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Title: Highways and Byways in London

Author: E. T. Cook

Illustrator: Hugh Thomson
             F. L. Griggs

Release Date: June 3, 2012 [EBook #39875]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Crossing at Piccadilly Circus.

Highways and Byways
in London



First Edition, 1902.
Reprinted, 1903, 1907, 1911, 1920.

(p. vii) CONTENTS











(p. viii) CHAPTER VI










































(p. xii) A BEEFEATER 102



















THE "GODS" 281

(p. xiii) ICE-CREAM BARROW 291



















A JURY 414

(p. xiv) 'BUS DRIVER 415


"BENK, BENK!!" 421








(p. xv) "I confess that I never think of London, which I love, without thinking of that palace which David built for Bathsheba, sitting in hearing of one hundred streams,—streams of thought, of intelligence, of activity. One other thing about London impresses me beyond any other sound I have ever heard, and that is the low, unceasing roar one hears always in the air; it is not a mere accident, like a tempest or a cataract, but it is impressive, because it always indicates human will, and impulse, and conscious movement; and I confess that when I hear it I almost feel as if I were listening to the roaring loom of time."—Lowell.



"London: that great sea whose ebb and flow
At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore
Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more,
Yet in its depths what treasures!"—Shelley.

"Citizens of no mean city."

The history of London is—as was that of Rome in ancient times—the history of the whole civilised world. For, the comparatively small area of earth on which our city is built has, for the last thousand years at least, been all-important in the story of nations. Its chronicles are already so vast that no ordinary library could hope to contain all of them. And what will the history of London be to the student, say, of the year 3000 A.D., when our present day politics, our feelings, our views, have been "rolled round," once more, in "earth's diurnal force," and assume, at last, their fair and true proportions?

In "this northern island, sundered once from all the human (p. 2) race," has for centuries been lit one of the torches that have illumined humanity. Not even Imperial Rome shone with such a lustre; not even the Cæsars in all their purple ruled over such a mighty, such an all-embracing empire.

The history of this mighty empire is bound up with the history of London. For, the history of London is that of England; it was the river, our "Father Thames"—her first and most important highway, a "highway of the nations,"—that brought her from the beginning all her fame and all her glory. Partly by geographical position, partly by ever-increasing political freedom, and partly, no doubt, by the efforts of a dominant race, that glory has, through the centuries, been maintained and aggrandised.

And why, some may ask, is London what it is? Why was this spot specially chosen as the capital? Surrounded by marshes in early Roman times, periodically inundated by its tidal river, densely wooded beyond its marshes, it can hardly have seemed, in the beginning, an ideal site. Why was not Winchester—so important in Roman times, and, later, the capital of Wessex—preferred? Why were not Southampton or Bristol—apparently equally well placed for trade—favoured? We cannot tell. The site may have been chosen by Roman London because it was the most convenient point for passing, and guarding, the ferry or bridge over the Thames, and for keeping up the direct communication between the more northerly cities of Britain, and Rome. Or, the nearer proximity to the large Continent, the better conditions for trade offered by the wide estuary of the Thames, possibly account for London's supremacy.

The early Roman city on this time-honoured site, the poetically named "Augusta,"—that replaced the primitive British village—flourished greatly in the early days of the Christian era, and was large and populous; though the Romans did not consider it their capital, and never—we know not why—created it a "municipium," like Eboracum (York), or Verulamium. It (p. 3) was founded some time after the visit of Julius Cæsar to Britain, B.C. 54, and it occupied a good deal of the area of the present City, extending, however, towards the east as far as the Tower, and bounded on the west by the present Newgate. The old Roman fort stood above the Wallbrook. Here in old days ran a stream of that name, long fouled, diverted, forgotten, and, like the Fleet River, only now remembered by the name given to its ancient haunt. The city of Augusta—or Londinium as Tacitus calls it—has left us hardly a trace of its undoubted splendour. In London, ever living, relics of the past are hard to find. The lapse of centuries has deeply covered the old Roman city level, and what Roman remains exist are generally discovered, either in the muddy bed of the Thames, or at a depth of some twelve to nineteen feet below the present street. Of Roman London there is scarce a trace—a few meagre relics in Museums, a few ancient roots of names still existing, an old bath, traces of a crumbling wall, the fragment that we call "London Stone," the locality of Leadenhall Market (undoubtedly an old "Forum"), and a portion of the old Roman Way of "Watling Street"—the ancient highway from London to Dover—running parallel with noisy Cannon Street.

All this seems, perhaps, little when we think of the undoubted wealth and power of the old "Londinium," or "Augusta." But it has always been the city's fate to have its Past overgrown and stifled by the enthralling energy and life of its Present. It is as a hive that has never been emptied of its successive swarms. This is, more or less, the fate of all towns that "live." The Roman town was, of course, strongly walled, and the names of its gates have descended to us in the present "Ludgate," "Moorgate," "Billingsgate," "Aldgate," &c.—names very familiar to us children of a later age—and now mainly associated with the more prosaic stations on the Underground Railway! Nevertheless, prosaic as they are, these stations commemorate the old localities. Roman London was at no time large in circumference, extending only from the Tower to (p. 4) Aldgate on one side, from the Thames to London Wall on the other. And when the Romans left, and the Saxons, after a brief interval, took their place, the city still did not grow much larger, nor did the blue-eyed and fair-haired invaders contribute much to the decaying fortifications; though it is said that King Alfred—he whose "millenary" we have recently commemorated—restored the walls and the city as a defence against the ravages of the Danes. Saxon London, however, which in its time flourished exceedingly, and existed for some 400 years, is, so far as we are concerned, more dead even than Roman London. Successive fire and ravage have obliterated all traces of it. Norman London, which after the Conquest replaced Saxon London, did not, apparently, differ greatly in externals from its predecessor. The churches were now mainly built of stone, but the picturesque houses were, as we know, despite successive destroying fires, still constructed of wood. From Norman London, we retain the "White Tower,"—that picturesque "keep" of London's ancient fortress—the crypt of Bow Church, and that of St. John's, Clerkenwell, with part of the churches of St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, and St. Ethelburga, Bishopsgate. Little escaped the many great fires that in early times devastated the city.

As for the ancient highways of London, very possibly these did not differ greatly in their course from our modern ones; for the Anglo-Saxon race has always been very conservative in rebuilding its new streets, regardless of symmetry or directness, on the lines of the destroyed ones. At any rate, we know that the original church of St. Paul's—the first of three built on this site, founded by Ethelbert about the year 610—and that of Westminster—altered, rebuilt, and enlarged by successive kings—must have early sanctified these spots, and necessitated thoroughfares between the two. Nay, even in Roman times, temples of Diana and Apollo are believed to have adorned these historic sites. It is strange, indeed, that the old, long-vanished Roman wall, pierced only by a few gates, (p. 5) and the ancient street-plans laid down by the Roman road surveyor, should still keep modern traffic more or less to the old lines. A few new streets have recently been made from north to south, but still the main traffic goes from east to west, owing to the paucity of intersecting thoroughfares. The city of London, as laid out in Roman times, remained, through Saxon and Norman dominion, practically of the same extent and plan as late as the time of Elizabeth, in whose reign there were as many houses within the city walls as without them. Roman influence is still dominant in modern London. The large block of ground without carriage-way about Austin Friars is a consequence of the old Roman wall having afforded no passage. And possibly many of the narrow, jostling City streets have in their day reflected the shade and sun of Roman "insulas," each with its surrounding shops, just as, later, their dimensions may have shrunk between the overhanging, high-gabled houses of Tudor times, to widen again under the tall Stuart palaces of the Restoration.

Sandwich-board Men.

The high antiquity and conservatism of London are shown in nothing more than in these narrow, crooked streets—streets so different from those of any other big metropolis—streets that our American cousins, in all the superiority of their regular "block" system, permit themselves to jeer at! We know, however, little for certain of the actual topography of London streets, until the important publication of Ralph Aggas's map in 1563, soon after Elizabeth had begun to reign. This map of "Civitas Londinium" is strange enough to look at in our own day. Its main arteries are the same as ours: the ancient highway of the Strand is still the Strand; those of "Chepe" and "Fleete" still flourish; Oxford Street, then the "Oxford Road" and "The Waye to Uxbridge," ran between hedgerows and pastures, in which, according to Aggas, grotesque beasts sported; the thoroughfare of the "Hay Market,"—not yet, indeed, "a scene of revelry by night,"—curves between vast meadows, in one of which a woman of gigantic size appears to be engaged in (p. 6) spreading clothes to dry; Piccadilly, at what is now the "Circus," is merely called "The Waye to Redinge," and is innocently bordered by trees. In these infantine beginnings of the now populous "West End," there are, indeed, occasional plots occupied by "Mewes," but St. Martin's Church (then a small chapel) stands literally "in the Fields," and St. Martin's Lane is altogether rural. In a later map—one of the year 1610—the (p. 7) main arteries are still the same; but, though the town had grown rapidly with the growth of commerce in Elizabeth's reign, "London" and "Westminster" are still represented as two small neighbouring towns surrounded by rural meadows; while "Totten-court" is a distant country village, Kensington and "Marybone" are secluded hamlets, Clerkenwell and "St. Gylles" are altogether divided from the parent city by fields, and "Chelsey" is in the wilds.

It is strange that London fires—and London, in the middle ages, was specially prolific in fires—have never altered the course of the city's highways. Sir Christopher Wren wished, indeed, after the Great Fire of 1666, to be allowed to alter the plan of the desolated town and make it more symmetrically regular: with all due admiration of his genius, one cannot, however, help feeling a certain thankfulness that destiny averted his schemes, and that in the prosaic London of our own day we can still trace the splendour, the romance of its past. Thus, even in the grimy city "courts" we can still imagine a Roman "impluvium," or the ancient gardens of Plantagenet palaces; in the blind alleys of "Little Britain," the splendours of the merchants' mansions; in the ugly lines of mews and slums, the limits of the vanished Norman convent closes. The boundaries are still there, though nearly all else has gone. For, though Londoners are generally conservative with regard to their chief sites and the lines of their streets, they have, so far as their great buildings are concerned, always been by nature iconoclastic. Not that we of the present day need give ourselves any airs in this matter. Although, indeed, for the last half-century the spirit of antiquarian veneration has been abroad, yet the great majority of Londoners are hardly affected by it, and the pulling down of ancient buildings continues almost as gaily as ever at the present day. It may be said that we pull down for utilitarian reasons; well, so did our forefathers; Londoners have always been practical. Religious zeal may occasionally have served to whet their destructive (p. 8) powers, but the results are pretty much the same. Perhaps Henry VIII.—that Bluebeard head of the Church and State—has, in his general dissolution of the monasteries and alienation of their property, been the greatest iconoclast in English annals; yet even he must have been nearly equalled by the Lord Protector Cromwell, whose Puritanical train wrought so much havoc among London's monuments of a later age. Reforms and improvements, all through the world's history, have always been cruelly destructive. For, while churches and palaces were destroyed as relics of Popery, while works of art were demolished, and frescoes whitewashed in reforming zeal, fresh life was always sprouting, fresh energy ever filling up gaps, ever obliterating the traces of the past, the relics of the older time. Sir Walter Besant, in his picturesque and vivid sketch of English history, has realised well for us the city's past life:—

"It is (he says of the Reformation) at first hard to understand how there should have been, even among the baser sort, so little reverence for the past, so little regard for art; that these treasure-houses of precious marbles and rare carvings should have been rifled and destroyed without raising so much as a murmur; nay, that the very buildings themselves should have been pulled down without a protest.... It seems to us impossible that the tombs of so many worthies should have been destroyed without the indignation of all who knew the story of the past.... Yet ... it is unfortunately too true that there is not, at any time or with any people, reverence for things venerable, old, and historical, save with a few. The greater part are careless of the past, unable to see or feel anything but the present.... The parish churches were filled with ruins, ... the past was gone.... The people lived among the ruins but regarded them not, any more than the vigorous growth within the court of a roofless Norman castle regards the donjon and the walls. They did not inquire into the history of the ruins; they did not want to preserve them; they took away the stones and sold them for new buildings."

Yet, though in London's history there were, as we have seen, occasional great upheavals, such as the Reformation, the Fires, the Protectorate, it was more the rule of change that went on unceasingly between whiles—change, such as we see it to-day, the incessant beat of the waves on the shore—that (p. 9) has obliterated the former time. "The old order changeth, giving place to new"; and strange indeed it is, when one comes to think of it, that anything at all should be left to show what has been. The monasteries, the priories, the churches, that once occupied the greater portion of the city, and filled it with the clanging of their bells, so that the city was never quiet—these, of course, had mainly to go. The Church had to make way for Commerce; the Monasteries for the Merchants. The London of the early Tudors was still more or less that of Chaucer, and contained the same Friars, Pardoners, and Priests. The paramount importance of the Church is shown by the old nursery legends that circle round Bow bells; and the picturesque figure of Whittington, the future Lord Mayor, listening, in rags and dust, to the cheering church bells that tell him to "turn again," is really the connecting link between the Old and the New Age.

A few of the great monastic foundations of London escaped Henry VIII.'s acquisitive zeal, and have, as modern school-boys have reason to know, been devoted to educational and other charitable aims. It was, indeed, eminently suitable that in the classic precincts of the ruined monastery of the "Grey Friars" should arise a great school—the School of Christ's Hospital (colloquially termed the "Blue-Coat School")—where, till but the other day, the "young barbarians" might be seen at play behind their iron barriers, backed by the fine old whitely-gleaming, buttressed hall that faces Newgate Street. It was fitting, too, that the early dwelling of the English Carthusian monks—the place where Prior Houghton, with all the staunchness of his race, met death rather than cede to the tyrant one jot of his ancient right—should become not only a great educational foundation, but also a shelter for the aged and the poor. We know it as the "Charterhouse"; as a picturesque, rambling building of sobered red-brick, built around many courtyards, its principal entrance under an archway that faces the quiet Charterhouse Square. The place (p. 10) has a monastic atmosphere still; to those, at least, who reverently tread its closes and byways—byways hallowed yet more by inevitable association with the sacred shade of Thomas Newcome; shadow of a shade, indeed! fiction stronger, and more enduring, than reality!

Yet the Charterhouse is, so to speak, an "insula" by itself in London, a world of its own; possessing an ancient sanctity undisturbed by the neighbouring din of busy Smithfield, the unending bustle of the great city. More essentially of London is the curious unexpectedness of buildings, places, and associations. What is so strange to the inexperienced wanderer among London byways is the manner in which bits of ancient garden, fragments of old, forgotten churchyards, isolated towers of destroyed churches, deserted closes, courts and slums of wild dirt and no less wild picturesqueness, suddenly confront the pedestrian, recalling incongruous ideas, and historical associations puzzling in their very wealth of entangled detail. The "layers" left by succeeding eras are thinly divided; and the study of London's history is as difficult to the neophyte as that of the successive "layers" of the Roman Forum.

The Shoeblack.

It is sometimes refreshing to note that, even in the City and in our own utilitarian day, present beauty has not been altogether lost sight of. There is in modern London, as a French writer lately remarked, "no street without a church and a tree"; this is especially true of the City, where, even in crowded Cheapside, the big plane-tree of Wood Street still towers over its surrounding houses, hardly more than a stone's throw from the shadow cast by the white steeple of St. Mary-le-Bow, glimmering in ghostly grace above the busy street. So busy indeed is the street, that hardly a pedestrian stays to notice either church or tree; yet is there a more beautiful highway than this in all London? It is satisfactory to reflect—when one thinks of the accusation brought against us that we are "a nation of shopkeepers"—on what this one big (p. 11) plane-tree costs a year in mere lodging! Wandering northward from Cheapside down any of the crowded City lanes with their romantic names, through the mazes of drays and waggons—where porters shout over heavy bales, and pulleys hang from upper "shoots"—you may find, in a sudden turn, small oases (p. 12) of quiet green churchyard gardens—for some unexplained reason spared from the prevailing strenuosity of bricks and mortar—where wayfarers rest on comfortable seats, provided by metropolitan forethought, from daily toil. In these secluded haunts are many spots that will amply reward the sketcher. Specially charming in point of colour are the gardens of St. Giles, Cripplegate; these, though closed to the general public, are overlooked and traversed by quiet alleys, affording most welcome relief from the surrounding din of traffic. Here sunflowers and variegated creepers show out bravely in autumn against the blackened mass of the tall adjoining warehouses, whence a picturesque bastion of the old "London Wall" projects into the greenery, and the church of St. Giles, with its dignified square tower, dominates the whole. The author of The Hand of Ethelberta has, in that novel, paid graceful homage to the church and its surroundings. The little bit of vivid colour in the sunny churchyard (it is part rectory garden, and is divided by a public path since 1878), affords a standing rebuke to the unbelievers who say gaily that "nothing will grow" in London. A delightful byway, indeed, is this parish church of Cripplegate! Its near neighbourhood shows, by the way, hardly a trace of the disastrous fire it so lately experienced. From the corner of the picturesque "Aerated Bread Shop"—of all places—that abuts on to the church, a delightful view of all this may be had. This ancient lath-and-plaster building will, no doubt, in time be compelled to give way to some abnormally hideous new construction, but at the present day it is all that could be wished; and, though so close to the hum of the great city, so quiet withal, that the visitor may, for the nonce, almost imagine himself in some sleepy country village. And thus it is in many unvisited nooks in the busy City. "The world forgetting, by the world forgot," is truer of these byways than of many more rural places. For the eddies of a big river are always quieter than the main stream of a small canal. In the world, yet not of it, are, too, these (p. 13) strangely old-fashioned rectories, sandwiched in between tall, overhanging city warehouses.

But the sprinkling of old churches, with their odd, abbreviated churchyards, that are still to be found amid the busy life of the City of London, hardly does more than faintly recall that picturesque and poetic time when the church and the convent were pre-eminent. The great temporal power of the Church in London, that held sway during long centuries, is vanished, forgotten, supplanted as if it had never been. Do the very names of Blackfriars and Whitefriars suggest, for instance, to us, "the latest seed of time," anything more than the shrieking of railway terminuses, or the incessant din of printing machines? For, while the memory of the "Grey Friars" and that of the Carthusians is still honoured and kept green in the dignified "foundations" of Christ's Hospital and of the Charterhouse,—the orders of the "White" and "Black" Friars, of the Carmelites, and the stern Dominicans, have descended to baser and more worldly uses. Destroyed at the Reformation, its riches alienated, its glory departed, the splendid Abbey Church of the Dominicans came to be used as a storehouse for the "properties" of pageants; "strange fate," says Sir Walter Besant, "for the house of the Dominicans, those austere 'upholders of doctrine.'" For the dwelling of the "Carmelites," or "White Friars," an Order of "Mendicants" these,—another destiny waited—a destiny for long lying unfolded in the bosom of our "wondrous mother-age." Mysterious irony of Fate! that where the Carmelite monks, in their Norman apse, prayed and laboured; where the Mendicant Friars wandered to and fro in the echoing cloister, the thunder of the printing-press should have made its home:

"There rolls the deep where grew the tree,
O earth, what changes hast thou seen!
There, where the long street roars, hath been
The stillness——"

—The "Daily Mail Young Man"—that smart product of a (p. 14) later age—has now his home in Carmelite Street; the "Whitefriars' Club" is a press club; the gigantic machines that print the world's news shake the foundations of St. Bride's; and the shabby hangers-on of Fleet Street—though of a truth, poor fellows, often near allied to mendicants—are yet, it is to be feared, only involuntarily of an ascetic turn. The contrast—or likeness—has served to awaken one of Carlyle's most thunderous passages: "A Preaching Friar,"—(he says),—"builds a pulpit, which he calls a newspaper:

"Look well" (he continues),—"thou seest everywhere a new Clergy of the Mendicant Orders, some bare-footed, some almost bare-backed, fashion itself into shape, and teach and preach, zealously enough, for copper alms and the love of God."

Carlyle, apparently, nursed an old grudge against the press,—for this is not the only occasion when he fulminates against the new order of Mendicants. The theatres, also, that succeeded the monasteries of Blackfriars were, here too, supplanted by the Press; under Printing-House-Square only lately, an extension of the Times Office brought to light substantial remains.

But the Church was not the only mediæval beautifier of London; as her temporal power and splendour waned,—the splendour of the merchants grew and flourished. For the great supplanter of the power of the Church was, as already hinted, the power of the City Companies. These immense trades-unions began to rise in the fourteenth century, when the old feudal system gave way to the civic community;—and they increased greatly in strength after the dissolution of the Monasteries. These companies incorporated each trade, and had supreme powers over wages, hours of labour, output, &c. In the beginning they were, like everything else, partly religious, each company or "guild" having its patron saint and its special place of worship;—the Merchant Taylors, for instance, being called the "Guild of St. John";—the Grocers, the "Guild of St. Anthony"; while St. Martin protected the saddlers, and so on. These guilds in time receiving Royal charters, became very rich (p. 15) and powerful, till the year 1363 there were already thirty-two companies whose laws and regulations had been approved by the king. If any transgressed these laws, they were brought before the Mayor and Aldermen. We have still the Mayor and Aldermen, but the city companies (whose principal function was the apprenticing of youths to trades), have merely the shadow of their former authority, and their business is now mainly charitable, ceremonial, and culinary. Yet though their powers are diminished, their splendid "halls" are still among the most interesting "sights" of the City. Visits to these massive and solid palaces, some of them of great splendour, and rising like pearls among their often (it must be confessed) unsavoury surroundings, give a good idea of the immense wealth of those mediæval merchant princes, and help the stranger to realize the strength of that power that was able to resist the attempts of kings to break its charter. Such sturdy independence, such insistence on her civic rights, has always been a main element of London's greatness.

When the Strand is up.

I have only touched at the mere abstract of London's voluminous history,—only enumerated a poor few of her Highways and Byways; the subject, in truth, is too great to exhaust even in a whole library of books. It is, indeed, the principal drawback to the study of London that she is too vast—that the student is ever in danger of "not seeing the forest for the trees." Her byways are as the sands of the sea in multitude; her history is the history of the world. It is, perhaps, better that the stranger to the metropolis should take in hand a small portion at a time,—and try to grasp that thoroughly,—than lose himself in an intricate maze of buildings and associations. To read the history of London aright,—to see and feel in London stones all that can be seen and felt, requires not only untiring energy, but also knowledge, sympathy, intuition, patriotism, one and all combined. To know London really well, one should gain an intimate acquaintance with her from day to day, not being contented with the (p. 16) common and well-known ways, but ever penetrating into fresh haunts. From all the great highways of London, from the Strand, Fleet Street, Piccadilly, Holborn, Oxford Street, convenient excursions may be made into the surrounding neighbourhood; which often, in different parts of London, is, so far as inhabitants, appearance, manners and customs go, really (p. 17) a complete and distinct city by itself. Does not "Little Britain" differ widely from its neighbouring Clerkenwell? Soho as widely from its adjacent Bloomsbury? and the immaculate Mayfair from the more doubtful Bayswater? Who does not recall what Disraeli—that born aristocrat in his tastes—said of the people who frequent the plebeian, though charming, Regent's Park?

"The Duke of St. James's," (he says),—"took his way to the Regent's Park, a wild sequestered spot, whither he invariably repaired when he did not wish to be noticed; for the inhabitants of this pretty suburb are a distinct race, and although their eyes are not unobserving, from their inability to speak the language of London they are unable to communicate their observations."

So far from being merely one town, London is really a hundred townlets amalgamated. The visitor can there find everything that he wants; he must, however, know exactly what it is that he wants to find. Does he desire to see pictures? many galleries of priceless works of art are within a stone's throw, free, ready, waiting only to be seen; does he prefer realism and life? the "street markets" of Leather Lane and of Goodge Street are instinct with all possible types of humanity; does he yearn for peaceful solitude, historic association? the quiet nooks of the Temple invite him; is it solitary study that his soul craves? the immense library of the British Museum offers him all its treasures; does he merely wish to perambulate vaguely? even the prosaic Oxford Street presents a very kaleidoscope of human life. Nevertheless, in his perambulations, the wanderer should receive a word of warning: let him beware of asking for local information (save indeed, it be of a policeman), for two reasons. Firstly, because no born Londoner of the great middle class ever knows, except by the merest accident, anything whatever about his near neighbourhood; and, secondly, because if he do get an answer, he is morally certain to be misdirected. The wanderer should always start on his expeditions with a distinct (p. 18) plan in his own mind of the special itinerary he wishes to adopt,—be that itinerary Mr. Hare's, or any other man's,—and he should never allow himself to be drawn off from it to another tangent. Even this crowded highway of Oxford Street, "stony-hearted stepmother," old gallows-road, passing from Newgate Street to Tyburn Tree, and bearing so many different names in its course,—beginning, as "Holborn," in City stress and turmoil, intersecting the very centre of fashion at the Marble Arch, and continuing as the "Uxbridge Road," to High Street, Notting Hill,—passes through all sorts and conditions of men and things. Tottenham Court Road, that glaring, fatiguing thoroughfare, which through all its phases ever "remains sordid, sunlight serving to reveal no fresh beauties in it, nor gaslight to glorify it," begins in comparative honour in New Oxford Street, to descend through bustle and racket to the noisy taverns and purlieus of the Euston Road. That sylvan village and manor of "Toten Court," where city folk repaired in old days for "cakes and creame," seems far enough away now! Fenchurch Street,—or rather its continuation Aldgate Street,—as it merges into the long "Whitechapel Road," becomes more and more dreary; not even its soft-gliding, cushioned tram-cars lending enchantment to the depressing scene. Waterloo Road and Blackfriars Road, "over the water," as they trend southwards pass through strange and often unsavoury purlieus. Every district has its special idiosyncrasies. Piccadilly and St. James's are always aristocratic. Pall Mall has a severe and solid dignity; while the Strand and its continuation, the narrow and tortuous Fleet Street, are instinct with ancient honour and literary association. Yet, even here, if the visitor have not the "seeing eye" that discerns the past through the present, he may "walk from Dan to Beersheba and find all barren."

The great charm, however, of London lies in its unsuspected courts and byways. From most of these big thoroughfares you may be transported, with hardly more than a step, into (p. 19) picturesque nooks of sudden and almost startling silence, or, rather, cessation from din. All who know and love London will recall this. From busy Holborn to the aloofness of quiet Staple Inn, with its still, collegiate air, what a change from the turmoil of Fleet Street to the closes of little Clifford Inn, with its old-world, forgotten air. From High Street, Kensington, too, that town with all the air of a smart suburb, how many charming excursions may not be made on Campden Hill and in Holland Park—a neighbourhood full of artistic and literary charm. In Westminster, what quiet, secluded nooks, and green closes, abound for the sketcher, and how lovely are the gardens of the Green Park and St. James's Park, bordered by the stately palaces of St. James's, and the picturesque houses of Queen Anne's Gate. And all along the river embankment, from Westminster to the Tower, are interesting streets and nooks full of historic and literary association. The embankment, running, at first, parallel with the noisy Strand; reaching classic ground in the quiet Temple, by that garden where the "red and white rose" first started their bloody rivalry, becomes then muddy and uncared for before the newspaper land of Whitefriars; beyond, again, are blackened wharves, which gradually degenerate into the terrible and utterly indescribable fishiness of Billingsgate, and unpoetic Thames Street! Then, the "Surrey side" of the river,—Southwark and Chaucer's Inns, or what yet remains of them,—would form several delightful excursions; to say nothing of the Tower, with its innumerable historic associations,—and, perhaps, a visit to Greenwich in summer time. The old churches of the City would, as I have hinted, take many days to explore thoroughly; the Holborn and Strand Inns of Court and of Chancery, especially the Temple and Staple Inn, should be known and studied well; nothing can exceed the charm of these quiet and secluded "haunts of ancient peace."

Space, however, is limited; I have now said enough to give some idea, even to the uninitiated, of London's many (p. 20) highways and byways, with their suggestions and associations. Yet one word of caution I would add: London must be approached with reverence; her cult is a growth of years, rather than a sudden acquisition. And the love of London stones, once acquired, never leaves the devotee. Whether he walk blissfully through Fleet Street with Johnson and Goldsmith, linger by the Temple fountain with Charles Lamb or Dickens, or traverse the glades of Kensington Gardens with Addison and Steele, "where'er he tread is haunted, holy ground." Here, on Tower Hill, once stood spikes supporting ghastly heads of so-called "traitors"; there, at Smithfield, were burned numberless martyrs. Even the London mud has its poetic associations. We may all tread the same road as that once trodden by Rossetti and Keats; strange road:

"Miring his outward steps who inly trode
The bright Castalian brink and Latmos' steep."

Yes, the love of London grows on the constant Londoner. He will not be long happy away from the comforting hum of the busy streets, from the mighty pulse of the machine. In absence his heart will ever fondly turn to "streaming London's central roar," to the spot where, more than anywhere else, he may be at once the inheritor of all the ages.

How interesting would it be if one could only—by the aid of some Mr. Wells's "Time Machine"—take a series of flying leaps backward into the abysm of time! Strange to imagine the experience! Beauty, one reflects, might be gained at nearly every step, at the expense, alas! of sanitary conditions, knowledge, and utility. Let us, for a moment, imagine how the thing would be.... First, in a few rapid revolutions of the wheel, would disappear the hideous criss-cross of electric wires overhead, the ugly tangle of suburban tram-lines, and the greater part of the hideous modern growth of suburbs.... Another whirl of the machine, and every sign of a railway station would disappear, every repulsive engine shed and siding (p. 21) vanish ... while the dull present-day rumble of the metropolis would give place to a more indescribably acute and agonising medley of sound.... Again a little while, and the hideous early Victorian buildings would disappear, making way for white Stuart façades, or sober red-brick Dutch palaces.... With yet a few more revolutions, the metropolis will shrink into inconceivably small dimensions, and the atmosphere of the city, losing its peculiar blue-grey mist, will gradually brighten and clear—a radiance, unknown to us children of a later day—diffusing itself over the glistening towers and domes, no longer blackened, but gleaming, Venetian-like, in the Tudor sunlight.... The aspect of the river too has changed; no more ugly steamers, but an array of princely barges deck its waters, gay with the bright dresses of ladies and gallants.... Its solid embankments have crumbled to picturesque overgrown mud banks, its many bridges shrunk to one; the little separate towns of "London" and "Westminster" presenting now more the appearance of rambling villages, adorned by some palaces and churches.... Another turn of the machine, and lo! the imposing façades that adorned the Strand have in their turn given way to picturesque rows and streets of overhanging gabled houses with blackened cross-beams, their quaint projecting windows almost meeting over the narrow streets ... stony streets with their crowds of noisy, jostling, foot-passengers.... Again a long pause ... and now the scene changes to Roman London, the ancient "Augusta," with its powerful walls, its slave ships and pinnaces, its mailed warriors, ever in arms against the blue-eyed Saxon marauders. Then—a final interval—and we see the primitive British village, its mud huts erected by the kindly shores of our "Father Thames," their smoke peacefully rising heavenwards above the surrounding marshes and forests.

(p. 22)

Waterloo Bridge.


"Above the river in which the miserable perish and on which the fortunate grow rich, runs the other tide whose flood leads onto fortune, whose sources are in the sea empire, and which debouches in the lands of the little island; above the river of the painters and poets, winding through the downs and meadows of the rarest of cultivated landscape out to the reaches where the melancholy sea breeds its fogs and damp east winds, is that of the merchant and politician, having its springs in the uttermost parts of the earth, and pouring out its golden tribute on the lands whence the other steals its drift and ooze."—W. J. Stillman.

"Above all rivers, thy river hath renowne....
O! towne of townes, patrone and not compare,
London, thou art the Flour of Cities all."—Dunbar.

No one, be he very Londoner indeed, has ever seen the great city aright, or in the true spirit, if he have not made the (p. 23) journey by river at least as far as from Chelsea to the Tower Bridge. From even such a commonplace standpoint as the essentially prosaic Charing Cross Railway Bridge some idea can be gained of the misty glory of this highway of the Nations. It is indeed, often one of these condemned approaches to London that give the traveller the best idea of the vast and multitudinous city. London railway approaches are often abused, even anathematized, yet surely nowhere is the curious picturesqueness of railways so proved as by the impressive approach to Charing Cross Station, across the mighty river. Here, at nightfall, all combines to aid the general effect; the mysterious darkness, the twinkling lights of the Embankment, reflected in the dancing waters, and cleansed by the white moonlight. What approach such as this can Paris offer? But, if the traveller be wise, he will soon seek to supplement such initiatory views by pilgrimages on his own account, pilgrimages undertaken in all reverence, up and down the stream. For, whatever Mr. Gladstone may have said of the omnibus as a mode of seeing London, may be reiterated more forcibly as regards the deck of a penny steamer. It is the fashion to call London ugly; Cobbett nicknamed it "the great wen"; Grant Allen has called it "a squalid village"; and Mme. de Staël "a province in brick." Yet, how full of dignity and beauty is the city through which this wide, turbid river rolls!—"the slow Thames," says a French writer, "always grey as a remembered reflection of wintry skies." Here, by day, hangs that veiling blue mist, which is the combined product of London fog and soot, adding all the indescribable charm of mystery to the scene; and, as twilight draws on, the grand old buildings loom up, vaguely dark, against the sky, their added blackness of soot giving a suggestion as of solidity and antiquity; that poetic time of twilight, "when," as Mr. Whistler puts it.

"The evening mist clothes the riverside with poetry, as with a veil, and the poor buildings lose themselves in the dim sky, and the tall chimneys (p. 24) become campanili, and the warehouses are palaces in the night, and the whole city hangs in the heavens, and fairyland is before us."

At night, the scene changes: the vast Embankment shines with lamps all a-glitter, and behind them the myriad and deceitful "lights of London" twinkle like a magician's enchanted palace.

And it is altogether in the fitness of things that the river should be both introduction and entrance gate, so to speak, of modern London. For it is the river, it is our "Father Thames," indeed, that has made London what it is. In our childhood we used to learn in dull geography books, as inseparable addition to the name of any city, that it was "situated" on such-and-such a river; facts that we then saw little interest in committing to memory, but, nevertheless vastly important; how important, we see from this city of London. For London is, and was, primarily a seaport. In Sir Walter Besant's interesting pages may be read the story of the early settlers—Briton, Roman, Saxon, Norman—who successively founded their infant settlements on this marshy site, and had here their primitive wharves, quays, and trading ships for hides, cattle, and merchandise. It is the river, more than anything else, that recalls the past history of London. For London, ever increasing, ever rebuilt, has buried most of her eventful past in an oblivion far deeper than that of Herculaneum. Nothing destroys antiquity like energy; nothing blots out the old like the new. London, ever rising, like the phœnix, from her own ashes, has by the intense vitality of her "to-days" always obliterated her "yesterdays." It is only in dead or sleeping towns that the ashes of the past can be preserved in their integrity, and London has ever been intensely alive. Yet, gazing on the silvery flow of the river, we can imagine the Roman embankment, the hanging gardens, that once stretched from St. Paul's to the Tower; the Roman city, with its forums and basilicas, that once crowned prosaic Ludgate Hill—Roman pinnace, Briton coracle, Saxon ship, Tudor vessel—we can see them all in their (p. 25) turn—crowned by the spectacle of Queen Elizabeth in her gaily-hung state barge, with her royal procession; or, in more mournful key, her body, on its death-canopy—a barge "black as a funeral scarf from stern to stem," on that sad occasion when

"The Queen did come by water to Whitehall.
The oars at every stroke did teares let fall."

If in the crowded day of London—with the shouting of bargees, the whistle of steam-tugs, and the puffing of the smoke-belching trains overhead, indulgence in such dreams is well-nigh impossible,—in the mysterious night, when the slow misty moon of London climbs, it is easy, even from an alcove of Waterloo Bridge, to indulge the fancies of

"That inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude."

The so-called "penny steamers" of London, which run, during the summer months, at very cheap rates between London Bridge and Chelsea, form the best way of seeing and appreciating the vast city. For those who do not mind rather close contact with "the masses"—braying accordions, jostling fish-porters, sticky little boys, and other inseparable adjuncts of a crowd whose "coats are corduroy and hands are shrimpy"—this mode of becoming acquainted with London will be found very satisfactory. The ways of the said steamers are often, it is true, somewhat erratic; yet if, on a warm June day, the stranger go down to the river in faith, his expectancy will generally be rewarded. Up comes the puffing, creaky little tug, making the tiny landing stage vibrate with the sudden shock of contact; there is an immediate rush to embark, and, on a fine day, you are, at first, happy if you get standing-room. Cruikshank's pictures, Dickens's sketches—how suggestive of these is the motley crowd of faces that line the boat,—faces on which the eternal "struggle for life" has printed lines, as it may be, of carking care, of blatant self-satisfaction, of crime and degradation. (p. 26) To quote William Blake, the poet-painter,—a Londoner, too, of the Londoners:

"I wander through each chartered street
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe."

The fine, broad Chelsea reach of the river, looking up towards Fulham from the Albert chain-bridge, is wonderfully picturesque. Here, especially on autumn nights, may be seen in all their splendour the brilliant sunsets that Turner loved to paint, and that, propped up on his pillow, he turned his dying eyes to see. The ancient and unassuming little riverside house where Turner spent his last days is still standing; but its tenure is uncertain, and it may soon vanish. It stands (as No. 119)—towards the western end of Cheyne Walk—the walk that begins in the east so magnificently, and decreases, as regards its mansions, in size and splendour as it approaches the old historic red-brick church of Chelsea. Yet, small as Turner's riverside abode is, it is more celebrated than any of its neighbours, for it was here that the greatest landscape painter of our time lived. Here, along the shores of the river, flooded at eve "with waves of dusky gold," the shabby old man with such wonderful gifts used to wander in search of the skies and effects he loved; here he was hailed by cheeky street arabs, as "Puggy Booth" (the legend of the neighbourhood being that he was a certain retired and broken-down old "Admiral Booth"). Here he sat on the railed-in house-roof to see the sun rise over the river, and here, when too weak to move, his landlady used to wheel his chair towards the window that he might see the skies he so loved. "The Sun is God," were almost his last words. Thus, he who as a boy of Maiden Lane had spent his early years on the river near London Bridge—by the Pool of London, with its wharves and shipping—died, faithful to his early loves, in a small Chelsea riverside cottage. The row of irregular riverside (p. 27) houses, of which Turner's cottage is one, becomes more palatial lower down, across Oakley Street. In summer, what more lovely than the view from these houses, over the shining Chelsea reach, towards the feathery greenness of distant Battersea Park? a view which, even beyond the park limits, not even the too-conspicuous sky-signs or factory chimneys on the further shore can altogether abolish or destroy. So many things in London, ugly in themselves, are lent "a glory by their being far"; and even Messrs. Doulton's factory chimneys, seen through the blue-grey river mist, have, like St. Pancras Station, often the air of some gigantic fortress. This same blue-grey mist of London, especially near the river, is rarely ever entirely absent. Chemists may tell you that it is merely carbon, a product of the soot, but what does that matter? In its own place and way it is beautiful. The heresy has before now been ventured, that London would not be half so picturesque if it were cleaner; and from the river this fact is driven home more than ever to the lover of the beautiful. Blackened wharves, that through the dimmed light take on all the air of "magic casements,"—great bridges, invisible till close at hand, that loom down suddenly on the passing steamer with the roar of many feet, a rattle of many wheels, a rumble of many trains; vast Charing-Cross vaguely seen overhead—immense, grandiose, darkening all the stream; the Venetian-white tower of St. Magnus, gleaming all at once before blackened St. Paul's; and, most popular of all London views, the tall Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament, with its long terraced wall, reflecting its shining lines in the broad waters. As ivy and creepers adorn a building, so does the respectable grime of ages clothe London stones as with a garment of beauty.

The "respectable grime of ages" can hardly however be said yet to cover the newest Picture Gallery of London, glimmering ghostlike by the waterside, Sir Henry Tate's magnificent and splendidly housed gift, which rises whitely, like some Greek Temple of Victory, amid the dirty, dingy (p. 28) wharves, and generally slummy surroundings of the debatable ground that divides the river-frontages of Pimlico and Westminster. The changes of Time are curious. Here, where once stood Millbank Penitentiary, now rises a stately Palace adorned by pillars, porticoes and statues; wherein are enshrined some of the nation's most precious treasures, all the master-pieces of the modern school of English Art. Sir Henry Tate, a "merchant prince" of whom the country may well be proud, was a large sugar refiner, and we owe this imposing building, with a large part of its contents, to those uninspiring wooden boxes, so familiar to us for so many years back, labelled "Tate's Cube Sugar."

The interior of the Tate Gallery (its proper denomination is, I believe, "the National Gallery of British Art,") is very delightfully planned. A pretty fountain fills the central hall of the gallery under the dome; an adornment as refreshing as it is unexpected. For London, the home of riches, is strangely niggardly with her fountains. Yet Rome, the city of fountains, had to bring all her water for many miles, and over endless aqueducts! The immediate riverside surroundings of the Tate Gallery are, as described, hardly grandiose; yet the timber-wharves and stone-cutters' sheds that here share the muddy banks with the ubiquitous tribe of London "Mudlarks," are not without their picturesque "bits." Old boats sometimes reach here their final uses; and even portions of old derelicts, like the "Téméraire," often find their way here at last. Witness advertisements like the following:

Fires.—Logs of old oak and ship timber, from Old Navy ships broken up, in suitable sizes, for sitting-room use, so famous for beautifully coloured flames, can only be obtained from the ship breaking yard of —— Baltic Wharf, Millbank, S.W.

It is, however, only the wharves and the mudlarks that are visible from the river itself; for the quaint gates of these timber-yards, opening on to the Grosvenor Road, and surmounted (p. 29) by their "signs" in the shape of ghostly white figure-heads—the figure-heads of real ships—are only visible to those who make their way along this mysterious region by land. These colossal creatures, indeed, projecting often far into the road, pull up the pedestrian with such alarming and human suddenness that it would surely require, in the uninitiated, a strong mind and a good conscience to travel this way alone on a dark night.

The keynote of London is ever its close juxtaposition of splendour and misery, "velvet and rags." Therefore, after skirting the shore of Millbank, it strikes the Londoner as quite natural, and in the usual order of things, that he should suddenly and without any preface find his vessel gliding, in an abrupt hush, underneath the terrace-wall of the most well-known and most be-photographed edifice in London; under the high vertical wall, with its softly lapping waters, that guards the terrace of the Houses of Parliament. Classic retreat, where none but the specially bidden may enter! The great towers, with the vast building they surmount, darken, for a moment, all the stream by the intense shadow they cast, to mirror themselves anew in charming proportion as we descend the stream and they recede.

Exactly opposite the Houses of Parliament are those curious seven-times-repeated red-brick projections of St. Thomas's Hospital, which are so prominent an object from the Terrace, that a fair American visitor, while taking her tea there, is said to have once innocently inquired: "Are those the mansions of your aristocracy?" Mr. Hare unkindly suggests that their chief ornament, a "row of hideous urns upon the parapet, seems waiting for the ashes of the patients inside."

A little higher, on the Surrey side, is the historic Lambeth Palace, for nearly seven hundred years the residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury:

"Lambeth, envy of each band and gown,"

(p. 30) says Pope truly. But the gifts of Fortune are, alas! seldom ungrudging; and, sad thought! by the time the poor Archbishops have reached the zenith of fame and comfort in their Lambeth paradise, their multifarious duties must effectually prevent their ever having time thoroughly to enjoy their "garden of peace." It is a lovely home, and commands perfect views. Quite Venetian-like, when night's canopy has fallen, do the lights of Westminster Palace appear from the Lambeth shore; the lighted Tower, which proclaims to all the world the fact that Parliament is sitting, reflected like a solitary full moon in the dark transparency of the waters. Lambeth Palace is, indeed, a charming spot, both for its views up and down the river and for its associations. In all its squareness of darkened red brick, it is very picturesque; the gateway with its Tudor arch, the chapel, and the so-called "Lollards' Tower," are, besides being historically interesting, fine subjects for an artist. At the gateway an ancient custom is observed:

"At this gate the dole immemorially given to the poor by the Archbishops of Canterbury is constantly distributed. It consists of fifteen quartern loaves, nine stone of beef, and five shillings' worth of half-pence, divided into three equal portions, and distributed every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, among thirty poor parishioners of Lambeth; the beef being made into broth and served in pitchers."

In the Lollards' Tower are some curious relics of the barbarous tortures of the Middle Ages; and in the guard-room, or dining hall of the Palace, is a series of portraits of all the Archbishops from Cranmer to Benson. The modern and residential portion of the Palace, in the Tudor style, is contained in the inner court; it was rebuilt by Archbishop Howley in 1820. Howley was the last Archbishop who lived here in state and kept open house; "the grand hospitalities of Lambeth have perished," as Douglas Jerrold said, "but its charities live." The ancient portions of the palace have known many vicissitudes of fortune; Cranmer adorned his house, and loved to beautify his garden; Wat Tyler and his rebels plundered the (p. 31) palace and beheaded Sudbury, its then archbishop: and Laud, who had a hobby for stained glass, filled the chapel windows with beautiful specimens, which were all subsequently smashed by the Puritans. The palace, after having been used successively as a prison, a place of revel, and a garrison stronghold, now enjoys all the serenity of old age and quiet fortunes; its solid red brick, which time darkens so prettily, looking ever across the waters in calm dignity towards the taller stones of Westminster,—the spiritual contrasted with the temporal.

The tower of the ancient church of St. Mary, Lambeth, close by the Palace, is memorable as the shelter of Queen Mary of Modena, James II.'s unfortunate wife, on the dramatic occasion of her flight from Whitehall with her infant son (the "Old" Pretender), on a wild December night of 1688:

"The party stole down the back stairs (of Whitehall), and embarked in an open skiff. It was a miserable voyage. The night was bleak; the rain fell; the wind roared; the water was rough; at length the boat reached Lambeth; and the fugitives landed near an inn, where a coach and horses were in waiting. Some time elapsed before the horses could be harnessed. Mary, afraid that her face might be known, would not enter the house. She remained with her child, cowering for shelter from the storm under the tower of Lambeth Church, and distracted by terror whenever the ostler approached her with his lantern. Two of her women attended her, one who gave suck to the Prince, and one whose office was to rock the cradle; but they could be of little use to their mistress; for both were foreigners who could hardly speak the English language, and who shuddered at the rigour of the English climate. The only consolatory circumstance was that the little boy was well, and uttered not a single cry. At length the coach was ready. The fugitives reached Gravesend safely, and embarked in the yacht which waited for them."—Macaulay.

St. Mary's is the mother church of the manor and parish, and its tower dates from 1377:

"In this church is a curious 'Pedlar's Window,' with a romantic story attached to it. When the church was founded, it is said that a pedlar left an acre of land to the parish, on condition that a picture of himself, his pack and his dog, should be preserved in the church. This was accordingly done; the pedlar was commemorated in the glass of the window, and the (p. 32) value of the acre, at first 2s. 8d., increased till in our day it is worth £1000 a year. In 1884, some local iconoclasts actually removed the pedlar from the window, to put up modern glass to the relatives of certain officials. Popular indignation, however, has since reinstated the injured pedlar, with his pack and dog, in their place."

But Lambeth, however charming and historic, is still "the Surrey Side", and the glories of the Albert Embankment pale before those of the Victoria Embankment, one of the greatest London improvements of the century. Of course it has its critics,—of the order who cavil at the poor Romans for embanking their devastating yellow Tiber. But it is the fashion for us to abuse our London monuments, and to deride them as the work of a "nation of shopkeepers." The Londoner rarely approves of anything new or even modern. Of the Chelsea Embankment, all that Mr. Hare says is that "it has robbed us of the water stairs to the Botanic Garden, given by Sir Hans Sloane." Does not even Mr. Ruskin fall foul of the innumerable straight lines of the Palace of Westminster, and of its stately Clock Tower, as testifying to the sad want of imagination shown by the modern English architect? (But Mr. Ruskin must surely that day have been in search for a windmill to tilt against, for the abused "straight lines" do not prevent this being one of the loveliest of London views.) And does not M. Taine pour the vials of his wrath on to the great river Palace of Somerset House, with its "blackened porticoes filled with soot"? "Poor Greek architecture," he adds compassionately, "what is it doing in such a climate?" Evidently the idea of the artistic value of soot, to which I have already alluded, had not occurred to him.

The noble Victoria Embankment now runs where of old, in Elizabethan times, ran a glittering, almost Venetian, river-frontage of palaces. And where the old palaces stood in Tudor days, stand now enormous hotels—the palaces of our own day—each newer hotel in its turn eclipsing the other in size, magnificence, expense. The picturesque "Savoy," with its (p. 33) river balconies, the stately "Cecil," with its wonderful banqueting halls, and, further from the river, the spacious "Métropole," the "Grand," the "Victoria." All these hotels are so recent as to impress one fact upon us—the fact that London has really only lately become a tourist haunt. Statistics, indeed, show now that London attracts more visitors than any other great European town. Twenty-five years ago, it was as hard to find a good, clean, and thoroughly satisfactory London hotel, as it was to get a cup of tea for less than sixpence; or, indeed, a good one at all! But times have changed. Big hotels now, like flats, threaten to be overdone. We can well imagine the disappointment of the foreign visitor to London on discovering the names and uses of the fine buildings that adorn the river front between Westminster and Blackfriars. "What," he or she may ask, "is that imposing structure with Nuremberg-like green roofs, towering over the trees of the Embankment Gardens?" "That, Sir or Madam," answers politely the lady guide (for it is of course a charming and very certificated lady guide who "personally conducts" the party), "is Whitehall Court, a building let out in high class flats." "And what," continues the crushed tourist, "is that turreted, buttressed, red-brick edifice? Probably some rich nobleman's whim?" "Those, Madam, are the new buildings of Scotland Yard, recently designed by Mr. Norman Shaw, one of the most famous of our modern architects." "And what are those Venetian-like balconies, all hung with greenery and flowers?" "They belong, Madam, to the Savoy and Cecil Hotels. At the Savoy you may get a very nice dinner for a guinea; they have a wonderful chef; and in the enormous dining-hall of the Cecil, most of the great public banquets are given." "Truly, a nation of shopkeepers," the foreign visitor will re-echo sadly, as she dismisses her "lady guide."


There is, I maintain, no finer walk in the world than that along the Victoria Embankment, from Blackfriars to Westminster. You may walk it every day of the year, and every (p. 35) day see some new, strange and beautiful effect of light, of water, of cloud. In midsummer, when the long row of plane trees offer a welcome shade and relief of greenery, and it is pleasant to watch the slow barges pass and repass; in autumn, when red and saffron sunsets flood all the west with light; in midwinter, when, sometimes, great blocks of ice line the turbid stream. One winter, not long past, when the Thames was all but frozen over, it was a curious and interesting sight to watch the crowd of sea-gulls, driven inshore by the intense cold, making their temporary home on the ice, and fed all day with raw meat and bread by thousands of sympathizing Londoners. Some of the birds had almost become tame when their compulsory visit came to an end.

The river, in old pre-embankment days, flowed at the foot of the curious ancient stone archway called "York Stairs," that stranded water-gate of old York House, which stands, lonely and neglected, in a corner of the Embankment Gardens. It has, however, survived, and that, in London, is always something. Its long buried, and now excavated, columns show the ancient level of the river, and the height to which the present Embankment has been raised. The Palace of York House, to which it was the river-gate, has gone the way of all palaces; its ruins (as all ruins must ever be in London), are thickly built over. Indeed, Somerset House is almost the only palace left to tell of the ancient river-side glories, glories of which Herrick wrote:

"I send, I send, here my supremest kiss
To thee, my silver-footed Tamasis,
No more shall I re-iterate thy strand
Whereon so many goodly structures stand."

Even Somerset House is merely an old palace rebuilt, for the present edifice is not much more than a century old. Buildings in London tend to become utilitarian; and Royalty, besides, has deserted the City for the West End. So the ancient Palace of the Lord Protector Somerset, that Palace (p. 36) that he destroyed so much to build, spent such vast sums on, and yet never lived in, but had his head cut off instead; the Palace that used to be the residence of the wives of the Stuart Kings, as described by Pepys, is now superseded by the vast Inland Revenue Office, with its myriad suites, corridors, chambers. Truly, a change typical of our busy and practical era!

Somerset House occupies the site of the older palace, a site almost equal in area to Russell Square. But the older palace, as befitted the "Dower House" of the Queens of England had gardens that extended along the river-shore. It was in Old Somerset House that Charles II.'s poor neglected Queen, Catherine of Braganza, used to sit all night playing at "ombre," a game which she had herself imported from Portugal; and it was here, in 1685, that three of her household were charged with decoying Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey into the precincts of the palace, and there strangling him. The wide courtyard of the interior has a bronze allegorical group by Bacon, of George III. mixed up with "Father Thames." Queen Charlotte, apparently rather resenting the ugliness of the representation, said to the sculptor, "Why did you make so frightful a figure?" The artist was ready with his reply. "Art," he said, bowing, "cannot always effect what is ever within the reach of Nature—the union of beauty and majesty." I myself must confess to some sympathy with Queen Charlotte; but the art of her day had ever a tendency to efflorescent excrescence.

On the river's very brink, a little higher up than Somerset House and its adjacent hotels, Cleopatra's Needle, that "great rose-marble monolith," stands guarded by two bronze sphinxes on a pediment of steps, backed by the Embankment and the trees of its gardens. The monolith is here in strange and novel surroundings. What ruins of empires and dynasties has not this ancient Egyptian obelisk seen! (p. 37) We poor human beings soon live out our little day, and are gone:

"The Eternal Saki from the Bowl hath poured
Millions of bubbles like us, and will pour——"

while this senseless block of stone lives for ever, regardless of the tides of humanity that ebb and flow ceaselessly about its feet. Has it not been a "silent witness" of the pageants of the magnificent Pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty? Its hieroglyphics record its erection by Thotmes III., before the Temple of the Sun in On (Heliopolis), where it remained for the first 1600 years of its existence, and (says Mr. Hare) witnessed the slavery and imprisonment of the patriarch Joseph. The obelisk has had a strange and eventful history. Removed to Alexandria shortly before the Christian era, it was never erected there, but lay for years prone in the sand. Then, in 1820, Mahomet Ali presented it to the British nation; with, however, no immediate result. For, the difficulties of removal being great, no advantage was taken of the offer, till, in 1877, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Erasmus Wilson gave the necessary funds, amounting to £10,000. A special cylinder boat was made for the obelisk, but even with its removal its adventures were not ended, for, in the Bay of Biscay, the vessel encountered a terrific storm, and the crew of the ship that towed it, in peril of their lives, cut it adrift. For days it was lost, till a passing steamer happened to sight the strange-looking object and picked it up, earning salvage on it.

The granite is said to be slowly disintegrating and the hieroglyphics therefore becoming less deeply scored, by the action of the London smoke and mist—the mist glorified poetically by Mr. Andrew Lang in his "Ballade of Cleopatra's Needle";

"Ye giant shades of Ra and Tum,
Ye ghosts of gods Egyptian,
If murmurs of our planet come
To exiles in the precincts wan
(p. 38) Where, fetish or Olympian,
To help or harm no more ye list,
Look down, if look ye may, and scan
This monument in London mist!

"Behold, the hieroglyphs are dumb,
That once were read of him that ran
When seistron, cymbal, trump, and drum,
Wild music of the Bull began;
When through the chanting priestly clan
Walk'd Ramses, and the high sun kiss'd
This stone, with blessing scored and ban—
This monument in London mist.

"The stone endures though gods be numb;
Though human effort, plot, and plan
Be sifted, drifted, like the sum
Of sands in wastes Arabian.
What king may deem him more than man,
What priest says Faith can Time resist
While this endures to mark their span—
This monument in London mist?"—

It has been objected that Cleopatra's needle ought to have been placed somewhere else; for instance, in the centre of the Tilt Yard, opposite the Horse Guards. But it is, as I said, typical of Londoners to find fault with their monuments; and it is difficult to agree with the writer who described it as in its present position "adorning nothing, emphasising nothing, and by nothing emphasised." M. Gabriel Mourey, for instance, who, though a Frenchman, is also a lover of London, brings it very charmingly into his "impression" of the scene from Charing-Cross Bridge:

"I go every morning to Charing-Cross Bridge, to gaze on the 'magical effects' produced by fog and mist on the Thames. The buildings on the shores have vanished; there, where recently seethed an enormous conglomeration of roofs, chimneys, the perpetual encroachment of interminable façades, all that insentient life of stones,—heaped to lodge human toil, suffering, happiness,—seems to be now only a desert of far-reaching waters. The river has immeasurably widened, has extended its shores to the infinite. Such immensity is terrible ... the atmosphere is heavy; there (p. 39) is a conscious weight around, above, a weight that presses down, penetrates into ears and mouth, seems even to hang about the hair. We might, indeed, be existing in a kind of nothingness, except for the perpetual passage of trains—trains that shake the floor of the bridge, and jar our whole being with metallic vibrations.... The wooden sheds of the landing-stage, backed by the stone steps and parapet,—with, further on, the thin spire of Cleopatra's Needle, an unimagined network of lines,—appear suddenly out of nothingness; it might be a fairy city rising all at once; here are revealed the gigantic buildings of the Savoy Hotel, and yonder, farther on, those of Somerset House, as the fog gradually lifts; the whole effect is suggestive of a negative under the chemical action of the developer. There is, however, no distinctness; the negative is a fogged one; outlines are only distinguished with difficulty; and everything, in this strange and sad monochrome, seems to acquire a vast and altogether fantastic size. The sky, however, moves; thick, ragged clouds unravel themselves, in colour a dirty yellow fringed with white; they might well be great folds of torn curtains entangled in each other, curtains of dingy wadding, thickly lined, and edged with faint gold. But the light is too feeble to reflect itself, and the water below continues to flow dully, as though weighed down with the burden of that heavy sky; the pleasure-steamers, indeed, seem to cleave it with painful toil, to force a pathway, soon again closed; a pathway of which scarcely a trace remains, only a slow, sluggish undulation, soon lost in the general distracting cohesion of all and everything."

It may be interesting here to recall Lord Tennyson's sonnet, and the story told of it by his son:

"When Cleopatra's Needle was brought to London, Stanley asked my father to make some lines upon it; to be engraven on the base. These were put together by my father at once, and I made a note of them:

Cleopatra's Needle.

"Here, I that stood in On beside the flow
Of sacred Nile, three thousand years ago!—
A Pharaoh, kingliest of his kingly race,
First shaped, and carved, and set me in my place.
A Cæsar of a punier dynasty
Thence haled me toward the Mediterranean sea,
Whence your own citizens, for their own renown,
Thro' strange seas drew me to your monster town.
I have seen the four great empires disappear!
I was when London was not! I am here!"

(p. 40)

The "Top" Season.

Waterloo Bridge, crossing the Thames at Somerset House, was built by Rennie in 1817. Canova considered it "the noblest bridge in the world, and worth a visit from the remotest corners of the earth." It was at first intended to call it the "Strand" Bridge; but it was eventually named "Waterloo," in honour of the victory just won. Yet Waterloo Bridge is not without its dismal associations. So many people, for instance, have committed suicide from it, that it has been called the "English Bridge of Sighs." It suggests Hood's ballad of the "Unfortunate":

"The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver:
But not the dark arch
Or the black flowing river."

(p. 41) Waterloo Bridge has indeed been the last resource of many an unhappy human moth—attracted by "the cruel lights of London"—to whom

"When life hangs heavy, death remains the door
To endless rest beside the Stygian shore."

Dante Rossetti, who painted his terrible picture of the lost girl found by her old lover on a London bridge at dawning, has well realised the ineffable sadness of the wrecks made by this whirlpool of London.

The Victoria Embankment, and indirectly also this splendid Waterloo Bridge, have given cause for one of the most eloquent diatribes of our greatest æsthetic critic. Mr. Ruskin, though he cannot but admire the vast curve of Waterloo Bridge, where the Embankment road passes under it, "as vast, it alone, as the Rialto at Venice, and scarcely less seemly in proportions," yet finds, in the wretched attempts at decoration on the Embankment, and in the sad want of "human imagination" of the English architect, windmills apt and ready to his lance. Unlike the Rialto, the "Waterloo arch," he remarks plaintively, "is nothing more than a gloomy and hollow heap of wedged blocks of blind granite":

"We have lately been busy," he says, "embanking, in the capital of the country, the river which, of all its waters, the imagination of our ancestors had made most sacred, and the bounty of nature most useful. Of all architectural features of the metropolis, that embankment will be, in future, the most conspicuous; and in its position and purpose it was the most capable of noble adornment. For that adornment, nevertheless, the utmost which our modern poetical imagination has been able to invent, is a row of gas-lamps. It has, indeed, farther suggested itself to our minds as appropriate to gas-lamps set beside a river, that the gas should come out of fishes' tails; but we have not ingenuity enough to cast so much as a smelt or a sprat for ourselves; so we borrow the shape of a Neapolitan marble, which has been the refuse of the plate and candlestick shops in every capital in Europe for the last fifty years. We cast that badly, and give lustre to the ill-cast fish with lacquer in imitation of bronze. On the base of their pedestals, toward the road, we put, for advertisement's sake, (p. 42) the initials of the casting firm; and, for farther originality and Christianity's sake, the caduceus of Mercury: and to adorn the front of the pedestals towards the river, being now wholly at our wits' end, we can think of nothing better than to borrow the door-knocker which—again for the last fifty years—has disturbed and decorated two or three millions of London street doors; and magnifying the marvellous device of it, a lion's head with a ring in its mouth (still borrowed from the Greek), we complete the embankment with a row of heads and rings, on a scale which enables them to produce, at the distance at which only they can be seen, the exact effect of a row of sentry-boxes."

Much, however, may be forgiven to Mr. Ruskin. On the other hand, the view from Waterloo Bridge is thus described by the late Mr. Samuel Butler:

"When ... I think of Waterloo Bridge and the huge wide-opened jaws of those two Behemoths, the Cannon Street and Charing Cross railway stations, I am not sure that the prospect here is not even finer than in Fleet Street. See how they belch forth puffing trains as the breath of their nostrils, gorging and disgorging incessantly those human atoms whose movement is the life of the city. How like it all is to some great bodily mechanism.... And then ... the ineffable St. Paul's. I was once on Waterloo Bridge after a heavy thunderstorm in summer. A thick darkness was upon the river and the buildings upon the north side, but just below, I could see the water hurrying onward as in an abyss, dark, gloomy and mysterious. On a level with the eye there was an absolute blank, but above, the sky was clear, and out of the gloom the dome and towers of St. Paul's rose up sharply, looking higher than they actually were, and as though they rested upon space."

Mr. Astor's charming estate office, one of the prettiest buildings in London, facing the Embankment, close to the Temple Gardens, is yet another instance of that latter-day change from palace to office, already mentioned. At Blackfriars, the Victoria Embankment ends, and tall, many-storied warehouses crowd down to the water's edge, in picturesque though dingy medley, with, behind them, the blackened dome of St. Paul's, attended by its sentinel spires,—St. Paul's, that has nearly all the way stood out prominently in the distance, making this, by universal consent, the finest view in all London. The noble (p. 43) effect of Wren's great work is indeed, apparent from all points; but it is the river and the wharves that, no doubt, form its best and most fitting foreground. As we near London Bridge, the dirt of the vast highway gains upon us; but, it must be confessed, its general picturesqueness is thereby immeasurably increased. Dirt, after all, is always so near akin to picturesqueness. The mud-banks and the mud become more constant, the bustle and hum of the great city are everywhere evident. Barges are moored under the tall warehouses; workmen stand in the storing-places above, hauling up the goods from the boats with ropes and pulleys; it is a scene of ceaseless activity, an activity too, which increases as you descend the stream. On the one side, the slums and warehouses of Upper Thames Street; on the other, the yet slummier purlieus of busy, often-burned-down Tooley Street. Thames Street, like its adjoining Billingsgate, is, I may remark, nearly always muddy, whatever the time of year. On rainy days, it is like a Slough of Despond. If by chance you wish to land at All Hallows or London Bridge Piers, you must first climb endless wooden and slippery steps, then wend your way carefully, past threatening cranes, and along narrow alleys between high houses, alleys blocked by heavy waggons, from which tremendous packages ascend, by rope, to top stories; alleys where there is barely room for a solitary pedestrian to wedge himself past the obstruction. Barrels of the delicious oyster, the obnoxious "cockle," the humble "winkle"; loud scents that suggest the immediate neighbourhood of the ubiquitous "kipper"; these, mingled with the shouts of fish-wives and porters, greet you near that Temple of the Fisheries, Billingsgate. The enormous Monument, which stands close by, may be said to be in the dirtiest, dingiest portion of this dingy region. "Fish Street Hill" the locality is called; and it certainly is no misnomer.

London Bridge must have been wonderfully picturesque in old days; it seems to have looked then very much as the Florentine "Ponte Vecchio" does now, with, outside, its quaint (p. 44) overhanging timbered houses, balconies, roof-gardens, and, inside, its narrow street of shops. The sixth picture in the "Marriage à la Mode" series at the National Gallery gives us an idea of what it was like. The present bridge, opened in 1831, at a cost of two millions, is the last of many on or near this site. For there has been a bridge here of some kind ever since we know anything of London; no other bridge, indeed, existed at all in old days. By old London Bridge Wat Tyler entered with his rebels; by it Jack Cade invaded the city (though his head, for that matter, soon adorned its gate-house), and here London was wont, with pageant and ceremonial, to welcome her kings. The picturesque old stone bridge was demolished in 1832; its narrow arches hindered traffic, and gave undue help, besides, to that total freezing of the river that occasionally happened, as the ancient "Frost Fairs" record, in old days; yet one cannot help regretting the necessity for its removal. The present London Bridge, though said to be "unrivalled in the world in the perfection of proportion and the true greatness of simplicity," is, perhaps, more practical than æsthetically beautiful. The tide ebbs strongly against its massive piers; the last roadway across the river, it is also the boundary line for big ships and sailing boats; below here the river assumes more and more the look of a sea-port; it becomes "the Pool of London." From this bridge are to be seen some of the finest London views. The lace-like structure of the unique Tower Bridge, the most extraordinary monument of the century, rising, between its huge watch-towers, like a white wraith behind the more prosaic stone of London Bridge, is here very telling. And, looking towards the City, the brilliant tower of St. Magnus gleams with quite Venetian-like brightness against the blackened medley of its background.

The Tower Bridge, on a first sight, is infinitely more astonishing to the sightseer than any other London monument. It has also a mediæval look, as of some gigantic fortress of the sixteenth century. With regard to the two great towers, (p. 45) flanked on either side by their graceful suspension chains, "spanned high overhead as with a lintel, and holding apart the great twin bascules, like a portcullis raised to give entry to a castle, there is no denying that all this must loom as an impressive watergate upon ships coming from overseas to the Port of London." M. Gabriel Mourey thus describes it:

"The Tower Bridge, the water-gate of the Capital, is a colossal symbol of the British genius. Like that genius, the Bridge struck me as built on lines of severe simplicity, harmonious, superbly balanced, without exaggeration or emphasis; sober architecture, yet with reasonable audacities, signifying its end with that clearness which is the hall-mark of everything English. It wonderfully completes the seething landscape of quays and docks, and the infernal activity of the greatest port in the world. No waters in the world better reflect without deforming than the muddy waters of the Thames; never blue even under the blue skies of summer. Throw this bridge across the Seine or the Loire, and it would spoil the view, like a false note of colour. But here, on the contrary, its effect is prodigiously imposing. Look at its two towers, how square and solid they are. Their tips are crowned by steeples, the roofs are pointed, the windows straight, with pointed arches. It looks like the gate to some strong tower of the middle ages. The combinations of lines composing the bridge call up the idea of some heroic past time. They lift themselves above the river like some massive efflorescence of the past. But look again, and the impression becomes more complex. Light and airy, like clear lace, an iron foot-bridge joins the two towers, across the abyss. Another, lower down, on the level of the banks, lifts up to let big ships pass as under a triumphal arch. And all the audacity of the modern architects, which is to create the works of the future, here bursts forth, suspended on the heavy foundations of the past; with so much measure and proportion that nothing offends in the medly of archaism and modernity. There are few countries able to carry off such contrasts. But this country adjusts itself to them in perfection. It is because no other people know how to unite with the same harmonious force the cult of the past, the religion of tradition, to an unchecked love of progress, and a lively and insatiable passion for the future."

The Tower Bridge, as compared with other great engineering works of the kind, labours under the disadvantage of not being seen properly from anywhere as a whole, taking in, that is, both abutment towers with their pendant suspension chains, which add so much to the general effect. Nevertheless, even (p. 46) viewed from close by, it is very telling, and dwarfs immeasurably any other building near it; see, for instance, how the little Tower of London, that ancient and most historic fortress, loses its size from its close juxtaposition to those supporting towers! The "bascules," or drawbridges, are worked by hydraulic power, and it is a curious and interesting sight to see them raised to allow tall vessels to pass. Below the Tower Bridge, the broad river seems to extend in a sea of masts, the city to become a world of wharves and docks. To quote, once more, an "impression" of M. Gabriel Mourey:

"Once past the London Tower Bridge, and its two enormous towers, which rise like a triumphal arch with an air of calm victory at the entrance to the great metropolis, the seaport aspect of London becomes very apparent. The immense traffic on the river is evident from the constant passage of steamers, no less than by their frequent calls at the wharves whose blackened walls, deep in water, receive the riches of the entire world. A whole people toil at the unloading of the enormous ships; swarming on the barges, dark figures, dimly outlined, moving rhythmically, fill in and give life to the picture. In the far distance, behind the interminable lines of sheds and warehouses, masts bound the horizon, masts like a bare forest in winter, finely branched, exaggerated, aerial trees grown in all the climates of the globe. Steam-tugs whistle, pant, and hurry; ships with great red sails descend the river towards the sea. An enormous steamer advances majestically; she seems as tall as a five-storied house and her masts are lost in the mist. The river suddenly widens, the thick smoke of the atmosphere almost prevents one from seeing the other side; it might almost be an immense lake. Rain, steam, and speed;—Turner's chef d'oeuvre evoked before my eyes. The ever-changing sky is a continual wonder. A while ago the sun, like a disc of melting cream, disappeared in yellowish mists, scattering reflections like dirty snow. Now, through a clearing, he appears like the altar-glory of a Jesuit church; raining waves of golden light; the surrounding cloud-flocks are in a moment tinged with brilliance. And again, he is suddenly eclipsed; all returns to dulness and gloom: it might be the sad dawn of a rainy day."

It is, above all, this vast and eternally busy "Pool of London" that is, and ever has been, the key to her greatness, her wealth, her power. Even the distant church bells of London, clanging fitfully through the "swish" of the wavelets (p. 47) and the eternal muffled roar of the City, recall to the true Londoner the commercial spirit of his ancestors. Does not the children's rhyme (there is ever deep reason in childish rhymes) run thus?

"Oranges and Lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's;
You owe me ten shillings,
Say the bells of St. Helen's;
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey;
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch."

The bells, be it observed, are nothing if not business-like, and seem to be more nearly concerned with our temporal than with our spiritual welfare. But here everything tells of work, of traffic, of the endless and indomitable "struggle-for-life" that is so characteristic of the British race. Father Thames, here, may well speak in Kingsley's words:

"Darker and darker the further I go;
Baser and baser the richer I grow."

These dingy docks, these blackened wharves, represent, in reality, the world's great treasure-house. For to this vast port of London comes all "the wealth of Ormus and of Ind," all the riches of "a thousand islands rocked in an idle main," all the luxuriant produce of new-world farms, of Colonial ranches, of tropical gardens. Here, if anywhere, may be realised his vision who saw

"The heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales."

Jewels such as a Queen of Sheba might have dreamed of, or a Sindbad fabled, from "far Cathay"; ivory and gold from the mysterious East; spices, bark, and coral from many a land of reef and palm; these, with every commercial product of the globe, are daily poured into the ravenous and never-satisfied (p. 48) maw of London. This vast giant, enormous, helpless, is, like the queen termite, all-devouring, and yet would starve of actual food in few days if deprived of her ever-arriving cargoes. For Colonial produce, as every one knows, is, despite the costs of freight, far cheaper than that of our own country. The "Feeding of London," indeed, should prove a very interesting subject to those attracted by statistics.

"There are within the limits of the metropolis at least five million human beings, each of whom has every day to be provided with food. The difference between the plenty of one class and the pittance of another is, no doubt, very marked; but taking the rich and the poor together, the quantity of food required is almost incredible. The necessity for large imports suggests horrid possibilities for some future siege of London! But as the trade and port of London have made its wealth, so they have also helped it to its present enormous dimensions; for though the country, by the railways, brings her share of London's sustenance, yet by far the larger proportion of it comes through the docks. Thus, frozen and living meat comes from the far colony of New Zealand, and also from the United States, Canada, the River Plate, and Australia; potatoes from Malta, Portugal, and Holland; tea from China and India; early vegetables from Madeira and the Canary Islands; spices from Ceylon; wines from France, Portugal, and Spain; oranges from all parts of the tropical globe, far cheaper often than our own home-grown fruits. The import of oranges, indeed, alone reaches a total of 800 or 900 millions yearly; that of raisins and currants some 12,000 tons; while other things are in proportion. The unloading of the ships is done by casual helpers, called "dockers" or "dock-labourers," a rough class of workmen living in and around Wapping, Rotherhithe, and Stepney. Their employment, though now paid at a fair rate for "unskilled" labour, is necessarily heavy while it lasts, and uncertain, causing often a hand-to-mouth existence, and leading to frequent "strikes."—(Darlington's London and its Environs.)

The dock warehouses should be visited, if only to gain some idea of the enormous wealth of London.

"These docks," says M. Taine, "are prodigious, overpowering; each of them is a vast port, and accommodates a multitude of three-masted vessels. There are ships everywhere, ships upon ships in rows ... for the most part they are leviathans, magnificent ... some of them hail from all parts of the world; this is the great trysting-place of the globe."

(p. 49) The shore population, about here, consists mostly of sailors and fishermen; "the Sailors' Town," the region east of the Tower is specially called. The river scenes here are as picturesque in their way as any in the world, a fact of which not only Turner's pictures, but also Mr. Vicat Cole's "Pool of London," now in the Tate Gallery, may well remind us. Why, indeed, should our artists all flock to Venice to paint? Have we not also here golden sunsets, sails of Venetian red, tall masts, dappled skies, all the picturesque litter and crowded life that Turner so loved, suffused in an atmosphere of misty glory?—a glory translated by all the glamour of history and sentiment into

"The light that never was on land or sea,
The consecration and the poet's dream."

To the eyes of the boy Turner, the embryo artist, the child of the City, all was beautiful and worthy to be painted—"black barges, patched sails, and every possible condition of fog." To him, even in mature life, "Thames' shore, with its stranded barges, and glidings of red sail, was dearer than Lucerne lake or Venetian lagoon." Its humanity appealed to him: he, as great a London lover as Dickens, merely expressed this feeling differently. Thus, Ruskin says of Turner's boyhood:

"That mysterious forest below London Bridge,—better for the boy than wood of pine or grove of myrtle. How he must have tormented the watermen, beseeching them to let him crouch anywhere in the bows, quiet as a log, so only that he might get floated down there among the ships, and round and round the ships, and with the ships, and by the ships, and under the ships, staring and clambering;—these the only quite beautiful things he can see in all the world, except the sky; but these, when the sun is on their sails, filling or falling, endlessly disordered by sway of tide and stress of anchorage, beautiful unspeakably; which ships also are inhabited by glorious creatures—red-faced sailors, with pipes, appearing over the gunwales, true knights, over their castle parapets,—the most angelic beings in the whole compass of London world."

The Thames and its wonderful glamour, its mingled beauty and squalor—beauty, in the misty distance—squalor, in the (p. 50) more prosaic near view—suggests memories of Dickens, as it does of Turner. Memories of that "great master of tears and laughter" are, indeed, awakened by every bend of the stream. The romance of the mighty river was all-powerful with him, as with Turner; for he, too, had known it in his early youth. To him, also, even Thames mud afforded mysterious interest. Did not the blacking factory, celebrated in the pathetic pages of David Copperfield, where the miserable hours of his own early youth were spent, stand at the waterside, in Blackfriars? "My favourite lounging place," says David, "in the intervals, was old London Bridge (this was before its demolition in 1832), where I was wont to sit in one of the stone recesses, watching the people going by, or to look over the balustrades at the sun shining in the water, and lighting up the golden flame on the top of the monument." The real David—poor little boy—may, indeed, have occasionally played at being a London mudlark himself, in off-hours; but this he does not tell us!

"Murdstone and Grinby's warehouse was at the water side. It was down in Blackfriars. Modern improvements have altered the place; but it was the last house at the bottom of a narrow street, curving down hill to the river, with some stairs at the end, where people took boat. It was a crazy old house with a wharf of its own, abutting on the water when the tide was in, and on the mud when the tide was out, and literally overrun with rats."

The waterside scenes in The Old Curiosity Shop, including the wharf where Mr. Quilp, the vicious dwarf, broke up his ships, and where Mr. Sampson Brass so nearly broke his shins, were rivalled in vividness, thirty years afterwards, by the river chapters in Our Mutual Friend. In this later story, special stress is laid on the river suicides, and the consequent "dragging" for corpses, done by the watermen for salvage. Dreadful task! but not uncommon "down by Ratcliffe, and by Rotherhithe, where accumulated scum of humanity seemed to be washed from higher ground, like so much moral sewage, and to be pausing until its own weight forced it over the bank and (p. 51) sunk it in the river." Near Rotherhithe—a dingy pier usually infested by mudlarks—is "Jacob's Island," made notorious by the scene in Oliver Twist. "It is surrounded," says Dickens, "by a muddy ditch, six or eight feet deep, and fifteen or twenty wide when the tide is in ... known in these days as Folly Ditch." By means of this ditch, the murderer Sikes tries to escape from the infuriated crowd who clamour for his life, but he fails in the attempt and perishes miserably.

Such is the splendour, such the misery, of the richest, largest, most powerful city in the world! And over all the seething tides of the river and of humanity—the luxury and wretchedness—the "laughing, weeping, hurrying ever" of the crowd, still the grey dome of St. Paul's dominates the scene, still its "cross of gold shines over city and river," calm and changeless above all tides and passions. Browning has suggested the poetry of the view from the dome:

"Over the ball of it,
Peering and prying,
How I see all of it,
Life there outlying!
Roughness and smoothness,
Shine and defilement,
Grace and uncouthness,
One reconcilement."

Beyond the Tower Bridge, and beyond the docks and the East End, the glitter of Greenwich comes in, striking yet another note in the ever-changing key. This palace of Greenwich, set like a jewel among its green hills and parks, was the favourite royal abode of the Tudor Sovereigns. Here Elizabeth was born, and lived in state, and here her brother Edward, the boy-king, died in the flower of his youth. The shining Observatory crowns the hill of Greenwich Park—a welcome oasis of green after the "midnight mirk" of the East End through which we have passed; and the fair frontage of the Palace recalls to us the historic mood in which we began our wanderings. (p. 52) Beautiful now with a new beauty, a twentieth century beauty—how lovely, in a different way, it must have been in those distant ages, when the splendid gilt barges of the nobles, with their gaily-painted awnings, were moored at their palatial water gates; when fair ladies sang to guitars as their craft glided smoothly "under tower and balcony, by garden-wall and gallery"; when each citizen had his private wherry, when loaded "tilt-boats," filled with merry passengers, plied up and down between Greenwich and Westminster. As is the Oxford, the Godstow Thames of to-day, the London Thames was then; "the stream of pleasure," no less than of wealth. Gazing, through the gathering twilight, over towards the misty shadow of vast St. Paul's, seen behind the gleaming tower of St. Magnus, or towards the shimmering expanse of water under the wharves of "London Pool," you can still be oblivious to the present changes; but presently you are rudely awakened by the very unpleasant grating of the steamer against its flimsy wooden quay; and the dulcet strains of "the Last Ro-wse of Summer," played to a somewhat wheezy accordion, reach your ears in very un-Tudor and un-toward fashion. Roman London, Saxon London, Elizabethan London, all fade, like Lamb's "dream-children," into the far-away past;—giving place to Victorian London,—as, jostled by a motley and not too immaculate crowd, you scramble sadly across the rickety gangway to the very common-place and unpalatial shore below London Bridge.

(p. 53)

An Underground Station.


"I have seen the West End, the parks, the fine squares; but I love the City far better. The City seems so much more in earnest; its business, its rush, its roar, are such serious things, sights, sounds. The City is getting its living, the West End but enjoying its pleasure. At the West End you may be amused; but in the City you are deeply excited."—C. Brontë: "Villette."

"And who cries out on crowd and mart?
Who prates of stream and sea?
The summer in the City's heart
That is enough for me."
Amy Levy: "A London Plane Tree."

The City is, by common consent, the most interesting and vital part of the metropolis,—interesting, not only for its (p. 54) past,—but for its present; ever-living,—eternally renewed;—a never-ceasing, impetuous, Niagara of energy and power. It is the pulse,—or rather the aorta,—of the tremendous machine of London; through its crowded veins rushes the life-blood of commerce, of industry, of wealth, that feeds and stimulates not only the town, but also the country and the nation. Through its ancient and narrow highways, crowds of black-coated human ants hurry, day by day, eager in pursuit of money, of power, and of their daily bread.

And yet, curiously enough, it is close by these very crowded thoroughfares of human life and energy, that the most secluded haunts of peace may be found; calm "backwaters," all deserted and forgotten by the flowing stream that runs so near them; tiny spots of unsuspected greenery and ancient stone, absolutely startling in their quiet proximity to the surrounding din and whirl. Though the area of the "City," so-called, is but small, yet it abounds in such peaceful, undreamed-of spots; places where the painter may set up his easel, or even the photographer his camera, without fear of let or hindrance. Secluded bits of ancient churchyard, portions of long-forgotten convent garden, of old wall or bastion, or of antique plane-tree grove; it is such nooks as these that, even more than in Kensington Gardens, suggest Matthew Arnold's lovely lines:

"Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, above the city's jar,
That there abides a peace of thine
Man did not make and cannot mar."

To see and know the City with any proper appreciation of its interests and beauties, would require many days of wandering and leisured perambulation. In no part of London do things and views come upon the pedestrian with more startling suddenness. Emerging from some narrow and smoky alley, where the house-roofs, perhaps, nearly meet overhead, he may find himself, by some sharp turn of the ways, almost directly (p. 55) under the enormous blackened dome of St. Paul's,—looking, in such close proximity,—and especially if there happen to be any fog about,—of positively incredible size. Or he may find peaceful red-brick rectories, that suggest country villages, adjoining, in all charity, noisy mills and warehouses; or railways and canals, which give forth smoke and steam with amiable impartiality, and intersect streets where fragments of old houses yet linger in picturesque decay; or, again, noisy tram-lines, cutting through mediæval squares, that, once upon a time, were peaceful and residential. Yet, after all, it ill becomes us to murmur at the tram-lines and the railways; we ought rather to be thankful that anything at all of the old time is left us. For, in the City, where things are, and ever must be, chiefly utilitarian, the survival of ancient relics is all the more to be wondered at.

