired with her ladies before the revels, maskings, and disguisings
began.  On St. Stephen’s Day she was permitted to hear matins, or more
likely mass, in the Queen’s closet, where, we are told, she was attired
in a robe of white satin, strung all over with large pearls.  On
December 29 she sat with their Majesties and the nobility at a grand
spectacle of jousting, when 200 lances were broken, half the combatants
being accoutred as Germans and half as Spaniards.

At her accession to the throne Elizabeth made Hampton Court one of her
favourite residences; it was the most richly furnished, and here she
caused her naval victories over the Spaniards to be worked in fine
tapestries.  Here was the scene of her grand festivities, equalling in
splendour those of Henry VIII.  Her ordinary dinner was a solemn affair.
Hentzner thus describes it: ’While she was at prayers, we saw her table
set in the following solemn manner: a gentleman entered the room,
bearing a rod, and along with him another, who had a tablecloth, which,
after they had both knelt down three times with the utmost veneration,
he spread upon the table, and, after kneeling again, they both retired.
[Oh, the contemptible flunkey souls of those days!]  Then came two
others, one with the rod again, the other with a saltcellar, a plate,
and bread; when they had kneeled, as the others had done, and placed
what was brought upon the table, they then retired with the same
ceremonies performed by the first. At last came an unmarried lady (we
were told she was a Countess), and along with her a married one, bearing
a tasting knife, who, when she had prostrated herself three times in the
most graceful manner, approached the table and rubbed the plates with
bread and salt, with as much awe as if the Queen had been present. When
they had waited there a little while, the yeomen of the guard entered,
bareheaded, clothed in scarlet, with a golden rose upon their backs,
bringing in at each turn a course of twenty-four dishes, served in plate
most of it gilt; these dishes were received by a gentleman in the same
order they were brought and placed upon the table, while the lady taster
gave to each of the guard a mouthful to eat of the particular dish he
had brought, for fear of any poison.  During the time that this guard,
which consists of the tallest and stoutest men that can be found in all
England, were bringing dinner, twelve trumpets and two kettle-drums made
the hall ring for half an hour together.’  No wonder that the Maids of
Honour of Queen Elizabeth would, disguised as orange-girls, escape from
the purlieus of the palace, and frequent those of the theatres!  The
tidings of the defeat of the Armada arrived on Michaelmas Day, and were
communicated to the Queen whilst she was at dinner at Hampton Court,
partaking of a goose; hence the origin of partaking of that savoury dish
on Michaelmas Day.  Such is the tradition; but geese were eaten on that
day and about that time of the year before the Armada was dreamt of;
they are then eaten because then in the finest condition.

James I. took up his residence at Hampton Court soon after his arrival
in England, and here in 1604 took place, not revels and masques, but a
conference of Presbyterians and the members of the Established Church;
it lasted three days, and its result was the translation of the Bible,
’appointed to be read in churches.’  But even his ’Sowship’ James I.,
who prided himself on his learning and theological knowledge, was
satisfied with a three days’ conference on so important a question as
was involved in his favourite axiom, ’No Bishop, no King,’ but when it
came to feasting he wanted more time.  When in 1606 he entertained
Francis, Prince of Vaudemont, son of the Duke of Lorraine, and the
noblemen and gentlemen who accompanied him, the feasting and pastimes
occupied fourteen days.  Queen Anne, the wife of James I., died at the
palace of Hampton Court in 1618, and was interred in Westminster Abbey.

Charles I., on his marriage with Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV.
of France, here spent the honeymoon, and the plague then raging in
London (1625) kept the royal pair and the Court, which had followed
them, some time longer at Hampton Court.  Here the King gave audience to
the ambassadors of France and Denmark, as also to an envoy from Gabor,
Prince of Transylvania.[#]  In 1641, when the strife between the two
great political parties—the Cavaliers, siding with the King, and the
Roundheads, or the great mass of farmers, merchants, and shopkeepers,
the Tories and Whigs of the future—was at its height, the London
apprentices, then formidable engines of radical faction, became so
threatening in their conduct towards the Court that Charles retired to
Hampton Court for a time.  But the King’s fate could not be averted, and
in 1647 he was again brought to Hampton Court by the army, and kept
there, not in actual imprisonment, but under restraint, to November 11,
when he made his escape.  John Evelyn, in his ’Diary,’ records a visit
he paid Charles on October 10 in these words: ’I came to Hampton Court,
where I had the honour to kiss His Majesty’s hand, he being now in the
power of those execrable villains, who not long after murdered him.’


[#] In 1621 he had been elected King of Hungary, but afterwards had to
resign that dignity for the inferior one mentioned above.


After the King’s execution, the fine collections of art which once
decorated the walls of Hampton Court were scattered abroad, and now form
the choicest treasures of foreign and private galleries, and the
honour[#] of Hampton Court and the palace were sold in 1651 to a Mr.
John Phelps, a member of the House of Commons, for the sum of £10,765
19s. 9d.; but in 1656 Oliver Cromwell, enriched by the wreck of the
State, again acquired possession of the palace, for which he had a great
predilection, and consequently made it his chief residence.  The
marriage ceremonies of Elizabeth, daughter of Cromwell, with Lord
Falconberg were performed here on November 18, 1657, and in the
following year the Protector’s favourite daughter, Mrs. Claypole, who
disapproved of her father’s doings, here breathed her last.  Hither
Cromwell would repair, when Lord Protector of the realm, to dine with
his officers.  Thurloe thus records the fact: ’Sometimes, as the fit
takes him, he dines with the officers of his army at Hampton Court, and
shows a hundred antic tricks, as throwing cushions at them, and putting
hot coals into their pockets and boots.  At others, before he has half
dined, he gives orders for a drum to beat, and calls in his foot-guards
to snatch off the meat from the table and tear it in pieces, with many
other unaccountable whimsies....  Now he calls for his guards, with whom
he rides out, encompassed behind and before ... and at his return at
night shifts from bed to bed for fear of surprise.’  He was constantly
attended by a dog, who guarded his bedroom door. One morning he found
the dog dead.  He then remembered the prediction a gipsy had made to
Charles I., that on the death of a dog in a room the King was then in,
the kingdom he was about to lose would be restored to his family.  ’The
kingdom is departed from me!’ cried Cromwell, and he died soon after.


[#] Hampton Court had been erected into an honour when it became the
property of Henry VIII.  An honour in law is a lordship, on which
inferior lordships and manors depend by performance of customs and
services.  But no lordships were honours but such as belonged to the
King.


After the Restoration the palace, which of course reverted to the Crown,
was occasionally occupied by Charles II.  Here he spent his honeymoon on
his marriage with Catherine of Braganza.  He had married her for money;
he received with her a dowry of half a million, besides two
fortresses—Tangier in Morocco and Bombay in Hindostan.  He soon
neglected her for Lady Castlemaine and hussies of her character.  Pepys,
indeed, under May 81, 1662, records: ’The Queen is brought a few days
since to Hampton Court, and all people say of her to be a very fine and
handsome lady, and very discreet, and that the King is pleased enough
with her, which I fear will put Madame Castlemaine’s nose out of joint.’
But Pepys was a bad prognosticator on this matter.  The unhappy Queen,
neglected and forgotten, spent most of her time in a small building
which overlooked the river Thames, and was considered a sort of summer
residence.  It was known by the name of the Water Gallery, and occupied
the site in front of what is now the southern façade of King William’s
quadrangle, on whose erection the Water Gallery was entirely removed.

When the great plague of 1665 spread westward in the Metropolis, the
’merry monarch’ and his suite again retired to Hampton Court, where,
like Boccaccio’s Florentines under a similar calamity, they sought
oblivion of fear in a continual succession of festivities. Persons who
are curious on such matters will find an amusing account of those doings
in the autobiography of Sir Ralph Esher, edited by Leigh Hunt.