But the time of careless and rash destruction is past. The antiquarian spirit is now fairly in our midst, and mediæval remains are preserved, sometimes even at no slight inconvenience. And when the progress of the world, and of railways, requires certain sites, even then the buildings on these, or their most interesting portions, are, so far as possible, spared and protected from further injury. Thus, when the site of "Sir Paul Pindar's" beautiful old mansion in Bishopsgate Street was required for the enlargements of the Great Eastern Railway Company, its elaborately-carved wooden front was transported bodily to the South Kensington Museum, which it now adorns; and the church tower of the ancient "All Hallows Staining," surviving its demolished nave and choir, still stands, a curiously isolated relic, in the green square of the Clothworkers' Hall; that company being bound over to keep it in order and repair. Similarly, the pains and the great expense incurred in the careful restoration of that old Holborn landmark, Staple Inn, a score or so of years back, are well known. And "Crosby Hall," anciently Crosby Place, that famous Elizabethan mansion commemorated in Shakespeare's Richard III., is now, after (p. 56) much danger and many vicissitudes, utilised for the purposes of a restaurant, which, at least ensures the keeping of it in proper and timely repair. Fifty, even thirty, years ago, ancient monuments were more lightly valued, sometimes even rescued with difficulty from the hands of the destroyer; now, however, the veneration for old landmarks is more widespread. Repairs to old buildings are, to a certain extent, always necessary; for in London, more than anywhere, long neglect means inevitable decay and destruction. And if in certain districts Philistines may yet have their way, if the taste of the builder and restorer is not always faultless, things have at any rate much improved since early Victorian days.

Of the many delightful excursions to be made in and about the City, perhaps that to the ancient priory church of St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, and the neighbouring precincts of the Charterhouse, ranks first. The church is a Norman relic unique in London, a bit of mediævalism, left curiously stranded amid the desolation and destruction of all its compeers. Though St. Bartholomew the Great is easily reached from Newgate Street, being indeed but just beyond the famous hospital of the same name, it is yet difficult to find. Its diminutive and somewhat inadequate red-brick tower is but just visible above the row of houses that divide it from Smithfield, and the modest entrance to its precincts, underneath a mere shop-archway, may easily be missed. The church is, in fact, almost hidden by neighbouring houses. While its main entrance faces Smithfield, the dark, mysterious, densely-inhabited district called "Little Britain" crowds in closely upon it on two sides, and the picturesque alley named "Cloth Fair" abuts against it on another. It is, therefore, difficult to get much of a view of it anywhere from outside; you may, indeed, get close to it, and yet lose your way to it. The ancient priory church has only recently been disentangled from the surrounding factories and buildings, that in the lapse of careless centuries had been suffered to invade it.


(p. 58) The entrance door from West Smithfield, though insignificant in size, is yet deserving of notice; for it is a pointed Early English arch with dog-tooth ornamentation. Hence, a narrow passage leads through a most quaint churchyard; an old-time burial-ground, a bit of rank and untended greenery, interspersed with decaying and falling gravestones, and hemmed in by the backs of the tottering Cloth Fair houses; ancient lath-and-plaster tenements, crumbling and dirty, their lower timbers bulging, yet most picturesque in their decay. They all appear to be let out in rooms to poor workers; above, patched and ragged articles of clothing are hanging out to dry, while on the ground floor you may see a shoemaker hammering away at his last, or a carpenter at his lathe, his light much intercepted by a big adjacent gravestone, on which a black cat, emblem of witchery, is sitting. The gravestones seem not at all to affect the cheerfulness of the population; perhaps, indeed, as in the case of Mr. Oram, the coffinmaker, these wax the more cheerful because of their gloomy surroundings. The whole scene, nevertheless, is most strangely weird, and reminds one of nothing so much as of that ghoulish churchyard described by Dickens as in "Tom-All-Alone's;" with this exception, that Dickens only saw the sad humanity of such places, and not their undoubted picturesqueness.

Beyond this strange disused burial-ground the church is entered. The history of its foundation is a romantic one. The priory church, with its monastery and hospital, was the direct outcome of a religious vow. In the twelfth century, when the little Norman London of the day was the town of monasteries and church bells likened by Sir Walter Besant to the "Île Sonnante" of Rabelais; in or about 1120, one of King Henry I.'s courtiers, Rahere or Rayer (the spelling of that time is uncertain), went on a pilgrimage to Rome. At Rome he, as people still often do, fell ill of malarial fever, and, as is less common, perhaps nowadays, vowed, if he recovered, to build a hospital for the "recreacion of poure men." Rahere was, (p. 59) says the chronicler, "a pleasant-witted gentleman, and therefore in his time called the King's minstrel." (Hence, no doubt, he has been called also "the King's jester"; though this appears to be incorrect.) Lively and "pleasant-witted" people are, we know, apt to take sudden conversion hardly; and Rahere was certainly as thorough in his dealings with the devil as was any mediæval saint. In his sickness he had a vision, and in that vision he saw a great beast with four feet and two wings; this beast seized him and carried him to a high place whence he could see "the bottomless pit" and all its horrors. From this very disagreeable position he was delivered by the merciful St. Bartholomew, who thereupon ordered him to go home and build a church in his honour on a site that he should direct, assuring him that he (the saint), would supply the necessary funds. Returning home, Rahere gained the king's consent to the work, which was forthwith begun, and assisted greatly by miraculous agency; such as bright light shining on the roof of the rising edifice, wonderful cures worked there, and all such supernatural revelations. When Rahere died, in the odour of sanctity, and the first prior of his foundation, he left thirteen canons attached to it; which number his successor, Prior Thomas, had raised in 1174 to thirty-five. Thus the monastery grew through successive priors, till it was one of the largest religious houses in London. Its precincts and accessories extended at one time as far as Aldersgate Street; these however vanished with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., and all that remains to the present day is the abbreviated priory church and a small part of a cloister. In monastic times the nave of the edifice extended, indeed, the whole length of the little churchyard, as far as the dog-toothed Smithfield entrance gate; but of the ancient church nothing now remains intact but the choir, with the first bay of the nave and portions of the transepts. Yet the recent restorations have been most successfully carried out, and the first view of the interior is striking in its grand old Norman simplicity. (p. 60) The choir has a triforium and a clerestory, and terminates in an apse, pierced by curious horseshoe arches; behind runs a circulating ambulatory dividing it from the adjoining "Lady chapel." Worthy of notice is the finely-wrought modern iron screen, the work of Mr. Starkie Gardner, that separates this chapel from the apse. The church has been altered, added to, or mutilated, from time to time; and other styles of architecture, such as Perpendicular, have occasionally been introduced; but yet the main effect of the interior is Norman. The beautiful Norman apse, built over and obliterated in the 15th century, has, by the talent of Mr. Aston Webb, been now restored to its original design. Indeed, the whole edifice has in recent times and by the efforts of late rectors and patrons, been extricated from dirt, lumber and decay; the work of restoration beginning in 1864. The restorer has done his work most faithfully, preserving all the old walls, and utilising the old Norman stones used in previous re-buildings.

The high value of every inch of space, in this crowded colony of workers, had in course of centuries caused many and various irruptions into the sacred precincts. But some of the worst encroachments may possibly have arisen in the beginning more from the action of venal and careless officials and rectors, than from outside greed. Thus, supposing that a parishioner had, by some means or other, obtained a corner of the church for the stowing of his lumber, and that he paid rent for it duly to the churchwardens; he being in time himself nominated churchwarden, the rent would lapse, himself and his heirs becoming eventually proprietors of the said corner. Thus it is that abuses creep in. The state of St. Bartholomew-the-Great, a half-century ago, must indeed have been grief, almost despair to the antiquary. A fringe factory occupied the "Lady-Chapel" and even projected into the apse; a school was held in the triforium; and a blacksmith's forge filled one of the transepts. The fringe factory cost no less than £6,000 to buy out; the blacksmith whose forge had been inside the church (p. 61) for 250 years, was removed for a sum of £2,000. In the north transept you may still see the stone walls and arches blackened with the smoke of the forge, and a curious white patch, yet remaining on the pillared wall, testifies to the exact spot where the blacksmith's tool-cupboard used to stand. The feet of the horses can hardly be said to have improved the Norman pillars. Pious legend is already busy with the history of the reconstruction of the church, and I was assured that in one case the compensation money did its recipient little good; for he immediately set himself, as the phrase goes, to "swallow it." But, indeed, all that remained of the old church was before 1864 so hemmed in on all sides by encroaching houses, that the work of "buying out" must have been one of immense difficulty and patience. Some few of the tenants have, it seems, proved very obdurate and grasping; these, however, are wisely left to deal with till the last. One window in the now cleared and restored "Lady-Chapel" is still blocked by a red-tiled, rambling building, a highly unnecessary but most picturesque parasite which has at some period or other attached itself limpet-like to the old church wall.

The old church is, like all London churches, dark, and it requires a bright day to be thoroughly appreciated. Lady sketchers are sometimes to be seen there, their easels set up in secluded nooks. The church, however, is generally more or less desolate, a curious little island of quiet after the surrounding din of the streets and alleys. Perhaps one or two strangers,—Americans most likely,—men by preference,—may be seen going over it; but old city churches do not, as a rule, attract crowds of visitors. Passers-by can rarely direct you to them, and even dwellers in the district can but seldom tell you where they are. For cockneys, even "superior" cockneys, are born and die in London without ever troubling themselves over the existence of these ancient relics of the past. Yet, if the natural beauties of St. Bartholomew are great, greater still is its historical interest. The vandalisms of the Reformation, (p. 62) and, later, of the Protectorate, have fortunately spared most of its ancient monuments, and the tomb of Rahere, the founder and earliest prior, shows its recumbent effigy still uninjured under a vaulted canopy. The tomb is on the north side of the choir, just inside the communion rails. Though the canopy is admittedly the work of a fifteenth-century artist, the effigy is said to belong to Rahere's own time. The founder is represented in the robes of his Order (the Augustinian Canons); his head has the monkish tonsure; a monk is on each side of him, and an angel is at his feet. The effigy, like several other monuments in the church, has been darkened all over, probably by the misplaced zeal of Cromwellian iconoclasts, with sombre paint; this coating, however, has been to a great extent removed. (In some of the other tombs and monuments the darkening is done with some thick black pigment, impossible entirely to remove.) The Latin epitaph on Rahere's tomb is simple:

"Hic jacet Raherus primus canonicus et primus prior hujus ecclesiae."

Some twenty years ago the tomb was opened, and Rahere's skeleton disclosed, together with a part of a sandal, which latter may be seen in a glass case among other relics in the north transept.

Almost opposite the founder's tomb, looking down from the south triforium, is Prior Bolton's picturesque window, built by him evidently for the purpose of watching the revered monument. Prior Bolton, the most famous of Rahere's successors, ruled the convent from 1506 to 1532; his window is a projecting oriel, and on a middle panel below is carved his well-known "rebus," a "bolt" passing through a "tun"; this rebus occurs also at other places in the church.

The splendid alabaster tomb of Sir Walter Mildmay, a statesman of Queen Elizabeth's day, and founder of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, should be noticed in the south ambulatory. The vandalism of former times had, curiously enough, (p. 63) not blackened this tomb, but endued its alabaster with an upper coating of sham marble—now removed. The remainder of the tombs and monuments will all repay inspection; and some of the inscriptions are very quaint. For instance, in a bay in the south ambulatory is a monument to a certain John Whiting and his wife, with the verse (nearly defaced) from Sir Henry Wotton:

"Shee first deceased, he for a little try'd
To live without her, lik'd it not and dy'd."

And in another place is the monument to Edward Cooke, "philosopher and doctor," which is made of a kind of porous marble that exudes water in damp weather, and has inscribed on it the following appropriate epitaph:

"Unsluice, ye briny floods. What! can ye keep
Your eyes from teares, and see the marble weep?
Burst out for shame; or if ye find noe vent
For teares, yet stay and see the stones relent."

Yet the marble was not altogether to be blamed. It is sad to spoil a poetic illusion; but it seems that in old days the church was damp, so damp that the rector—if report is to be believed—had to preach sometimes under an umbrella, and the marble "wept" abundantly. Now, however, that the building is repaired and properly warmed, the "stones relent" no more.

St. Bartholomew has had, too, its quota of famous parishioners. Milton, that constant though wandering Londoner, lived close by at one time, in his "pretty garden-house" of Aldersgate (that garden-house that was yet so dull that his young wife ran away temporarily both from it and him!); and the poet probably attended divine service in the church. Hogarth, the painter, was baptised here, as the parish registers tell. The congregation of the present day, however, comes, as is so often the case with old city churches, mainly from outside. The immediate neighbourhood is hardly church-going, (p. 64) being a collection of narrow alleys and mysterious courts. And yet, in these dark purlieus of "Little Britain," house-room is frightfully dear, and in the crumbling tenements of "Cloth Fair," a poor room costs about 6s. per week. As to the population, only fifteen years ago they were rough, rowdy, even criminal in places; now, however, the district is mainly respectable, although overcrowded by workers—factory hands, private manufacturers, widows who work in City offices and who cling to the locality as being near and convenient. It is very difficult for the authorities to obviate overcrowding in certain central London districts. Little Britain, now devoted to warehouses and tenement dwellings, was in old days filled with book-shops; indeed, the whole district used to be literary, for Milton Street, near by, was the "Grub Street" of Pope's obloquy in the Dunciad. In Little Britain are still good houses to be seen here and there; and Cloth Fair itself was once inhabited by grandees and merchant princes. That dingy but romantic alley still boasts an old lath-and-plaster house, that once was the Earl of Warwick's; its picturesque windows surmount a humble tallow chandler's shop; but its towering decrepitude still has dignity, and the Earl's arms still adorn its front. It was good enough for an Earl in old days; now, however, his dog would hardly be allowed to sleep in it!

When "Bartholomew Fair" was a great annual festivity, it was in Cloth Fair that the famous "Court of Pie Powdre" used to be held, that court which, during fair-time, corrected weights and measures and granted licenses. It was called the "Court of Pie Powdre" because "justice was done there as speedily as dust can fall from the foot."

In mediæval days, the open space of Smithfield—now a meat market—was, as every one knows, a shambles of another sort. Here suffered that noble army of Marian martyrs, who proudly for conscience' sake faced the flame; here burned those hideous fires that long blackened the English name. (p. 65) The little row of houses facing Smithfield,—under which is the archway and dog-toothed gate to the old church, already mentioned,—is, so far as one can gather from an old print, little altered since those cruel days when mayors, grandees, and respectable citizens would sit and watch the tortures of poor, faithful men and women. Especially at the beautiful Anne Askew's burning, "the multitude and concourse," says Foxe, "of the people was exceeding; the place where they stood being railed about to keep out the press. Upon the bench under St. Bartholomew's Church sate Wriothesley, chancellor of England, the old Duke of Norfolk," etc. etc.... Strange times, indeed! when, (said Byron):

"Christians did burn each other, quite persuaded
That all the Apostles would have done as they did."

At the Smithfield fires perished in all 277 persons, whose only memorial is now an inscribed stone on the outer wall of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, commemorating three of them in these words:

"Within a few yards of this spot John Rogers, John Bradford, John Philpot, servants of God, suffered death by fire for the faith of Christ, in the years 1555, 1556, 1557."

Smithfield, or Smoothfield as it was first called, was even in very early times a place of slaughter and execution; here the Scotch patriot, Sir William Wallace, was done to death in 1305, and here, in 1381, the rebel Wat Tyler was slain by Sir William Walworth. Originally a tournament and tilt ground, Smithfield was in those days a broad meadow-land fringed with elms, beyond the old London walls. Miracle-plays, public executions, tortures, fairs, and burnings appear to have taken place here in indiscriminate alternation, until Smithfield became, first, the great cattle-fair of London, and, finally, the modern meat-market. Its present charm, if any, must be all "in the eye of the seer;" for it is, in truth, a noisy, unattractive spot, with but little suggestion of ancient romance about it.

(p. 66)

St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield.

St. Bartholomew's Hospital, of which the long front faces the market-place, forms part of Rahere's original foundation. Refounded by Henry VIII. after the dissolution of the monasteries, it is now almost the wealthiest, as well as the oldest, hospital in London. It admits over 100,000 patients annually, and its medical school is famous. Just within its Smithfield gateway, which dates from the year 1702, and is adorned by a statute of Henry VIII., is the church of St. Bartholomew the Less, originally built by Rahere just after his return from Rome, but re-erected in 1823. The spacious courtyards of the hospital, collegiate in size and cleanliness, and pleasantly shaded by trees, afford pretty and pathetic sights. Here, on fine days of spring and summer, a few convalescents, pale and bandaged, may be seen sitting out and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, talking, reading, or simply engrossed in watching a game of ball played by the students. Those boy- or girl-patients who are well on the road to recovery, often (p. 67) tend or supervise still younger patients, the pretty white-capped nurses occasionally lending a hand—it is a charming sight. The last time that I passed by the Smithfield front of the hospital, a poor tramp lay prone on the broad steps of the patients' entrance, and a porter was sympathetically and tenderly preparing to lift him inside; it was a picture of the Good Samaritan.

But St. Bartholomew's precincts are not the only "haunts of peace" in this noisy neighbourhood. Crossing the Metropolitan Meat Market, and picking your way northward, through innumerable ugly tram-lines, you presently reach the quiet and restful Charterhouse Square, whence, through an archway, the precincts of the ancient monastery are entered. Charterhouse Square, once an enclosure of seventeenth-century palaces, is a delightful old place even yet; though its sober residential look of time-darkened red brick is now but a blind, and it is rapidly becoming a square of hotels and lodging-houses. Such a fate was, of course, inevitable in its case; and yet it seems mournful. The spot where Rutland House, the ancient residence of the Venetian ambassador, once stood, is only commemorated now in the name of Rutland Place. The City palaces have crumbled; they have all been rebuilt in the far West; and even Bloomsbury has none left, except those which are devoted to the modern flat! One of the prettiest houses now to be seen in the present Charterhouse Square,—its front trellised over with bright Virginian creeper, such a house as Miss Thackeray loved to describe,—is now a "home" fitted up by a big city warehouse for the accommodation of its working girls. The square garden is still nicely kept; Janus-faced, it looks on to the world's noisy mart on the one side, and, on the other, towards conventual peace.

But you must not linger in Charterhouse Square; time is passing, and the archway leading to the ancient sanctuary invites you. The guide-books tell you that this archway is in the "Perpendicular" style; that its projecting shelf above is (p. 68) supported by lions; this and much more; but you do not always feel in a mood to digest guide-books. They are so aggressive in their information, and so distracting to one's own thoughts! For, how many associations does not this classic abode recall! You can easily imagine groups of tonsured, cowled friars, standing here and there in the shadows of the quadrangles; one "grey friar" of a later time, with "the order of the Bath on his breast," perhaps, most of all.

This Carthusian monastery, so powerful in mediæval times, and founded by Sir Walter Manny as early as 1321, was suppressed by the rapacity of Henry VIII., that brutal though necessary reformer. The story of the dissolution is a cruel and heartrending one. Prior Houghton, the last superior of the monastery, protested against the king's spoliation of Church lands; he was promptly convicted of high treason, and, with several of his monks, was "hanged, drawn, and quartered" at Tyburn. They died gallantly, and in their deaths we revere that true and sturdy spirit that still in our own day leads England on to glory:

"If" (says Froude) "we would understand the true spirit of the time, we must regard Catholics and Protestants as gallant soldiers, whose deaths, when they fall, are not painful, but glorious; and whose devotion we are equally able to admire, even where we cannot equally approve their cause. Courage and self-sacrifice are beautiful alike in an enemy and in a friend. And while we exult in that chivalry with which the Smithfield martyrs bought England's freedom with their blood, so we will not refuse our admiration to those other gallant men whose high forms, in the sunset of the old faith, stand transfigured on the horizon, tinged with the light of its dying glory."

Prior Houghton's bloody arm, severed from his murdered corpse, was hung up over the gateway of his sanctuary, to awe his remaining monks into obedience; while his head was exposed on London Bridge. Brutal, indeed, were our forefathers of the Tudor time!

The Charterhouse, after the banishment and death of its monks, passed through the hands of several of the king's (p. 69) favourites, and came eventually into those of the Duke of Norfolk, who altered it considerably, making it less monastic and more palatial in character. But a new era of usefulness awaited the ancient convent; better days for it were at hand. For it was finally sold by the Norfolk family to one Thomas Sutton, a rich and philanthropic Northumbrian coal-owner, who converted it into a "Hospital" for eighty poor men, and a school for forty poor boys. The school, so picturesque in Thackeray's Newcomes, no longer exists here as in old days; in 1872, the modern craze for fresh air transferred it to new premises at Godalming; and the boys' vacated buildings were sold to the Merchant Taylors' Company for their own school. The almshouses for the poor brothers remain, however, just as they were. Times change, and, though the aged bedesmen are yet poor, it is doubtful whether all the boys who benefit from the foundation, can still be called so. The school, like other foundations of its kind, probably now benefits a higher class than old Thomas Sutton intended.

Many noted men have been pupils of the Charterhouse; Thackeray, especially, has immortalised his old school in his touching description of "Founder's Day"; when old Colonel Newcome, in his turn both pupil and poor brother, sits humbly among the aged pensioners, clad in his black gown:

"I chanced to look up from my book towards the swarm of black-coated pensioners: and amongst them—amongst them—sate Thomas Newcome. His dear old head was bent down over his prayer-book; there was no mistaking him. He wore the black gown of the pensioners of the Hospital of Grey Friars. His order of the Bath was on his breast. He stood there amongst the poor brethren, uttering the responses to the psalm.... I heard no more of prayers, and psalms, and sermon, after that."

The whole of the Charterhouse breathes the old man's spirit; is perambulated by his frail ghost, the shadow of a Grey Friar. The letters, "I.H." worked out in red on the bricks in Washhouse Court, (part of the old monastery), though supposed to show the initials of the martyred Prior Houghton, (p. 70) are not so vivid to us as the little house in the same court, pointed out as the place where Colonel Newcome died!

Ghosts there may be in the Charterhouse, but their identity is not divulged. "Some people," the porter owns, under pressure, "have been known to see strange things," though he for his part has only come across rats, so far. Perhaps the boys have "laid" them! boys, it must be confessed, would make short work of most ghosts. The boys, on the "Founder's Day" mentioned by Thackeray, used always to sing the Carthusian chorus in the old merchant's honour:

"Then blessed be the memory
Of good old Thomas Sutton,
Who gave us lodging, learning,
As well as beef and mutton."

They sing it still, no doubt, equally heartily at Godalming; yet, surely, some among them must yearn for the historic associations of the old place. But, indeed, all the ancient schools are going, or gone, from the City; St. Paul's School is moved to Hammersmith; the picturesque Christ's Hospital is just disintegrated; its characteristic Lares and Penates are removed to Horsham; and the passengers along noisy Newgate Street will no longer stay to enjoy the romps and the foot-ball of the yellow-legged, blue-coated boys.

The brick courts of the Charterhouse have a solid and collegiate air; its small Jacobean chapel, of which the groined entrance alone dates from monastic times, contains a splendid alabaster tomb of the Founder. Here is Thackeray's striking description of a "Founder's Day" service:

"The boys are already in their seats, with smug fresh faces, and shining white collars; the old black-gowned pensioners are on their benches; the chapel is lighted, and Founder's Tomb, with its grotesque carvings, monsters, heraldries, darkles and shines with the most wonderful shadows and lights. There he lies, Foundator Noster, in his ruff and gown, awaiting the great Examination Day.... Yonder sit forty cherry-cheeked boys, thinking about home and holidays to-morrow. Yonder sit some three-score (p. 71) old gentlemen of the hospital, listening to the prayers and the psalms. You hear them coughing feebly in the twilight,—the old reverend blackgowns.... A plenty of candles lights up this chapel, and this scene of age and youth, and early memories, and pompous death. How solemn the well-remembered prayers are, here uttered again in the place where in childhood we used to hear them! How beautiful and decorous the rite; how noble the ancient words of the supplications which the priest utters, and to which generations of fresh children, and troops of bygone seniors have cried Amen! under those arches! The service for Founder's Day is a special one; one of the psalms selected being the thirty-seventh, and we hear—'v. 23. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. 24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. 25. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread."

The Carthusians, as visitors to the monastery of the "Grande Chartreuse" already know, lived almost entirely in small houses of their own. These exist here no longer, but the ancient brick cloister that extends along the playground belongs to the old convent. The many rambling courts and low buildings of the Charterhouse are, no doubt, puzzling on a first visit. "There is," says Thackeray, "an old Hall, a beautiful specimen of the architecture of James's time; an old Hall? many old halls; old staircases, old passages, old chambers decorated with old portraits, walking in the midst of which, we walk as it were in the early seventeenth century." The dining-hall, which used to be the monastic guest-chamber, is used now by the old bedesmen; it is fine, with its dark panelling and its look of comfortable solidity. This was the part of the old Charterhouse adapted for his own dwelling by the Duke of Norfolk; and the wide Elizabethan staircase, leading to the "Officers' Library," is almost exactly as it was in his time. A curfew, tolled every evening at eight or nine o'clock p.m., proclaims the number of the poor brethren. It was with reference to this custom that Thackeray wrote his infinitely touching description of the death of Thomas Newcome:

"At the usual evening hour the chapel bell began to toll, and Thomas Newcome's hands outside the bed feebly beat time. And just as the last bell (p. 72) struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone over his face, and he lifted up his head a little, and quickly said 'Adsum,' and fell back. It was the word we used at school, when names were called; and lo, he, whose heart was as that of a little child, had answered to his name, and stood in the presence of The Master."

But the Charterhouse has now come more or less to be a "show place"; and, interesting as are visits to the show places of London, I often think that a mere aimless ramble through the streets of the City is more soothing and refreshing to the average mind. Human nature is contradictory, delighting in the unexpected; also, so far as lasting impressions go, it is incapable of thoroughly taking in much at one time. Everybody knows that places where you are "shown round" are fatiguing; what you really enjoy is what you can find out for your own poor self. In London streets, the unexpected is always happening; thus, through the hideous plate glass of a bar parlour, you may catch glimpses of waving trees and grey towers, and even the dreadful glare of London advertisement hoardings does not "wholly abolish or destroy" the ancient charm of the crowded, irregular City streets. A City of parallel lines and squares, such as the Colonials love! Perish the thought! Let them widen Southampton Row if they will, remove Holywell Street and King Street if they list; but let us at any rate keep to our old and devious ways through the heart of the City!

Just west of the Charterhouse, reached from Smithfield by St. John Street, is another stranded islet of the past, St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell. This is the only remaining relic of the mediæval Priory of St. John, the chief English seat of the "Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem," founded in Henry I.'s reign by a baron named Jordan Briset and Muriel his wife. The early Priory was burnt by the rebels under Wat Tyler, and, when rebuilt, the newer building was used in many reigns as a resort of royalty. After many vicissitudes, the Order of St. John's Knights was suppressed by that archiconoclast (p. 73) Henry VIII. who, for the purpose, resorted to his usual persuasive methods of beheading, hanging, and quartering. Nevertheless, the Priory continued to be used as a Royal residence by Henry's daughter, Mary. The fragment of the old building that remains to us is its south gate, built by Prior Docwra in 1504. It is a fine bit of perpendicular architecture; on the gateway's north side are the arms of Docwra and of his Order, on the south side, those of France and England. In the centre of the groined roof is the Lamb bearing a flag, kneeling on the Gospels. The rest of the Priory buildings have long vanished; destroyed, for the most part, by the ambitious Protector Somerset, by whose order they were blown up for building materials for his fine new Strand palace. The later history of the old Gate is mainly journalistic; demonstrating that typical change from the calm of conventual seclusion to the thunder of printing-press publicity, so common in central London. Dr. Johnson lived here in his early days of hack work in the old rooms above the Gate, working for Cave the printer, the founder of the Gentleman's Magazine, at so much per sheet, and living here an inky, dirty, hermit-like existence; seeing no one, and "eating his food behind a screen, being too shabby for publicity." The chair he used is still treasured. (St. John's Gate is a familiar object to many who have not really seen it, owing to its representation, in pale purple, on the outside cover of the Gentleman's Magazine.) The gate is now appropriately occupied by the Order of St. John, a charitable institution devoted to ambulance and hospital work. Part of the old priory church may be seen in the fine Norman crypt of St. John's Church close by. People used to visit this crypt to see the coffin (now buried), of "Scratching Fanny, the Cock Lane Ghost": this was a fraud perpetrated by a girl and her father, for gain. A plausible story was invented, and many notable people were duped by it; but by Dr. Johnson's investigations the hoax was at length discovered.

(p. 74) A ramble down Bishopsgate, in the inconsequent way already suggested, will be found thoroughly enjoyable; though it has, of course, the defect of being exceptionally easy of accomplishment. For this purpose, an omnibus to the Mansion House will land you exactly where you want to be. I may add that it is very important to choose a fine day for the excursion, a day when those imposing golden letters on the Royal Exchange—the "Anno Elizabethae" and "Anno Victoriae"—glitter like so many suns above the unceasing whirlpool of human life and energy below. Have you ever thought, as you looked on those golden letters, how interesting they may prove to some future antiquary? Like the "M. Agrippa Cos Tertium Fecit" on the Roman Pantheon, they tell, proudly, of the glory of a great nation. It is noteworthy that the names of two queens should here represent England's highest fame, and commemorate thus, in close juxtaposition, the Elizabethan and Victorian Age.

The Victorian Age, however, with its bustle and movement, is very much with us as we approach Bishopsgate along the route of Holborn Viaduct. If you elect to travel on the top of an omnibus, you will find that Newgate Street and Cheapside show, in turn and on each side, a scintillating kaleidoscope of light and colour. Rambles are all very well in their way; but, under some circumstances, Mr. Gladstone's dictum was a right one; the top of an omnibus is a wonderful point of view. So we will go on a 'bus to the Mansion House, and ramble afterwards. First comes St. Paul's, its imposing dome rising majestically in ponderous blackness through its surrounding greenery; then the gloomy walls of grim Newgate prison; next, the pale, ghost-like spire of St. Mary-le-Bow, shining over its blackened base and the many-coloured street vista below, and, finally, the great civic buildings of the City proper, forming in the sunlight, a sort of white-and-golden circle, a central focusing point of colour and energy, whence diverge, like so many wheel-spokes, all the great business thoroughfares. The (p. 75) stranger, set down here for the first time, generally completely loses his bearings, and even the practised Londoner sometimes finds himself at a loss. (In a "London particular" he may even find himself in a very Inferno.) But the cool inner courtyard of the Royal Exchange, sought as a refuge, will speedily restore his disordered faculties, and give him time to get out his pocket-map. Here, let into the inner wall of the colonnade, are modern paintings of scenes in the history of London by eminent artists, among which the contrasted pictures of the two great queens (respectively by Ernest Crofts and R. W. Macbeth) carry out something of the feeling suggested by the gold-lettered pediment. Elizabeth, on a spirited charger, golden-haired and in picturesque sixteenth century dress, opens Sir Thomas Gresham's earlier building; Victoria, a slim girlish figure, standing between the "great Duke" and Prince Albert, inaugurates the later.

Round about the "Exchange" precincts, several sensible, sober, and practical-looking gentlemen sit, casually, on stone chairs; Mr. Peabody is on one side, Sir Rowland Hill, the penny postage reformer, is on the other. So far as I have seen, they are the only people in this crowded ant-heap who have any leisure for sitting down! Opposite the Royal Exchange, at No. 15 Cornhill, is a little shop of old time—Birch and Birch—painted in green and red. It is a very unassuming little confectioner's shop, and its tiny, abridged shop-front with the narrow panes of glass has certainly an antique look. But not unassuming are the civic banquets which this firm is often called upon to supply. The churches in the narrow street of Cornhill come upon the pedestrian, if, indeed, they come upon him at all, as surprises. Of St. Michael's nothing can be seen from the street but its tower and richly-carved modern doorway fixed between two plate-glass shop-fronts. The doorway has projecting heads and a relief of St. Michael weighing souls; a business-like proceeding, I may remark, that well befits the City. Further on, comes St. Peter-upon-Cornhill, the body of (p. 76) the church completely masked by shops, and only the tower to be seen over the roofs from the further side of the street. Most of these City churches are open at mid-day, and the stranger is usually free to walk round and see what he will, without let or hindrance, ignored by the sextoness or pew-opener, who is generally a superior old lady in black silk, attached to the church some thirty or forty years, and almost as much a part of it as its furniture. Church caretakers' lives must be healthier than one would imagine, for they seem, as a race, given to longevity. Visitors are rarely encouraged in London churches. The charwomen employed in scrubbing the aisles seem to regard intruders as unnecessary nuisances. "Church shut for to-day," one cried triumphantly when she saw me coming. It is interesting to note that, when Thackeray edited the Cornhill Magazine, his editorial window looked out upon this church of St. Peter. Now, Bishopsgate Street turns down out of Cornhill to the left, and spacious banks, built in varying degrees of splendour, line the thoroughfare.

Close by, in Threadneedle Street, was the old "South Sea House," noted for the famous "Bubble" of 1720, that ruined so many thousands. E. M. Ward's picture of the wild excitement caused by the "Bubble" in the neighbouring Change Alley, is well known. In Bishopsgate Street, almost opposite Crosby Hall, is the splendid "National and Provincial Bank," unique in sumptuousness, its large hall lined with polished granite columns in the Byzantine-Romanesque style—a style, one would think, more ecclesiastical than financial. If they had dug this sort of place out of old Pompeii, what would the antiquaries have called it? No statues of Plutus or of Mercury would have helped them to their finding! Alas! in our foggy climate, we dare not indulge ourselves with sculptured Lares and Penates; and we must needs content ourselves with those few square-toed, frock-coated celebrities whose statues, of gigantic size, confront us at our chief partings of the roads. They have, certainly, gathered funereal trappings galore (p. 77) in their time; their grime and blackness deceive even the wary London sparrows, who build their nests fearlessly about the giants' heads and shoulders.

To return to Bishopsgate Street: Crosby Hall, the ancient mediæval palace and modern restaurant, to which I have before alluded, is, though much repaired and repainted, still dignified; in the interior of the restaurant all details are carefully studied, even to the antique china stands for glasses, and the old-fashioned spotted cambric dresses of the serving-maids.

Close by Crosby Hall is the turning into Great St. Helen's; indeed, the long windows of the hall back on to the square of that name. This curious old convent church, set in its little secluded enclosure, has been called "the Westminster Abbey of the City." It is certainly rich in historical tombs and monuments. Originally founded in the 13th century as the "Priory of St. Helen's for Nuns of the Benedictine Order," its accessories have, like those of St. Bartholomew the Great, been long removed and built over, and its cloisters exist no more. Yet what remains of it is full of interest. It is comparatively very unvisited. The last time I was there, I noticed one depressed American, "doing" the tombs sadly. I felt for him, for though it was only 3 o'clock on an October day, it was much too dark to read or see, and he had evidently lost himself among the monuments. The sextoness, who was apparently engaged in the careful brushing of her black silk dress in the vestry, was much too superior to notice him. St. Helen's is a dark church at any time; on this occasion a "London particular" was also impending, and even the gold letters on Sir Thomas Gresham's massive tomb scarcely showed in the fading light. But it was a picturesque scene, despite the sad lack of "glory on the walls." The old knights and ladies, motionless on their narrow beds, glimmered in ghostly fashion, silent witnesses of the flight of the centuries. The quaint, stiff effigies, clad in ruff and farthingale,—while they have knelt there, how many generations, in the turbulent world outside, have been born and died? (p. 78) Bancroft's unwieldy tomb is gone from its old place; else you might well have imagined the shade of the eccentric philanthropist stealing from it by night, pressing back its careful hinges, and fumbling for the bread and wine that he had ordered by will to be placed near by for his awakening. You mistook, in the dim light, Sir John Spencer's kneeling heiress-daughter for a guardian angel, and you were awed by the still, calm mediævalism of the altar-tomb of the Crosbys.... It was all so vague and so misty that the mind really seemed to participate in the general fog, and I remember gazing vaguely on the words, "Julius Caesar,"—inscribed, in enormous letters, on a sumptuous altar-tomb,—feeling that I fervently sympathised with the royal lady who, when shown the magic name, is said to have remarked naïvely:

"But I always thought that Julius Caesar was buried in Rome!"

It is surely very unfair for individuals to perpetrate post-mortem puzzles of the kind! For this "Julius Caesar," (who, by-the-way, gained his false honours by dropping his surname) was merely a Judge and a Master of the Rolls of Elizabeth's day, and, evidently, as shown by his tomb, designed by himself, what is called "a crank" also. When I had got over the "Julius Caesar" deception, I sympathised duly with the large family of "John Robinson, alderman," whose children form a long kneeling procession behind him; and still more did I mourn for those unhappy nuns who, poor things, were immured in the darkness behind "the Nuns' Grate," or "hagioscope"; their scant peepholes so unkindly devised that they could only see the altar, and not the congregation! These "Black Nuns" of St. Helen's must, nevertheless, one thinks, have been often but naughty, giggling school-girls, despite their show of conventual discipline. Perhaps, as Chaucer would have us believe, such discipline was but lax in England in the middle ages. Be that as it may, we find, at one time, no less authorities than the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's admonishing them thus:

(p. 79) "Also we enjoyne you, that all daunsyng and reveling be utterly forborne among you, except at Christmasse, and other honest tymys of recreacyone, among yourselfe usyd, in absence of seculars in alle wyse."

Of the two aisles that form the church, the "Nuns' Aisle" is that to the left as you enter, and the steps to their destroyed cloister (now blocked up) open out of it. The little garden plot outside the church is neatly kept, and on my last visit I noticed some gardeners putting in a plentiful supply of bulbs for spring blooming. Doubtless, the "Black Nuns" enjoyed among their other "recreacyones," a lovely and a well-ordered convent garden outside their cloister; "cherry trees" are specially mentioned in St. Helen's register; and, as we know, the London of that day grew many luscious fruits.

Farther down Bishopsgate Street, is the tiny church of St. Ethelburga, uninteresting as regards its interior, but one of the oldest existing churches in London, and certainly the smallest. It escaped the ravages of the Great Fire, and history mentions it as early as 1366. I passed it three times without noticing it, for its little spirelet rises but slightly above the roofs of the intervening shops, and its tiny doorway, labelled itself like a small shop, is easily overlooked between two projecting windows. (The smallness of the place can be imagined from the fact that, only a few doors from it, no one can be found to direct you to it.) The verger lives in a very picturesque and overhanging slum-alley close by; though his abode suggests Fagin, he is, nevertheless, an amiable and obliging gentleman.

Just east of Bishopsgate is Houndsditch (its somewhat unpleasantly suggestive name commemorating the ancient City moat), with, near by, the Jewish quarter of St. Mary Axe, "Rag Fair," and Petticoat Lane (now Middlesex Street), noted, like Brick Lane, Spitalfields, for its Sunday morning markets. Why is the Jewish quarter so invariably concerned with old clothes? As the rhyme says:

"Jews of St. Mary Axe, of jobs so wary
That for old clothes they'd even axe St. Mary."

(p. 80) Close by Houndsditch is Bevis Marks (Bury's Marks), now descended from its ancient glories; it used to contain the City mansion, "fair courts and garden plots," of the Abbots of Bury St. Edmunds, but now principally recalls Dickens's unsavoury characters, Miss Sally Brass and her brother Sampson (in The Old Curiosity Shop). Here, once again, Dickens gets thoroughly the strange, semi-human spirit of London slums and by-ways; it is in such places that his genius attains its highest flights. That he was always, too, very careful as regarded his details, is shown in a letter on this subject to his friend Forster. He spent (he says), a whole morning in Bevis Marks, selecting:

"the office window, with its threadbare green curtain all awry; its sill just above the two steps which lead from the side-walk to the office door, and so close on the footway that the passenger who takes the wall brushes the dim glass with his elbow."

It seems, however, almost too invidious to select special rambles. For, the whole of this heart of the city,—except only for certain well-defined "infernos" of modern industry and ugliness, such as the great Liverpool-Street terminus, must be deeply interesting to every Londoner and every Englishman. Even in comparatively dull streets, lined with warehouses and offices, there will always be some little oasis to rest and refresh the wanderer. Suppose that, instead of going up Cornhill, you take another wheel-spoke from the Mansion-House; say Lombard-Street, the home par excellence of the bankers. This street is solid and stately, as you would expect; the very name has a moneyed ring about it! The derivation of the name, by-the-way, is curious; it comes from Lombard bankers who appear to have settled here at an early date; the street bore their name in the reign of Edward II. The square tower, crowned by an octagonal spire, that rises on the north side of Lombard Street, is that of the church of St. Edmund the King and Martyr, in which was made poor Addison's not too happy marriage with the Dowager Countess of Warwick and (p. 81) Holland. Still continuing east, past Gracechurch Street, we come to Fenchurch Street, a thoroughfare that runs parallel with the busy mart of Eastcheap, famed in Shakespeare, and possibly no less dirty and noisy than it was in Dame Quickly's time. Out of Fenchurch Street opens Mincing Lane, a name that commemorates the "minchens" or nuns of St. Helen's; that convent owned a great deal of property about here. The Clothworkers' Hall, close by, is reached through an iron gate; its garden, or court, is formed by the ancient churchyard of All Hallows, Staining, a church destroyed, all but its tower, by the Great Fire, and not rebuilt. The tower of All Hallows, a stranded fragment of antiquity, forms the centre piece of the garden court, where its effect is most curious and striking.

The narrow old streets that lead north out of Cheapside, the "Chepe" of the middle ages, with their quaint old names, afford many pleasant rambles. In Wood Street, the old plane-tree, still standing, recalls Wordsworth's poem. Milk Street leads by the old church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, with the statue of Shakespeare in its little churchyard, to the still visible bastions of London Wall, and along the street of that name, to Cripplegate. The church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, is interesting; its churchyard, too, is a green and favoured spot. A street of warehouses near it was burned down quite recently with terrible loss, and the church itself was threatened, but fortunately escaped; but the streets, now rebuilt, look, thanks to the City's wonderful recuperative powers, as solid and as flourishing as ever. The noisy thoroughfare of Fore Street, lined with warehouses and foundries, is built upon the ancient line of wall, which also appears, black against sunflowers, asters, and greenery, in St. Giles's churchyard and rectory garden. This part of the City wall is probably of Edward IV.'s time. Portions of the old Roman wall have indeed been discovered here and there in the City; a large fragment of it was, for instance, laid bare at the building of the new departments of the General Post Office in 1891. (p. 82) But the oldest fragments of wall existing near Cripplegate are, though black, grimy, and mouldering, probably Norman or Saxon. Roman relics that have been discovered in the City are on view, some at the Guildhall, others in the British Museum; the most interesting of them all, however, is still in situ, being the large fragment called "London Stone," built into St. Swithin's Church opposite the Cannon Street Terminus; supposed to be a "milliarium," or milestone, and possibly, like the golden milestone in the Roman Forum, "a central mark whence the great Roman roads radiated all over England."

The street called "London Wall" testifies to the care of the City for its ancient monuments. The ruins of the old fortifications are carefully built up, embanked, and made picturesque by a narrow strip of greenery that was once the churchyard of St. Alphage over the way. They are railed in from injury, and a memorial tablet is affixed. The dwellers in the district still, however, seem densely ignorant as to its meaning. I lately asked several youthful inhabitants, engaged in the fascinating pavement game of "hop-scotch," what they supposed the place was. They could not answer. The School Board, if rumour speaks truly, is surely doing well to include the history of London in its curriculum.

The street of London Wall has the distinction of possessing the very ugliest church in the metropolis, that of St. Alphage. It has, indeed, the one merit of being so small as easily to escape notice; though hardly its ancient foundation, or the interesting monument inside it to Lord Mayor Sir Rowland Hayward's two wives and sixteen "happy children," redeem it from utter dreariness.

But we must now desist from our rambles, though there is yet much to see; night is falling; that mysterious night that brings such strange contrast to the City streets; the wild, fitful fever of their long day is ended, and they are left to silence. The busy throng of workers hurries homeward; soon, in the highways scarcely a belated footfall resounds, while in the (p. 83) byways, by day so crowded, there reigns a calm as of the sea at rest; like the sea's, too, is that faint, unceasing tremor of the great City, the City that never sleeps. To quote the poet of "Cockaigne":

"Temples of Mammon are voiceless again—
Lonely policemen inherit Mark Lane—
Silent is Lothbury—quiet Cornhill—
Babel of Commerce, thine echoes are still.

"Westward the stream of humanity glides;—
'Buses are proud of their dozen insides;
Put up thy shutters, grim Care, for to-day,
Mirth and the lamplighter hurry this way."

(p. 84) CHAPTER IV

"A deep, low, mighty tone swung through the night. At first I knew it not; but it was uttered twelve times, and at the twelfth colossal hum and trembling knell, I said, 'I lie in the shadow of St. Paul's.' ... The next day I awoke, and saw the risen sun struggling through fog. Above my head, above the housetops, co-elevate almost with the clouds, I saw a solemn, orbed mass, dark-blue and dim—the Dome. While I looked, my inner self moved; my spirit shook its always-fettered wings half loose; I had a sudden feeling as if I, who had never yet truly lived, were at last about to taste life: in that morning my soul grew as fast as Jonah's gourd."—Charlotte Brontë: "Villette."

"See! how shadowy,
Of some occult magician's rearing,
Or swung in space of heaven's grace
Dissolving, dimly reappearing,
Afloat upon ethereal tides
St. Paul's above the city rides."—John Davidson.

St. Paul's is the central object of the City. As the typical view of Rome must ever show, not any "purple Caesar's dome," but the violet, all-pervading cupola of St. Peter's,—so, also, must the typical view of London ever show the faint, misty, grey-blue dome of St. Paul's. And St. Paul's is more to us than this. Even to dwellers in the West-End, inexperienced in City life, that guardian spirit of the mother-church, brooding silently over the far-off, dimly-imagined heart of the City, is a vital part—a necessary factor—of London life. The mighty smoke-begrimed cathedral, the monument of Wren's genius, (p. 85) the abiding angel of the City, has it not a place in the inmost affections of every Englishman worthy of the name whether near or far? The shrines of other lands, of other nations, may win his outspoken admiration; St. Paul's has ever his heart. For this, at least, is his inheritance, his very own.

Fighting Cocks.

Blue-grey, veiled in mystery when viewed from a distance, St. Paul's, seen from its immediate surroundings, has all the wonder of a dramatic effect. Suddenly, from the glare and bustle of Cheapside, from the tumult of the crowded highway, a gigantic, blackened mass rises in startling completeness immediately overhead, towering with almost night-mare like rapidity (p. 86) ever higher as we advance. Seen behind the tall white buildings and shops of its so-called "churchyard," that hem it in, St. Paul's makes an impression that is indescribably grand. Especially in spring, when the first tender leaves of its surrounding plane-trees interpose their young greenery in delicate labyrinths between the dark, massive walls of the cathedral and the ever hurrying life outside them, should St. Paul's be visited for the first time.

There has from immemorial times been a church here; tradition even suggests a Roman temple on the site. But, though the "spirit" has ever been constant, the "letter" (so to speak), has often changed. At any rate Wren's masterpiece is the third Christian church, dedicated to St. Paul, erected here since early Saxon times. Though Wren's life-work was not rewarded, like Milton's, with "twenty pounds paid in instalments, and a near approach to death on the gallows," yet he, too, had but scant justice in his day. National benefits, even in our own time, are often but ill rewarded. Thwarted, wretchedly paid, suspected, and finally, at great age, and after forty-five years' hard service, deposed from the post he had so long and so ably filled; the "Nestor" of his age, with a spirit worthy of a more enlightened time, betook himself cheerfully to his old study of philosophy, and only once in every year, we are told, indulged his master-passion by having himself carried to St. Paul's to gaze in silence on his life-work.

St. Paul's from the River.

The highest point of the city would, naturally, from very early times be chosen as the sanctuary; and St. Paul's stands grandly on the top of Ludgate Hill, its western portico almost facing the steep street of that name. That it does not do so more exactly, is due to the haste of the people in rebuilding their houses after the Great Fire; such haste occasioning the reconstruction of the city more on the old lines, than on those of Wren. For the great cathedral took some thirty-five years to complete, and streets grow again more quickly than edifices destined for the monuments of nations. And, before the new (p. 88) church could be begun, the useless ruins of its predecessor had to be removed. The Great Fire had calcined its stones and undermined the safety of its walls. Such, indeed was the devastation of this terrible holocaust, that even to this day, its relics and débris may be traced in distinct thin layers, at certain distances under the soil, all over the area of the City. The ruin can hardly be imagined, even from Pepys's and Evelyn's vivid diaries. Small wonder indeed, that it should be thought by the credulous that the end of the world, the Last Judgment, had truly come. Some, later, held that the "purification" of the old church by fire had been the one thing needed after its desecration in the Commonwealth times to a house of traffic and merchandize, even sometimes to a stable. The church had become a mere promenade; "Paul's Walkers" had been the names given to loungers in the sacred edifice; gallants using it as a place of pastime, beggars as a resting-place, and Inigo Jones's beautiful portico at the west end being all built up with squalid shops. The people were gradually awakening to a sense of these enormities: had cleared out those unholy traffickers;—were, indeed, in process of restoring the church,—when, in 1666, the fire came to complete the purification. Then, when the destruction of the city was complete, the common people with one accord, pronounced it to be the work of the "Popish faction," and not content with the mere verbal condemnation, caused this accusation of incendiarism to be graven deeply on Wren's commemorating monument, a calumny only removed after the lapse of ages.

Old St. Paul's, the second church of that name on this site, had been built in the Conqueror's time; it was a large Gothic building, a vista of noble arches, 700 feet long, with a tall spire, which was subsequently struck by lightning and removed. It had a twelve-bayed nave and a twelve-bayed choir, with a fine wheel-window at the east end, and with two smaller satellites, St. Faith and St. Gregory,—the one inside its very walls,—the other built on to it outside. On being called upon to rebuild from (p. 89) the very foundations, Wren "resolved to reconcile as near as possible the Gothic with a better manner of architecture;" and, without ever having seen St. Peter's, he produced what is really an adaptation of that central Renaissance building of Christianity. It is much smaller: St. Paul's could go easily inside St. Peter's; yet, in the position it occupies, hemmed in by streets and houses, it looks deceptively much bigger. There is a pleasant story told, that in the beginning of its building, Wren sent a workman to fetch from the surrounding débris, a stone wherewith to mark out the centre of the dome; and this happening to be an old gravestone, inscribed "Resurgam," it was held to be a happy omen. (The word "Resurgam," over the north portico, with a phœnix, by Cibber, commemorates this story.) Wren was very careful about the strength of his foundations; "I build for eternity," he said, with the true confidence of genius.

More than two centuries have now elapsed since the first opening of the new St. Paul's for service, and these two centuries have established, as time alone can do, the fame and the genius of Wren. Time here, as ever, has delivered the final verdict. The great cathedral dominates the City, harmonising, ennobling, purifying the serried mass of its surroundings; it is the coping-stone of London's greatness. The verdict of later times has done justice to Wren's judgment, and many of his intentions regarding the details of the edifice, thwarted in his lifetime by ignorant contemporaries, have now been carried out. Thus, the organ has been moved from its former place over the iron-wrought screen between choir and nave, (where it marred the architectural effect of the edifice), to the north-east arch of the choir, the position originally planned for it by Wren; the tall outside railing of the churchyard, which, Wren said, dwarfed the base of the cathedral, has been removed; the mosaics he asked for now incrust, in shining glory, the central dome; and, if the grand "baldacchino" he wanted has not been placed in the choir, there is, instead, a (p. 90) very sumptuous modern reredos. The balustrade that surmounts the main building was not intended by Wren, but insisted on by the Commissioners for the building; and its erection caused Wren to say, not, perhaps, without sly intention: "I never designed a balustrade; but ladies think nothing well without an edging."

This, however, was long ago; Wren sleeps in peace in his cathedral crypt; and there, on the top of Ludgate Hill, St. Paul's stands, blackening ever, year by year, yet gaining immeasurably through that very blackness. It has been said, wittily, that the great church has a special claim to its livery of smoke, for the reason that a great part of the cost of its building was defrayed by a tax on all coals brought into the port of London! And this canopy of solemn black, out of which the dome, lantern, and golden ball emerge at intervals, in silver and gold, becomes it well.

"There cannot," wrote Hawthorne, "be anything else in its way so good in the world as just this effect of St. Paul's in the very heart and densest tumult of London. It is much better than staring white; the edifice would not be nearly so grand without this drapery of black."

The ancient monuments of St. Paul's were nearly altogether destroyed with the old church; Wren's cathedral was inaccessible to any new monuments for some years, the first admitted to it being that of John Howard the philanthropist in 1790. This was followed by many others, chiefly of great warriors, soldiers and sailors; although ecclesiastics also are numerous, and there is a goodly company of painters.

"If Westminster Abbey," said C. R. Leslie, "has its Poets' Corner, so has St. Paul's its Painters' Corner. Sir Joshua Reynolds's statue, by Flaxman, is here, and Reynolds himself lies buried here; and Barry, and Opie, and Lawrence are around him; and, above all, the ashes of the great Van Dyck are in the earth under the cathedral."

Turner now lies next to Reynolds. Yet, as a rule, the great commemorated in St. Paul's are of a different type to those of Westminster. Both churches are the mausoleums of heroes; (p. 91) St. Paul's being, however, by common consent the resting-place of the Militant, Westminster of the Pacific. The statue of Dr. Johnson, under the dome, opposes that of Howard. Though his dust rests in Westminster Abbey, the militant spirit of the Sage well deserves commemoration in St. Paul's. His representation, in the curious art of the time, as a half-clothed muscular athlete, is appropriately supplemented by that of Howard, bare-legged, with Roman toga and tunic. The coincidence of Johnson holding a scroll, and Howard a prison key, has caused the two to be sometimes mistaken by visitors for St. Peter and St. Paul! But not all the monumental vagaries are as innocuous as these. Westminster Abbey does not alone suffer from the bad taste of the Renaissance; a few of the monuments of St. Paul's are alike trials to the eyes as to the faith. The naked warriors in sandals, receiving swords from, or falling into the arms of, smart feminine "Victories,"—lusus naturae with wings protruding from their shoulders,—are, indeed, sad instances of the too rampant eighteenth-century exuberance of fancy. Of the monuments, for instance, to Captains Burgess and Westcott, Allan Cunningham remarks:

"The two naval officers (Westcott and Burgess), are naked, which destroys historic probability; it cannot be a representation of what happened, for no British warriors go naked into battle, or wear sandals or Asiatic mantles.... When churchmen declared themselves satisfied, the ladies thought they might venture to draw near, but the flutter of fans and the averting of faces was prodigious. That Victory, a modest and well-draped dame, should approach an undrest dying man, and crown him with laurel, might be endured—but, how a well-dressed young lady could think of presenting a sword to a naked gentleman went far beyond all their notions of propriety."

Neither is the ugly group of the Bishop of Calcutta, ogre-like in size, apparently confirming two Indian dwarfs, at all calculated to excite any feeling but amusement.

The great cathedral has, nevertheless, also its monumental treasures. Under the third arch on the north of the nave, is (p. 92) the noble monument of the Duke of Wellington, by Alfred Stevens; the aged Duke lying, "like a Scaliger of Verona, deeply sleeping upon a lofty bronze sarcophagus." One thinks of Tennyson's lines:

"Here in streaming London's central roar,
Let the sound of those he wrought for,
And the feet of those he fought for,
Echo round his bones for evermore."

And near to him, in the north aisle of the nave, under the tattered banners of those old regiments that fell in the Crimea, lies, on a pedestal of Greek cipollino, the recumbent bronze effigy of that recent recruit to the ranks of dead painters, Lord Leighton of Stretton. The monument, worthy of the best traditions of art, is by Brock. The beautiful features of the dead President are composed in a sublime peace; he "is not dead, but sleepeth"; "yet it is visibly a sleep that shall know no ending, till the last day break, and the last shadow flee away." The long robe droops to the feet, the hands that toiled unweariedly for beauty and for immortal art, now lie motionless on the breast. The tattered flags that hang above, have, here, too, their significance,—hanging over one, who in the many-sidedness of his genius and his interests, was in his time one of the pioneers of the Volunteer movement. The Leonardo of his age has here a fitting memorial.

Near to Lord Leighton's fine tomb is that of General Gordon, a bronze monument and effigy by Boehm. He "who at all times, and everywhere, gave his strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sympathy to the suffering, and his heart to God" is fitly remembered in death. When I last saw this monument, on the hero's breast lay a fresh bunch of violets, on his either side were the symbolic palm branches, and at his feet a wreath of white flowers. Near by is the imposing bronze doorway, the "gate of the tomb," erected to Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria's first Prime Minister. Of (p. 93) the supporting angels on either side of the plinth, that on the left, especially, is very impressive.

But the bell calls to service, and the rolling organ-tones resound in the blue dome, where Richmond's mosaics glitter like diamonds in the stray gleams of sunshine that glance athwart the abyss. The mosaics, like all innovations in this ungrateful city, have, of course, run the gauntlet of abuse, on the ground of smallness and ineffectiveness; yet the Monreale mosaics, so admired at Palermo, are more or less on the same scale, and are, also, at a considerable height. But it is difficult for contemporaries to judge fairly, and Time, no doubt, here as elsewhere, will kindly do the work of discrimination for us.

In the crypt are the half-destroyed remains of monuments from the older church, with Nelson's sarcophagus, Wren's simple tomb, and many others. But, outside St. Paul's, the sunlight still calls us, and, from the depths of the dim recesses and aisles of the great cathedral, we regain now the brilliant summit of Ludgate Hill, brilliant with the noonday spring sun. Now the sounds of many-sided life invade the repose of death; and a noisy street-organ, playing near Queen Anne's statue, mingles its note strangely with the cathedral's still pealing bells. The pigeons, gay in colour, flit down from their homes in among the blackened garlands, Corinthian capitals, and pediments; it is a strange and a motley scene. And, down at the bottom of the great flight of steps that lead from the western portico, the Twentieth-century visitor will now see a new landmark; for here, cut deeply into the pavement, is the record of the latest great ceremonial function of St. Paul's: Queen Victoria's visit here on the sixtieth anniversary of her reign. Here, on this very spot, surrounded by Archbishops, priests, and people, the royal and aged lady sat in her carriage, paying homage to a Heavenly Throne, and receiving, surely, greater homage than was ever before paid to an earthly one:—

(p. 94) "On a lovely June morning, in the year 1897, a wondrous pageant moved through the enchanted streets of London. Squadron by squadron, and battery by battery, a superb cavalry and artillery went by—the symbol of the fighting strength of the United Kingdom. There went by also troops of mounted men, more carelessly riding and more lightly equipped—those who came from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa to give a deeper meaning to the royal triumph; and black-skinned soldiers and yellow, and the fine representatives of the Indian warrior races. Generals and statesmen went by, and a glittering cavalcade of English and Continental princes, and the whole procession was a preparation—for what? A carriage at last, containing a quiet-looking old lady, in dark and simple attire; and at every point where this carriage passed through seven miles of London streets, in rich quarters and poor, a shock of strong emotion shot through the spectators, on pavement and on balcony, at windows and on housetops. They had seen the person in whom not only were vested the ancient kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, but who was also at once the symbol and the actual bond of union of the greatest and most diversified of secular empires."[1]

The inscription, cut, with Roman simplicity, into the broad paving-stone, runs thus:


June 22, a.d. 1897.

By how many generations,—for how many centuries,—will these words, I wonder, be read,—the distant message of Time from the buried Victorian Era?

Beyond, Queen Anne's statue, in flowing curls and a (p. 95) "sacque" robe, stands, with some dignity, facing busy Ludgate Hill, and surrounded by a circular, prison-like grating. Down towards noisy Fleet Street her gaze wanders; down to where the rumble of many wheels, the sound of many voices, make a distant murmur like the stormy sea, broken, at intervals, by a shriek from that most picturesque of railways, the iron "Bridge of Steam," that, ever and anon, emits a puff of smoke and a red spark into the general "fermenting-vat," the ingulfing vortex of life and energy below. For this is the roaring Niagara of London, the loom of Time, that never ceases, that ever fashions Order out of Disorder, ever, as by a magician's wand, raises system out of chaos. Kings, and even thrones, may "pass to rise no more;" but the busy phœnix-heart of London, like the vestals' fire, must ceaselessly burn; ever fed, ever renewed, ever immortal, ever young.

"Lord Tennyson always delighted in the 'central roar' of London. Whenever he and I (says his son) "went to London, one of the first things we did was to walk to the Strand and Fleet Street. 'Instead of the stuccoed houses in the West End, this is the place where I should like to live,' he would say." He was also fond of looking at London from the bridges over the Thames, and of going into St. Paul's, and into the Abbey. One day in 1842 Fitzgerald records a visit to St. Paul's with him when he said, 'Merely as an enclosed space in a huge city this is very fine,' and when they got out into the open, in the midst of the 'central roar,' 'This is the mind; that is a mood of it.'"—(Tennyson's Life, i. 183.)

St. Michael's, Paternoster Royal.

Round about St. Paul's are many and labyrinthine lanes and alleys, with no less labyrinthine associations. Some of these alleys are, like Paternoster Row, or St. Paul's Churchyard, by day crowded aortas of human traffic; others, by strange contrast, are silent and still as the grave. London is, as we know, full of unexpected nooks of quiet; and none, in their way, are more sudden and startling than those about St. Paul's. From busy Paternoster Row, with its array of religious book-shops of all denominations,—so crowded, and yet so narrow, that a man on one of its sidewalks can, by stretching, almost grasp the hand of a man on the other (or could perhaps do so, (p. 97) were it not so constantly blocked by multifarious traffic),—from noisy Paternoster Row to the calm of "Amen Court,"—the quadrangle of canons' residences opening out of it,—what a change! Here, in Amen Court, entered by a pleasant, sober red-brick gateway, Canon Liddon's last days were spent; here are quiet, old-fashioned houses looking, in summer, on to green plots and refreshing shrubs. All this seclusion, and yet the very heart of London! Warwick Square, close by, is a haven of another sort; a stony square set round with tall offices; roomy houses, perhaps formerly residential mansions, with here and there an attractively carved antique porch, or other relic of the past. It was under a house in this square, in rebuilding, that various Roman remains were recently found. In Paternoster Row, at the corner of "Chapter-house Court," was, in old days, the "Chapter" Coffee House, where the old medical club of the "Wittenagemot" was held, and where, later, Charlotte and Anne Brontë came on their first visit to London, after the successful publication of Jane Eyre, to make their real personalities known to their publishers, in 1848. Two little lonely, strangely-dressed women they must have seemed!—their only friend the elderly waiter of the establishment, who no doubt, took an interest in such unusual visitors. Yet, what excitement must they not have felt in seeing, for the first time, all that they had read and dreamed of for years! One is reminded of the story of their brother Branwell, that unhappy child of genius and temptation, who, at lonely Haworth Parsonage, knew all "the map of London by heart" without ever having been there, and who could direct any chance stranger who happened, going Londonwards, to put up at the remote Yorkshire inn.

"Panyer Alley," the last entry leading into Newgate Street, commemorates the bakers' basket-makers, or "Panyers," of the fourteenth century. Here, built into the wall of a modern house and nearly obliterated, was, till quite recently, a relief of a boy sitting on a "panyer," with this curious inscription:

(p. 98) "When Ye have sought
The Citty Round
Yet still This is
The Highest Ground
Avgvst the 27

Close by used to be the tavern called "Dolly's Chop-House," removed in 1883. The views obtained of the Cathedral, down some of these narrow byways, are very striking:

"There is a passage leading from Paternoster Row to St. Paul's Churchyard. It is a slit, through which the Cathedral is seen more grandly than from any other point I can call to mind. It would make a fine dreamy picture, as we saw it one moonlight night, with some belated creatures resting against the walls in the foreground—mere spots set against the base of Wren's mighty work, that, through the narrow opening, seemed to have its cross set against the sky."

The famous open-air pulpit called "Paul's" or "Powle's" Cross—noted for so many eloquent and impassioned harangues from mediæval divines,—for the proclamation of kings,—for the denunciation of traitors,—used to stand at the north-east corner of the churchyard. It was a canopied cross, raised on stone steps; a big elm marked its site until some fifty years back. Open-air services, discontinued after the demolition of "Paul's Cross," were attempted to be revived by Wesley and Whitefield; and, even in our own day, an open-air pulpit is used, in summer, at Trinity Church, Marylebone Road, and largely attended, as any one who passes by Portland Road Station on Sunday afternoon may see for himself. Public confession for crime was also made at "Paul's Cross," and Jane Shore did penance here, as described by Sir Thomas More. East of St. Paul's, where now a line of tall warehouses rises, was, until 1884, St. Paul's School, founded in 1509 by Dean Colet, friend of Erasmus, and now removed to new red brick buildings at Hammersmith; a tablet on one of the warehouses marks its site. The old fashioned Deanery of St. Paul's,—a homely building, not unlike a quiet country (p. 99) rectory, with red tiled sloping roofs, and nearly hidden behind high walls,—is in Dean's Court, just south of the cathedral. Close by it is St. Paul's Choristers' School, built in 1874 by Dean Church.

Returning to the portico of the north transept, it is pleasant to sit awhile in St Paul's Churchyard, where the doves coo and the pigeons flutter. Or if you stand by the iron gate of the enclosure, and raise your eyes to the blackened walls and columns, you will see, above the north porch, an inscription on a tablet, perpetuating the memory of the great builder, "in four words which comprehend his merit and his fame:" "Si monumentum requiris, circumspice." (If thou seekest his monument, look around.) "The visitor," says Leigh Hunt, "does look around, and the whole interior of the Cathedral ... seems like a magnificent vault over his single body." And, gazing, in this sense, on the great man's tomb, the burning words of Ecclesiasticus suggest themselves, read by the Bishop of Stepney at the unveiling of Lord Leighton's monument:

"Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.... Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent in their instructions.... All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times. There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported. And some there lie, which have no memorial ... but ... their glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore."

(p. 100) CHAPTER V

Prince Edward: "Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?"
Buckingham: "He did, my gracious lord, begin that place;
Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified...."
Richard of York: "What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?...
... I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower."
Gloucester: "Why, what should you fear?"
Richard of York: "Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost:
My grandam told me he was murder'd there."
King Richard III., Act iii, Scene 1.

"Death is here associated, not, as in Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul's, with genius and virtue, with public veneration and imperishable renown; not with everything that is most endearing in social and domestic charities; but with whatever is darkest in human nature and in human destiny, with the savage triumph of implacable enemies, with the inconstancy, the ingratitude, the cowardice of friends, with all the miseries of fallen greatness and of blighted fame."—Macaulay: "History of England."

"Place of doom,
Of execution too, and tomb."—Scott.

What Londoner has not, from earliest childhood, been acquainted with the Tower? In the Christmas holidays it presented, as a "treat," rival attractions with Madame Tussaud's and the "Zoo." When not presented under the too-informing care of over-zealous pastors and masters,—when not imbibed as too flagrant material for that fly-in-the-ointment, a holiday task,—when not made, in a word, too suggestive of the (p. 101) unpleasant, but necessary paths of learning,—it offered great fascinations to the youthful mind. The warders, in their picturesque "Beefeater" dress, were ever an unfailing joy; the surprise, indeed, with which I first saw one of these mighty beings descend from his pedestal, and deign to hold simple conversation with ordinary mortals, is still fresh in my memory. Then, the towers and dark passages, up which one could run and clatter joyfully, with all the entrancing and horrid possibility of meeting somebody's headless ghost; the attractive thumbscrew, model of the rack, and headsman's mask, all so appealing to the innocent brutality of childhood; the very wooden and highly coloured "Queen Elizabeth", riding in full dress, with a page, to Tilbury Fort; the stiff effigies of the mail-clad soldiers, in rows inside the White Tower,—the live soldiers drilling in the sun-lit square outside;—the inspiring music of the band, the roll of the drum, the flocks of wheeling pigeons; how charming it all was! My first knowledge of Tower history was derived from a Cockney nursemaid, who had, I suspect, strong affinities with the before-mentioned "pretty soldiers" (are not "pretty soldiers," by-the-way, usually the first words that London children learn to lisp?). Tragedies, I knew, were connected with that sun-lit square. Two beautiful ladies, I was told, had had their heads cut off here by their cruel husband, a gentleman called "'Enery the Eighth," (I naturally thought of this "'Enery" as Bluebeard); "because they was that skittish like, and fond of singin' and dancin' on Sundays, which 'e for one never could abear; and so 'e 'ad their 'eds orf, and grass adn't never grown on the place sence." Which fact I identified as true, at least for the time being; though how far grass can grow through paving-stones, is always matter for speculation. And Mary-Anne further went on to relate how she "'ad a friend who knew a young woman who was a 'ousekeeper somewhere here, who 'ad seen 'orrible things in the way of ghostisses, and 'ad the screamin' 'sterrics somethin' awful;—quite reg'ler, too,—after it!"

(p. 102)

A Beefeater.

Yet I myself think that it is a pity to treat the classic Tower on such familiar terms! It should be approached with respect, and not merely introduced as a juvenile appendix to Madame (p. 103) Tussaud's! The charm of the old fortress, as of its immediate surroundings, is, in any case, only realised in maturer years. This has always been the riverside stronghold of London. Tradition, and poetic license, name, indeed, Julius Cæsar as its founder; however that may be, the Romans probably had a fort here, as Saxon Alfred after them. The White Tower, or Keep, raised by William the Conqueror, is built upon a Roman bastion; and Roman relics have been dug up at intervals in its near precincts. Nevertheless, the Roman tradition here is but visionary; the interest of the Tower is bound up with the evolution of the English race. It is the most interesting mediæval monument that we possess, a still vivid piece of English history; a stranded islet of Time, left forgotten by the raging tide of surrounding London.

In the Tower precincts,—if you are careful not to choose a Monday or Saturday, which are free days, for your visit—you may enjoy yourself in your own way and to your heart's content. The warders,—old soldiers,—are pleasant and unobtrusive people, with manners of really wonderful urbanity, considering the very mixed, and generally unwashed, character, of a large portion of their public. The Tower, apart from the charm of its lurid and romantic history, is a picturesque place. In winter, it is somewhat exposed to the elements, and in summer, owing to its proximity to the Temple of the Fisheries, it is perhaps a trifle odoriferous; but on a fine spring or autumn morning,—a spring morning uncursed by east wind, an autumn morning undimmed by river-mist,—you will realise all the beauty, as well as the interest, of the place. Part of its attraction lies in the fact that it is neither a ruin nor a fossil; it is a living place still, and serves for use as well as for show. In old days by turn palace, state prison, inquisition, and "oubliette," it is now a barrack and government arsenal. Its threatening ring of walled towers, witnesses of so many scenes of blood and cruelty, re-echo now to the merry voices of little School-Board boys, playing foot-ball in the drained and levelled (p. 104) moat below; its paved courts and gravelled enclosures still ring to the tramp of soldiers' feet, but soldiers of a newer and a more humane era. In days when men suffered cheerfully for faith's sake, when queens and princes passed naturally to the throne through the blood of their nearest relations, when self-denial, conscience, and uprightness of life were reckoned as crimes, the Tower was the place of doom and death. Here, not only political plotters and state prisoners, guilty of "high treason," were punished, but also children, young men and maidens, playthings of an unkind fate, were condemned, unheard, to an early death. Here, also, at the Restoration, perished, bravely as they had lived, many of the sturdy and loyal followers of a bad cause, who might say, with Macaulay's typical "Jacobite":

"To my true king I offered, free from stain,
Courage and faith; vain faith, and courage vain."

Later, the martyr annals of the Tower were in a measure defiled by the introduction of real and noteworthy criminals, and the imprisonment within its walls of such wretches as the Gunpowder Plot conspirators, the infamous murderers of Sir Thomas Overbury, and the notorious Judge Jeffreys. But the desecration of these is past; the Tower has long ceased to be a State Prison, and the halo of its earlier victims still is paramount there. The very names of certain localities recall their tragedies: "Bloody Tower," commemorating the murder of the young princes, sons of Edward IV., whose bones were found here under a staircase; Traitor's Gate,—the gate of the doomed,—the grim disused archway, with a portcullis, looking towards, and in ancient times opening on to, the river.

The Tower is full of lovely "bits" for the sketcher. The succession of fine old gates that span the entrance-road, and the ring of encircling towers called the "Inner Ward," though necessarily restored in places, have still a fine air of antiquity; which air of antiquity the massive walls, narrow window-slits, and (p. 105) the close-growing mantle of ivy that, in places, adds a welcome note of greenery, do much to maintain. The effect, at any rate, is complete. In the Tower precincts you seem to be really in mediæval London. Just so, you imagine, in all essentials, only still grassy and not quite so shut in by houses, must "Tower Green" have looked on that terrible day so dramatically described by Froude:

"A little before noon, on the 19th of May, Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, was led down to the green where the young grass and the white daisies of summer were freshly bursting in the sunshine. A little cannon stood loaded on the battlements, the motionless cannoneer was ready with smoking linstock at his side, and when the crawling hand upon the dial of the great Tower clock touched the midday hour, that cannon would tell to London that all was over."

On this same spot, so fatal to youth and beauty, two other young women,—mere girls, indeed,—died; poor silly Katherine Howard, and, later, Lady Jane Grey, a child of eighteen,—the "queen of nine days," a victim of others' offences,—who "went to her death without fear or pain." Neither age nor youth were, indeed, spared in those cruel days; for the grey hairs of the aged Countess of Salisbury, last of the Plantagenets, were here also brought to the same block. This was the private execution spot, reserved for special victims and near relations, in contrast to the public one on Great Tower Hill outside; the exact place is enclosed, and marked by a square patch of darker stone. In the little adjoining chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula—the Prisoners' Chapel,—aptly dedicated to St. Peter-in-the-Chains,—were buried all these poor dishonoured bodies; Queen Anne Boleyn's, so short a time ago so loved, so adulated, thrown carelessly into an old arrow-chest, and flung beneath the altar. This chapel,—which is, by the way, a royal chapel, and therefore under no bishop's jurisdiction,—is very much restored, but it has a few good monuments; and its list of victims, numbered on a brass tablet inside the door, is sufficiently affecting: "In truth," says Macaulay:

(p. 106) "there is no sadder spot on earth than this little cemetery. Hither have been carried through successive ages, by the rude hands of gaolers, without one mourner following, the bleeding relics of men who had been the captains of armies, the leaders of parties, the oracles of senates, and the ornaments of courts."

"No, I can't say I've ever seen any ghosts," said the affable Warder who showed me the chapel: "though an American family lately, they were so anxious to see Queen Anne Boleyn's ghost, that they went and sat opposite the execution-spot, at all hours, day-and-night; but they must have got disappointed, for I never heard that anything came of it.... Being from America," he added thoughtfully, "I suppose they felt they'd like to see all there was to be seen.... No, ghosts don't trouble us much; we all live in the Towers and round about, and the worst you can say of our lodgin's is that they're a bit draughty-like, in winter and spring, having them slits of winders all round. And then they don't allow you to paper the walls, or stick up a picture nail, or anything to make the place look a bit homely! One does get a bit tired, too," he confessed, "of them dark stone walls, and even of prisoners' inscriptions; but there it is, you mayn't so much as touch 'em, or even cover 'em up.... However," he continued magnanimously, "I own that we're lucky to live in the days we do; our 'eds is our own, at any rate!"

Between Tower Green and the outer moat, on the western side of the gravelled square, are the old-fashioned and comfortable-looking dwelling houses of the Tower officials; the residences of the Governor, the doctor, the Chaplain, &c.; houses mainly of darkened brick,—like the citadel itself,—fitted in between the "Beauchamp" and the "Bell" towers. The greater part of the fortress is, as we have seen, utilised as arsenal, barracks, or private dwellings; and thus, of its many towers, the "White Tower," (the "Keep" of the ancient castle), and the "Beauchamp Tower," are the only ones now viewed by the general public; though other antiquities and places worthy of (p. 107) a visit may, on application to the Governor, be shown to those "really interested." The Beauchamp Tower, though "restored" in 1854 (when all its inscriptions were placed together in one room), is still most interesting. Certainly, the draughts, on a windy day, of that room, go far to suggest the justice of my friend the warder's complaint. And the poor prisoners of old days did not know the modern comfort of "slow-combustion" stoves! Poor creatures! torn by the rack and torture, crushed by long, hopeless imprisonment, with no friend to turn to in their need, they have left us, deeply cut into the prison walls, their most pathetic complaint. Philosophy, on the whole, seems here to have been of the most availing comfort. Like Socrates, the wretched victims tried hard to be stoical. "The most unhappie man in the world," runs one inscription, "is he that is not pacient in adversitie." Then, in old Norman-French: "Tout vient apoient, quy peult attendre." "A passage perillus maketh a port pleasant." It was here, in the Beauchamp Tower, that the five Dudley brothers, sons of the Duke of Northumberland, were imprisoned for their share in the Lady Jane Grey rebellion; here are their pictured emblems and hieroglyphics; also the word "Jane," supposed to have been cut by her husband, Lord Guildford. To the longer victims of the Tower, time must have passed hardly. Was it agony of mind that guided the stroke, or did they find it some solace in their anguish? Poets, philosophers, men of science, all the best and noblest in the land; hours of solace after torture, no doubt, were theirs, given by that good Angel who,

"Brought the wise and great of ancient days
To cheer the cell where Raleigh pined alone."

Had they books, journals, writing materials? Probably but rarely. There was Raleigh, who spent such a large part of a chequered life in prison here, dying here too at last, and writing his "History" with admirable stoicism, in the face of death. But Lady Jane Grey, imprisoned in the "Brick Tower," had, (p. 108) we know, to inscribe her last message to her sister Katherine, on the blank leaves of her Greek Testament. What vivid, what painful interest would attach to a "Tower" diary, such as Pepys's, in cipher, could one have been written by any of these prisoners!

The wonderful collection of historic armour in the imposing "White Tower" is, even to those who are not connoisseurs on the subject, of great interest and beauty. It is true that there are a great many very narrow and steep stone stairs to be climbed; but in the end you are duly rewarded for your trouble. The ancient chapel of St. John, at the top of the winding stairway, is most strikingly picturesque, and especially so on a sunny day, when the light plays among the bare stone columns. This "most perfect Norman chapel in England" is striking in its unadorned severity of style; and the stilted horseshoe arches of its apse are somewhat like those of St. Bartholomew the Great, at Smithfield. The chapel dates from the year 1078, and has been the scene of many royal pageants and lyings-in-state. The Banqueting Hall adjoins it; here are to be seen, among other curiosities, models of the rack and thumbscrew, and the block used for the execution of old Lord Lovat, with Lords Balmerino and Kilmarnock—the last Royalists executed here—in 1745. The hall contains also much armour and many weapons. Above is the "Council Chamber," where King Richard II. abdicated his throne in favour of his cousin Henry Bolingbroke.

"I think men must really have got bigger since these old days," remarked a burly policeman, to whom I was communicating my impressions: "Now, you wouldn't think it, but there's only two suits of armour in the whole place that I could even manage to get on me, that's old Henry VIII.'s, and his brother-in-law what's beside 'im, Charles Brandon, Dook o' Suffolk—you see 'em? over there, in the middle. Not but what they must have been strong too, of their size, to bear all that there weight of steel on 'em. I'd be sorry to do it (p. 109) myself, I know that. It's a wonder they didn't faint, and their poor horses, too!"

One of the most beautiful pieces of armour in the collection is that made for Henry VIII. on his marriage with Katharine of Arragon. It is of German manufacture, with deep and heavy skirts, on the edge of which is a pierced border, with the initials "H" and "K" entwined in a true-love knot. This suit of armour is, further, adorned with elaborate designs, probably from Hans Burgmair or one of his school, from the lives of St. George and St. Barbara, patron saints of England and of armourers. In Stuart times the suits of mail, and armour generally, became less heavy; and vizors and breastplates are often of open-work; most picturesque of all, perhaps, is the dress of the link-bearers of Charles I.'s time. The armour, and arms generally, are kept in a fine state of polish, wonderful to see in a land of fog and river mist. "The soldiers, you see, they have a turn at the spears and things when they want a job; but, of course, the armour, and such as that, is left to two or three people's special business."

There is a certain barbaric splendour about the State vessels and Coronation jewels, commonly called the "Regalia," kept in the "Record" or "Wakefield" Tower. These, like the menagerie formerly exhibited here are separated (and quite as necessarily) from the outer world by strong railings. This shining treasure of gold-plate and precious stones recalls the story of Colonel Blood's famous and nearly successful attempt at robbery, in the time of Charles II., for which he was, somewhat inconsistently, rewarded by a landed estate and "cash down." History is a sad series of injustices, and Colonel Blood's crime was, for reasons of state possibly, suppressed. Certain it is that the kings of England have not always been above stealing, or, at any rate, pledging their own treasure.

If the Tower looks a grim enough fortress now, it must have seemed grimmer still in ancient times, when every murder and cruelty—every crime that blackens the page of English history—took (p. 110) place within its gloomy walls. Surely, in old days, the bloody reputation of the Tower may well have made those shrink and tremble who passed under its doomed gateways! By the "Traitor's Gate," that waterway now disused, but which then opened directly on to the river highway, was brought that living freight of illustrious persons destined here to suffer and to die:

"That gate misnamed, through which before
Went Sidney, Russell, Raleigh, Cranmer, More."

So far, indeed, from being a "traitor's" way, all the valour and chivalry of mediæval England seem, at one time and another, to have passed that dreadful gate. Here, the "Lieutenant" or "Constable" of the Tower, "receipted" the arrival of the yet living bodies of men and women, soon to be bleeding and dismembered corpses.... Such a "receipt," given for the person of the condemned Duke of Monmouth, "the people's darling," is still extant. The "Traitor's Gate" had, moreover, an added horror; for in its walls are certain loopholes, through which the Lieutenant of the Tower could watch, unseen, the prisoner's arrival from his trial at the House of Lord's, and could ascertain, as he ascended the stone steps, whether the fatal Axe of Office, carried in front of him, were reversed or otherwise—reversal signifying death. Here, when Sir Thomas More was being led back to prison with the reversed axe carried before him, his beloved daughter Margaret burst through the guarding soldiers and embraced him, beseeching his blessing—a scene that melted even those stern guards to tears.

Brutal, indeed, were the age and the time. If Plantagenets, Yorkists, and Lancastrians were frankly murderous, Tudors and Stuarts had more refinement of cruelty, dignifying it, more or less, under the name of law. The accession of each fresh sovereign was the signal for arrests, life-long imprisonments, and executions. Favourites, now deposed from favour, paid here the penalty for a few years of feverish greatness; (p. 111) here suffered not only men of unscrupulous self-seeking, but also those whose chief fault was, like Cæsar's, ambition, and who were condemned to answer for it as grievously as Cæsar. Nor did past affliction teach present mercy. The Princess Elizabeth narrowly herself escaped a tragic fate in early youth; yet her former imprisonment in the "Bell" Tower made her scarcely less cruel, in the after-time, to her real or imaginary enemies. Partly in self-defence, partly as a question of faith, partly in revenge, both rivals, and also those suspected of possible rivalry, were effectually suppressed. Even continuation of the hated race of rivals seemed prohibited. Thus, Lady Jane Grey's poor sister, Katherine, was imprisoned till her death for the crime of secret marriage with the Earl of Hertford; Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was executed for having aspired to the hand of the Queen of Scots; Lady Arabella Stuart, James I.'s unhappy cousin, having married, "with the love that laughs at privy councils," Sir William Seymour, was caught while escaping with him through Calais Roads, and languished here for four years, till her mind left her, and she died. The elder D'Israeli tells the story:

"What passed in that dreadful imprisonment cannot perhaps be recovered for authentic history; but enough is known, that her mind grew impaired, that she finally lost her reason; and if the duration of her imprisonment (four years) was short, it was only terminated by her death. Some loose effusions, often begun and never ended, written and erased, incoherent and rational, yet remain in the fragments of her papers. In a letter she proposed addressing to Viscount Fenton, to implore for her his Majesty's favour again, she says, 'Good my lord, consider the fault cannot be uncommitted; neither can any more be required of any earthly creature but confession and most humble submission.' In a paragraph she had written, but crossed out, it seems that a present of her work had been refused by the king, and that she had no one about her whom she might trust."