Pepys, it appears, paid frequent visits to Hampton Court, but was, it
seems, not always well treated. Thus, on July 23, 1665, he writes: ’To
Hampton Court, where I followed the King to chapel and heard a good
sermon....  I was not invited any whither to dinner, though a stranger,
which did also trouble me; but’ (he adds philosophically) ’I must
remember it is a Court....  However, Cutler carried me to Mr.
Marriott’s, the housekeeper, and there we had a very good dinner and
good company, among others Lilly, the painter.’  Pepys was easily
consoled for the snub the ’quality’ treated him to.

James II. also occasionally visited Hampton Court, but the palace was
neglected, and did not actually again become a royal residence till the
accession of William III. and Queen Mary.  He, as we have already
mentioned on a former occasion, made the palace what it now is by
pulling down the buildings erected by Henry VIII., and covering the site
with the present Fountain Court and the State apartments surrounding it.
According to a drawing by Hollar, showing Hampton Court as furnished by
Henry VIII., the eastern front was really picturesque, and agreed
perfectly with the architectural features of Wolsey’s building.  Still,
according to the notions of the seventeenth century, the apartments were
not suitable for a royal residence, especially as William intended to
make it a permanent and not a merely temporary one.  Moreover, the King
took a personal pleasure in building and planting and decorating his
residence.  He determined to create another Loo on the banks of the
Thames.  A wide extent of ground was laid out in formal walks and
parterres; limes, thirty years old, were transplanted from neighbouring
woods to make shady alleys.  The new court rose under the direction of
Wren, and with it the grand eastern and southern fronts.  It is said
that the King once entertained the idea of erecting an entirely new
palace at the west end of the town of Hampton on an elevation distant
about half a mile from the river Thames, but the design was abandoned
from a consideration of the length of time necessary for such an
undertaking.  Horace Walpole informs us that Sir Christopher Wren
submitted another design for the alterations of the ancient palace in a
better taste, which Queen Mary wished to have executed; but she was
overruled.  The same authority says: ’This palace of King William seems
erected in emulation of what is intended to imitate the pompous edifices
of the French monarch.’

Unfortunately for William, he found after a time that Hampton Court was
too far from the Houses of Lords and Commons and the public offices, but
being unable to stand the impure air of London, he took up his residence
at Kensington House, which was then quite in the country.  But he
frequently visited Hampton Court, and it was there he met with the
accident which caused his death.  On February 20, 1702, he was ambling
on a favourite horse named Sorrel through the park.  He urged the horse
to strike into a gallop just at a spot where a mole had been at work.
The horse stumbled and went down on his knees; the King fell off and
broke his collar-bone. The bone was set, and the King returned to
Kensington in his coach; but the jolting of the rough roads made it
necessary to reduce the fracture again.  He never recovered the double
shock to the system, and fever supervening, he died a few days
subsequently.

The Princess of Denmark, afterwards Queen Anne, in this palace gave
birth on July 24, 1689, to the Duke of Gloucester, who died at eleven
years of age, and thus made room for the House of Brunswick.  Anne
occasionally resided here after her accession to the throne.

The Great Hall had in Queen Elizabeth’s time been used as a theatre; it
was fitted up for a similar purpose by George I. in 1718.  It was
intended that plays should have been acted there twice a week during the
summer season by the King’s company of comedians, but the theatre was
not ready till nearly the end of September, and only seven plays were
performed in it in that season.  The first play, acted on September 23,
was ’Hamlet.’  On October 1, curiously enough, ’Henry VIII., or the Fall
of Wolsey,’ was represented on the very spot which had been the scene of
his greatest splendour, recalling the events of the life of the founder
of the princely pile.  The King paid the charges of the representation
and the travelling expenses of the actors, amounting to £50 a night,
besides which he made a present of £200 to the managers for their
trouble.  It was never afterwards used but once for a play, performed on
October 16, 1731, for the entertainment of the Duke of Lorraine,
afterwards Emperor of Germany; but the fittings were not removed till
the year 1798.