Of the few stories of escapes from the Tower, none is more romantic than that of Lord Nithsdale, saved by his wife's devotion. Failing to obtain a pardon from King George I. (p. 112) she, in her love and despair, bethought herself of a desperate plan. Under the pretence of a last visit, and with the connivance of a faithful servant, she managed to disguise her husband as her Welsh maid, and got him past the Tower sentries into safety; the next morning he would have perished with Lord Derwentwater, "the pride of the North," and the rest of the Scotch Jacobites.

Yet the Tower, even in mediæval times, was not all tragedy; for here, from Henry III.'s era, a royal menagerie was kept,—a menagerie of which the famous "Tower Lions," that existed here up to 1853, were the eventual outcome. (From the Tower Lions comes originally the phrase, "to see the Lions," or the sights, of a place.) The beasts are still commemorated in the Tower by the "Lions' Gate,"—or principal entrance. The Tower Moat, the broad ditch that encircled the building, and added to its mediæval impregnability, was drained in 1843, and its banks are now planted, on the north-east, with a pleasant shrubbery; through which winds a foot-path with comfortable seats and delightful views, much enjoyed and appreciated by the very poor. Thus, the old age of the Tower,—Julius Cæsar's traditional fortress, and the scene of England's darkest national crimes,—is, as often that of Man himself, full of benevolence and serenity. Its brutal youth, its sanguinary middle life, are alike far behind it; and "that which should accompany old age, as honour, love, and troops of friends," it may now look to have. And the long roll of the Tower victims, lying, many of them, in nameless graves, their very bones sometimes uncoffined; these have at any rate, by their death often achieved an immortality greater than any they could ever have gained by their lives. They were, in a sense, as was that old Roman, Marcus Curtius, sacrifices to their country's gods; for by such throes as overthrew them, have all nations reached peace and salvation. "I see," they might, like Sydney Carton, have cried prophetically at the block,

(p. 113) "I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time ... gradually making expiation for itself."

Once outside the Tower precincts, all is changed, and you are, again, in the bustle and the din of modern London. "Great Tower Hill," on the rising ground north of the Tower, and close to Mark Lane Station, is hardly an idyllic spot, or one at all suitable to meditation, being generally much invaded by the shouts of draymen and the rumble of van-wheels. Close by, in Trinity Square gardens, marked by a stone, is the spot which for some centuries shared with "Tyburn" the honour, or dishonour, of being the public execution-place; but, while Great Tower Hill was mostly the last bourne of political and state prisoners, Tyburn (the present "Marble Arch"), was reserved for common murderers, robbers, and their like. England, in those days, must have enjoyed rare galas in the way of executions! Of that old rogue, Lord Lovat, beheaded here in 1747, it is recorded, that just before the fatal axe fell, a scaffolding, containing some thousand persons, set there to enjoy the spectacle, collapsed, killing twelve of them; a sight at which, the old man, even at that terrible moment, chuckled merrily, "enjoying, no doubt, the downfall of so many Whigs."

Trinity Square has still a pleasant, old-fashioned air of seclusion; although all around and about it are grimy lanes and warehouses, suggesting the close proximity of wharves and docks. Yet Trinity Square, like Charterhouse Square, is no longer residential; the look of "home," of comfortable family life, about its sober brick houses, is merely a hollow sham; they are mainly offices. Near by is the Royal Mint, "where," so Mark Tapley informed his American friends, "the Queen lives, to take care of all the money." At the end of the big, noisy street called the Minories, leading from the Tower to Aldgate, rises the tall, black, three-storied spire of St. (p. 114) Botolph's Church, built by Dance in 1744, on an old site. This church is hardly beautiful in itself; yet its effect, as seen from the Minories, is good. The jurisdiction of St. Botolph, always a popular London saint, is now extended to the tiny Church of Holy Trinity, in the Minories, a small yellowish building, somewhat like St. Ethelburga in Bishopsgate Street, with the same kind of abbreviated turret. When you have succeeded in finding this church (which is difficult, as it is hidden down a side street off the Minories, and, as usual in London, no single inhabitant appears to know where it is), you then usually find it locked, with a saddening notice to the effect that the keys are in some equally unknown and distant region. Yet you must not despair. Such drawbacks are inseparable from the pursuit of historical antiquities in London. It seems, however, a pity to have recently changed the identity of this small church, thus rendering it still more difficult to find. Originally, it gave its name to the whole district; having belonged to an abbey of "Minoresses," or nuns of the order of St. Clare; the living, and also the name, are amalgamated with that of St. Botolph, Aldgate, which now possesses also its chief claim to fame. For, though the little church still possesses some good monuments, the relic formerly shown here, the dessicated head of a man, said to be the Duke of Suffolk, father of Lady Jane Grey, is now removed to the larger church. The decapitated head is certainly sufficiently ghastly, with the neck still showing the usual first stroke of the bungling executioner, and the loose teeth, yellow skin, and mouth with "the curve of agony" to which attention is usually drawn. The evidence for the head being that of the Duke of Suffolk rests mainly on the fact that the Church of "Holy Trinity" was the chapel of the Duke of Suffolk's town-house, and the place whither his head would naturally be brought after decapitation on Tower-hill.

At No. 9, Minories, over the shop of one John Owen, nautical instrument-maker, is the figure of the "Little Midshipman," described by Dickens in Dombey and Son. But it is (p. 115) difficult to walk in the Minories; everywhere crates and cranes seem to threaten you, and paper from printing offices bristles from windows on to your devoted head.... This must always have been a noisy quarter. In old days it was famous for its gunsmiths, as witness Congreve's lines:

"The mulcibers who in the Minories sweat,
And massive bars on stubborn anvils beat—"

You leave the Minories without regret, and turn your face again Citywards. The church of All Hallows, Barking (so called from the nuns of old Barking Abbey), is further west, in Great Tower Street, close to the Tower precincts. It is another church that escaped the Great Fire, and it contains the graves of some of the Tower victims. It has also some good monumental brasses, one especially, of fine Flemish workmanship, in the pavement in the centre of the nave. These old City churches are now most of them well served and tended, the Sunday services in some of them being much sought after. They are also probably kept in better repair than in Dickens's time, when, overgrown, dirty, and isolated in the midst of traffic and bustle, they struck the novelist only with their weird desolation,—a desolation as of some sentient and human thing. Thus vividly he described his feelings while attending service in one of them:

"There is a pale heap of books in the corner of my pew, and while the organ, which is hoarse and sleepy, plays in such fashion that I can hear more of the rusty working of the stops than of any music, I look at the books, which are mostly bound in faded baize and stuff. They belonged, in 1754, to the Dowgate family; and who were they? Jane Comport must have married Young Dowgate, and come into the family that way; Young Dowgate was courting Jane Comport when he gave her her prayer-book, and recorded the presentation on the fly-leaf. If Jane were fond of Young Dowgate, why did she die and leave the book here? Perhaps at the rickety altar, and before the damp commandments, she, Comport, had taken him, Dowgate, in a flush of youthful hope and joy, and perhaps it had not turned out in the long run as great a success as was expected.

"The opening of the service recalls my wandering thoughts.... I (p. 116) find that I have been taking a kind of invisible snuff ... I wink, sneeze and cough ... snuff made of the decay of matting, wood, cloth, stone, iron, earth and something else ... the decay of dead citizens.... Dead citizens stick on the walls and lie pulverised on the sounding-board over the clergyman's head, and, when a gust of air comes, tumble down upon him."

And, further, with regard to the surrounding bustle and merchandise in the busy streets:

"In the churches about Mark Lane there was a dry whiff of wheat; and I accidentally struck an airy sample of barley out of an aged hassock in one of them. From Rood Lane to Tower Street, and thereabouts, there was often a subtle flavour of wine,—sometimes of tea. One church, near Mincing Lane, smelt like a druggist's drawer. Behind the Monument, the service had a flavour of damaged oranges, which, a little farther down towards the river, tempered into herrings, and gradually toned into a cosmopolitan blast of fish. In one church, the exact counterpart of the church in the Rake's Progress, where the hero is being married to the horrible old lady, there was no specialty of atmosphere, until the organ shook a perfume of hides all over us from some adjacent warehouse."

(The church depicted in Hogarth's Rake's Progress was, however, the older church of St. Marylebone, now rebuilt.)

The next turning on the right from Great Tower Street is Seething Lane, leading to Hart Street, noted principally for that ancient church of St. Olave that was one of the Great Fire's few survivals. Its little churchyard opens on to the muddy, narrow alley called Seething Lane, by a picturesque gateway, grimly decorated with carven skulls; tradition says in the memory of the many plague victims buried here. Indeed it is a grisly monument of the time when the plague-cart rumbled in the streets, when a red cross marked the infected houses, and when the stones echoed to the hoarse and terrible cry, "Bring out your dead!" Perhaps Seething Lane was less muddy and slummy in Samuel Pepys's time; for that authority lived here, in a house "adjoining the Navy Office," where he held the position of "Clerk of the Acts,"—and surely he was nothing if not fussy. The locality, owing to the successive (p. 117) distractions of Plague and Fire, cannot have been exactly peaceful. In his "Diary" entry for January 30th, 1665-6, Pepys says:

"It frighted me indeed to go through the church, more than I thought it could have done, to see so many graves lie so high upon the churchyard where people have been buried of the Plague. I was much troubled at it, and do not think to go through it again a good while."

The quaint names of old London churches are very attractive. This St. Olave, or Olaf, was a favourite saint of ancient London; he was an eleventh-century Scandinavian king, canonised because of his zealous propagation of Christianity among his people. Three other London churches, in Southwark, Jewry, and Silver Street (the last two no longer existing), were called after him. The immediate purlieus of St. Olave's, Hart Street, are not exactly savoury, its proximity to the river traffic and warehouses making it occasionally somewhat odoriferous as well as muddy; it were better, therefore, to choose a fine, dry day for this excursion. It is not always easy to get inside the church; on week-days, the street seems to be more or less of a stagnant back-water; and should your fate compel you to find St. Olave's locked, you may stand and knock all day, but nobody will heed you; or, if they do heed, will probably put you down as a wandering lunatic. Nevertheless, St. Olave's should be visited; for its monuments are many and interesting. Samuel Pepys, as parishioner and near neighbour, used to attend service here, with his pretty wife; and Mrs. Pepys's bust, in white marble, erected by her husband, stands on the north side of the chancel, above her tablet and long epitaph. Poor Elizabeth Pepys! She was only twenty-nine when she died, and that long, artificial Latin screed seems all too long and laboured for her lovely and poetic youth. Perhaps her husband, whose pew faces the monument, liked during his long widowhood to gaze at that charming memorial, and—who knows?—to enjoy his fine Latin composition. Pepys himself was buried here later; his own (p. 118) monument, however, only dates from 1883, when it was raised by public subscription.

In St. Olave's church occurs that curious and often-quoted epitaph of 1584, inscribed to "John Orgene and Ellyne, his wife":

"As I was, so be ye;
As I am, you shall be;
That I gave, that I have;
That I spent, that I had;
Thus I ende all my coste,
That I lefte, that I loste."

Wandering along Great Tower Street,—and Eastcheap, reminiscent of Falstaff and Dame Quickly,—we reach the ever-fishy region of the Monument. The Monument is so tall that it is difficult to see it; indeed, I cannot tell exactly why the Monument seems always as difficult of discovery as the middle of a maze; you seem continually close upon it, and yet you hardly ever reach it. No one can ever direct the pedestrian to it; though this, indeed, may not be the fault of the Monument, but simply because the average Londoner never does know anything about the immediate neighbourhood he inhabits. He has even been known to live in the next street to the British Museum for years, and then be ignorant that such an institution exists. Such superiority to external facts is, no doubt, noble; but it has its drawbacks. And sometimes the individuals questioned take refuge in a crushing silence. The last time, indeed, that I myself visited the Monument, I inquired politely of two fishy youths in turn of its whereabouts, and received no answer. Possibly this was merely their courteous way of informing me that they were really too busy to attend to such trivialities. To return, however, to the deluding Monument: Dickens, it is true, in Martin Chuzzlewit makes Mr. Tom Pinch and Miss Pecksniff find their way thither (Tom, having lost his way, very naturally finds himself at the Monument):

(p. 119) "The Man in the Monument was quite as mysterious a being to Tom as the Man in the Moon. It immediately occurred to him that the lonely creature who held himself aloof from all mankind in that pillar, like some old hermit, was the very man of whom to ask his way.... If Truth didn't live in the base of the Monument, notwithstanding Pope's couplet about the outside of it, where in London was she likely to be found?

"Coming close below the pillar, it was a great encouragement to Tom to find that the Man in the Monument had simple tastes; that stony and artificial as his residence was, he still preserved some rustic recollections; that he liked plants, hung up bird-cages, was not wholly cut off from fresh groundsel, and kept young trees in tubs. The Man in the Monument was sitting outside his own door, the Monument door; and was actually yawning, as if there were no Monument to stop his mouth, and give him a perpetual interest in his own existence.... Two people came to see the Monument, a gentleman and lady; and the gentleman said, 'How much a-piece?'

"The Man in the Monument replied, 'A Tanner.'

"It seemed a low expression, compared with the Monument.

"The gentleman put a shilling into his hand, and the Man in the Monument opened a dark little door. When the gentleman and lady had passed out of view, he shut it again, and came slowly back to his chair.

"He sat down and laughed.

"'They don't know what a many steps there is!' he said. 'It's worth twice the money to stop here. Oh, my eye!'

"The Man in the Monument was a Cynic...."

The charge for the Monument is (I may remark en passant), now changed from a "tanner" to the humble threepence. (Its summit gallery is now closed in, because of the disagreeable mania for committing suicide from it.) The original inscription on its pedestal, now effaced, was a curious relic of religious intolerance; showing, by its absurd reference to the "horrid plott" of "the Popish factio," the barbarous and primitive state of popular feeling as late as 1681. Wherefore it was that, as Pope said:

"... London's Column, pointing to the skies,
Like a tall bully, lifts its head and lies."

One must not, however, forget that this attempt to attribute the dire calamity to private malice must have been infinitely (p. 120) comforting to the public mind, that ever, even in our own enlightened day, needs a scapegoat. In still older days, the scapegoats took a more conveniently personal form, and were usually, as we have seen, brought to the block on Great Tower Hill: which was, of course, a much simpler mode of dealing with them.

(p. 121) CHAPTER VI

"The Thames marks the sharp division between what Lord Beaconsfield called 'the two nations.' On one side we have our nearest English approach to architectural magnificence; on the other there is a long perspective of squalid buildings—smoke-begrimed, half-ruinous, and yet not altogether unlovely."—Magazine of Art, January, 1884.

"Befel, that in that season, on a day
In Southwark at the Tabard as I lay,
Ready to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury with ful devout courage,
At night was come into that hostelry
Well nine-and-twenty in a company
Of sundry folk, by adventure y-fall
In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all,
That toward Canterbury woulden ride."
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales.

Near to the fishy and noisy purlieus of the "Monument," London Bridge crosses the river into Southwark.

London Bridge is the terminus for big ships; from its parapet is seen, as far as the misty Tower Bridge, a vast city of masts, sails, and wharves. Big steamers often make this their starting-point for excursions, and sails of Venetian colour charm the eye. In cold winters the sea-gulls, flying hither in myriads from the icy North Seas, come to the Londoner's call, sure of food and welcome, filling grey sky and silvery river with an ever-changing constellation of white wings; "a blaze of comet splendour." Wild birds, like children, know their friends. (p. 122) The sea-gull's wide, downward swoop, so powerful and so graceful, may be watched here in January from early morn to dusk; the creatures, poised in serried ranks on the barges and stone piers, are just as much at home here as on their own northern pinnacles, and after long sojourn, they become so tame that they will almost feed from the stranger's hand. It is only, however, during the severe weather that the sea-gulls' visit lasts; with the first warm February days they are off again, speeding down the river to their native haunts.

Close to the foot of London Bridge, on the Southwark side, is the fine cruciform church of St. Saviour's, lately restored on the lines of the ancient edifice. This church, which had formerly been much mutilated by careless and tasteless "restorers," was in long past times the Norman Priory of St. Mary Overy, and its old nave, of which the fragments may yet be seen, was built in 1106 by Gifford, Bishop of Winchester. A century later, another Bishop built the choir and Lady Chapel, and altered the character of the nave from Norman to Early English. Then, at the Dissolution, St. Mary Overy was made into a parish church by Henry VIII., and since 1540, it has been known as "St. Saviour's." The early Saxon dedication to "St. Mary Overy" commemorates the romantic story of the rich old ferryman's lovely daughter, of pre-Conquest times, who, losing her lover by a fall from his horse, retired into a cloister for life, devoting her paternal wealth to the founding of a priory. The story is charming, but somewhat misty; it suggests, however, the advantages accruing to ferrymen when there were no bridges on the Thames! An ancient, nameless, ghoul-like figure, in St. Saviour's Church, is still pointed out as the old ferryman, father of the foundress; but this is probably traditional. Skeleton-like figures, not representing any one in particular, were not infrequently placed about in mediæval churches; in order, perhaps, to bring the congregation to a sufficiently sober frame of mind, as well as to recall to them their latter end.

(p. 123) St. Saviour's, as it is now, is one of the most striking churches in London; its interior appeals at once to the eye and to the imagination. The long aisles are restful and harmonious; the Early-English architecture is severely pure; the fine effect of the beautifully-restored nave and transepts is not, as too often in Westminster Abbey, spoiled by the introduction of ornate tombs and sprawling angels. The church, restored by Blomfield in 1890-96, is already a collegiate church, and is worthy to become, as it probably will, the cathedral for South London. Its level, as is the case with many ancient buildings, is now considerably lower than the surrounding ground; a fact testified by the steps necessary to descend into its precincts from the street, and by the very unpoetic railway, carried well above it and its adjoining vegetable market (the Borough Market). For this is a strangely busy and noisy spot to have sheltered for so long this relic of the Middle Age.

The tombs in the church are mainly in the transepts, and are nearly all of them interesting. The finely-restored "Lady Chapel," behind the altar, contains the tomb of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, with a long Latin inscription of 1626; a recumbent painted effigy, on a black-and-white marble tomb. This Lady Chapel has tragic associations; it was used in the time of "Bloody Mary" as the Consistorial Court of Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester; and here those sturdy martyrs, Bishop Hooper and John Rogers, Vicar of St. Sepulchre's, were condemned to be burnt (the popular feeling for Rogers being such as necessitated his removal by night secretly to Newgate).

The most famous grave in St. Saviour's is that of John Gower, the fourteenth-century poet, and friend of Chaucer. Here, near the east end of the north wall of the nave, the effigy of the poet, painted, like that of Lancelot Andrewes, a figure of striking beauty, lies on a sarcophagus under a rich gabled canopy. Stow thus describes the monument:

(p. 124) "He lieth under a tomb of stone, with his image, also of stone, over him; the hair of his head, auburn, long to his shoulders but curling up, and a small forked beard; on his head a chaplet like a coronet of four roses; a habit of purple, damasked down to his feet; a collar of esses gold about his neck; under his head the likeness of three books which he compiled."

Gower was a rich man for a poet, and gave large sums in his time for the rebuilding of the church; hence was written the following epigram:

"This church was rebuilt by John Gower, the rhymer,
Who in Richard's gay court was a fortunate climber;
Should any one start, 'tis but right he should know it,
Our wight was a lawyer as well as a poet."

Gower's three chief works, on which his head rests, are his Vox Clamantis, Speculum Meditantis, and Confessio Amantis.

Many other curious tombs and epitaphs are in this church. One, especially, of the latter, a tablet to a little girl of ten, Susanna Barford,—a child the "Non such of the world for piety and vertue in soe tender yeares,"—tells how:

"Such grace the King of Kings bestow'd upon her
That now shee lives with him a maid of honour."

And in the north transept, there is a curious monument to Dr. Lionel Lockyer, the pill inventor—a large bewigged, reclining figure of Charles II.'s time—suffering, apparently, despite his infallible nostrums, from terrible internal spasms. Perhaps, however, these may bear some mystic reference to the long accompanying epitaph about "undying Pills," showing that already in the seventeenth century advertisement could be strong even in death! Close to Lockyer's tomb are heaped up a number of strange wooden painted gargoyles or "bosses," preserved and brought here from the fallen-in fifteenth-century roof of the nave, some of them bearing most weird devices. One, conceived apparently in the Dantesque spirit, represents a giant, or devil, "champing" a half-eaten sinner,—the lower half of whom, dressed in gaudy colours, projects from the large (p. 125) vermilion mouth,—in great enjoyment. Other "bosses" show the curious painted "rebuses" of the period, commemorating a prior's name. The seventeenth-century monument to the Austin family, also in this transept, is full of quaint imagery and symbolism. The figures of its sleeping angels with winnowing-forks, waiting on each side for the great final harvest, are full of beauty.

"Edmund Shakespear, player," and brother of the poet,—Fletcher,—and Massinger,—are buried here; three stones in the choir bear their names; the exact place of their graves is not known.

The church is now well-kept and carefully tended; it is open daily to the visitor, who may walk about it without let or hindrance. Like so many other London churches, it has in its time suffered less from the depredations of the plunderer than from those of the more dangerous "restorer." As usual, a long period of neglect and decay was followed by iconoclastic cleaning and setting in order. Generally, for a considerable time after the Dissolution, the convent churches and others were left to the tender mercies of the parishioners, who, naturally, could not always afford to keep them in proper condition; then abuses crept in, thefts took place; and the disused churches, as St. Paul's itself, were often degraded to stables, or used as storage for litter. Then, after long years, the authorities, perhaps, came to the rescue, and, turning out the encroaching and invading devils, let in other devils far more wicked, in the shape of so-called "restorers." Wonder, indeed, is it that so much is left to us! The "restorers" usually began by whitewashing all the columns of dark Purbeck marble, blackening the effigies into one uniform tint, and covering the discoloured carvings of the walls with stucco, for the better reception of which they even (as may be seen at St. Saviour's) whittled away bits of fine stone sculpture.

To wander down the "Borough" High Street—that noisy and essentially modern district,—in search of Chaucer's famous (p. 126) inns, is, alas! more dispiriting than looking for traces of Dido among the ruins of Carthage. Here, one can neither look for ghosts, nor feelings of the past; all is hopelessly covered up and hidden by ugly modern inns, more ugly modern shops, palaces of modern plate-glass public-houses, triumphs of early nineteenth-century ugliness in architecture. What chance, among such, have the poor wandering ghosts of a famous past? And, since London Bridge, that natural dividing-line of peoples, was passed, have not the very streets changed in some subtle and unconscious manner, to a more sordid character; the shops to a more blatant kind,—even the people to a different and lower type? It may be partly fancy; yet, is not this often the effect produced by the "Surrey side"? The big thoroughfare called the Borough High Street, or more simply, the "Borough"—(this part of Southwark has fairly earned the right to be called the "Borough," having returned two members to Parliament for 500 years),—this was the great highway, even in Roman times, between the city and the southern counties. East of the Borough, the long, narrow, busy, dirty Tooley Street leads to Bermondsey; this street is famous for its "three tailors" of the political legend, according to which they addressed the House of Commons as "We, the People of England." Here, from mediæval days, was the only bridge; here, therefore, were, naturally, stationed all the mediæval inns and hostelries. This way did the "Canterbury Pilgrims" pass out of London; here they would stop and refresh themselves at the "Tabard," the "White Hart," and their compeers.... What now remains of these? The "Tabard," rebuilt in Charles II.'s time, and for long the finest old house of its kind in London, was burnt down in 1873; it now only exists in its name, still flaunted bravely above a commonplace modern inn. The "Queen's Head," the "White Hart," the "King's Head," exist now only as hideous railway-yards or equally hideous modern edifices; the only remaining relic of them all is the "George" Inn, where a solitary fragment, a long (p. 127) block of ancient buildings, with picturesque, sloping, dormer roofs, and balustraded wooden galleries, is yet, by the mercy of the Great Northern Railway Company, spared to us, to tell of its former glories. The present hosts of the "George,"—two ladies,—are pleasant, hospitable people, and their small, dark, panelled rooms are clean and comfortable. They seem, however, to entertain a mild feeling of boredom for the constant accession of reverent pilgrims who flock annually to their shrine. "And it's only for the last few years," the younger lady remarks, somewhat sadly, "only since the last inn, the 'Queen's Head,' you know was pulled down, that so many people have come. A great many Americans ... oh, I suppose they come out of curiosity, like; one can't blame 'em. Do people stay here in the summer? Yes, a good few—some business men, but mostly artists and tourists; it's just curiosity. Then, it's, 'Would you mind if I take a photograph?' or 'Have I your leave to sit in the yard and sketch?' Do I let them do it?... oh, yes" (with a sigh), "it doesn't matter to me. I suppose they may be going to put it in some book or some article; but it's nothing to me.... I never read the article!"

Cricket in the Street. The lost Ball.

If this lady be not a cynic, she at any rate embodies a great deal of the philosophy of life!

(p. 128) What the other Inns were like, can be more or less seen from this small portion of one. They have mostly vanished with the march of progress of recent years, for fifty years ago Dickens could still write:

"In the Borough there still remain some half-dozen old inns which have preserved their external features unchanged. Great rambling queer old places, with galleries and passages and staircases wide enough and antiquated enough to furnish materials for a hundred ghost stories."

At the old "White Hart," now destroyed, Dickens first introduced to the world the immortal Sam Weller, as he appeared cleaning the spinster aunt's boots after that sentimental lady's elopement with the deceiving Mr. Jingle. These old inns, in the heyday of their prime, were made still more famous by the open-air theatrical representations that took place in their balconied courtyards. Toil and trouble, the eternal struggle-for-life, may be the portion of "the Surrey Side" to-day, but in Shakespeare's time it was principally noted for its amusements and its junketings. Now, the chief buildings of Southwark and Walworth are gaols and asylums, and its best-known localities are the omnibus terminuses, dignified mysteriously by names of public-houses,—such as the "Elephant," &c. Even the dramatic tastes of the people "over the water" are now supposed to be primitive; and "transpontine" is the adjective applied to melodrama that is too crude for the superior taste of northern London. Yet here, in Shakespeare's day, were all the most fashionable theatres—theatres, too, frequented by all the literary and dramatic lights of the day. Here stood that small martello-tower-like theatre, the "Globe," the "round wooden 'O'" alluded to in Henry V., where Shakespeare and his companions played; here also were the "Rose," the "Hope," and the "Swan." And below St. Saviour's, and its neighbouring Bishops' Palace and park, were the localities known as "Bankside" and "Paris Garden," the former famous for its bull and bear-baiting ("a rude and nasty pleasure," says Pepys), the latter for its theatre, and also for its somewhat (p. 129) doubtful reputation. There were, of course, a few plague-spots, inseparable from places of public amusement; but the Southwark of Elizabeth's day was a centre of national jollity and merry-making. Open gardens fringed the river-banks, by which flowed a clear and yet unsullied Thames, and their salubrious walks were the favourite resort of citizens. Certainly, Shakespeare and his associates would hardly recognize Southwark now: Messrs. Barclay and Perkins's famous brewery now covers the site of the Globe Theatre; the ancient gardens have given place to wharves and warehouses; the fashionable promenade to railway lines and goods offices; the green turfy banks to streets and lanes of sticky Southwark mud. And Southwark mud is surely of a quite peculiar stickiness! The big brewery, covering some twelve acres, is not exactly an improvement on the landscape. It belonged, in 1758, to Mr. Thrale, husband of the witty lady whom Johnson loved as a daughter. And though some among us have, as Dr. Johnson prophesied at the sale of the brewery in its early days, "grown rich beyond the dreams of avarice," yet the source of riches is seldom in itself beautifying.

Winchester House, the ancient palace of the Bishops of Winchester, stood in Tudor days between St. Saviour's and the river; "a very fair house, with a large wharf and a landing-place." Here Bishop Gardiner lived in great state, and here, to please his patron the Duke of Norfolk, he arranged "little banquets at which it was contrived that Henry VIII. should meet the Duke's niece, Katherine Howard, then a 'lovely girl in her teens.'" Poor thing! in a short year or two her head was destined to fall, by the headsman's axe, within the precincts of the gloomy Tower, on the river's opposite bank! The extent of the old palace is uncertain; its remains are now nearly all destroyed, except an old window and arch, built up into the surrounding warehouses. The name, however, of the "Clink," the prison used by the Bishops for the punishment of heretics, still exists in the modern Clink Street. In the same way, (p. 130) "Mint Street," Borough, recalls an ancient and forgotten mint, established here by Henry VIII. for coinage; and Lant Street—but Lant Street recalls nothing so much as Dickens, and his creation Mr. Bob Sawyer. Dickens lived in Lant Street himself as a boy, while his insolvent family were rusticating in the neighbouring Marshalsea; hence he knew it well.

A County Court.

"A bed and bedding" (he writes) "were sent over for me" (from the Marshalsea), "and made up on the floor. The little window had a pleasant prospect of a timber-yard; and when I took possession of my new abode, I thought it was a Paradise."

"The Crown Revenues," Dickens further adds (in describing (p. 131) the abode of Mr. Bob Sawyer), "are seldom collected in this happy valley; the rents are dubious, and the water communication is very frequently cut off."

If Southwark contained many doubtful characters in Shakespeare's time, it contains, as Mr. Charles Booth's book shows us, some "black spots" of crime still! The old Marshalsea and the King's Bench Prisons must always have been a centre of drifting and shiftless population. All parts of the "Borough" do not enjoy a thoroughly good reputation; bad sanitation, overcrowding, all the worst sins of the much-abused "East End," may here too be seen. "Is any one," asks a recent writer, "ever young in the Borough? Is not carking care their birthright?" In crowded Southwark and Walworth, round the "Elephant,"—the mysterious "Elephant," to which all roads lead,—"aflare, seething, roaring with multitudinous life," are miserable human rabbit-warrens, where they even live ten in a room. "Pore, sir," cries Mrs. Pullen (one of the submerged), "pore! why, the Mint, sir, the Mint, sir, is known for it; you've 'erd on it your ways, ain't you?" Mrs. Pullen held up her hands and laughed, as if she was really proud of "the Mint and its poverty." But, though the Borough children—poor little wastrels—are still wild,—Education, it seems, is slowly taming them.

Those who are interested in the children of the poor,—and who is not?—should read Mr. Charles Morley's sympathetic "Studies in Board Schools," a considerable portion of which refers to Walworth and the Borough. The redeeming of the infant population of London is surely a noble work, and nowhere are the parental methods of the Board Schools so well set forth as in that delightful volume, real with the reality of life, and, like life itself, something between laughter and tears. Life has few mysteries for the Borough child, whose garments are strange and weird, whose voice "soon loses any infantine sweetness it may possess. Some of the ragged mites of girls of the Borough will even rap out an oath which would shock (p. 132) your ears who live over the water. But they mean nothing. It is like sailors' language, only sound and a little temper. Why, even the chirrup of the Borough sparrow has a minatory ring about it." Mr. Morley goes on to tell of a kindly institution dubbed "the Farm House" (strange name in such surroundings!), where, owing to Mr. G. R. Sims and the "Referee," six or seven hundred hungry school-children are, like the sparrows and sea-gulls, fed daily during the long winter:

"The Farm House" (he says), "is a strange mansion to find in the heart of the Marshalsea—just over the way is the site of the famous prison. The graveyard of St. George the Martyr is now a public garden, grim enough, to be sure, with its black tombstones and soot-laden balsam poplars. On one of the walls is placed a board on which is printed the legend: 'This stands on the site of the Marshalsea Prison described (or words to this effect) in Charles Dickens's well-known novel, Little Dorrit.' The Farm House was once the town dwelling of the Earls of Winchester. It has an ancient time-worn front, a court, mysterious chambers, old oak panels upon which you can just make out some of the old Winchester ladies and gentlemen; a curious old staircase; and I daresay a ghost or two if one went into the matter. But for a long time past it has been a common lodging-house. Beds in a haunted chamber may be had at fourpence a night. Many a strange history could those white-washed walls tell if they could speak, I dare say—of the good old days in Henry the Eighth's time, and even of more recent years. Many a man who began life with the hopefullest prospects has been glad to hide his head in the old Farm House, down Marshalsea way, Borough."

"Misery," continues this writer, "is strangely prolific; every hovel, every court, every alley teems with children," "little mothers" carrying heavy babies, like Miss Dorothy Tennant's tender picture, A Load of Care ... that heavy, heavy baby, weighing down that tiny, tiny nurse.... Nota Bene: There always is a baby. By the time a little wool appears on the head of number one, number two appears, and so on—well, nearly ad infinitum. There is no doubt whatever that babies are the bugbears of the Borough ratepayers."

The Board Schools in these districts teach, it appears, not (p. 133) only "the three R's," but also housewifery, house-cleaning, cooking, and other most necessary accomplishments:

"Housewifery" (says Mr. Morley) "is the birthright of the children of the poor.... Every mite of a girl down in the East or South ... is a housewife by the time she is six.... Often enough when times are hard and funds very low—when father is out o' work, and mother's bad in bed—does the poor little mother set forth with scrubbing-brush in hand, and clean the door-steps of the prosperous for twopence or threepence, according to the size and number of the steps. She probably lights the fire of a morning; it is her delight to go shopping to the remarkable establishment where most of the necessities of life are to be obtained by the farthing's-worth; and with the mysteries of marketing she is very well acquainted indeed. You should just see her in Bermondsey, the Walworth Road, the Dials, the New Cut, or Whitechapel on a Sunday morning, when these localities are alive with poor people buying their dinners. Road and footpath are blocked with stalls and barrows, and flesh, fish, fowl and vegetables are all jumbled together in confusion that is apparently inextricable. But little mother knows her way about, and whether it is red meat or white meat, beef, mutton or rabbit, trust her for getting a bargain, for keeping a sharp eye on weight and measure. A farden is a farden in districts where a penny is a substantial coin of the realm."

The "Surrey Side" is noted for its hospitals, as well as its prisons and its slums; and of these "Guy's Hospital," on the left of the Borough High Street,—an eighteenth-century foundation, due to the wealth of a Lombard Street bookseller named Thomas Guy,—is one of the most important. This Guy was in his way a miser, and his savings were vastly increased by dealings in South Sea stock,—showing that some good, at any rate, was wrought by the terrible "Bubble" that ruined so many thousands. Yet the hospital narrowly escaped losing the rich man's bequest. He was on the point of marrying his pretty maid, Sally, when, his bride offending him by officious interference, he broke off the marriage, and endowed the present hospital with his great wealth. A blackened brass statue of the founder stands in the courtyard of the edifice.

If Chaucer, with his ever memorable Canterbury Pilgrims, did much to immortalise the Southwark of mediæval times, (p. 134) Dickens, the child of a later era, has done at least as much for the Southwark of his day. In the Borough High Street, close to the site of the demolished Marshalsea Prison, stands St. George's Church, chiefly remarkable for the fact that Dickens has here placed the marriage of his heroine, "Little Dorrit," the Child of the Marshalsea. This was always a district of prisons; the natural sequence, one would think, of Southwark merry-making. Of the two Marshalsea prisons established here at different times, the earlier, nearer to London Bridge, was abolished in 1849; the later, so graphically described by Dickens, was not pulled down till 1887, after having been let for forty years as a lodging for tramps and vagabonds. Relics of it are now hard to find. Dickens, who knew it well as a boy, thus describes (in the preface to Little Dorrit) his search for it in later life:

"I found the outer front courtyard metamorphosed into a butter shop; and I then almost gave up every brick of the jail for lost. Wandering, however, down a certain adjacent 'Angel Court, leading to Bermondsey,' I came to Marshalsea Place, the houses in which I recognized, not only as the great block of the former prison, but as preserving the rooms that arose to my mind's eye when I became Little Dorrit's biographer.... Whoever goes into Marshalsea Place, turning out of Angel Court, leading to Bermondsey, will find his feet on the very paving-stones of the extinct Marshalsea jail; will see its narrow yard to the right and to the left, very little altered if at all, except that the walls were lowered when the place got free; will look upon the rooms in which the debtors lived; will stand among the crowding ghosts of many miserable years."

Dickens's boyish recollections of the ancient debtors prison have, as was perhaps natural, sometimes more than a tinge of bitterness; here he passed to and fro during wretched childish years, between the daily drudgery of covering blacking pots at "Murdstone and Grinby's," down by Hungerford Stairs. More wretched, indeed, far, than any modern Borough waif, was this neglected and sensitive child of genius. The intense torture of his degradation (as he thought it) was never wholly forgotten. In this connection he tells (in Forster's Life) a pathetic (p. 135) little story. No boy at the blacking office, it seems, knew where or how he lived; and once, being taken ill there, and helped towards home by a kindly fellow-worker, the child Dickens said good-bye to his friend by Southwark Bridge:

"I was too proud" (he says) "to let him know about the prison; and after making several efforts to get rid of him, to all of which Bob Fagin in his goodness was deaf, shook hands with him on the steps of a house near Southwark-bridge on the Surrey side, making believe that I lived there. As a finishing piece of reality in case of his looking back, I knocked at the door, I recollect, and asked, when the woman opened it, if that was Mr. Robert Fagin's house."

While the boy suffered thus acutely, his father lived on in a Micawberish way at the Marshalsea, being merely of the amiable, shiftless, idle genus that drags its family down. For the rest, they did well enough at the Marshalsea: "The family," the son wrote, "lived more comfortably in prison than they had done for a long time out of it. They were waited on still by the maid-of-all-work from Bayham Street, the orphan girl from Chatham workhouse, from whose sharp little worldly, yet also kindly, ways I took my first impressions of the "Marchioness" in The Old Curiosity Shop."

Yet Destiny works in strange and devious ways, and all the while, if he had only known it, the Fates were conspiring for Charles Dickens's good. It was the father's misfortunes that really taught the boy all he needed to learn. Here, amid the unsavoury purlieus of the prison, he unconsciously studied all the types and localities of which he was to make such wonderful use in after-life. The Marshalsea and its ways; Lant Street and Bob Sawyer; "Tip," "of the prison prisonous, and of the streets streety"; Sam Weller at the "White Hart;" Nancy at London Bridge Steps; Sikes and Folly Ditch; with a hundred others,—were, more or less, to be the outcome of that time.

The glamour of a romantic past, the spirit of Chaucer and of Shakespeare, may still attach to Southwark; the playhouses and gaieties of Elizabeth's time may yet leave some faint record (p. 136) there; but it is, after all, by another of Fate's strange ironies, the Child of the Marshalsea, the boy brought up in wretchedness and squalor, who has glorified by his genius the place, the whole district, where he so suffered in early youth. Other and greater men have told London's history in the past; but Dickens, whose grave is still faithfully tended in Westminster Abbey while those of the mightier dead are long forgotten, Dickens, who cared everything for the lower, warmer phases of humanity; Dickens, to whom every grimy London stone was dear, and every dirty cockney child a creature of infinite possibilities; Dickens, whose name will be ever dear to the faithful Londoner; is the modern chronicler of the great city.

(p. 137) CHAPTER VII

"The perplexed and troublous valley of the shadow of the law."—Dickens.

"those bricky towers,
The which on Thames' broad aged back doe ride,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers,
There whilom wont the Templar knights to bide,
Till they decayed through pride."—Spenser.

Among the by-ways that open suddenly out of the highways of London, are there any more attractive than the Inns of Court? which, in an almost startling manner, bring into the whirl of Holborn, and the din of Fleet Street, something of the charm of an older and more peaceful world. No parts of London are more delightful, and few call up more interesting historic associations. Picturesque and charming old enclosures,—full of that mysterious and intangible "romance of London" that appealed so strongly to writers such as Lamb, Dickens, and Nathaniel Hawthorne,—the Inns of Court have in their time sheltered many great men. How strange and how unexpected, in the very heart of busy London, are these quiet old-world quadrangles, of calm, collegiate aspect, of infinite peace; a peace that seems perhaps more intense in contrast with the outside, just as the London "close" of greenery seems all the greener for its being set amid the surrounding grime, shining "like a star in blackest night." Historic houses, indeed, in every sense, (p. 138) are these old Inns, with their worm-eaten wooden staircases, worn into holes by the passage of countless feet; their panelled walls inscribed with many names; their floors often crazy and slanting as the decks of a ship in mid-ocean. Even the so-called "laundresses" who act as caretakers and servants in these establishments, seem as though they belonged to former centuries, and were, in a manner, impervious to the flight of time. Many have been the noted residents in the Inns; the most noted, perhaps, of those in the Temple are Fielding, Charles Lamb, and the poet Cowper; Dr. Johnson lived once in Staple Inn, writing Rasselas there "in the evenings of a week," to defray his mother's funeral expenses. Surely, if ghosts ever walk, they must walk in these historic abodes. It was my lot lately to search for rooms in one of the Inns (I will not invidiously specify which). The rooms were romantic enough, at a cursory glance; further investigations revealed, I regret to say, the fact that romance was depressingly dark, as well as unduly favourable to rats, mice, and the unholy black-beetle; to say nothing of a general and indescribable musty smell.

"How long have these rooms been vacant?" I inquired, with some faint show of cheerfulness, of the frowsy "laundress," a Dickensy lady with an appalling squint and a husky voice suggestive of the bottle.

"W'y, not to say long, 'm. On'y a year come nex' Wensday. Though not to deceive you 'm, the larst gempleman as lived 'ere, 'e give the place a bad name."

"What did he do?" I inquired, startled.

"W'y, 'e had the 'orrors dreadful; 'e did away with 'isself; that's where it is" (with increased huskiness).

I looked tremblingly at the panelled walls, the blackened ceiling, the faded carpet. Was it fancy, or did I see a darker patch in the threadbare web, and the shadow of a dusky Roman pointing from the ceiling (as in Dickens's murder of Mr. Tulkinghorn) threateningly at that darker stain? "'Orrors"! I thought; and no wonder! Romance, rats, and old panelling (p. 139) are, no doubt, beautiful in their way; but hardly suitable to prosaic, everyday life.

It is, perhaps, in these old Inns, that, more than anywhere else in London, the past is linked with the present. Much the same did they look, their red brick perhaps a trifle less charmingly darkened by time, in the days when fair ladies and gallant gentlemen walked in their green plots, the ladies in the quaint clinging dresses of the Georgian era, the gentlemen in the gay lace ruffles and knee-breeches of that picturesque period in dress. If London stones could speak, what stories could they tell! The old elm trees, planted by Bacon (Lord Verulam) that shade so charmingly the cool green sward of Gray's Inn, were comparatively youthful when Mr. Pepys walked with his lady-wife in that historic enclosure "to observe the fashions of the ladies, because of my wife making some clothes." Time enough, surely, for the trees to have developed a quite Wordsworthian seriousness! There were many rooks in these gardens; but these have lately disappeared, owing, thinks Mr. Hare, "to the erection of a corrugated iron building near them some years ago"! Possibly Mr. Hare credits the rooks with an æsthetic feeling for beauty!

Charles Lamb, that "small, spare man in black,"—who, with his saddest of life-histories, his patient devotion and fortitude, ill deserved Carlyle's crude vituperation,—was a great devotee of the Inns, and especially of the Temple, his birthplace. It was in Little Queen Street, off Holborn, that the early tragedy happened that saddened all his life; the murder of his mother by the hand of his dearly-loved sister, in a fit of insanity. After this terrible occurrence, the brother took his sister Mary into his charge, never after to part from her, except only for her occasional necessary periods of restraint in an asylum. In Colebrook Row, Islington, where Lamb retired on his emancipation from the India Office, was the last abode of this devoted couple; and here occurred the pathetic incident recorded by a friend, that of the brother and sister walking (p. 140) across the fields towards the safety of the neighbouring asylum, hand-in-hand, like two children, and weeping bitterly.

Pepys and his Wife.

The Temple, so beloved of Charles Lamb, is the most widely known of all the Inns; being the largest, and in some ways the most attractive. Its garden-lawns slope gently and pleasantly towards the river; and its quaint, time-honoured, and beautiful (p. 141) old squares have the added charm of a long and romantic history. For here once was the stronghold of the Knights Templars, that powerful fraternity, so masterful in the picturesque Middle Ages; and, though the only substantial relic of them that yet exists here is the old Temple Church, their memory still lingers about these courts and gateways, adorned with their arms. And Charles Lamb,—the real child of the Temple,—has, though born at a later time, invested the place with a double charm. Born in 1775, in Crown Office Row, his father servant to a Bencher of the Inner Temple, the boy, from his earliest years, breathed in the poetry and romance of his surroundings. Has not his touching description of a childhood spent here almost the dignity of a classic?

"I was born" (he says), "and passed the first seven years of my life, in the Temple. Its church, its halls, its gardens, its fountain, its river, I had almost said—for in those young years, what was this king of rivers to me but a stream that watered our pleasant places?—these are my oldest recollections.... What an antique air had the now almost effaced sun-dials, with their moral inscriptions, seeming coevals with that Time which they measured, and to take their revelations of its flight immediately from heaven, holding correspondence with the fountain of light! How would the dark line steal imperceptibly on, watched by the eye of childhood, eager to detect its movement, never catched, nice as an evanescent cloud, or the first arrests of sleep!

"Ah, yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived!"

In the Temple Gardens, which, mercifully enough, have never yet been threatened with being built over, the famous annual flower-shows are held. To these gardens, where the Red Cross Knights walked at eve, where the gallants of Tudor and Stuart times paraded their powder and ruffles, are now yearly brought all the English flowers that skill can grow. In May and June, the wide green expanse becomes a bower of roses; in late autumn it is the chrysanthemums, the special flowers of the Temple, that have their turn. Chrysanthemums are London's own flowers, and care little for soot; as for the roses, they are brought (p. 142) hither in masses from the country, "to make a London holiday." And, surely, never were seen such blooms as at these annual rose-shows! A Heliogabalus would indeed be in his glory. Every year new flowers, new combinations of colour, of shape are invented; and garden-lovers congregate, compare, and copy. Roses will not now deign to grow in London soot and smoke; yet the Temple Gardens once were famed for their own roses, and here, where now the flower-shows are held, once grew, according to Shakespeare, in deadly rivalry, the fatal white and red roses of York and Lancaster. He makes Warwick say, in King Henry VI.:

"This brawl to-day,
Grown to this faction in the Temple Garden,
Shall send, between the red rose and the white,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night."

There are many sun-dials in the Temple Gardens, a fact which seems to suggest that the average amount of sunshine yearly registered in the City was considerably greater in the old days, when, also, possibly, for belated roysterers too often

"The night was senescent,
And star-dials pointed to morn,
And the star-dials hinted of morn,"

as in Poe's mystic poem. That occasion, for instance, commemorated in the Quarterly Review for 1836, when, on some festival held at the Inner Temple, less than seventy students consumed among them thirty-six quarts of richly-flavoured "sack," a potent beverage, only supposed to be "sipped" once by each!

The mottoes on the Temple sun-dials are varied and curious. "Pereunt et imputantur," is inscribed on one in Temple Lane; in Brick Court it is "Time and Tide tarry for no man"; in Essex Court, "Vestigia nulla retrorsum"; and opposite Middle Temple Hall, "Discite justitiam moniti."

The Middle Temple, divided from the Inner Temple by Middle Temple Lane, is the more picturesque of the two Inns. (p. 143) Among its labyrinthine courts and closes, the most charming is "Fountain Court," well known to lovers of Dickens. The great writer has caught the spirit of the place; where in London, indeed, has he not done so? He is, par excellence, the novelist of the city in all its aspects, human, topographical, artistic, historical. In a few lines, with magic touch, he gives you a lasting impression. He makes Ruth Pinch come to meet her brother in this court:

"There was a little plot between them, that Tom should always come out of the Temple by one way; and that was, past the fountain. Coming through Fountain Court, he was just to glance down the steps leading into Garden Court, and to look once all round him; and if Ruth had come to meet him, then he would see her; ... coming briskly up, with the best little laugh upon her face that ever played in opposition to the fountain, and beat it all to nothing.... The Temple fountain might have leaped up twenty feet to greet the spring of hopeful maidenhood, that in her person stole on, sparkling, through the dry and dusty channels of the Law; the chirping sparrows, bred in Temple chinks and crannies, might have held their peace to listen to imaginary skylarks, as so fresh a little creature passed."

Then, when the lover, John Westlock, comes one day:

"Merrily the fountain leaped and danced, and merrily the smiling dimples twinkled and expanded more and more, until they broke into a laugh against the fountain's rim and vanished."

In this court, too, is Middle Temple Hall, a fine Elizabethan edifice of 1572, with a handsome oak ceiling, its windows emblazoned with the armorial bearings of the Templar Knights. This Hall was already in Tudor times famous for its feasts, masques, revelries; here Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was performed in 1601, before the queen and her splendid court; "the only locality remaining where a play of Shakespeare's was listened to by his contemporaries." Even in winter Fountain Court is pretty, and its ivied trellises and arches are well kept and tended; a lovely view, too, may be enjoyed from it, down over the verdant grass slopes of "Garden Court" towards the silvery river far below. Lucky, one thinks, are those fortunate (p. 144) beings who have "chambers" in Garden Court! poetically named, and the reality still more charming than the name! More ornate and less attractive, though delightfully placed, are the modern buildings of "Temple Gardens."

Bits of old London, unchanged for centuries, crop up continually in the Temple precincts, and recall the time when this was a city of timbered houses of tortuous, overhanging, insanitary alleys and lanes, easily burned, almost impossible indeed to save when once threatened by fire. Small wonder, indeed, that the great fire of 1666 destroyed so much of the Temple! Middle-Temple-Lane, narrow, crooked, dark, is one of these relics of the past. Here are some picturesque old houses of lath and plaster, with overhanging upper floors, and shops beneath stuffed with law stationery and requirements; the houses somewhat crumbling and dilapidated, and "with an air," like Krook's shop in Bleak House, "of being in a legal neighbourhood, and of being, as it were a dirty hanger-on and disowned relation of the law." Every now and then, about the Temple, in odd and unexpected nooks and corners, you come upon the arms of the Knights Templars; in the Middle Temple it is the Lamb bearing the banner of Innocence, and the red cross, the original badge of the order; in the Inner Temple,—the winged Pegasus,—with the motto, "Volat ad astra virtus." This winged horse has a curious history; for, when the horse was originally chosen as an emblem, he had no wings, but was ridden by two men at once to indicate the self-chosen poverty of the brotherhood; in lapse of years the figures of the men became worn and abraded, and when restored were mistaken for wings!

Middle-Temple-Lane is entered from Fleet-Street, just beyond the Temple-Bar Griffin and the imposing mass of the New Gothic Law-Courts, by a dull red-brick gateway, erected by Wren in 1684; and the Inner Temple by an archway under a hairdresser's shop, which shop is inscribed somewhat romantically as "the palace of Henry VIII. and Cardinal Wolsey." (p. 145) (As a matter of fact it was built in James I.'s time, and belonged to Henry, Prince of Wales; it subsequently became "Nando's Coffee-House.") These picturesque, unassuming archways bear the special arms of each Inn, and here, by the winged horse, a wit once wrote the following "pasquinade:"

"As by the Templar's hold you go,
The horse and lamb displayed
In emblematic figures show
The merits of their trade.

"The clients may infer from thence
How just is their profession:
The lamb sets forth their innocence,
The horse their expedition."

But the main interest of the Temple lies in its ancient church, St. Mary's, where in the Middle Ages the Knights Templars worshipped in their strength, and where their effigies, stiff and mailed and cross-legged, as befits returned crusaders, lie until the judgment day. The soldier-monks are gone, their place knows them no more; yet, like their more peaceful brethren and neighbours, the Carthusians, their spirit still inspires their ancient haunts. The Temple Church, begun in 1185, was one of the four round churches built in England in imitation of the Round Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, after the Templars' return from the first and second crusades; mercifully escaping the Great Fire, it has not entirely escaped the hardly less dangerous ravages of the "restorer." Through a fine Norman arch, under the western porch, the Round Church of 1185 is entered. In architecture it is Norman, with a leaning to the Transition style, and very rich in decoration. Hence, through groups of Purbeck marble columns, you look into the choir, a later addition of 1240, in the Early English style, with lancet-headed windows and a groined roof. "These two churches," says Mr. Hare, "built at a distance of only fifty five years from each other, form one of the most interesting (p. 146) examples we possess of the transition from Norman to Early English architecture."

In the Round Church are nine monuments of Templars, of the 12th and 13th centuries, sculptured out of freestone, recumbent, with crossed legs, and in complete mail, except one, who wears a monk's cowl. They are probably the "eight images of armed knights" mentioned by Stow in 1598: some few are thought to be identified. Strange, unearthly objects! relics of a bygone order and a vanished faith,—silent witnesses of centuries' changes,—figures ghostly in the twilight of a London winter's day:—effigies of warriors, faithful in the life and unto the death that they knew, recalling Spenser's lines:

"And on his breast a bloudie cross he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead, as living, ever Him adored.
Upon his shield the like was ever scored,
For sovereign hope which in his help he had."

Records of the severity of the Order are not wanting. Here, opening upon the stairs leading to the triforium, is the "penitential cell" (of such painful abbreviation that the prisoner could neither stand nor lie in it), with slits towards the church so that mass might still be heard. Here the unhappy Walter le Bacheler, Grand Preceptor of Ireland,—for disobedience to the all-powerful Master,—was starved to death, and hence also, most likely, culprits were dragged forth naked to be flogged publicly before the altar. Priests, in the robust Middle Ages, did not always err on the side of mercy or humanity!

The preacher at the Temple Church is still named "the Master," as being the successor of the Masters of the Templars. Hooker and Sherlock both held the office, and now Canon Ainger is the most modern representative of the "Grand Master," that dread mediæval potentate. During the Protectorate, however, the order of succession must, one thinks, have fallen into some contempt; for the church became greatly (p. 147) dilapidated, and the painted ceilings (according to the usual Puritan barbarism) were whitewashed, though the effigies themselves mercifully escaped destruction. Lawyers, also, used formerly to receive their clients in the Round Church (as it was their custom to do at the pillars in St. Paul's), occupying their special posts like merchants on 'Change. And thus, that thorough restoration of the church in 1839-42, which antiquaries so deplore, was no doubt very necessary.

Long might one linger over the Temple and its many associations. Even the names of its mazy courts recall old stories, as well as their sometime dwellers. Johnson's Buildings where the old Doctor lived at one time; Brick Court, where poor, improvident Goldsmith lived, and died, as he had lived in debt and difficulties: Inner-Temple-Lane, where Charles Lamb lodged, and wrote: "The rooms are delicious, and Hare's Court trees come in at the window, so that it's like living in a garden." Garden Court (now rebuilt), where Dickens's "Pip" lived; "Lamb Court," with the shades of Thackeray's Warrington, Pen, and Laura. Tanfield Court, less pleasantly, recalls a murder, that of old Mrs. Duncomb, killed by a Temple laundress; the murderess sitting, dressed in scarlet, to Hogarth for her portrait, two days before her execution. Then there is King's Bench Walk, where Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, came as client, and was so disgusted at finding her legal adviser absent: "I could not tell who she was," said the servant, reporting the visit to her master, "for she would not tell me her name, but she swore so dreadfully that I am sure she must be a lady of quality."

But the Temple sundials are sternly marking the time, and we must tear ourselves away from the historic precincts. The day is waning, and all too soon Embankment and gardens, river and sky, will have changed, by some mysterious alchemy, to a "nocturne" of silver and gold. Let us hasten back into the din of Fleet Street and the Strand.

Holywell Street, with its tempting book-shops, is now a (p. 148) thing of the past; and, for the constant Londoner, the bearings of the Strand world have changed much of late. But Wych Street still remains, and behind it is the archway into New Inn, a quaint and forsaken place, resembling, not merely a backwater, but a stagnant pool, really forgotten by the busy tide of life around it. New Inn lies in that curious and debatable region between the Strand and the district of Clare-Market; but it is so secluded that one might well live in London all one's life and never know of it. There is a certain not unpicturesque squalor about New Inn and its purlieus; it has, like so many of these places, a pathetic air as of having seen better days. Possibly, New Inn sees only too well the fate that awaits it, in the towering red-brick offices close by, that once were old Clement's Inn! "Will they 'talk of mad Shallow yet' in Clement's Inn? Alas! I fear that the dwellers in the new mansions will read little of the old traditions of the site"! "To New Inn," says Seymour (in his Summary of London, 1735), "are pleasant walks and gardens;" and still a few sickly patches of grass survive, as well as a saddened greenhouse, relic of a happier time! Yet the "dusty purlieus of the Law" still, in spite of the builder, keep up, in a manner, their gardening traditions. Even the massive new "Record Office" does not disdain its little strip of garden, and makes praiseworthy attempts to grow turf and ground-ivy borders, to refresh the wanderer down Chancery Lane.

In and about Chancery Lane are several more of these small Inns, both past and present. "Symond's Inn," so sympathetically described by Dickens in Bleak House, as the lair of Mr. Vholes, the grasping Chancery lawyer, is typical of many of these rusty and decaying nests. Symond's Inn, indeed, no longer exists. "Chichester Rents," west of Chancery Lane, marks its forgotten site; but the portrait,—slightly caricatured, like all Dickens's sketches,—is very suggestive:

"The name of MR. VHOLES, preceded by the legend GROUND FLOOR, is inscribed upon a doorpost in Symond's Inn, Chancery Lane: a (p. 149) little, pale, wall-eyed, woebegone inn, like a large dust-bin of two compartments and a sifter. It looks as if Symond were a sparing man in his day, and constructed his inn of old building materials, which took kindly to the dry rot and to dirt and all things decaying and dismal, and perpetuated Symond's memory with congenial shabbiness. Quartered in this dingy hatchment commemorative of Symond, are the legal bearings of Mr. Vholes.... Mr. Vholes's office, in disposition retiring and in situation retired, is squeezed up in a corner, and blinks at a dead wall. Three feet of knotty-floored dark passage bring the client to Mr. Vholes's jet-black door, in an angle profoundly dark on the brightest midsummer morning, and encumbered by a black bulkhead of cellarage staircase, against which belated civilians generally strike their brows. Mr. Vholes's chambers are on so small a scale, that one clerk can open the door without getting off his stool; while the other, who elbows him at the same desk, has equal facilities for poking the fire. A smell as of unwholesome sheep, blending with the smell of must and dust, is referable to the nightly (and often daily) consumption of mutton fat in candles, and to the fretting of parchment forms and skins in greasy drawers. The atmosphere is otherwise stale and close. The place was last painted or whitewashed beyond the memory of man, and the two chimneys smoke, and there is a loose outer surface of soot everywhere, and the dull, cracked windows in their heavy frames have but one piece of character in them, which is a determination to be always dirty, and always shut, unless coerced."

Indeed, the whole region of the law, in its by-ways, and smaller Inns, is altogether suggestive of Bleak House. Dickens, a kind of Sam Weller himself in his knowledge of London, knew all the Inns well, living in several of them. He is a faithful chronicler, with this reservation, that he has no eye for the picturesque interest, but is all eye for the human. Were these places dirtier in Dickens's time? That can hardly be. Why, one reflects, is there a kind of tradition in such things? even as regards the eternal cats and the equally eternal "laundresses"? (called so, presumably, because they never seem to wash!) Why are the window panes, apparently, never, never, cleaned? Has never any one come here with a love of cleanliness for its own sake, or with a yearning for clean windows, to these Inns?

See, for instance, the corner of old Serjeants' Inn, where it (p. 150) joins Clifford's Inn! It positively caricatures even Dickens. Black, suggestively gruesome as a picture by Hogarth; yet, amid all its dirt, still picturesque; everywhere neglect, rust, grime; windows suggestive of anything but light, broken and stuffed with dirty paper; no sign of life (it being Saturday afternoon), but one old half-starved tabby cat, moved out of her wonted apathy by hearing the welcome voice of the cats' meat boy in neighbouring Chancery Lane! Is she the aged pensioner of some departed inhabitant, and does she, perchance, hope to steal, unperceived, some scrap from that unsavoury basket? As she slinks along the outer railings of the Clifford's Inn enclosure, and across the irregular cobble-stones of the court, one notices that what is by courtesy termed a "garden" is merely a cat walk. It is a railed-in garden of desolation, its turf long ago forgotten, its gravel-paths even obliterated, a dingy strip of earth under a few mangy trees. Surely, nobody can have entered that rusty gate for at least a hundred years! It might be the garden of the "Sleeping Beauty," or at least a London edition of that lady. Poor, deserted closes! bits of vanishing London! The tide of progress will remove you altogether ere long, and build huge blocks of clean, if unromantic, "Chicago" edifices in your place. Yet, their dirt and desolation notwithstanding, can we not almost find it in our hearts to regret these London byways of a past age?

Perhaps Clifford's Inn may yet maintain some transmitted gloom from the fact that here used to live the six attorneys of the Marshalsea Court, "which rendered," says a chronicler, "this little spot the fountain-head of more misery than any whole county in England." A grimy archway, piercing the buildings of Clifford's Inn, and adorned (?) by a ramshackle hanging lamp, leads through another tiny courtyard to the adjoining Fleet Street. In such crowded city byways, "businesses," and things, and people, are often in the strangest juxtaposition. It seems as if every possible trade and profession had made up its mind to live, in deadly rivalry, within the same few cubic feet (p. 151) of mother earth. Here, for instance, a smart kitchen, well-appointed, with shining pots and pans, looks straight into the windows of a dirty law-stationer's; there, a printing-press rumbles, cheek-by-jowl with a Fleet Street tea-shop; here a theatre stage-door ogles, at a convenient distance, the inviting back entrance of a pawnshop (both of them discreetly placed in a retiring side-alley); and there, the much populated "model" looks across, somewhat yearningly, to some cat-ridden and rusty desolation, that has got, somehow or other, "into Chancery," or some such equivalent for oblivion and decay. And, between the Fleet Street entrance to Clifford's Inn and Chancery Lane, rises, in strangest medley of all, the blackened height of St. Dunstan's in-the-West, a rebuilding of 1831, by J. Shaw, on an ancient site. Its tall tower is effective, but the body of the church has a somewhat abbreviated air, being tightly sandwiched in between the new buildings of "Law Life Assurance" on one side, and the Dundee Advertiser, &c., on the other.

The two famous wooden giants on the old church of St. Dunstan's, that used to strike the hours, are now removed to a villa in Regent's Park.

Between Chancery Lane and Holborn, many important rebuildings and extensions have been made of recent years; imposing new edifices have been raised, and, in some places, building, with the obliteration of old landmarks, is still going on, so that those who knew it in old days would hardly now recognise the locality. A new Record Office, palatial and imposing, in the Tudor style, now extends from Chancery Lane across to Fetter Lane, covering what used to be Rolls Yard; and the old Rolls Chapel is now incorporated in the newer building. In this massive structure, this fire-proof fortress, are kept all the documentary treasures of the kingdom, beginning with the famous "Domesday Book," of the Conqueror's time. The Records and State Archives of England, so long neglected, have at length found a suitable home.

(p. 152)

Lincoln's Inn.

Lincoln's Inn, however, is less altered. The New Hall of the Inn, built only in 1845, nevertheless wears a sober and respectable look of antiquity; and the new buildings are already less garish. Perhaps, at first, in contrasting the new houses of Lincoln's Inn with the old, where they rise side by side, one is (p. 153) tempted for a moment to cry out against the modern taste in variegated brick-work; till on closer examination one finds it to be a faithful copy of the older style, only not yet darkened by age! So true is it, as Millais has said, that "Time is the greatest of the old Masters." And the smoke of London ages buildings quickly; this is one of its advantages. The real innovation in the newer style is in the windows; for, where narrow lozenges pierced the wall, now are tall, imposing bay windows, a wealth of glass before undreamed of. The great modern cry is ever, "Let there be light!" But then, we, in our day, do not have to pay window tax.

The fine Gatehouse of Lincoln's Inn, that opens upon Chancery Lane, has a delightful look of mediævalism; it is in the Hampton Court style, and was built in 1518 by Sir Thomas Lowell, whose arms it bears, as well as the date of its erection. Here, tradition says, "Ben Jonson, a poor bricklayer, was found working on this gate with a Horace in one hand and a trowel in the other, when some gentlemen, pitying him, gave him money to leave 'so mean a calling' and pursue his studies."

Here in Lincoln's Inn are again quiet, picturesque courts; sundials with Latin mottoes; calm enclosures of quiet amidst the surrounding racket. At No. 24, "Old Buildings," is a tablet recording the residence here of John Thurloe, Cromwell's secretary. An interesting story is told of these chambers. The Protector is said to have visited his secretary here one day, and disclosed to him a plot for seizing the young princes, sons of Charles I. The plans had been discussed, when Thurloe's clerk was discovered, apparently asleep, in the room. Cromwell was for killing him, but this Thurloe dissuaded him from doing, and, passing a dagger repeatedly over his face, thought to prove that he was really asleep. The clerk, however, had merely been shamming, and he subsequently found means to warn the princes of their danger. Such a dramatic story certainly deserves to be true!

(p. 154) Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, though perhaps hardly rural, is still the largest and shadiest square in London. It had in old days a bad reputation for thieves and footpads, for the pillory, and also, more tragically, as a place of execution. Here the conspirators in Mary Queen of Scots' cause were hanged and quartered; and here gallant Lord William Russell died for alleged treason, "his whole behaviour a triumph over death."

The tall substantial houses around Lincoln's-Inn-Fields bear a look of bygone state, an ancient grandeur well described in Bleak House. Here is an account of the mansion inhabited by the astute Mr. Tulkinghorn, in this square:

"Here, in a large house, formerly a house of state, lives Mr. Tulkinghorn. It is let off in sets of chambers now; and in those shrunken fragments of its greatness, lawyers lie like maggots in nuts. But its roomy staircases, passages, and antechambers still remain; and even its painted ceilings, where Allegory, in Roman helmet and celestial linen, sprawls among balustrades and pillars, flowers, clouds, and big-legged boys, and makes the head ache—as would seem to be Allegory's object always, more or less. Here ... lives Mr. Tulkinghorn.... Like as he is to look at, so is his apartment in the dusk of the afternoon. Rusty, out of date, withdrawing from attention, able to afford it."

The house thus described by Dickens was that of his friend Forster, and, no doubt, he knew it well. Very few private houses exist, I imagine, in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields to-day: and poor "Allegory" is now there for ever at a discount. The fine mansions, with their paved forecourts and massive gate-posts, have had their day, and have now ceased (for the larger world, that is) to be. Yet it is an imposing square still, and, seen in the sunshine of a May morning, is distinctly attractive.

Very attractive, too, is Staple Inn, so well known to Londoners by its old gabled Holborn front. This, in some ways the most charming of all the Inns, is kindly preserved to us by the altruism of the Prudential Assurance Company, whose property it is, and who at considerable expense have repaired and saved from destruction this historical "bit" of Old London. The picturesque gables of Staple Inn, its well-known (p. 155) lath-and-plaster front, would, indeed, be sadly missed if they disappeared from the line of Holborn. Nothing so well gives the idea of the London of the Tudors, of the early Stuarts, as this time-honoured edifice. Staple Inn, though generally supposed to be earlier, is really of the time of James I: and its crumbling and insecure walls, during the recent (and still continuing) building operations near it, have required much "underpinning."

Entering under the archway of Staple Inn, we find ourselves suddenly in a quiet old court set about with plane trees, and in the middle a rustic seat placed, in countrified fashion, round a tree trunk; the old Hall of the Inn forming the background. It is a charming spot enough, with a most collegiate and secluded air; an air so strange, indeed, in this neighbourhood as to have struck many writers, among others Nathaniel Hawthorne:

"I went astray" (he says) "in Holborn, through an arched entrance, over which was 'Staple Inn' ... but in a court opening inwards from this was a surrounding seclusion of quiet dwelling houses, with beautiful green shrubbery and grass-plots in the court, and a great many sunflowers in full bloom.... There was ... not a quieter spot in England than this. In all the hundreds of years since London was built, it has not been able to sweep its roaring tide over that little island of quiet."

And Dickens thus writes of it:

"Behind the most ancient part of Holborn, where certain gabled houses some centuries of age still stand looking out on the public way ... is a little nook composed of two irregular quadrangles, called Staple Inn. It is one of those nooks, the turning into which out of the clashing street imparts to the relieved pedestrian the sensation of having put cotton in his ears and velvet soles on his boots. It is one of those nooks where a few smoky sparrows twitter in smoky trees, as though they called to one another, 'Let us play at country.'"

Dickens made this the abode of his kindly lawyer of Edwin Drood (Mr. Grewgious). The chambers where that gentleman is supposed to have dwelt are marked on a stone above the doorway, with initials, and a date—1747.

(p. 156) Beyond the first square, through another archway, a garden-plot is reached, the garden of the Hall. Very picturesque is this old Hall, long and low, with gabled lanthorns,—one large, one small,—and high timber roofs. The garden plot is bright even in winter, with variegated laurels and a privet hedge; these, with the darkened red-brick of the old Hall, make a charming picture. Opposite the garden-court extends the new and very attractive modern building of 1843, on a raised terrace: designed in early Jacobean style, and of a simple dignity that does not quarrel with its surroundings. This line of buildings is continued towards Chancery Lane by the new "Government Patent Office," an admirable structure as yet untouched by the mellowing London smoke. The buildings of the "Birkbeck Bank" opposite, which, in their turn, tower over the little Staple Inn Hall and garden, show,—in painful contrast both to their unobjectionable Holborn front, and to the fine simplicity of the Patent Office,—a very ornate medley of terra-cotta and Doulton-ware; a chaos of bluish-green pillars and aggressive plaques and tiles, for which, indeed, some covering of London soot is greatly to be wished. One might almost think that one had got into Messrs. Spiers and Pond's refreshment-rooms or a "Central-Railway-station" by mistake. Disillusions, however, are frequent in this semi-chaotic region of new and old buildings, and it must be confessed that the back of the Patent Office (in "Quality Court") is somewhat disappointing after its front view; it resembles, with its old, blackened pillars, a disused dissenting chapel; and Quality Court itself seems, like so many of the purlieus of the smaller Inns, mainly redolent of charwomen, cats, and orange-peel. Nevertheless, even in dingy "Quality Court" there are some respectable houses with quaint old doorways, as well as some good iron-work in the upper balconies.

Fetter Lane.

Some of the neighbouring courts are, however, far more unsavoury. See, for instance, "Fleur-de-Lis" Court, off Fetter Lane, a miserable, dilapidated flagged alley. The last time (p. 157) I visited this place, I found a few dirty children dancing to a poor cripple's playing of a kind of spinet or portable piano (some of the "music" of these peripatetic street-players is of a weird kind). Fleur-de-Lis Court!—charmingly named, but, like all courts with such romantic appellations, particularly grimy and squalid. Further up, away from Fetter (p. 158) Lane, where the "court" or narrow alley becomes even more wretchedly ruinous, is a barn-like place labelled "Newton Hall." It seems at a first glance to be the very abomination of desolation; its rusty door padlocked, with an air, too, of never-being-opened. Is there anything, I wondered at a first glance, more dismal in all London? Yet, on looking nearer, I seemed to see something comparatively clean shining on the wall of "Newton Hall," amid the surrounding grime. Can it be,—yes, it is,—a label,—and apparently affixed there within the memory of man: "Positivist Society." Surely, I reflected, the Positivist Cause must be in a bad way, if the dilapidation of the buildings be any guide to the state of the persuasion itself! It is, however, unfair to judge the state of Positivism from Fleur-de-Lis Court, for the whole neighbourhood has, evidently, but a short span of life remaining, and the court and its purlieus will soon be things of the past. Positivism is already removing or removed; and Newton Hall, till Fleur-de-Lis Court is transmogrified in the march of progress into offices or model-dwellings, will rust for some few years in peace.

The neighbourhood in which the old Hall stands is full of historic memories. As is ever the case in crowded Central London, the past, the many pasts, are strangely involved and blended, buried one beneath the other. Dryden and Otway are said to have once lived—and quarrelled—on and near this site. Then, in 1710, Sir Isaac Newton, the then President of the Royal Society, induced that body to buy a house and garden here from Dr. Barebones, a descendant of the "Praise-God-Barebones" of Puritan times. Sir Christopher Wren concurred in the purchase, and £1,450 was paid for the freehold. In this house the Royal Society held their meetings till they removed to Somerset House in 1782; and they built on its garden the present "Newton Hall,"—which hall, some say, is really from the designs of Wren. In 1818, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, unhappy son of genius, gave his last public lectures (p. 159) here; later, it was used as a chapel, and then the Positivist Society made it their home. It is strange to reflect that the chief reason advanced by Sir Isaac Newton to the Royal Society for the purchase of this site, was that it was "in the middle of the town and out of noise."

At the Holborn end of Fetter Lane there are still some fine old gabled houses, which must soon vanish; several little Inns of Chancery, byways out of Holborn and the Strand, have already been swept away: Thavies' Inn for instance, where Dickens, surely by an intentional anachronism, places Mrs. Jellyby's untidy home; Lyon's Inn, near Wych Street, destroyed in 1863; Old Furnival's Inn, on the opposite side of Holborn, where Dickens lived when he was first married, has been replaced by the offices of the Prudential Assurance Company, the saviours of Staple Inn, in intense red-brick. Lastly, Barnard's Inn (originally Mackworth's Inn), a charming little Holborn Inn on a tiny scale, with small courts, trees, a miniature hall and lanthorn, has been bought up by the Mercers' Company and is used by them as a school. This Inn is therefore not now accessible to the casual visitor; its Holborn entrance may, indeed, easily be missed; "Mercers' School," in big gilt letters, adorns its narrow doorway. What a delightful private residence, one thinks, for some rich man, would such a little Inn as this have made! Strange that no rich man has ever thought so! the rich, like sheep, flock ever towards the less interesting West End. Dickens, as I have suggested, had little eye for the purely picturesque; and of this little Inn, compared by Loftie to one of De Hooghe's pictures, he merely says (in Great Expectations,) that it is "the dirtiest collection of shabby buildings ever squeezed together in a rank corner as a club for tom-cats!" So much, indeed, is Beauty in the eye of the seer! Barnard's Inn is also remarkable for having been, in the last century, the abode of the last of the alchemists.

A gateway on the north side of Holborn leads to Gray's Inn, the most northerly of the four big Inns of Court. The gardens (p. 160) of Gray's Inn are green and spacious, and its courts and quadrangles have a sober solidity that is very attractive. This Inn affords a welcome retreat from two of the noisiest and most unpoetic thoroughfares in London,—Gray's Inn Road and Theobald's Road.

Here is Hawthorne's description of Gray's Inn Gardens:

"Gray's Inn is a great quiet domain, quadrangle beyond quadrangle close beside Holborn, and a large space of greensward enclosed within it. It is very strange to find so much of ancient quietude right in the monster City's very jaws, which yet the monster shall not eat up—right in its very belly, indeed, which yet, in all these ages, it shall not digest and convert into the same substance as the rest of its bustling streets. Nothing else in London is so like the effect of a spell, as to pass under one of these archways, and find yourself transported from the jumble, rush, tumult, uproar, as of an age of week-days condensed into the present hour, into what seems an eternal Sabbath."

And Charles Lamb also said of them:

"These are the best gardens of any of the Inns of Court—my beloved Temple not forgotten—have the gravest character, their aspect being altogether reverend and law-breathing. Bacon has left the impress of his foot upon their gravel walks."

Bacon (Lord Verulam) planted here not only the spreading elm-trees, but also a catalpa in the garden's north-east corner. In Gray's Inn is also "Bacon's Mount," which answers to the recommendation in the "Essay on Gardens"; "A mount of some pretty height, leaving the wall of the enclosure breast high, to look abroad into the fields." Gray's Inn Walks were, in Stuart times, very rural as well as very fashionable; in 1621 we find them mentioned by Howell as "the pleasantest place about London, with the choicest society"; and the Tatler and Spectator alike confirm this statement.

But, alas! Gray's Inn Walks are curtailed, and its gardens deserted enough, at the present day! No more does Fashion walk there, unless it be the "fashion" of the Gray's Inn Road. Many of the solid brick squares are fallen, like Mr. Tulkinghorn's (p. 161) haunt of "Allegory," into comparative decay; others, perhaps, are still more or less substantial; but the grime of many unpainted years of occupation must, one thinks, be more or less conducive to midnight gloom, or even to the before-mentioned complaint of "the 'orrors!" And yet, with all these drawbacks, do not the suites of rooms in the Inn emanate a semi-historic charm, a charm that the newer "flats" can never, never possess? Even apart from mere history, places where people have lived and experienced and suffered, always, I think, breathe a certain humanity.... And I would rather, for my part, have a dinner of herbs in Gray's Inn, in a low-roofed panelled parlour, with windows open on to the green enclosure below, than enjoy all the dainties of the clubs in a "Palace Mansions," with all the newest electric appliances.... I would rather hear the dim echoes of the past in the rustle of the Gray's Inn elm-trees, or the plash of the Temple Fountain, than boast of a theatre agency next door, or live in a West End street of ever so desirable people.... I would rather breathe the sweet and solitary content of a City quadrangle, than the fevered and stormy dissipation of Mayfair ... I would rather....

But the day darkens, and reminds me that I have wandered long enough in these City closes. Farewell, old Inns! haunts of ancient peace, goodnight! You will, surely, not always remain as you have been in the past. For some of you, that all-invading iconoclast, the builder, will alter and destroy old landmarks; for others, but few springs, maybe, will return to awake and gladden you into green beauty of plane and elm. Yet, even then, the memories of past glories will haunt the sacred place, and fill it with "a diviner air"; even then, will surely never wholly be abolished or destroyed those traditions of former greatness that

"—like the actions of the just,
Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust."


"Behold how far the East is from the West!"

"A forest of houses, between which ebbs and flows a stream of human faces, with all their varied passions—an awful rush of love, hunger, and hate—for such is London."—Heine.

"To Newton and to Newton's Dog Diamond," says Carlyle, "what a different pair of Universes; while the painting on the optical retina of both was, most likely, the same." "A distinct Universe," adds Thackeray in the same spirit, "walks about under your Hat, and under mine." This latter reflection occurs to me often as I walk about London, and note all its many "sorts and conditions" of men. There is here, especially, everything in the "point of view." From the West to the East is a wide difference; yet, between the two, how many minor differences?

London, indeed, is hardly like a single city; it is rather like many cities rolled into one. Here, more than anywhere else, you realize that "it takes all sorts to make a world"; for the inhabitants vary quite as widely as do those of foreign countries. It was Disraeli who said, with much cynical truth:

"The courts of two cities do not so differ from one another as the court and the city in their peculiar ways of life and conversation. In short, the inhabitants of St. James's, notwithstanding they live under the same laws, and speak the same language, are a distinct people from those of Cheapside."

(p. 163)

A Railway Bookstall.

Between the people of the East, and those of the West, it is not merely a question of distance; for, as a matter of fact, the two types are often closely interwoven. Thus, there is an "East in the West," where, not infrequently, slums and mean streets lie in near juxtaposition to squares of lordly pleasure-houses, and where recently erected "model dwellings" for workmen flourish in the very hearts of the Grosvenor and (p. 164) Cadogan Estates; and there is a "West in the East," as testified by the pleasant wide streets of comfortable roomy houses that abound in the near suburbs of East and South London. Yet, it may be broadly stated that every part of London has manners peculiar to itself, as unvarying, in their way, as were the laws of the Medes and Persians; with, also, one principal dividing-line,—that intangible line separating the East End from the West End. Here are a few of the differences between the two:

The West End has all the money and all the leisure; the East End monopolizes most of the labour, and nearly all of the dirt. The West End numbers a few thousands of floating population; the East End, a million or so of pretty constant inhabitants. Yet, by some strange association of ideas, it is to this small "West End" that we allude when we speak of "all London," and to which the daily papers refer when in August and September they assure us that "there is absolutely no one left in town." The manners and customs of each are dissimilar; both indulge in slang of a kind; but, while the East End usually cuts off the initial letter of its words, the West-End drops the final one. The West End is shocked by the East, but then, the East End is just as much shocked, for its part, by the West. If the "lady" is full of righteous scorn for the "factory hand" who spends her hard-won earnings on a feathered hat and a plush cape, the slum-dweller is, on the other hand, quite equally scandalized at the "lady's" brazen boldness in wearing a décolleté dress: "To think of 'er 'avin' the fice ter go hout with them nyked showlders, 'ow 'orrid!" the factory girl will say, from out the street-door crowd at an evening "crush." Even a veiled Turkish lady, from the secluded harem, could hardly show more genuine feeling at the unpleasant spectacle. No, our ways are not as their ways. Their conventionalities are quite as strict, even stricter, than ours. Possibly to them, even our speech sounds just as faulty as theirs to us; probably they think us very ill-bred because we do not constantly reiterate (p. 165) the words "Mrs. Smith," or "Mrs. Jones," when addressing the said ladies; or cry immediately, "Granted, Miss, or Sir," in reply to "I beg your pardon!" At any rate, we must, to them, seem chilly and unresponsive. Then, the books we read, if they understood them, would often greatly shock the slum-dwellers; the pictures we hang in our parlours would horrify them. Servants do not come from the slums or even from the lowest class; yet I have myself, out of regard for their feelings, had to "sky" the most beautiful chefs-d'œuvre of Titian, and turn the photograph of a masterpiece by Praxiteles with its face ignominiously to the wall. And it's "'ow you can go to that there National Gallery, 'm, and look at them pictures of folkses without a rag on 'em, well, it beats me, it do indeed!" After all, and once more, the difference is all in "the point of view!"

The City Train.

(p. 166) But, if the East and the West have their wide and radical differences, between the two there are, as I said, many recurring types. And the constant Londoner, were he suddenly to be brought, blindfolded, to some hitherto unknown spot in the city or near suburbs, would soon know his whereabouts by the look of the people he encountered. Thus, you may know Bloomsbury by its Jews, as well as by a population remarkable for general frowsiness, a look of "ingrained" dirt, and an indescribable air of having seen better days; Chelsea, by a certain art-serged female, and long-haired male community with an artistic,—and, yes,—perhaps a well-pleased and self-satisfied air; the "City," by its black-coated business men; Whitechapel, by its coster girls with fringes; Somers Town and Lisson Grove, by their odoriferous cats and cabbages; Mayfair, by its sleek carriage-horses, and also by the very superior maids and butlers you meet in its silent streets. Or, perhaps, by the straw that occasionally fills the quiet square corners, sounding the sad note of Death. I have seen a slum child dying of cancer in a crowded garret,—baked by the August sun,—covered with flies,—in a noisy alley; but only rich people's nerves require soothing at the last!

Miss Amy Levy has written a haunting little poem on this subject:

"Straw in the street, where I pass to-day,
Dulls the sound of the wheels and feet.
'Tis for a failing life they lay
Straw in the street.

"Here, where the pulses of London beat,
Someone strives with the Presence Grey—
Ah, is it victory or defeat?

"The hurrying people go their way,
Pause and jostle and pass and greet;
For life, for death, are they treading, say,
Straw in the street?"

"London," says a French writer, "resembles, in its size and luxury, Ancient Rome." But, if Ancient Rome, he adds, (p. 167) weighed heavily upon its toiling slaves, "how heavily does not our modern Rome weigh, also, upon the labouring class!" The hanging gardens of Park Lane are in as great, and greater contrast to the Somers Town, Drury Lane, and Deptford slums, as were ever the Palaces of the Palatine to the slaves' quarters. London is the best city in the world to be rich in, the worst to be very poor in; as it is the best city for happiness, the worst for misery. It is the Temple of Midas, where everything,—from a coffin to a hired guest,—from the entrée to an "exclusive" mansion to a peer's status,—can be bought with money. Here, more than anywhere else, money is imperatively needed. Even the poor hawkers who live in unspeakable slums, lined with cats and cabbages, in Lisson Grove, might, if they lived in the country, at least have clean cottages, gardens, and pure air. With the same income on which you are poor in town, you will be well-to-do, nay, rich in the country. House-rent,—indirect taxation,—the vicinity of tempting shops,—and amusements take the surplus. The attractions of town must indeed be great to the poor; for, if their wages be higher, their life is infinitely lower. But it is the same in all classes. It is often said that the rich, who own so many large and luxurious country estates, houses, and gardens, are ill-advised to come up to town and spend hot Mays and Junes in baking Belgravia or Mayfair; but, after all, they only share the tastes of the majority. Man is a gregarious animal, and loves his kind. Similarly, if you were to make a "house-to-house visitation" in some wretched Lisson Grove or East End slum, and inquire diligently of every inhabitant, whether they would prefer to "go back and live in the lovely country," their answer, I am convinced, would be firmly in the negative. East and West are alike in this.

But the key-note of the East End of London, apart from its big thoroughfares, is not so much squalor or poverty, as desperate, commonplace monotony, such as is described by Mrs. Humphry Ward in Sir George Tressady, "long lines of low houses,—two storeys always, or two storeys and a basement,—all (p. 168) of the same yellowish brick, all begrimed by the same smoke, every door-knocker of the same pattern, every window-blind hung in the same way, and the same corner 'public' on either side, flaming in the hazy distance." The East End is very conservative, and in its better houses there is a conservatism even in the blinds, which are, almost invariably, of cheap red rep or cloth, alternated by dirty "lace." With the poorest tenants, of course, blinds are at a discount; and grimy paper fills the frequent holes in the panes.

Yet, it is a mistake to suppose, as is more or less the popular theory, that the average East Ender's life is all unmitigated gloom. Take, for instance, the life of the honest, hard-working artisan and his family. He may live in "mean streets"; but use is everything; and they are not "mean" to him. Possibly, from his point of view, the two-pair back, the frowsy street, are "a sight more homely and cosy" than rich people's area gates and chilly grandeur. If the West End takes its pleasure by driving in the Park, the East, on the other hand, finds its relaxation on the tops of 'buses and trams, in walking about the flaring, gas-jetted street, in looking into shop windows, or in driving about in all the pride of a private, special coster's cart. If the rich do not know how the poor live, the poor, on the other hand, have but a hazy idea of how the rich live. If you asked the average slum-dweller how the rich spend their day, they would most likely say, "in drinking champagne and driving in motor cars." Thus the classes mutually do each other injustice. If the poor, for a while, could live the life of the rich, they would vote it terribly slow; Calverley was not so far out when he suggested slyly that

"Unless they've souls that grovel,
Folks prefer in fact a hovel to your dreary marble halls."

The poor of the East End have their special plays, their theatres, their "halls," their cheap popular amusements. And they have other minor compensations. They "eat hearty" (p. 169) when they do eat; they do not fall ill from dyspepsia or have to go to Carlsbad; or if they do suffer from M. Taine's favourite complaint, "the spleen" (which is unusual in a working man), they remedy it by a little harmless correction of their wives. Or if a poor woman's child is ill, she does not suffer for want of medical advice; she bundles it up quickly in a shawl, and runs with it to the nearest hospital, where, if the authorities are somewhat curt, she at any rate gets plenty of sympathy from all the other mothers in the big hospital waiting-room. Even that large, shabby crowd that, on visiting-days, await the opening of the hospital doors, so unutterably pathetic to the looker-on, is not, perhaps, without its alleviations. It is a mercy that we do not all like the same thing; and that, while the rich are exclusive, the poor will enjoy society of almost any kind: "We shall 'ave to leave our lodgin's, 'm, over them nice mews," a poor woman said to me lately, in a mournful tone. "The landlord, he's takin' the place down; an' I shall miss the 'orses' feet at night, somethin' shockin'; they was sech comp'ny like." Here, surely, is a case where one man's poison may be another man's meat!

As for the children of the working classes, they, unless their parents are lazy or given to drink, really have, often, a far better time of it, so far as their own actual enjoyment is concerned, than the more repressed children of the rich. The pavement is their property, the streets are their world; the beautiful, dazzling, magical, ever-changing streets, with their myriad attractions, their boundless possibilities. Then, the children of the poor are not brought up as useless luxuries, but, from tender years, are required to contribute their share of help to the household; and what the average child loves above all things is to feel itself of use. Dirt and grime are of no account whatever to the child; and old clothes are always far more comfortable than new to play about in. The "shades of the prison house" may close in, later, about the children of the (p. 170) poor, when they must go to service, to the factory, to the shop; but, in their early years, their life has its attractions.

Of course, however, with the families of the drunkard, the shiftless, the lazy, the case becomes altogether different. Drifting hopelessly from one slum to another, these soon help to swell the sad ranks of the "submerged tenth": poor creatures whose misery shivers in fireless garrets and damp cellars, whose empty stomachs call in vain for food; and whose only outlook is the workhouse, the "big villa" as they call it; an institution, however, that they will only enter from dire necessity, regarding it, as a rule, with wholesome dislike and disfavour.

There are many churches and chapels all over London, yet the very poor rarely attend any of them. Indeed, very few London working men's wives attend any religious service, unless, that is, they happen to boast of a new hat or bonnet.... They will, however, receive the "visitor" or "tract-lady" with a sort of chilly grandeur; and, though their acquaintance with Holy Writ is generally slight, through all life's troubles their favourite text is ever this: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Thus, they are always, so to speak, comforting themselves for the enforced payment of the insurance of hard work and poor fare in this life by the assurance of paid-up capital with interest, in the next! Poor, hard-worked mothers of the slums! who would grudge you that harmless and unfailing consolation?

Bank Holiday.

Nor is the "country,"—except in strictly limited quantities,—such an unfailing consolation to the children of the poor, as some would have us imagine. (That it is such a priceless advantage to their health is, no doubt, partly owing to the fact that it is generally associated with good and wholesome food.) The children like the "real country" for a day or two;—afterwards, they are too often conscious of slight boredom. At first, they delight in the fact that "it's so green all rarnd,—right (p. 171) to the sky,—with no roads, and no walls,—and no trespsin boards,—and no pleecemen;" but these joys have their limitations,—and, after a fortnight's holiday,—even poor slum children are generally glad to get back home. Even in tender (p. 172) youth,—the country is a cult that requires some learning. "The country is dreadful slow,"—a little girl of the great city once remarked with painful frankness,—"no swings, no rahnd-abarts, no penny-ice men, no orgins, no shops, no nothink;—jest a great bare field only." Here, again, is the difference of "the point of view!"

Go into that glittering Armida-Palace, the busy Whitechapel Road, and watch the scene at nightfall. The weather may be cold or mirk; the weather matters little; the skies may be glum and starless, but a galaxy of light, from innumerable gas jets and shop fronts, floods the busy street. Here is, certainly, no lack of life and amusement; the crowd laughs, jostles, and chatters, as if no such thing as care or struggle existed. It is a motley crowd. Handsome dark-eyed Jewesses with floppy hair and long gold earrings; coster girls "on the spree," dressed in their gaudy best; staid couples doing their weekly marketing; here and there a happy family round a stall, eating "winkles" composedly with the help of pins, or demolishing saucerfuls of the savoury cockle; vendors of penny toys; all these, combined with the voluble "patter" of the lively shop-boys, make a veritable pandemonium. Shops are full; barrows of all kinds drive a brisk trade; velvet-cushioned trams ply up and down the big highway, which extends, apparently almost into infinity, up the long Mile End Road. (Tram-lines, in London, seem more or less confined to the uninspiring North and East and their suburbs.) Ugly and uninvigorating enough by day, the streets, by night, invest themselves with mysterious glamour and brightness. Like some murky theatre when the deceiving footlights are lit, this, too, is a "stage illusion," and it is a wise one. For all the East End does its shopping by gaslight; now only it begins to enjoy its day. Seen in such kaleidoscopic glare of light, even the Whitechapel Road has its attractions. Yet through it all one sometimes sees sad sights. Many public-houses dot these thoroughfares, shining like meteors through the nocturnal (p. 173) mists; and here and there, truth to tell, a bevy of red-faced women may be seen through the plate-glass, whose unhappy infants are stationed in shabby perambulators outside; their eyes, by dint of vain straining towards their natural guardians, painfully acquiring that squint that would seem to be the birthright of so many of the London poor.

In strange contrast with the din and bustle of Aldgate and its network of wide streets, are the collegiate buildings of Toynbee Hall, in Commercial Street, close by. This is a curious little oasis in the wilderness, a most unexpected by-way in busy, glaring Whitechapel. To Canon and Mrs. Barnett, who have devoted their lives towards making Toynbee Hall what it is, is due the chief honour for the successful working of this Institution, primarily intended to bring "sweetness and light" into the darkened, unlovely lives of the London poor. The name of Arnold Toynbee, the young and enthusiastic Oxford man and reformer, has been immortalised in this place, the first of the University Settlements in London. Toynbee died young, of overwork and overpressure; in a sense a martyr to his cause; yet the work of this latter-day apostle has already had large results, and his creed has had many followers. To him, dying in his youthful zeal, Tennyson's lines seem specially appropriate:

"So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be,
How know I what had need of thee,
For thou wert strong as thou wert true?
"O hollow wraith of dying fame,
Fade wholly, while the soul exults,
And self-infolds the large results
Of force that would have forged a name."

In some ways, Toynbee Hall, and its successive, and kindred institutions, seem like late revivals of the monastic system of the middle ages. Toynbee Hall is a hall in the (p. 174) academic sense,—and shelters successive batches of some twenty residents,—young university men of strong convictions,—who come here both to learn and to teach;—to teach their less fortunate brothers,—to learn how the poor live. At its hospitable door the sick and suffering apply for help and succour; here charity,—charity, too, of the kind that "blesseth him that gives and him that takes,"—is freely given,—without narrow restrictions of sectarianism or dogma—and it does more than this.

For,—unlike the monastic system,—Toynbee Hall is specially devised to help the individual soul of the poor worker in busy London to rise above its often base and mean surroundings. The late Matthew Arnold, in his well-remembered lecture at Toynbee Hall,—taught the possibility of "following the gleam" even in the "gloom" of the East-End,—and of helping Nature, by the aid of books and of art, from sinking under "long-lived pressure of obscure distress." Books and art are great tonics. The ancient monasteries dissuaded,—if anything,—knowledge, and aspiration generally, in the "masses": Toynbee Hall encourages and promotes it; it is thus a physician to the mind even more than to the body. It raises the aims, improves the tastes, and widens the horizons of its disciples; it satisfies the cravings of the poor for better things; but it must first inculcate such cravings. Within its walls the poor and struggling artisan may enjoy concerts, lectures, pictures;—may learn, too, from the best teachers,—and profit by many of the advantages of university life. There are not only lecture-rooms, but reception-rooms,—dining-rooms,—a library;—the latter a much-valued institution in the neighbourhood. Many pleasant social gatherings are held here;—not only of working men,—but also of factory girls,—shop-hands,—pupil-teachers,—who come here,—these latter,—to cast off the "codes" and dry bones of learning, and acquire a little of its warmer, fuller humanity.

Toynbee Hall is not the only place in East London where (p. 175) such works are carried on. Oxford House, Bethnal Green,—and Mansfield House, Canning Town,—are, among others,—institutions more or less of the kind; and the Passmore Edwards Institute, in Tavistock Place, has similar aims. But to Toynbee Hall is due the introduction of yearly loan Exhibitions of good pictures for the East End,—originated by Canon Barnett, and still successfully carried on by his unwearying exertions.

The charms of poetic contrast are always great in London. While standing in a dingy byway of some city church—St. Olave's, Hart Street, or St. Jude's, Whitechapel,—does not the deep music of the organ,—resounding from inside the building,—fill the listener with a strange feeling almost akin to tears? Not even outside a country church is one so affected. Here it seems to bring the calm of Eternity into the fitful fever of the moment. The picturesqueness, alone, of religion, is so great, that, to the determined agnostic London would surely lose half its charm. And who could work among the London poor without, at least, something of the feeling so beautifully expressed in Matthew Arnold's well-known lines?

"'Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,
And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, look'd thrice dispirited.

"I met a preacher there I knew, and said:
'Ill and o'erwork'd, how fare you in this scene?'—
'Bravely!' said he; 'for I of late have been
Much cheer'd with thoughts of Christ, the living bread.'

"O human soul! as long as thou canst so
Set up a mark of everlasting light,
Above the howling senses' ebb and flow,

To cheer thee, and to right thee if thou roam—
Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!
Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed thy home."

Toynbee Hall, of course, is of modern design; but there are still many good old-time houses in the East-end,—now (p. 176) deserted and left stranded by the tide of fashion. Of these is Essex House, in the Mile-End-Road, (opposite Burdett-Road), now no longer residential, but used by Mr. Ashbee as the convenient location for his well-known "Guild and School of Handicraft." Built partly by a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren, with panelled rooms, oak staircase, and large garden, its solid dignity is well suited to its new and living purpose. Mr. Ashbee,—the founder and moving spirit of the Guild—was himself a worker at Toynbee Hall, where, indeed, in a small "Ruskin class" held in 1886-7, the school had its beginning. So one thing grows out of another, and a sturdy plant sends out its offshoots.

Thus Toynbee Hall, and kindred institutions, show the West-end in the East; now let us turn to the East-end in the West. This is not so difficult to find; "the poor," indeed, "we have always with us," and in some of London's most fashionable streets the saddest sights of all may be seen. Slums of a sort are to be found near most of the fashionable West-end squares; and, even within the precincts of aristocratic Mayfair, the expensive fish-shop in Bond-Street,—where, during long summer days, enormous blocks of ice, tempting to the eye, glitter like some Rajah's diamond,—entertains a motley crew of poor folk on Saturday nights, when it makes a practice of giving away its remaining stock. Bond Street is, in a manner, the "Aldgate High Street" of the fashionable world: here, at four o'clock or so in the afternoon, are to be seen the "gilded youth,"—the dandies of the day;—here the smart world flock for afternoon tea; and here fine ladies walk even unattended, and satisfy, as eagerly as their Whitechapel sisters, their feminine cravings for shop-windows. Who was it who first said that no real woman could ever pass a hat-shop? The truth of this remark may here be attested. The very smartest of motor-cars,—of horses,—of "turn-outs" generally,—may be seen blocking the narrow Piccadilly entrance of this thoroughfare from which deviates as many (p. 177) mysterious byways as from Cheapside itself. Very much sought after are all these tiny streets; indeed, the tide of fashion has been ever faithful to this special part of the metropolis. Did not Swift once write to "Stella," of the neighbouring Bury Street; "I have a first floor, a dining-room and bedroom, at eight shillings a week,—and plaguey dear!"? But,—even considering the vast difference in money value since Swift's day,—we have to pay a good deal more than that now for similar accommodation in this quarter.

But, yet further West, between Bond Street and Hyde Park, are Grosvenor and Berkeley Squares, the very focus of fashion, in whose neighbourhood rents rise proportionately. Here, too, are many unexpected and charming byways. Behind the vestry in Mount Street, for instance, in the passage that leads into the church in Farm Street, you might think yourself thousands of miles away from Mayfair. This church in Farm Street,—the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception,—is famous as a Jesuit centre; here it was that Henry Manning, afterwards Cardinal, was "received" on Passion Sunday, 1851.

Other byways there are, too, of a less attractive kind; the byways where dwell the "poor relations," so to speak, of the Aristocracy and the "Smart Set"; the impoverished ladies whose sense of propriety would lead them to dwell even in a wheelbarrow, could that wheelbarrow only be drawn up on the fashionable side of the street! They are "backmewsy" little streets of saddening aspect, such as Dickens's typical "Mews Street, Grosvenor Square," that contained the residence of Mr. Tite Barnacle, with "squeezed houses," each with "a ramshackle bowed front, little dingy windows, and a little dark area like a damp waistcoat pocket" ... the house a sort of bottle filled with a strong distillation of mews, so that when the footman opened the door, he "seemed to take the stopper out." Dickens's picture is still a portrait that many will recognise:

(p. 178) "Mews Street, Grosvenor Square, was not absolutely Grosvenor Square itself, but it was very near it. It was a hideous little street of dead wall, stables, and dunghills, with lofts over coach-houses inhabited by coachmen's families, who had a passion for drying clothes, and decorating their window-sills with miniature turnpike-gates. The principal chimney-sweep of that fashionable quarter lived at the blind end of Mews Street; and the same corner contained an establishment much frequented about early morning and twilight, for the purchase of wine-bottles and kitchen-stuff. Punch's shows used to lean against the dead wall in Mews Street, while their proprietors were dining elsewhere; and the dogs of the neighbourhood made appointments to meet in the same locality. Yet there were two or three small airless houses at the entrance end of Mews Street, which went at enormous rents on account of their being abject hangers-on to a fashionable situation; and whenever one of these fearful little coops was to be let (which seldom happened, for they were in great request), the house agent advertised it as a gentlemanly residence in the most aristocratic part of town, inhabited solely by the élite of the beau monde."

But to the millionaire's dwelling, located at that period in Harley Street, Cavendish-Square, the novelist is hardly more polite:

"Like unexceptionable society" (he says), "the opposing rows of houses in Harley Street were very grim with one another. Indeed, the mansions and their inhabitants were so much alike in that respect, that the people were often to be found drawn up on opposite sides of dinner-tables, in the shade of their own loftiness, staring at the other side of the way with the dullness of the houses. Everybody knows how like the street the two dinner-rows of people who take their stand by the street will be. The expressionless uniform twenty houses, all to be knocked and rung at in the same form, all approachable by the same dull steps, all fended off by the same pattern of railing, all with the same impracticable fire-escapes, the same inconvenient fixtures in their heads, and everything without exception to be taken at a high valuation—who has not dined with these? The house so drearily out of repair, the occasional bow-window, the stuccoed house, the newly-fronted house, the corner house with nothing but angular rooms, the house with the blinds always down, the house with the hatchment always up, the house where the collector has called for one quarter of an Idea, and found nobody at home—who has not dined with these?"

Dickens, on the whole, is kinder to his thieves' kitchens and debtors' prisons, even to Fagin and his crew; for he (p. 179) allows them, at any rate, to boast occasionally of an "Idea." But the "Smart Set," with the plutocrats and the Merdles, has moved westward since the days of the Early-Victorian novelists; and "Harley Street, Cavendish Square," is now mainly medical.

The smart ladies often seen shopping in Bond Street from neat broughams and landaus, drawn by high-stepping horses, are mainly people whose names figure largely in the so-called "society" papers; their goings and comings, be they aristocratic or theatrical, are all, therefore, carefully noted by the ubiquitous "lady reporter;" terrible fate of the well-known or well-born! But it is an age of advertisement; and who shall say entirely on which side the fault lies? Where these leaders of society shop now, other generations of fair dead ladies, gone "with the snows of yesteryear," have in their turn enjoyed the dear delights of lace, millinery, and jewels. Here the "ladies of St. James's," in the eighteenth century, revelled in their "lutestrings," "dimitys," "paduasoys"; and, to flaunt it over their less fortunate sisters, bought the very newest new thing in turbans. Piccadilly, doubtless, looked a trifle brighter and smarter in those days of less smoke, as befitted the "court end of the town;" and the young "swells" of the day presented a braver array in their laces, ruffles, and knee-breeches. Then, as now, the Holbein-like Gate of St. James's Palace, dignified in sober red-brick, stood sentinel at the bottom of St. James's Street,—the street thus alluded to by Sheridan:

"The Campus Martius of St. James's Street,
Where the beaux' cavalry pace to and fro,
Before they take the field in Rotten Row."

In Regent Street.

St. James's Street, with all its byways and purlieus, has always been greatly in request for exclusive and smart clubs, as well as for bachelors' lodgings of the luxurious kind. It has also literary associations. St. James's Place, where Addison lived, was also noted for the residence of the old (p. 181) banker-poet Samuel Rogers; this was his home for fifty-five years, and here, at No. 22, he gave his famous "literary breakfasts." Of old the most exclusive gathering in this region was "Almack's," ruled by the famous Lady Jersey, "the seventh heaven of the fashionable world." It is situated in King Street, and is now "Willis's Rooms." St. James's, as a rule, is "exclusive" enough still; but the neighbourhood has in other ways gone through many changes. The great house built by Nash for the Regent,—Carlton House, beyond Pall Mall,—has vanished like Aladdin's Palace, and has left in its place only one big column, a flight of noble steps, and a stately terrace of palatial mansions,—Carlton-House-Terrace, overlooking the Mall. This Phœnix-like spirit of London, ever rising anew on its own ashes, was always dear to Thackeray. Here is one of his inimitable passages on the subject, thrown off at random:

"... I remember peeping through the colonnade at Carlton House, and seeing the abode of the great Prince Regent. I can see yet the Guards pacing before the gates of the place. The place? What place? The palace exists no more than the palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is but a name now. Where be the sentries who used to salute as the Royal chariots drove in and out? "The chariots, with the kings inside, have driven to the realms of Pluto; the tall Guards have marched into darkness, and the echoes of their drums are rolling in Hades." Where the palace once stood, a hundred little children are paddling up and down the steps to St. James's Park. A score of grave gentlemen are taking their tea at the Athenæum Club; as many grisly warriors are garrisoning the United Service Club opposite. Pall Mall is the great social Exchange of London now—the mart of news, of politics, of scandal, of rumour—the English forum, so to speak, where men discuss the last despatch from the Crimea, the last speech of Lord Derby, the next move of Lord John. And, now and then, to a few antiquarians, whose thoughts are with the past rather than with the present, it is a memorial of old times and old people, and Pall Mall is our Palmyra. Look! About this spot, Tom of Ten Thousand was killed by Königsmarck's gang. In that red house Gainsborough lived, and Culloden Cumberland, George III.'s uncle. Yonder is Sarah Marlborough's palace, just as it stood when that termagant occupied it. At 25, Walter Scott used to live; at the house, now No. 79, and occupied by the Society for (p. 182) the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, resided Mrs. Eleanor Gwynn, comedian. How often has Queen Caroline's chair issued from under yonder arch! All the men of the Georges have passed up and down the street. It has seen Walpole's chariot and Chatham's sedan; and Fox, Gibbon, Sheridan, on their way to Brookes's; and stately William Pitt stalking on the arm of Dundas; and Hanger and Tom Sheridan reeling out of Raggett's; and Byron limping into Wattier's; and Swift striding out of Bury Street; and Mr. Addison and Dick Steele, both perhaps a little the (p. 183) better for liquor; and the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York clattering over the pavement; and Johnson counting the posts along the streets, after dawdling before Dodsley's window; and Horry Walpole hobbling into his carriage, with a gimcrack just bought out at Christie's; and George Selwyn sauntering into White's."—Thackeray: The Four Georges, p. 72.


Pall Mall, the street of palaces and palatial clubs par excellence, is one of London's handsomest highways. It has for three centuries been the Fleet Street of the well-to-do poets, of the leisured literary world; for what, indeed, could poverty ever have in common with Pall Mall? Defoe, in his day, wrote thus of it:

"I am lodged in the street called Pall Mall, the ordinary residence of all strangers, because of its vicinity to the Queen's Palace, the Park, the Parliament House, the theatres, and the chocolate and coffee houses, where the best company frequent. If you would know our manner of living, 'tis thus:—We rise by nine, and those that frequent great men's levées find entertainment at them till eleven, or, as at Holland, go to tea tables. About twelve, the beau-monde assembles in several coffee or chocolate houses; the best of which are the Cocoa Tree and White's chocolate houses, St. James's, the Smyrna, Mr. Rochford's, and the British coffee houses; and all these so near one another that in less than one hour you see the company of them all."

This sounds, truly, a pleasant enough life;—and its counterpart of the present day is,—allowing for altered customs,—no doubt equally pleasant. The taverns mentioned have given place to spacious club-houses, all more or less modern; and the day has, in the last two centuries, come to begin earlier and end later. Coffee-houses, in Defoe's time, were the necessary ladders to rising fame talent; thus, the boy Chatterton, starving and unknown in cruel London, sought to allay his mother's anxiety by writing to her: "I am quite familiar at the Chapter coffee-house (St. Paul's), and know all the geniuses there."

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Pall Mall was a pretty suburban promenade, and its "sweet shady side," sung by the poets, was really no misnomer, as a row of (p. 184) elms fringed it, both north and south. And it is still an aristocratic region, despite the "business" air that has of late invaded it. Of the people you meet here,—elderly gentlemen with nothing, perhaps, very remarkable about them, to outward view;—or smart young men, with well-polished boots and hats, and faultless dress-coats,—it is safe to say that a fair number will have distinguished themselves in one way or another; either in the working of their country's government, or in the fighting of their country's battles. But, here as elsewhere, England is uncommunicative, and you may pass angels unawares.

Just behind Pall Mall is the aristocratic St. James's Square—already, alas! invaded by the modern builder:

"She shall have all that's fine and fair,
And ride in a coach to take the air,
And have a house in St. James's Square,"—

—runs the old ballad. Though St. James's Square now contains a fair sprinkling of Government and other offices,—yet its clientèle is still somewhat ducal. Nevertheless, this Square, too, recalls something of the seamy side of life. "What," says Lord Rosebery, referring to London's many associations, "can be less imposing, or less interesting in themselves,—than the railings of St. James's Square? Yet, you cannot touch those railings—hideous as they are and dull as are the houses that surround them—without thinking that Johnson and Savage, hungry boys, starved by their kind mother, London, who attracted men of letters to her, walked round that square one summer night and swore they would die for their country."

Yes,—this, in some way, seems "the best of all possible worlds,"—and London, in such surroundings, the best of all possible cities to live in. Yet, here, too, the East is still present in the West. Round the corner, as I gaze, comes a pitiful group,—a tawdry woman, her voice raucous (p. 185) and suggestive of gin, holding by the hand two children, a boy and a girl,—all singing, or making believe to sing, in chorus:

"'Ark! ar ark, my sowl! Angelic songs are swellin',
From Hearth's green fields—and Hoceant's way-be shore—
'Ark, ar-ark,—"

Alas! the notes are hardly suggestive of angelic visitants. The chubby little boy is crying, the tears making streaky marks down his dirty little face. "I'm so cowld, so cowld, mammy," "'Owld yer row!"—admonishes his sister, in the intervals of her husky accompaniment.... The sodden voice of the mother is so terrible that I am moved to give her a shilling to go away and remove her poor suffering babies.... But,—at the angle of Waterloo Place,—another phantom is stationed; a wretchedly-clothed creature, evidently on the look-out for a job. He might himself be an incarnation of Famine. His cheeks are hollow and cadaverous; his eyes are dulled and hopeless; he shivers in the bleak raw December air;—in the "best of all possible worlds,—the richest of all possible cities".... The mere "cab-horse's charter" is not for such as he! Ungrateful country, that deals so ill with her children, giving them too often "stones for bread!"

"If suddenly," says Mr. Ruskin, "in the midst of the enjoyments of the palate and lightnesses of heart of a London dinner-party, the walls of the chamber were parted, and through their gap the nearest human beings who were famishing and in misery were borne into the midst of the company—feasting and fancy-free—if, pale with sickness, horrible in destitution, broken by despair, body by body, they were laid upon the soft carpet, one beside the chair of every guest, would only the crumbs of the dainties be cast to them—would only a passing glance, a passing thought be vouchsafed to them? Yet the actual facts, the real relations of each Dives and Lazarus, are not altered by the intervention of the house wall between the table and the sick-bed—by the few feet of ground (how few!) which are indeed all that separate the merriment from the misery."

It is an effective contrast. But, perhaps the most vivid and pathetic sketch of the Submerged of the Great City is (p. 186) that of John Davidson's weird and haunting ballad: "The Loafer":

"I hang about the streets all day,
At night I hang about;
I sleep a little when I may,
But rise betimes the morning's scout;
For through the year I always hear
Afar, aloft, a ghostly shout.

"My clothes are worn to threads and loops;
My skin shows here and there;
About my face like seaweed droops
My tangled beard, my tangled hair;
From cavernous and shaggy brows
My stony eyes untroubled stare.

"I move from eastern wretchedness
Through Fleet Street and the Strand;
And as the pleasant people press
I touch them softly with my hand,
Perhaps to know that still I go
Alive about a living land.

"I know no handicraft, no art,
But I have conquered fate;
For I have chosen the better part,
And neither hope, nor fear, nor hate.
With placid breath on pain and death,
My certain alms, alone I wait."

(p. 187)



"The devout King destined to God that place, both for that it was near unto the famous and wealthy City of London, and also had a pleasant situation amongst fruitful fields lying round about it, with the principal river running hard by, bringing in from all parts of the world great variety of wares and merchandise of all sorts to the city adjoining; but chiefly for the love of the Chief Apostle, whom he reverenced with a special and singular affection."—Contemporary Life of Edward the Confessor in Harleian M.S.

"The world-famed Abbey by the westering Thames."—Matthew Arnold.

"Westminster Abbey," said Dean Stanley, "stands alone amongst the buildings of the world. There are, it may be, some which surpass it in beauty or grandeur; there are others, certainly, which surpass it in depth and sublimity of association; but there is none which has been entwined by so many continuous threads with the history of a whole nation."

The old Abbey of Westminster, is, indeed, in itself an (p. 188) epitome of English history. Elsewhere in London, you must dig and delve for it, study and reconstruct; here, you have it all together, a chain in a manner unbroken, from Edward the Confessor to the latest of our Hanoverian Kings, crowned here, so lately and so splendidly, in the place of his fathers.

The church has, in a manner, been founded many times; by tradition, by rebuilding, by frequent restoration and enlargement. The earliest church, or temple, on this ancient site is, indeed, almost lost in the semi-fabulous mists of early history. To all famous fanes, the after-years have a tendency to ascribe legendary and miraculous beginnings; thus, the magic haze that surrounds the primitive church of the doubtful Saxon King Lucius is hardly less than that covering the Temple of Apollo, the Sun-god, said to exist here in Roman times. At any rate, it is clear that on this favoured spot, once the little sandy peninsula of "Thorney Island," was an early sanctuary and settlement, both Roman and Briton. In King Sebert's time the mists of antiquity lift, but still slightly. Sebert, King of the East-Saxons, was, early in the seventh century, the traditionary founder of a church here, dedicated to St. Peter. According to the story, Sebert, just returned from a Roman pilgrimage, was about to have his church consecrated by the bishop, Mellitus; when, one evening, a poor Saxon fisher, Edric, who was watching his nets along the shore, saw, on the opposite river bank, a gleaming light, and, approaching it in his boat, found a venerable man who desired to be ferried across the stream. There, the mysterious stranger landed, and proceeded to the church, where, transfigured with light, and attended by hosts of glittering angels, he consecrated it, being, indeed, no other than St. Peter himself:

"Then all again is dark;
And by the fisher's bark
The unknown passenger returning stands.
O Saxon fisher! thou hast had with thee
The fisher from the Lake of Galilee

(p. 189) "So saith he, blessing him with outspread hands;
Then fades, but speaks the while:
At dawn thou to King Sebert shalt relate
How his St. Peter's Church in Thorney Isle,
Peter, his friend, with light did consecrate."

The chronicle relates the story thus:

"Know, O Edric," said the stranger, while the fisherman's heart glowed within him, "know that I am Peter. I have hallowed the church myself. To-morrow I charge thee that thou tell these things to the Bishop, who will find a sign and token in the church of my hallowing. And for another token, put forth again upon the river, cast thy nets, and thou shalt receive so great a draught of fishes that there will be no doubt left in thy mind. But give one-tenth to this my holy church."

The story continues that Bishop Mellitus, on hearing Edric's miraculous tale, changed the name of the place from Thorney Isle to West Minster.

The tomb of the first traditionary founder of St. Peter's church of Westminster is still shown in the Abbey to-day, as it has been shown ever since the time of its erection. Through all the vicissitudes of the Abbey, its many alterations and restorations, this early relic has always been treated carefully and with respect. The King of the East-Saxons sleeps in peace in the choir, with his wife Ethelgoda and his sister Ricula, first of a long line of kings and potentates.

But if Sebert was the traditional founder of the Abbey, Edward the Confessor was, unquestionably, its real founder. And, for that matter, the legends that surround the mysterious Sebert still linger, like a halo, round the Confessor's memory; he who was, we are told, so saintly, that being one day at mass in the ancient minster, he saw "the Saviour appear as a child, bright and pure as a spirit." Truly, a picturesque age to live in! The rebuilding of the Confessor's church was, as in the later time of Rahere, the outcome of a vision, and of a direct message from the saint. Edward, said St. Peter, must rebuild the ancient minster of Thorney. Edward rebuilt it, (p. 190) laying the foundation stone in 1049, and naming it "the Collegiate Church of St. Peter of Westminster." It was the work of the King's life, and it was only consecrated eight days before his death. Of the Confessor's chapel and monastery all that now remains is the present "Chapel of the Pyx," with portions of the Westminster School Buildings and of the walls of the South Cloister. For Henry III., the Abbey's second founder, who had "a rare taste for building" pulled down, in 1245, most of his predecessor's work, and made the splendid miracle-working shrine that contains the relics of the royal saint. But it was Henry VII., in 1502, who was the great builder and transformer of the Abbey. To him we owe the fine perpendicular chapel called by his name, "the most beautiful chapel in the world," the one building that impresses, at first sight, every visitor to London. Westminster Abbey, as we see it now, is probably in externals much as Henry VII. left it, except for the addition of Wren's two western towers, and "the fact that in the middle ages it was a magnificent apex to a royal palace," surrounded "by a train of subordinate offices and buildings, and with lands extending to the present Oxford Street, Fleet Street, and Vauxhall."

Yet, without any of its former palatial accessories, is not the gray fret-work of Henry VIIth's chapel, as it breaks on the delighted vision of the traveller down Whitehall, an ever-renewed joy and wonder? To Henry Tudor we owe the union of the houses of York and Lancaster; yet we remember him far more by this, the chapel that he has given us for all time. Truly, he too must have had "a rare taste in building!" "It is to the exaltation of the building art," says Mr. Ruskin, in an eloquent passage, "that we owe:

—"those vaulted gates ... those window-labyrinths of twisted tracery and starry light; those misty masses of multitudinous pinnacle and diademed tower; the only witnesses, perhaps, that remain to us of the faith and fear of nations. All else for which the builders sacrificed, has passed away—all (p. 191) their living interests, and aims, and achievements. We know not for what they laboured, and we see no evidence of their reward. Victory, wealth, authority, happiness—all have departed, though bought by many a bitter sacrifice. But of them, and their life and their toil upon the earth, one reward, one evidence, is left to us in those gray heaps of deep-wrought stone. They have taken with them to the grave their powers, their honours, and their errors; but they have left us their adoration."

But, apart from the beauty of its architecture, apart from the associations and traditions of its early history, apart from its honour as the place of coronations, the feeling that every true Englishman has for the Abbey of Westminster must necessarily be strong; for it represents to him not only the essential spirit of his mother-city; it is also, in a sense, his national Valhalla,

—"place of tombs,
Where lie the mighty bones of ancient men."—

Here, in this "cathedral close of Westminster," is his true fatherland. This, he may say, is his national Holy of Holies; the sacred spot:

"Wo meine Traüme wandeln gehn,
Wo meine Todten aufersteh'n."

Here he may feel all the reverence, all the love for his country, that is ever the birthright of the true citizen. For, not only kings, queens, and nobles, but also the great and mighty in art, science, literature, are buried within this narrow space. It is England's Temple of Fame, her crowing glory of a life of honour and merit. The "immortal dead" are thus in their death brought near to each one of us, and become part of our special family. They are our national inheritance.

Westminster Abbey is "the silent meeting-place of the dead of eight centuries," the "great temple of silence and reconciliation where the enmities of twenty generations lie buried." Death is ever the great peacemaker. Round the mediæval shrine of Edward the Confessor, in its faded and rifled splendour, lie, in a closely-joined circle, the peaceful Tombs of (p. 192) the Kings; sturdy Plantagenets, their warfare ended, the features of their effigies composed in an eternal calm. They sleep well, after life's fitful fever! In Henry VIIth's chapel, Mary and Elizabeth, sisters of bitter hate and strange destiny, rest together in a contracted sepulchre, admitting of none other occupant but they two. "The sisters are at one; the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and the daughter of Anne Boleyn repose in peace at last." On their monument is the striking inscription: an inscription placed there by James I.; "closing," said Dean Stanley, "the long war of the English Reformation;" "Regno consortes et urnâ, hic obdormimus Elizabetha et Maria sorores, in spe resurrectionis." And those great statesmen of a later age, Pitt and Fox, their life-long rivalry ended, rest in the north transept, dying in the same year, and buried close together:

"Here—taming thought to human pride—
The mighty chiefs sleep side by side.
Drop upon Fox's grave the tear,
'Twill trickle to his rival's bier;
O'er Pitt's the mournful requiem sound,
And Fox's shall the notes rebound.
The solemn echo seems to cry—
'Here let their discord with them die.'"

The figure of William Pitt, Lord Chatham, in parliamentary robes, his arm outstretched as if speaking, rises high above the surrounding monuments:

"High over those venerable graves," says Macaulay, "towers the stately monument of Chatham, and from above, his effigy, graven by a cunning hand, seems still, with eagle face and outstretched arm, to bid England be of good cheer, and to hurl defiance at her foes."

In another splendid passage, Macaulay describes the later burial of the son near the father:

"The grave of Pitt had been made near to the spot where his great father lay, near also to the spot where his great rival was soon to lie.... Wilberforce, who carried the banner before the hearse, described the awful (p. 193) ceremony with deep feeling. As the coffin descended into the earth, he said, the eagle face of Chatham from above seemed to look down with consternation into the dark house which was receiving all that remained of so much power and glory."

"The silence of death," says Dean Stanley, "breathes here the lesson which the tumult of life hardly suffered to be heard."

As, then, the Appian Way was to the Romans, so is Westminster Abbey to us, our "Highway of Tombs." As the stranger walks along the vast Nave and the Transepts, he passes through a veritable City of the Dead, commemorated here by every kind of monument, statue, bust, tablet, cenotaph, tomb. Here are now no more the simple tombs and effigies of the earliest time, no more the rich, imposing magnificence of the mediæval shrines, but a later efflorescence of sculpture and ornament, an efflorescence differing as widely from the severity of former ages, as the laudatory epitaphs differ from the simplicity and humility of the early inscriptions. Justice and Mercy, Neptune and Britannia, cherubs and clouds, are generally very painfully in evidence, and in their vast size and depressing ubiquity testify to the false taste of their day. Nor are the monuments always deserved. "Some day," said Carlyle, cynically, "there will be a terrible gaol-delivery in Westminster Abbey!" The worst of such theatrical sculpture is, also, that it always takes up so much room; we, in our day, should often be glad of the space of one cloudlet,—of one unnecessary virtue,—for the modest perpetuation of a great man's memory. Who now recalls the merits of the forgotten magnates of past ages? but Dickens's humble grave-stone is ever freshly tended, bright with geranium or violet. Ruskin's small tablet and bas-relief must hang in a dark, unnoticed, corner, and Tennyson's bust is relegated to a pillar of Poet's Corner. And what is left, one may ask, of our National Valhalla, for the great names of a future age?

The solemn dignity of the Confessor's Chapel, and of (p. 194) Henry VIIth's beautiful chapel behind it, have, after the crude monuments of the Nave, all the calm of a secluded byway after the clamour of a noisy street.

Westminster Abbey is full of beautiful pictures. On a sunny day, especially, the play of light and shade on its pillars, the fretted tracery of its interlaced arches, the fine harmony of its proportions, the golden, mellowing, subdued light that enters through its "rose" windows, the colour of its many tombs and rich marbles, that, on a day of London winter, so beautifully harmonises with the whole, may well tempt many an artist. To gain the full glory of the long aisles in their aerial perspective, the Abbey should be seen from the far end of the Nave. Everywhere is beauty; but perhaps one of the most lovely "bits" in the church is that furnished by the three canopied tombs of Henry III.'s family,—the tombs of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, Countess Aveline, his wife, and Aymer de Valence. These three tombs make a charming picture from the Sacrarium, where they stand; viewed, too, from the aisle just beneath them, two of them tower up grandly, to their full height; the third, however, that of Aveline, is hidden from the aisle by an ugly eighteenth-century monument. (Truly, the eighteenth century has much to answer for!) The lofty pinnacles of these tombs, the richness of their sculptured foliage and crockets, and the calmness of their supported effigies, are very impressive. Among other strikingly picturesque views is that of the small chapel, or rather, doorway, of St. Erasmus, dating from Richard II.'s time, a low arch supported by clustered pillars; and also that of the splendid "Chantry of Henry V.," towering at the entrance to Henry VIIth's Chapel, above the royal circle of tombs on either side. Over the Arch that canopies Henry's tomb, (an arch in the shape of the letter "H,") is the iron bar with the king's shield, saddle and helmet,—the helmet which we would fain for poetry's sake, think to be

—"that casque that did affright the air at Agincourt,"

—but which was, probably, merely a tilting-helmet made for the (p. 195) funeral. There is a sad humanity about these blackened accoutrements of the dead, standing out against the golden half-light of the dimly-seen chapel beyond, hanging so long in their lofty position as to seem a part of the Abbey itself. Have they not, before now, appealed to the imagination of many a Westminster school-boy, sitting below in the choir, and set him wondering about those old Plantagenets and Tudors, who seem here so much more alive and human than in the dull pages of a history book?

The best tombs of the Abbey are only free and open to inspection on Mondays and Tuesdays within certain hours; on all other days, they are locked up, and people are only "taken round" them at stated times and under supervision. On Mondays and Tuesdays there is, mostly, a good assembly of sightseers; and, whether one choses a free day, full of people, or whether one rather elects to be taken round on a sixpenny day in custody, in either case one inevitably loses much of the charm and feeling of the beautiful old church and its associations. On free days, boys have a tendency to clatter distractingly up and down the wooden steps that lead to the Confessor's Chapel, with other diversions natural to the juvenile mind; on sixpenny days, you go in and out with the crowd in a depressing "queue," while each chapel in turn is unlocked and its monuments explained in a sad monotone. No other arrangement, no doubt, is possible; yet, who could penetrate to the soul of the Abbey under such conditions as these? It is perhaps not unnatural that the vergers, who have performed the office so often, should feel a certain satiety in the process, and that they should wish to hurry the visitor through the chapels as quickly and perfunctorily as may be; and yet, how charming would it be to spend a long afternoon here, in study or enjoyment, undisturbed! In an unwashed and noisy crowd, a crowd which seems to imagine that the Tombs of the Kings are a species of Waxworks, who can think, or enjoy, or remember? Moreover, when one is, so to speak, "in (p. 196) custody," one must always be very careful to do nothing which may draw down on one's self the suspicion of the custodian. In this connexion one is tempted to recall the story told of a certain too-conscientious verger in one of our provincial cathedrals. A devout visitor knelt down at an altar-tomb; an action for which the said verger promptly reprimanded him. "I was only praying," murmured the visitor, rising abashed. "Oh, that can't be allowed," said the verger; "we can't let people pray about wherever they like; that would never do."

In Westminster Abbey they are hardly so particular; and yet, something of this same sense of restriction the reverent visitor to the ancient edifice also experiences. His spirit recoils from locked entrance gates and tours of perfunctory inspection, and yearns for but one hour of the "bliss of solitude," to invoke, if not the shades of the mighty dead, at least something of the feeling that clings round their memorial chapels. It is this feeling that Froude has so well described: "Between us and the old English," he says in an eloquent passage, "there lies a gulf of mystery which the prose of the historian will never adequately bridge. They cannot come to us, and our imagination can but feebly penetrate to them. Only among the aisles of the cathedral, only as we gaze upon their silent figures sleeping on their tombs, some faint conceptions float before us of what these men were when they were alive; and perhaps in the sound of church bells, that peculiar creation of mediæval age, which falls upon the ear like the echo of a vanished world."

And now for the other side of the picture. I was once, on a "sixpenny day," in the north aisle of Henry VIIth's chapel, admiring the quaint cradle-tomb of that "royal rosebud" of three days old,—Princess Sophia,—and pondering over that strange curse of Stuarts and Tudors, when up came a couple, 'Arry and 'Arriet, of the usual cockney honey-mooning type. They were evidently "doing" the London monuments in style, and eschewed free days. The bride seemed tired and (p. 197) somewhat apathetic; she evidently had to be kept severely up to the mark.

"Funny little nipper," said the young man peeping into the cradle: "It's a won'erful big child for three days old," said the bride, with some faint show of interest; and, "my! how silly it is dressed! only fancy, a cap like that there for a byby!" Then they turned to Queen Elizabeth's effigy: "I don't like the looks of 'er," said the lady, with something between a shudder and a giggle: "I come over jes' now so faint," she continued, her pink colour fading: "it's 'ardly' 'elthy in 'ere with all these corpses, is it?.... Wax-works is much nicer; they don't give yer the creeps so. Let's go and 'ave a 'bus ride, an' give the old Johnny the slip. I think we've 'ad our sixpennorth." So they went, but alas! they had left me their desecration.

Strange, indeed, are Fate's ironies! Queen Elizabeth and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, rest in the two side aisles of Henry VIIth's chapel in stately tombs, much resembling one another, erected, with praiseworthy impartiality, to his "dearest mother" and his "dear sister," by King James I. In the Stuart vault, close to the unhappy Queen of Scots, is buried Lady Arabella Stuart, "childe of woe"; that poor prisoner of the Tower, separated from her loved and just-wedded husband and kept by her cousin James I. in durance vile, till "her reason left her," and she died. Even in death her disgrace followed her, when, for fear of being thought too respectful to one "dying out of royal favour," the authorities dared not even provide her poor body with an adequate coffin! Poor "Ladie Arbell!" Of all the tragedies of English history, none are sadder or more cruel than hers, or reflect, more vividly, the inhumanity of the time.

The interior of Henry VIIth's Chapel,—in its darkened glory of golden light, with its fretted roof, its "walls wrought into universal ornament," its many statues and sculptures, and contrasted dark oak choir stalls, with the banners of their (p. 198) owners, the Knights of the Bath, hanging overhead,—is very fine. In the centre of the chapel is the magnificent tomb of Henry VII., the third founder of the Abbey, who, with much of the feeling of the men who built the Pyramids, determined this as the splendid mausoleum of his race. The monument, enclosed by a screen, or "closure," of gilt copper, is by Torregiano. Here, with Henry, is buried his wife, Elizabeth of York, in marriage with whom the king finally united the York and Lancaster cause. Hither was brought in state, in 1502, the body of this last Queen of the House of York, dead at twenty-seven, her waxen effigy, with dishevelled hair and Royal robes, lying outside her coffin:

"The first stone of the splendid edifice founded by Henry VII., and which was to contain all the glory of his race, had only been laid a month when his wife, Elizabeth of York, died. She lies in its first grave. More wrote an elegy on the Queen, who died in giving birth to a child in the Tower:—

"Adieu, sweetheart! my little daughter late,
Thou shalt, sweet babe, such is thy destiny,
Thy mother never know; for here I lie.
At Westminster, that costly work of yours,
Mine own dear lord, I now shall never see."

In front of the chantry of his grandparents, is the altar-tomb of Edward VI., the boy-king of sixteen, "flower of the Tudor name"; a small portion of the frieze of his ancient monument, also by Torregiano, has survived Republican zeal, and has been let into the more modern structure.

In one of the five small apsidal chapels at the eastern extremity of the Abbey is Dean Stanley's fine monument, a recumbent figure, by Boehm. Here, in the "farthest east" of the Abbey that they so loved and lived in, he and his wife, Lady Augusta, "devoted servant of her Queen," rest until the judgment day. The Duke of Buckingham's huge tomb, that almost blocks another of these small chapels, is picturesque: and near it, on the floor of the main building, is a blue slab simply inscribed with the name of "Elizabeth Claypole." (p. 199) Close to the great shrine of Henry and Elizabeth rests peacefully this favourite daughter of Oliver Cromwell, the only member of her family suffered to remain in the Abbey after the Restoration, when the mouldering bodies of her father and his myrmidons were exhumed and hanged at Tyburn, showing the furious brutality, unconquered even by death, of the

—"foolish people, unsounde and ever untreue."

The "great Temple of Silence and Reconciliation," that had condoned so many even greater wrongs, has, here alone, failed to protect its dead.

Henry VIIth's Chapel is now mainly used for such functions as the yearly convocation of the bishops, and for early bi-weekly services for the deanery and its precincts, &c. Its banners are decaying, its stalls are no longer used by the "Knights of the Bath"; and the last banner placed here was that of the Duke of Wellington, in 1804.

As Henry VIIth's Chapel is the mausoleum of the Tudors, so is Edward the Confessor's Chapel that of the Plantagenets. Here the whole space, indeed, is "paved with kings, queens, and princes, who all wished to rest as near as possible to the miracle-working shrine." In the royal ring of tombs, the treasure, the jewels, the gilt-bronze accessories, and, in some cases, the arms and even the heads of the effigies have been raided at some past time. The beautiful effigy of Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I, that "queen of good memory" who accompanied her lord to the Crusades, and in honour to whom nine monumental crosses were erected in London, still, however, remains intact. "The beautiful features of the dead queen are expressed in the most serene quietude; her long hair waves from beneath the circlet on her brow." Edward I, the greatest of the Plantagenets, lies near on a bare altar-tomb of grey marble; a plain monument for so great and glorious a being. On the north side are the words: "Scotorum Malleus" (the Hammer of the Scots). At the head of Eleanor, his daughter-in-law, lies Henry III., the "second founder" of the Abbey; (p. 200) "quiet Henry III., our English Nestor," who reigned fifty-six years; his effigy is of gilt brass. Katherine of Valois, widow of Henry V., the ancestress of the Tudor line, rests under the altar of her husband's chantry; she it was whose mummified corpse Pepys records that he kissed in 1668, "reflecting upon it that I did kiss a queene." Queen Philippa of Hainault, her husband Edward III., and the luckless Richard II., complete the royal circle.

Just in front of the screen that stands at the foot of the Confessor's shrine, are the Coronation Chairs. The most battered and ancient of these is the old coronation chair of Edward I, enclosing the famous "Prophetic Stone" or "Stone of Destiny," of Scone; concerning which the Scots believed, that wherever it was carried the supreme power would go with it. Edward I. brought it from Scotland in 1297, in token of the complete subjugation of that country. Every English monarch since then has been crowned in this chair, and Queen Victoria used it at her Jubilee service. The second coronation chair, (made for Queen Mary II., wife of William III.), is only used when kings and queens are crowned together: it was used for Queen Adelaide in 1831; and lately for Queen Alexandra.

Opposite the wooden staircase that descends from the Confessor's Chapel to the ambulatory below, a small doorway leads to the Islip Chapel; where on "free" days, the "Wax Effigies" may be seen. This curious and ghoul-like collection is the outcome of a custom dating from ancient times; the custom of carrying in funeral procession, first, the embalmed body open on the bier, and subsequently, the wax effigy, or portrait model, for the crowd to gaze at; the effigy to rest beside the tomb or monument. Remains of such effigies, broken, mutilated and often unrecognisable, are extant even as far back as Queen Philippa's time; these ghastly fragments are however, not on general view. Eleven wax figures still remain; dirty, but in a tolerable state of preservation; they suggest a very grimy and antiquated Chamber of Horrors. Presumably (p. 201) taken from life, or, in some cases, from a cast after death, they are invaluable as contemporary likenesses. Charles II., an unpleasantly yellow, ogling creature in wig and feathered hat, a ghoulish dandy with the well-known "drop" in his cheeks, confronts us at the top of a narrow wooden stair. If it be difficult to imagine his fascinations,—those of his neighbour, "La Belle Stuart," are a trifle more suggestive; yet here the lady is, surely, no longer very young; and we can hardly connect her with the figure of "Britannia" on our pence, for which it is said she consented to sit as model. Queen Anne's effigy (she died at fifty) is, possibly, flattering; or it may be a more youthful portrait. Her sad, pale face, in her gorgeous dress, suggest remembrances of her eighteen dead children, buried in the Stuart Vault of Henry VIIth's chapel, about the coffin of the Queen of Scots; "pressing in and around, with their accumulated weight, the illustrious dust below." Strange doom of the Stuart race! Were these people merely human and not royal, would not such afflictions win our sympathy? We hear of James II.'s faults—history is reticent about his eleven dead children; of "Good Queen Anne's" virtues,—hardly a word as to her maternal grief. Poor, kindly, amiable queen! as she sits here in her tarnished grandeur, she seems, of a truth, overpowered by the "load,"

—"wellnigh not to be borne,
Of the too great orb of her fate."

Mary II., a big woman, nearly six feet in height, towers over her small husband, William III., who, nevertheless, stands on a footstool beside her. Most witch-like of all is the effigy of Queen Elizabeth, (a restoration of the Chapter, in 1760, of the original figure carried at her funeral, which had by then fallen to pieces). The portrait is evidently from a cast taken after death, for it suggests the wasting of disease, the anguish of suffering. The Queen seems haunted and hag-ridden; the wizened and weird appearance of the figure is in horrid contrast with its gay attire; the high-heeled, gold shoes with rosettes, stomacher covered (p. 202) with jewels, and huge ruff of the time. A strange experience, indeed, is this "Islip Chapel"; and one that leaves a lasting impression!

The small chapels round the Confessor's shrine, separated from it by the Ambulatories, are filled with interesting mediæval tombs, and some brasses of great beauty. In one of them is the eighteenth-century monument of Lady Elizabeth Nightingale, by Roubiliac, so popular among the Abbey sightseers. This theatrical figure of the skeleton Death hurling a dart at the dying lady, so affrighted, says tradition, an intending robber, that he fled in terror, leaving his crowbar behind. And I can never leave the Abbey without admiring that lovely figure of the beggar girl holding a baby, in the North Transept, that commemorates, among surrounding politicians and soldiers, the charities of a certain Mrs. Elizabeth Warren, dead in 1816.

How dazzlingly the sunlight of London gleams upon us, as we leave the twilight of the Abbey! We may quit it by the small door of "Poet's Corner," that door where poor, ill-used, foolish Queen Caroline beat in vain and undignified effort for admittance to and participation in her cruel husband's coronation; dying, one short fortnight afterwards, "of a broken heart." From Poet's Corner we enter upon a pleasant green sward, diversified by the flying buttresses that, in grand blackness of London smoke, support the Chapter-House; emerging, presently, into the strange twentieth-century bustle and din of Victoria-Street. Or, going out through the front entrance in the North Transept, ("Solomon's Porch,") we come upon St. Margaret's Church, that building which, beautiful in itself, renders such service to the Abbey, by presenting it to the eye in its true proportions. The ancient cloisters, part of which date from the early conventual buildings here, (a Benedictine house connected with the foundation of the first minster), may be reached, either through a door from the South Aisle, or through the neighbouring "Dean's Yard," a pleasant square of (p. 203) old-fashioned houses, where from time immemorial the merry Westminster boys have played. If the visitor be of an antiquarian, or historical, turn of mind, he may now penetrate to the old "Chapel of the Pyx," a remnant of the earliest times, and the ancient treasure-house of England's Kings; or to the Chapter-House, an octagonal chamber, now restored to its pristine beauty by judicious restoration. If, on the contrary, he merely prefer to wander vaguely, every turn of the cloisters will present to him a new and charming picture. Especially in spring are these cloisters delightful, when the old trees of the courts and closes put on their early green, an innocent green that contrasts so poetically with the crumbling grime of the ancient walls. It is the eternal contrast of Life and of Death. In this favoured spot, the Canons' houses, the old School of Westminster, and the ecclesiastical precincts generally, are all entangled in a labyrinth of cloisters, difficult to thread, save to the elect. School and church buildings, cloisters, picturesque byways and back streets, seem all here inextricably confused; but this only renders the locality the more attractive. Suddenly, you come upon a brass door, announcing, in spotless metal, "The Deanery." It is in a quiet court, built up under the Abbey's very shadow; and here, facing you, is the famous "Jerusalem Chamber," a most picturesque building outside, with ancient, crumbling, (happily not "restored,") stones, and painted glass windows. Here, as told in Shakespeare, King Henry IVth died:

King Henry: "Doth any name particular belong
Unto the lodging where I first did swoon?"
Warwick: "'Tis called Jerusalem, my noble lord."
King Henry: "Laud be to God! even there my life must end;
It hath been prophesied to me many years
I should not die but in Jerusalem,
Which vainly I supposed the Holy Land;
But bear me to that chamber; there I'll lie;
In that Jerusalem shall Harry die."
Henry IVth, Act IV, Sc. 4.

(p. 204) The Deanery is a low gabled building, with a charming old-world air. Further on is a small enclosure called "Little Cloisters;" a tiny secluded court where the clergy of the Abbey live. Here is a curious tablet that records the death of a poor sufferer "who through ye spotted veil of ye smallpox rendered up his pure and unspotted soul." Reached from Dean's Yard by a vaulted passage and an ancient gate, is Little Dean's Yard, where is the classic gateway to Westminster School.

The cloisters, like the Abbey itself, contain many monuments and inscriptions. One in particular, "Jane Lister, dear childe, 1688" charmed Dean Stanley, as recalling, in its simplicity, the early monuments of the catacombs.

The blackened, time-honoured houses of Dean's Yard are now varied by some new private mansions. Part of the square is now occupied by "Church House," a kind of large ecclesiastical club and office. Its main portion, which extends far back into neighbouring streets and purlieus, is of cheerful red brick.

The narrow streets of Westminster are curious and interesting, if occasionally just a trifle "slummy." They are generally old, tortuous, and picturesque; but the old, as in other parts of London, is gradually being displaced by the new. Westminster is now much sought after as a residential neighbourhood; building is increasing there, and rents are proportionately rising. The houses are often much shadowed and built up to, yet, here and there, charming views of the Abbey and its precincts almost compensate for want of light. The too ubiquitous "flats" and "mansions" are multiplying here as elsewhere; but Cowley Street has still an old world charm, and Queen Anne's Gate has its attractions. On the Whitehall side, the late removal of the obstructing Parliament Street, and the rebuilding of Government offices, have made great structural alterations.

Just outside the Abbey is "Broad Sanctuary," a name that (p. 205) commemorates the ancient rights and powers of the Church in protecting political victims and offenders from the law. "The Sanctuary" in mediæval times was a square Norman tower, containing two cruciform chapels. Here did that poor Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV., seek refuge twice in her chequered and mournful life; it was on her second flight hither, in her widowhood, with all her children, that her "young princes, her tender babes," were dragged away from her to be murdered by their uncle Richard of Gloucester.

In all the structural alterations of Westminster, its old Hall, built first by William Rufus, has always mercifully been spared. It was rebuilt by Richard II., who, if only for the sake of such a monument, deserved of England a better fate. This Hall, which has witnessed more tragedies than any other London building, is principally famous to us as the place of trial of Charles Stuart, King of England, 1649. Here, with the Naseby banners hanging over his devoted head, Charles showed all that firmness and control that had been so conspicuously lacking in his life. Macaulay describes it thus:

"The great hall of William Rufus, the hall which had resounded with acclamations at the inauguration of thirty kings: the hall which had witnessed the just sentence of Bacon and the just absolution of Somers; the hall where the eloquence of Strafford had for a moment awed and melted a victorious party inflamed with just resentment; the hall where Charles had confronted the High Court of Justice with the placid courage which has half redeemed his fame."

Victoria Tower, Westminster.

On Barry's enormous Gothic Palace, the Houses of Parliament—Time, which does so much both for the London buildings and for the opinions of Londoners,—will no doubt deliver a favourable verdict. Its florid richness of decoration, unsuitable, say art critics, to such a vast building, was in imitation of Henry VIIth's miniature chapel opposite. Its galleries and courts, almost as labyrinthine as the Westminster cloisters, require a long experience to understand and unravel. That Sir Charles Barry has worked Westminster Hall into his newer (p. 207) palace, entitles him to our respect and gratitude. In Old Palace Yard is that equestrian statue of Richard Cœur-de-Lion that has won so much praise from the greatest of our art critics. Old Palace Yard, too, has tragic associations. It was here that the Gunpowder Plot conspirators suffered death, opposite the windows of the house through which they had carried the gunpowder into the cellars under the threatened House of Lords. Here, also, Sir Walter Raleigh was executed in 1618.

Where Barry's palace now stands, stood, from Anglo Saxon days till Henry VIIIth's time, the ancient palace of the English Kings; and here, in their very palace, grew the germ of those Houses of Parliament that gradually came to occupy the entire area. The Star Chamber, the Painted Chamber, St. Stephen's Chapel, were parts of the old building made familiar to us by association and by history. The ancient palace was safe under the shadow of its abbey and sanctuary, till Henry VIII., who defied both abbey and sanctuary, actuated by Naboth-like desire of possession, moved his residence to Whitehall. The Whitehall palace is gone as if it had never been; but that of Westminster has risen again from its ashes. This sacred spot was the place of our national liberties; here arose the "Mother of Parliaments."

Not long ago, I was standing on Westminster Bridge in the gathering twilight; the misty glory of a fine winter's day. The river edges were sprinkled with a thin crust of silvery frost, the dulled red sun was going down in splendour behind a galaxy of pink and golden clouds. Insensibly, as the light faded, and the mist rose, I seemed to lose the forms of the modern buildings, and to see, as though in a vision, the "Thorney Isle" of the dim past. The huge "New Palace of Westminster," with its towers, was for a moment blotted out.... There, in the dreamy haze of sunset, I saw

—"the Minster's outlined mass
Rise dim from the morass."

—That, surely, was no longer the Terrace of the House of (p. 208) Commons, but a marshy bed of osiers and rushes! The dark shadow yonder, across the broad river, was it any more the grimy, disused Lambeth landing-stage, or had it changed to the rude primitive boats of the Saxon fisher-folk, "moored among the bulrush stems"? The clamour yonder,—was it the shouting of drunken bargees, or merely the voices of simple peasants, busy with their nets, singing the evening hymn?... And was that a barge being towed up stream, or was it not, rather, a boat crossing to the nearer shore, with its unknown, saintly passenger? Then, suddenly, a blaze of light irradiating the gloom—is it the miraculous glow from the consecrated Minster, or....

I start, for some one touches me gently on the shoulder. I turn round, half expecting to see a Saxon hind in leather jerkin and thonged sandals.... But a modern lamplighter with tall pole pushes past me, and——

"Please, lydy, gimme suthin' jis' to keep the life in my little byby," wails the voice of the professional beggar, breaking the spell, and disclosing an unhappy, shawled, and croupy infant. "I ain't got a place ter sleep in this night. Gawd knows I ain't, dear lydy."

The woman's appearance suggests the public-house, and I realise all the sinfulness of encouraging croupy (and possibly borrowed) babies to be out at unseasonable hours; nevertheless, the simpler Anglo-Saxon mood prevails, and the woman gets my sixpence. She departs with husky blessings ... and a chorus of coughs. "Ah, poor soul," I thought as I watched the wretched creature disappear to the shadow of some yet darker archway, "would not you, and such as you, have found better shrift in old days?—There was the convent;—there the sanctuary; there the gracious, unquestioning succour; there the majestic houses of the Father of Mankind and His special servants.... And ever at the sacred gates sat Mercy, pouring out relief from a never-failing store to the poor and the suffering; ever within the sacred aisles the voices of holy men were pealing heavenwards in intercession for the sins of (p. 209) mankind; and such blessed influences were thought to exhale around those mysterious precincts, that even the poor outcasts of society,—the debtor, the felon, and the outlaw—gathered round the walls as the sick men sought the shadow of the apostles, and lay there sheltered from the avenging hand, till their sins were washed from off their souls...."

But the vision has fled—the present once more dominates.... Now the lights begin, in serried rows and twinkling patterns, to glow along the shores of the vast and deceptive Armida-palace; the "cruel lights of London," hiding so much that is grim, sad, and terrible.... There, grey against a background of rosy opal, the Houses of Parliament rise from the silvery river in misty grandeur.... Then, gradually the "nocturne" changes its key; the darkness deepens, and the Westminster towers begin to loom up blackly against the lurid sky.... Big Ben booms solemnly through the invading mist.... For how many centuries, I wondered, has the evening bell resounded over the marshes of Thorney? Only in the lapse of time it has somewhat changed its note.... Convent bell,—church bell,—secular bell! It calls now no longer to prayer and devotion, but to business, or, maybe, pleasure ... as the blaze of light that now shines from its tower flashes forth the might of the Temporal power, not the miraculous workings of the Eternal.... Yet, "the Lord God of Israel, he slumbers not, nor sleeps." ... How loudly the strokes peal!... One ... two ... three ... four....

"Move on, please," sounds the voice of the burly policeman, evidently suspecting my motives, and accrediting me with suicidal intentions. "Can't stay 'ere all night, y'know."

So I "move on"; and Night, and the river-mist, between them envelop, as with a pall, the enormous city.

(p. 210) CHAPTER X

"In old days ... the hawthorn spread across the fields and market gardens that lay between Kensington and the river. Lanes ran to Chelsea, to Fulham, to North End, where Richardson once lived and wrote in his garden-house. The mist of the great city hid the horizon and dulled the sound of the advancing multitude; but close at hand ... were country corners untouched—blossoms instead of bricks in spring-time, summer shade in summer."—Miss Thackeray, Old Kensington.

"There is not a step of the way, from ... Kensington Gore to ... Holland House, in which you are not greeted with the face of some pleasant memory. Here, to 'mind's eyes' ... stands a beauty, looking out of a window; there, a wit, talking with other wits at a garden gate; there, a poet on the green sward, glad to get out of the London smoke and find himself among trees. Here come De Veres of the times of old; Hollands and Davenants, of the Stuart and Cromwell times; Evelyn peering about him soberly, and Samuel Pepys in a bustle.... Here, in his carriage, is King William the Third, going from the Palace to open Parliament ... and there, from out of Kensington Gardens, comes bursting, as if the whole recorded polite world were in flower at one and the same period, all the fashion of the gayest times of those sovereigns, blooming with chintzes, full-blown with hoop-petticoats, towering topknots and toupées.... Who is to know of all this company, and not be willing to meet it?"—Leigh Hunt.

"Faith, and it's the old Court suburb that you spoke of, is it? Sure, an' it's a mighty fine place for the quality."—Old Play.

Anglers in the Parks.

The great highway of Knightsbridge,—on the southern side of the Park,—leads, as everybody knows, from Hyde Park Corner to Kensington. Kensington, as it is now, is an all-embracing (p. 211) name, a generic term; it comprises not only Old Kensington, but both "West Kensington," a new and quickly increasing district of tall flats and "Queen Anne" houses, as far removed from London proper, for all practical purposes, as St. Albans; and "South Kensington," a dull and uninteresting quarter, but close to all the big West-end museums and collections, and where no self-respecting lady or gentleman of the professional or "middle classes" can really help living. He, or she, must, nevertheless, beware lest they stray too far from the sacred precincts. For, on the west, South Kensington degenerates into Earl's Court; on the south, a belt of "mean streets" divides it from equally select Chelsea (and, in London, the difference of but one street may divide the green enclosure of the elect from the dusty Sahara of the vulgar); while on the east, its glories fade into the dull, unlovely streets of Pimlico, (p. 212) brighten into the red-brick of the Cadogan Estate, or solidify into the gloomy pomp of Belgravia.

These, however, are but Kensington's later excrescences, due to the enormous increase of London's population, and to the consequent building craze of the last century. It was the Great Exhibition of 1851 that gave building, in this direction, its great impetus. The original village of Kensington, the "Old Court Suburb" of Leigh Hunt's anecdotes, lies in and about the Kensington High Street, the Gardens, and the Palace. It is pre-eminently of eighteenth century renown; Pepys hardly mentions it; its glory was after his day. It is reached from London by the Knightsbridge Road, a thoroughfare that, crowded as it is to-day by the world of fashion, was, only at the end of the eighteenth century, so lonely as to be unsafe from the ravages of thieves and footpads; a road "along which," Mr. Hare remarks plaintively, "London has been moving out of town for the last twenty years, but has never succeeded in getting into the country." So solitary, indeed, was this road that, even at the close of the eighteenth century, a bell used to be rung on Sunday evenings to summon the people returning to London from Kensington Village, and to allow them to set out together under mutual protection. London is not, even now, well lit as compared with large foreign cities; in old days, however, the darkness was such as to draw down the well-deserved strictures of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Such was the insecurity of that courtly highway, the Kensington or Knightsbridge Road, that it was the first place to adopt, in 1694, oil lamps with glazed lights, in preference to the older fashion of lanterns and wicks of cotton.

Some of London's finest mansions are now to be found in this Knightsbridge Road. On the left, as you go towards Kensington, are Kent House (Louisa, Lady Ashburton), once lived in by the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria's father; Stratheden House, and Alford House,—this last a fine modern building of brick and terra-cotta, with high roofs. Beyond (p. 213) Kensington Gore (so called from "Old Gore House," that once occupied the site of the Albert Hall), is the attractive and strangely rural-looking Lowther Lodge, now so cruelly dominated by tall "mansions"; and further still, the vast "Albert Hall," a red Colosseum of music. This, in spring, is a delightful drive; indeed, London wears here such a semi-suburban air that it is with almost the feeling of entering a new townlet that we presently approach the charming "High Street" of Old Kensington. Charming it is still, with still something of an old-world air; and yet, during the last fifty years or so, it has terribly altered. In the old days, the days when "the shabby tide of progress" had not yet spread to this quiet old suburb of which Miss Thackeray wrote so lovingly;—had not yet engulfed "one relic after another, carrying off many and many a landmark and memory,"—there were "gardens, and trees, and great walls along the high road that came from London, passing through the old white turnpike.... In those days the lanes spread to Fulham, white with blossom in spring, or golden with the yellow London sunsets that blazed beyond the cabbage-fields.... There were high brown walls along Kensington Gardens, reaching to the Palace Gate: elms spread their shade and birds chirruped, and children played behind them."

Yet, even for sweet Dolly Vanborough, Miss Thackeray confesses, Old Kensington was already vanishing. Already for her "the hawthorn bleeds as it is laid low and is transformed year after year into iron railings and areas, for particulars of which you are requested to apply to the railway company, and to Mr. Taylor, the house-agent." How much, alas, is left of it now? True, Holland House, and Kensington Palace, and Gardens, are left inviolate, but Campden Hill is adorned by the aspiring chimneys of waterworks, the peace of quiet Kensington Square is invaded by model lodging-houses, the underground railway defiles the pleasant High Street, and where of old the hawthorn bloomed, tall placards now advertise "Very Desirable Mansions to be Let on Exceptional Terms."

Kensington Palace and the Round Pond.

(p. 215) But Kensington has not changed in essentials. In those old days it was already, as it is now, a great Roman Catholic quarter, with convents and shops for the sale of sacred objects. No great cathedral had as yet been built there; no Newman as yet looked steadfastly from his marble alcove over the noisy Brompton Road; the tendencies in that direction were, however, already paramount.

When a London suburb has once become crowded with houses, what was once picturesque becomes speedily squalid and sordid; the pretty village street soon changes to a murky alley, and the ivy-grown tavern converts itself into a mere disreputable-looking public-house. Of this sad fact, Miss Thackeray's pleasant lanes, running from Kensington to Chelsea and Fulham, furnish at the present day abundant proof. The charming village lanes that at the beginning of last century filled Kensington and Chelsea,—the dairies such as that where pretty Emma Penfold dispensed curds and whey,—the cottages with damask rose-trees,—the tea-gardens, rural as now those on Kew Green,—what is now their latter end? Their modern realisations—Sydney Street, Smith Street, Manor Street—are not exactly attractive or savoury byways. No, it requires palaces and big mansions to keep up the "rus-in-urbe"; mere cottages cannot do it without degenerating into drying-grounds, unspeakable back yards, or slums. But, if the old beauty has gone from Kensington, another beauty, of a different kind, awaits it. Of such beauty the imposing dome of the "Brompton Oratory," seen against a lurid sunset at the end of a vista in the Brompton Road, is an effective instance. This church, so dramatically placed in close proximity with the Anglican parish church, is a very striking object in the landscape; especially striking, too, when the light "that London takes the day to be," has softened and blended its more salient architectural features into one dimly glorified mass.

If Kensington is somewhat addicted to "cliques" and to (p. 216) social exclusiveness, it is, after all, only following out its ancient traditions. For in older days it was always prim and conservative, governed by its own laws.

"There was" (says Miss Thackeray) "a Kensington world ... somewhat apart from the big uneasy world surging beyond the turnpike—a world of neighbours bound together by the old winding streets and narrow corners in a community of venerable elm trees and traditions that are almost levelled away. Mr. Awl, the bootmaker in High Street, exhibited peculiar walking-shoes long after high heels and kid brodekins had come into fashion in the metropolis. The last time I was in his shop I saw a pair of the old-fashioned, flat, sandalled shoes, directed to Miss Vieuxtemps, in Palace Green. Tippets, poke-bonnets, even a sedan chair, still existed among us long after they had been discarded by more active minds."

It all suggests nothing so much as one of Mr. G. D. Leslie's pictures. The poetic fancy of the writer of Old Kensington is, indeed, conceived in much the same pleasant minor key as the artist's—the author of School Revisited and kindred idylls,—both evoking visions of girls in short waists, lank, frilled skirts, and sandals, amid cool suburban walled gardens, grass plots, and fountains.

Thackeray lived at three Kensington houses:—first, at that known as "The Cottage":—No. 13 (now No. 16), Young Street,—from 1847 to 1853; secondly, at No. 36, Onslow Square, from 1853 to 1862; and thirdly, at No. 2, Palace Green, where he died. The great writer's daughters, who must have been quite little children when he first came here, no doubt knew and loved well their home of so many years. From the daughter's very vivid reminiscences, we get charming sketches of the life and the different abodes of the family. The Newcomes, The Virginians, and the Four Georges were written in Onslow Square, where, says Miss Thackeray, "I used to look up from the avenue of old trees and see my father's head bending over his work in the study window, which was over the drawing-room." But Onslow Square is close to South Kensington Station, and the Young Street house, which was the earlier residence, was certainly in a prettier neighbourhood. (p. 217) Also, it has double-fronted bay windows, and enjoyed, moreover, the honour of inspiring its tenant's magnum opus, for here Thackeray wrote Vanity Fair, as well as Esmond and Pendennis. Most of his work was done in a second-story room, overlooking an open space of orchards and gardens. A tablet now distinguishes the window where the novelist worked, with the initials W. M. T. grouped in a monogram between the dates of his residence here; the names of the three books of this period being inscribed in the border.

Artists, who in the early part of last century were still more or less faithful to the northern suburbs, have, during the last three or four decades flocked to Kensington and Chelsea. Millais, Leighton, and others led the way; and now fine studios abound in all the newer and airy streets of red brick houses. At No. 6, The Terrace, Campden Hill, poor John Leech, who moved hither from Bloomsbury street afflictions, died in 1864 from spasm of the heart, at the comparatively early age of forty-seven. On Campden Hill, also, is "Holly Lodge," Lord Macaulay's residence; the place, too, where he died, and where he "loved to entertain all his youthful nephews and nieces." Campden Hill has still a certain charm, a charm of gardens, terraces, and irregular houses; it has, too, so many winding ways, that it is easier to lose one's bearings here, than almost anywhere in London.

Leigh Hunt, the gossiping chronicler of Kensington Court scandals and celebrities, lived for eleven years, and more successfully than elsewhere, in Edwardes Square, a charming enclosure, a little way back from the Kensington Road beyond High Street, and opposite the grounds of Holland House. Here the versatile writer, the ill starred "Skimpole" of Dickens's satire, lived with his numerous family,—now older than in the Cheyne Row period of their existence,—and, possibly, less addicted to litter, and to borrowing the long-suffering neighbours' tea-cups. Leigh Hunt's son, Thornton Hunt, thus describes the Square at this time:—

(p. 218) "Our square, with its pretty houses and rustic enclosure, left with its natural undulations, very slight, but sufficient to diminish the formal look, its ivy-covered backs of houses on one side, and gardens and backs of houses on the other, was a curiosity which, when I first saw it, I could not account for on English principles, uniting as it did something decent, pleasant, and cheap, with such anti-comme il faut anomalies—such aristocratic size and verdure in the ground plot, with so plebeian a smallness in the tenements. But it seems a Frenchman invented it."

Edwardes Square is, like Kensington Square, still pretty and rural and attractive. At one end of it, and looking on to the Kensington Road, is Earl's Terrace, a row of attractive, old-fashioned houses, set back from the street, with little front gardens. Here, not so very long ago, lived Walter Pater, continuing the literary associations of the neighbourhood; a lover of beauty, he, too, but very different from Leigh Hunt. In Hunt's time, Mrs. Elizabeth Inchbald lived "as a boarder" at No. 4 in this terrace. Her chief claim to fame is The Simple Story, a work which few people now read, though many have heard of it. She appears to have been a charming and eccentric as well as a talented lady. Here is a diary jotting of hers, quoted by Leigh Hunt:—"On the 29th of June (Sunday) dined, drank tea, and supped with Mrs. Whitfield. At dark, she and I and her son William walked out, and I rapped at doors in New Street and King Street and ran away." "This was in the year 1788," says Hunt, "when she was five-and-thirty. But such people never grow old.... Divine Elizabeth Inchbald, qualified to be the companion of every moment of human life, grave or gay, from a rap at the street door in a fit of mirth to the deepest phases of sympathy."

Yes, The Simple Story must have been a real work of genius, for no one, surely, but a genius, could afford so absolutely to disregard les convenances. Though, for that matter, our feminine geniuses of to-day take themselves a trifle more seriously. Imagine, for instance, our George Eliots of the twentieth century, our presidents of writers' unions and (p. 219) clubs, going out late at night to ring people's doorbells and run away! Such "eternal childishness" really out-Skimpoles Skimpole. If Providence had seen fit to place the two in contemporary residence in Edwardes Square, would not Mrs. Inchbald have been a neighbour after Leigh Hunt's own heart? The lady, it is further recorded, died—at sixty-eight, too—of "tight-lacing."

Leigh Hunt's must have been an interesting personality, and Dickens's caricature of him, intended or no, seems cruel. The late Mr. George Smith, of the great publishing house, tells an entertaining story of him. On one occasion, it appears, Mr. Smith paid Leigh Hunt £200 in bank notes:

"Two days afterwards" (wrote Mr. Smith) "Leigh Hunt came in a state of great agitation to tell me that his wife had burned them. He had thrown the envelope with the banknotes carelessly down, and his wife had flung it into the fire. Leigh Hunt's agitation while on his way to bring this news had not prevented him from purchasing on the road a little statuette of Psyche, which he carried, without any paper round it, in his hand. I told him I thought something might be done in the matter. I sent to the bankers and got the numbers of the notes, and then, in company with Leigh Hunt, went off to the Bank of England. I explained our business, and we were shown into a room where three old gentlemen were sitting at tables. They kept us waiting some time, and Leigh Hunt, who had meantime been staring all round the room, at last got up, walked up to one of the staid officials, and addressing him, said, in wondering tones: 'And this is the Bank of England! And do you sit here all day, and never see the green woods and the trees and flowers and the charming country?' Then, in tones of remonstrance, he demanded: 'Are you contented with such a life?' All this time he was holding the little naked Psyche in one hand, and with his long hair and flashing eyes made a surprising figure. I fancy I can still see the astonished faces of the three officials; they would have made a most delightful picture. I said: 'Come away, Mr. Hunt, these gentlemen are very busy.' I succeeded in carrying Leigh Hunt off, and, after entering into certain formalities, we were told that the value of the notes would be paid in twelve months. I gave Leigh Hunt the money at once, and he went away rejoicing."

Opposite the Palace Gardens, where "Kensington Court" now stands, stood once Kensington House, a big Roman Catholic boarding-house, surely a kind of early prototype of (p. 220) the modern "mansions." Here Louise de la Querouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, lived, and here Mrs. Inchbald died; later it was occupied by Jesuits, who have had for long a special stronghold in this quarter. Then, at last, in 1876, the older house made way for Mr. Albert Grant's pretentious Italian mansion of the same name, which cost £270,000, and only existed seven years, having been pulled down in 1883. So involved, and so difficult to decipher, is the history of London buildings.

"Church House," so vividly described by Miss Thackeray as Dolly Vanborough's home, stood close to the modern Church Street. And close to Church Street is Campden House, a modern restoration of the ancient building of that name, which was burned down in 1862; the gateway of the old mansion being now built up into the east wall of the garden. Old Campden House dated from 1612, and was principally known as having been the residence of Queen Anne's charming and precocious little son, the Duke of Gloucester, the poor child who died at eleven, "from excessive dancing on his birthday," the last hope of the race dying out with him. Campden House had been taken for the boy, so that he might be near his aunt, Queen Mary, who was very fond of him, and had him carried daily in infancy to see her at Kensington Palace.

Kensington Square, with its comfortable-looking houses of sober red brick, and windows with white painted casements, has a delightfully old-world aspect. Behind the houses are pleasant gardens, as yet—but for how long?—left untouched by the tide of progress. Thackeray, as well as his daughter, must have known and loved this square well; for here he imagined Lady Castlewood, Beatrix, and Harry Esmond to dwell.

Earl's Court.

Earl's Court,—now mainly remarkable for the near neighbourhood of "Olympia,"—the "Great Wheel,"—and an endless colony of railway lines,—was, some fifty years ago, still "a quaint old row of houses, their lattices stuffed with spring flowers, facing a deep cool pond by the roadside," and embowered (p. 221) in orchards. Spots of welcome greenery there still are in the wide area of West and South Kensington; there is a big cemetery to be buried in, and the oval enclosure called "the Boltons" is a pleasant place to live in. But, on the whole, the purlieus of Kensington are depressing. While West (p. 222) Kensington is mainly degraded "Queen Anne," interspersed with railways,—South Kensington has one very general distinguishing mark. It is nearly always stuccoed, and usually also porticoed. Its larger streets, in sun or shine, bear a gloomy likeness to an array of family vaults, awaiting their occupants. The early nineteenth century had, in truth, much to answer for in the way of bricks, mortar, and stucco,—but principally stucco! Occasionally there is some faint relief to the prevailing mode, and here and there some of the smaller roads are brightened in spring by a few acacias and hawthorns; but in the larger streets there is usually the same saddening uniformity, and, when once you have left the vicinity of Kensington Square, you find nothing in quite the same style until you reach Chelsea and Cheyne Walk.