In 1829 the parish of Hampton obtained permission of George IV. to fit
up the hall for divine service during the rebuilding of Hampton Church,
and it was so used for about two years.

George II. but seldom visited Hampton Court, and George III. preferred
Kew Palace.  From his time no Sovereign has occupied Hampton Court as a
royal residence.

On November 4, 1793, Richard Tickell, a political writer, who had
apartments in Hampton Court Palace, had been accustomed to sit and read
on a parapet wall or kind of platform in one of the upper rooms.  The
spot was filled with flower-pots.  On the day in question, while his
carriage was waiting to take him and his family to town, his wife having
left him for a moment, on her return missed him, and going to the open
window, saw her husband lying in the garden below on the ground. Before
she could reach him, he had expired.  How the accident happened can
never be known.  He was said to have committed suicide, but there was no
assignable reason for such an act.

The famous vine at Hampton Court, the largest in Europe, was planted
from a slip in the year 1768.  Its fruit, the black Hamburg kind, is
reserved exclusively for the Queen’s table.  The writer of a ’Tour of
England,’ in 1798, says: ’In these gardens is a most remarkably large
vine....  The gardener told me 1,550 bunches of grapes are now hanging
upon it, the whole weight of which is estimated at 972 cwt.’  It bears
the same number of bunches, that is, from 1,500 to 2,000, now.

For the last century or more apartments in Hampton Court Palace have
generally been bestowed on the poorer female members of noble families,
or on the widows of distinguished generals and admirals who have died in
the service of their country.  And several of these apartments contain
large suites of rooms, some of which are compact and self-contained,
whilst in other cases they are inconveniently disconnected.  For the
accommodation of tenants of such suites there survives an ancient Sedan
chair on wheels, drawn by a chairman, and called the ’Push,’ which is
used by ladies going out in the evening from one part of the building to
another.  Of the fifty-three apartments into which the palace is now
divided, some contain as many as forty rooms, with five or six
staircases.

Among the distinguished personages who have at various times found an
asylum within the walls of Hampton Court Palace is William, Prince of
Orange, Hereditary Stadtholder of Holland.  Driven from his country in
1795 by the advancing wave of the French Revolution, he sought refuge in
England; the apartments occupied by him in the palace were those on the
east side of the middle quadrangle.  Gustavus IV., after having in 1810
been deposed from the Swedish throne by Napoleon, came to England, and
occupied a set of apartments here.  He died in February, 1837.

One of the most curious circumstances in connection with the grant of
these apartments is the fact that Dr. Samuel Johnson made application
for one; his letter making it is still extant, and was, I think, first
made known by Mr. Law in his ’History of Hampton Court.’  The letter was
addressed to Lord Hertford (then Lord Chamberlain), and dated ’Bolt
Court, Fleet Street, 11 April, 1776.’  He says in it that hearing that
some of the apartments are now vacant, the grant of one to him would be
considered a great favour, and he bases his claim on his having had the
honour of vindicating his Majesty’s Government.  The reply to it was:
’Lord C. presents his compliments to Mr. Johnson, and is sorry that he
cannot obey his commands, having already on his hands many engagements
unsatisfied.’  The answer sounds somewhat satirical.  But what could Dr.
Johnson mean by making the application?  If we thought him capable of a
huge joke, we might think he meant this for one; but, as he dealt in
small jokes only, we are driven to assume that he wrote seriously. Did
he know what he was asking for?  Supposing his request had been granted,
he would very soon have wished it had been refused.  Fancy Johnson, the
boisterous, arrogant tavern dictator, who considered the chair at a
punch-drinking bout in an inn the throne of human felicity, what would
he have done shut up in an apartment in the palace, in the midst of
haughty dowagers, serious widows, and prim old maids, who would speedily
have complained of the noisy companions who would have looked him up
there!  Had he gone to the King’s Arms or some other hostelry in the
neighbourhood, he would have had to return at early and regular hours.
How could he have submitted to that?  Would he have taken all his old
women with him, and how long would they have been at peace with the
aristocratic ladies inhabiting the palace?  The results of their
accidentally meeting on staircases or in passages are too awful to
contemplate, and Johnson’s application remains an inexplicable enigma.