Chelsea, too, was a very picturesque village in old days,—when the "Old Chelsea Bun-House" was a favourite resort of the Court,—when "Ranelagh" and "Vauxhall" flourished in the neighbourhood,—and when the then fashionable race of London's "jolly young watermen" for their annual badge attracted, as the Oxford and Cambridge boat-race does nowadays, crowds of spectators.

Ranelagh and Vauxhall! what recollections do they not suggest of Fielding, of Richardson, of Fanny Burney! Both these places of amusement flourished in the latter half of the eighteenth century; Vauxhall (earlier called "Spring Garden"), was, so to speak, the "Earl's Court," the summer resort of the day; just as "Ranelagh," with its famous "Rotunda," was the "Olympia," or winter one. Only, both the ancient pleasure resorts rejoiced in being the centre of fashion, which can hardly be said with truth of the modern ones. Also, from old novelists the reader gathers that it was very dangerous for young ladies to go unprotected to either place, in case of being run away with by bold, bad young men of the "Lovelace" type. Charming young ladies are, perhaps, more of "a drug in the market" now: and they are besides, as a rule, perfectly well able to take care of themselves.

(p. 223) That managers of those days were not more ignorant than their twentieth-century successors of the great art of advertising,—the following extract (from Rogers's Table Talk) shows:

"The proprietors of Ranelagh and Vauxhall used to send decoy-ducks among the ladies and gentlemen who were walking in the Mall, that is, persons attired in the height of fashion, who every now and then would exclaim in a very audible tone, 'What charming weather for Ranelagh,' or 'for Vauxhall!'"

At any rate, old Vauxhall Gardens must have been a charming place for flirtation, for "the windings and turnings in little wildernesses (were) so intricate, that the most experienced mothers often lost themselves in looking for their daughters." Part of the site of old Ranelagh is now appropriated as the gardens of Chelsea Hospital; the site of Vauxhall (in South Lambeth, on the Surrey side) is now covered by St. Peter's, Vauxhall, and its adjacent streets.

Picturesque in old days, Chelsea is a picturesque place still, and much beloved of painters, poets, and littérateurs;—the class of Bloomsbury, and yet with a vast difference. Here it is the "mode" to be select and exclusive. The artistic "cliques" of Tite Street and Cheyne Walk are nothing if not particular. To use the words of the modest prospectus issued by a recent magazine, they "will not tolerate mediocrity." But then no one in Chelsea ever is, or at least allows himself, to be "mediocre." Perhaps the fortunate inhabitants feel, as do the denizens of the academic towns of Oxford and Cambridge, the important weight of the traditions of their literary past. The spirit of Carlyle, Leigh Hunt, Rossetti, George Eliot, yet gives to Chelsea a literary atmosphere that it must at all hazards keep up. A dinner-party in its august cliques is not to be lightly undertaken; you feel, as you enter, that this is indeed a holy place.

Yet, already, the seclusion and selectness of Chelsea's sacred circles are being threatened with invasion by the Philistine. On "the other side of the water,"—where a (p. 224) picturesque suspension-bridge, the Albert Bridge, throws its graceful chain-curves across Chelsea Reach,—lies Battersea Park, surrounded on three sides by myriad red-brick flats of varying cheapness, grown like mushrooms, and still growing. Here is an infant community, a sort of "townier" Bedford Park, whose inhabitants can boast, with some truth, that they are "near the hum of the great city, and yet not of it." Flats are increasing all over London and its immediate suburbs now to such an extent that they are, indeed, in some danger of being overdone. In Central London, the growth of flats is, perhaps, of little consequence; but in suburban or semi-suburban London, the ubiquitous builder is the great bloodsucker of our day; he wanders perpetually, seeking, like the devil, what he may devour; and, on his debatable "Tom Tiddler's Ground," everlastingly "picking up gold and silver." But the builder has done good work too in Chelsea; for does not Cheyne Walk, of picturesque and venerable aspect, with its well-restored, red-brick, white-casemented houses, and fine old ironwork, lend a dignity to the western end of the Chelsea Embankment, to which, lower down, the spacious new red mansions, of ornate yet good style, do no disgrace? And modest Cheyne Row, containing the most famous dwelling in all Chelsea, is built in quiet, unobjectionable style.

Carlyle's quiet-looking residence in Cheyne Row is, practically, a museum of the Soane kind, left exactly as when lived in; the only difference being that here the relics are purely personal. This, a real "house of pilgrimage" to the literary world, is, especially, the resort of cultured Americans, who have even, it is said, had to be mildly dissuaded from sitting on the Sage's chairs and trying on his head-gear.

The "Carlyle House,"—desecrated, indeed, to the scandal of the neighbours, for an interregnum of unholy years by a horde of lawless cats,—is now entirely restored to its pristine neatness and order. It is difficult to imagine any place less museum-like and more pleasantly homely than this silent, peaceful, (p. 225) darkly-panelled abode, which seems,—backed by its green garden-close,—to be indeed a survival of the past, breathing forth still the spirit of the departed seer.

It was thus that Carlyle wrote of the street and the house some seventy years ago:

"The street is flag-pathed, sunk-storied, iron-railed, all old-fashioned and tightly done up; looks out on a rank of sturdy old pollarded (that is, beheaded) lime trees standing there like giants in tawtie wigs (for the new boughs are still young); beyond this a high brick wall; backwards a garden, the size of our back one at Comely Bank, with trees, &c., in bad culture; beyond this, green hayfields and tree avenues, once a bishop's pleasure grounds, an unpicturesque yet rather cheerful outlook. The house itself is eminent, antique, wainscoted to the very ceiling, and has been all new painted and repaired; broadish stair with massive balustrade (in the old style), corniced and as thick as one's thigh; floors thick as a rock, wood of them here and there worm-eaten, yet capable of cleanliness, and still with thrice the strength of a modern floor.... Chelsea is a singular heterogeneous kind of spot, very dirty and contused in some places, quite beautiful in others, abounding in antiquities and the traces of great men—Sir Thomas More, Steele, Smollett, &c. Our Row, which for the last three doors or so is a street, and none of the noblest, runs out upon a 'Parade' (perhaps they call it), running along the shore of the river, a broad highway with huge shady trees, boats lying moored, and a smell of shipping and tan."

Houses where people have lived, and suffered, and experienced, always—at least to those who know—seem to bear the impress of their past owners' personality. Who has not gone back, after long years, to an old dwelling-place, and been haunted by ghosts of the past, lurking in every well-known corner and cranny? There is something of the feeling of standing by a new-made grave,—the grave of what has been, and will never be again. Such feelings, in a minor degree, does the Carlyle house suggest to those who have read and interested themselves in the long-drawn-out tragedy of those joint lives with which it was bound up. In Mrs. Carlyle's pretty "china closet," for instance, you can almost see the slender figure in neat black silk, deftly arranging and dusting; here, in (p. 226) the drawing-room beyond, is her work-table; you can imagine her, most thrifty of housewives, mending a hole in the carpet; there in the chimney-corner she lay on her sofa, silently suffering, while her prophet vociferated his thunders, and puffed clouds of tobacco-smoke into the chimney. Upstairs, on the top story, is the much-written-of "sound-proof" room, which was really not "sound-proof" at all, though it was constructed with that object by Carlyle at a considerable expense. Possibly, "the young lady next door" still plays on her piano; most likely the neighbours' fowls still crow loudly in the mornings (for these minor evils of London are perennial), in full security now and immunity.

A seated statue of Carlyle, by Boehm,—a real work of art,—faces the river in the neighbouring Embankment Gardens, close to the Albert Bridge. Weary, wrinkled, as Tithonus, the old man gazes ever towards the unceasing tides of the river and of humanity, his look troubled, but yet

"majestic in his sadness at the doubtful doom of human kind."

In Upper (or "Little") Cheyne Row, close by the Carlyles, lived for seven years,—the most embarrassed years in his chequered career,—Leigh Hunt. (This was from 1833 to 1840, before the Edwardes Square time.) Could one imagine a greater contrast than these two Cheyne Row households? The Hunts were Bohemians of irrepressible type. Mrs. Carlyle, being, too, in 1834 only at the very beginning of her neat Chelsea housekeeping, and not yet "bug-bitten, bedusted, and bedevilled," was, naturally, very severe on the subject of the Hunts. To judge from the letters of "that clever lady, a little too much given to insecticide" (as Lord Bowen called her), she had but the poorest opinion of her neighbour's wife's "management" and borrowing ways. And here is Carlyle's account of the Hunt ménage:

"Hunt's house" (he says) "excels all you have ever read of—a poetical Tinkerdom, without parallel even in literature. In his family room, where (p. 227) are a sickly large wife and a whole school of well-conditioned wild children, you will find half-a-dozen old rickety chairs gathered from half-a-dozen different hucksters, and all seeming engaged, and just pausing, in a violent hornpipe. On these and around them, and over the dusty table and ragged carpet lie all kinds of litter—books, papers, egg-shells, scissors, and, last night when I was there, the torn heart of a half-quartern loaf. His own room above stairs, into which alone I strive to enter, he keeps cleaner. It has only two chairs, a bookcase, and a writing-table; yet the noble Hunt receives you in his Tinkerdom in the spirit of a king, apologises for nothing, places you in the best seat, takes a window-sill himself if there is no other, and then, folding closer his loose-flowing 'muslin-cloud' of a printed nightgown, in which he always writes, commences the liveliest dialogue on philosophy and the prospects of man (who is to be beyond measure happy yet); which again he will courteously terminate the moment you are bound to go; a most interesting, pitiable, lovable man, to be used kindly, but with discretion."

In the neighbouring Cheyne Walk have, of course, lived many notable people. Innumerable associations cling to this picturesque row of time-darkened red-brick and white-casemented houses, with the graceful wrought-iron railings and tall gates that shut out their trim front-garden plots from the curious Embankment. At No. 4, died George Eliot the novelist, in 1880, a short time after her marriage to Mr. Cross. She had only recently settled into this charming London dwelling, and her voluminous library had only just been arranged for her with infinite care, "as nearly as possible in the same order as at the Priory," when the sudden stroke of Death fell. Daniel Maclise, the early-Victorian painter, a meteor of art, and the wonder of his own age, had lived in this same house before. Cecil Lawson, that young painter of such great promise, who died so early, lived at No. 15; and No. 16, or "Queen's House," is bound up with the memory of that brilliant and wayward genius, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who lived here after his wife's tragic death, and gathered round him his famous miscellany of strange beasts and curious creatures.

"Queen's House," unaltered in essentials, has still a picturesque and old-world air that agrees well with its long (p. 228) history. Its mellowed bricks of sober red have a pleasant solidity. It used to be called "Tudor House," owing to its early traditional associations with Queens Katherine Parr and Elizabeth; for the ancient "Manor House" of Chelsea, built by Henry VIII., occupied, with its gardens, the site of this and the adjoining houses; from No. 18 Cheyne Walk eastward as far as Oakley street. Of the many celebrated people who have lived there, Sir Hans Sloane was the latest;—the old house was pulled down after his death. The basements and gardens of the houses in Cheyne Walk still show traces of this palace of Henry VIII. The present "Queen's House" is said to have been built by Wren, the Royal Architect, for the neglected Queen Catherine of Braganza; and some say that the initials, "C. R.", in twisted iron on the gate and railings, commemorate her tenancy. However that may be, we may take it that Thackeray, in Esmond, describes it as the home of the old "Dowager of Chelsey;" and here, again, we note the curious fact that the fictional interest is at least as strong as the real.

Inside, the house is delightful; all the rooms and passages are heavily wainscoted, and the balustrade of the spiral staircase is of "finest hand-wrought iron." When Rossetti entered on its occupation, Chelsea was still, though literary, comparatively unfashionable; (for in those days the two persuasions did not as yet go hand-in-hand). The poet-painter began a joint tenancy here with Swinburne, George Meredith, and his brother, William Rossetti; of these Swinburne was the most constant, and he wrote many of his best-known poems here. But of Mr. Meredith's would-be-tenancy the following story is told, on the novelist's own authority:—

"Mr. Meredith had, rather irresponsibly, agreed to occupy a couple of rooms in Queen's House.... One morning therefore, shortly after Rossetti moved in,—Mr. Meredith, who was living in Mayfair, drove over to Chelsea to inspect his new apartments. 'It was,' says the unhappy co-tenant, 'past noon. Rossetti had not yet risen, though it was an exquisite day. On the breakfast table, on a huge dish, rested five thick slabs of bacon, upon which five rigid eggs had slowly bled to death! Presently Rossetti (p. 229) appeared in his dressing-gown with slippers down at heel, and devoured the dainty repast like an ogre.' This decided Mr. Meredith. He did not even trouble to look at his rooms, but sent in a quarter's rent that afternoon, and remained in Mayfair, where eggs and bacon were, presumably, more appetizingly served."

Rossetti's studio was at the back of the old house; but what the painter enjoyed most was the garden, an acre in extent in his time, with an avenue of limes opening out on to a broad grass plot;—part, no doubt, of the ancient "Manor House" garden:

"In this garden were kept" (says Mr. Marillier) "most of the animals for which Rossetti had such a curious and indiscriminate affection. How many of them there may have been at any one time does not seem to be stated; but as one died or disappeared, another would be got to replace it, or Rossetti would see some particularly outlandish specimen at Jamrach's and bear it home in triumph to add to the collection. Wire cages were erected for their accommodation, but these were not always proof against escape, especially in the case of the burrowing animals, which had an annoying way of appearing in the neighbours' gardens. Mr. W. M. Rossetti has given from memory a tolerably long list of creatures which at one time or another figured in the menagerie at Cheyne Walk. They included a Pomeranian puppy, an Irish deerhound, a barn-owl named Jessie, another owl named Bobby, rabbits, dormice, hedgehogs, two successive wombats, a Canadian marmot or woodchuck, an ordinary marmot, kangaroos and wallabies, a deer, two or more armadillos, a white mouse with her brood, a raccoon, squirrels, a mole, peacocks, wood-owls, Virginian owls, horned owls, a jackdaw, a raven, parakeets, a talking parrot, chameleons, grey lizards, Japanese salamanders, and a laughing jackass. Besides these there was a certain famous bull, a zebu, which cost Rossetti £20 (he borrowed it from his brother), and which manifested such animosity in confinement that it had to be disposed of at once. The strident voices of the peacocks were so little appreciated in the neighbourhood that Lord Cadogan caused a paragraph to be inserted in all his leases thereafter forbidding these birds to be kept."

The house, as I said, is very little changed,—though Mr. Haweis, its recent occupant, added a statue of Mercury, poised on the ball at its gable apex,—and its brickwork is said by Mr. Marillier to have "had an older, more natural look in Rossetti's (p. 230) day." And "in front the unembanked river, and ... the boating bustle and longshore litter of the old days added picturesqueness to the view, which in all essentials was the same as the aged Turner had looked out upon from his little house not very far away." Ghosts,—of Katherine Parr and others,—have, not unnaturally, been accredited to "Queen's House." But they do not appear to have survived Rossetti's tenancy; for Mr. Haweis, who lived and entertained here for 14 years, was not disturbed by them, "even though he unearthed the entrance of a mysterious subterranean passage, which was believed to have communicated with the Lord High Admiral's House;"—a sort of semi-royal cryptoporticus of intrigue! Mr. Haweis also discovered the antique watergate of the former stately mansion—leading to the stone steps where in old days barges were moored,—the shelving river banks extending in those days far nearer than now. The great thickness of the walls of Queen's House may, indeed, be partly accounted for by the necessity for protection against floods; Mr. Haweis, who sacrilegiously cut a window to light the spiral staircase, had to pierce three feet of solid brickwork.

Here is a funny story, retailed by Mr. Marillier, of Rossetti and the advancing Age of Progress:

"The only bridge along the reach" (he says) "was old Chelsea Bridge, concerning which Mr. George Meredith tells me a pleasant story. One day there called upon Mr. Rossetti a pompous individual of the vestryman class, with a paper to which he requested his signature. 'We are getting up a petition,' he said, 'to replace the old wooden bridge by a handsome new iron one, with gilt decorations, and I am sure that you as an artist, Mr. Rossetti, will lend us the weight of your name for so desirable an object.' Rossetti's language, on occasion, could be more forcible than polite, and his unvarnished reception of the vestryman's proposal caused that rash but well-meaning person to retire with extreme precipitation."

Of all his many pets, Rossetti was perhaps especially devoted to his wombats. To one of these he addressed the lines:

(p. 231) "O how the family affections combat
Within this breast, and each hour flings a bomb at
My burning soul! Neither from owl nor from bat
Can peace be gained until I clasp my wombat."

At the same time, it must be confessed, the poet regretted his pet's inveterate tendencies toward "drain architecture." Rossetti's domestic proclivities must, one thinks, have rendered him a terror to his neighbours! Indeed, the only London inhabitant,—if we except the celebrated "Lady of the Cats" in the desecrated Carlyle House,—who can be said to have at all emulated him in that line, was Frank Buckland the great naturalist, who, in his house, No. 34, Albany Street, Regent's Park, kept "a museum and a menagerie in one." "His house was full of crawling, creeping, barking, flying, swimming, and squeaking things." When he was at church one Sunday, "Dick, the rat," he relates, "stole away two five-pound notes from my drawers." Among other creatures Mr. Buckland kept, like Rossetti, a laughing jackass, who "would never laugh," and "who was only provoked to a titter by the consumption of a toothsome mouse"; this pet escaped from its cage one day and was found asleep on the bed of a gentleman near the Hampstead Road. But Mr. Buckland could at any rate excuse his vagaries on scientific grounds, for he was trying to acclimatize foreign animals suitable for food in this country.

The fleeting tide of fashion is now at its height in Chelsea; the historic old houses of Cheyne Walk are let at enormous rents, and, year by year, tall, prosaic red-brick edifices spring up like mushrooms all round them. A few old "bits" of Chelsea still remain unaltered,—but very few. The old church, and the rectory, the home of the Kingsleys, with its charming old walled garden, are still delightful; the embankment houses, standing back behind their gardens and ironwork, are fine in their dignified, time-hallowed red-brick; Paradise Row, that picturesque oasis of old dwellings that breaks the ugliness of (p. 232) the modern Queen's Road West, yet bears witness to the charm of old Chelsea. In humble Paradise Row, (now part of Queen's Road West, and converted to laundries and other uses;)—in Paradise Row, with its quaint tiled roofs, dormer windows, and high white gate-posts, many well-known people have lived; it was even connected, more or less, with royalty, for in 1692 it was the dwelling place of the first Duke of St. Albans, Nell Gwynne's son. Chelsea has always been associated with the Stuarts. When it was but a picturesque riverside village,—fishermen's huts diversified by a few old palaces,—divided yet by space of green fields from the storm and stress of the greater London,—they brought it wealth and fashion, and caused its gardens to spread in fragrant greenery down to the water's edge. The Chelsea of the Restoration had the patronage of the aristocracy, as well as that of the Royal favourites; here the King's Mistresses flaunted their grandeur, their extravagance, their impecuniosity before the world. It was in comparatively humble Paradise Row that the notorious Duchesse de Mazarin lived in her later and bankrupt stage; here she entertained royally, and was, besides, in arrears with the Parish Rates. At No. 2 in Paradise Row lived that Lord Robartes, Earl of Radnor, who, like the "Vicar of Bray," "trimmed" so judiciously through the Jacobite wars. This house (No. 2.), was, by the way, said by Pepys to be "the prettiest contrived house he ever saw in his life."

King's Road, Chelsea,—now shabby and mediocre enough, but once the "Merry Monarch's" own private drive, and said to have been made by him as an easy access to his favourites' suburban resorts,—leads, finally, to Fulham, and to the old house called Sandford Manor, traditionally ascribed to Nell Gwynne's tenancy. This ancient mansion, now divided into two residences, is still unharmed, though, owing to its too close proximity to the Gas Works, it is now unhappily threatened with demolition. London, as we know, has ever (p. 233) been more utilitarian than antiquarian; and perhaps the old house owes its escape so far to the fact that "it has been used successively as farmhouse, pottery, cloth manufactory, and patent cask factory."—(Mr. Reginald Blunt, An Historical Hand-Book to Chelsea.) Nevertheless, its pilastered doorway exists yet, and, internally, it still boasts its square wainscoted hall and old staircase, much as they were when King Charles, as the story goes, rode his pony up the stair for a freak. The old walnut trees, said to have been planted by Nell Gwynne herself, are gone; but an antiquated mulberry-tree still defies the railway in front of it, and the awful Gas Works behind it—a very Scylla and Charybdis of encroaching modernity! A delightful old house, and yet, surely, all its historical glamour and romance would hardly enable even an enthusiast to take up his abode there.

The old Church of Chelsea, otherwise St. Luke's,—whose tower of darkened red-brick lends such picturesque effect to the Battersea reach beyond the Albert-Bridge,—is, both for its antiquity and its monuments, one of the most interesting churches in London. Its interior, never having been "restored," has a very old-world look; and it still retains, as when it was built, all the simplicity of the remote village church. Henry Kingsley, whose boyhood was spent in the delightful old Chelsea rectory, fittingly commemorates his father's church in his best-known story, "The Hillyars and the Burtons." "Four hundred years of memory," he makes Joe Burton say, "are crowded into that old church, and the great flood of change beats round the walls, and shakes the door in vain, but never enters. The dead stand thick together there, as if to make a brave resistance to the moving world outside, which jars upon their slumber. It is a church of the dead." Dean Stanley greatly loved this church: he used to call it "one of the chapters of his abbey." Here Sir Thomas More worshipped in the days of his power, and here, in the chapel that he built, is his monument. More lived himself near by, (p. 234) in a now vanished mansion called "Beaufort House," where, in his "fair garden," he received his friend Erasmus, and also, his king—Henry walking with his arm lovingly placed about his favourite's neck—that neck he was so soon to dissever. In Chelsea Church are the famous "chained books," Sir Hans Sloane's gift; the Bible, the Homilies, and Foxe's Book of Martyrs; enormous volumes heavily bound in leather with strong clasps, chained, underneath a bookcase, to a quaint lectern, where they may be read. This strange custom recalls the monkish days, when printed books were so rare and costly. The names of the guardian spirits of Chelsea, such as Lady Jane Cheyne and Sir Hans Sloane,—respectively lady and lord of the manor, after whom so many streets, squares, and courts have been christened,—recur here too on elaborate monuments and sarcophagi. Both were great benefactors to their parish church. Sir Hans Sloane's daughter was afterwards Lady Cadogan, and hence it was that the property came into the possession of the Cadogan family.

Sir Hans Sloane is further commemorated in Chelsea by his gift to the Apothecaries' Company of the "Physick Garden," sometimes also called the "Botanic Garden." This pleasant green spot, barred by high railings, and intersected by many paths, used to contain, and contains this day, so far as may be, "all the herbs of Materia Medica which can grow in the open air, for the instruction of medical students." The old gardens have bravely withstood the vandals and iconoclasts of modern Chelsea, as well as the attacks of builders, seeking what they may devour; but the growth of bricks and mortar round about them has but ill suited the delicate plants, which, it is to be feared, grow now but feebly for the most part. It is long since the days of the Stuarts,—days when the gardens of Chelsea could still grow roses. Nevertheless, the "Physick Garden" is still delightful for purposes quite other than those for which it was first made; and, fortunately, the terms of the bequest render its alienation difficult and unlikely. Perhaps, in the (p. 235) happy future, who knows? the garden may be opened altogether to the Chelsea public. Of its original cedar trees, planted by Sir Hans Sloane in 1683, but one now remains, and this is very decrepit; in its decrepitude it is, however, still quite as picturesque as it could ever have been in its prime. The river, in pre-Embankment days, flowed close by the Physick Garden, the modern roadway and parade being land embanked and reclaimed from the river. The Watergate to Sir Hans's garden has, in consequence, disappeared; but his statue, erected in 1733, still stands, bewigged and robed, chipped and stained, on its pedestal by the historic cedar tree.

Close by was the site of Chelsea Ferry, and it was near here that the Old Swan Tavern, with its attractive wooden balconies projecting over the river, and an entrance from Queen's Road, used to stand. This was the famous tavern, house of call for barges, and resort of so many distinguished pleasure parties, that used to serve as goal for the annual race,—prototype of the modern Oxford and Cambridge race,—that was rowed by the young Thames watermen for the prizes of the "Doggett" badge and the coat full of pockets and guineas. The tavern was destroyed in 1873 to make room for the new Embankment, which has so completely changed the aspect of all this part of the river. To quote a writer in the Art Journal for 1881:—

"No doubt the Embankment at Chelsea was needed; no doubt the broad margin of mud which used to fringe old Cheyne Walk was very unhealthy in summer-time; yet no one who cares for what is quaint and picturesque, and who clings to relics of the old days of which we shall soon have no traces left, can recall the river strand at Chelsea, with its wharfs and its water-stairs, its barges and its altogether indescribable but most picturesque aspect, and not feel as he looks at the trim even wall of the Embankment, and the broad monotonous pavement above it, even if he does not say in words, 'Oh, the difference to me!'"

On the site of the ancient tavern is now built "Old Swan House," a modern-antique mansion designed in a charming style by Mr. Norman Shaw. A few paces westward from (p. 236) Old Swan House, the modern red-brick Tite Street, full of artists' studios and of the elect, runs up towards Queen's Road. Tite Street is, so far as its externals go, somewhat dark and shut in by its tall houses; but it more than atones for any outside dulness by the excessive light and learning of its interiors. "The White House," near the lower end of the street on the right, was built for Mr. Whistler. Further up the street—also on the right—is "Gough House," a fine old mansion of Charles II.'s time, now most happily adapted to the needs of the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children.

Close to the site of the old "Rotunda" of Ranelagh, is the famous "Royal Military Hospital," usually called "Chelsea Hospital," and made familiar to all the world outside London by Herkomer's great pictures, "The Last Muster" and "Chelsea Pensioners." It was John Evelyn who first gained Charles II.'s consent to the erection of a Royal Hospital for veteran soldiers on this site,—though local tradition, apparently without any reason at all, persists in attributing its foundation to Nell Gwynne, who, with all her frailties, was ever the people's darling, and especially a Chelsea darling. The Hospital building—an open quadrangle with wings,—was designed by Wren. In colour as well as form, it is solid and reposeful—a noble example of Wren's style and taste. The gardens, open to the public during the day, have something of the calm regularity of old Dutch palaces. But then Chelsea, in building as in horticulture, had always a tendency to the neat Dutch formalism of William and Mary.

A little north of Chelsea Hospital, between the modern Union Street and Westbourne Street, stood, in the days of the Georges, the "Old Original Chelsea Bun-House," that was for so long the resort of eighteenth-century fashion. Hither used to drive George I. and his consort, Caroline of Anspach; George III. and Queen Charlotte also came here in person to fetch their buns home, which, of course, set the fashion. The old house had a picturesque colonnade; but in 1839 new proprietors (p. 237) rebuilt it; which rash proceeding, however, killed the custom.

Since Stuart and early Hanoverian days, times have changed for Chelsea and Kensington; they are now,—as more distant Hammersmith and Fulham are rapidly becoming, and as Putney and Dulwich soon threaten to be,—integral parts of the "monster London," that, like a great irresistible flood, in spreading absorbs all the peaceful little pools that lie in its path. The squalor and the gloom, as well as the splendour and the riches of the great city, are now their heritage. Never more will the waves lap peacefully at Chelsea along the river's shelving shores; never again will the streets and squares of old Kensington regain their former seclusion and calm. Instead, a modern, and, let us hope, a yearly more beautiful city will spread, gradually and certainly, over all the available area. Chelsea and Kensington in the past have had many glories; who can say what splendid fortune may yet be theirs? And we who lament the inevitable changes of time, must remember that they are still living cities, hallowed by their past, interesting by their present, but whose greater and more enduring magnificence is yet to come.

(p. 238) CHAPTER XI

"Some love the Chelsea river gales,
And the slow barges' ruddy sails,
And these I'll woo when glamour fails
In Bloomsbury.

"Enough for me in yonder square
To see the perky sparrows pair,
Or long laburnum gild the air
In Bloomsbury.

"Enough for me in midnight skies
To see the moons of London rise,
And weave their silver fantasies
In Bloomsbury.

"Oh, mine in snows and summer heats,
These good old Tory brick-built streets!
My eye is pleased with all it meets
In Bloomsbury."

The German Band.

The peculiar and somewhat old-world charm of Bloomsbury is, like that of Chelsea, only made known to her devotees. To the visitor to London, no less than to the fashionable dweller in the West-End, it is a grimy, sordid, squalid region, where slums abound, where "no nice people live," and where mere "going out to dinner" necessitates either the paying of a half-crown cab fare, or the sacrifice of an hour in the bone-shaking omnibus. Hence arises the custom of saying that "Bloomsbury is so far away." Of course, the distance or proximity of (p. 239) any part of London depends on what one chooses for the centre; but, taking either Oxford Circus or Charing-Cross—surely natural enough centres—as the diverging point, Bloomsbury is more central than any residential part of the metropolis. But even at the play poor Bloomsbury is maligned; and this, too, notwithstanding the fact that it is the chosen abode of so many of the theatrical profession. "They call the place where I live, Bloomsbury," says Mr. Todman, the old second-hand bookseller of Liberty Hall, "though why Bloomsbury, I (p. 240) don't know; for there ain't so much bloomin' as there is buryin'," (this, by the way, is a two-edged libel, for Bloomsbury being on high ground is notoriously healthy). And then the same gentleman goes on to remark, "they call my 'ouse a ramblin' one, though why it ain't rambled away to some nicer place, I can't think." We get, from the same play, a further impression that the Bloomsburians live mainly on a dish called "Smoked 'Addick." Perhaps the dramatist was led to this conclusion from the very pervading smell of fried fish that fills certain "unlovely streets" of cookshops or boarding-houses; where, however, in my experience the 'addick aroma has always yielded the palm to that of "sheeps'-trotters" or "stewed eels." Be this as it may, the old solidly built squares and houses of Bloomsbury have a dignity of their own. Some of the streets have, it is true, "come down in the world;" nevertheless, in their decay they retain a mournful look of having known better days,—a look that even their tenement rooms,—their broken windows, half-stuffed with paper,—their shock-headed dirty inmates,—cannot altogether abolish or destroy. Dickens, who always saw the human side of everything, has often noticed the peculiar pathos of some of these old, world-forgotten houses. In his inimitable Sketches by Boz he gives a graphic account of the gradual decay of a house "over the water." Here, the process is somewhat similar. First, it changes from a private dwelling-house to a "select boarding-house"; then, it becomes a friendly, social affair, a "Home from Home"; then, its area steps become dirtier, its cook sits on them, shelling peas, and exchanging jokes with the milkman; it blossoms out in gaudy paint, like a decorator's shop; cracked flowerpots, of odd shapes and sizes, adorn its windows; and it descends, by slow degrees, yet further in the scale of "gentility," till finally it becomes a mere tenement house, its juvenile population going in and out with jugs of beer, its area railings hung round with pewter milk-pots, and its door ornamented with a row of half-broken bell-chains for (p. 241) the different occupants. And, if you should chance, too hurriedly, to ring one of these in search of a special inhabitant, ten to one a cross, dirty-faced female will appear, grumbling: "Can't yer see as this 'ere is Mrs. Smith's bell?—Two pair back—ye've rung the wrong 'un!"

The Bloomsbury houses are pathetic, however, not so much from age, as because their glory has departed,—because they have had their day, and ceased to be; for, in the matter of actual age, few of them date back farther than the end of the eighteenth century. Queen Square, indeed, which is far prior to any of its neighbouring squares, was laid out in the reign of Queen Anne, in whose honour it was named, and whose statue still adorns it. It is a curiously shaped square, for, though enclosed, no houses were built at the northern end; this arrangement was made for the sake of the fine view of the hills of Highgate and Hampstead, that the square then commanded. Strange transformation! The Bloomsbury that we know was then all fields; the houses of Queen Square being, so to speak, the last sentinels of the London of that day! Rocques' map of 1746 gives no houses beyond the northern end of Southampton Row. Between Great Russell Street and the present Euston Road, was then open country,—called, first, the "Long Fields,"—then "Southampton Fields," or "Lamb's Conduit Fields." Earlier, they were famous for their peaches and their snipes; but in about 1800 they were mainly waste ground, where brawling and disorderly sports took place, and where superstition asserted that, two brothers having fought there about a lady, the footsteps they made in their death-struggle would never again grow grass or herb! "The Brothers' Steps," the place was called, or, "The Field of the Forty Footsteps." The present Gordon Square is said to be built upon the exact spot. The place had, however, always been rife with superstition; for here, on Midsummer-Day, in the 17th century, young women would come looking for a plantain leaf, to put under their pillows, so that they should dream of their (p. 242) future husbands. From these fields could be seen, in 1746 and far later, but two or three nobles' mansions, enclosed in their gardens,—such as "Bedford House," pulled down to build Bedford Square,—"Baltimore House," long since built into Russell Square,—and "Montague House," now rebuilt as the British Museum;—with the old "Whitefield's Tabernacle" appearing through the trees towards the gardens of the ancient manor of "Toten Court," which gave its romantic name to the essentially unromantic Tottenham Court Road. (The ugly "Adam and Eve" public-house, at the junction of Euston Road and Tottenham Court Road, now occupies the place both of the old tavern of that name, and the older manor-house.)

The name "Bloomsbury" is, however, of more remote date; it is, like most London appellations, a "corruption," and comes from "Blemundsbury," the manor of the De Blemontes, or Blemunds, in the reign of Henry III. Later, the manor of Bloomsbury came, together with that of the neighbouring St. Giles, into the possession of the Earls of Southampton, till in 1668 it passed with Lady Rachel,—daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, last Earl, by her marriage with Lord William Russell,—into the family of the Dukes of Bedford, the present owners. Lord William Russell,—who was beheaded, without a fair trial, in Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1683, for supposed connection with the famous Rye House Plot,—lived in Bedford House (formerly Southampton House), on the northern side of Bloomsbury, originally Southampton, Square. (The house occupied the whole north side of the square until pulled down in 1802, after the illustrious Russells had lived there for more than 200 years.) This was the house admired by Evelyn, in an entry in his diary of February 9, 1665: "Dined at my Lord Treasurer's, the Earle of Southampton, in Blomesbury, where he was building a noble square or piazza, a little towne; some noble rooms, a pretty cedar chapel, a naked garden to the north, but good aire". It was at first intended that Lord William Russell should suffer in Bloomsbury Square, opposite his own (p. 243) residence; but this was apparently opposed by the King as too indecent.... Poor, heroic Lady Rachel Russell! She lived here in retirement till her death, at the age of 86, in the reign of George I. She had, indeed, like Polycrates, given her treasured "ring", and could fear no more from fate. The great landlords of London may get their "unearned increment" easily enough now, yet they had to pay the penalty of greatness in the past!

Bloomsbury Square, though now rapidly becoming simply a square of offices and business premises generally, was, in the time of Charles I, the most fashionable and most admired Square in London. Pope, later, alludes to it in the following couplet:

"In Palace yard, at nine, you'll find me there—
At ten, for certain, sir, in Bloomsbury Square—"

Here, in less ancient days, lived the great judge, Lord Mansfield, whose house was burned during the Gordon Riots, in 1780; the mob threw his pictures, valuable books, and manuscripts, out of the windows and made a bonfire of them, while he and his wife escaped for their lives by the back of the building. Sir Hans Sloane, the founder of the British Museum, lived at one time in this square; also, Sir Richard Steele, who, giving here a grand entertainment during financial distresses, was waited on by bailiffs disguised as lacqueys; and, finally, Isaac d'Israeli, the father of Lord Beaconsfield: who wrote his Curiosities of Literature at No. 6. "His only amusement," says his son, who, as an infant, used to toddle round the square with his nursemaid, "was to ramble about the booksellers' shops," still so frequent in this vicinity. About 1760, the square was still so countrified that the Duchess of Bedford used to send out cards to her guests, inviting them to Bedford House to "take tea and walk in the fields"; while their coachmen "were regaled with the perfume of the flower-beds of the gardens in Great Russell Street." Within the enclosure is now a bronze statue of Charles James Fox, by Westmacott.

(p. 244) These old London squares, with their tall plane trees, their luxuriant and well-ordered garden enclosures, convey a delightful sense, even now, of leisure and repose. No one in Bloomsbury, Tavistock, or Russell Squares would imagine that behind those green masses of foliage,—beyond the blue mist into which they melt so picturesquely,—lies that great "cauldron" or "fermenting vat," as Carlyle would say, of busy London. Yet it is there, but a stone's throw, indeed, away. In the squares the birds twitter and chirp; vistas of entwined branches, leafy glades, hide the glaring continuity of the streets and houses; you might think yourself in some suburban haunt of peace. Even the rumble of the wheels in neighbouring Southampton Row and Holborn seems, in Russell Square in summer, like a soothing tune "to rock a child asleep." You feel in the world, yet not of it; close to the "mighty pulse of the machine," yet in your garden enclosed, and at rest.... And in the back gardens of the houses themselves (for some of the old mansions yet have gardens, entered occasionally from side streets by mysterious Jekyll and Hyde doorways) it is the same. I know a "backyard" that still boasts its mulberry tree, bursting its fat green buds gaily in the spring; and another that can flaunt, when "soft April wakes," its hedge of fragrant lilac. The "daughters of the varying year" deign to notice us even in Bloomsbury, though they may not, perhaps, condescend to stay with us quite so long. (But then we do not ourselves, as a rule, pay such long visits in London as in the country.) Still, the crocus "breaks like fire" at our feet in the spring; the graceful bells of the foxglove usher us pleasantly into the autumn; and in London, imprisoned in brick, who shall say how we love our "prison flower?"

The literary associations of Bloomsbury are yet another feature of its charm. Though Russell Square and its surroundings generally are being gradually rebuilt and improved, yet in some places you can still see the actual old houses standing that, in the century's early years, were the homes of celebrated (p. 245) men. Thus, No. 65 in Russell Square was the abode of Sir Thomas Lawrence, the painter, and here he received the distinguished sitters, the eminent men and fair ladies who have made his name famous. Here, for instance, at this common-place house door, while the Russian general Platoff was having his portrait painted inside, were posted his attendant Cossacks, "mounted" says an eye-witness, "on their small white horses, with their long spears grounded," standing as sentinels at the door of the great painter. Lawrence died here in 1830, and the house is not in essentials altered since his day. At No. 5 in the square lived, from 1856 to 1862, Frederick Denison Maurice, the "Christian Socialist," and here he held his famous "prophetic breakfasts." At No. 56 Mary Russell Mitford stayed in 1836. The house near by—No. 66—is a curious survival of the days when Bloomsbury was a centre of fashion. Its enormous size, its palatial reception rooms, its tall corridors, now deserted and solitary except for a few colossal statues in niches, all suggest the glare of light, the sound of music, the rustle of fine dresses that filled it in old days. Hawthorne and Dickens suggested that old houses felt and suffered; the same idea intrudes itself upon us here. The rusted iron arches that used in the old days to support lamps,—now darkened,—still hang here and there in Bloomsbury streets; and, in some cases the actual iron torch-extinguishers that were used when sedan chairs were in fashion, remain to tell their story of ancient grandeur. Nothing is in its way more plaintive than an old and desolate house of this kind; its glory departed, its decorations falling to decay, its "garden" a wilderness of walls, roofs, and broken bottles, its rooms, even, perchance, in course of being broken up into solicitors' or other offices. Bloomsbury Square, indeed—the square nearest to Holborn—has, in this way, entirely merged into offices, the residents being practically ousted. But Russell Square, despite the new Russell Hotel that rises palatially along its north-eastern block, and despite the large Pitman's School of Shorthand at its south-eastern (p. 246) corner, is still almost entirely residential. None of its modern innovations can altogether abolish or destroy the spirit and feeling of Thackeray that it breathes. Here lived old Osborne, the purse-proud banker; there is going on old Sedley's sale; I can see the packing-cases, the "loafers" and the vans at this moment; and here, by these very prosaic green square railings, is Amelia, sad and black garbed, looking with tear-filled eyes for her boy George. Now that she comes into the light, I see that she is only a nurse from one of the Great Ormond Street or Queen Square hospitals, or, perhaps, a "Salvation Army" lassie; but for the moment she was Amelia, poke-bonnet and all, to the life. Even the historic square railings are just the same as when Thackeray drew them, and Amelia beside them, in ch. 50 of Vanity Fair. The numerous pupils of Pitman's Shorthand Institute now flock, unprotected, down Southampton Row, where little Amelia and her kind, in the early years of the century, walked, followed by "Black Sambo," with an enormous cane. Little Amelia, whose simple strolls in the square were guarded by the beadle; and before whose door, when asleep, "the watchman sang the hours." The big houses—their fireplaces and ceilings often decorated by Adam, their "powder-closets," curious relics of Queen Anne's time, still existing, in many cases, behind the drawing-rooms—yet flaunt their enormous kitchens, laundries, and basements, fitted with endless bedrooms and offices for butlers and retainers, such as old Mr. Sedley's "Black Sambo" and his tribe. They are out of date in this region now, but the Bedford estate will not remodel them entirely so long as their outer walls are solid; and that these mansions existed long before the modern jerry-building days, their firm walls give abundant proof.

But change is at work everywhere in this region. Flats ascending to a terrific height are erected in every direction; of these "Bedford Court," with its foreign-looking inner glazed courtyard is the most outwardly picturesque. It does not seem long since the "gates and bars" went; and soon, no doubt, a new (p. 247) Electric Railway will continue its tunnels and stations along Southampton Row from Holborn to King's Cross.

The principal reason, of course, for the modern unfashionableness of Bloomsbury is to be found in its inhabitants; it is, practically, a city of cheap boarding-houses. It will be interesting to see how the big new Russell Hotel in Russell-Square will affect these. Though boarding-houses are vetoed in the big squares, they abound everywhere else. They are chiefly frequented by Americans and Germans, who, through the late summer and autumn, throng the streets, generally discoverable by their red "Baedekers," no less than by their speech. It is, in fact, in July or August, more common, just here, to hear German spoken than English. London, it has been ascertained, attracts now a greater number of tourists than any other place in the world, and these tourists mostly lodge in Bloomsbury. The theatrical world, also, lives largely about here—it is so convenient for the theatres; but it prefers, for its part, private lodgings, or flats. Yet, even with all this yearly influx from other nations, Bloomsbury is wonderfully little known to the world of shops or of fashion. Oxford Circus is only distant ten minutes from the Russell Hotel, yet "where is Russell Square?" is no uncommon question, even in a shop as big as Peter Robinson's. "Where is Russell Square?" is, indeed, an almost classical question; for it was made in so august a place as the House of Commons, by so omniscient a being as Mr. Croker. It is crushing—but so it is. You might as well, in the world's eyes, live at Fulham or Kennington Park. "Why do you live so far away?" is a question constantly asked of the Bloomsbury resident by people from distant Battersea or Campden Hill, whom it would be useless to try to undeceive. "The very absence of any knowledge of this locality," said a noted wit, "is accounted a mark of high breeding." Among those who have spoken despitefully of Bloomsbury is Mr. Gladstone. Sir Algernon West records a conversation about Panizzi, and his "sad, ill days before his (p. 248) death," "which Mr. Gladstone attributed greatly to the fact of his living in Bloomsbury Square." But, with all respect to Mr. Gladstone, it may be submitted that Panizzi would have died anywhere, while, on the other hand, he could not have lived anywhere except in his beloved Museum-land. Bloomsbury, too, is Whig territory, and it was too bad of Mr. Gladstone to identify it with the Inferno.

Its social glory may have passed away from Bloomsbury, but pathetic little scenes from a lower strata of life daily enact themselves here before our eyes. For the poor we have, indeed, always with us. Here, for instance, to a certain humble street corner, has come for many years an old blind man who sells collar-studs. He arrives punctually every morning, led along carefully by his wife. Once arrived, his mode of procedure is always the same.

He first goes to an iron railing attached to an uninviting blind wall, and proceeds, with a key, to extract thence a rickety wooden seat, padlocked on to the railing. This he takes to his accustomed spot, an old hoarding of ancient date, where he is allowed by sufferance of the authorities; when the hoarding is removed, the old man will lose his means of living unless he find another haunt. His wife helps him across the road, and leaves him to sit patiently all day, east wind, wet, or shine, selling studs. At five o'clock she again appears to fetch him home to tea. Once I witnessed a little domestic drama between the two. It arose thus. The old man had been talking one day to another woman,—a decrepit old waif she was,—and, when the wife returned, the poor old husband had to expiate his flirtation sorely. His wife "let him have it" all the way over the return crossing, undeterred by passing 'buses, or cabmens' jeers, from "speaking her mind"; and she was still hard at it, to judge from her thin shoulders and her gesticulations, as they passed out of sight together into the foggy night.

The Pavement Artist.

"Pavement artists," too, select the near neighbourhood of the (p. 249) squares as their favoured haunt. These "open-air pastellists," as they have been called, are a curious, unshaven, dilapidated race, with an indescribable "come-down-in-the world" look about them; and their lot seems hardly an enviable one. Their "plant," it is true, is not large; a few coloured chalks and a soft duster form all their necessary stock-in-trade. Gifted often with a fair amount of technical ability, they lead the passerby to wonder, whether, given happier circumstances and a less vivid acquaintance with the bar of the public house, they might not now be exhibiting their efforts on the sacred walls of the Royal Academy. Not that the Royal Academy pictures themselves would, for that matter, if they could be painted on the pavement, draw so many coppers as the lurid (p. 250) representations of railway accidents, or the scenes of domestic bliss, or the "Mother's Grave" (the public love sentiment and pathos), or even the innocent mackerel or salmon, "as like as like," that form the répertoire of the pavement artist. His wares, to catch pennies, have to be highly coloured, if nothing else. His trials are many; dust and rain efface his pictures, drunken navvies fall foul of him, cramp attacks his legs, and east wind benumbs his fingers, till, poor wretch, no wonder that he repairs, with his hardly won money, to the nearest public-house,—the poor man's refuge. He is, on the other hand, not obliged to rise early or to work after dark, and it is said that occasionally his takings average as much as 4/6 per day, although an amateur who recently tried his hand at the business only gained 3-1/2d, a violent headache, and nearly a sunstroke. There is, it is true, a new and degenerate kind of Pavement Artist, who, instead of painstakingly bedaubing the same "pitch" day after day, brings out with him a series of highly-coloured oil-pictures on cardboard; the public, however, have already discovered him to be a hollow fraud. There is also said to be in existence one young lady pavement artist, in sailor hat and neat get-up (though where her present "pitch" may be I know not), who labels herself proudly "the only one in England."

That Londoners are great lovers of the picturesque may be seen from the admiring crowd that surround the pavement artist; they prefer Nature, however, brought "home" to them in crude and garish colours. Yet, as likely as not, when the shabby pastellist has put away chalks and duster for the day, and betaken himself to his nightly refuge in Soho or Hatton Garden, the sky behind him will robe itself in intense hues of orange, purple, and crimson that baffle imitation, and before which even pavement-art fades into insignificance. For the sunset-skies of London are a marvel. All through the varying year they are beautiful, but in September and October they are at their best. The sun either sinks, a bold red disc, (p. 251) behind the black houses and still blacker plane trees, or it clothes its retreat with bright purple and madder clouds, against which, with their golden background, the tree branches show dark like prison-bars. Was it perhaps, on these sunset-skies that Christina Rossetti gazed when she wrote her most inspired poems? And was it from the small window of her gloomy little house in Torrington Square, "the small upper back bedroom whose only outlook," her biographer says, "was to the tall dingy walls of adjacent houses;" was it from here that,—looking with rapt gaze over to the neighbouring stables and mews,—she saw, in fancy, the angel choirs of which she wrote?

"... Multitudes—multitudes—stood up in bliss,
Made equal to the angels, glorious, fair;
With harps, palms, wedding-garments, kiss of peace,
And crowned and haloed hair."

Indeed it is not unlikely that she did see them, for the true poet's mind sees what it brings, to the exclusion of all meaner things. There is a pretty story told, in this connection, of William Blake, the poor, half-crazed poet-painter of Fountain Court. "What," he said, "it will be questioned" (of me) "when the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like a guinea? Oh! no, no! I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host, crying 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!' I question not my corporeal eye any more than I would question a window concerning a sight. I look through it, and not with it." And thus it was with Miss Rossetti. She, the patient, noble, suffering woman,—suffering, latterly, from a long and painful illness,—lay, day after day silent and uncomplaining, in that dismal little London house where she had spent nineteen years of her life,—her soul ever beating its prison-bars. Near by in the neighbouring Woburn Square, is Christ Church, where Miss Rossetti during her life was a constant attendant, and whose incumbent, the Rev. J. J. Glendinning Nash, was her close friend. Here her impressive (p. 252) funeral service (where her own poems were sung) took place on January 2nd 1895. The whole of this part of London is bound up with the lives of the talented Rossetti family. Christina, her mother, and aunts, lived at No 30 Torrington Square—and before that at 5 Endsleigh Gardens; W. M. Rossetti, the younger brother and literary critic, lived near by, close to Regent's Park; and Dante Rossetti, the chief of this family of poets, was, as we know, a thorough Londoner, and never even visited Italy at all. One of the most curious things about London is the way in which, despite its gloom, it inspires and stimulates the poet's thought, "moulding the secret gold." Else why is it that so many beautiful things are produced there? Even Mr. Austin Dobson's Muse, he complains, "pouts" when abroad, though "she is not shy on London stones!" The many-hued beauties of the country do not affect us as do the grey London stones and streets, eloquent with association and history.

If the Rossetti family are deeply connected with Bloomsbury streets and squares,—William Morris, the poet of The Earthly Paradise, the Socialist, designer, prophet of the House Beautiful, is hardly less so. It was in unromantic Bloomsbury that his ideas of beauty were mainly nourished; Oxford Street, Upton, and Kelmscott came later. Bloomsbury, whose drawing and painting schools are immortalised in Thackeray's novels (vide "Gandish's," in The Newcomes,), has always been more or less a focus of art teaching. Bohemian in old days, it is mildly Bohemian still, as any one who frequents the art-schools of the neighbourhood will testify. When Morris first left Oxford, in 1856, he and Burne-Jones took rooms together in Upper Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, as being a convenient locality for the study of art. Here they fell in with other kindred spirits, such as Holman Hunt and Rossetti. "Topsy" (Morris) "and I lived together," Burne Jones wrote in 1856, "in the quaintest room in all London, hung with brasses of old knights and drawings of Albert Dürer." In the following year (p. 253) (1857) they removed to 17 Red Lion Square, a house already consecrated to the early pioneers of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood:

"It was a first-floor set of three rooms; the large room in front looked north, and its window had been heightened up to the ceiling to adapt it for use as a studio: behind it was a bedroom, and behind that another small bedroom or powdering closet. Till the spring of 1859 this was their London residence and working place, and it is round Red Lion Square that much of the mythology of Morris's earlier life clusters. From the incidents which occurred or were invented there, a sort of Book of the Hundred Merry Tales gradually was formed, of which Morris was the central figure."—(Life of W. Morris, by J. W. Mackail.)

"A great many of these stories are connected with the maid of the house, who became famous under the name of 'Red Lion Mary.' She was very plain, but a person of great character and unfailing good humour.... One of the tales told of her shows her imperturbable good nature. Rossetti one day, on her entering the room, strode up to her, and in deep resonant tones, with fearful meaning in his voice, declaimed the lines:

"'Shall the hide of a fierce lion
Be stretched on a couch of wood
For a daughter's foot to lie on,
Stained with a father's blood?'

"Whereupon the girl, quite unawed by the horrible proposition, replied with baffling complacency, 'It shall if you like, sir'!"

From the fact of the Red Lion Square rooms being unfurnished came practically the beginnings of Morris's work as a decorator and manufacturer. He set to work to provide it with "intensely mediæval furniture," designed by himself, and painted in panels afterwards by Rossetti and Burne-Jones. There were tables, chairs, and a large settle; "chairs," says Rossetti, "such as Barbarossa might have sat in." It is pleasant to think of Morris and Rossetti walking arm-in-arm on (p. 254) summer evenings, wending their way through quaint alleys up to the Red Lion Square lodgings, deep in earnest conversation; young, intensely busy and hopeful—still more intensely full of "the joy of life." They spent their holidays at the not far distant Zoological Gardens, where Morris, who was fond of birds, would observe and imitate the habits of eagles:

"He would imitate an eagle with considerable skill and humour, climbing on to a chair, and, after a sullen pause, coming down with a soft heavy flop; and for some time an owl was one of the tenants of Red Lion Square, in spite of a standing feud between it and Rossetti."

Morris had several Bloomsbury abodes. Later, when he married, and the Red Lion Square household broke up, he and his wife went into lodgings at 41, Great Ormond Street; and again, some five or six years later, they took an old house, 26 Queen Square, (now pulled down to make room for a hospital), a house which, with its yard and outbuildings behind, had room and to spare for his family, and also for workshops to accommodate his increasing trade as a decorative manufacturer. It is sad that London houses where Morris lived should bear no trace of his beautifying hand; for externally, it must be confessed, such of his Bloomsbury dwellings as remain extant are commonplace. Red Lion Square, a curiously antiquated enclosure near Holborn, approached by paved diverging alleys at the eastern corners, and with a pathetic look of having known better days (it is now mostly offices and business flats), contains but few dwelling-houses. No. 17 still stands, but the only thing about it that seems to suggest the Morris tradition is its plain green door; and it differs from its neighbours merely by its middle first-floor window being "heightened up to the ceiling" as already described. Neither is 41, Great Ormond Street—one of the smaller houses in that dignified old street—in any way remarkable, except for its rather dilapidated look. It seems a pity, by the way, that tablets do not more frequently indicate the houses where great people (p. 255) have lived; the dullest of London streets would gain infinitely in interest were this the rule, instead of merely the exception.

Queen Square, though its old houses have mostly been rebuilt as large hospitals, and only a few of them remain, still has a charming old world look. Great Ormond Street, with its tall old mansions of time-darkened red brick, their quaint overhanging porch roofs, and their often elaborate iron-work, runs into it at one end; while the other—curious anomaly at this date!—is still a deadlock of enclosed gardens, with no thoroughfare into dull Guilford street beyond. This,—and it is a fact that of itself speaks well for the health of the district,—is a region of hospitals; hence the occasional whiff of ether or scent of iodine from bandaged "out-patients" that greets the traveller by omnibus up Southampton Row. The high ground on which Bloomsbury is built (for it is a gradual ascent all the way from the river to Russell Square) render it, its fogs and soot notwithstanding,—and despite the old tradition that the victims of the plague were mainly buried here,—far more bracing then the more fashionable West End. It has, certainly, its quota of fogs, or "London particulars" as Sam Weller called them; but so have other parts of London. In and about Great Ormond Street and Queen Square are many hospitals; large, airy, and splendidly managed institutions, such, for instance, as the well-known Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, (abused as "hideous" by Mr. Hare, principally because "two interesting houses, Nos. 48 and 49," of real Queen Anne architecture, were destroyed in 1882 to enlarge it); the National Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis, under the great Dr. Ferrier; and the tall newly-built Alexandra Hospital for children. In Powis Place, close to Queen Square, Lord Macaulay lived in early manhood with his family. The house is now joined to the Homœopathic Hospital.

In Great Ormond Street, also, on the northern side, is the "Working Men's College," the history of which is so deeply associated with Ruskin, Rossetti, Madox Brown, and their (p. 256) friends. Started first by F. D. Maurice at 31, Red Lion Square, (where Rossetti and Ruskin subsequently volunteered to hold classes, Rossetti "teaching mechanics to draw each other," and Ruskin instructing them in the more rudimentary art of copying leaves, flowers, &c., according to the "strictest school of Ruskinianism;")—it was subsequently moved to its present site. In the lives of this gifted community of artists and teachers, the Working Men's College played no small part, and showed how deeply these young men were actuated, not only by the love of art, but also by the feeling of universal brotherhood advocated later by Morris in the social Utopia he propounded in one of his best known works. The story of the College may be read in many books and biographies. The kind of thing it practised, being rare in those days, attracted strangers and philanthropic aristocrats, who came to look on and to wonder. Irreverent stories, indeed, are told of the classes there by mild scoffers,—such as W. B. Scott, for instance,—who describes Mr. Ruskin's class, as follows:

"We drove into Red Lion Square, and here I found ... every one trying to put on small pieces of paper, imitations by pen and ink of pieces of rough stick crusted with dry lichens!... I came away feeling that such pretence of education was in a high degree criminal—it was intellectual murder!"

For Mr. Scott, who was, as he says, "the representative of the Government schools," some allowance must be made; but Dante Rossetti himself, though he held a "life"-class, also saw the comic side. "You think," he said to Mr. Scott:

"You think I have turned humanitarian, perhaps, but you should see my class for the model! None of your Freehand Drawing-Books used. The British mind is brought to bear on the British mug at once, and with results that would astonish you."

On the actual value of these things, opinions, as we see, may differ; but who can doubt the indirect good that resulted from the effort, both to teachers and to taught?

The Passmore Edwards Settlement, in Tavistock Place, goes (p. 257) perhaps, far to realise some of the ideas of Morris's Utopia. To begin with, it is a thing of beauty. Its newness is not aggressive, and its long red-brick building, adorned by quaint porches and backed by refreshing green plane-trees, is a pleasing object as viewed from the essentially unromantic and grimy street into which it opens. Its architecture is a credit to the two young men who designed it. Though the building, I believe, at first excited some adverse comment in Bloomsbury circles, yet there can be no doubt of its success as a whole. Its style, simple yet decorative, gains on the beholder. While, externally, it forms a little "isle of quiet breathing" in Bloomsbury streets, its proportions and general construction are internally, no less charming. The big lecture-hall with its white arched roof, its many windows, the beautifully-proportioned drawing-room with its lovely colouring of green and red, the well-stocked library, the gymnasium, the sewing-rooms, the cooking-school, are all arranged and decorated in the Morris style, and according to Morris's ideas.... Mrs. Humphry Ward, as every one knows, is the inspiring spirit of the Settlement, and Mr. Tatton is her warden and prophet. The present building, for which the funds were principally provided by Mr. Passmore Edwards of the Echo, is the outcome of Mrs. Ward's earlier "settlement" in Gordon Square. It was built in 1897 on the site of a curious old house called "The Grove," which stood apart in its own grounds; a house where Herschel lived and where he first weighed the world; where, also, report says, that George IV. kept one of his numerous "ladies." The Settlement, which is of the Toynbee Hall type, is unsectarian, and therefore looked coldly on by many church people; though, by the admitted good it works, it has overcome many prejudices. Among the most novel, and assuredly the most excellent, of its works is the Cripples' School which is conducted within its walls. It is a pathetic sight to see the vehicle—half omnibus and half ambulance—carrying these poor little pupils to and from the Settlement. Also, it (p. 258) ministers to the highest pleasures of the people; and it is far more difficult to teach enjoyment than to teach learning. Gymnasiums, cooking, and social gatherings for all classes alike pave, at any rate, the way to still larger "departures" and Ruskinian possibilities in the way of "preaching to the rich and dining with the poor." The pretty drawing-room of the Settlement looks, with its bay window, on to a charming green garden once backed by Dickens's old house,—Tavistock House,—now demolished.

Literary memories attach even to Gower Street; that long, prosaic, interminable thoroughfare.

Here, at No. 110 (then No. 12, Upper Gower Street, and now utilized with neighbouring houses as Shoolbred's offices), lived, in 1839, Charles Darwin; it was described by his son as "a small, commonplace London house, with a dining room in front, and a small room behind, in which they lived for quietness." Though Darwin sometimes grumbled, as men will, over the necessity of living in "dirty odious London," he also appreciated its peculiar charm, as the following extract will testify:

"We are living a life of extreme quietness. What you describe as so secluded a spot is, I will answer for it, quite dissipated compared with Gower Street. We have given up all parties, for they agree with neither of us; and if one is quiet in London there is nothing like it for quietness.... There is a grandeur about its smoky fogs, and the dull, distant sounds of cabs and coaches; in fact, you may perceive I am becoming a thorough-paced cockney, and I glory in the thought that I shall be here for the next six months."

In 1835, too, as Mr. Frith recalls in his amusing Reminiscences, he himself was a boy, just introduced to his first drawing academy, immortalized as "Gandish's" in the Newcomes; that of Mr. Henry Sass, which still stands, a corner house at No. 6 Charlotte Street, the Holborn continuation of Gower Street. At the side entrance, under the classic bust of Minerva,—which, yellowed and antique in more senses than one, (p. 259) "to this day looks down on the passer-by;"—under this doorway came not only Frith, but Millais, and other well-known Academicians. Edward Lear, of much Nonsense Book fame, and much undeserved neglect as a landscape-painter, "a man of varied and great accomplishments," was also one of Sass's pupils.

Millais, when a boy attending Sass's school, lived with his parents at 83, Gower Street (the studio was built out behind). Mr. Holman Hunt thus describes the Millais ménage at the time:

"It (the studio) was comfortably furnished with artistic objects tastefully arranged.... The son put his hand on his father's shoulder and the other on his mother's chair, and said: 'They both help me, I can tell you. He's capital! and does a lot of useful things. Look what a good head he has. I have painted several of the old doctors from him. By making a little alteration and putting a beard on him he does splendidly, and he sits for hands and draperies, too; and as for mamma, she finds me all I want in the way of dresses, and makes them up for me. She reads to me, too, at times, and finds out whatever I want to know at the British Museum library. She's very clever, I can tell you,' and he stooped down and rubbed his curly head against her forehead, and then patted the 'old daddy,' as he called him, on the back."

It was close to Sass's old school, and opposite his benign Minerva, that I once saw, myself, one bitter May-Day of nipping "north-easter," the real old "Jack-in-the-Green" described by Dickens and illustrated by Cruikshank; the "May-Day sweeps" of the Sketches by Boz; "my lord," "my lady," "clowns," "green," and all. Very wretched and miserable looked these belated illustrators of an ancient custom, as they danced and piped through the wind and sleet that usually, by some strange perversity, usher in the first of May. The Cockney children who storm the doorsteps, clamorously demanding May-Day tribute, and crying their shrilly monotonous song:

"Fust er Ma—ay,
Dawn er da—ay,
It's only once a yee—ar"—

are usually suggestive of a cold, cheerless morn.

At the present day, many members of the legal profession (p. 260) still inhabit Bloomsbury, recalling the old days when, from its residents, it was dubbed "Judge-Land." Its proximity to Fleet Street renders it equally beloved by writers; its nearness to the Strand endears it to "the profession" and the music-hall artistes, who frequent the flats near Tottenham Court Road; but the bulk of the residential population is Jewish. Bloomsbury has, however, not only been the chosen abode of judges, journalists, and Jews, but it is also the home of many sects and religious communities, some important, and some, if report be true, mustering but few adherents. There is a by-way off Lamb's Conduit Street (which is a thoroughfare at the back of Great Ormond Street, containing, like it, some quaint old houses, as well as some interesting curiosity-shops); in this by-way is a tiny building, pathetic in its minuteness, and chiefly discernible from its projecting gas-lamp, labelled "Church of Humanity." Of this church, a wit is said to have unkindly remarked, with reference to the size of its congregation, that it contained "three persons, but no God." Unitarians muster largely round the Bloomsbury squares; and the Irvingites, or, as they call themselves, members of "the Catholic and Apostolic Church," have their principal place of worship,—a fine building erected for them in 1853,—in Gordon Square. Its door is—rare indeed in London!—always open, enabling the visitor to enter and admire the long cloister that leads to the church, and the decorated interior with its triforium, wheel-window, and side-chapel. The prayer-books lying in the pews seem much the same as those used by the English Church, the chief difference being that in them the word "saint" is always rendered as "angel." This beautiful church and its strange creed result from the doctrines propounded by Edward Irving, the Annandale prophet and seer, the preacher of "the gift of tongues," who was himself ordained the first "angel" or minister of his sect. (This Edward Irving was the first lover of Jane Welsh Carlyle,—the man of whom she said, that if she had married him, "there would have been no gift of tongues!")

(p. 261) Whitefield's Tabernacle, that early home of Dissent,—where, in 1824, Edward Irving delivered his famous missionary oration of three-and-a-half hours,—stands near by in Tottenham Court Road. Erected first by the preacher George Whitefield in 1756, and called then "Whitefield's Soul Trap,"—it has been many times rebuilt,—and is now just re-opened as an imposing red-brick and ornate edifice, on its original site. Notwithstanding its deplorable newness, it perpetuates the memory of Whitefield, Toplady, and John Wesley; and it was here, by a curious coincidence, that two ministers preached their own funeral sermons!

With Carlyle too, although his chosen home was in far-away Chelsea, Bloomsbury has associations. At No. 6 Woburn Buildings,—in a dingy little paved by-way close to New St. Pancras Church, Euston Road,—Carlyle lodged for a short time in 1831—when trying to get his Sartor Resartus taken by a publisher. In these lodgings ("a very beautiful sitting-room, quiet and airy" he describes it), Edward Irving, his friend, had also stayed. And 5 Ampton Street, Mecklenburgh Square, was another London lodging of Carlyle's—frequented before the Chelsea days began in 1834. But, of the many literary men who have lived in and around Bloomsbury, none is more associated with the locality than Charles Dickens. Tavistock House has been recently pulled down; it was an unassuming, ugly, semi-detached dwelling with a heavy portico, one of three houses all now destroyed, railed off from the eastern side of Tavistock Square, and entered from it through an iron gateway. This was the novelist's home for ten years, from 1850 to 1860. He, and his famous New Year's theatricals, are still a recollection of the older residents in the neighbourhood. The annual plays of Tavistock House, performed "in a theatre erected in the garden," and written and stage-managed under the collaboration of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, are now matter of history. Bleak House was the earliest work written (p. 262) here. The house after Dickens's time became a Jews' college, and the pupils "recreated" in the novelist's theatre-garden. It is now a sad scene of desolation. Memories of Bloomsbury haunt many of Dickens's works, but none are better or more lifelike in their way than his early sketches of the immortal Mrs. Tibbs—type of her class—and her select boarding house in Great Coram Street, in "that partially explored tract of country which lies between the British Museum and a remote village called Somers Town." Mrs. Tibbs's advertisement to the effect that "six individuals would meet with all the comforts of a cheerful musical home in a select private family, residing within ten minutes' walk of everywhere," is still not uncommonly met with.

But the literary memories of Bloomsbury are like the sands of the sea for multitude. They may be found even in the dingy streets running east of Tavistock Square, leading north towards the tram-lines and general squalor of King's Cross. At No. 26 Marchmont Street, the youthful Shelley and the still more youthful Mary Godwin, afterwards Shelley's second wife, lived in 1815, before Harriet's death and their own legal marriage; and here their first baby was born and died. "Shelley and Clara go out about a cradle," Mary's diary records, a few days after the infant's birth. Here Mary read Corinne and Rinaldini, and mourned over her little dead child, "a span-long dead baby, and in the lodgings in Marchmont Street an empty cradle." Possibly Marchmont Street then was not quite so slummy as it is now; but this young couple, treading "the bright Castalian brink and Latmos' steep," were probably just as unconscious of London mud as of any disorder, actual or moral, in their establishment.

At 54, Hunter Street, a street just east of Marchmont Street, and now exhibiting, in all its phases, the gradual decay described by Dickens, John Ruskin was born in 1819; and here, as he describes in Præterita, he used, at the age of four, to enjoy from his nursery window "the view of a marvellous (p. 263) iron post, out of which the water-carts were filled through beautiful little trap-doors, by pipes like boa constrictors," a mystery which, he says, he was never weary of contemplating. If any such little observant boy should happen to live there now, he would have something further to contemplate, to wit, the frequent green omnibuses, for this is now the much-travelled omnibus route between the stations of King's Cross and Victoria. Hunter Street runs into Brunswick Square, where, at No. 32, the Punch artist John Leech lived for ten years, and suffered many afflictions at the hands of persistent organ-grinders, who, if they did not really shorten his life, at any rate aggravated the illness of which he died. London is conservative in its habits, and organ-grinders, trooping in from their neighbouring home of Hatton Garden—even occasionally a low type of nigger minstrels—still haunt this spot, as they do all places, for that matter, where boarding-houses congregate. The regular attendance of what is termed a "piano-organ" always denotes a boarding-house; the louder its screech the better, for the boarder seems fond of noise. His mode of life is peculiar and unique. He will sit on the balcony smoking, or eat his dinner with his friends almost in public; it is all the same to him. Such sign-manuals betray the "select boarding establishment" almost as much as does the row of five ornate cracked glazed pots, yellow and blue alternately, that adorn its lower windows; or to quote Dickens: "the meat-safe looking blinds in the parlour windows, blue and gold curtains in the drawing-room, and spring roller blinds all the way up." Adjoining Brunswick Square on the west is Great Coram Street, where (at No. 13), Thackeray lived when first married, and wrote his Paris Sketch Book. This district has been altered lately by tall ugly workmen's flats; but Great and Little Coram Street still perpetuate the memory of old Captain Thomas Coram, the benevolent sea captain, and originator of the well-known Foundling Hospital close by in Guilford Street. This picturesque and important institution is a kind of show place on Sundays, to which many (p. 264) visitors are taken. The chapel services, with the raised tiers of boys and girls singing in trained choir on each side of the big organ presented by Handel, not only please alike the eye and ear, but have the indescribable charm of pathos. As Mrs. Meagles in Dickens's novel (Little Dorrit) well expresses it:

"Oh dear, dear" (she sobbed), "when I saw all those children ranged tier above tier, and appealing from the father none of them has ever known on earth, to the great Father of us all in Heaven, I thought, does any wretched mother ever come here, and look among those young faces, wondering which is the poor child she brought into this forlorn world, never through its life to know her love, her kiss, her face, her voice, even her name!"

Blake's poem pictures the scene:

"Oh, what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own;
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Hundreds of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands."

In the early days of the hospital, first established in Hatton Garden in 1740, the admission of unwanted children was more or less indiscriminate, and the mortality among them—packed for transit from the country in some cases "five infants in a basket"—enormous. Now it is only a "foundling" hospital in that it receives illegitimate children, who must not be more than a year old, and whose mothers must personally apply and state their case. The "tokens" left with the babies in the early days of the institution as means of future identification, are preserved in the hospital. Some of them are very curious:

"Coins of an ancient date ... a playing card—the ace of hearts—with a dolorous piece of verse written upon it; a ring with two hearts in garnets, broken in half, and then tied together; three or four padlocks, intended, we suppose, as emblems of security; a nut, an ivory fish, an anchor, a gold locket, a lottery ticket. Sometimes a piece of brass, either in the shape of a heart or a crescent moon, was used as a distinguishing mark, generally engraved with some little verse or legend. Thus one has these words upon it, 'In amore hæc sunt vitia'; another has this bit of doggerel:—

"You have my heart;
Though we must part."

(p. 265) By admission, after the service, to the long dining-hall, the visitors are allowed to see the children's temporal, as well as their spiritual, wants well attended to. Hogarth's March to Finchley, a picture which he practically presented to the hospital, hangs in its picture gallery, and testifies to the painter's interest in the institution. The hospital's playing-grounds look into Lamb's Conduit Street, where often through the railings passers-by stand and gaze at the children in their quaint uniform, the boys in red and brown, playing on one side of the gravelled enclosure; the girls, in brown frocks with white caps, tuckers, and aprons, on the other. In Mecklenburgh Square, which adjoins the hospital on the east,—the most curiously secluded square, surely, in all London,—lived George Augustus Sala, the well-known journalist, whose house was a perfect museum of curiosities and works of art. "Highly respectable but not at all fashionable," is the cruel sentence pronounced both upon this square and its neighbour Brunswick Square. The broken-nosed statue of the girl with a pitcher, that stands opposite the big iron gates of the Foundling Hospital (at the opening of Lamb's Conduit Street), shows how much less reverently inclined the youth of London are to art, than the Florentine.

This, on a day of atmospheric charm, a day haloed by blue depths of mist, is, to the chastened eye of the constant Londoner, one of Bloomsbury's prettiest spots. But others there are as charming; for instance, the view from Tavistock Square, of the tower of New St. Pancras Church, that tower imitated from the Athenian "Tower of the Winds," white against a blue sky; or, more mysterious, the great towers of St. Pancras Station, as they loom up blackly, like some mediæval fortress, against a lurid twilight.

Lamb's Conduit Street has many interesting curio-shops: Hindoo idols, yellow dragons, and the like, glare in quite human fashion at the passer-by from behind the grimy shop panes; and books and curios, combined, form the main (p. 266) stock-in-trade of the four quaint diverging alleys of the neighbouring Red Lion Square, already mentioned. It is a great mistake, however, to imagine that because a shop is dirty and tumble-down, its wares will necessarily be cheap. Though Bloomsbury shops may be slightly cheaper than those of Soho and Wardour Street, yet here, too, the engaging and generally picturesque old dealer has, in the case of old china, a keen eye to business; and as regards old books, that apparent disinclination to sell which is so general among second-hand booksellers, as to suggest that it is not without its magnetic charm for the buyer. Some old gentlemen seem, indeed, to utilize most of the available light of a London winter's day at the outside counters of these dusty second-hand book emporiums. So long do they browse, shivering and blue-nosed, in ragged "comforters" and very inadequate great-coats, that one is tempted to believe the story of the old scholar who read the whole of a long-sought classic in a winter's stolen hours at the counter. Seldom, in these days, do the "twopenny" or "fourpenny" boxes, that used to yield such prizes, now repay the book-hunter. Old school books, old guide books, and old sermons, "the snows of yester-year," now mainly fill them. And, indeed, with such a mine of fiction as Mudie's close by, where kind gentlemen recommend appropriate reading to timorous old ladies, or, better still, with such privileges as may be obtained in the neighbouring Reading Room of the British Museum, practically "for the mere asking," it is a strange taste to prefer to stand and shiver at a dingy book-counter. Once inside the sacred portals of the Reading Room (the stranger having satisfied the Cerberus at the wicket gate that he or she is "over twenty-one," a point on which there is not generally, as regards the Reading Room clientèle, much doubt), a warm atmosphere, a comfortable seat, and a luxurious leather desk await the jaded wayfarer; with, further, polite attendants in the innermost circle to assist, if necessary, his researches; and, should he be hungry, a further possibility of a cheap lunch (p. 267) of sausage and mashed potato flanked by zoological and geological buns in the refreshment room, a locality now somewhat unkindly sandwiched between Greek heroes and Egyptian gods.


(p. 268) But such mundane things as sausages are, primarily, far from the thoughts of the devotee of learning. Entering first the vast Dome of Knowledge,—where, as in St. Paul's, the blue mist and fog of London seem to hang, and where, underfoot, floor-cloth deadens all sound,—a certain solemnity impresses the visitor, a sense, almost, of being in another world. As, indeed, in some respects he is; for the denizens of the British Museum Reading Room are, mainly, a race apart and to themselves. They and their ways, "their tricks and their manners," form an interesting study. Day after day, each one has his—or her—special place in the long diverging galleries that, like spokes of a wheel, emerge from the central sun of wisdom and electric light under the dome. Nobody, it is true, may reserve seats; yet often custom, seconded by public feeling (and that conservatism which is the birthright of every Londoner), reserves them none the less. The girls and women are largely of the art-serged, fuzzy-headed type, occasionally also dowdy and sallow, with that dust-ingrained complexion so peculiar to Bloomsbury; the men are generally, if young, badly tailored and long-haired, and, if old, irascible, snuffy and unwashed.

Was it perchance of any of these that Thomas Carlyle was thinking when he wrote the following characteristic diatribe?—

"There are several persons in a state of imbecility who come to read in the British Museum. I have been informed that there are several in that state who are sent there by their friends to pass away their time. I remember there was one gentleman who used to blow his nose very loudly every half-hour. I inquired who he was, and I was informed that he was a mad person sent there by his friends; he made extracts out of books, and puddled away his time there."

Woe betide the novice whose evil star leads him to one of these gentlemen's special haunts! Of course there are a few smart visitors and a modicum of mere "fribblers" (some years ago, indeed, so many damsels repaired to the reading-room to skim recent novels, that a rule was passed forbidding the issue of any recent work of fiction), but the dowdy, plodding type (p. 269) forms the vast majority. In many cases the toilers are simply slaves sent by some absentee literary taskmaster to ferret out knotty points, or to look up references. Sometimes they are clergymen in search of detail for sermons; sometimes they are learned Casaubons or untiring Jellybys working on their own account.... A kind Government provides pens, ink, often tracing paper, and any amount of civility and trouble, free. It has been said unkindly by West-Enders, jealous of such liberality, that Bloomsbury alone should be taxed for the British Museum; such an injustice, however, has not, so far, been perpetrated!—

That the British Museum is gradually absorbing all the houses near it, and enlarging its boundaries into a large square, is evident. The whole eastern side of Bedford Square, and part of the western side of Russell Square, will soon be amalgamated into the vast building. The little lions, those ornaments on the old outer railings, about whose disappearance such an outcry was raised some years back, have been adapted to the internal use of the Museum, and higher, stronger, more important railings substituted on the outside in their place. The large pediment of the portico, imitated—at how long an interval!—from the Greek model, is, like the statues in the squares, filled with nesting birds, and is generally also white with the pigeons' plumage. And, where this enormous building now stands, was originally Old Montague House, the "stately and ample ancient palace," adorned by Verrio and built in the "French pavilion" way, when, practically, all the rest of Bloomsbury was open country. Where the big galleries now extend were corridors adorned by fresco paintings: and where the halls now given up to statues and treasures stand, were rooms full of light, music, and dancing.

But I am wandering from the present. Yet, in the early winter twilight of the British Museum galleries, it is easy for vagrant fancies, unbidden, to arise. The vast dim galleries raise, indeed, ghosts and visions of a brilliant past, and confer (p. 270) almost humanity on their marble tenants, gigantic figures shining through the gloom. The Greek gods of the heroic age,—the creatures "moulded in colossal calm,"—we can almost imagine the minds who inspired, the workmen who wrought, the sculptors who fashioned, the temples that contained them. The stream of life still flows around the feet of these immortal ones, who in their calm smiling seem to scorn the poor passions of humanity; in their immortality, to rise above the feeble ebb and flow of human life. As Aurora they remain ever youthful, while we poor mortals, like Tithonus, adore their eternal youth and beauty, and ourselves grow old. Here, in the dim vestibule, is just such a Grecian Urn as that which Keats apostrophized, with its lovers whose undying youth and unsatisfied longing he envied.... "Ars longa, vita brevis," indeed! We go, but they shall endure,—to see "new men, new faces, other minds"; to have, perchance, new labels written for them by future Dryasdusts; to be invested with fresh attributes by a newer school of ambitious critics. Many of them have seen cities rise and fall; they have survived ruin, siege, burial, neglect; and now at last they have come here to the same dead level of monotony:

"Deemed they of this, those worshippers,
When, in some mythic chain of verse
Which man shall not again rehearse,
The faces of thy ministers
Yearned pale with bitter ecstasy?

"Greece, Egypt, Rome—did any god,
Before whose feet men knelt unshod,
Deem that in this unblest abode
Another scarce more unknown god
Should house with him"—

If these dead stones could feel, would they not lament their departed glory? The heroic figure of Mausolus, who, on the pinnacle of his temple, once drove his marble car, the cynosure of all eyes and the wonder of the world, outlined against the (p. 271) blue Aegean sky and sea, and the white-walled city; the gigantic bas-reliefs of the Parthenon, whose very existence here is the "shibboleth" of æsthetic criticism, that once adorned the ancient Athenian temple, brilliantly violet and golden against the faint blue line of the bay and hills of Salamis; the famous "Harpy Tomb," torn from its sunny Lycian height, and now glimmering dimly through London fog, guarded by a vigilant policeman,—what former beauties of surrounding nature do they not suggest or recall! We forget, in gazing, the nineteenth-century prose of Bloomsbury, the monotony of its gloomy streets; we forget that we ourselves are "the latest seed of time," the "last word" of the human race, dwelling, amid all the dull luxury of civilisation, in the greatest and richest city of the world. And, leaving the gallery by way of the vast and unique Assyrian collection of sculptures, passing through the two colossal human-headed bulls that guard its entrance, creatures whose excavation from the buried city of Nineveh forms one of the most romantic of modern discoveries; passing out into the misty sunshine and the flying doves before the pediment, we recall again Rossetti's wonderful lines, with their final suggestion of a future lost and rediscovered London—rediscovered under the dust and oblivion of future ages:

"And as I turned, my sense half shut
Still saw the crowds of kerb and rut
Go past as marshalled to the strut
Of ranks in gypsum quaintly cut.
It seemed in one same pageantry
They followed forms which had been erst;
To pass, till on my sight should burst
That future of the best or worst
When some may question which was first,
Of London or of Nineveh.

"For as that Bull-god once did stand
And watched the burial clouds of sand,
Till these at last without a hand
(p. 272) Rose o'er his eyes, another land,
And blinded him with destiny:—
So may he stand again; till now,
In ships of unknown sail and prow,
Some tribe of the Australian plough
Bear him afar—a relic now
Of London, not of Nineveh!"

(p. 273) CHAPTER XII

—"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players...."—Shakespeare.

"O gleaming lamps of London, that gem the City's crown,
What fortunes lie within you, O lights of London Town!"—
G. R. Sims, Ballads of Babylon.

As I was travelling, one day in winter, by the familiar and homely 'bus whose "hue is green and gold"; not however, the "St. John's Wood" 'bus, but that humbler and more business-like one which runs between Victoria and King's Cross, I observed, as we ascended Long Acre, a young woman get in at Bow Street, followed by a "lady friend" at Drury Lane. They were hot, untidy, and, as to their attire, muddy, be-bugled, and be-plushed; also, one of them carried a large and equally be-bugled baby. After their first salutations, they panted for a few minutes, out of breath; then:—

"I've got it, duckie," cried the Bow Street charmer, a young woman with a big black fringe, and the owner of the overdressed and pasty-faced baby.

"What have you got, dearie?" inquired her friend, who wore a dirty blouse that had once been yellow, under a heavy plush fur-trimmed cape (the month was November). The 'bus sat expectant.

"'E's made me a thief!" (The 'bus, to a man, or rather, woman, started.) "I told 'im as I'd give 'im no peace till 'e (p. 274) did; I was bound to go back an' back, till 'e give me somethin'. An' now, sweetie, I'm one er the forty thieves, at a quid a week, and find nothin'. Ain't that somethin'?"

A light broke in upon the wondering 'bus, and all the auditors peacefully resumed their papers or their reflections. Of course, it was the Drury Lane pantomime! It was stupid of us not to have guessed it before, for the "dearie," "duckie" and "sweetie" ought to have suggested it at once! Also, the dresses of the two interlocutors, which, now that I looked at them again, seemed to have on the beholder that peculiar effect of combined smartness and disorder that, for some reason or the other, distinguishes the "pro;" the "pro,"—that is,—of the lower ranks of the theatrical profession.

The profession (as it is expressively and somewhat exclusively called by its devotees) embraces, of course, as many "sorts and conditions of men" as the equally large profession of newspaper writers. While it still remains a cruel fact that any one picked up "drunk and incapable" in a London street is usually described in next day's Police News as either a journalist or an actress, there can yet be no doubt that the Bohemianism of the past, so far as the higher class of the theatrical world is concerned, is going out of fashion. With few exceptions, it is only among the lower ranks of "pros," or in music-halls, that it largely exists. These exceptions are, usually, to be found among those who have suddenly risen from obscurity on the theatrical firmament, to shine as bright "stars" for some brief period. Nowhere is success so sudden, so overwhelming, so blinding as it is in this vast city of London; and nowhere, alas! is that success so soon over, forgotten, eclipsed. The deity of one season is forsaken in the next; the Ruler-of-the-Universe must perforce return to his hovel, and, to say truth, he generally takes the change badly. London has a short memory. But the medal has its pleasanter reverse side. For, per contra, the young woman who has for years, maybe, blushed unseen in Camberwell, wasted her sweetness (p. 275) on seaside "fit-ups," and lorded it in third-rate provincial companies, may, suddenly, by some unexpected turn of Fortune's wheel, find herself elevated to the highest salaries in the profession. From a penurious lodging in the slums,—a daily "third return" from Gower Street,—she may rise, almost in the twinkling of an eye, to £40 a week, a flat in Mayfair, and a daintily-clipped poodle!

It is, of course, the fame of such sudden successes that suffices to "turn the heads" of ignorant neophytes, who are but too apt to forget the common maxim, that "the many fail, the one succeeds." Thus it is that the stage has been for years flooded with girls of all classes, all eager for distinction, and all, alas! desiring "the palm without the dust!" Rising actresses have, as a rule, but one ambition—to act in London, to charm London audiences. Better, some think, a three-line part at the Lyceum than a "juvenile lead" at Leamington; better twenty weeks of the Criterion than a cycle of the Counties; better a curtain-raiser in the Haymarket than Shakespeare's Rosalind at Darlington or Preston. Hence the cruel and heart-rending "struggle-for-life" among young actresses in this big city of London; hence the weeks of slow starvation in Bloomsbury lodgings or Soho garrets, waiting for work that never comes. It is, indeed, for them, the "dust without the palm." Disappointed hopes, shattered ambitions, tragic suicides,—what stories could some of those Bloomsbury garrets tell!

"O cruel lamps of London, if tears your light could drown,
Your victims' eyes would weep them, O lights of London Town."

Theatrical managers are callous; they can, indeed, hardly be otherwise, for the stage, like journalism, is scarcely "a charitable institution"; and the supply of stage applicants is far greater than the demand. When a new play is to be produced at a theatre, see how its waiting-rooms and grimy staircases are daily crowded with young men and women, all eager, all well-dressed, (p. 276) and all anxiously trying to conceal their often desperate need of money. For they must always be well-dressed; no self-respecting manager will ever think twice of a shabby or dowdy young woman; and dress is difficult to procure on a starvation diet.

In certain quarters of the Strand and of Soho, "ladies" are to be found who act as superior "old clothes" dealers, buying, at cheap rates, the fine dresses of society butterflies from the maids of these latter, and retailing them again at enhanced prices to the poor neophytes in the theatrical profession. The custom, no doubt, is advantageous to all parties concerned; to the fine lady, who must not be seen more than three or four times in the same gown; to the maid, to whom the said gowns are "perquisites"; and, lastly, to the poor girl who must, coûte que coûte, procure her brocades, her gold lace and tinsel for her provincial tours. (London managers usually provide the ladies' dresses themselves; the men of the company, on the other hand, must provide their own.)

Though actors and actresses live, nowadays, in all parts of London, yet, perhaps, they most incline to Bloomsbury and Soho, which classic region they have, indeed, haunted for centuries. In old Tudor and Shakespearean times Shoreditch and Bankside were the favoured spots, just as, later on, Covent Garden with its "Piazza," its Opera-houses, and its general air of Bohemianism, became the chosen locality. The histrionic art is no longer solely associated with Covent Garden and Bohemianism; indeed, the stars of the profession now belong, rather, to the smartest "set" in society; they often inhabit Mayfair,—and all doors, even those of royalty,—are open to them. But, just as the "rank and file" of the profession still haunt the classic neighbourhood of the "Garden," so the large bulk of actors and actresses are still to be found in the adjacent and convenient districts of Soho and Bloomsbury. In Bloomsbury, especially, are yearly rising innumerable red-brick flats, abodes largely tenanted by the theatrical profession. Their (p. 277) surroundings tell of them; "by their fruits ye shall know them." Hair-dressing shops, florists' shops, cheap jewellery shops, all these betray the tastes of the profession, and all these abound in the neighbourhood.

The pantomimes, owing to the enormous number of people they employ, as well as to the great fillip they give to certain trades and occupations, play no inconsiderable part in the vast web of London life. That the Pantomime, as a yearly pageant, has so much increased in glory of recent times, is due mainly to the efforts of the late Sir Augustus Harris, who may, indeed, be said to have reached the high-water-mark of splendour in the Christmas show. Many hundreds of girls and women, often married and supporting families, are employed in the vast choruses of the Drury-Lane Theatre,—"the Lane" as it is called in local parlance; many hundreds of men, scene-shifters, carpenters, mechanics, and the like, are required for the production of its stupendous effects. Pantomime-land is, indeed, to those who know it, a country and a life in itself. From autumn to spring its rigors last; from October to March its workers labour. A few weeks before Christmas, the annual fever is at its height. Not only grown people, but children too, are pressed into the service; hence, no doubt, the pretty "steps" daily practised, throughout the year, by Cockney girl children before street-organs. Yet, the class whence these children are drawn is generally a more or less superior one; superior, at any rate, to that which one would naturally imagine. Once, in walking down Museum Street, I chanced to get just behind three nice little girls and their mother. It was a foggy, murky evening, and they were evidently taking the direct route for Drury Lane. They were pretty children, red-cloaked, rosy-cheeked, and neatly shod, and they tripped along demurely, holding each other's hands; their mother, neat also, if a little threadbare, walking behind them, keeping a careful and approving eye on her little flock.

"Yes, they're all engaged for the winter at the 'Lane,'" she (p. 278) told me, in response to my sympathetic inquiry. "And it's a great help to me, it is, indeed; for my husband's ill, and he doesn't ever expect to get much better.... They're in the 'Flower Ballet'; the eldest, Lina, she's a Pansy; and the two younger ones, they're both Daisies.... Quite a short scene; they're off in twenty minutes.... Interfere with their schooling? nothing to speak of, and they enjoy it. Yes, I take 'em there, and fetch 'em back, twice every day; I can make shift to leave my husband for that time ... and I don't like 'em to run the streets alone.... But here we are...." a sudden lifting of the fog, a sudden glare of light, and then the Pansy, the Daisies, and their maternal attendant, were swallowed by the big jaws of the devouring "Lane."

A lady who went on the pantomime stage, by special favour, for one night only, for the sake of the experience, has entertainingly related her adventures. Decked for the evening in a gay cavalier's hat, a velvet cloak, gorgeous trappings, and "tights," she got through her allotted part very creditably, though with no little nervousness. The tights specially distressed her, and she was hardly consoled by the wardrobe-mistress's kind assurance, that the cloak was "so very ample!" What struck her principally, in the whole thing, was the good humour and high spirits of the ladies of the chorus and ballet, who all of them joked and laughed incessantly, called each other by pet names, and seemed, like children, to know no care or trouble in the world. For the moment they enjoyed, or appeared to enjoy, the whole thing, and yet some of these very girls were, she knew, poor married women whose lives were filled with domestic cares. These regular winter engagements must, indeed, have been welcome, for their earnings averaged from 25s. to 30s. a week for six evening performances, with extra pay for the daily matinées.

The pantomime is, however, hardly good to count on as a living, being, after all, but intermittent; the rank-and-file of the people engaged in the pantomime business have therefore often other avocations, and are not all full-blown "pros" with ambitions (p. 279) and yearnings. Not for such as these are the cruel disappointments, the insulting slights, the heart-rending procrastinations that break the spirit of so many young men and maidens in the "profession." If some of these could, indeed, know all that was in store for them, would they so gaily have embraced the theatrical career? It is a pity that they cannot be first disillusioned by a year's apprenticeship; yet even that might be of no avail, for when once they have experienced the magic glamour of the footlights, there is, indeed, little hope of return. Yet, to the outsider, who has never felt this glamour, there seems to be but little attraction about even a London stage rehearsal. The theatre is usually dark, and always dirty; the actors, especially those in secondary parts, seem but little impressed or interested; dressed, too, in their ordinary clothes, they look foolish, and their fine sentiments seem out of place. Even the protagonists are a trifle chilly: when Juliet or her next-of-kin unromantically munches sandwiches, seated on a dusty box in the wings; when Romeo, or his more modern prototype, uses language more convincing than elegant; and when both are addressed with almost painful familiarity by the dirty "call-boy," the glamour of the whole thing is apt, so far as the spectator is concerned, to be somewhat dispelled. Then, the manager is peremptory; the unhappy author quivers with emotion—and generally also with cold—in the stalls; people have a decided tendency to lose their tempers, and the onlooker is reduced to wonder dumbly,—whether things can possibly "pull themselves together" for the imminent "first night,"—and how in the world the dingy, draughty theatre can conceivably transform itself into the home of glory, wealth, and light that the favoured audience of the "première" know. These things are certainly an experience.

The "Gods."

"Good society," says M. Taine (in his Notes on England), "does not go to the theatres, with the exception of the two opera houses, which are the exotic and hothouse plants of luxury, and in which the prices of admission are enormous, and (p. 280) evening dress is imperative. As to the others, the audience is recruited from among the lower middle class." This, although it contains a small element of truth, is, nevertheless, a manifest exaggeration. For smart society is a great supporter of the drama, and even royalty, whose attendance in the theatre is always announced beforehand by the supply of white silk programmes in the royal box, occasionally vouchsafes its presence. Especially is there always a great furore over the procuring of "first night" seats at the best London theatres. So far, indeed, as the audience of the stalls is concerned, the "first-nighters" are, more or less, always the same people; influential magnates, editors, aristocratic "patrons of the drama," and a certain proportion of smart London people, those of whom it has come to be known that they make a point of attending every "first night" of any distinction. Sometimes invitations are issued; sometimes, it is a case of making early application. The entrée to certain first nights is a kind of social distinction. Often a supper party is given after the performance, on the cleared stage; at such gatherings a spirit of geniality prevails, and smart society does obeisance generally to the bright particular stars of the drama. With the more plebeian pit and gallery it is otherwise. These unreservedly express their feelings, and, after first representations, voice the sentiments of the multitude. These, if the curtain be at all belated in rising, raise the house by din and hubbub; the noise that they make, indeed, is apt to scare the uninitiated; it resembles a revolution on a small scale. The pit and gallery are very intent on getting their money's worth; for they always pay for their seats, and pay, not only in coin of the realm, but in sad and weary hours of waiting in the cold, drizzled street. Who has not noticed, on days of bright spring weather and dreary autumn alike, a long crowd of patient men and women waiting uncomplainingly in a long file till the theatre doors should open and admit them? At the Lyceum, the file,—and this not only on first nights,—extends (p. 281) far round the corner into the Strand. At the Haymarket Theatre, or the newer Her Majesty's,—it reaches far up towards Piccadilly Circus. Sometimes a few among the patient crowd have provided themselves with campstools; sometimes, too, kindly managers or thoughtful ladies like Miss Ellen Terry send out five (p. 282) o'clock tea to the suffering humanity nearest to the theatre doors; and, certainly, the "cup that cheers" must prove exceptionally cheering when one has waited for it in the chilly street ever since 9 A.M.! For very important first-night performances, nine, or at latest 10 A.M. is essential if the playgoer would make at all sure of the front row. It is a long day's picnic; yet the crowd remains ever amiable and stoical. One may, indeed, learn not a little of philosophy and bonhomie from that motley crew, who,—whether they be ladies from the suburbs, calmly eating sandwiches,—superior artisans taking "a day off,"—city clerks,—shop-girls,—or dressmakers' apprentices come to study the prevailing modes,—are all uniformly cheerful. From hour to hour homely jest and rough witticism enliven the day's tedium, and testify to the unfailing good temper and love of fair play of London crowds.

The pit is a sacred institution of London. We may, if we choose, sympathise with the long hours of waiting pit-door crowds, but woe betide him who would thoughtlessly attempt to do away with the system. One manager, indeed, did recently attempt this; but a riot nearly supervening, he had perforce to take refuge in a judicious compromise. The Londoner is ever conservative in his tastes as well as in his politics. Ladies are allowed to wear their headgear in the pit; and the large erections they sometimes don testify more to their vanity than to their philanthropy. One sometimes hears a faint protest against such exaggerated types of millinery: "I 'ope I sha'n't 'ave to sit be'ind that 'at," a depressed pittite has been heard to murmur when entering the theatre just after a "lydy" with one of these alarming concoctions.

Where are the tastes of "the people" with regard to plays? It is difficult to generalize. The gallery love melodrama; they also like a good deal of moral sentiment, which they will often loudly approve;—to the extent, sometimes, of even offering advice on the situation to the actors. This is why the Message from Mars, a morality taken straight from Dickens, (p. 283) went so directly home to "the great heart of the British people." M. Taine complains that the English have no national comedy; that all their comedies are adapted from the French; "is it," he asks, "because of English reserve?" But, though the pit and gallery are generally serious, they are yet not serious enough for Ibsen; "I consider that there piece blasphemious," a disgusted artisan once said to me of the Master-Builder; "that 'ere shillin' I spent on it was clean thrown away; I went out arter the fust act." The majority of young men and maidens love comic opera, which seems, indeed, to be one of the paying "lines" in the London of to-day. Music-halls flourish; it is an eloquent sign of the times that the large and ornate "Palace Theatre,"—opened, with such a flourish of trumpets, a few years ago as the "New English Opera House," and known far and wide by its flashes of brilliant search-light,—should now have descended to a "variety" show. The great middle-class supports Shakespeare and the "legitimate" drama; shop-girls, and dressmakers' apprentices, like the "society" plays of the St. James's and kindred theatres, because they offer some opportunity for seeing the ways of that "high-life" from which they are themselves excluded. Millinery and costume are most important factors in the modern theatre; I know of many well-to-do girls who never think of buying their season's hats and gowns till they have first seen them on Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Mrs. Tree, or Miss Winifred Emery. And The Price of Peace, a feeble, but immensely successful Drury Lane melodrama, owed its success to the fact that it brought before the eyes of the proletariat, in a variety of well-constructed scenes, all the select haunts and fashions of the great world: Tea on the Terrace; a Wedding in Westminster Abbey; a Debate in the House of Commons; a Ball in Park-Lane, &c., &c. Such pieces are, of course, not the only favourites; good comedies are very popular, and English people, despite M. Taine, still like to laugh. Yet, take it all round, "Good Society," with, preferably, a judicious (p. 284) admixture of melodrama and sentiment, is the really paying thing with the pit and gallery.

If the murky London daylight in the theatre shows a mournful change from its nocturnal glories, even sadder is the contrast between the splendid entrance hall, or lobby, blazing with welcome lights, and the dark, grimy, and generally wretched "stage-door," which opens, mostly, into some gloomy back-street, and seems, to the uninitiated at least, to have no connection at all with the theatre. Here, the manners of the stage acolytes are altogether to match with the outward show, and there would appear to exist some traditional and transmitted dislike to soap-and-water. Strange stories some of these stage doors could tell! The stage door of the "Adelphi," for instance, where poor William Terriss was brutally murdered by the criminal lunatic whom he had befriended,—does it not still give to its old locality a suggestion of blood and tears? Are not the vicissitudes, too, of theatres as striking and as dramatic in their way as those of other historic houses? Now they are great and well-known; then disaster overtakes them, and their very names, for years, are forgotten,—till at last they go the way of old bricks and mortar. In their final dirt and disgrace they hardly recall the scenes of their former triumphs. One might, indeed, become superstitious when one sees how Fortune seems to befriend certain theatres, and as persistently to frown on others. As for some old playhouses,—their day once over, their place knows them no more.... The old Prince of Wales's Theatre, for instance, in Tottenham Street, so famous in the early triumphs of the Bancrofts and Kendals,—who recalls it in its present ruin and discomfiture? The Salvation Army has lately taken pity on it; but apparently its hour has now come, and with its adjacent tenement-houses in Pitt Street, where its green-rooms were, it lies at the mercy of fate and the hammer.

The London theatres are nearly all of them in crowded situations, and often so devious and unexpected are the ways by which they are reached that if the city were at some distant (p. 285) age dug out from oblivion like that of Pompeii, the results might be even more puzzling to the antiquary. The stalls, for instance, of the Criterion Theatre are deep underground, reached by myriad carpeted stairs; even the upper circles are well below the street. And what a strange and indecipherable "crypto-porticus" would the "Twopenny Tube" prove to some future Middleton of the ages? In central parts, London, indeed, seems a city built in several superimposed layers: layers, too, not successive, but coëval.

The life of London, always intense, burns at its highest pressure in and near Piccadilly Circus, and a restless activity reigns here all through the long hours of day and night. For this is, so to speak, one of the main doorways of the immense ant-heap; like ants, too, people seem to swarm incessantly, to go and come, in inconsequent but feverishly active sequence. Here is a blaze of light, a perpetual throng of "London's gondola," the hansom-cab, a confused medley of many sounds, that ceases not, but fades only after midnight; when the "heart of London," that never sleeps, subsides in the early hours of the morning into a dulled and general hum.

At Piccadilly, the foreign element from Leicester Square and Soho meets the native one. The French, Italian, and German tongues are, indeed, frequently heard all over London; but in the neighbourhood of Leicester Square, the visitor really might, especially on a sunny fogless day, imagine himself in Paris or Berlin. The shops have foreign names: "Blanchisserie Fine" alternates with "Deutsche Droguenhandlung" or "Vino Scelto"; French waiters and Italian cooks stand, white-capped and white-aproned, smilingly at the doors of their respective restaurants; cheap and fair hostelries for wandering foreigners, with beds as low in price as two shillings per night, rise towering on every side. It is said that the French colony, in particular, of Leicester Square and Soho owes its origin to the early French refugees who, at various stormy periods, have sought shelter here from the internal dissensions of their own (p. 286) country. It has been said that, as far north as Seven Dials, the organ-grinders still find the "Marseillaise" the most lucrative tune to play; and this may well be so, though I myself have generally found, at least among the rising generation, the latest music-hall song or dance to be in the ascendant. There is another subject I would fain touch on here, at the risk even of irrelevance; it refers to the Soho style of coiffure. That there is a special fashion in ladies' hair-dressing peculiar to every district in London, is a fact which every passing visitor must soon recognize; thus, while in Clerkenwell model-lodging-houses it is generally (except for one short hour or two on Sundays),—Hinde's curlers,—in Seven Dials it is mostly of the "touzled" order, and in the West End of the classic "New Greek style." Here, in Leicester Square, it has a partly-French, partly-theatrical air, being generally parted in the middle, and brought, in smooth, dark, exaggerated Early Victorian loops, well over the ears. But details are more important than people imagine. "Nothing," says M. Gabriel Mourey, "so reveals a woman's psychology as her way of doing her hair." And the observant Frenchman goes on to draw certain quaint inferences from the English girl's style of coiffure, and her neatly braided tresses, careless of such aids to beauty as stray curls or "mèches folles;" a severe style that, according to this writer, "forms a rude contrast to the spiritual charm of her face, her Burne-Jonesian refinement of feature." ... As to the manner of hair-dressing betraying the personality, "nothing," he adds paradoxically, "could be more true of the typical Englishwoman, who never of her own free will, allows you to see a fraction of her real self, but draws into her shell of reserve with the same jealous reclusiveness that makes her bind her hair in such dull, tight, regular uniformity."

M. Mourey is certainly more polite to us than was M. Taine, who said unkindly that Englishwomen had big feet, as large as those of watermen, "and gait and boots in keeping"; also, that "it is impossible to train one's self to endure their long (p. 287) projecting teeth;" the effect, he supposes, of a carnivorous diet! "The point of view," again, not merely Anglophobia! The red-whiskered Englishman dressed in blatant checks;—his long-toothed gaunt spouse,—how long will these ridiculous fictions haunt the French mind? But even M. Taine would have been happy in Soho. Here, even the Englishwoman is less aggressively English; indeed, she blends, in indescribable medley, the qualities both of the Belle of New York and of the Parisian boulevards! Soho, however, is remarkable for other things than mere hairdressing. For the gastronomic talent that the French so naturally possess causes this whole district, including the neighbouring Covent Garden, to be noted, not only for many second-class "eating-houses," but also for good and moderately priced places to dine. The vast reform in this respect that has taken place of late years all over London probably owes not a little to these early pioneers in the art.

With the multiplication of cheap and good restaurants has grown in equal ratio the importation of Swiss and Italian waiters. These, every year, emigrate from their romantic valleys to our foggy shores, and work out their three, four, or five years in an alien land, partly for the sake of better wages, partly for that of learning the English language—an accomplishment without which no foreign waiter is now considered fully equipped. With unsparing thrift, they save the greater part of their wages; and they acquire the language as quickly as they can; with these two possessions they return to their own country, where they may either at once demand a higher salary,—or, if already well-to-do, buy a small holding and "settle down." When they first arrive in London, they are generally very young men, who come in faith and hope to the rumoured "golden land" of England, leaving their lovely native valley and their romantic homesteads with no less courage and resolution than, in mediæval times, would have drawn them forth, at a mercenary's wage, to the bloody field of war. The late Mr. J. A. Symonds, whose sympathies with, and knowledge of, the Swiss-Italian (p. 288) waiter are well known, has, he tells us, often wondered why the Alpine peasant goes through such cruel and comfortless expatriation. "The answer," he says, "is very simple:

"He wants to make money, and has the most resolute intention, after making it, to settle down at home and live the pleasant life of his forefathers in the mountains. In olden days he would have fought on any and every battlefield of Europe to get cash. But European history has turned over a new leaf. 'Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis,' and the Swiss make more by Fremdenindustrie than they could do by foreign military service in this age."

Landing in London with a small and hardly-saved pittance in their pockets, these lads usually live, as cheaply as may be, in and about Soho and Covent Garden, until such time as they can obtain employment. Switzerland, and especially Canton Ticino, furnishes a large part of the London waiters; yet all Italy, too, contributes her share. Even from one of the lonely hill-towns of the Apennines, three elegant youths, faultlessly attired,—servants of the inn, but whom I had imagined from their superior manners to be resident aristocrats,—once begged me to take them into my service, as footmen, cooks, knife-and-boot-boys, anything; "anything, madame, just to get a footing in England." Though the desirability of these as servants in private houses might, perhaps, be doubtful,—yet it is certain that in restaurants or hotels,—in quickness and in reliability,—the Swiss or Italian waiter far excels the English one. He rarely loses his temper. I have seen one waiting, single-handed, upon at least fifty impatient diners, and contenting every one. We can teach them very little. Yet they like to learn of us all they can. "I have learned a few things in England," the son and waiter in a little Swiss inn once said to me; a pleasant, rosy-cheeked youth, just over twenty, recently returned from a two years' service in London to the parental hostelry in a lonely, narrow valley. "Yes, I have learned something very fine." And he drew my attention to the quaint white-washed walls of the inn, made hideous by Japanese fans and cheap paper rosettes, &c.

(p. 289) "You are English?" he went on, with a pleased smile: "ah, then, you know my place in London, Scott's?"

(By "Scott's," he designated, as it turned out, the oyster-bar at the top of the Haymarket, which locality he apparently considered to represent the sum and total of "smart" London life.)

"Ah, I shall do this place up in fine style," he said, looking contemptuously round him at the modest but picturesque paternal inn. "Why, you will hardly know it again next year! I shall have the salle-à-manger pypered"—(he had learned the cockney dialect well), "pypered with bunches of fruit, flowers, monkeys—all in the English manner—ah! you will see! I shall wake them all up!"

And the "salle-à-manger," with its old black-panelled walls, was so much prettier as it was!

To be a waiter, however, even an "oyster-bar" waiter, is a superior position to that of a mere porter; and to be porters, "boots," hotel drudges of any and every description, "just to get a footing," is the primary aim of these sturdy aliens. Not only money and future advantage, but also what is known as the "Wanderlust," is, perhaps, yet another factor in the impulse that drives them from their homes. However this may be, rarely do they stay in the land of their bondage beyond the allotted time; still more rarely do they "colonize" in our sense of the word; but have ever before them, through all their struggles and hardships, the thought of the peaceful mountain home and honest competency that shall be theirs in middle age.... Poor lads! when I see you, worn and shabby, waiting, perhaps, in that long, pitiful black line of seedy applicants, now hopeful, now despairing of engagement, outside the big London restaurants, I confess to a tightness in my throat, thinking how, like Calverley's little Savoyard of Hatton Garden:

"Far from England, in the sunny
South, where Anio leaps in foam,
Thou wast bred, till lack of money
Drew thee from thy vine-clad home."

(p. 290) Surely the traveller who returns, yearly, from his pleasant tour in Alpine valleys, might always, here in foggy London, yield to the motive that prompts him, after a well-served dinner, to "give to the poor devil" an extra sixpence, reflecting, meanwhile, that he is thereby hastening the happy, far-off time when that "poor devil," enriched by years of painful toil and honest endeavour, may return to his valley, his home, his boyhood's love perhaps, and his own little patch of tillage.

The great monument of the "Fremden-Industrie" in London, as well as the focus and centre of the Swiss-Italian immigrants, is, of course, the establishment known as "Gatti's." Everyone knows the "Adelaide Gallery," and the palatial, velvet-cushioned restaurant that fronts the Strand. What were the beginnings of this great business? The brothers Agostino and Stefano Gatti, chocolate-makers, ice-cream princes, theatrical managers,—who has not heard of them from time immemorial?—has not their fame, in melodrama no less than in meringues, been almost a household word? In 1868, already they were naturalized as Englishmen; yet Mr. Agostino Gatti, native of Ticino, was none the less elected as a representative to the supreme Swiss Federal Assembly. The two brothers began modestly, in a small way; they managed everything themselves; standing, daily, shirt-sleeved, at their desk at receipt of custom, they were familiar figures of the past. They succeeded on the principle of Dickens's honest grocer, Mr. Barton, who made it his boast that "he was never above his business, and he hoped his business would never be above him!" The "Maison Gatti," the brothers' private house, stands in dignified Bedford Square; and the firm of Gatti, the heads of which are still to be seen in their shops, has doubtless amassed a large fortune. That fortune was well deserved; for the Gattis were among the pioneers in the reforming of restaurants.

"There is no more curious sight in London," writes the chronicler of the Gattis, "than the Adelaide Gallery between five and seven o'clock in (p. 291) the evening. From the door which opens into the street which runs by the graveyard of St. Martin's Church, to the handsome frontage which opens into the Strand, every table is occupied by a remarkable assemblage of men, women, and children. The husband brings his wife, the mother brings her children, the lover brings his sweetheart, and the Church, the stage, the press—each sends its representatives. Tragedies and comedies have been enacted over those marble-topped tables which, if they were related, would make the fortune of a thousand playwrights."

Ice-cream Barrow.

The ice-cream trade, however, with which the brothers Gatti (p. 292) largely identified themselves, is carried on, on inferior lines, to-day in Hatton Garden, Little Saffron Hill, and Clerkenwell. Here is the poorer Italian colony; organ-grinders, ice-cream-barrow-men, "hokey-pokey" sellers, and their like. Here, among a population of more or less honest toilers, congregate the waifs and strays of civilisation, people who, owing perhaps to their peripatetic and uncertain trade, could hardly help being loafers, even were they not mainly Neapolitans to boot: a difficult word, which has been corrupted by the low English in the vicinity, into first "Nappleton" and then simply "Appleton." City improvements have, however, ousted the chief Neapolitan colony from Great and Little Saffron Hills; and Eyre Street Hill, with its adjacent slums and alleys, is now their peculiar haunt. In the worst byways, and after dark, this is said to be a dangerous quarter to visit, Neapolitans being always proverbially ready with the knife.... Nevertheless, on fine spring days, it is not unpicturesque; the gay dresses of the women, the groups of handsome, dark-eyed youths, and the merry, brightly-clad children, lending almost an Italian charm to the scene. And the charming, curly-haired boys—the pretty and pathetic Savoyard, with his beloved monkey in a red coat—who does not know them? The men have other resources, as well as ice-creams and street-organs. Some of them hire themselves out as artists'-models to the big studios, a business which is well paid, and to which the picturesque Italian beauty well lends itself. Some, more skilled, are perhaps modellers of stucco images, which are hawked about the streets by others; some are knife-grinders, who go about with a wheel, and make, it is said, the best earnings of all. In the summer these poor exotics from the land of the sun manage to live, no doubt, pretty tolerably; in the winter, surely not even the chestnut-roasting apparatus that they hawk from street to street can suffice to keep them warm! They generally live in human rabbit warrens, under the patronage of a "padrone," a sort (p. 293) of modified and amiable slave-dealer, who imports them from their native land, and pockets, as price, a share of their earnings. They live poorly and frugally: and those of us who know the long street of Portici, will not, in the fouler air of (p. 294) London, expect much from their homes in the way of cleanliness. Yet the Italian women who, with their "men" and their babies, accompany the street organs, are generally trim and smiling, and, so far as foot-gear and general neatness of appearance is concerned—are immeasurably the superiors of their English slum-sisters.

The Organ-grinder.

The Italian woman seems, indeed,—in London, at any rate,—always vastly superior to the Italian man. She is religious; she goes, as a rule, regularly to her "Chiesa Cattolica." She is cleaner, smarter, pleasanter; she does most of the work; she often does the principal part of the organ-pushing—while her loafing partner slouches along by her side, yearning, doubtless, for his "polenta" and his midday siesta. She helps—indeed, her entire family, down to the babies, help—in the matutinal manufacture of the mysterious "hokey-pokey," whence, in the early morning hours, her "court" is a perfect babel of chatter and noise, and Eyre Street Hill becomes a strange sight for the inexperienced Londoner. Not only Neapolitans, but Sicilians, Tuscans, Venetians, are represented; indeed, the dialects and the slang used are so unlike, that the different circles of this Italian colony often themselves fail to understand one another. In the evenings, and generally on their doorsteps, the men play "mora," and gamble; while the women, for their part, patch clothes, chatter, and gesticulate in true native fashion. Later, the lord of creation, leaving his lady at home, goes off to the "Club Vesuvio" or to the "Club Garibaldi," where dancing goes on to a tune struck up by a fiddler, and the lowest type of London girls, befeathered, shawled, and dishevelled in true East-End fashion, dance with dirty and brigand-like Italian men. It is a strange life, and stranger still is the manner in which various types and nationalities have thus for generations "squatted down" in special districts of the metropolis, and filled them with their traditions, their atmosphere, their personality.

Many other colonies are to be seen in London; it is the (p. 295) most polyglot of cities. For those interested in such matters, nothing would give a better idea of the many-sided life of the metropolis than to take a long Sunday walk through its various districts. To quote the words of a recent writer:

"Sunday is, above all days, the day for such excursions, because there are none of the distractions of every-day life, or the bustle of business affairs. It is on Sunday you can see how polyglot London is, how the gregarious foreigners, herding together, occupy whole districts, living their own life, following the manners and customs of their own country, enjoying their own forms of religion, amusement, and business."

The Yiddish colony of Whitechapel, the Jewish Ghetto; the Asiatic colony in Poplar and the Dock neighbourhood generally; these and others display all the picturesqueness, the local colour, the kaleidoscopic life that many travellers go to distant lands to experience. In London, all peoples, and all classes, have their traditional strongholds, which are known and labelled. Thus, Bayswater, where the "high life" among the Asiatic colonists makes its home, is generally spoken of by foreigners as "Asia Minor." Here live the rich and cultured Orientals, those who have come over for pleasure, business, trade, or education; as for their poorer brethren, they live out in Poplar, Shadwell, or anywhere in the near vicinity of the East India Docks.

These Asiatics of the East End are a strange and motley crew; brought in by every steamer, every heavily-cargoed ship from the East, every trader "dropping down with costly bales." On the largest ships, say those of the P. and O. Company, vessels of some 7,000 tons, there will be perhaps some 120 Orientals on board, and, with such contingents continually arriving, there is, naturally, in the East End, a large foreign, though ever-shifting, population. Curious are the corruptions of Indian words one hears, and strange indeed are the sights and sounds among Malays, Chinese, and Indians. The famous opium dens of the East End, turned to such dramatic account not only in Dickens's Edwin (p. 296) Drood, but also, at a later day, in the Sherlock Holmes sequence of stories, are now much restricted in their horrors by police supervision. They used to be devils' haunts, famed for robbery and vice—traps set to catch the unwary Asiatic; but missionary work, combined with the clearances made by the East London Railway, has effected great improvement in the opium den of to-day. In the words of the writer before-mentioned:

"It looks like a private house, and no noise is permitted, for it is necessary to keep it as private as possible to prevent police interference. For they are invariably gambling dens also, and the Asiatic who goes to gamble still burns his joss-stick before the idol set up inside, in order to propitiate his deity and get good luck. Though repellant in appearance, there is a certain picturesqueness about the interior of these places. The shrine stands just inside the door, and there is a pungent odour from the ever-burning incense, while vases of artificial flowers, mingling among such queer votive offerings as biscuits and cups of tea, give it a strange appearance. The Canton matting, which is largely used in the rooms, gives a little local colour, and the personnel of the place is of a decided polyglot order. You may possibly see one or two men lying about sleeping off the results of their opium debauch: but gambling seems to be the main feature."

Nevertheless, even in these "reformed" dens, the home-coming sailor, or the imprudent Lascar, may find himself tempted to his undoing and "cleaned out" of all his hard-won earnings. Or he may possibly be "knifed," and, if the criminal escape, in this region of obscure and unknown "byways," even the experienced police may be hard set to find him. It is, indeed, a true "Vanity Fair," this East End of London, for poor Christian and Faithful, fresh from the sea and all its dangers.

The Yiddish colony is also a city by itself. The Jews who foregather in Whitechapel are mostly of Polish, Russian, or German extraction, and their talk, to unused ears, sounds like a strange German lingo, unpleasantly whined through the nose. Indeed, it closely resembles German; the word "Yiddish" itself being but a corruption of the German "Jüdisch," or Jewish. These people, whose "interpreters" (p. 297) figure largely at nearly every police-court brawl in Whitechapel, Shoreditch, and Spitalfields, may be said to be a law and a dispensation to themselves. They crowd, in their numbers, into dirty tenement houses, in yet dirtier streets; streets in which they barter, buy and sell with all the instinct and all the indomitable energy of their race. Here are the tailors' sweating dens, so often deplored by philanthropic "commissions"; here human toil is reduced, for the benefit of the "middleman," to its lowest possible price. The so-called "Jewish slave-market," to the existence of which attention has been called in the Press, is a strange and unpleasing custom. Here the Jewish "slave-owner" is, more or less, in the place of the Italian "padrone" already referred to, in that he imports human material, and "farms out" human labour:

"Any one who devotes a Sunday or two to visiting the open-air markets in the Jewish quarter, will have noticed on the fringe of the markets groups of men, sometimes with women and children. If you are under the convoy of a Jewish acquaintance who 'knows the ropes,' he will tell you that it is a 'hiring fair.' But it has a suspiciously close approximation to a slave market."

Leases of human labour, sold, at starvation wages for the victims, to the highest bidder, are not unnatural to a slum Yiddish population whose whole life is spent in barter. The Jewish colony in the East End now numbers some 35,000 souls:

"Only recently Lord Rothschild described it as a 'new Poland,' and said that it was the business of the nation 'first to humanise it and then Anglicise it.' It certainly wants humanising."

The cosmopolitanism of London tends to draw to it the sweepings, as well as the choice spirits,—the worst, as well as the best,—of all other nations and climes. "Hell is a city much like London," said the poet Shelley; and he spoke truth. Views, religious and otherwise, differ largely as to what Hell may be; one opinion, however, may be safely hazarded; that it will at any rate be cosmopolitan.

(p. 298)

A Sale at Christie's.


"The busy Mart of London."

"Gay shops, stately palaces, bustle and breeze,
The whirring of wheels, and the murmur of trees;
By night or by day, whether noisy or stilly,
Whatever my mood is, I love Piccadilly."—
Locker-Lampson, London Lyrics.

I am confident that if a million of women of all classes could by any possibility be placed in a Palace of Truth, and interrogated straitly as to what they liked best in all London, the vast majority of them would answer, "The Shops." Indeed, you may easily, and without any undue inquisitiveness, find (p. 299) this out for yourself by simply taking (in May for choice) a morning or afternoon walk down Oxford Street or Regent Street. Every shop of note will have its quota of would-be buyers, trembling on the brink of irrevocable purchase: its treble, nay, quadruple row of admiring females, who appear to find this by far the most attractive mode of getting through the day. I would go further, and say that as regards the more persevering among them, it is difficult to imagine that they ever have any other occupation at all.

The shops of London have wonderfully improved in quite recent years; not perhaps, so much in actual quality, as in arrangement and taste. Labels with "dropsical figures" of shillings and perfectly invisible pence have, as in Dickens's time, still their charm for us; but other things have changed. Everything could, to those who "knew," always be bought best in London; but everything was not always displayed to the best advantage. To dress a shop-front well was in old days hardly considered a British trait. But "nous avons changé tout cela." Now, even the Paris boulevard, that Paradise of good Americans, has, except perhaps in the matter of trees and wide streets, little to teach us. "The wealth of Ormus and of Ind" that the shops of Regent Street and Bond Street display, their gold embroideries and wonderfully woven silks, tending to make a kleptomaniac out of the very elect,—these it would be hard indeed to beat. Not Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these.

Even the critical American cousin is now beginning to forsake Paris, and to find out the real superiority of London shops. See how he—she, I mean—helps, in her numbers, to swell the shop-gazing crowds in Oxford Circus. Tramping from Bloomsbury boarding-houses,—or, more aristocratic, from Northumberland Avenue hotels,—the Americans have discovered, and are in a fair way to dominate, London; the London, that is, of July and August.

"The English," said a celebrated Frenchman once unkindly, (p. 300) "are a nation of shopkeepers." However that may be, it is certain that we are nothing if not business-like. Evidently, the love of bargaining is inherent in the soul of the average British female who comes up from the suburbs for a day's shopping. She has a long, neatly-written list of her wants and necessities, generally pinned to some part of her person, a list with startling variations of subject, thus: "Baby's food-warmer, Tom's cricket-bat, lay-figure for Sylvia, beetle-trap for the kitchen, Effie's long Suède gloves, registry office for new cook, dentist, evening wrap, chiffon boa, something neat in the blouse line for Mamie, Aunt Maria's birthday." Poor woman! That "something neat in the blouse line" takes her nearly forty minutes in the finding; and "Aunt Maria's birthday" walks sadly into the hour for lunch, already attenuated. Several shops, alas! have been ransacked vainly, and the horrid "Sign 'ere, Miss!" that so cruelly stigmatizes, in certain cheap shops, the recalcitrant buyer, has more than once mortified the poor lady's sensitive ears. "Mamie," who is assisting at the martyrdom, gets quite cross over Aunt Maria; she succeeds, however, in detaching herself from her inconvenient parent, and appears, for her part, to be preferring the claims of a protégé of her own, a personage who is very particular, apparently, about his special brand of ties. Finally, Aunt Maria's natal day is checked off by the purchase of an aggressive china pug, large as life, with staring eyes, which, for some occult reason, is supposed to be "the very thing" for that lady.

What are the special qualities that constitute "a good shopper"? They would appear to be as follows: endurance, patience, strength, coolness, self-control, amiability, mental arithmetic, and, lastly, an eye to a bargain. All these cardinal virtues are, for the average shopper, considered as generally necessary to salvation: but yet there are other qualifications. For instance, the intense delight that most women (and a few men) feel in obtaining an article at 1s. 11-3/4d., that has once been marked with the magic 3s. 6-1/2d., is of distinct value in (p. 301) this connection. How many women have delightedly bought a thing that is not of the slightest value to themselves or to any one else, simply because it is thus reduced in price! Hence the supreme advantage of sales—but that is another story.

Caveat Emptor! It is the object of the seller merely to sell; and in his behalf it may be urged, that there is no gauging the absurd vagaries of the public taste. I may add, with reference to "Aunt Maria's" china pug, that some shops (arguing, no doubt, from the oddly imitative ways of shoppers and their docile, sheep-like way of following one another's lead), have taken to the inauguration of strange fashions. Lately a well-known West End emporium started that blue cat with pink eyes, wearing a yellow riband, tied in an enormous bow round its neck. It was an æsthetic, Burne-Jonesian cat; indeed, it was hardly like a cat at all; but, nevertheless, it sat in rows in that shop-window, and the line (I believe such things are called "lines") "took," and forthwith no home was complete without a cat. Then some enterprising Tottenham Court Road firm evolved the idea that a life-sized negro, dressed in the latest fashion, and sprawling in a cane chair with a cigarette, was the "very thing" for the vestibule. Personally, I should have preferred the chair empty, so that one could have sat in it one's self; the negro, however, enjoyed wide popularity. Then a little, muzzled, foolish-looking china puppy became the Regent Street rage, and was forthwith attached as an ornament to every suburban house-door. Whose is the great mind who set these fashions, before whom every householder bows? It would be interesting to know.

There is great opportunity for the ever-interesting study of human nature, in observing the ways of shops and shoppers. The really able shopman or saleswoman can make you buy just anything he or she wishes; it is a mere question of degree in artistic persuasion. Indeed I have often almost wept with sheer pain to see some graceful, fairy-like shop-damsel (chosen (p. 302) mainly, be it remarked, for her figure), throw some elegant wrap on to her slim shoulders, and turning to a fat, middle-aged matron, say smilingly, "Just the very thing for you, ma'am!" And the deluded matron will buy the wrap, not even suspecting the pitiful ludicrousness of the situation. Truly, few people have a sense of humour. A friend of mine, who delights in new experiences, and enjoys seeing into the "highways and byways" of London life, once prevailed on a fashionable West End milliner, with whom she was well acquainted, to let her play the part of saleswoman for just one day. The results were afflicting to all concerned. The poor postulant nearly died of fatigue; every one's tempers were strained to the utmost; and several excellent customers were turned away. It was Kate Nickleby, Madam Mantalini, and Miss Knag, over again; especially Miss Knag. I learnt that, even before the arrival of the customers, a good day's work had to be "put in," in the decking and re-arranging of the shop-window. Every single hat and bonnet had to be taken from the stand, and carefully dusted, brushed, smartened up and replaced. And woe to the saleswoman who failed to effect a sale, more especially if that saleswoman happened to be unfortunate for two or three times in succession! My friend, after her sad experience of customers' ways, vowed ever to make it a point of religion to spend no more than ten minutes in the choosing of a hat, and always to end by buying it.

Nevertheless, so far as the big, well-managed shops are concerned, the employés are not really deserving of pity; they have good food and lodging, with comparatively short hours, and the situations they fill are, as a rule, much sought after. It is, rather, the owners of the smaller establishments, in the poorer districts, who "sweat" their unfortunate shop-girls. Here the poor white slaves are often kept hard at work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday nights till 12, with short intervals for hurried and indifferent meals. Of course, it is the working classes themselves who are the cause of this (p. 303) "sweating"; these do their shopping late, on Saturday nights especially late; and shops, if they closed early in poor districts, would for this reason lose the greater part of their custom.

The shop-girl in a really good West End establishment is in very different case. She is often more or less gently bred, such breeding being an important factor in her engagement. Very often, indeed, her superior manners contrast, oddly enough, with the rudeness of the "lady" whom she happens to be serving.

Shop-girls and shop-men are always popular elements of London life. There was, quite lately, a comic opera written in the shop-girl's honour. And, so far as shop-men are concerned, it is an eloquent fact that in the recent revival of the Gilbert-and-Sullivan opera Patience, the only noteworthy alterations in the text were the substitution of the "Twopenny Tube young man" for the "Threepenny 'Bus young man," and of the words "Tottenham House" for the departed "Waterloo House." For a London audience must, above all things, be kept up to date, and a small anachronism of the latter kind, a mistake about the shops, would be noticed by them much sooner than a more important one.

Everything can be got in London, if (and the "if" is a comprehensive one) you know where to go for it. Old timber, for instance, can be bought not only at the Westminster wharves, but also in the Euston Road (where Messrs. Maple's vast timber-yards are in themselves an insight into the "highways and byways" of London); old silver may be had in the now spoiled Hanway Street, and Holborn; old furniture and antiques in Wardour Street and its neighbourhood; new furniture in Tottenham Court Road; livestock in and about Seven Dials; artists' materials in Soho, and so on.... The best stationers' shops are in the City: the City shops, however, make a "speciality" of solid worth rather than of outside attractiveness, a quality in which the Regent Street and Oxford Street marts bear the palm. It is not really of much importance (p. 304) where you shop; it is, however, important to remember that, unless your money happens to be more valuable than your time, you had better not frequent cheap marts or crowded stores.

The Dog Fancier!!!

Book-shops are very inadequate in London; so few are they indeed, that one is tempted to wonder what the "five millions, (p. 305) in the richest city in the world" read? In most foreign towns book-shops are to be found, in twos and threes, in every important street; in English provincial towns, if you want a book, you are usually directed to "a stationer's"; and even in London, book-shops must diligently be sought for, though, when found, they are, it must be confessed, usually very good.

Second-hand book-shops are more plentiful than new book shops; and these are mostly strangely dark, dingy, and rambling places, where the depressed proprietor rarely seems to wish to part with any of his dusty stock-in-trade, but sits apart in dusky recesses, moody and abstracted like Eugene Aram, annotating a catalogue. He is the unique tradesman who does not appear to want to sell his goods. After he has got over his annoyance at being disturbed,—and if you do happen to come to terms with him,—he will, as likely as not, heave a deep sigh as he turns to search for some very second-hand sheets of brown paper to enwrap the second-hand treasure. These old book-shops, with their outlying "twopenny" and "fourpenny" boxes, are generally to be found on busy city thoroughfares, as if by intent to entrap the unwary and impecunious scholar on his way home from his office desk to his little suburban home. In such spiders' webs of temptation he has been known to spend, in one fatal half-hour, all the money destined for the butcher's bill, or for the gas rate!

In the Charing Cross Road.

But, while impoverished scholars have a weakness for second-hand literature, the big circulating libraries, on the other hand, are the great weakness of their wives and daughters, cousins and aunts. About these vast emporiums ladies of all ages flit all day like bees around a hive. Ladies would appear but seldom to buy books; they always hire. A morning spent at Smith's or Mudie's is curiously instructive as to the methods pursued by them in the search for light literature. The library counters then usually exhibit a double or treble row of women, with a very faint sprinkling of elderly men, all waiting, in varying (p. 307) degrees of patience, for their turn. Several of the ladies have considerately brought pet dogs, which they hold by the chain, the dear little animals being meanwhile thoughtfully engaged in entangling themselves round all the other customers' legs.

"Have you some nice, new, good novels?" asks a plaintive materfamilias, with a stolid-faced bevy of half-grown up daughters behind her, just out of the schoolroom. "Something, you know, that is quite fit for young girls; no problems, or pasts, or anything of that kind."

The young man looks nonplussed. "We have Miss Yonge's latest," he suggests: "or Maeterlinck's Life of the Bee, just out—"

"Oh! Maeterlinck is so very Maeterlincky, you know. And do you think that he's always quite safe?"

"I assure you, madam, you will find him so in this instance," urges the young man.

"Well, bees are, of course, interesting; and very nice and proper too, I'm sure; but I myself prefer the lives of celebrated people. Mr. Gladstone's Life, for instance? Oh, it's not written yet, is it? What a bore! Well, I suppose it's no use our waiting.... And Miss Yonge, no, thank you.... You see, she died last year, and then she's so very Early-Victorian!"

The man, seeing that it is to be a long business, gives up the problem for the moment, and moves in despair to the next customer.

Now it is the turn of a little old lady, with a deprecating manner: "I want something nice, and not too clever," she murmured: "something I can knit over, you know, after breakfast. No, not religious, I somehow find that's too depressing. How would this do?" as she picked up a volume that was flaunting itself on the counter, "Sir Richard Calmady. I think I'd like that, if it's at all like Sir George Tressady."

"No, madam, not at all the sort of thing for you," the young man hastened to say with an air of authority. "Allow me: Try this; this is a very safe book, Miss Edna Lyall's latest, (p. 308) In Spite of All. This (confidentially) is an author we always recommend."

Now there bustled up a young-old lady with fuzzy hair and a sailor hat: "I want all the most go-ahead novels you have," she cried: "somethin' really startling, somethin' that'll keep you awake and excited all through."

This lady being fortunately in a hurry, was quickly got rid of with a judicious mixture of Hall Caine, Guy Boothby, and Marie Corelli, in equal quantities.

Finally there came a nondescript, pudding-faced young woman, who said, vaguely, as if fulfilling a painful duty: "I want a novel. What is being read now?" She, however, proved very amenable, and went off dutifully with Elizabeth's Visits, The Love-letters of Anonyma, and the Transvaal War.

What vast knowledge of human nature must, one thinks, these young men at the libraries possess! They seem to enact the part of general literary adviser to the enormous feminine public. They know their types well, too: they rarely mistake. They may almost be said to form the minds of their customers; and they may, they possibly do, rule over a large proportion of human opinion.

Ladies, as I said, seldom buy new books; they seem to prefer reading novels that others have well thumbed. New book-shops, therefore, are few and far between; they mostly congregate about St. Paul's, and in the neighbourhood of what used to be Holywell Street; for trades in London, as is well known, tend to have their own special districts. In the poorer quarters, however, and in the near suburbs, everything is, on the contrary, placed in the queerest juxtaposition; thus, you may see a house labelled "Embalming done here," between two others respectively inscribed: "Hot Dinners served here," and "Cheap Mangling done;" while the big shopping palaces in Westbourne Grove and elsewhere advertise themselves, modestly, to provide everything, from a coffin to a hired guest. Some of our shops and ways must indeed puzzle the unsophisticated (p. 309) foreigner. Mr. Samuel Butler has told an amusing story of how a poor Ticinese peasant woman was one day found on her knees in prayer before an elaborate dentist's "show case" in Soho,—imagining it, doubtless, to contain the relics of a saint!

Shops, in some of the poor districts, afford remarkable insight into cockney character. There is, for instance, the old plant-hawker who sells you rotten roots with a sweet smile: there is the no less charming bird-fancier who gets rid of a songless hen-canary at the modest price of 10/-, assuring you, meanwhile, that "no better singer ever lived"; there is the lady-greengrocer who lets you have plums at a penny a pound dearer than the market-price—"though it's a robbin' me and my poor innercent childern, that's what it is!"

It is not, however, always the shopman whose ways are most open to criticism. For, not only in the poorer districts, customers exist whose ideas of integrity are not of the finest. In Somers, Camden, or Kentish Towns, where the trader must, of necessity and from custom, spread out his goods in the street, to catch the eye, on projecting booths, that articles should occasionally be missed is, perhaps, hardly wonderful; and yet, curiously enough, it is rather in the big West End emporiums that shop-lifting is most common. Sales especially are most dangerous in this respect. Managers, notably of big drapery emporiums, say that they expect to lose a certain percentage regularly in this way: it is regarded as part of the business.

"Oh, no! we don't prosecute now," a pleasant shop-walker said in answer to my inquiries on the subject: "It is too risky altogether; the thing isn't worth it. And we lost £500, one year, by getting hold of the wrong person ... it's so easy to mistake, in the crowd. No, we just place detectives here and there, where the biggest crushes are ... they are dressed like ordinary customers, and carry parcels; so that no one could discover their business.... Then, if a detective happens (p. 310) to see a suspicious-looking individual, he marks her or him—(it is generally her), and follows, from one counter to another, to see if he is right. He doesn't speak until he is perfectly sure; but, when he is, he just goes up to the person and says politely, 'Please, would you kindly follow me for a moment into the office?' Once in the office, the shop-lifter is made very quietly to disgorge.... It's nearly always a lady—very well connected some of them are, too.... She's never one of our reg'lar customers—sale-folks seem a kind of class by themselves, and we see nothing of them from one sale-day to another. Some of them make hay then, and no mistake.... Why, madam," said the shop-walker, warming to his narrative, "why, I've seen ladies go into that office, quite stout persons, and come out of it so thin, you'd hardly know 'em again.... They just wear cloaks with deep inside pockets all round."

"And don't they ever object, or make a commotion in the shop?" I inquired.

"No, they go as quiet as lambs mostly ... and other customers don't notice anything.... You see, they know there's no help for 'em, no use for 'em to brazen it out, lined with silks, and laces and stuffs as they are. Afterwards, we just warn 'em kindly, and let 'em go. They rarely do it twice in the same shop."

"What sort of things do they generally take?" I asked.

"Why, lace, and bits o' ribbon, put up in odd lots for sale, things lying about loose on the counter, like they are at sale times. Well-dressed they are, too, you wouldn't think they could want 'em badly. 'Oh, it must 'a got up my sleeve,' some of 'em say, looking most innocent, with perhaps two or three yards of brocade or surah hangin' out of their golf-capes.... They've got a kind of a fancy, as well, for religious books: no knowing why, for religion," added the shop-walker thoughtfully, "has evidently done them no good."

With which reflection I cordially agreed.

Sales, however tempting, should be avoided by the unwary (p. 311) shopper, for they are dangerous as spiders' webs. They usually occur twice a year, in January and July; in January, they relieve the tedium of the winter fogs; in July, they are a very midsummer madness. The sales vary in honesty. Some of them are really held in order to clear out, at a sacrifice, the "old stock"; some, especially in the smaller shops, are simply quick sales of "cheap lines," bought in on purpose, and strewn about heterogeneously on the counters. Sale days are truly terrible experiences to the uninitiated. If you happened, unwittingly, to go to some familiar shop on one of these yearly occasions, the mass of crowded, struggling, gasping humanity, nearly all pushing, and nearly all fat, would lead you to imagine that life and death, at least, were intimately concerned in the tussle, instead of merely the question of securing the "first choice" of "Remnants."

The shopping, however, of the rich is one thing, and the shopping of the very poor is quite another. Most interesting, to those who care to study the book of human nature, are the "street-markets" of the people, those rows of noisy booths and barrows which have stood from time immemorial, by traditional right, in certain streets, and where jets of brilliant, flaring naptha-lights display the kaleidoscopic stock-in-trade. Among such streets are Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road; Leather Lane, Holborn; or, to descend to a yet lower social depth, Brick Lane, Spitalfields. Booths and barrows are, as everybody knows, not allowed to obstruct the majority of streets, being generally limited to slums or wretched paved alleys; here, however, the authorities evidently make exceptions in favour of certain ancient vested rights. In Goodge Street fruit and vegetables are mainly sold; in Leather Lane, tools, appliances, pedlars' wares, butchers' meat; everything, in fact, in infinite variety; in Spitalfields, birds and live-stock, together with old clothes, and second-hand articles generally. In such street-markets, from eight to ten on Saturday night is the gala time for business. M. Gabriel Mourey says:

(p. 312) "These streets of London, where the poor do their marketing, are, on Saturday night, gay with light and thronged with people. Because of the next day's rest, there is, until past midnight, an open market, which invades the pavement with costers' barrows heaped with fruit, butchers' stalls, booths of incongruous articles, kitchen utensils, old tools, all the bric-à-brac of the second-hand suburban shop; vehicular traffic is suspended; all barriers are encroached upon; everyone walks in the middle of the street. Dealers and brokers offer shoes, clothing, hats, boots, plates and dishes, all at ridiculous prices."

Curious, indeed, are the bits of life and character that are to be met with on these London by-ways. Not changed one whit in essentials since Dickens's time, they recall his wonderful insight, observation, and inimitable cockney touches. There are small differences, of course; the street matrons, for instance, have changed their former floppy caps for battered sailor hats, or other articles of damaged head-gear; the use of their nails, as an offensive weapon, for the more formidable "hat-pin." The traditional dress of the self-respecting feminine street-dealer is, however, still as sternly conventional in its way as the Mayfair belle's. At the present day it consists, usually, of a black cloth or plush jacket, a vividly red or blue skirt, a large white apron, a black hat of either the "feather" or "sailor" variety, slovenly boots down at heel, and,—most important point of all—long and conspicuous gold earrings. Thus attired, the lady street-vendor haggles and chaffers all day in a conscious elegance and propriety. The ladies of the profession generally monopolize the itinerant greengrocery trade; and among their customers you may still see some Mrs. Prig, carefully selecting a juicy "cowcumber" for the supper of her "friend and pardner, Sairey Gamp"; while yonder, perhaps, is some Mrs. Tibbs, or Mrs. Todgers, carefully appraising the piece of steak destined for the dinner of her rapacious boarders, and weighed down by all the distracting cares of paying guests. Near by, perhaps Jo, that poor vagrant, finger in mouth, eyes wistfully a juicy plateful of shellfish that the "winkle-barrow" man has just got ready for (p. 313) a customer. Then, maybe, a hansom rattles by with a jaded diner-out, yawning from a sense of the emptiness, not of his stomach, but of society and life, and you recall almost unconsciously Molloy's haunting words:

"Go thy way! Let me go mine,
I to starve, and thou to dine."

Saturday Night Shopping.

Let us, however, hope that those who really "starve" are few in number. For the barrow-men, who pay small rates as compared to shop-owners, give good value in return for their money, with much homely wit and caustic joking thrown in; and poor, indeed, must be the household that cannot enjoy, on Saturday night, (p. 314) their something "'ot with innions," their portion of fried fish, or of sheeps' trotters. Of course, when dealing with barrows, the buyer must have as many eyes as possible. "Let the buyer beware" may be specially said of this class of shopping. It were perhaps too much to expect, as Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes seems to suggest, that fruit, when you buy it, should "grow bigger downwards through the box"; yet, perhaps, when you see a pile of luscious pears or apples heaped up temptingly in front of you, you need not allow yourself to be fobbed off with a few rotten ones, shovelled up carelessly from unseen depths behind. Much art is necessary when dealing with a barrow-man, who, as often as not, really respects the careful and fastidious shopper, and retorts to her complaints with a good-natured joke. If a trifle less distant in manner than his West-End brother, he is certainly more affectionate, and dubs his customer "my dear." But, in the street markets, it is usually the meat-huckster who is the greatest "character." His voice may be heard above the general din: "Buy my pretty meat," he shouts from his stall to the red-armed housewives; "now, lydies, don't go a fingerin' it too much, or it'll taste er kid gloves when you go to eat it.... 'Ave that there sheep's 'ed, Miss? wy, certingly; that wuz a 'appy sheep, that wuz! jest look at the smile 'e's got on 'im; know'd you wuz a-goin' to buy 'im, 'e did.... There now, my dear! look wot you've been and done, rolled that there bit 'o' shin in the mud, it'll 'ave to go for cats' meat now," &c. &c.

This kind of "patter," continued ad libitum, seems to be regarded as the slum butcher's special métier.

In Brick Lane, Spitalfields,—not the Jewish "Ghetto," but the purely English quarter,—there is, moreover, a Sunday morning "poor man's market." It is usually, in more select London highways, more or less difficult to make purchases, be they never so necessary, on Sunday morning. I remember, indeed, a despairing search for food on such an occasion (food necessitated by the arrival of unexpected visitors), which ended (p. 315) in the obtaining, almost by force, of a couple of boiled chickens from a small Italian restaurant, with the added injunction to "keep them well hidden" from the eye of the law on the homeward journey. In the East End, however, it is very different. Brick Lane, an unsavoury region, described by the late Mr. Montagu Williams as "a land of beer and blood," presents on Sunday morning a strange sight to the uninitiated. Here is its picture by an eye-witness:

"In Brick Lane ... scenes are to be witnessed on Sunday mornings which afford a companion picture to those in Whitechapel. The East End English have also, like the Jews, their 'poor man's market,' and where Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Spitalfields meet at the northern part of Brick Lane, which is in Spitalfields, the poorest and meanest of them are to be found. In the early part of Sunday morning, for a couple of hours or so, there is a woman's market where cast-off clothes, tawdry finery, and the newest things in hats and feathers are bartered. Heterogeneous heaps of clothing, boots and shoes included, lie spread over the ground, and some amusing scenes are to be witnessed. Pass along Sclater Street and new scenes meet the eye. The women are left behind, and men and boys are met with. Instead of old clothes one sees and hears twittering birds. Here come the pigeon fanciers from all parts of Bethnal Green and Spitalfields; birds of all kinds are to be bought, and the noise and bustle are in striking contrast to the subdued, sorrow-stricken tone of the women's market. It does not require any long acquaintance with these scenes to discover that the men are fonder of their birds than of their wives. Nowhere is bird-fancying and pigeon-breeding more general than in the crowded East End. Where one would think there was not house-room enough or food enough for human occupants, prize birds of great value are reared—most probably with money that should have gone to feed and clothe the children."

The special markets where the poor buy and sell are not, however, exactly tempting to the well-to-do, unless in search of "copy" or other experience. For those London visitors who do not appreciate the slums, yet whose olfactory organs are not too fastidious, the big London markets, Covent Garden, Smithfield, Billingsgate, will perhaps afford a sufficient experience in that line. Billingsgate is the most perilous excursion (p. 316) of the three. Its aroma is strong and lasting, and the stranger in its diverging courts and alleys runs considerable danger of having winkle-barrels or fish crates descend on his devoted head, as they are lowered from the wharves on to their respective carts. Yes, a little of Billingsgate will undoubtedly go a very long way; yet it is an interesting place to have seen, and the strange, sudden appearance of ancient churches,—St. Dunstan's, St. Magnus, St. Mary-at-Hill,—incongruously calm amid the wild turmoil all round them,—gives a momentary peace even "amid the City's jar." The language of Billingsgate fish-wives and porters is proverbial, yet it is perhaps hardly worse than in many other less fishy quarters of London. The Coal Exchange, opposite Billingsgate, has, with its broad flight of steps, on which people sit, itself a kind of ecclesiastical look. The fish market opens at five in the morning.

All this quarter of London is a vast hive of industry. The stranger should walk along the busy thoroughfare of Upper and Lower Thames Street all the way from the Tower to St. Paul's; tall, blackened, ever-devouring warehouses line the street, which is a very inferno of bustle and labour. Though the street is muddy and noisy, and its perambulation may not impossibly render the pedestrian more than a little cross, he will, at any rate, gain from it some insight into London life. Mr. Hare describes the scene well:

"Thames Street," he says, "is the very centre of turmoil. From the huge warehouses along the sides, with their chasm-like windows and the enormous cranes which are so great a feature of this part of the City, the rattling of the chains and the creaking of the cords, by which enormous packages are constantly ascending and descending, mingle with uproar from the roadway beneath. Here the hugest waggons, drawn by Titanic dray horses, and attended by waggoners in smock-frocks, are always lading or discharging their enormous burthens of boxes, barrels, crates, timber, iron, or cork."

But, though a visit to Billingsgate is only faintly suggested, and the delights of the great central meat-market of Smithfield (p. 317) are, it is fair to say, only capable of thorough appreciation by farmers and connoisseurs, every visitor to London ought to be enjoined to go and see Covent Garden Market, and preferably in the early hours of the spring morning, the time of its highest activity. Not only interesting at the present day as a special focus of London life, Covent Garden has, also, the classic charm of history. For as early as the thirteenth century this was the "convent garden" of Westminster, supplying its monks with fruit and vegetables. That the course of centuries and the habit of cockneys has dropped the sacred "n," and changed the name into "Covent Garden" is easily understood. Covent Garden is still faithful to its fruit and vegetables, though these, alas! are no longer to be seen growing there, but are transported thither from the rich gardens of England, as well as from colonies and nations overseas. Here, within this small enclosure, can be got, it is said, all that skill can grow, care can transport, and money can buy. Here can be obtained, at any time, and at short notice, the roses of a Heliodorus, or the orchids of a Vanderbilt; together with priceless fruits in mid-winter, new vegetables in February frosts, and tropical produce all the year round. The middle avenue of Covent Garden is expensive, but it can produce anything wished for in the fruit and flower line. Riches in such places are as the magic wand of an Aladdin. The central avenue of the market is refined and polite; outside its limits, however, the manners of the locality are original and peculiar, a kind of "law unto themselves." The Covent Garden porters and market-women are rough diamonds; the men, especially, full of good-natured horse-play, seem alarming on a first introduction, but harmless when you are used to them. Yet I have known timid ladies who have shrunk from a walk through "the Garden," imagining its denizens to be robbers and cut-throats, or, at least, revolutionary citizens of a supposed "Reign of Terror!"

Covent Garden is at its highest glory on certain May (p. 318) mornings, from about six to eight,—on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays,—which are special "market days." On these occasions the din and bustle is indescribable; and "Mud-Salad Market," justifying its title, becomes a green sea of spring vegetables, interspersed with still greener islands of laden, tottering market carts. The show of cut flowers is a wonderful sight, and street hawkers, flower-girls, itinerant flower-vendors and plant-sellers, are one and all busy making their special "bargains." The flower-girls, untidy, shawled and befeathered, sit about on doorsteps or on upturned market baskets making their "button-holes" for the day, and scanning anxiously the weather;—so much of their profit depends on that! They are all a cheery, though somewhat rowdy, folk, who mean no harm by their very outspoken witticisms. Even their rowdiness is an historic legacy; for, in past days, this neighbourhood used to be ravaged by the redoubted street bullies called "Mohocks" or "Scourers," pests of an older time. There is a well-known print of Covent Garden Market, from Hogarth's picture, Morning; the print shows the red, barn-like Church of St. Paul dominating, as it still does, the market, and the old taverns near to it. The taverns and inns of Covent Garden used to be famous, but have now mostly decayed, like its "Piazza," or Italian colonnade, little of which is now left standing, but which was once the glory of the town. Thackeray, who used to stay at the "Bedford," thus describes the place in his day:

"The two great national theatres on one side, a churchyard full of mouldy but undying celebrities on the other; a fringe of houses studded in every part with anecdote or history; an arcade, often more gloomy and deserted than a cathedral aisle; a rich cluster of brown old taverns, one of them filled with the counterfeit presentments of many actors long since silent, who scowl and smile once more from the canvas upon the grandsons of their dead admirers; a something in the air which breathes of old books, old painters, and old authors; a place beyond all other places one would choose in which to hear the chimes at midnight, a crystal palace—the representative of the present—which presses in timidly from a corner (p. 319) upon many things of the past; a withered bank that has been sucked dry by a felonious clerk, a squat building with a hundred columns, and chapel-looking fronts, which always stands knee-deep in baskets, flowers, and scattered vegetables; a common centre into which Nature showers her choicest gifts, and where the kindly fruits of the earth often nearly choke the narrow thoroughfares; a population that never seems to sleep, and that does all in its power to prevent others sleeping; a place where the very latest suppers and the earliest breakfasts jostle each other over the footways."

Fielding, the novelist, devotes in Humphry Clinker a page or two to Covent Garden market, which he supposes to be described by an old country gentleman. The writer complains of its dearness and dirt:

"It must be owned," (he says), "that Covent Garden affords some good fruit; which, however, is always engrossed by a few individuals of overgrown fortune, at an exorbitant price; so that little else than the refuse of the market falls to the share of the community; and that is distributed by such filthy hands, as I cannot look at without loathing."

The old gentleman also goes on to complain of the nightly terrors of the London "watchman, bawling the hour through every street and thundering at every door." This custom, fortunately for us, is now in abeyance; also the street cries of London (at least in its more polite circles) are likewise much diminished in intensity. Even the muffin man's bell, so welcome in the winter afternoon's gloom, seems now more seldom heard. "Sweet Lavender," however, still has a familiar autumn sound, and the flower-hawkers of spring are still discordant. Yet one's ears are no longer so generally deafened, and the reason for this is not far to seek. For London is now so gay with advertisements that in every direction our eyes meet strange, gaily-coloured hoarding and sky signs; and the manifold attractions of various articles, instead of being cried in the streets, now cry at us from the walls, or shout discordantly at us from out of the blue of heaven, from ugly black wires and glaring brazen letters. We cannot go out of doors without being asked a (p. 320) hundred times, in varying type, such silly questions as "Why does a Woman Look Old Sooner than a Man?" "Why Let Your Baby Die?" "Why Pay House Rent?" or other such idiotic queries. Why, who would pay house rent, especially in London, if he or she could help it? In shops, or on railways, it is the same. For at least several miles out of London you travel in the constant company of "Pears's Soap," and "Colman's Mustard;" and outside eating-shops you see in large letters the cunning legend, "Everything as Nice as Mother Makes it." The Art of Advertisement is everywhere paramount. You cannot even travel in the humble omnibus without being implored "not to let your wife worry over the house-cleaning," and being asked "why your nose gets red after eating"; together with suggested remedies for both these sad states of things. These are really, when one comes to think of it, impertinent personalities. This mania for posters has, of course, largely resulted from the modern spread of education: for of what use to ask such questions in old days, when few could have succeeded in reading them? The fashion of advertisements is still growing, the Americans are encouraging it to preposterous proportions; and we shall soon, indeed, live in a mere criss-cross of lettered wires, not unlike Mr. Wells's idea of a future Utopia.

Yet far away be that time still! Although the threatening wires already faintly line the blue here and there above our city gardens, although telephones and electric connections necessitate the continual dragging up of our streets, London has its charm still, and sweet is yet the London summer when the square lilacs and acacias blossom, and when, to quote Mr. Andrew Lang, "fans for a penny are sold in the Strand!"

"When strawberry pottles are common and cheap,
Ere elms be black, or limes be sere,
When midnight dances are murdering sleep,
Then comes in the sweet o' the year!"

(p. 321) (Though I fear me that Mr. Andrew Lang did not mean it altogether in that sense!)

The London children love flowers. "Give me a flower, lydy," some of the ragged street waifs will say, as you come back, laden with your store, from Covent Garden. And the child will take the flower lovingly, and stick it forthwith into her ragged bodice, smiling like a conscious princess.

An Aerated Bread Shop.

The subject of shops and markets would lead us naturally to that of restaurants. These, at the present day, are many and excellent. While the more ancient taverns of Covent (p. 322) Garden and of the City have largely lost their fashionable vogue, the general improvement in restaurants and modern hotels has been rapid. In the last twenty years, revolutions have been worked in this respect. Twenty years ago, to begin with small things, a cup of tea at a confectioner's cost at least sixpence, and was not always easy to get; now, it is obtainable for two or three pence anywhere, and for a penny at cheap shops. Everything else in the commissariat has improved and cheapened in proportion. Elegant little dinners may be had now at all prices; from the famous "Savoy" dinner at a guinea, to the cheap and dainty repast "in the Italian style" at 2s. 6d. Of this latter class is the "Comedy" Restaurant, Panton Street, in a small and hidden by-way, where little dinners, comprising smart waiters, separate tables, candle-shades, and table decorations, are provided for the modest price of half-a-crown per head. Or at the Holborn Restaurant Dinner, at 3s. 6d., you may, if so inclined, enjoy the strains of a band, while entertaining your pre-theatre party. Or, if you be rich, the big hall of the new and expensive "Carlton" is now the most modish place for after-theatre supper parties. Here the parting guest is politely "sped," if he linger, by lamps discreetly and suggestively lowered at intervals.... Ah, what a delightful city London is for the rich to live in! Everything may be had and enjoyed!

The Art, then, even the Poetry, of Dining, may be thoroughly studied in London at the present day. Every passing mood may be consulted, every gastronomic fancy indulged. You may choose your company as you choose your menu; you may make a free selection from the quality of either. You have but to know exactly beforehand what you want. If the lady whom you honour be frivolous by nature, you can take her to the smart restaurant of the Hotel Bristol, and to a comedy adapted "from the French"; if she be serious, to the "Grand Hotel," and then to Shakespeare; if crude, to Frascati's and to melodrama. But, whether you choose expensive dining places (p. 323) or cheap ones, and in whatever manner you may elect to spend your long London day, one thing is certain, that at its close you will generally find yourself to have spent a considerable sum. For, howe'er improved and reformed, in essentials the city is yet not much changed since the days of John Lydgate, who found, he says, to his cost, and even so early as the fifteenth century that:

"lacking mony I mighte not spede."

(p. 324) CHAPTER XIV

"Infinite riches in a little room."

"The great city has an unbroken history of 1,000 years, and has never been sacked by an enemy."—Sir Walter Besant.

"Great are your privileges. For you is collected in the public palaces of London all that human genius has ever achieved, all that power and wealth can procure. For you has been dug from the earth all that remains of mighty empires and long-vanished civilisations. The arts of Greece and Rome, and Egypt and Assyria, and the not less wonderful arts of India, are all contributory to your pleasures. The whole art and mystery of painting is unfolded for you on the walls of our National Gallery.... You are rich indeed, for you are the heirs of all the Ages."

Are picture-galleries, museums, and such-like treasures of the metropolis, to be described as London's Highways, or as its Byways? That they ought to be the former, is certain; as certain as that they are but too often used as the latter, or are, at any rate, regarded as refuges and shelters from the inclemency of the outer air. For Art, like Religion, has a tendency in this respect, to serve not so much as a cloak, as in the capacity of an umbrella. And it is sometimes conveniently adapted to yet other profane uses: "This 'ere ain't a gymnasium, nor yet a refreshment room," I have heard a much-enduring officer of the law remark, more in sorrow than in anger, to a too-presuming visitor, who, seated opposite the Ansidei Madonna, was placidly feeding such of her offspring (p. 325) as were not engaged in playing leap-frog over the chairs, with crumbly bath-buns.

A Sketch in Trafalgar Square.

These, however, are varieties in the human species that are ever with us. "Fear not to Sow because of the Birds," says the Koran; and the widespread sowing of culture has so far shown results, that every year the British Museum, the National Gallery, and other kindred institutions, are growing more popular and more frequented. In Art and Knowledge, as in other directions, it takes time for "the People" to appreciate fully their oldest, much less their newest, heritage. Such (p. 326) treasures in our vast metropolis are still too much hidden, still undiscovered by the majority. Even the educated visitor fresh from the country does not immediately realise the fact that he is free at any time to walk the marble halls of the National Gallery, to hear the fountain plashing in the Pompeian hall of the riverside palace raised by Sir Henry Tate to modern British Art, or to follow the strange instincts and laws of Nature in the beautifully arranged Natural History Museum of Kensington. The recent movement for "Sunday opening," now more or less widespread, has tended greatly to the popularisation of the national collections, and does a good deal, also, to the mitigation of the too utter gloom of the stranger's "Sunday in London." Even M. Taine, who in the "sixties" compared the metropolis of his day to "a well-ordered cemetery," or "a large manufactory of bone-black closed on account of a death," would surely have been less severely splenetic had but a museum or two been open to beguile his tedium. In our present year of grace, the British Museum, from two till four, is thronged by the lower middle-class, who, if their affection for mummies is a trifle out of proportion to the interest they take in the Elgin Marbles, and their love of historic missals is sometimes too subordinate to the intricacies of the neighbouring World's Unique Stamp-Collection, yet show in their way an intelligent and praiseworthy desire for knowledge.

These treasure-houses of London,—what wealth do they not represent,—what unimagined riches do they not contain? London, the richest city in the world, yet for so long a period far behind other capitals in representative art, has in the last century equalled, if not surpassed them all. Some fifty or more years ago, the great "Pan-Opticon" of Leicester Square, the precursor of the present Biograph and Cinematograph, was the chief "artistic" glory of London. In the days of our grandfathers, people were for ever taken to see this "Pan-Opticon," a great building with endless galleries, on the site of the present "Alhambra"; where (p. 327) you saw all the things of the world and the glory thereof. Now this baby-show is superseded by museums and galleries filled with the most priceless gems of art and of history: yes, the London collections may in this sense be regarded as variations of the Pan-Opticon—Pan-Opticons of a nobler kind. London's National Gallery is now a collection of pictures worthy of so great a nation, her museums are filled with the best of the spoils of ancient Greek art. If London has been late in awaking to her artistic responsibilities, at any rate she takes them seriously enough at the present day. And, of late years, her art treasure has been enormously and continuously enriched, not only by the expenditure of public moneys, but by private bequest and private munificence. Rich men, with true patriotism, have spent their lives in painfully searching for, and collecting, beautiful things, to leave them, afterwards, freely to the nation. Millionaires, too, have, it would seem, their uses. And we are thus all, in a sense, millionaires, for we inherit the priceless treasures of others, and we enjoy the fruits of their lifelong toil.

It is in London, more than anywhere, that the real poetry of living may be enjoyed, and that every passing artistic whim may be indulged. Does your mind require stimulating by the study of Greek art? the galleries of the British Museum are open to you; or

"Dost thou love pictures? we will fetch thee straight
Adonis painted by a running brook;
Or Cytherea, 'mid the sedges hid,
That seem to move and wanton with her breath."

Or do you feel that what your mood needs is the contemplation of beautiful eighteenth century French furniture, and Fragonard's pictures? Go then, to Hertford House in quiet Manchester Square, and see the world-famed Wallace Collection. The "Wallace Collection," that pearl of great price, of which the bequest has recently so convulsed the art world, is the latest expression of the patriotism of wealth. Collected mainly by the third Marquess of Hertford,—the "Lord Steyne" of (p. 328) Thackeray's novel,—and his successor the fourth Marquess, Attaché at the Paris Embassy,—the treasure, since its formation, has met, at one time or another, with strange and unique adventures. In Paris, the fourth Marquess, Richard Seymour Conway, built for his collection "a stately pleasure house," fitted and designed after his own sumptuous taste; living meanwhile, his wealth no doubt crippled by his vast "unearned increment," not, indeed, as a miser, but in a degree of seclusion that almost amounted to eccentricity. During the Commune, the bulk of that collection that we now admire was even, it is said, buried in underground cellars for safety. The beautiful French furniture,—the bric-à-brac, blazing with enamels and precious stones,—one can well imagine these the constant delight of the old collector, with whom the love for such things had become a ruling passion. Yet, by the irony of fate, this fourth Lord Hertford suffered from a painful disease, a continual affliction which, they say, only the news of victories achieved in sale rooms, by his agents, over some rival collector, at all tended to alleviate.

Though reproached during his lifetime as an "absentee landlord," a nobleman who preferred residence in Paris to a home in his native land, Lord Hertford has certainly, in the upshot, been proved to have deserved as well as any man of his country. Time's revenges are slow, but they are effective; and the fourth Marquess, the flouted foreign resident, has proved, indirectly, the greatest patriot of his age. But, while the old nobleman's sentiment appears to have been mainly negative (as shown, for instance, by his decision that the collection should not enrich the Louvre), it was really Sir Richard Wallace, his successor, faithful friend, and co-collector (some say, also near kinsman), who should have the largest share of the nation's gratitude.

Sir Richard Wallace, Lord Hertford's sole heir, deciding, after the imminent dangers of the Commune, that it was rash to leave the inheritance thus at the mercy of vandalism, (p. 329) removed it, in 1872, to London, where, for three years, it filled the Bethnal Green Museum; being removed to Hertford House, the London residence of the family (by then arranged to receive it), in 1875. Sir Richard, whose only son had meanwhile died, left in his turn the whole of the property to his wife, a French lady, whose loyalty to her husband's country should cause her name, for all time, to be writ large on the roll of honour. Here, in Hertford House, a few years after Sir Richard's death, Lady Wallace died; and, in accordance with her husband's secret wish, bequeathed the whole of the immense property to the British nation. And now, for future ages, Hertford House, with all its myriad treasures, a collection perfect as it stands, fresh from the arrangement and taste of the collector, will be the glorious heritage of the nation.

One of the greatest charms of Hertford House is that it suggests none of the red-tapeism, or of the dull uniformity of a museum, and, consequently, does not affect visitors, as so many museums do, with a primary sense of fatigue and boredom. The rooms of the palatial mansion are still arranged mainly as they were in the owner's time; the long suites of reception saloons, through which the reflected sunlight glitters,—vistas of French tapestries, pictures, lapis-lazuli, enamels, and Sèvres china,—convey all the suggestion, even in prosaic London, of a fairy palace. Even a Countess d'Aulnoy, with her wealth of imagery, could hardly have imagined a finer setting for her Gracieuse and Percinet, or any of their dainty royal line. There is an intime air, almost as of home, even about the long picture gallery where the Gainsboroughs and Sir Joshuas smile sedately upon us. The sweet presentments of fair dead ladies, seen here in their proper setting; the Pompeian central courtyard and plashing fountain, whence, it is said, the aged Lady Wallace was daily to be seen, leaning from the balcony that projects from the upper rooms, to feed her crowd of birds, eager pensioners, with their breakfast of crumbs; these (p. 330) combine to give an atmosphere of human charm, a thing quite apart from the usual cold aloofness of museums. It is again the idea of the Soane Museum, but on a very magnificent scale. Beautiful in its publicity, how mysteriously lovely must it not have been in the days of its seclusion! One can almost share the feelings of that old retainer who said, on the last sad day before the opening; "Ah, Sir! the Wallace Collection, as it was, you and I will never see again—for the common people are going to be let in!"

Londoners, in this instance, at any rate, fully appreciate the magnificence of the gift made them. Hertford House is, on fine days, usually thronged; all classes are represented there; but there is noticeably more of the "smart world" to be seen there, than is usually to be found in London galleries. The "smart world," as distinguished from the scholarly; but the scholarly world is to be met there too, and will still visit Hertford House, after the "Good Society" has forsaken it, and betaken itself to some newer haunt of fashion. In each of London's picture galleries and museums, its special clientèle may very easily be detected; and, at any rate, that of Hertford House is certainly, so far, the best-dressed. Among the crowd are often to be seen groups of young girls, demurely following in the wake of some feminine leader, who discourses to them about the pictures, and the various schools of painting,—a thing, this, that surely requires some courage in a mixed community. It is not to be denied that the visitor is often sadly in need of some guide: "Are all these pictures hand-painted?" I have myself heard a well-dressed and (presumably) well-educated young girl say, at the National Gallery. Perhaps it is a felt want, for one never knows what extra "following" one may not, unconsciously, attract: I myself once saw an unhappy lady lecturer, carried away by the enthusiasm of the subject, turn round and give an eloquent peroration and summary of it to a policeman, a deaf old lady, and a nursemaid carrying a vacant looking baby:

(p. 331) "Now," said the lady cheerfully, "just to show what you have learned, tell me, in your own words, what you consider to have been the influence of Giotto on Early Italian Art?"

No one answered; but the vacant baby, apparently thinking it a challenge, wailed.

And, in Hertford House, the custom lends itself to additional dangers; for peripatetic classes are many, and in the nooks and unexpected corners of the mansion, it is fatally easy to lose your special crowd of students altogether, and to attach yourself, again unconsciously, to some one else's flock; who, by the chilly indifference with which they receive your well-intentioned homilies, soon make you unpleasantly aware of your mistake. Like "Little Bo-Peep," you then vainly pursue your wandering sheep, from one gallery into another, feeling, perhaps, that the pursuit of pupils, as of Art, has its drawbacks; and that tea, in the shape of the nearest "Aerated," is all too distant.

The "sheep" in question are, however, discovered at last, placidly gloating over the wonderful collection of jewelled snuff-boxes—was there ever such a marvellous display of miniatures and of brilliants? Truly, the eighteenth century was a luxurious age!... Surely, no one can ever have dared to sit comfortably on those priceless chairs, or to have taken tea out of a Sèvres cup, at one of those marvellously inlaid, jewel-encrusted tables?