In 1838, whilst removing one of the old towers built by Wolsey, the
workmen came upon a number of glass bottles, which lay among the
foundation; they were of curious shape, and it has been suggested that
they were buried there to denote the date of the building.

On December 14, 1882, the palace had a narrow escape from destruction.
A suite of eight or nine rooms, in the occupation of a lady, and
overlooking the gardens and the Fountain Court, caught fire at half-past
seven in the morning, it is supposed by the upsetting of a benzoline
lamp in one of the servants’ rooms.  That the authorities should permit
the use of such lamps in the building seems strange, especially in rooms
situate as those were, over the tapestry-room, which adjoins the Picture
Gallery, and contains splendid specimens of Gobelin and other ancient
needlework. The flames spread rapidly through the rooms, and three of
them were entirely burnt out before the firemen, assisted by men of the
4th Hussars, then stationed at the palace, could check the outbreak.
All the other rooms were greatly damaged by fire and water.  But the
saddest part of the occurrence was that one of the servants, the cook,
whilst rushing to the assistance of her fellow-servants, fell senseless
on the floor, overcome by the smoke, and her charred and lifeless body
was only got out when the fire had been subdued.  It is to be hoped that
a cause which might involve a great national loss has now been removed
by prohibition.

In 1839 those parts of the palace which are not occupied by private
residents, and the gardens, were thrown open to the public, and during
the summer months are visited by thousands, who arrive there by rail,
river, van, or, latterly, on the wheel-horse—_vulgo_ bike.  The
permanent residents bitterly complain of these invasions, and not
without reason, seeing how many ’Arrys and ’Arriets come down in holiday
time; but as the palace and gardens are maintained at an expense of
about £11,000 per annum out of the people’s money, the right of visiting
them can scarcely be denied to the public.  Nor can the amount spent on
the place be found fault with; it is a mere trifle in the domestic
house-keeping bill of the nation, and a larger sum is annually wasted in
useless firing off of cannon.  The palace and gardens—

    ’The pleasant place of all festivity,
    The revel of the earth, the masque of’—

Albion, are to us what Venice is to Italy:

    ’... a boast, a marvel, and a show.’
    ’But unto us’

Hampton Court

      ’Hath a spell beyond
    A name in story, and a long array
    Of mighty shadows.’


To us Hampton Court is a type of the progress of the nation from slavery
to freedom, from darkness to light.  Founded to gratify the pride and
self-indulgence of an arrogant and scheming priest, for more than three
centuries Hampton Court was the symbol of oppression on the one side,
and of subjection on the other.  But Time, which works such strange
metamorphoses, has, since the last sixty years, transformed what was
once the exclusive appanage of kings into the playground of the plebs,
and what this change implies may well form a subject of study for
inquiring and philosophical minds. But such study must be based on a
knowledge of facts, an axiom we have kept in view in the compilation of
our topographical and historical notes on the origin, progress, and
final realization of the architectural, political, and social idea
embodied in the monumental pile we have so concisely attempted to
describe, so as to endow the contemplation thereof, in all its phases,
with an intelligent appreciation of the physical and ideal beauties,
together with their importance as an index of national advancement,
which invest with an undying charm the palace and gardens of Hampton
Court.[#]


[#] In Herefordshire, not far from Leominster, there is another Hampton
Court, a spacious mansion of monastic and castellated architecture,
having a fine chapel with open timber roof.  It was built by Sir Rowland
Lenthall, Yeoman of the Robes to Henry IV., who distinguished himself at
the Battle of Agincourt.



                                THE END.



                 BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.



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