The pictures, however, are the chief delight of Hertford House. It is easy to admire porcelain, armour, bric-à-brac; but to really enjoy it in the best sense, one must be more or less learned in the cult; while pictures, though their full appreciation implies a certain amount of education, are better understanded of the multitude. But, though the British and foreign schools are well represented, it is the unrivalled collection of French pictures of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, works by Watteau, Lancret, Fragonard, Greuze, and all the noted painters of the French school, that (p. 332) the great world, primarily, flock to see at Hertford House. Twenty-one pictures by Greuze alone will delight the lovers of that painter's work, and bring their minds back to the eternally-charming affectations of that eighteenth century in which so many of our modern poets yearn to have lived. One can imagine, for instance, Mr. Austin Dobson echoing Campbell's lovely lines to the pretty, typical girl-face that Greuze loved so well:

"Transported to thy time I seem,
Though dust thy coffin covers—
And hear the songs, in fancy's dream,
Of thy devoted lovers."...

Here, naïve as always, yet never quite without a certain faint meretriciousness of effect, the "girl-child" of Greuze looks down on the visitor in every costume and attitude.

In the long picture-gallery that forms one side of the great quadrangle, there are large canvases by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Romney, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Hals, Murillo, and many others. Here is a charming picture of "Miss Bowles" by Reynolds,—the little girl with round eyes, cuddling a dog, so long familiar to us by engraving or print; and here, too, is Frans Hals's Laughing Cavalier, whose infectious laugh lingers so long in the memory.

Sir Richard Wallace offered his collection, with his house, to the nation before his death; the Government, however, after the usual manner of Governments in such matters, raised objections; and the affair subsided, till the surprise of the widow's legacy came, and showed the long and serious intention of the gift. One little picture, The Peace of Münster, by Terburg, a small historical panel of untold and unique value, was, indeed, given by Sir Richard to the National Gallery before his death; yet even this gift had a narrow escape of being rejected; for the would-be donor, unrecognized, and wearing shabby clothes, was ill received by Sir William Boxall, the then Director, and was all but sent away (p. 333) with contumely, with his picture, till he made it and himself known:

"My name is Wallace," said the stranger quietly, "Sir Richard Wallace; and I came to offer this picture to the National Gallery." "I nearly fainted," said Boxall when he told the story.... "I had nearly refused The Peace of Münster, one of the wonders of the world!"

Nevertheless, the little scene is in its way truly typical of the nation's treatment of its would-be benefactors!

The story of the foundation of the British Museum, the classic edifice in Bloomsbury that has arisen on the site of the old historic Montague House, is not unlike that of Hertford House. For, the first beginnings of the enormous museum collections originated very much in the same manner as the Hertford Bequest. Sir Hans Sloane, the Sir Richard Wallace of his day, Chelsea magnate, physician, naturalist, and philanthropist, determined his large library collections to the nation, offering them by his will, at a fourth of their estimated value; desiring, like Sir Richard, that, if possible, the collections should remain in his house,—Henry VIII.'s historic Chelsea manor-house. This wish, however, was not in his case carried out; the ancient building was demolished, and, in its stead, the British Museum was founded.

At the British Museum the lady-lecturer, with her tribe of earnest students, is occasionally also to be met with. Here she is often youthful and attractive, and is generally to be found,—strange contrast of associations!—either in the Mausoleum Room, or among the Elgin Marbles: her little band of eager pupils scribbling in their note-books at a respectful distance. Last March I saw a charming, Hypatia-like lady, tall and fair, gray-eyed and gray-robed, holding thus her little court, by the lovely figure of Demeter; I would fain have joined myself to the small gathering, and posed as a pupil, but that my courage failed.... I felt, however, glad to think that, in this case, the study of Art had not, as some declare, tended to make the (p. 334) young lady regardless either of her appearance or of neatly-fitting tailor-made clothes. But she went on with her following to the Nereid's Tomb, and I saw her no more.

In the long galleries of the British Museum is generally to be found a motley gathering of visitors, in which the poor, and the children of the poor, largely predominate. Rows of chattering little girls in pinafores, corresponding batches of little boys in knickerbockers, greet one at every turn. And the more ragged the children, the more astonishingly erudite and profound are sometimes their utterances. This is a surprising testimony to the efficacy of the Board Schools, as well as to the advance of learning generally. The visitor who "lies low" and listens, in any of the Greek Marble Rooms, will often find cause to marvel at youthful and ragged intelligence. Girls are more flippant, perhaps, than boys: "'Ere's the Wenus," one will say: "you can always tell 'er, 'cos she seems to be lookin' around and sayin': 'Ain't I pretty'?" Yet, though to hear unkempt and neglected waifs talking wisely about Greek marbles does, I must confess, puzzle me, I must, in fairness, own that there appears to be another side to the question, and that the officials on guard appear to entertain no very high views as to juvenile erudition. "So far as I've noticed," a kindly British Museum policeman once said to me, "the street children don't get much real good out of going to the Museum. They bring a lot of dirt out of the streets in with them, their fingers are generally sticky, and they look about 'em—oh, yes! but not usually with any object, just vacantly."

This was depressing. (Did the accompanying dirt, I wondered, at all affect this particular policeman's outlook?) "But I saw a small crowd of boys and girls looking hard at the King Alfred documents and missals," I murmured.

"Oh, and so you might have done; but didn't you notice," said the stern guardian of the law, "that a lot of ladies and gentlemen had been lookin' at 'em just before? They wouldn't have troubled about 'em without that.... And King Alfred's all (p. 335) the thing now.... Children always come, like bees, where other people are lookin'; and try and squeeze the older folks out just to see what they've been a-lookin' at.... Yes," he owned, in reply to my incredulous interjection, "the children might have heard the name of Alfred in their history books, but no more; that wouldn't be the cause of their crowding up. Their mothers often send 'em into the Museum when they want to go out themselves, or perhaps just to get rid of 'em for a time. Children are more indulged, and not half so well-behaved, as I was when I was a boy."

But the chatter of the children is stilled, or, at any rate, lost among the vast marbles of the collection, where so many sounds mix and mingle in a soothing aloofness. Here, in the long galleries, where the faint light, "that kind of light," as Rossetti said, "that London takes the day to be," slants down on Roman bust and Greek god, may sometimes be heard charitable ladies explaining to dirty little street-arabs the influence of Phidias on Early Italian sculpture; or one of the elegant Hypatia-like girl-lecturers already described, discourses, while a motley crowd of pupils:

—"school-foundations in the act
Of holiday, three files compact—"

—draw near to listen.... And who can tell where the grain may fall?

Sunday is now the great "People's Day" at the British Museum. Those who cavil at "Sunday opening" should really visit the Museum then, when, from two till four, the galleries are dotted with intelligent sightseers. (For the Museum, be it noted, is not so often used as a mere shelter from rain, "jes' to pass the toime away," or as the "refreshment-room" already referred to, as it used to be.) Perhaps the greatest crowd is to be found upstairs, where the mummy-room is greatly beloved, both of small boys and of honey-mooning couples. Young couples, I notice, either in the (p. 336) "courting" or newly-married stage, have ever a strong affinity for mummies;—and as to boys!... While you are, perchance, reflecting over the decaying embroideries of a mummy-case, and wondering what was the life and fate of its once-lovely occupant, after the manner of Sir Edwin Arnold:

"Tiny slippers of gold and green!
Tied with a mouldering golden cord!
What pretty feet you must have been
When Cæsar Augustus was Egypt's lord'—

"'Ere, look 'ere, Jimmy," one of those demon boys will break in, interrupting your reverie: "you can see the corpse's 'ole fice! My! ain't 'e jes' black! Blimy if 'e aint 'ad 'is nose bruk in a fight, as 'e ain't got but the 'alf of it left," &c., &c.

"See wot this lydy's got wrote on 'er, 'Arry," the blooming betrothed of a speechless young man will strike in, unconsciously carrying on the chorus: "Three thieusand years old! My! 'ow-ever could they a kep' 'er all that time! She's a bit orf colour, certingly—but sich good clothes to bury 'er in—I call it nothin' but sinful waste," &c., &c.

Yet I can tell a more touching story, in another sort, of the Mummy Room. Once I happened to watch a small boy—a very decidedly "earthly" small boy, too; one would not have expected it of him—on whom the mummies seemed to exercise a quite indescribable fascination. He even stopped half-way through his stale Museum bun, and gazed at them with a species of horror. Then, after a five-minutes' silence, he breathed hard, and said to his companion, in an awe-struck whisper:

"They don't know we're looking at them!"

The "Jewel Room" is another favourite haunt. Here only some twenty people are allowed in at one time, and the policemen are doubly reinforced; and indeed, since the accident to the Portland Vase, it is certainly a necessary precaution. This beautiful vase, lent in 1810 by the Duke of Portland, (p. 337) was smashed by a semi-lunatic in 1845. This man, suddenly and without motive, deliberately aimed a brick at it, and crashed it into fragments, from which it has been cleverly restored as we see it at present.

People who find the British Museum exhausting—and they are many—take too much of it at one time. It is therefore small wonder that they often suffer from a kind of mental indigestion—"Museum headache" it has been appropriately termed. A pretty young girl complained to me of just such a headache the other day: "I wanted," she said, "to go to "Niagara," but T— insisted on taking me to that dreadful Museum instead, and I had to walk past rows and rows of awful headless things for two hours!" Poor thing! But many people share her feelings without possessing her frankness. And to walk through the long, gloomy galleries of the Museum without due object, preparation, or intention, is, no doubt, exhausting. It is true that we are there "heirs of all the ages," but it is equally true that nobody can satisfactorily inherit all the ages at one and the same time. If we content ourselves with but one department for the day, it is wonderful how interested we may become. Mr. Grant Allen—who, by the way, was generally unkind about London, must have experienced the boredom that comes with a mental surfeit.

"The British Museum" (he says) "is indeed a place to despair in—or else to saunter through carelessly with a glance right and left at what happens to catch your eye or take your fancy. I must add" (he continues unpleasantly), "that a certain blight of inexplicable shabbiness hangs somehow over the vast collection; whether it is the gloom of Bloomsbury, the want of space in the galleries, the haphazard mode of acquisition, or what, I know not; but certainly, for some mysterious reason, the objects here exhibited are far less interesting, relatively to their intrinsic scientific and artistic worth, than those of the Louvre, the Vatican, the Munich galleries, or any other great European museum. Dinginess and stinginess are everywhere conspicuous."

Mr. Grant Allen was, evidently, a West Ender. And as he elsewhere calls St. Paul's "bare, pretentious, and unimpressive," (p. 338) and London generally "a squalid village," we need the less mind his calling the British Museum "a gloomy and depressed looking building." He had evidently never seen the pillared portico shining in the May sun, its flocks of pretty pigeons feeding on the green plots that line the enclosure, and the lately-planted young plane-trees bursting into vivid green,—a new "boulevard" along its outer line of railings.

Mr. Allen was, of course, thinking of the more romantic surroundings of foreign galleries, housed in ancient palaces, with all the adornments of parquet, mosaic, and often tropical gardens. There is, however, a faint glimmer of truth in what he says. We in London have not the consummate art of the foreigner in the arrangement and setting-off of beautiful objects. In the Louvre, for instance, all the galleries lead to a final star, shining through the long vista of space,—the Venus of Milo; in the Vatican, all the noble chefs-d'œuvre glimmer in alcoves round a central fountain. Here, in our Museum, per contra, you seem rather to be in a Gallery of Instruction. It is not only in shops that we in England have to learn how to "dress our windows." But at any rate, no one will deny that we have of late made enormous advances in the art.

Nevertheless, the beauty and grandeur of the British Museum collections, beauty on which I have already touched in the Bloomsbury chapter, impress us in spite of fog, and grime, and dull London galleries. And the feeling for the suitable arrangement and disposal of our artistic treasures grows upon our directors year by year. Thus, the gigantic figure of Mausolus, as he stands driving his triumphal car, a wonder of the world, is effectively placed; and though it is but seldom light enough to view the Assyrian Bull-gods thoroughly in their dark corner, they form, doubtless, an imposing entrance to the old Greek marbles. The Egyptian Hall is also impressive, and the enormous scarab, called irreverently by an American visitor, "about the biggest bug in Europe," is (p. 339) advantageously placed, as also that Grammar of Hieroglyphic, the "Rosetta Stone."

At the Royal Academy.

The collection of Tanagra figurines, on the upper floor, near the Jewel Room, is one of the most interesting departments (p. 340) in the Museum. Here, in a small compass, you may follow the whole development of the plastic art, from the rudest clay effigies and caricatures, to the most lovely realisation of the Greek feeling for beauty. Some of the ladies, with their palm-leaf fans and "Liberty" draperies, seem hardly to come to us from the tomb; have we not met and loved them in our own day? Their dresses, their attitudes, are so modern, even their hair is arranged in the present styles. Especially charming are two damsels in tea-gowns, leaning earnestly towards one another, enjoying some choice bit of gossip. And there are two figures in this particular gallery, in which I claim to take a quite special interest; having seen them, so to speak, in their transition stage. It happened thus: When I was in Athens some few years back, a waiter, taking us no doubt for "rich English milors," said, in a stage whisper, that he had some fine things to dispose of. He kept them, he said, for safety in the cellar. So to the cellar he went, and produced, from many wrappings of cotton-wool, the treasures:—that very winged Eros and that same pirouetting ballet-dancer that now adorn one of the central wall-cases. Alas, in our case, that waiter was doomed to disappointment. He wanted no less than £40 for the Eros and £30 for the ballet dancer; and they were returned to their cotton-wool and to the cellar. But, a twelvemonth passed, and behold! one fine day we recognised with joy our old friends in the familiar surroundings of the British Museum!

Many of the British Museum treasures have, like that winged Eros, endured strange vicissitudes of fortune. The great "Elgin" marbles,—those sculptures from the Parthenon so long furiously raged over in print on the much-vexed charge of vandalism in appropriation, and still more furiously threatened by the rage of the sea on their transit from the Acropolis,—were, indeed, shipwrecked on their way here. Then there are the contents of the "Mausoleum" Room, the whole story of the discovery of which, by Sir Charles Newton at (p. 341) Halicarnassus, in 1856 is like one long romance. Other objects recall various stories. The familiar bust called "Clytie," for instance, so admired by Carlyle, and so familiar in drawing schools, was the most cherished possession of Mr. Townley, who "escaped with it in his arms when he was expecting his house to be sacked during the Gordon riots." "Fortunately," says the chronicler, "the attack did not take place, and Mr. Townley's wife, as he called her, returned to her companions." The corridors of the British Museum, that suggest such boredom to the uninitiated, are full of such stories. So much we know, but, ah! if these stones could only tell their histories, and let the full light into their chequered past!

The South Kensington Museum, now officially, by order of the late Queen, termed "the Victoria and Albert Museum," is well known to all dwellers in, and visitors to, London. The large and wonderful collections that it contains have been for many years so overcrowded and so irregularly arranged, as to lose half their attraction. For long it existed partly in shanties and temporary buildings, and a hideous iron structure, nicknamed the "Brompton Boilers," was for long the disgrace of a rich and a beauty-loving nation. All these have at length been swept away; the terribly inadequate main entrance (in the Brompton Road) is being done away with, and a new façade is rising, which will soon effect great changes and improvements. Mr. Ruskin, who was always a victim of moods, was apparently in his day made very cross by the general muddle, and expressed his feelings on the subject in the following burst of pathetic eloquence:

"At South Kensington" (he says), "where I lost myself in a Cretan labyrinth of military ironmongery, advertisements of spring blinds, model fish-farming, and plaster bathing nymphs with a year's smut on the noses of them; and had to put myself in charge of a policeman to get out again."

Indeed, in its vast size, its involved construction, and its encyclopædic scope, the South Kensington Museum much (p. 342) resembles a maze, and, once inside it, it is difficult indeed to know the points of the compass. Yet, everything can be seen here, if only you know where to look for it. It is, itself, a "General Exhibition" on no mean scale. And here is more than ever exemplified the great truth, that the most beautiful objects lose in effect in proportion to the unsuitableness of their immediate surroundings. Even the model of the Pisan pulpit, crowded as it is among so many incongruous objects, seems here a sort of glorified stove-pipe, while the carved front of Sir Paul Pindar's old house almost suggests a magnified dolls'-house awaiting sale, and plaster casts jostle on all sides with the valuable treasures of antiquity. Here again are the groups of feminine students with their guides, and also many isolated toilers, "working up" some special branch of knowledge in the different sections, such as Ivories, Porcelain, Lace, Musical Instruments, or Italian woodwork. (The students are here, I may add, a trifle better dressed than those at the British Museum; they are also, on an average, a thought cleaner, and their hair has, perhaps, a tendency to be neater.) The "omnium-gatherum," as it has been called, of South Kensington, should, like any other Exhibition, be taken piecemeal, and on the first visit the stranger should merely try, if possible, to see the historic Raphael cartoons, and those most interesting pictures of the British School that form the famous "Sheepshanks" collection.

The neighbouring Natural History Museum, Waterhouse's vast edifice of terra-cotta, is, internally, a most beautifully planned building, and the arrangement of its various classes of specimens is no less excellent. Nothing could be better done, either for purposes of entertainment or of instruction, than the groups in the Great Hall of the building, where animals, birds, and insects, are shown charmingly mounted and in their own natural surroundings; and where, by careful and well-selected illustration, such strange living mysteries as "melanism" and "albinism" are demonstrated and explained. (p. 343) One of the most striking glass cases of all is that which illustrates "Protective Resemblances and Mimicry," a subject which is attracting much notice at the present day among naturalists (see the late Professor Henry Drummond's Tropical Africa for further curious information on this interesting subject). Some of the strange natural imitations shown here, such as of dead leaves by butterflies, or of bits of straw by insects, are wonderful indeed.

The new Tate Gallery, raised by the munificence of one of our merchant princes for the enshrinement of modern British Art, is a building of quite another kind. This edifice, in the Greek style, was built by the late Sir Henry Tate, on the site of old Millbank Prison, at Westminster. When this Gallery was first opened, in July, 1897, its approaches were always thronged by private carriages, and powdered footmen waited in the muddy, half-finished roads (for the whole locality was then in a state of incompleteness). But this was in the early days of its fame; the vagaries of fashion are of short duration, and although even yet "smart" people are to be met with occasionally in the Tate Gallery, they are now in a decided minority; they have, most likely, betaken themselves to the still newer exhibition of Hertford House.

It is the artisan, the small shopkeeper, the great "lower middle-class," that frequent chiefly the Tate Gallery. Not by any means the same class, for instance, that you see at the National Gallery; the visitors to the Tate Gallery are mainly the lovers of "the human interest" in a picture, and not the earnest students. Here the sightseers roam, like butterflies, from flower to flower; not so much to gather the honey, as just to enjoy the moment. Therefore, at Millbank, they are but rarely gowned in angular "art serge," and are but seldom be-spectacled and be-catalogued. Neither are the Hypatia-like girl-lecturers at all evident. Sir Henry Tate used to take an evident pleasure in walking about the galleries that his munificence had provided. Only a short time before his (p. 344) death, he was to be seen there, benevolent and urbane as ever, the type of what Mr. Ruskin has called "the entirely honest merchant."

The Tate Gallery is considered, administratively, as part of the National Gallery; and many pictures of the modern British school have, as every one knows, been removed to Millbank from the older collection. But the earlier pictures of the British School, and the Turners, are still in Trafalgar Square.

The wealth of foreign pictures now to be seen in the National Gallery of London renders it the Mecca of every visitor, both from our own country, and from overseas. The National Gallery, fine as it is, is but a comparatively modern growth. Founded in 1824 by the purchase of the Angerstein Collection, it slowly, very slowly at first, crept into fame and distinction. Only some forty-five years ago, Mr. Ruskin said of it that it was "an European jest!" Since 1887 its pictures have nearly doubled in number and it is now, if not one of the finest, at least one of the most representative, collections in the world. The internal arrangement of the Gallery leaves little to be desired, and its spacious entrance hall and staircase, adorned with coloured marbles, has a solid dignity, with a cheerfulness and brightness usually somewhat lacking in London. A fine bust of Egyptian porphyry, called the "Dying Alexander," (a copy of one in the Uffizi), presented by Mr. Henry Yates Thompson, forms an effective centre-piece for the Entrance Vestibule.

Once inside the magic portals of the National Gallery, a very paradise is opened to the art-loving visitor. He will soon forget, revelling in those soft Italian skies, that glowing southern colour, that outside his shelter hums the London of the twentieth century. The pictures are finely arranged, and they are not crowded. A hint has been taken from the Louvre, and the famous "Blenheim Raphael," the Ansidei Madonna (bought by the nation for such a tremendous price (p. 345) from the Duke of Marlborough), greets the entering visitor from the far end of a long vista. The walls on which the pictures are hung are covered in Pompeian red or sober green, with a wall-covering that has the soothing effect of rich Venetian brocade, and that even improves in tone with years.

Recruiting Serjeants by the National Gallery.

(p. 346) The National Gallery cannot be seen in one visit. For any real appreciation of the vast collections, ten, twenty visits rather are needed; visits that need never, now, be other than a pleasure; the improved conditions making the place itself attractive, and whatever light is obtainable in London finding its way to those large and lofty galleries. The mass of "the People" mainly frequent the British Schools; and, even in the larger portion of the building occupied by the Foreign Schools, every room has usually, like the London collections generally, its special votaries. For instance, in the little room devoted to the Early Sienese painters, you will nearly always find a few earnest students, making pencil marks on note-books or in elaborate catalogues; in the long Italian Gallery they are, perhaps, just a trifle less severe, but are still more or less of the same type, sitting in rapt contemplation and still with catalogues; but the Dutch School is already more flippant, and but few catalogues survive into the Spanish and French Schools.

The romance of the National Gallery,—what volumes might not be written on the fascinating subject! If, here again, old pictures could tell stories of their past, what adventures could they not relate! The long corridors of the National Gallery, filled with masterpieces from all nations and ages, would of themselves furnish as copious records as many a shelf in the British Museum Library. What stories might these pictures tell: of their painting, their owners, the generations to which they have served as the Lares and Penates, the families whose vicissitudes they have shared! This, maybe, had hung for years, blackened and tarnished, in a pawnbroker's shop till some vigilant eye rescued it from its oblivion; that, perhaps, had saved its owner's life, or redeemed the fortunes of a nation. This, again, formed the "wedding-chest" of a beautiful dark-eyed bride, dust long ago; that caused the imprisonment, almost the death, of its author. Unhappily, old pictures are "silent witnesses" of history. We can, indeed, discover, through much searching (p. 347) in dusty archives, the provenance of a few of our most celebrated pictures, or read, perhaps, one or two of the stories relating to them; but how many are there of which we have not been able to find a record? It depends mainly on chance what stories survive, and what do not. Then, such as are known are often not widely known; they lie hidden, for the most part, in musty blue-books, or in tomes of ancient lore, attainable by the student only. The mere title, The Cornfield or The Repose, tells so little. Does it not add to our interest in the pictures to know that the one was thought by Constable to be his best work, and that the scene of the other was laid among the hills of Titian's own country? In connection with the inscriptions on the frames, most visitors, I fancy, will share the disappointment I felt, when on revisiting the Gallery one day I found the familiar "Raphael" disguised as "Sanzio," "Tintoret," as "Robusti" and so forth; but this somewhat pedantic innovation has now been partially remedied.

The early Italian pictures were usually painted to adorn particular places; some, perhaps, to decorate a wooden chest for the furnishing of a room, as Benozzo Gozzoli's Rape of Helen; others to consecrate an altar, as Raphael's Madonna; many to assist in the carrying out of some architectural design, as in Crivelli's pictures, or Fra Filippo Lippi's Vision of St. Bernard. All, at any rate, were painted, not to hang in rows in a gallery, but for particular persons, places, and occasions, far removed from the present environment of them. Perhaps our only pictures specially painted with a view to the Gallery which they now adorn, are those in which Turner's rivalry with Claude is immortalised. Visitors may wonder why, in a room devoted to the French School of Painting, they are suddenly confronted with two large canvases of Turner's. The fact is that Turner painted them in direct competition with Claude. The great modern landscape-painter determined to beat the ancient on his own classical ground. Whether he has conquered is indeed a (p. 348) question; but the pictures still hang side by side in unconscious rivalry, telling the pathetic story of the dead man's ambition. Turner, who left these two pictures, among many others, to the nation, expressly stipulated that they should hang between those two by Claude. In vain, during his life, large sums were offered for them; he steadily refused to sell. "What in the world, Turner, are you going to do with it?" his friend Chantrey asked, referring to the Carthage. "Be buried in it," Turner replied grimly, keeping its real destination a secret.

There are in the National Gallery some pictures actually painted for the sitters to be buried in. These are the early Græco-Egyptian portraits, which glare down upon us in the vestibule. A few years ago a workman's spade, digging in the Fayoum, accidentally struck against a mummy-case. Affixed to the outside covering, in a position corresponding to the head of the corpse, was a portrait of a man in his habit as he lived. That "find" led to others. Some dozen tombs, closed 1,500 years ago, were rifled in order to supply a fresh link in the historical development of art as exhibited in our National Gallery.

Just above these old-world pagans hangs Spinello Aretino's Fall of the Rebel Angels, with devils and dragons galore. If you gaze at the mummy faces long enough, you can quite imagine the dead men's faces looking at you; as Spinello, who was an imaginative Florentine, used to think his devils did. Spinello's picture was painted to decorate the church of Sta. Maria degli Angeli, in his native town of Arezzo; and he laboured hard to make the chief fiend, Lucifer, as hideous as possible. So much did this idea prey upon him, that one night he had a terrible dream. The demon he had painted appeared to him in his sleep, demanding to know why the painter had made him so ugly. Spinello, it is said, did not survive the shock, which is a warning to those who take liberties with the devil. The Greek painter, who, when confronted with (p. 349) an unpleasing sitter, said frankly, "Paint you? Who would paint you, when no one would even look at you?" was wiser.

Seeing the pictures in the National Gallery is like reading bits of old biographies. All true artists put their life into their work, and leave it there. Take Marco Marziale's work—The Circumcision of Christ (No. 803)—it is wonderful in respect of the faithful labour put into things that the modern painter would generalise as mere accessories. An amateur embroideress could easily copy the elaborate cross-stitch of Marziale's lectern border, and find no stitch in its wrong place. He who did this was only a second-rate Venetian painter, and a label painted on the canvas fixes the date and makes it probable that this was his first important commission; therefore, Marco spared no trouble, and crowded his picture with all the most beautiful textures and patterns known to the Venice of his day. People did not scamp work in those times.

The painter-poet, William Blake, with his charming insanity, has left us glimpses of his strangely warped mind in his mysterious painting of Pitt Guiding Behemoth, which hangs on the walls in another part of the gallery. The more one looks at this little picture, the more its green and gold hues and the tongues of its flames have fascination. It is dark and unattractive at a first glance: but, to show how fatally easy it is to attract a "following," and also how much in need the average visitor is of a pilot to the Gallery, one only has to draw up a chair and seat one's self before this small canvas to collect an inquisitive crowd. People, even educated people, are strangely imitative! Besides this picture, there are only one or two minor works by Blake in our National Gallery. Instead of his Canterbury Pilgrims, we have here that of his contemporary Stothard, who took the idea from Blake and supplanted him. Stothard's Canterbury Pilgrims caused a quarrel between himself and Blake; a quarrel which was never healed; and Blake criticised his rival's painting freely on its exhibition. Hoppner, the artist, praised it; adding that (p. 350) Stothard had "contrived to give a value to a common scene, and very ordinary forms." Thereupon Blake, in criticising the critic, said that this was Hoppner's only just observation; "for it is so, and very wretchedly so indeed. The scene of Mr. S.'s picture," he adds, "is by Dulwich hills, which is not the way to Canterbury; but perhaps the painter thought he would give them a ride round about, because they were a burlesque set of scarecrows, not worth any man's respect or care." Tantæne animis cælestibus iræ?

Among the works of the Lombard School is a picture by Parmigiano, The Vision of St. Jerome (No. 33), which shows how the artist can forget himself in his work. For Parmigiano was engaged on this very picture, in Rome, during the German sack of the city in 1527. Vasari says that the painter was so intent on his work that, even while his own dwelling was filled with the German invaders, he continued undisturbed; and that when they arrived in his room and found him so employed they stood amazed at the beautiful paintings, and wisely permitted him to continue. Parmigiano's picture is thus, in the truest sense, historical.

There is another class of pictures that is associated with incidents in history. First, we have that priceless little painting by Gerard Terburg, The Peace of Münster (896), mentioned before in connection with Hertford House. It hangs in the Dutch Room, and is so small that one might easily overlook it. Small as it is, it cost at its last sale £8,800; £24 for every square inch of canvas. The Dutch painter has represented one of the turning-points of his country's history; the ratification, in 1684, of the Treaty of Münster, by which the long war between Spain and the United Provinces was ended. The numerous heads are all portraits, and, in the background, the painter has introduced himself. There is about this painting a photographic truth, a minute fidelity, which makes it doubly interesting. Terburg would not part with it during his life. Afterwards, amid many vicissitudes, it passed into the (p. 351) possession of Prince Talleyrand, and was actually hanging in the room of his hotel, under the view of the Allied Sovereigns, at the signing of the Treaty of 1814. Not less interesting in its way is the painting by Holbein of the Duchess Christina of Denmark. Among Holbein's duties, as Court painter and favourite of Henry VIII., was that of taking the portraits of the ladies whom the King proposed to wed. This young Christina was prime favourite after the death of Jane Seymour, and Holbein was despatched to Brussels to paint her. The picture pleased his Majesty; but, for political reasons, the match was broken off. The story of Christina's message to the King, that she had but one head, but that if she "had two one should be at the service of his Majesty," is now discredited; but the Duchess seems to have had a character of her own.

Peace and War, by Rubens, an allegorical canvas (46), is another picture designed to sway the fate of nations. Rubens painted it when he came over to England, in 1630, as ambassador to negotiate a peace with Spain. He produced an elaborate allegory showing forth the Blessings of Peace, and presented it, with much diplomacy, to Charles I. It was sold, after the King's death, for £100; to be bought back again for £3,000. With regard to Charles I.'s pictures generally, much might be said of the strange irony of history. The large equestrian picture of the King by Vandyck (1172), bought for the nation at the Blenheim sale for £17,000, was, after his death, sold by Parliament, for a paltry sum; and Correggio's famous Mercury, Venus, and Cupid, (10), also included in Charles's collection, was sold and bought again by successive Parliaments.

Among the early Florentine pictures in the Gallery, Botticelli's Nativity of Christ (1034), is history in the sense of showing the force of the religious revival in Savonarola's time. Botticelli, at the age of forty, fell under the preacher's influence, and, forsaking the world's pleasures, made a (p. 352) "mourner" of himself until his death. This is the picture that, as Mr. Lang says, was:

"Wrought in the troublous times of Italy
By Sandro Botticelli, when for fear
Of that last judgment, and last day drawn near,
To end all labour and all revelry,
He wept and prayed in silence."

The painting is full of theological symbolism, and its Greek inscription, being translated, runs: "This, I, Alexander, painted at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, in the half-time after the time during the fulfilment of the eleventh of St. John, in the second woe of the Apocalypse, in the loosing of the Devil for three years and a half. Afterwards he shall be chained, and we shall see him trodden down, as in this picture." Botticelli had already, earlier in life, got into religious trouble by his reforming tendencies. When quite a young man, he had painted, for a Florentine citizen, Matteo Palmieri, a large picture called The Assumption of the Virgin, which also hangs in our Gallery (No. 1126). Palmieri had adopted Origen's strange heresy that the human race was an incarnation of those angels who, in the revolt of Lucifer, were neither for God nor for his enemies; and, as he and Botticelli, in working out the design of the picture, had made amendments in theology, they fell into disgrace. Suspected of heresy, Botticelli's work was covered up; and the chapel for which it had been painted was closed until the picture left Florence for the Duke of Hamilton's collection and was bought by the nation in 1882. "The story of the heresy interprets," Mr. Pater says, "much of the peculiar sentiment with which Botticelli infuses his profane and sacred persons, neither all human nor all divine."

Most interesting, too, is Carpaccio's Venetian painting of the Doge Giovanni Mocenigo (750), which faithfully represents a page of the history of Venice. The doge is shown kneeling before the Virgin, and begging her protection, on the occasion of (p. 353) the plague in 1478. Medicaments and nostrums against the epidemic are contained in a gold vase on the altar before the throne; and a blessing (according to the inscription below) is asked on them: "Celestial Virgin, preserve the City and Republic of Venice, and the Venetian State, and extend your protection to me, if I deserve it." Simple and modest indeed was Venice in the good days of her prosperity! Compare with this kneeling, crownless doge, the new and elaborate frescoes in the Vatican, where the Pope is represented in his grandest robes, benevolently granting to the Madonna an audience, with masters of the ceremonies standing by, and obsequious pages holding his gold-laced train.

Some of the greatest ornaments of our Gallery are those which have been thrown off easily in the magnanimity of art. Chief of these is the Veronese called The Family of Darius (294). This large painting, with its splendid architecture, gem-like colour, and wonderful composition, was painted while Veronese was detained by an accident at the Pisani Villa at Este. Having left it behind him there, he sent word that he had left wherewithal to defray the expense of his entertainment; and his words were more than verified. The picture, whose golden tones Smetham, the artist, so much admired, turned really to gold afterwards. The Pisani family sold it to the National Gallery, in 1857, for £13,650. Veronese's lavishness in giving away his masterpieces was almost equalled, however, by our own Gainsborough, who gave his Parish Clerk (760) to a carrier who had conveyed his pictures from Bath to the Royal Academy.

The wanderings and vicissitudes of celebrated pictures have been many indeed. The celebrated Van Eyck, Jan Arnolfini and his Wife (186), painted five hundred years ago, has had, for instance, an eventful history. At one time a barber-surgeon at Bruges presented it to the Queen Regent of the Netherlands, who valued it so highly that she pensioned him in consideration of the gift. At another, it must have passed (p. 354) again into humbler hands; for General Hay found it in the room at Brussels to which he was taken in 1815 to recover from the battle of Waterloo. The story of Michael Angelo's Entombment is also curious. It was once in the gallery of Cardinal Fesch, which was sold and dispersed after the cardinal's death. Being in a neglected condition and unfinished it attracted little attention, and was bought very cheaply by Mr. Macpherson, a Scotchman sojourning in Rome. After the dirt had been removed, it was submitted to competent judges, who pronounced it to be by Michael Angelo. This caused a great sensation; and a lawsuit was instituted against Mr. Macpherson for the recovery of the picture, a suit which ultimately ended in his favour. He removed the picture to England, and sold it to the National Gallery for £2,000.

The pictures that were the favourites of great men gain an additional value in our eyes from that fact. Vandyck's Portrait of Rubens (49), Bassano's Good Samaritan (277), and Bourdon's Return of the Ark (64), were all owned and much-prized by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who would often admire, to his Academy pupils, the "poetical style" of the Bourdon. Vandyck himself singled out the Portrait of Gevartius as his masterpiece, and used to "carry it about from court to court and from patron to patron, to show what he could do as a portrait-painter." There is, too, a pretty story of how Sir George Beaumont valued a little landscape by Claude (61), so highly that he made it his travelling companion. He presented it to the National Gallery in 1826; but, unable to bear its loss, begged it back for the rest of his life. He took it with him into the country; and on his death two years later, his widow restored it to the nation.

I might go on multiplying picture-stories for ever; for the romance of the National Gallery is inexhaustible. Times, and men, change; we live our little day, and are gone; but here, upon our walls, live souls embodied in canvases, monuments of human spirits which from age to age are still instinct (p. 355) with life. "Paul Veronese," James Smetham writes, "three hundred years ago, painted that bright Alexander, with his handsome flushed Venetian face, and that glowing uniform of the Venetian general which he wears; and before him, on their knees, he set those golden ladies, who are pleading in pink and violet; and there is he, and there are they in our National Gallery; he, flushed and handsome, they, golden and suppliant as ever. It takes an oldish man to remember the comet of 1811. Who remembers Paul Veronese, nine generations since? But not a tint of his thoughts is unfixed; they beam along the walls as fresh as ever. Saint Nicholas stoops to the Angelic Coronation, and the solemn fiddling of the Marriage at Cana is heard along the silent galleries of the Louvre ('Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter')! yes; and will be so when you and I have cleaned our last palette, and, 'in the darkness over us, the four-handed mole shall scrape.'"

Paul Veronese and his contemporaries knew how to make their works last. We in our day are not so fortunate. It is sad to think how many pictures of our own English School are gradually fading away; how many men have put their best powers into pictures which are now (among them some of Sir Joshua Reynolds's most beautiful creations) rapidly becoming "ghosts of ghosts." With Turner the general wreck is more complete. "Turner," Constable said, "seems to paint with tinted steam,—so evanescent, and so airy." Alas! evanescent indeed. Reynolds devoted much time and attention to finding out durable pigments. Trying to discover the secret, he even cut up some old Italian pictures. It was a vain quest. The old masters are long ago buried, and they have carried their secret to the grave.

Sadder still is the case of those artists whose pictures themselves have not faded, but the fashion for whose pictures has gone. Sir Benjamin West, who died some sixty odd years ago, enjoyed very great fame during his life. He painted many (p. 356) large historical canvases, all painstaking, and, in their way, of undoubted merit. They gained high prices in their day, and are now mostly consigned either to cellars or to the darkest rooms of suburban galleries.

Time is, after all, the greatest of art critics, and its judgment is sure. The best of all the centuries adorns the walls of the National Museum. It is the best only that survives. To us, in all our painful twentieth-century newness, it is given to inherit the mystery and magic of the old Greeks and Egyptians; the charming imagery of Raphael, filled with simple faith and sweet imagination; the quaint beauty of Botticelli, and of the early Florentines, whose art was a part of their life; the gay voluptuousness of the later Venetians; "the courtly Spanish grace" of Velasquez; the charming affectations of Sir Joshua Reynolds, shown in the fair ladies whose portraits, in their beauty, once filled the halls of England. All is given to us, unsparingly. For us and for the enrichment of the walls of our National Gallery, did the rude barbarians, in the sack of Italian cities, stay the hand of destruction; for us the treasures of art were wrested from many a palace of antiquity; it was for the delight of thousands of modern Londoners that the monasteries of the Middle Ages were plundered. Altar-pieces painted for adoration in the private chapel of some patron saint are now seen dimly, through London fog and smoke, hanging, maybe, next to some pagan Bacchus and Ariadne, or Venus and the Loves. For our sake were battles fought, to include masterpieces among the spoils; for us did the Italian nobles sell their treasures into the hands of money-lenders. Could Botticelli, that fervent follower of Savonarola, he who "worked and prayed in silence," have guessed that his beloved Nativity of Christ would, centuries hence, be removed to barbarous London, and be stared at by crowds of wondering Philistines, who should see in it only the curious uncouthness of its gestures,—he would, surely, have held his hand.

(p. 357) The National Gallery is the natural haunt of such dreams. Sitting there in the quickly-growing twilight, how easily it becomes peopled with ghosts, ghosts even more intangible than Reynolds's. Our thoughts wander back into the past, the walls grow dim, they seem to melt away into distance; we hear the sound of music, and see the glimmer of gay banners, as Cimabue's Madonna is carried past, amid the acclamation of a multitude; or a gay court appears before our eyes, filled with fine ladies, grandees, and inquisitors; and, apart from all, a great King conversing eagerly with a little dark painter, whose only ornament, beyond his lace ruffles, is the red cross of the Order of Santiago on his breast; or we seem to be in Italy, in a poetic "Romeo and Juliet" time and atmosphere, in a rich noble's house, bright with splendid hangings and works of art; a painted wedding-chest, or cassone, has just been presented, on the occasion of a marriage, and the young bride herself gazes down lovingly into its depths, which she has just stored with rich silks and brocaded velvets, and all her treasures; just such a chest as Ginevra might have hid and perished in; just such a bride as Ginevra herself. Or the scene changes again to a dusty gallery in a dingy street, with a little ugly old man mounted high on a stool, painting furiously away amid a horde of tailless cats; and anon a transformation, and we see a brilliant illumination of Queen Mab's Grotto, with fairies in wonderful gondolas, gliding to and fro; a ball in Venice.... We, too, are invited, but, as we hesitate to trust ourselves to Turner's airy structures, a voice sounds in our ear,—a prosaic voice, however: "Closin' time, ma'am, closin' time!"

(p. 358) CHAPTER XV

"I have seen various places ... which have been rendered interesting by great men and their works; ... I seem to have made friends with them in their own houses; to have walked and talked, and suffered and enjoyed with them.... Even in London I find the principle hold good in me.... I once had duties to perform which kept me out late at night, and severely taxed my health and spirits. My path lay through a neighbourhood in which Dryden lived; and though nothing could be more commonplace, and I used to be tired to the heart and soul of me, I never hesitated to go a little out of my way purely that I might pass through Gerrard Street, and so give myself the shadow of a pleasant thought."—Leigh Hunt.

"Our houses shape themselves palpably on our inner and outer natures. See a householder breaking up and you will be sure of it. There is a shellfish which builds all manner of smaller shell into the walls of its own. A house is never a home until we have crusted it with the spoils of a hundred lives besides those of our own past. See what these are and you can tell what the occupant is."—Oliver Wendell Holmes.

At the Club.

The most curious thing about London houses, and especially characteristic of our national reserve, is the fact that we can, as a rule, tell nothing at all about them until we get inside the sacred enclosure. A Londoner's house is the shell that hides him from the world; our houses are, to the foreigner, as enigmatic and as exclusive as we ourselves. But, once past the magic gateway, once past the Cerberus at the door, you come upon an interior often unguessed and undreamed of. The contrast is striking. What can be more dully monotonous, (p. 359) more unromantic, than the row of brick and stucco house-fronts that face the average large square or street? Yet it is ten to one that, inside, hardly one of these will exactly resemble the other, either in taste, architecture, or even general plan. Even the "long unlovely street" of Tennyson's disapproval may, and does, often hide unsuspected treasures. Who, for instance, would suspect the existence of the Greek bas-reliefs, the painted ceilings, the colonnades and statues in some of the old Bloomsbury houses? Who would imagine the curious "Soane Museum" in the quiet house in Lincoln's Inn Fields? the dignified Georgian spaciousness in the old mansions of Bedford Square? the gorgeous interior of the sombre houses of Bruton Street? the picture-galleries of Piccadilly and Mayfair? or the Eastern magnificence and opulence of some of the (p. 360) Park Lane mansions? For in London, as a rule, there are but few external signs to denote wealth. Even in our riches, we do not wear our heart on our sleeve. From a survey of these, as a rule, unimposing façades, we can imagine the uninitiated foreigner wondering where in the world the people of the richest city in the universe live. He may, even if intelligent, wander at large through London, and notice nothing of beauty, or even of interest. Was it not Madame de Staël who, lodged as she was in uninspiring Argyll Street, said unkindly, but not, perhaps, without some reason, with regard to her immediate surroundings that "London was a province in brick"? But London houses have other and deeper associations than those of mere riches; the association with mighty spirits of the past, poets dead and gone, great men of action, kings, warriors, statesmen; the infinite multitude of those who, "being dead, yet live." And in some cases, even though the houses themselves have vanished, yet the places where they stood are still sacred. Thus,—though it is perhaps difficult to define the exact boundaries of the old Stuart Palace of Whitehall, or to say where was the special site of the historic Cockpit,—yet, do they not lend a glory and an attraction to all the district of Westminster? Do not the purlieus of the unromantic Borough High Street, murky as these often are, recall Chaucer's famous Tabard Inn, of Canterbury pilgrims' fame? and does not the much-abused Griffin, on its Temple Bar pedestal, memorialise the older and too obstructive arch, where of old the dreadful heads of political scapegoats were displayed?

Vanished, and every year still vanishing, treasures! Sooner or later, no doubt, the edifices made sacred by history and association must go the way of all brick and masonry; yet even such landmarks as Turner's poor riverside cottage at Chelsea, or Carlyle's modest abode in Cheyne Walk, it will be sad to part with. That curious humanity that Charles Dickens gave to houses makes itself again felt in their fall; dwellings are not immortal, any more than were their great occupants. There is (p. 361) no picturesque decay in London; what is not of use must go: it dare not cumber the precious ground. Therefore, the few remaining timbered fronts of London are gone or going; only recently some picturesque old red-roofed houses, in the close vicinity of New Oxford Street, were condemned and destroyed; Staple Inn, indeed, has been saved and patched up, owing to the prompt action of a band of public benefactors. Blocks of houses, forming whole streets, are continually washed away in the tide of progress; Parliament Street has disappeared; the old Hanway Street, as it once was, has lately gone; Holywell Street is of the past; the demolition of this latter, though, indeed, urgently needed for the widening of the "straits" of the Strand, was not without its special sadness. The decay of houses that are at once picturesque and historical is, of course, doubly afflicting; yet even ugly houses often retain the charm of association to those who know what memories are bound up with them. Here romance and history serve to lend the beauty that is lacking. Thus, Ruskin's prosaic home in Hunter Street, Thackeray's commonplace mansion in Onslow Square; the house in Half Moon Street where Shelley sat "like a young lady's lark," in a projecting window, "hanging outside for air and song;" even that dark corner in Mecklenburgh Square where Sala kept his curios and bric-à-brac, all have their peculiar charm. Dr. Johnson's house in Gough Square, Fleet Street; the so-called "Old Curiosity Shop" in Lincoln's Inn Fields; John Hunter's house in Leicester Square—are all threatened with demolition. And, even apart from historic interest, how sad is the frequent fall of London's old landmarks! Tottering buildings, mere derelicts of time, old houses——

"whose ancient casements stare,
With sad, dim eyes, at the departing years."

Instinct as they are with the pathos of humanity, the sword of Damocles hangs over them all.

If great men's houses, or the houses that great men have ever, (p. 362) temporarily, lived in, could all be designated by some unobtrusive memorial tablet, such, for instance, as the Carlyle bas relief at Chelsea,—or even a plain inscription such as those recently placed on John Ruskin's birthplace in Hunter Street, Reynolds's house in Leicester Square, and Sir Isaac Newton's in St. Martin's Street,—what an interest would it not lend to even "long and unlovely" London streets! For the romance of houses is not divined by instinct; and even the taste of a Morris or a Rossetti has not always left its mark on their London abodes. That Dickens, Thackeray, John Leech, Darwin, the Rossettis, William Morris, have all lived in and about Bloomsbury, is not patent to the casual visitor. Does not even the plain inscription, "Poeta Inglese, Shelly," (sic) lend an added glamour to the Lung' Arno of Pisa?

The dividing line between history and fiction is not always very strongly marked; and this leads us to consider yet another aspect of the question. A curious literary interest sometimes attaches to certain houses, an interest hardly less deep for being partly, or even purely, fictitious. Among the many novelists who have made themselves responsible for this, none, perhaps, have been more prominent than Charles Dickens. Dickens, whose knowledge of London was, like his own Sam Weller's, "extensive and peculiar," has invested certain houses, certain localities, with an almost human sentiment and pathos. Thackeray has also done much, yet not so much as his contemporary, towards making London stones famous. The tenants of "historic houses" in this sense—houses on whom these and other writers have conferred immortality—are, of course, merely the "ghosts of ghosts," and yet, how real, how persistent are they, with the majority of us! Harry Warrington enjoying the May sun from his pleasant window in Bond Street; old Colonel Newcome kneeling among the "Grey Friars" of the Charterhouse; the pretty old house and garden in Church Street, Kensington, where Miss Thackeray's charming heroine, Dolly, lived; little David Copperfield at the waterside (p. 363) blacking warehouse; poor weeping Nancy on the steps of Surrey Pier, by London Bridge; ragged Jo at the grating of the squalid burying-ground: they and their sorrows are more real, more vivid, to us than the actual sufferings of the boy Chatterton, the "Titanic" agony of spoiled Byron, or the short glories of Lady Jane Grey. And, indeed, when we call to mind the gay vision of the "ladies of St. James's" taking the air, we think as much of such personages as Thackeray's beautiful Beatrix, wayward and heartless, and of her solemn cousin, Colonel Esmond,—as of Mrs. Pepys, in her noted "tabby suit," or of my Lady Castlemaine herself, in all her beauty, attended by her royal admirer.

Such are the "byways of fiction" in London! Next to Dickens, in whose persuasive company we have wandered from Fact to Fiction, Dr. Johnson is, perhaps, of all our great Londoners, the most prominent. To him, indeed, the everlasting noise and bustle of the capital, "the roaring of the loom of time," was ever dear. Sayings of his about London have, in many cases, almost passed into household words: "He who is tired of London is tired of existence"; "Sir, let us take a walk into Fleet Street"; "I think the full tide of existence is at Charing Cross." Dr. Johnson had a great admiration for Fleet Street, which he thought finer than anything he knew. The old doctor's well-known figure, so often painted, in the ancient full-bottomed wig, and rusty clothes, yet, for us, haunts the shades of the Strand, yet lingers near his old haunts, fumbling in the displayed stores of the second-hand book shops. "The old philosopher is still among us, in the brown coat and the metal buttons." Johnson's London houses,—Gough Square, Bolt Court, Johnson's Court, and many others; Johnson's favourite Fleet Street taverns, notably the famous "Cheshire Cheese," with its well-known literary coterie; these are almost too familiar to need description; they, and the Johnsonian element they recall, are bound up intimately with London's eighteenth-century (p. 364) history. There is scarcely any street so little altered, since then, in its characteristics, as Fleet Street. And if the Fleet Street of our own day, with its still irregular houses, its occasional glimpses, down some alley, of the shining river which it skirts, is picturesque,—what must it have been in Johnson's day, when its shops yet displayed their gay projecting signs? when "timbered fronts" and gables were the rule; when the charming dress of the day, with its gay satins and ruffles, knee breeches and buckles, was the mode? Though, for that matter, the old doctor himself, the essential spirit of the Fleet Street of the time, can hardly have been a fashionable figure:

"It must be confessed," says Boswell, "that his ... morning dress was sufficiently uncouth. His brown suit of clothes looked very rusty; he had on a little old shrivelled, unpowdered wig, which was too small for his head; his shirt neck and the knees of his breeches were loose, his black worsted stockings ill drawn up, and he had a pair of unbuckled shoes by way of slippers."

Doctor Johnson was, indeed, a faithful Londoner. He lived in no less than sixteen London houses (among them, several "Inns"), all situated in and around Holborn and the Strand. Nearly all of these abodes have now disappeared, or are unidentified; only the Gough Square house still exists. It is picturesque, chiefly on account of its age; it stands back out of Fleet Street, in a little court, and has been often sketched. It is a corner house, numbered seventeen (marked by a tablet), and remains, in externals at least, much as Johnson left it 140 years ago, though internally it is a network of dusty offices. Johnson's Court (not named from him), where he also lived, is now swallowed up in "Anderton's Hotel." In Gough Square the greater part of the celebrated Dictionary was written; here Johnson's wife died, and here he "had an upper room fitted up like a counting-house in which he gave to the copyists their several tasks." It was, however, in Bolt Court, his last house, that the curious army of pensioners lived whom this strange old scholar-philanthropist collected round him:

(p. 366) "His strange household of fretful and disappointed alms-people seems as well known as our own. At the head of these pensioners was the daughter of a Welsh doctor (a blind old lady named Williams), who had written some trivial poems; Mrs. Desmoulins, an old Staffordshire lady, her daughter, and a Miss Carmichael. The relationships of these fretful and quarrelsome old dames Dr. Johnson has himself sketched, in a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Thrale: 'Williams hates everybody; Levett hates Desmoulins, and does not love Williams; Desmoulins hates them both; Poll (Miss Carmichael) loves none of them."

Wych Street.

These old waifs and strays were not, apparently, even always grateful. But, in any case, the annoyance of "such a menagerie of singular oddities" must have driven him more and more to his clubs, and especially to his favourite haunt the "Cheshire Cheese." This ancient tavern, still existing in its pristine simplicity in Wine Office Court, "and," says Hare, "the most perfect old tavern in London," is the classic retreat where Johnson and Goldsmith held their court; Johnson in the window-seat, and Goldsmith on his right hand. To American tourists, I gather, it is a specially sacred place of pilgrimage. In that low, dark, sanded parlour of the "Cheshire Cheese," you might easily imagine yourself in some rural retreat, miles away from London, though so close in fact to the din and civilisation of Fleet Street. Not only far from London, but far away back in the eighteenth century. Can such things be, you wonder, in the London of our day? You sit in Johnson's time-honoured seat, under his brass-plate inscription, and his picture; darkened oak panelling lines the walls; artistic Bohemians blow smoke-wreaths over their toasted cheese and whiskies, hilariously in yonder corner; and even the waiters are not of the uncommunicative, cut-and-dried modern sort, but rather the cheery, jovial order of Dickens's time. One of them brings you the "visitors' book"; two ponderous tomes filled with brilliant sketches by well-known artists, some of the sketches amiably suggestive of the sketchers having supped "not wisely, but too well"; another tells you, with all the pride of long association, (p. 367) that "the place has not changed one whit since Johnson's time"; and yet a third, with an expansiveness rare indeed in London, will point out to you "Goldsmith's favourite window-seat."

Oliver Goldsmith, the erratic genius who "wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll," was one of Johnson's satellites, another shining light of old Fleet Street. He had the artistic temperament indeed, for when he was not in the clutches of the bailiffs, he was usually revelling in absurd extravagance. Goldsmith's last lodging, in No. 2, Brick Court, Temple, he furnished with ridiculous lavishness, dressing himself to match, in "Tyrian-bloom satin with gold buttons." Dr. Johnson must sometimes have been tried by his friend, as the following story shows: (Newbery, Goldsmith's publisher, had apparently refused further advances to his impecunious client):

"I received one morning" (Boswell represents Johnson to have said), "a message from poor Goldsmith, that he was in great distress, and, as it was not in his power to come to me, begging that I would come to him as soon as possible. I sent him a guinea and promised to come to him directly. I accordingly went as soon as I was dressed, and found that his landlady had arrested him for his rent, at which he was in a violent passion. I perceived that he had already changed my guinea, and had got a bottle of Madeira and a glass before him. I put the cork into the bottle, desired he would be calm, and began to talk to him of the means by which he might be extricated. He then told me that he had a novel ready for the press, which he produced to me. I looked into it and saw its merits, told the landlady I should soon return, and, having gone to a bookseller, sold it for £60. I brought Goldsmith the money, and he discharged his rent, not without rating his landlady in a high tone for having used him so ill."

The MS. was that of The Vicar of Wakefield, but the whole picture really suggests a scene from Dickens's Pickwick. Oliver Goldsmith acted at one time as "reader"—curious combination!—to prim old Samuel Richardson, the printer-novelist, at the latter's printing-office in the south west corner of Salisbury Square, communicating with the court, No. 76, (p. 368) Fleet Street. Richardson, also, had once befriended Johnson, and the worthy doctor was for ever praising his friend, and abusing his compeer in fiction, Henry Fielding, whom he called "a barren rascal."

"Sir" (said Johnson), "there is more knowledge of the heart in one letter of Richardson's than in all Tom Jones." Some one present here remarked that Richardson was very tedious. "Why, Sir," replied Johnson, "if you were to read Richardson for the story, your impatience would be so great that you would hang yourself. But you must read him for the sentiment, and consider the story as only giving occasion to the sentiment."

But if Richardson is tedious, Johnson was nothing if not prejudiced; though, after all, he has no less a person than Macaulay on his side; Macaulay, who declared that were he to be wrecked on a desert island with only one book, he would choose Clarissa, sentiment and all, for his sole delectation.

Hogarth, the painter, it is said, once met Johnson at Richardson's printing-office; when, seeing "a person standing in the room shaking his head and rolling himself about in a ridiculous manner, he concluded he was an idiot, whom his relations had put under the care of Mr. Richardson as a very good man.... To his great surprise, however, this figure stalked forward to where he was, and all at once burst into an invective against George II.... Hogarth looked at him in astonishment, and actually imagined that this idiot had been at the moment inspired."

Richardson's own home was, however, at some distance from his Fleet Street printing-office; as far, indeed, as North End, Fulham. His house there, which still stands, is one of two named "The Grange"; that nearest the Hammersmith Road. Here, in his garden-house, the novelist wrote his somewhat long-winded romances, indulged his amiable vanity, and indited his letters, with their touches of playfully elephantine wit, to "Lady Bradshaigh" and his other fair correspondents.

It is this very house, "The Grange," old-fashioned, red-brick, (p. 369) sedate, that, by another of Fate's curious ironies, was for twenty-seven years the home and studio of Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Strange contrast, indeed, between the prosy, fussy, precise old painter-novelist, and the most ideal and imaginative of our modern painters!

"When the painter first settled here, the house stood in the midst of fields on the outskirts of London. Now, whole rows of new streets have sprung up on every side, the fields are built over, and omnibuses and district trains have their stations within a stone's throw. But the leafy trees and sheltered garden of the painter's house remain, a green oasis in the sandy waste. From the noise and dust of crowded thoroughfares we step into the quiet garden with its shady lawns and gay flower borders, its fine old mulberry-tree and rows of limes. Here snowdrops and crocuses blossom in the early spring, and later in the year, blue irises and white lilies, sunflowers and hollyhocks grow tall under the ivied wall. And here, at the end of the garden, among the flowers and leaves, is the studio where the master worked."

Here, then, in the historic "garden-house," where Richardson once wrote, and received his friends Hogarth and Johnson, was Burne-Jones's studio, where he imagined that

"land of clear colours and stories
In a region of shadowless hours,"

described by Swinburne the poet in the lovely dedication of his poems to his friend and Master in another art, begging that they may find place, "for the love of lost loves and lost times," in the painter's created paradise; "Receive," he cries,

"in your palace of painting
This revel of rhymes."

It is a far cry from Fleet Street to Fulham, whither we have wandered in company of Richardson and his friends, and we must retrace our steps. All these sages and worthies of Fleet Street were, of course, more or less connected with the great engine of the Press, then comparatively in its childhood, but now, though grown to mighty dimensions, occupying still the same sacred and classic ground. The Jupiters of the Press have from the (p. 370) first wielded their sceptres in Fleet Street and its immediate neighbourhood. And not only the newspaper press, but all sorts of lampoons, political skits, libellous pamphlets, and the like, had here their home in early days. Here that meteoric and unstable wit, Theodore Hook, devoted his misapplied genius to the editing of the then scurrilous journal John Bull, (a paper whose métier was the satirising of society); his favourite and thoughtful axiom being "that there was always a concealed wound in every family, and the point was to strike exactly at the source of pain." The primary object of the paper, which was started in "Johnson's Court" in 1820, was the slandering of the unfortunate Queen Caroline, wife of George IV. The death of the Queen soon reforming the John Bull, it altered to dulness, and declined in sale; its first editor is, indeed, now mainly remembered by one of his early escapades, the famous "Berners Street hoax." This was a wild practical joke played on a harmless widow lady, living at 54, Berners Street. Hook, it seems, had made a bet that "in one week that nice quiet dwelling should be the most famous in all London;" and, the bet being taken, he forthwith wrote many hundred letters to tradesmen, ordering goods and visits of every kind, from coals to cranberry tarts, from attorneys to popular preachers. The street became, of course, absolutely blocked with traffic, Hook himself enjoying the "midday melodrama" from an apartment he had himself hired in a house opposite. Such wholesale destruction was the result that the enfant terrible, being suspected, had to sham illness, until the affair had blown over.

Theodore Hook was a Londoner of the Londoners, with "a gigantic intellect and no morals," added to the peculiar resourcefulness and adaptability of the typical cockney. Nevertheless, even this unprincipled buffoon and wit, petted by royalty and fashion, and left to die, a drunken worn-out spendthrift at last—must, he, too, have had his bad moments. There is a peculiar and haunting horror attaching to the story (told in (p. 371) his Life and Letters), of how, when passing by his birthplace in Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury, Hook pointed to a spot nearly opposite the house where he was born, saying, "There by that lamp-post stood Martha the Gypsy."

The Strand, still picturesque, narrow, and tortuous, is now nearly entirely given up to shops, newspaper offices and theatres; but at No. 149 (once a lodging-house and now a newspaper office), the actress Mrs. Siddons stayed when she first came up to London, and here she supped joyfully with her father and husband, to celebrate her first London success. Less changed is the historic Temple, where that constant Londoner, Charles Lamb, lived so long, and of which he has left us such lovely descriptions. Indeed, Charles Lamb is one of those Londoners of whom, like Dickens, Milton, and Johnson, it is difficult to say where they have not lived in the great metropolis. Milton, perhaps, is, however, an extreme case: for he not only lived in a score of different residences, but further puzzles the conscientious topographer by being married in three different churches and buried piecemeal; having been also disinterred at various times, and his remains scattered,—a thing manifestly unfair to the future historian.

Ruskin, also, the latter-day apostle and critic, has been very catholic in his London dwellings. Born in humble Hunter Street, Bloomsbury, he migrated later with his parents to Herne Hill and Denmark Hill, with a short interlude of married life in Park Street. The Denmark Hill house, so far from the centre of things as to be almost suburban, is yet a goal of pilgrimage to Ruskin's faithful disciples. Denmark Hill, now so overbuilt, so lined and scored with railways, was, some sixty years ago, still a very desirable residential region. Does not Thackeray locate his Misses Dobbin, Amelia's Major's sisters, there?—in that fine villa, too, with "beautiful graperies and peach-trees," which delighted little Georgy Osborne. The smaller house on Herne Hill, where little John Ruskin spent his boyhood, is at the present day unattractive enough; but the Denmark Hill villa (p. 372) near by, taken later when the family launched out, has still its charm. It, too, is a "fine villa," or rather country mansion, not unlike the description of the Misses Dobbin's abode, and, like it, full of peach-trees that, growing on old walls, still bear abundantly. Readers of Præterita will remember how, when Mr. Ruskin became "of age, and B.A., and so on," his father and mother decided on moving that short way to the larger house; and how "everybody said how wise and proper"; and how "the view from the breakfast-room into the field was really very lovely"; and how the family lived for some quarter of a century here in much "stateliness of civic domicile."

"The house itself" (says Mr. Ruskin) "had every good in it, except nearness to a stream, that could with any reason be coveted by modest mortals. It stood in command of seven acres of healthy ground ... half of it in meadow sloping to the sunrise, the rest prudently and pleasantly divided into an upper and lower kitchen garden; a fruitful bit of orchard, and chance inlets and outlets of woodwalk, opening to the sunny path by the field, which was gladdened on its other side in springtime by flushes of almond and double peach blossom. Scarce all the hyacinths and heath of Brantwood redeem the loss of these to me; and when the summer winds have wrecked the wreaths of our wild roses, I am apt to think sorrowfully of the trailings and climbings of deep purple convolvulus which bloomed full every autumn morning round the trunks of the apple trees in the kitchen garden."

That hedge of almond blossom is still gay in spring, and the "shabby tide of progress" has not touched the old house, which, garden, field, orchard and all, is still virtually the same as it was in Ruskin's time. No. 163, Denmark Hill, is its designation;—a big, roomy, detached mansion, a real "rus in urbe." Much like other large suburban villas, the house itself; yet this is the spot whence emanated Modern Painters, that early work of genius that assured the young writer's fame. There is the "study" that Mr. Ruskin used, his "workroom above the breakfast-room"; there, above it again, is his bedroom, looking straight south-east, giving "command of the morning clouds, inestimable for its aid in all healthy thought." (p. 373) There, still, is the little reservoir made by Mr. Ruskin in engineering zeal, a canal said by the neighbours to have cost £5 every time he had it filled, in vain attempt to make a little rivulet, or Alpine sluice, for watering! For, although "of age and a B.A.," the chief reason, as Mr. Ruskin ingenuously confesses, why his soul yearned for the Denmark Hill house, was, that "ever since I could drive a spade, I had wanted to dig a canal, and make locks on it, like Harry in "Harry and Lucy." And in the field at the back of the Denmark Hill house I saw my way to a canal with any number of locks down to Dulwich." ... "But," he adds sorrowfully, "I never got my canal dug, after all! The gardeners wanted all the water for the greenhouse. I resigned myself ... yet the bewitching idea never went out of my head, and some waterworks were verily set aflowing twenty years afterwards."

Yet, be the actual bricks and mortar never so prosaic, there is a strange fascination about the dwellings where great men have lived and died. Benjamin Disraeli was born, like Ruskin, in the shades of Bloomsbury, and, again like him, migrated, later, to Mayfair on his marriage. The late Lord Beaconsfield remained, however, always faithful to the West End. In his Park Lane house (No. 29) he lived over thirty years; removing then to No. 2, Whitehall Gardens, and finally dying, after a short tenancy, at 19, Curzon Street. It was a cold and inclement spring, a blast of Kingsley's much belauded "north-easter," to which he succumbed. That unassuming house in Curzon Street was, for the moment, the world's centre. "It was half-past six in the morning that the final bulletin of the dying statesman's condition was placed on the railings to inform the crowd who, even at that early hour, waited for intelligence."

Mr. Gladstone, too, has had as many London houses as his great rival, with perhaps, stormier residences in them. There is the house, for instance, in Harley Street, where the mob smashed the great man's windows at the time of his unpopularity (p. 374) over the Eastern question. And No. 10, Carlton House Terrace, is the mansion where he lived for so many years at the zenith of his fame. Is his spirit, I wonder, clean vanished, forgotten there, and does no record of him remain? Perhaps the militant spirits of Disraeli and Gladstone still linger, if anywhere, about Downing Street; that narrow street of which Carlyle says that "it is evident to all men that the interests of one hundred and fifty millions of us depend on the mysterious industry there carried on"; and where No. 10, that dingy old house which has been the temporary home of successive Prime Ministers, as well as the official head-quarters of the Government, "focuses more historic glamour than any other house in London." Hook said wittily of Downing Street:

"There is a fascination in the air of this little cul-de-sac; an hour's inhalation of its atmosphere affects some men with giddiness, others with blindness, and very frequently with the most oblivious boastfulness."

Lord Rosebery used 10, Downing Street, for official purposes; Lord Salisbury did not use it at all. Many historic scenes have been enacted, and many momentous questions settled, within its walls. It was in its entrance hall, trodden by the feet of successive generations of politicians, that Wellington and Nelson met for the only time in their lives, both waiting to see the Minister, and neither knowing who the other was. They naturally entered into conversation, but it was not until afterwards that they knew to whom they had been speaking. The house itself is solid and substantial, without any architectural attractiveness, and to the casual observer suggests nothing different from thousands of other London dwellings. From the outside, no one would imagine it to be commodious, but it has some very large apartments; and the old council chamber, the principal features of which are the book-lined walls, massive pillars, and heavy, solid furniture, remains much as it was in Walpole's day. Here many conferences of Ministers have been held, and the most (p. 375) delicate affairs of State settled. The Cabinet Councils have, however, not always been held here. Mr. Gladstone preferred to hold them in his own more cosy room on the floor above; and Lord Salisbury preferred to hold them at the Foreign Office. Next door is the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The entrance to the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office is opposite. Which of these great buildings, with their numerous passages and annexes and waiting-rooms, is the original of Dickens's "Circumlocution Office," it would be invidious even to attempt to discover.

Nowhere is the curious unexpectedness of London houses better exemplified than in the building known as Sir John Soane's Museum, on the north side of the square called Lincoln's Inn Fields. Here to all seeming, stands an ordinary dwelling-house;—its front, it is true, somewhat of the ornate kind,—but utterly misleading, so far as its outer appearance is concerned, to the passer-by. Nor does the illusion stop at the hall-door. For there is here an air of homely friendliness, of quiet welcome, that is altogether at variance with any preconceived ideas that the visitor may have formed about museums in general. Several dignified family servants of irreproachable demeanour lie in wait for the stranger and kindly escort him round. It is not till you have passed the Rubicon of the double dining-room, yet arranged exactly as in the lifetime of the founder, that you begin to realise that you are in a museum, not in a private mansion. And the realisation is even then difficult, for the family butlers have a familiar way of alluding to "Sir John," the donor, as though he were alive and in the next room, thus:

"Sir John gave £140 for these Hogarths," says the Chief Butler, indicating the well-known Rake series, and speaking with a degree of intimacy of "Sir John" that positively startled me, till I remembered that the gentleman in question died some sixty years ago.

"Oh, er, very Hogarthian!" I remark somewhat bashfully, (p. 376) for indeed the pictures are hardly all of them pleasing to the uninitiated. "I wonder that Sir John could like to live with them!"

"Yes, indeed! some of them are very gross," says the Mentor; and I almost wish that I had held my peace.

The panels of the mysterious room that contains the Hogarths afford a wonderful example of how to hang many pictures in a limited space. They open at the touch of a spring, disclosing not only inner walls of pictures, but also their own inner sides similarly adorned. Through the walls thus magically opened a glimpse is obtained of a little basement room called "The Monk's Parloir," adorned with carving and statuary. Sir John Soane was, of course, the architect of the existing Bank of England, and interesting architectural drawings, beside innumerable imaginary palaces by him, abound in the museum. The chief treasure of the collection, the hieroglyphic-covered alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I., father of the great Rameses, lies in the basement; which is, indeed, entirely filled with works of "antiquity and virtue"; the "backs" and basements of three adjoining houses being utilised for the required space. To judge from the wide variety among the objects collected, Sir John Soane must have been a man of cosmopolitan tastes, and possessed of an interesting personality. Perhaps he found some comfort in art for the tragedies of his later life; for his two sons (whose quaint portraits, in youthful blue and silver, are to be seen in the museum) died in his lifetime. At any rate, that Sir John was a man of some humour seems to be sufficiently attested by the curious post-mortem joke that he perpetrated on his trustees! For, when leaving his treasures to the nation, and specifying especially that the house was to be left precisely as he had lived in it, he appended to his will three codicils, directing that three mysterious sealed cupboards in his museum-house should not be opened till respectively thirty, fifty, and sixty years after his death! This was accordingly done, expectation rising higher (p. 377) in each decade; and lo! on each occasion nothing was found but a few worthless papers, relating either to antiquated accounts, or to still more antiquated family disagreements!

There is, at the present time, despite the encroachments of a modern and generally iconoclastic London, now a wholesome spirit of veneration abroad, which tends not only towards the preservation of ancient and historical buildings, but also towards the acquisition of the homes that have been lived in and made beautiful by the celebrated men of our own day. Of this kind is "Leighton House," bought since Lord Leighton's death by the effort of a private committee, and now opened free to the nation. The rooms and internal arrangement are, as in the case of the "Carlyle House," left as nearly as possible in their original condition, and though of necessity much of the valuable furniture and accessories have been removed, yet the many sketches and drawings illustrative of the painter's life-work that fill the walls do something to dispel the unavoidable sense of incompleteness. It is interesting to wander through the beautifully-proportioned rooms, to gaze into the well-tended, sun-lit garden, with its gay geranium beds and its green lawn; to sit in the mysterious semi-darkness of the "Arab Hall," and look up into its gold-encrusted dome; to listen to the mournful splash of the tiny fountain in its marble basin;—and yet, "wanting is—what?"

"When the lamp is shattered
The light in the dust lies dead."

It will always be a question how far the mere dwelling of a great painter is worth thus preserving in its integrity, when once the magic of his presence, his genius, has deserted it, and the growing work of his art no longer adorns its walls. The committee of the "Leighton House" have done their work with judgment and care, and, if the inevitable comparison occurs to those who saw it in the life time or during the "show days" of its late master, of former life and splendour with present gloom and sadness, this is only in the nature of things. (p. 378) The blue tiles that the painter loved still adorn, in bird-of-paradise like splendour, the wide, massive staircase; the water still tinkles in the Pompeian atrium as of old; and the master's art can still be studied in the many drawings and reproductions that fill, so far as they can, the places left by greater works.

Hertford House, in Manchester Square, the sumptuous home of the Wallace collection, bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace in 1898, is the most important of the nation's artistic legacies. Though in a sense historic—for it is the "Gaunt House" of Vanity Fair, and its former owner, Lord Hertford, was caricatured as the Marquis of Steyne;—yet, as it is mainly as a picture gallery that it must be noticed, it has fallen most conveniently into a previous chapter.

But the historical houses of London are innumerable, and my space is but limited. History is written in many kinds. And the greater portion of the fine houses of the metropolis, the palaces of Mayfair, Pall Mall, Kensington, possess historic interest of their own; interest, indeed, often unknown and unsuspected by any but the privileged few, because unvisited and generally inaccessible. Of these are Chesterfield House, in South Audley Street, the home of the author of the famous Letters, where the poor scholar Johnson waited patiently for interviews with his noble patron; Apsley House,—the pillared façade of which is so well known to travellers on the humble omnibus as it passes Hyde Park Corner,—the abode of the "Iron Duke," that old man in the blue coat and white trousers, to the last the people's idol, whose daily appearances, in old age, were here awaited patiently by expectant crowds; Lansdowne House, Devonshire House, Sutherland House, Bridgewater House, splendid mansions on or near the "Green Park," famed, like so many others, for their picture galleries; Sutherland House, often now hospitably thrown open for gatherings of "the people," is said to be the finest private mansion in London: "I have come," a Queen is reported to have said to a former Duchess of Sutherland, "from my house to your palace."

(p. 379) Many of the splendid old mansions of Stuart times have, indeed, gone; yet in some instances they have risen again from their ashes to new spheres of interest. Thus, old Montague House in Bloomsbury, old Burlington House in Piccadilly, old Somerset House in the Strand, have been rebuilt and utilised by Government as National Collections or offices. Where lovely ladies of the Restoration trailed their sheeny silks in Lely-like voluptuousness, where court gallants presented odes, and court dandies took snuff and patronage, now sweet girl graduates pace the galleries, spectacled lady-students copy "old masters," Academy pupils study "the antique." The contrast is picturesque as well as strange. Does one not sometimes, as twilight falls, seem to hear the ghostly "swish" of the court beauties' dresses along a deserted British Museum Gallery, or seem to see in a stone Venus, with uplifted arm, an insufficiently clad fair lady of the olden time? It is but fancy, yet such is the charm of history and of historic association.

Ghosts of our own fancy may, and do, wander at their will in London's misty galleries; but ghosts, better authenticated, are popularly supposed to haunt a few of London's old houses. Thus, No. 50, in Berkeley Square has gained undesirable notoriety as the "Haunted House," and many extraordinary tales have from time to time been told as to its ghostly manifestations. Berkeley Square has, undeniably, a solid and old-time look that fits in well with the gloomy tradition; it has the best and most ancient plane-trees of any London square, and its fine old iron-work, with occasional torch-extinguishers (used by the "link-boys" of sedan chairs in Stuart times), are all in keeping with the old-world spirit. Nevertheless, Berkeley Square has other and sadder associations than those of mere ghosts. For in No. 45,—a house specially noted for its iron-adornments,—the great Lord Clive, founder of the British Empire in India, committed suicide in 1774. "In the awful close," says Macaulay, "of so much prosperity and glory," (p. 380) some men only saw the horrors of an evil conscience; but Clive from early youth had been subject to "fits of strange melancholy," while now his strong mind was sinking under physical suffering, and he took opium for a distressing complaint.

In Berkeley Square (No. 38) is the town house of Lord Rosebery, once the residence of Lady Jersey, and the place whence her mother,—the daughter of Child, the banker,—eloped to marry the Earl of Westmorland, in 1782.

It were, however, an invidious, as well as an impossible task, to name all London's historic houses. What street in London is, indeed, not "historic" in a sense? Houses may be pulled down, but even thus their locality knows them still. Is not even Turner the painter's squalid, dirty house in Queen Anne Street, now razed, yet recalled to the passer-by, by the tablet affixed to the houses that have since sprung up on its site? "Unlovely" Wimpole Street is sacred to the shade of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, that "small, pale person, scarcely embodied at all." It was from this house, No. 50, that she wrote her impassioned love-letters, and, after years of chronic invalidism, ran away, secretly and romantically, to marry a brother-poet. The picturesque chambers known as "the Albany,"—a byway out of Piccadilly,—recall Lord Macaulay, Lord Byron, Lord Lytton. Curzon Street suggests the famous parties, in the early nineteenth century, of the sisters Mary and Agnes Berry, the friends of Horace Walpole. In Soho,—a district famous in old days for an artistic, and semi-Bohemian fraternity, whose houses emulated Turner's in dirt,—lived the painters Northcote, Mulready, Fuseli, Stothard,—and Flaxman the sculptor. At 28, Poland Street, lived William Blake, the poet-painter, the half-crazy, but wholly charming, seer and mystic; here he wrote his Songs of Experience and of Innocence, and drew his Visionary Portraits. (The story of Blake and his wife, "reciting passages from Paradise Lost, and enacting Adam and Eve, in character," belongs, however, not to dingy gardenless Poland Street, but (p. 381) to Hercules Buildings, then a modest Lambeth suburb). In Poland Street, in 1811, lived also Shelley in early youth, with his friend and biographer Hogg; the latter being attracted, says Shelley, by the name of the street, "because it reminded him of Thaddeus of Warsaw and freedom":

"A paper (says Hogg) in the window of No. 15 announced lodgings.... 'We must lodge there, should we sleep even on the step of a door.' ... Shelley took some objection to the exterior of the house, but we went in.... There was a back sitting-room on the first floor, somewhat dark but quiet, yet quietness was not the prime attraction. The walls of the room had lately been covered with trellised paper.... This was delightful. He went close to the wall and touched it. 'We must stay here; stay for ever.' Shelley had the bedroom opening out of the sitting room, and this also was overspread with the trellised paper."

But every part of London has its historic interest—is, in a sense, a city peopled by the dead. "Where'er you tread is haunted, holy ground." That spot, in that quiet, narrow street,—Mayfair, Bloomsbury, Soho or Westminster,—where you chance to live, and toil, and suffer, and enjoy,—has known many others in its time,—others before you: men in stocks, and wigs, and laced ruffles, and knee-breeches; women in brocades, ruffs, and farthingales; children in long stiff skirts and prim stomachers: who, in their turn, likewise lived, and toiled, and enjoyed, and suffered.... Is it not this romance of London, this mysterious past life of hers, guessed and unguessed, that makes us welcome, and recognise as real friends, the types of a Thackeray, a Dickens? See, for instance, how a mere allusion to Thackeray puppets serves to immortalise with a touch, the prosaic, if fashionable, Clarges and Bond Streets: Clarges Street, "where Beatrix Bernstein held her card parties, her Wednesday and Sunday evenings, save during the short season when Ranelagh was open on a Sunday, where the desolate old woman sat alone, waiting hopelessly for the scapegrace nephew that her battered old heart had learned to love."

"Here, Baroness Bernstein takes her chocolate behind the drawn curtains; she is the Beatrix Esmond of brighter days and fortunes.... There (p. 382) are the windows of Harry Warrington's lodgings in Bond Street, 'at the court end of the town;' geraniums and lobelias flourish in them to this day, and no doubt they are let to some sprig of fashion; but to me they are Harry's rooms, hired from Mr. Ruff, the milliner's husband; and the 'Archie' or 'Bertie' in possession to-day is a mere interloper, whom Gumbo would have politely shown downstairs."—(Byways of Fiction in London.)

Not less has Dickens done with the lower life of the Great City. And has not Miss Thackeray (Mrs. Ritchie), with a touch of her father's picturesque and vivid genius, glorified that "Old Court Suburb," Old Kensington, in her well-known novel of that name? Here, in Kensington, at No. 2, Palace Green, then considerably more countrified than now, Thackeray died in 1863. Here, too, is the red brick Kensington Palace, built by William and Mary in what Leigh Hunt called "Dutch solidity," famous as Queen Victoria's birth-place, and also more sadly reminiscent of poor Caroline of Brunswick, the ill-fated and cruelly used wife of George IV.

Holland House is one of the most interesting and historically important buildings in Kensington. It stands near Campden Hill, in beautiful and spacious gardens, the same gardens where the youthful George III. used to flirt with the lovely Sarah Lennox; the lady dressed as a shepherdess, playing at haymaking while the King rode by: a youthful and a pleasant idyll, in contrast with the lady's very chequered after life! Holland House, says Mr. Hare, "surpasses all other houses in beauty, rising at the end of the green slope, with its richly-sculptured terrace, and its cedars, and its vases of brilliant flowers." The house was originally built in 1607, though its characteristic wings and arcades were all added later by the first Earl of Holland, the same who was beheaded in the Royalist wars. After his execution Holland House was confiscated by the Parliamentary generals; being, however, restored in 1665 to the disconsolate widow, who comforted herself by indulging privately here in the theatricals so strictly (p. 383) forbidden by the Puritan Government. Early in the eighteenth century Holland House became associated with Addison (of Spectator fame); he lived here for some three years after his ambitious marriage with Charlotte, Countess of Warwick, a marriage which, despite its splendour, report says was not happy for the bridegroom. According to Dr. Johnson, it was more or less "on terms like those on which a Turkish princess is espoused, to whom the Sultan is reported to pronounce, 'Daughter, I give thee this man for thy slave.'" But the chief interest of Holland House lies in its having been for so many years the centre of a great literary and political coterie, and the resort of Whig orators and politicians. In the lifetime of the third Lord Holland, who died in 1840, the house was at the height of its splendour as a world-renowned intellectual centre. Holland House still exists in its integrity, though Macaulay long ago prophesied mournfully that

"The wonderful city may soon displace those turrets and gardens which are associated with so much that is interesting and noble—with the courtly magnificence of Rich, with the loves of Ormond, with the councils of Cromwell, with the death of Addison."

"The gardens of Holland House" (says Mr. Hare) "are unlike anything else in England. Every turn is a picture.... A raised terrace, like some of those which belong to old Genoese palaces, leads from the house high amongst the branches of the trees to the end of the flower garden.... Facing a miniature Dutch garden here is "Rogers' Seat," inscribed:

"Here Rogers sat, and here for ever dwell
With me those pleasures that he sings so well."

Lord Macaulay's last residence was, as I have said, "Holly Lodge." In this secluded villa, high walled-in from the outer world, were the two requisites for an author's ideal of happiness, a library and a garden. The house bears a memorial tablet. Here the great writer died while quietly seated in his (p. 384) library chair, his book open beside him; a peaceful close of a busy life.

I have named a few of our great Londoners; yet they, indeed, are but few among the vast galaxy of the bright particular stars who, even in our day, still enlighten with their spirit their former dwellings and surroundings. It is their human interest that so transfigures London stones; it is the mighty dead of England, the "choir invisible,"

"of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence: live....
To make undying music in the world"—

that lend to their city such enchantment. Surely something of this feeling,—of this enchantment—is ours when we think of the long roll of great spirits who illumined the archives of the past. There is a magic, a glamour, in London streets, that affects the strongest heads and hearts. All honour to them—to poor human nature,—that it is so. Not only, let us hope, to the mad poet-painter Blake was it given to "meet the Apostle Paul in Piccadilly." We, too, may, if we will, walk with Milton in Cripplegate, may share Byron's Titanic gloom in the quaint Albany precincts, may wander with Charles Lamb in those Temple Gardens that he so loved, and may listen with him and Dickens to the pleasant tinkle of the rippling water in secluded Fountain Court. We inherit these associations, and we may—inestimable privilege—see our London, our "towne of townes, patrone and not compare," through the eyes of all the great men who loved her in the past.

"The dull brick houses of the square,
The bustle of the thoroughfare,
The sounds, the sights, the crush of men,
Are present, but forgotten then.

"With such companions at my side
I float on London's human tide;
An atom on its billows thrown,
But lonely never, nor alone."

(p. 385)

Cricket in the Parks.


"It is my delight to be
Both in town and in countree."—Old Couplet.

"If one must have a villa in summer to dwell,
Oh, give me the sweet shady side of Pall Mall."—Charles Morris.

Oh, London! beautiful London! who would not be with thee in May? Paris should not, surely, be recommended as the only Mecca of that lovely month. When the London street authorities, with unwonted forbearance, have for one brief moment suspended their incessant repairing of the busiest thoroughfares; when the hanging gardens of Park Lane, and the window-boxes of Seven Dials, alike display their "pavilions of tender green"; when Piccadilly is blocked with traffic; when Rotten Row is thronged with the smart world; when the shops (p. 386) hang out their daintiest spring fashions; when the gay parterres of the Parks show flowers of kaleidoscopic brilliance, and their sylvan seclusions suggest the "real country," what can be more delightful than our own often-maligned metropolis?

The Parks of London are, perhaps, the element that most surprises the foreigner unused to English tastes and ways. Here are neither the leafy terraces and regular alleys of German capitals, nor the trim well-clipped boscages and levels of Versailles and the Tuileries; but only mere stretches of park-like greensward, dotted here and there, in charming irregularity, with old trees of noble girth. Walks there are, indeed, and footpaths, shrubberies, and flower-beds; but the chief area of the London Parks is, ever and always, this fresh, radiant, undulating turf, turf which here, more than ever, suggests the little Board School girl's answer to a question on general knowledge: "Turf, ma'am, is grass and clean dirt put together by God."

Of Hyde Park, the largest and oldest of the London Parks, Disraeli said truly in one of his novels: "Hyde Park has still about it something of Arcadia. There are woods and waters, and the occasional illusion of an illimitable distance of sylvan joyance." The history of Hyde Park is the history, generally, of Greater London; first monastery grounds, then royal demesne, then again, the people's. Some of the old trees may even have seen the ancient manor of Hyde; some of them must certainly recall the time when this was a royal Tudor hunting-ground, well-stocked with deer. Many of its fine old timber-trees have, however, disappeared, so that the famous "Ring" of Charles II.'s time can be now but imperfectly traced.

The Parks are, naturally, "the lungs of London." Were it not for these large "open spaces," so mercifully preserved to us by the wisdom and farsightedness of former rulers and legislators, the health of the great city would hardly now be what it is. The little town of the early centuries, Roman, (p. 387) Saxon, or Norman, surrounded by country woods and pastures,—dotted with the gardens of merchants and magnates, as well as with frequent convent closes, orchards, and leafy precincts,—had small need of such vast pleasure-grounds. For London, even in Elizabeth's day, consisted (as shown in Aggas's map), of only two tiny townlets, "London" and "Westminster"; beyond, all was open fields. Tottenham Court Road, that dreary thoroughfare of ugly modernity, was the solitary manor of "Toten Court," a sylvan resort for "cakes and creame": Chelsea was a pretty, distant riverside hamlet; Regent Street and Bond Street were cows' pastures, and the "flowery fields" of "Marybone" were altogether in the rural distances. Who, indeed, would recognise the present Regent's Park in these lines (from an old play called "Tottenham Court"):

"What a dainty life the milkmaid leads,
When o'er these flowery meads
She dabbles in dew,
And sings to her cow,
And feels not the pain
Of love or disdain...."

But if, to the London of old time, the Parks were not necessary, to modern London, which has more than doubled its population and its area in the last century and a half, they are an unspeakable boon. Our forefathers were wise in their generation when they secured these stretches of the outlying country for public use. We, too, in our own day, make similar efforts, efforts of which the recent preservation of Parliament Fields, of part of Caen Wood, affords sufficient proof. In that far-off day, prophesied by "Mother Shipton," when "Primrose Hill shall be the centre of London," such breathing spaces, such oases in the wilderness of bricks and mortar, would prove of quite incalculable value.

Happily, London, even in her rampant growth, is often jealously mindful of her responsibilities. Though our city boasts no such spacious boulevards as are to be seen in Paris, trees are (p. 388) often now planted at intervals on the sidewalks in many of the newest thoroughfares, and a few of the older streets are being widened and improved. Very few are the London views, as I have said elsewhere, that are not in a measure enlivened by foliage or greenery.

The colouring of London is a thing peculiar to itself; it requires to be specially studied, even by painters whose eyes are trained to observation. Its wonderful atmospheric effects have been only more or less recently recognised by them. Very few artists have rendered thoroughly the strange cold light on the London streets; cold, yet suffused by an underlying glow, by a warmth of colour hardly at first guessed by the spectator. Even a rainy day of London greyness—what does the poet's eye see in it?

"Rain in the measureless street,
Vistas of orange and blue....
Blue of wet road, of wet sky,
(Grey in the depths and the heights),
Orange of numberless lights,
Shapes fleeting on, going by...."

The cold pearly greyness of winter, the blue mist of spring, the silvery haze of summer, the orange sunsets of autumn, when the dim sun sinks in the fog like a gigantic red fireball, all, in turn, have their charm. The artist's fault is that he nearly always paints London scenes too cold, too joyless. Mr. Herbert Marshall, the water-colour painter, to whom we are indebted for so many charming impressions of the London streets, leans, if anything, somewhat to the other side, and hardly allows for the æsthetic value of smoke. Painting, in London, is always a difficulty; but Mr. Marshall, it is said, used to station himself and his paraphernalia securely inside some road-mending enclosure, and thus pursue his calling undeterred by the persecution of the idle.

Rotten Row.

The faint blue-grey mist of the great city often gives to London scenes something of the quality of dissolving views. (p. 389) Seldom is a vista perfectly clear; rather does it often suggest a vague intensity of misty glory. Does not that lovely glimpse of the Whitehall palaces from St. James's Park, seen, on fine days in summer, from the little bridge over the "ornamental water," gain an added charm from distance? Do not the more or less prosaic Government buildings appear to be the

"cloud-capt towers and gorgeous palaces"

of some dream of Oriental splendour? In such guise, one might imagine, would the deceiving visions of a "Fata (p. 390) Morgana,"—a fairy palace, shaded by just such branching, feathery trees,—appear to the thirsting traveller over the desert sands.

Even M. Max O'Rell, who allows himself to scoff at most things English, has a word of admiration for the peculiar misty beauty of the London parks.

"Nothing" (he says) "is more imposing than the exuberant beauty of the parks. Take a walk across them in the early morning when there is no one stirring, and the nightingale is singing high up in some gigantic tree; it is one of the rare pleasures that you will find within your reach in London. If the morning be fine, you will not fail to be struck with a lovely pearl-grey haze, soft and subdued, that I never saw in such perfection as in the London parks."

The parks of London, like its districts, all have their special attributes, their special place in the social plane. Thus, Hyde Park is aristocratic, and in the season, its penny chairs, from Hyde Park Corner to the Albert Gate, are thronged with the smart world. Beautiful women, distinguished men, and gilded youths may be seen riding—the best riders and the finest horses in the world—along Rotten Row at the fashionable morning hour; and, in the afternoon, the whole of "Society" appears to take its afternoon drive round the magic "Ring" or circle of the Park, enjoying seeing and being seen. Three times round the Ring is a common afternoon allowance; exercise, surely, that habit must render, in time, not unlike a treadmill. In Hyde Park, too, takes place the yearly meet of the "Four-in-Hand" Club, extensively patronised by rank and royalty; on which the popular sentiment is delightfully echoed by the refrain of the cockney song of The Runaway Girl,

"I'd have four horses with great long tails,
If my papa were the Prince of Wales!"

Here in the Park, on Sundays, takes place the famous "Church Parade," so paragraphed in the society papers; here, also, are often ratified on May mornings, the season's (p. 391) matrimonial engagements; and here fond mothers with pretty daughters keep a watchful outlook for "detrimentals."

Rotten Row.

"The Ring," in Stuart times, was the scene of frequent duels, the most noted of which was that between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton (made use of in Thackeray's (p. 392) Esmond), in 1712, when both combatants were killed. And one of the saddest modern associations of this circular drive is connected with Mrs. Carlyle's death here on April 21, 1866. The poor lady, to whom a brougham and an afternoon drive were luxuries of her later and invalid years, died quietly and silently in her carriage from heart failure caused by shock at a trivial accident to her small dog, which she had put out to run at Victoria Gate, near the Marble Arch; the coachman, knowing nothing of the fatality, driving on for some time before discovering the sad truth.

The Tyburnia end of Hyde Park is that most frequented by the populace. If the smart world monopolises the vicinity of Hyde Park Corner, the green spaces fringing the Bayswater Road, and near the Marble Arch, are generally appropriated by tired workmen and idle loafers, who lie about on the grass, in enviable bliss, on hot days in summer, looking like nothing so much as an army of soldiers mown down by a Maxim gun, and contentedly appreciating the fact that here in London, for once, they have found free and undisputed possession—a place where:

"no price is set on the lavish summer,
June may be had by the poorest comer."

In the space opposite the Marble Arch is the so-called "Reformers' Tree," where political meetings sometimes take place on Sundays, and where preachers, lecturers, and "cranks" of every possible denomination, hold their respective courts. Visitors to London should make a point of witnessing this curious and well-known phase of London life; the outcome, M. Taine seems to suggest, of the latent seriousness of the British mind; "an intense conviction, which for lack of an outlet, would degenerate into madness, melancholy, or sedition." Mr. Anstey in the pages of Punch, has, in his own inimitable way, described these scenes, which are familiar to the readers of "Voces Populi."

The Serpentine, Hyde Park.

The "Serpentine," a large sheet of water mainly artificial, (p. 394) certainly cannot be said to "serpent," for it has but a very slight bend. Originating, however, at a period when all garden walks and ponds were of painful Dutch regularity, it owes its name to this trifling deviation. This prettily devised and wooded piece of water is due mainly to Queen Caroline, wife to George II., an energetic lady with gardening tastes. Very charming is the view to be obtained from the five-arched stone bridge over the Serpentine, "a view," says Mr. Henry James, "of extraordinary nobleness." Yet the Serpentine, too, has its tragic associations. Perhaps it suggests, in its beauty, the haunting lines:

"When Life hangs heavy, Death remains the door
To endless rest beside the Stygian shore."

Always a noted spot for suicides, it was the place chosen by Harriet Westbrook, the unfortunate first wife of Shelley, for the ending of the many troubles of her short life; "a rash act," says Professor Dowden with praiseworthy partisanship, which it "seems certain that no act of Shelley's, during the two years which immediately preceded her death, tended to cause." "Shelley," comments Matthew Arnold drily, "had been living with another woman all the time; only that!"

The charm of Kensington Gardens—detached from Hyde Park in later times—is, perhaps, its greater seclusion and air of guarded calm, as befits the gardens surrounding a royal palace. No carriages are allowed to profane its sacred shades; no rude sounds of the outer world penetrate its leafy bowers. In one pleasant spot of greenery a welcome innovation has lately been introduced in the summer months, in the shape of afternoon tea al fresco, provided by an enterprising club, and of late much frequented by the fashionable world. Kensington Gardens are always very select in their coterie; on their western side stands the old Dutch palace of solid red-brick, built for William and Mary,—sorrowed in by desolate Queen Anne,—birthplace of Queen Victoria, worthiest, noblest, and (p. 395) most lamented of her line. With her, most of all, are the associations of Kensington Gardens now bound up. In these pretty walks crowded still by the children and nurses of the wealthy and noble, the little royal girl used to play, regardless alike of her coming doom—or glory.

Yet, with all the nursery din of Kensington Gardens—an English Tuileries—there yet are spots so secluded and so quiet as still to justify Matthew Arnold's lovely lines:

"In this lone, open glade I lie,
Screen'd by deep boughs on either hand;
And at its end, to stay the eye,
Those black-crown'd, red-boled pine-trees stand!

"Birds here make song, each bird has his,
Across the girding city's hum.
How green under the boughs it is!
How thick the tremulous sheep-cries come!

"Here at my feet what wonders pass,
What endless, active life is here!
What blowing daisies, fragrant grass!
An air-stirred forest, fresh and clear.

"In the huge world, which roars hard by,
Be others happy if they can!
But in my helpless cradle I
Was breathed on by the rural Pan.

"Yet here is peace for ever new!
When I who watch them am away,
Still all things in this glade go through
The changes of their quiet day."

Poor Haydon, the painter, whose fitful genius went out so sadly in lurid gloom, said of Kensington Gardens that "here are some of the most poetical bits of tree and stump, and sunny brown and green glens and tawny earth." Disraeli, also, wrote of it as follows in his most "classically-flowery" manner:—

"The inhabitants of London are scarcely sufficiently sensible of the beauty of its environs. On every side the most charming retreats open to (p. 396) them.... In exactly ten minutes it is in the power of every man to free himself from all the tumult of the world; the pangs of love, the throbs of ambition, the wear and tear of play, the recriminating boudoir, the conspiring club, the rattling hell, and find himself in a sublime sylvan solitude superior to the cedars of Lebanon, and inferior only in extent to the chestnut forests of Anatolia. It is Kensington Gardens that is almost the only place that has realised his idea of the forests of Spenser and Ariosto."

Tea in Kensington Gardens.

(p. 397) What havoc, truly, the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Prince Consort's darling scheme, must have wrought in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens! And what would the bright particular spirits of the present day now think of such irreverent, such high-handed proceedings? Even the Kensington Museum now eschews the too close neighbourhood of ephemeral Exhibitions; they are relegated to the more distant shades of Olympia and of Earl's Court; the immense Crystal Palace—the Exhibition building—now flourishes at Sydenham, and the site of the great show is commemorated in Hyde Park by the Albert Memorial, an edifice about the merits of which much difference of opinion rages. Yet, even its detractors must own the magnificence of the monument, and admire the eastern opulence of its mosaics, its gilding, its bronzes and marbles.

But St. James's Park is really, in some ways, quite the prettiest of the London parks, and though sufficiently aristocratic, it is yet much frequented by the populace. "A genuine piece of country, and of English country," Taine says of it. Round it are situated royal palaces and beautiful mansions, standing amidst their spacious gardens. North of St. James's Park stretches the Mall, so named from the ancient game of "Paille Maille," played here by the gay court of Charles II. The game consisted in striking a ball, with a mallet, through an iron ring, down a straight walk powdered with cockle-shells. Here, in later Stuart and Hanoverian times, was to be seen the very height of London fashion, the ladies in "full dress," and their cavaliers carrying their hats under their arms. Perhaps, of all the varying "modes" flaunted from time to time in the "Mall," the fashions of 1800-1810 would strike us now as being the most peculiar.

A Fountain in St. James's Park.

East of St. James's Park are the stately Government Offices, and south is Birdcage Walk, overlooked by the pretty hanging gardens and balconies that adorn the mansions of picturesque Queen Anne's Gate. Where "Spring Gardens" now stand was, in old days, "Milk Fair," where asses' and cows' milk was (p. 399) sold to the votaries of fashion, to repair the ravages of late hours and "routs." Milk-vendors, boasting their descent from the original holders, have still their cow-stall at the park corner under the elm-trees. In the distance the grey old abbey, with its delicate tracery, appears at intervals above the trees and buildings; and, though so near the city smoke, the Ornithological Society breeds many beautiful aquatic birds on a small island on the Ornamental Water. St. James's Park is a series of pictures; the sketcher, too, will find many convenient seats, as well as charming views.

It is difficult to believe that this lovely park was, in pre-Tudor times, merely a swampy field, pertaining to a hospital "for fourteen maidens that were leprous," and far beyond the precincts of the little London of that day. (The lepers' hospital itself stood where now stands St. James's Palace.) It was Henry VIII. who removed the leper maidens, converting their asylum into a palace, their field into a park; a park used as the private garden to the palace until Charles II.'s time, at which period it was made public and laid out by a French landscape gardener called "Le Nôtre." There is a story that Queen Caroline, wife to George II., wished to appropriate the Park once more for the sole use of the Palace, and asked "what it would cost to effect this?" "Only three crowns," was the pithy answer of the minister, Sir Robert Walpole.

Beautiful as St. James's Park still is, it must have been yet more charming a century-and-a-half ago, when no houses as yet intervened between it and the grey dignity of the old Abbey of Westminster, and when the vanished Rosamond's Pond, with its wild and romantic banks, gave a rural attraction to the scene. Rosamond's Pond, mentioned by Pope and other writers, was a favourite trysting-place for lovers, and had also, from its seclusion, a less enviable notoriety for suicides.

Charles II., was especially fond of St. James's Park; he would sit here for hours among his dogs, amusing himself (p. 400) with the tame ducks, that he had himself introduced; the descendants of these ducks, it is said, flourish, like those of the milk-vendors, to this day, and are fed familiarly by constant Londoners. Perhaps it was Charles's fondness for animals that, by a natural sequence of events, caused the park, somewhat later, to become a sort of Zoological Gardens for London. Birds of all kinds still thrive in it, although distant Battersea Park, new and semi-suburban, now claims its share of ornithological fame. The London County Council, among other good works, has adopted towards animals the protecting rôle of Charles II., and sedulously encourages bird-life in the parks; woe, therefore, to the boy or man, who goes bird-nesting or bird-snaring in one of these sacred enclosures! Wild birds reciprocate the Council's paternal care by taking up their lodging in Battersea of their own free will. A cuckoo's egg was even found in Battersea Park lately, laid, very annoyingly, in a "whitethroat's" nest, which had been made in a bamboo-bush in the "sub-tropical" part of the gardens. Nevertheless, the charitable whitethroats overlooked the liberty, and safely hatched that cuckoo. Battersea Park claims, moreover, robins, tits, hedge-sparrows, chaffinches, wrens, and greenfinches; to say nothing of herons, and even a white blackbird. Birds take kindly to London; do not even the gulls come up the river by thousands in severe winters, as the Albatross came to the call of the Ancient Mariner? Also, over 200 wood pigeons are said to roost regularly on the Battersea Park islands. But then, wood-pigeons seem to be everywhere at home in London. Do they not haunt the city gardens that lie behind Queen Square, and coo sweetly all through the London spring and summer?

If Battersea Park, with its charmingly laid-out gardens, its wealth of tropical plants, all its feathered population, and its river glories of twilight and sunset, is yet undistinguished, so also is the Regent's Park, which is situated at quite another, (though equally semi-suburban), angle of the metropolis. (p. 401) Regent's Park, like Battersea Park, is the resort of the great middle-class. Here you may see, on Bank Holidays, the groups so lovingly described by Ibsen, "father, mother, and troop of children," all drest in their Sunday best, and all dropping orange-peel cheerfully as they go. Here too, on Sundays, is a "Church Parade," quite as crowded as that of Hyde Park, though not, perhaps, so largely noticed in the "society" papers. The demeanour of the young couples is perhaps here a trifle more boisterous, that of their elders perhaps a shade more prim; the attire of the ladies, generally, a thought more crude. The wide middle avenue of Regent's Park, on Sundays, affords capital study to those interested in the vast subject of Man and Manners. And then the great middle class is so much more amusing than are the "Well-Connected"!

The flowers in Regent's Park, in spring and early summer, are a yearly marvel and a delight. Not even those of Hyde Park, in all their season's glory, can surpass them. On each side of the large middle avenue, gay parterres vie with one another in brilliance. Tulips, hyacinths of wonderful shades, all the glory of spring bulbs, make way, later, for summer "bedding-out-plants" in lovely combinations of colour. Crocuses, scillas, and snowdrops, too, are scattered here and there, with a charming air of lavishness, over the grassy slopes: this has a delightful effect, giving all the look and suggestion of wild flowers.

Regent's Park has, then, an unrivalled charm to the flower-lover. (And what true Londoner, one may ask, is not a flower-lover? The Londoner loves flowers with an intensity undreamed of in the real country.) The slum children, who frequent this park in large numbers, respect, as a rule, the flower-beds. Slum-children are, generally, as I have observed from experience gathered in the Temple Gardens, St. Paul's Churchyard, Leicester Square and elsewhere,—more reverently inclined, as regards flowers, than their more pampered contemporaries; though, of course, nature is nature, and there may be occasional (p. 402) lapses. Thus, the other day I chanced to notice, in Regent's Park, two small girls "of the people," whose ideas on the subject of "property" seemed just a trifle elementary. They were ragged and hungry-looking too, and to add to the pathos of their rags, one of them flourished a broken green parasol, and the other one's tattered hat flaunted a dirty pink ostrich feather:

"Oh, Lizer," I heard the smallest one say, "I do wish I could git one o' them flowers! jest one geranium, for ter stick in my 'air at Sunday-school ter-morrer! They'd niver miss it"!

"Certingly not! The p'leaceman 'ud be after you, pretty sharp," says the elder child, severely. "You know 'ow Bert caught it, three weeks back, for on'y a-breakin orf of two daffies, and one of 'em nearly dead too! Well, (relenting), "you may git me jest a few, if you kin do it so's the p'leaceman can't see".... Rosie, shet it!" as the younger girl clutched at some flowers: "I see 'im a-comin' towards us, this minnit! No, if you please, we ain't done nothin', sir! My sister an' me, sir, we was on'y jest a-lookin' at the flowers, an' saying as 'ow beautiful they 'ad grown, since this Sat'day gone a week.... Our garding ain't got no show to equil them, and we ain't got no cut flowers, for onst, in ma's drorin'-room; and these 'ere is grown that beautiful."

"You was a-goin' to 'elp 'em grow, wasn't you?" said the policeman, good-naturedly enough: "I see you a-stretchin' over them railin's! Your garding's a alley, that's wot it is! an' your drorin'-room is jest a three-pair-model, I back!... I know your sort! 'Ere, tike yerselves orf, double quick!"

The ignorant in such matters may, perhaps, vaguely wonder, in Regent's Park, why the comfortable chairs provided, apparently, for man's delectation, are all deserted of the multitude, and why, on the other hand, the iron seats are crammed to repletion? The explanation is a simple one. The chairs cost a penny each to sit on! It is, however, not unusual to see a stray marauder occupy one of these sacred (p. 403) resting-places for a stolen minute of bliss, and, on seeing the approach of the Guardian of the Park furniture (whence such guardians spring up is ever a mystery), rise and absent himself in well-feigned abstraction.

The Reformer.

Regent's Park, like Hyde Park, is a focus of itinerant lecturers and preachers. These have apparently established a kind of "Sunday right" to the upper part of the long avenue of trees beyond the flower-gardens. Here, as in the larger park, may be seen "cranks" of every kind. Thus, one lecturer will hold up to obloquy an unkind caricature of Mr. Chamberlain, representing the great man with the addition of horns and (p. 404) hoofs; another, proclaiming the gospel of Jingoism, will shout himself hoarse in the attempt to drown his adversary. (Political meetings, however, may now possibly be regarded with disfavour by the authorities, the Boer War having lately rendered many of them somewhat picturesque in incident.) Under another big tree, a Revivalist meeting will be held, accompanied by sundry groans and sobs, and varied at intervals by hymns sung to the accompaniment of a harmonium or a small piano-organ. The first beginnings of lectures, as of righteousness, are hard. One poor orator, on the outskirts of the crowd, I saw myself arrive on the scene, and "work up" his lecture to the unsympathetic and goggle-eyed audience of a small cockney nursemaid, a perambulator, and two wailing babies. I quite felt for that poor man; nevertheless, he persevered, and in only five minutes auditors had already begun to trickle in. (A considerable percentage of the Park congregations, I may here observe, had no "fixed city," no abiding convictions; they wandered about here and there, from one preacher to another, "just as fate or fancy carried"; or, rather, to whichever of the said preachers happened at the moment to be the most emphatic.) With lectures al fresco, as with other things, it would appear to be only the premier pas qui coûte; and soon the would-be orator had a distinguished and motley following. What, exactly, he was lecturing about, it is really beyond me to say, for my attention was largely woolgathering about the crowd; but he seemed, like Mr. Chadband, of immortal memory, to repeat himself a good deal, and to be very angry indeed about something or other. Indeed, I doubt whether the majority of his audience quite understood the orator's drift, but they knew that he was bellowing with all the strength of his lungs, and Englishmen always respect a man who makes sufficient noise. The lecturer's anger seemed, strangely enough, to be directed against poor, unoffending Regent's Park itself:

"For twenty years," he kept reiterating, "for twenty years (p. 405) Regent's Park has been allowed to speak, unhindered, under this very tree. For twenty years it has found its voice, ay, and its pence, too, here.... Is it to continue to find them, or not? That is the question.... Does Regent's Park wish to sit tamely under insult? to lie down to be crushed? to bend its back to the tyrant?" (here the speaker, in his fervour, seemed to get a trifle mixed in his similes.)

"'Ear, 'ear," said a chubby baker's boy, who had stopped for a moment to listen; and one of the forgotten babies in the perambulator wailed.

"Will Regent's Park, I say, tolerate this? It is, let me repeat it, it is for Regent's Park to decide!"

But the "Regent's Park" of the hour, though thus eloquently adjured, was evidently not to be roused to fury; or even to decision. "Kim on 'ome," cries the nurse-girl to the twins, hitching the perambulator round with a sudden jerk: "Go it, old kipper," shouts a facetious larrikin. Alas! even now "Regent's Park," with its pence too, was apathetically melting away towards that all-important function of the day—its "tea."

There is, indeed, much "life" to be found in Regent's Park.

Some of London's pleasantest "by-ways" are the pretty, well-kept, and delightfully planted walks of the Zoological Gardens. One of the big gates of this institution opens near upon the "preaching trees" of Regent's Park; and, certainly, after a close experience of the "human animal," the rest of the mammalia, unoffending, harmless, and discreetly caged, often occur as quite a pleasant contrast. (I wonder that the simile did not occur to Lord Beaconsfield himself; it is certainly in his line.) Thackeray also, who enjoyed the Zoo greatly, saw, as befitted a great novelist, the human side of it: "If I have cares on my mind," he wrote, "I come to the Zoo, and fancy they don't pass the gate; I recognise my friends, my enemies, in countless cages." Yes, the Zoo is an unfailing pleasure; I can conscientiously recommend it, with one word of caution: Do not choose a very hot day for the excursion: be careful (p. 406) to go a little to windward of the feline race, and eschew the monkey house as much as possible. Poor Sally the chimpanzee is dead, alas! of consumption, and none of her successors, surely, can make up for the very unendurable temperature that has ever to be maintained round them. Monkeys are sad victims to pulmonary disease; every London fog kills, it is said, a few of them. The reptile house is, however, cool and pleasant; and the ponds for aquatic birds are very charming resorts. Altogether, if the great carnivora and the great crowds be shunned, the Zoological Garden becomes distinctly pleasant; its walks, moreover, have all the unexpectedness of "Alice's" peregrinations in the "Live-Flower-Garden," where, continually, round some bowery corner, she came face to face with strange and uncanny-looking beasts. Just so, in the Zoological Gardens, you may suddenly chance upon an amiable, blinking Owl, or a casual Parrot, or a wondering Pelican, peering at you round some bush in the shrubbed pathway. Yet another caution: Do not be tempted, under any circumstances, to ride the Elephant. Its saddle has a knife-board seat adapted only to juveniles; those of the Society's servants who assist you to mount the beast are uncomfortably facetious; and when you are at last safely on top, you feel positively vindictive towards the small children who, down in the depths below you, trifle with your life by offering your elephant a bun.

The Botanical Gardens, enclosed by the ring drive called "The Inner Circle," are, perhaps, best known to Londoners by their three big flower-shows, held in May and June; important functions which are thronged by all the world of rank and fashion.

But, delightful as are these open spaces and public gardens, there is, perhaps, a homelier charm in one's very own London garden,—one's own private rus in urbe. I myself never pass through any part of suburban or semi-suburban London by railway, without looking at all the back-gardens of the small (p. 407) houses. Oliver Wendell Holmes says that a man's belongings and house are an index of his character; but, surely, his garden, or even his yard, is more so. The nature, for instance, that can willingly content itself with a clothes-line and six mouldy cabbage-stalks, while the neighbouring London yards flaunt the golden sunflower, or the graceful foxglove,—reflects, surely, its own shallowness. And if in central London the poor have no small yard even, is there not always a window sill, where from some biscuit tin (in North-Italian fashion,) or from some painted wooden crate, flowers may spring, and rejoice the heart of many a poor wanderer, dreaming, like Wordsworth's Susan, of country meadows and streams? Even the sins of a fried-fish shop may be redeemed by yellow trails of "creeping jenny" from a box above it; even the powerful aroma of "sheeps' trotters" may be almost forgotten in the enjoyment of a stray plant of musk, treasured in some poor man's window-corner. It may be only "a weakly monthly rose that don't grow, or a tea-plant with five black leaves and one green," yet it reflects pleasantly, none the less, the owner's saving grace of taste. To some, this kind of humble garden has a charm all its own. "My gardens," said Gray the poet proudly, "are in the windows like those of a lodger up three pair of stairs in Petticoat Lane, or Camomile Street, and they go to bed regularly under the same roof that I do." There is, I believe, a society for the cultivation of "window-gardening" among the poor, a society that gives prizes to the best results; the movement is a good one, and really deserves encouragement. To beautify the dull and often ugly lives of the London poor,—what society could have a much worthier aim? How many a hideous slum—some "Rosemary Lane," or "Hawthorn Lane,"—has been redeemed from utter gloom by some sprig of greenery, some frond of sickly fern, some crippled and stunted plant brought there, at some time, by some good angel of the poor?

As to the occasional gardens of the larger houses, these, when they do exist, have, to the faithful Londoner, a beauty all (p. 408) their own; shut in and hidden, they have something of the quiet of old cathedral closes, as well as the charm of unexpectedness. And then—last, best of all! they hang out their "pavilions of tender green" without giving any trouble in that "spring cleaning," so trying to London housewives. Of course, however, London gardens do not thrive without affection and interest. If neglected, they die; if tended, they repay your care with a gratitude almost human. Too often the making of gardens in London is on this wise:—First, the workman, or gardener, levies an assortment of old sardine tins, kettles and other household rubbish; next, he arranges a good solid layer of brickbats; then he levels the "parterre" with a few old sacks and coats; then, finally, he fills up the chinks with a little dank, sour, half-starved London soil—"dirt" is indeed the only name for it!—adding a thin layer of it over the whole. Then the garden is considered "finished," and ready for the credulous to sow their seeds. Such a London garden—a catwalk rather than a thing of beauty—is perhaps only redeemed from utter dreariness by an occasional plane-tree.

Plane-trees, which thrive in London because of their tidy habit of shedding their sooty bark yearly, are luxuriant all over the metropolis, but especially so in Bloomsbury. Here also lived Amy Levy, most pathetic of London poets, and here she watched and loved her tree.

"Green is the plane-tree in the square,
The other trees are brown;
They droop and pine for country air;
The plane-tree loves the town.

"Here, from my garret-pane, I mark
The plane-tree bud and blow,
Shed her recuperative bark,
And spread her shade below.

"Among her branches, in and out,
The city breezes play;
The dun fog wraps her round about;
Above, the smoke curls grey.

(p. 409) "Others the country take for choice,
And hold the town in scorn;
But she has listened to the voice
Of city breezes borne."

The purple clematis jackmanii, which flowers so well in the Regent's Park terraces and in Kensington, flowers also yearly on a certain sunny balcony in Tavistock Square; the iris hangs out its brilliant flags every summer in St. Pancras Churchyard—close under those smoke-begrimed Caryatids whose sad eyes gaze ever, not on to the Peiraeus and to the Aegean Sea, but towards the dreary and everlastingly murky Euston Road.

Even grass will grow in shut-in, walled Bloomsbury gardens; it may, indeed, sometimes require treating as an "annual"; but what of that? If the difficulties of the London garden are great, why, so are its joys.

Cats are, of course, the primal difficulty. We know how lately the "Carlyle House" in Chelsea was cursed with them; it is said, also, that a certain eccentric lady once lived with a family of some eighty-six cats, in a house in Southampton Row. The descendants of these cats must, one thinks, still haunt the neighbourhood, to judge from the number that prowl in it. Cats, in London, often become wild animals, and lose all their domestic charm. "Cats," as the little Board School essayist naïvely wrote: "has nine liveses, which is seldom required in this country 'cos of yumanity." The "yumanity" in question seems, however, to be rather at a discount in London. For cats' owners have a distracting habit of going away for the summer and leaving the poor beasts, so to speak, "on the parish." Five such cats, starving and sick, have I, to my own knowledge, gently released from a cruel world at a neighbouring chemist's. A little boy—one "of the streets streety," once held poor pussy while the quietus—of prussic acid—was administered: "Won't I jest?" he said with glee when asked to officiate. "Won'erful stuff, that (p. 410) 'ere, Miss!" he remarked at the close of the sad ceremony; adding, admiringly, "w'y, that ket did'nt mow once!" "What are you going to do with her?" I inquired of the youth, who now carried the corpse dangling by one leg. "Throw 'er over the fust garding wall I come to," he replied, grinning. Thus, I reflected, the poor London garden is still the victim!

A dead cat may be an awkward visitor, but the surviving cats are the bane of London gardens. Their courtships—on the garden-wall—are long and musical, causing even the merciful to yearn for a syringe at all costs. The sparrows are a far lesser evil. They, indeed, eat the garden seeds; nothing on earth is sacred to a London sparrow or robin. It is impossible, by any system, however well-devised, to outwit them. They are afraid of nothing. Set up an elaborate scarecrow in the garden; for the space, perhaps, of one hour it will puzzle them; but in a day or two they will hop and twitter familiarly about it, even to the extent of pecking bits of thread from it for their impertinent nests. Get a toy cat and place it on the flower-bed; in twenty-four hours they will have discovered that the thing is a hollow sham, and will sit comfortably in the warmth of its artificial fur. But one forgives them; for the birds, after all, are the chief joy of London gardens. Their twitter is sweet on spring mornings; in winter, the robins and sparrows may be tamed by feeding, almost to the extent of coming into the house itself for crumbs; and, in the summer, if you set them a shallow bath every day for their disporting, they will rejoice your heart by their watery antics. Robins and sparrows are alike charming; the robins are the stronger; a single robin, pecking about on the garden step for his breakfast, will scatter a host of sparrows; but it is the sparrows, after all, that form the real bird population of London. Though they appreciate a quiet back garden, they seem also to delight in the noise, traffic, and bustle of the streets. Their cleverness, and their strength too, surpass belief; they even seem to have æsthetic tastes (did I not see, (p. 411) last month, a sparrow decorate its nest with an overhanging sprig of laburnum, or "golden chain?"); and they are, besides, as irrepressible as the London street arabs, with whom they have much in common; for they are the "gamins" of the bird world. For their parental instinct, on the other hand, there is, in London at least, not much to be said; their way of dealing with their recalcitrant offspring would seem to be a trifle overbearing, for in early spring small, half-fledged corpses are often to be found, dropped unkindly from nests into back-gardens. But, perhaps, as the small boy said of King Solomon, "havin' so many, they can afford to be wasteful of 'em." There are, indeed, many. On the statue of Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford, in Russell Square,—a figure, rising erect, in the curious taste of the time, from a nest of cupids and clouds,—sparrows have built many nests. The chinks in the giant's robe are black, in spring, with their tiny heads; the curly hair of the cupids is fluffed with their downy feathers.

I have elsewhere touched on the great picturesqueness of London views—a picturesqueness always more or less coloured and influenced by romance and by history: the past and the present, the natural and the artificial—all blended into one glory:—

"glory of warrior, glory of orator, glory of song,
... the glory of going on, and still to be."

Especially beautiful are the effects of light that are obtainable on early summer mornings, or on lurid, stormy, autumn evenings—evenings when the sun sinks with such splendour of attendant fires as is rarely seen away from the great city. The vivid effects are largely increased by the smoky atmosphere. What more mysteriously fine, for instance, than the view of St. Paul's, looking up Ludgate Hill, with, in the foreground, the railway bridge, emitting smoke, raised high above the narrow street: and the black, thin spirelet of St. Martin's, as the attendant "aiguille" leading the eye up to the colossal dome of grey St. Paul's?—

(p. 412) "Here, like a bishop, upon dainties fed,
St. Paul lifts up his sacerdotal head;
While his lean curates, slim and lank to view,
Around them point their steeples to the blue."

Or what, on a fine morning of summer, can be more inspiring than the white and silver harmonies of Cheapside, dominated by the pale tower of St. Mary-le-Bow? Or the sublimity of the Houses of Parliament, that embattled mass with its tall tower, backed by stormy, gold-edged threatening clouds, through which the sunlight breaks? "Sky and cloud and smoke and buildings are all mingled as if they belonged to each other, and man's work stretching heavenward is touched with the sublimity of nature." Or Trafalgar Square, as I saw it lately, on a winter twilight; its tall pillars grey-black against a lurid sky, its fountain alchymised to a molten mass of pearl-white, its geysers to sparkling brilliants, a "nocturne" of silver and gold? Or the Turneresque brilliance of light and splendour on the river—that river to which London owes all her prosperity and all her fame—that river of which already, with true feeling and eighteenth-century artificiality, Alexander Pope wrote:—

"her figured streams in waves of silver rolled,
And on her banks Augusta rose in gold."

But of all the views of London, perhaps none is so fine, and certainly none is so comprehensive, as that which may be obtained, under favourable conditions, from Primrose Hill—that "little molehill," as it has been called, "in the great wen's northern flank." It is a splendid and inspiring panorama. Few people know of it; yet it is a sight not to be forgotten. Go thither on a clear spring or summer evening, three-quarters of an hour before sunset, and you will be richly repaid. What a view! Grime and dinginess are as they were not; the smoky atmosphere is transformed, as if by magic, to a golden, transparent haze—mellowing, brightening, idealising. "Who," as (p. 413) a recent writer says, "would have imagined that this grimy, smoky wilderness of houses, with its factories and its slums, ... could ever look like the fair and beautiful city of some ethereal vision, embosomed in trees and full of glorious stately monuments? It is even so. Regent's Park lies below, a frame of restful greenery. To the left rises Camden Town—prosaic neighbourhood!—up a gentle slope. In the evening sunlight it is transfigured into a mass of brightness and colour, rising in clear-cut terraces, like some fair city on an Italian hill-top. St. Pancras Station is a thing of beauty, with a Gothic spire, and lines like those of a Venetian palazzo on the Grand Canal. Hard by rises the dome of the Reading-Room of the British Museum, embowered in trees—a stately witness to the learning of a continent. St. Paul's soars up grandly above its sister spires, in misty purple—dominating feature of the city—as St. Peter's in Rome. Away towards the mouth of the river rises the high line of Blackheath, and the hills of the Thames valley curve round in a noble sweep above the light haze which marks the unseen river, past the crest of Sydenham Hill with the Crystal Palace shining out white and clear, past Big Ben and the Abbey, and the Mother of Parliaments, to where the ridges above Guildford and Dorking fade away into 'the fringes of the southward-facing brow' of Sussex and Hampshire, towards the English Channel. Innumerable slender church spires point upwards to the wide overarching sky. Northward, again, are the wooded heights of Highgate and Hampstead, and the long battlemented line of the fortress at Holloway. What a view! On Primrose Hill on a summer's evening the Londoner feels, indeed, that he is a citizen of no mean city. Wordsworth, truly, thought that 'Earth had not anything to show more fair' than the view from Westminster Bridge in the early morning. But it needs a modern poet—a poet of the whole English-speaking race—to do justice to this view of the great city on the Thames, lying bathed in the magic glow of a summer sunset beneath Primrose Hill."

(p. 414)

A Jury.


"Laughing, weeping, hurrying ever,
Hour by hour they crowd along,
While below the mighty river
Sings them all a mocking song."—Molloy.

"An ever-muttering prisoned storm,
The heart of London beating warm."—John Davidson.

'Bus Driver.

What is the best way to see London? "From the top of a 'bus," Mr. Gladstone is said to have sagely remarked. And if you can study London itself from the top of a 'bus, you can also, from the interior of the same convenient, if not always savoury, vehicle, study the ways of Londoners. For, as means of transit, omnibuses and road-cars are every decade, nay, every year, coming yet more into popularity. Soon the patient horses that drag them will disappear and they will transform themselves into "motor-omnibuses," but their general character will be still unaltered. Whether the new electric railway along Oxford Street will at all affect the omnibus public, is a question to be considered; but up to now these popular vehicles have certainly had it all their own way. To the unsophisticated, there seems now even a dash of adventure about them. Why, (p. 415) it is only some twenty years since it was considered bold for a young woman to venture into that hitherto exclusively male precinct, the very select "knifeboard": and now, the top of a 'bus usually harbours not one, but a majority of females, while the uncomfortable "knifeboard" itself has given place to the (p. 416) luxurious "garden-seat." Then, it was in old days considered necessary to talk of "omnibuses," and now, 'bus is a term as common as "the Zoo," and used not only by "the masses," but even by purists in the English language.

The ways of Londoners, then, as studied in the ubiquitous "'bus," are not at all the ways of any other people. To begin with, the stranger should be warned of the fact that the average Londoner resents being spoken to. He, or she, regards it as an unwarrantable liberty. For the Londoner,—at any rate that Londoner whose honour it is to belong to the great and respectable "middle class," prides himself on "keeping 'isself to 'isself." He, or, again, it is generally she,—is nothing if not conventional, and dreads nothing in life so much as the unexpected. If, therefore, you should show such bad taste as to suddenly die in the 'bus, or in the street, a dirty crowd would, it is true, soon collect round you, but the more respectable would, like the Levite, "pass by on the other side," preferring "not to mix themselves up with any unpleasantness." "People in London are so rude," I remarked once sadly to a "lady friend" of mine who lived in a "two pair back" in a select mews: "Wyever do you speak to 'em?" was her retort—evidently on the principle that you can't expect anything from a wolf but a bite.

But the lowest classes are more genial. They have not got such an overpowering amount of gentility to keep up. They can even afford to be sympathetic. Once I happened to have to ring up a doctor in the small hours of the morning. Hardly had I pulled twice at the midnight bell, when with Gamp-like alacrity two strange figures hurried up, and inquired with breathless anxiety, "Anyone pizened, Miss?" adding, with knowledge born of experience, "Knock at the winder." The advice was at all events opportune. Yes, the very poor have always a certain rude, Dickensian, good nature. Thus, if an old market-woman, for instance, happen to jump into your 'bus at Covent Garden, she will amiably rest her big (and (p. 417) distinctly savoury) basket half on your knees, and, mopping her crimson face with a dishcloth, "pass" you the time of day. On the other hand, a great lady and her fashionably dressed daughter will (if you happen to offer your own place for their acceptance) take it without so much as "thank you," and will then proceed to eye you superciliously through a lorgnette. Truly, our manners do not improve, in all respects, with our social status.

Max O'Rell, in John Bull and his Island, has well hit off the Englishman's little ways when travelling by omnibus:

"Ask John Bull if you are in the right for such and such a place; you will get yes or no for an answer, and nothing more. When he enters an omnibus or a railway carriage, if he does not recognise any one, he eyes his fellow travellers askance in a sulky and suspicious way. He seems to say, 'What a bore it is that all you people can't walk home, and let a man have the carriage comfortably to himself....' London omnibuses are made to seat six persons on each side. These places are not marked out. When, on entering, you find five people on either hand, you must not hope to see any one move to make room for you. No, here everything is left to personal initiative. You simply try to spy out the two pairs of thighs that seem to you the best padded, and with all your weight you let yourself down between them. No need to apologise, no one will think of calling you a bad name."

There is much character to be met with in a 'bus. The incipient or embryo novelist should be encouraged to travel by them. From the time when the poet Shelley frightened the Highgate old lady in a 'bus, by his odd invitation to:

"sit upon the ground,
And tell strange stories of the death of kings...."

—many romances have been enacted, many curious histories related in them. Omnibuses have before now been utilised as meeting-grounds for young couples whose courtship was tabooed by unkind parents, and who consequently discovered pressing engagements requiring their presence at "Hercules Buildings," or "the Elephant," as the case might be. Mr. (p. 418) Anstey Guthrie's amusing conversations, overheard in the 'bus, and his intense anxiety as to the never discovered dénoûment of the thrilling story about "the button-hook as opened George's eyes," we have all known and laughed over. But the omnibus,—mere comedy on a bright, dusty, spring or summer day, when its garden-seats shine resplendent in new paint, becomes rather a thing of grim tragedy on muddy days of winter gloom, when the rain comes down in torrents, and a stern "Full inside," is all the response the weary wayfarer gets after waiting long minutes,—painful, jostled minutes,—for the desired vehicle, of which, as Calverley says:

"... some, like monarchs, glow
With richest purple; some are blue
As skies that tempt the swallows back.
Or red as, seen o'er wintry seas,
The star of storm; or barred with black
And yellow, like the April bees."

The omnibus conductors are generally uncommunicative, and often morose—perhaps, from too frequent digs in the ribs from fussy old ladies and choleric old gentlemen. Some of them, too, refuse to wait for you unless you pretend to have a broken leg, or at least to be half-paralyzed; yet, even among 'bus conductors, there are still occasional pearls to be met with. In one thing they show remarkable aptitude; namely, in an interchange of wit with the drivers of rival vehicles. On these occasions their sallies, considering their very limited vocabulary, are often quite brilliantly forcible. In a "block" in Oxford Street or the Strand, or after a "liquor-up" at a convenient "pub," such flights of humour will often while away the time very agreeably for the passenger inside, that is, if he be not too nervously fearful of being drawn into the dispute himself. Omnibus conductors, however, "frivel" as they may among themselves, are as adamant where any infringement of their rules by their passengers is concerned. Why they continually insist—against all show of reason too—on (p. 419) seating no less than six fat people on one side of their vehicle, and no more than six thin ones on the other, has always been a mystery to me. It is, however, as a law of the Medes and Persians, for it knows no alteration. But it has at any rate the merit of pointing the parable about the fat and the lean kine.


Fat people, it must be confessed, have a peculiar affinity (p. 420) for omnibuses. The contents of a 'bus are, I have observed, nearly always fat. An omnibus journey is, by the obese, regarded as so much exercise. An old tradesman of my acquaintance who suffered from liver was lately ordered exercise by his doctor. Thereupon he took, like Mrs. Carlyle, one sad shilling's worth of omnibus per day, and was surprised when, at the end of a month, he felt no better. "One shilling's worth of omnibus!"—horrible suggestion! It must have taken nearly three hours, for the cost of omnibus journeys can generally be reckoned at a penny for every ten minutes. The distance traversed is immaterial, as the traveller will soon discover. If he wishes to catch any particular train he had better allow twenty minutes a mile to be quite on the safe side.

On rainy days, character in omnibus is yet more self-revealing. Thus, a wayfarer gets in with a wet cloak and wet umbrella; no one shows any desire to make room. The five lean kine on the one side spread themselves out; the five fat ones on the other expand also. The new-comer stumbles, the wet cloak splashes every one, the umbrella drips genially; it is a pleasant sight. When room is finally made and the wanderer seated, the wet garments soon exhale a fragrant steam—which scent mingles with the odours of cabbage, peppermint, or onions, already discernible. These scents, it may be added, vary in different quarters of London. Thus, onions are partial to Long Acre; antiseptics to Southampton Row; cheap scent to Oxford Street and Holborn; whisky, perhaps, to "the 'Ampstid Road"; general frowsiness to King's Road, Chelsea; and the aroma of elegant furs to the shades of Kensington. Omnibus scents vary, too, with "the varying year." In the spring it is leeks and "spring onions"; in the winter it is paraffin or eucalyptus; in the summer it is indescribable.

Yet, it must be said on behalf of human nature, that there is kindness to be met with even in the maligned 'bus. If, for (p. 421) instance, some "absent-minded beggar" should happen to get in without possessing the necessary pence, at least half the 'bus are immediately ready to offer the deficit; and hands are similarly always stretched out to help in the lame and the blind.

"Benk, Benk!!"

Even should a fellow passenger be exceptionally conversational, it does not, I may add, usually answer to talk much to the casual neighbour on a 'bus, even if it be by way of ingratiating yourself with "the masses." Especially does this (p. 422) rule hold good where young women are concerned. A seriously-minded girl—a girl, too, who was not a bit of a flirt, or indeed remarkably pretty—once confessed to me her sad experiences in that line. Being much interested in democratic politics, she had one fine day begun to talk—on the 'bus roof—to a young artisan on the "Eight Hours' Bill." She imagined herself to be getting along swimmingly, when suddenly the young man, hitherto very intelligent and respectful, began to "nudge" her (this being, I have reason to believe, the first preliminary to courtship in his class). From "nudging" he proceeded to "squeezing"; and, finally, could it be fancy, or was it an arm that began ominously to encircle her waist? She did not stay to investigate the phenomenon, but clambered down the iron staircase with inelegant haste—a sadder and a wiser young woman!

Another time I myself was "riding," as the Cockneys term it, on the outside of a 'bus towards the sylvan park of Kennington, and, fired no doubt by the lovely summer day, began—with more enthusiasm than prudence—to discuss current topics with my neighbour on the "garden seat." He was a well-mannered youth, and for a while I was much edified by his conversation—until, that is, his sudden interjection of "There's a taisty 'at a-crawsin' of the rowd," in some inexplicable manner cooled me off.

Carlyle was a constant traveller by 'bus, which economy, it may be, agreed well with his Scotch thriftiness. Mrs. Carlyle, on one of her solitary returns to their Chelsea home, describes him as meeting her by the omnibus, scanning the passengers (like the Peri at the gate) from under his well-known old white hat. This white hat, even in Carlyle's day, used to attract attention. "Queer 'at the old gent wears," once remarked an unconsciously irreverent passenger to the conductor of the Chelsea omnibus. "Queer 'at," retorted the conductor reprovingly; "it may be a queer 'at, but what would you give for the 'ed-piece that's inside of it?"

(p. 423) Cabs are vastly more luxurious than omnibuses, but are to be rigidly eschewed by the economical, except in cases where time is of as much value as money. The fact is, that it is almost necessary to overpay cabmen, and especially so if the "fare" be at all nervous. Hence it has been said with some truth, that life, to be at all worth living in London, should disregard extra sixpences. People of the Jonas Chuzzlewit type may, indeed, take cabs to their utmost shilling limits, but this is a proceeding hardly to be recommended to the sensitive. For the average cabman is prodigal in retort, and not generally reticent on the subject of imagined wrong. In the season overpaying is more than ever necessary, while hiring "by the hour" is, at least by the nervous, to be deprecated. The familiar device of paying one penny per minute, though fair enough in fact, has been characterised as "only possible to the hardened Londoner." Some people make a practice of only overpaying the cabman when, like John Gilpin, they are "on pleasure bent"; yet I do not know how the cabman is supposed to divine their mission.

The hansom—"the gondola of London," as Disraeli called it—is far preferable to the antiquated "four-wheeler" or "growler," a vehicle which has never been really popular since Wainwright murdered Harriet Lane, and inconsiderately carried about her mutilated body in one of these conveyances, tied up in American cloth. True, hansoms have their faults. Thus the hansom horse is sometimes afflicted with a mania for going round and round in a manner which suggests his having been brought up in a circus. Sometimes he does nothing but twist his head back to look at his fare; sometimes he persists on turning into every "mews" he passes; sometimes he jibs in a way altogether distracting to a nervous passenger who can only, for the moment, behold the horse and the driver; but still there is a "smartness" about the well-turned-out hansom that cannot be gainsaid. The acme of smartness is, perhaps, a private hansom with a liveried (p. 424) driver; these, however, are exclusively seen in the haunts of fashion. It is, perhaps, well for the London resident to be liberally inclined, for in an incredibly short space of time his or her "ways" become known to the cab-driving community, and facilities for getting cabs largely depend on their verdict. It may be added that if the hansom-driver is inclined to be pert (a natural inclination, considering the height of his elevation above the general public), more generally the "growler" is morose, and given to a huskiness that is suggestive of that abode of light and polished brass—the "poor man's club."

The Hansom.

The visitors to London vary, like the omnibus scents, with the varying year. In the spring and early summer, it is the fashionable world that mainly haunts its streets; in the later (p. 425) summer, the French, Italians, Germans—especially Germans—flock with everlasting red Baedekers (indeed, in the London streets in August, you but rarely hear your own language spoken); in autumn, it is chiefly Americans who abound, provided with all "Europe" in the compass of one guide-book; in January the country cousins, and thrifty housewives generally, come up for the day, armed with lists of alarming length, to swell the crowds at the winter sales.

One of the things that strikes the foreigner, new to England and England's ways, most in London, is the regulation of the street traffic. The innumerable vehicles that throng the highways of London, every moment threatening, or seeming to threaten, a "block"; the continuous rumble of many wheels,—omnibuses, cabs, drays, vans, bicycles, motors,—all these, an apparently limitless force, are stopped, as if by magic, by "the man in blue" simply holding up an arm. All power, for the moment, is vested in him; he is here the one authority against which there is no appeal. Under the protection of the policeman's aegis, the most timid foot-passenger may pass in perfect security; the flood will be stayed while his arm, like that of Moses of old, is raised. And there is no such thing as disobedience. Be the bicyclist never so bold, be the hansom-driver never so smart, woe betide him if he disobey the mandate! Under the policeman's faithful pilotage, the big crossings are safe; danger only lurks in the smaller ones, where his presence is not felt. The "man in blue" is, generally, a charming and urbane personage; if, in the exercise of his calling, he sometimes chance to develop a certain curtness, it is, perhaps, that he has in his time been overmuch badgered.... His urbanity, as a rule, is marvellous; and in great contrast to that of his continental brethren. In Germany, the officer of the law shakes his list in people's faces; in France, he gesticulates wildly; in Italy, he is timid and ineffectual; in England, he merely raises his arm, and behold! like the gods on Olympus, he is obeyed.

(p. 426) Londoners are a curiously callous race, and are, as has been shown, remarkably little interested in their neighbours. The fact is, their life is much too busy for such interest. In the country, your neighbours know everything you do, your business, your position, your income even. In London, all that your neighbours know of you is that you come and that you go; and, once gone, your place knows you no more. Miss Amy Levy, who, more than any other poet, has expressed the feeling of London streets, puts the idea well, in these most pathetic lines:

"They trod the streets and squares where now I tread,
With weary hearts, a little while ago;
When, thin and grey, the melancholy snow
Clung to the leafless branches overhead;
Or when the smoke-veiled sky grew stormy-red
In autumn; with a re-arisen woe
Wrestled, what time the passionate spring winds blow;
And paced scorched stones in summer;—they are dead.

"The sorrow of their souls to them did seem
As real as mine to me, as permanent.
To-day, it is the shadow of a dream,
The half-forgotten breath of breezes spent.
So shall another soothe his woe supreme—
No more he comes, who this way came and went."
(A London Plane-Tree.)

The Londoner dies—the great bell of St. Pancras may toll out his sixty years, or the deep tones of Westminster call to his memorial service; yet none the less a dance is given at the house next door, and the immediate neighbours know not of the death until they see the hearse and the long row of funereal trappings. Truly was it said, that in a crowd is ever the greatest solitude! The mighty pulse of London, that

"Of your coming and departure heeds,
As the Seven Seas may heed a pebble cast,"

beats on just the same though you are gone. The vast machine grinds out its daily life, the propellers work, the wheels of Juggernaut (p. 427) hum, while, like a poor moth, you spin your little hour in the sun, and then go under. This terrible desolation of London has resulted, and still results, in many a tragedy, bitter as that of young Chatterton, the boy poet, found dead in a Brooke Street garret:

... "the marvellous boy,
The sleepless soul that perished in his pride...."

A Doorstep Party.

London, the "stony-hearted stepmother," as De Quincey called Oxford Street—has many a time given her children stones for bread. Many are the men and women, poets, authors, journalists, actors, who come up to the vast city, attracted by "the deceitful lights of London," to starve in Soho or Bloomsbury garrets (Bloomsbury, to which place, it is said, more MSS. are returned than to any other locality in the British Isles). Too proud to beg, too sensitive to fight, they soon become ousted in the struggle for life, and very often get pushed altogether out of the ranks; or, if they do succeed, are soured by years of trial and suffering. The biographies of successful men sometimes tell of such early struggles: but of the many who are not successful, the submerged ones, you do not hear. Some of the Bloomsbury and Bayswater boarding-houses afford sad evidence of retrenched fortunes and squalid lives. The ragged window blind, the dirty tablecloth, covered always with remains of meals; the sad, lined, discontented faces pressed close to the dingy panes, the eternal smell of onions or fried fish, the general wretchedness and frowsiness of everything—all tell tales of a sadder kind than those of Dickens's Mrs. Tibbs or Mrs. Todgers. And, descending yet lower in the social scale, individual cases become yet sadder. I once lived in a London square, next door to an empty house. For two days a battered corpse lay on the other side of the wall, in the garden, and no one knew of it. It was only the poor caretaker left in the "mansion" who, weary of existence, had herself severed the Gordian knot of life. And, in the immediate neighbourhood of another square of "desirable residences," no (p. 428) less than three murders was considered the usual winter average—murders, too, of the worst and most squalid type. Such, in London, is the close juxtaposition of "velvet and rags," luxury and misery. London is the refuge of blighted lives, of the queer flotsam and jetsam of humanity. Where can they all come from? and what were their beginnings? (p. 429) Among such waifs and strays do I recall one old man—feeble, pitiful, wizened, who carried an empty black bag, and stretched it out towards me appealingly. The contents, if any, of the black bag, I never discovered; but I often gave him a penny, simply because he was so unutterably pathetic. He is gone now, and his place knows him no more. But he always haunts my dreams. And the afflicted girl—white-faced and expressionless—who sat for many years close to the "Horse-Shoe" of Tottenham Court Road (indeed, she may sit there still), her face calm as that of a Caryatid, as though oblivious of Time and inured to suffering, through all the noise and tumult of drovers' carts and omnibuses; she has often seemed to me as a type of the eternal, dumb sorrow of humanity.

Yet this isolation of London, terrible as it is for the poor and suffering,—is,—for the well-to-do class at least,—in some ways advantageous. For one thing, it allows more liberty of action;—for another, it prevents any undue personal pride. It is, fortunately, rare indeed for the individual to be as conceited in London as he is in the provinces. True,—London has occasional æsthetic crazes and literary fashions; but, as a rule,—and with the exception of special cliques and coteries such as those of Chelsea and Hampstead,—people are not unduly puffed up in London. The city, with its vast size, acts as an automatic equaliser;—personality becomes lost,—and individuals tend to find their proper level. The Londoner is apt to realise,—that, in the words of Mr. Gilbert's song,—"he never would be missed." Nowhere is there more liberty; no one even notices you as you walk the streets. A man used, some years ago, to walk about the Bloomsbury squares with long hair in be-ribboned pigtails, and in a harlequin dress; the street-boys hardly marked him; even a Chinaman in full costume only attracts a following of a few nursery-maids and perambulators. But in London it really matters very little what you do, or how you dress. Dress here is in fact immaterial, unless you are bent on (p. 430) social successes. Eyes are not for ever scanning you critically, as they do in country villages. And, for ladies who work in slums and "mean streets,"—the safest plan is always to wear dark, shabby, and quiet clothes—clothes that do not "assert themselves." Otherwise, it is likely that she may be accosted as "dear" or "Sally,"—invited to take "a drop o' tea," or otherwise chaffed by rough women standing akimbo at street doors. This practice of standing at doors and gossiping would appear, indeed, to be the main occupation of women of the lower class; but, poor things! they enjoy it; and their life, after all, must contain but few enjoyments. It is perhaps, less certain that their babies enjoy the "cold step," on which they are unceremoniously flopped at all hours of the day. An overdose of "cold step" may, indeed, partially account for the bronchitis which riddles the ranks of the children of the poor. You may see a family of six slum children playing happily in the damp gutter one week; the week following, you may find half of them dead or dying from a visitation of this fell plague. To say that the children of London are decimated by it would be putting the case much too mildly. The mothers, however, take a different view. "She niver looked 'erself agin sence that 'ere crool vaccination,"—a mother will say placidly,—ignoring the cold step and the bronchitis that did the work. "Cold step," indeed, to their minds, acts as a refreshing tonic; they call it "bringin' 'im,—or 'er,—up 'ardy."

That "pity for a horse o'erdriven" that often catches you by the throat in London streets,—is yet almost cast into the shade by the far sadder lot of helpless humanity. 'Bus horses, at any rate, are well fed,—to say nothing of their being worn out, and released from their sufferings after an average period of four years; besides, you can always comfort yourself by refusing to travel by 'bus (I have a friend, indeed, who always vows that he will NOT on any consideration make one of twenty-eight people for two horses to pull);—but it is little or (p. 431) nothing you can do for the alleviation of the lot of the slum babies. Sad indeed is the case of some of these. For, in some dingy and romantically-named "Rose Lane,"—or "Marigold-Avenue,"—(the filthier the London lanes, the more poetic their names),—baby-farms flourish and spread. Once, I remember coming home sick at heart, from a visitation of one such slummy "lane." In a dirty "two-pair back" I found an old woman of witch-like aspect and doubtful sobriety, three mangy cats, and two miserable "farmed" babies,—one an infant, wretched, scrofulous, and covered with sores, lying on a dirty flock bed, its eyes half-closed, in the last stage of exhaustion;—the other a girl of two, wasted and cadaverous, sitting on the usual "cold step," and gazing with pathetic and suffering eyes over to the cabbage-laden and redolent gutter that, filthier far than any in Italian town or foreign Ghetto, apparently did duty, in the middle of the paved alley, as a common dustbin. (Truly, it well becomes us to decry,—in this matter of cleanliness, our neighbours of Central Europe!) I went away sadly; yet what could I have done? I could not take the poor neglected babies home; even though they probably belonged to girls who were not too regular in paying for their weekly maintenance. Nothing short of bringing in the Law would have been of any use, and I was not sure enough of my facts to do this. Yet that elder child's pathetic and mournfully patient eyes still afflict my memory.

Poor, little, neglected slum children! Miss Dorothy Tennant (Lady Stanley), has by her unique art surrounded these waifs with all that glamour of poetry and sentiment that had, by a foolish custom, been hitherto exclusively reserved for the children of the rich. Even Du Maurier always made his slum children ugly and repulsive. Nature, however, knows no such differences. And,—apart from Miss Dorothy Tennant's charming ragamuffins,—who has not stopped to admire, in some back street, the graceful dancing of some half-dozen (p. 432) of small ragged girls? girls in shocking shoes,—but who, nevertheless, hop so delightfully, and with such sense of time and rhythm, to the wheezy old organ, the wheeziest of its tribe, that they have inveigled into their custom. Indeed, I have sometimes doubted whether the organ-man does not himself engage the small girls to dance, as a catch-penny ruse. They do difficult, intricate, ever-changing steps:

"advance, evade,
Unite, dispart, and dally,
Re-set, coquet, and gallopade,"

as Mr. Austin Dobson hath it.

It is not, indeed, only in hospital wards that the children of the great city are pathetic. I have been moved (like Mrs. Meagles), almost to tears, at the sight of a big Ragged School of small boys marching, ten abreast, in perfect drill, in a large phalanx, numbering about five hundred. Five hundred unwanted little human souls! each child, of infant years, with no mother to love it; more destitute in a way than even the slum baby, regarded as a cipher merely; it is surely a sight pitiful enough to make the angels weep!


All the street child's usual stock in-trade, in the way of toys, is chalk (for drawing those incessant white squares on the pavement), perhaps a few worn marbles, and a selection of old buttons. The chalked squares, of course, refer to the ancient game of "hop-scotch," so called because the player in trying to get a stone into a square, may only "hop" over the lines which are "scotched" or "traced" on the ground. The London children often use, instead of stones, broken bits of glass or crockery they call "chaneys"; and to own a private "chaney" is considered, I believe, highly genteel. The familiar game of "Tip-cat," and the skipping rope, have rival attractions; and great enjoyment may be derived from a primitive swing—a bit of rope deftly fixed between area rails or on lamp-posts. The pavement is the London child's playground, for, (p. 433) though in some quarters a movement has, I believe, been started for opening some few of the select "squares" to poor children at certain days and hours, it would not appear to have done much as yet. The pavement games and the Board Schools together often produce a quite wonderful arithmetical sharpness: "The idea of Em'ly gittin' a prize," I heard a ragged girl of tender years remark contemptuously to her equally ragged companion, "Em'ly! why, the girl's a perfect fool; past ten year owld, and can't move the decimal point!" Like other children, these little pariahs of the street have their "make-believe" games; for instance, I have seen them look longingly into toy-shop windows, and heard them talk to each other of every article there, as though it were their own peculiar property; I have also overheard them, sitting on a West-End doorstep, appropriate the mansion thus: "Ain't this 'ere a fine 'ouse, M'ria? didn't know as yer ma was sich a toff. When are y'going to arst me in to tea?" &c., &c. What matter if they pepper their speech continually with such cockneyisms as "not me," "chawnce it," "you ain't no class"; they are generally sweet English children all the same, and immeasurably (p. 434) superior to their surroundings. And such surroundings as they are!

"Our street" (as a little Board School boy described his home in an essay), "is a long lane betwixt two big streets. Our street is not so clean as the big streets, coz yer mothers throws the slops and things in the gutter, and chucks bits of Lloyds and cabbige leaves in the middle of the road. That's why there's allus a funny smell down our street, speshally when it's hot."

Another such essay thus describes a London "Bank Holiday":

"They call this happy day Bank Holiday, becose the banks shut up shop, so as people can't put their money in, but has to spend it. People begin talking about Bank Holiday a long time afore it comes, but they don't begin to spree about much till the night afore.... Bank Holidays are the happiest days of your life, becose you can do nearly what you like, and the perlice don't take no notice of you.... There's only one thing as spoils Bank Holiday, and that is not being fine and hot. When it's wet all the gentlemen get savige and fight one another, and pull their sweetarts and missises about. I'm very sorry for them all round, becose it is a shame for to see. But when it's fine and hot, the gentlemen all larf and are kind, and the women dance about and drink beer like the gentlemen. Everybody's right, and boys don't get skittled round."

But, of course, the Board Schools have done, and are doing, much to improve the rising generation. It is no small tribute to them that into whatever slum or rough district you elect to go, you are safe if you surround yourself with a bodyguard of street children. And for the matter of that, even that pariah of the schools, the London street arab, is with his "pluck" and general resourcefulness, distinctly attractive. Have not Dickens and other novelists adopted him as their hero? All honour to him if he outgrow his base surroundings; small wonder if he is like poor Tip, "of the prison prisonous and of the streets streety." Quickwitted, idle, and hardened to privation, he may, when he grows up, turn to honest work, or he may sink into a "loafer,"—one of those mysterious beings who (p. 435) arise, as out of thin air, from the empty street whenever a four wheel cab, with its burden of boxes, arrives at its destination.

The Return, Bank Holiday.

The conversation of the London working man hardly, perhaps, shows him at his best. The familiar but very unpleasant (p. 436) adjective that invariably greets your ears as you walk behind him, is in the main its distinguishing element, and, notwithstanding its more or less classical derivation (from "by'r Lady"), it is somewhat too suggestive for squeamish ears. Besides, from the frequency of its use, it would appear to mean nothing at all, but simply to be a foolish habit that cannot even plead the excuse of Cockneyism.

What, by-the-way, is the derivation of the term "Cockney"? Its beginnings, as usual in etymological questions, are abstruse; for instance, the word began by meaning a "a cockered child"; then it was synonymous for "a milksop," "an effeminate fellow"; then, (16th cent.), "a derisive appellation for a townsman as the type of effeminacy, in contrast to the hardier inhabitants of the country." Then it became "one born in the city of London, within sound of Bow Bells"; a Bow-Bell Cockney being always a term "more or less contemptuous or bantering, and particularly used to connote the characteristics in which the born Londoner is supposed to be inferior to other Englishmen."

According, however, to an old writer, the term "cockney" arose thus: "A Cittizen's sonne riding with his father into the Country, asked when he heard a horse neigh, what the horse did; his father answered, the horse doth neigh; riding further he heard a cocke crow, and said, doth the cocke neigh too? and therefore Cockney or Cocknie, by inversion thus: incock, q. incoctus, i., raw or unripe in Country-man's affaires."

Some Cockneyisms are frankly puzzling, some are actually startling. Factory girls are specially prodigal of them. Now, the average factory girl is often rather a rough diamond, but there is really no harm in her when once you get used to her ways. She has, it is true, an embarrassing habit of shouting into the ear of the inoffensive passer-by; she may even (if she happen, as frequently occurs, to be walking with two others, three abreast) try to push you into the gutter; but this is simply her fresh exuberance of spirits; she means no ill by it. And her frank utterances are not always rudely (p. 437) meant. For instance, the Cockney remark, "You are a fine old corf-drop, you are!" may even leave the person addressed in some bewilderment as to whether it be a compliment or an insult. It means, however, merely, that you are an "innocent," an ignoramus, a tyro in the ways of the world. "'Ere's a fine fourpenny lot!" or "Where did you get that 'at?" seem, on the other hand, to sound a more distinctly aggressive note. Next to factory-girls and flower-girls, costermongers talk, perhaps, the raciest "cockney." I once knew an old flower-man with a wonderful gift of the gab, who was always persuading me to sell him my husband's old boots, or "a' old skirt for the missus" for some pot of depressed-looking fern. "Did y' ever see sich fine plants?" he will cry admiringly of his barrow-full; "all growed up in cold air, I don't tell you no story. Wy, a gent larst year as kep' a mews, 'e bought a box 'o stershuns orf o' me, an' this year 'e come back an' said as 'e didn't wawnt no more o' that sort, cos wy? they blowed too well, they did, and made 'is winders look that toffy, as 'is landlord see 'em, and 'is rent wus riz on 'im. Now, this 'ere cherry-pie, you niver see sich bewties, got real stalks an' roots, they 'ave; been kep' warm under the children's bed, down our court; 102, Little Red Fox Yard; kep' in they wuz, cos of the rain; and blimy if they don't look all the better for it!"

The flower-girls have perhaps less voluble "patter," but their cry, "Fine Market Bunch!" "'Ere y'are!" is no less patiently reiterated. The London flower-girl, good-looking as she often is, is yet, perhaps, hardly an ideal embodiment of the goddess Flora. To begin with, she is generally enveloped in a thick, rough, unromantic, fringed shawl, and wears an enormous black hat with a still more enormous feather, the latter in sad need of curling. Her abundant hair is coiled loosely on to the nape of her neck, and hangs, in a thick black fringe, over her eyes and ears; anything more totally unlike the dainty, slim, Venetian flower-girl can hardly be imagined. (p. 438) Some kind ladies did, indeed, get up a benevolent scheme for providing London flower-sellers with neat dresses, bonnets, and hats; two or three women, garbed in this costume, may still occasionally be seen at London's principal flower-mart, Oxford Circus. But Londoners are a conservative race, and it is, I imagine, doubtful if the recipients themselves much appreciate these gifts.

Flower Girls.

(p. 439) The organ-grinders who delight so many humble folk, and enrage and afflict so many of the richer class, mostly hail from Hatton Garden and its immediate neighbourhood. The street organ,—"piano-organ" as its proud possessor generally terms it,—is usually the sole support of the family. The organ-grinders are, as a rule, Italian; and are generally to be seen in their picturesque native costume. The organ, however, requires, to catch many pennies, one, at least, of two useful adjuncts; viz., a baby in a cradle, or a dressed-up monkey. The baby sleeps peacefully through the noisiest tunes (what nerves of iron that child must possess!), the monkey dances and postures, even climbing up the area railings. Even in places where the organ-man is cursed, he often reaps a rich harvest of pennies, paid him to go away. Each organ has its special "pitches," its settled rounds. Thus, coming early from Hatton Garden, they will frequent Bloomsbury, say at 9 A.M., and work slowly towards the West End and back, to give the boarding houses in Bedford Place yet another serenade by the light of the setting sun. When once started, the organ-man is pitiless in giving you his whole repertoire. Poor John Leech! it is said that they helped to aggravate the lingering illness of which he died. But there can be no doubt that they lighten the drab, unlovely lives of the London poor.

"Children, when they see thy supple
Form approach, are out like shots;
Half-a-bar sets several couple
Waltzing in convenient spots.

"Not with clumsy Jacks or Georges;
Unprofaned by grasp of man
Maidens speed those simple orgies
Betsey Jane with Betsey Ann."

German bands at street corners,—drum-and-fife bands organised by local talent,—all help, at nightfall, to swell the vast volume of the noise of London.

There is one day in the week, however, when silence—a (p. 440) silence that can almost be oppressive—hangs over the entire city, and not even the sound of the organ-grinder varies the dulness of the monotonous streets. This is Sunday, a day which strikes terror to the heart of the uninitiated foreigner. M. Gabriel Mourey thus feelingly describes it:

"That English Sunday, which so exasperates the French, gives them, from mere recollection, an attack of the spleen, a fit of yawning.... Yet to me there is something comforting about it. It is really a day of rest, of compulsory rest, of rest against one's will; a day when it is simply impossible to do otherwise than rest; it is an obligatory imprisonment which at first revolts the prisoner, but which, if he control his feelings, he will, at the end of an hour or so, find not without its charm. To know for certain that no whim, no fancy for outside amusement can distract you, no theatrical temptation, no yearning for active life can assail you, to be assured that you are protected from the Unforeseen, be it happy or sad, from a letter even—that, in short, it is for the moment impossible to do anything useful,—all this gives you a tranquil security, a serene and healthful calm of twenty-four hours, a calm of which we in France, and especially of Paris, do not know the boon.... And if, in the evening, you venture on to the deserted streets, you can pass freely on your way; no one will interrupt your walk; it is like a dead city; all trace of the life and activity of the six past days has vanished."'

And here is another, and a still more depressing picture, from the same author:

"In this immense and respectable cemetery into which London is metamorphosed on Sundays, some characteristic and amusing beggars patrol the streets. Two old people, a man and his wife, stop at a street corner. The man takes a wretched violin out of an old black cloth bag. The woman sings. What a voice! a hungry voice of chilly misery, which issues, bitter and shrill, from her toothless mouth. Though the weather is warm, she seems to shiver beneath her ragged shawl. The violin grates on obstinately. The man is tall, with a kind of remains of grandeur in his torn coat-tails, and in his face, still haughty, though greasy and bloated. Some passers-by have stopped, and some pence have dropped into the old woman's dirty, wasted hand. The man, still drawing his violin bow, looks round, satisfied, on the treasure.... Six o'clock strikes from a steeple near; they suddenly desist, she from her singing, he from the scraping of his miserable instrument, and they go off to swell the little crowd which (p. 441) awaits, at the public-house doors, the sixth stroke of six,—the re-opening of the house where drunkenness, the cure of hunger-pain, is to be cheaply bought."

Such tragedies, such pitiful sights, wring the heart every day, "whene'er I take my walks abroad" in the streets of London. "How the poor live," indeed! Some of the London waifs would find it hard to tell you how they do live! The day often divided between the street and the public-house; the night, perhaps, spent in the shelter of the "fourpenny doss"; and withal, a delightful uncertainty about the possibilities of dinner and breakfast. Selling penny toys in the street in the winter months must be chilly work; and even in the hot days of August, when the pavements blister in the sun, and American and German tourists throng the streets with their Baedekers, it must have its drawbacks. As to the "fourpenny doss," its discomforts are probably mainly owing to its inmates. The common lodging-houses are often comparatively clean, with a big, central, well-warmed kitchen, presided over by a "deputy." But, of course, where many individuals are herded together in big dormitories, pickpockets will abound; pickpockets, too, abandoned enough to thieve even from other human wastrels. The shelter of the "casual ward" is ever held to be the last resource. A charwoman whom I once knew, a witty and charming lady,—talented, too, in her métier, but alas! I fear, of the "Jane Cakebread" type,—often complained to me of the horrors she had endured there. "It's downright crool," she would say with tears in her eyes, "the way them nurses treats yer. Fust, you 'as to be washed; an' washed you must be; there's no gittin' away from it. An' your' ed, too! It's 'Dip your 'ed in,' and dip it you must, will or no. An' with so much dippin' my 'earin's fair gorn." As for the compulsory oakum picking, the lady minded it not at all. "I didn't never tike much count on it," she said; "but there, my 'ands is 'ardened like."

One word of warning to the wise. Do not, in the mistaken (p. 442) kindness of your heart, take (as Mrs. Carlyle did to her subsequent repentance) to your own home, children that appear to be "lost"; or at least only do so under very exceptional circumstances. When children tell you that they are lost, they are usually only frightened. "Bless your 'art," a kindly policeman once said to me, "they'll find their way 'ome safe enough, if you only leave 'em where they are." Even if really lost, the best place for the stray child is, after all, the police station, "and" (to quote a Mrs. Gamp-like member of the force), "well they knows it, the little dears—well they knows as the orficer is always their best friend." If you do take the child home, it will prove—as it did to Mrs. Carlyle—as great a riddle as the Sphinx. Once I did this. I took a lost infant home, indulged it in nuts, oranges, buns, and picture books; yet still the wretched child howled, refusing, like Rachel, to be comforted; and I found out to my cost that I had better have left it alone. (Perhaps the too unaccustomed neatness of my room distressed it, or the absence of the friendly and familiar "washing.") But once again was I strongly tempted to play the good Samaritan. Returning home on a winter's day, I met, in a "mean street," two children—boy and girl, of seven and eight years—crying bitterly. I interrogated them as to the cause of their tears:

"Our school's burnt down," the boy said betwixt his sobs, "and we can't get in there to-day."

A compulsory holiday seemed a feeble reason for howls. "Why don't you go home and say so?" I inquired.

"'Cause—mother—she w—w—won't believe us," the youth sobbed. "She said as she'd rive our livers out, if we ever humbugged her any more, an' stopped away from school—and—and—it's really burnt down this time!"

Terrible Nemesis, indeed, and worthy of Miss Jane Taylor's well-known "moral poem,"—this unforeseen result of "giving Mamma false alarms!"

Burglars in London are not uncommon; they seem to know, (p. 443) by mere predatory instinct, the houses where valuables and silver abound. It is best to treat them, when found, gently but firmly. But if we feel that we cannot all attain to the courage of the Gower Street matron who held the thief by the collar till the police came, then we can at least lock up safely and retire to rest, resolute to ignore all suspicious sounds within the house. Casual morning visitors give, on the whole, more trouble to the London householder. Old ladies, for instance, in black silk that has seen better days, who are kindly willing to sell to you, for the nominal sum of one and-six, an ancient recipe for furniture polish, or smart and glib young men who call as though they were old college friends, and who, only after some half-hour's discussion of the state of Europe or the weather, divulge to you the fact that they came as agents for a tea firm. Then there are the itinerant vendors of tortoises, with barrow-loads of the poor distressed creatures. "Wonnerful things for beadles, 'm! eat a beadle as soon as look at 'im"—a thing they seldom, if ever, do. And, on one memorable occasion, a whole hour of my precious morning was taken up by an elderly female who represented herself, I know not on what grounds, as "a relative and scion of the late Sir Humphry Davy"! (I am glad, on the scion's behalf, to be able to add that she did not also appropriate the tea-spoons!)

Yet another factor in city life calls for remark. This is the newsboy of London, a personality into which the street arab not infrequently develops. He is a curious being, gifted with nine lives; I should describe him as "a survival of the fittest." His raucous, indescribably husky voice may be heard at every street corner, crying either "Win-ner," or "Extra Spee-shul." Of late, the newsboys have, however, battened on war. "Death o' Kroojer," one of them was bawling one day, before the ex-President's oblivion. "Why are you shouting what's not true?" I inquired kindly of the youthful delinquent, "you've got plenty of lighting." "Shut up, you," the urchin retorted, no whit abashed, "battles is played out!" I once (p. 444) asked a newsboy, just as a matter of curiosity, what piece of news he had found paid him best. "Wy, resignation o' Mr. Gladstone," was the prompt reply, "I got meself a new pair o' boots outer that." The familiar and oft reiterated cry, "'Orrible Murder!" has, especially since "Jack the Ripper" days, been sacred to the calm of Sunday evenings, when men of the roughest class take the place of boys, and generally cry bogus news. It is a curious fact, which says much for the weakness of human nature, that the householder can rarely resist the temptation of buying a Sunday evening paper, even though he knows well, from bitter experience, that the news cried is almost invariably false.

The curious indifference to other people's affairs that, as already mentioned, characterises the Londoner,—shows itself also in a certain want of public spirit. There is, naturally, very little of the proud, local, personal feeling that the villager and the small townsman so often feels. The Londoner, on the contrary, is usually self-centred, unsociable, phlegmatic, narrow. This pleasing quality foreigners politely excuse in him by calling it "the spleen," and account it, indeed, a kind of result of the London fog on character. The fog, or "London particular," as that incorrigible cockney, Sam Weller, called it, is thus described by a trenchant French satirist, Max O'Rell:

"The London fog, of universal reputation, is of two kinds. The most curious, and at the same time the less dangerous, is the black species. It is simply darkness complete and intense at mid-day. The gas is immediately lighted everywhere, and when this kind of fog remains in the upper atmospheric regions, it does not greatly affect you. It does not touch the earth, and the gas being lighted, it gives you the impression of being in the street at ten o'clock at night. Traffic is not stopped; the bustle of the city goes on as usual. The most terrible of all is the yellow fog, that the English call pea-soup. This one gets down your throat and seems to choke you. You have to cover your mouth with a respirator, if you do not wish to be choked or seized with an attack of blood-spitting. The gas is useless, you cannot see it even when you are close to the lamp. (p. 445) Traffic is stopped. Sometimes for several hours the town seems dead and buried.... When the sun makes his appearance he is photographed, that folks may not forget what he is like."

Another Frenchman, M. Gabriel Mourey, describes the fog more picturesquely:

"The frenzied, unbridled activity of the City" (he says) "loses half its brutality under the mantle of fog. Everything seems to be checked, to slacken into a phantom-like motion that has all the vagueness of hallucination. The sounds of the street are muffled; the tops of the houses are lost, hardly even guessed; the lower and first floors are, apparently, all that exist: behind the shop-fronts, a light vapour floats, giving to the goods exposed for sale something of age and disuse. Everything shares, in a fashion, in the solidity and heaviness of the atmosphere. The openings of the streets swallow up, like tunnels, a crowd of foot-passengers and carriages, which seem, thus, to disappear for ever. The trains that cross Ludgate Hill wander off into emptiness on a cloud. St. Paul's resembles some monumental mass of primitive times, at the foot of which the human ant-heap swarms, ridiculous in size, of a mean and pitiable activity. Nevertheless, they are innumerable, a compact army, these miserable little human creatures; the struggle for life animates them; they are all of one uniform blackness in the fog; they go to their daily task, they all use the same gestures, and every step that they take brings them nearer to death. How many millions of men for centuries have followed the same road? and how many millions will follow it in the future, when these of to-day shall have finished their course? But the clouds settle down; they rain themselves on to the ground in black masses; the sky descends among men, and covers them as with an immense funereal pall."

Londoners are always very quick to "catch on" with the latest "craze"; they tire of it, however, also with proportionate rapidity. Thus, the hero of May is often forgotten by November, even if he have not already become a villain by that time. Therefore, with Londoners, it is best to take the ball on the hop, and gather roses, so to speak, while you may. A catch-word is in every one's mouth one winter; it is quite forgotten by next summer. Even a wildly popular new novel has only a "quick sale" of a few short weeks; and may then be altogether ousted in favour of a newer aspirant. The great city is notoriously fickle and wayward in her favours.

(p. 446) Mr. Charles Booth, and his fellow-workers, have, with infinite labour and trouble, sifted and sorted the population of London into varying classes of wealth and poverty, of toil, crime, and leisure. The results of this work, which have reduced the heterogeneous elements of London population to order as with a fairy's wand, are very interesting as well as instructive. The results are hardly encouraging to would-be immigrants from the country; and it is, perhaps, fortunate that there are still some rustics who hold the great metropolis in horror, and would not on any account venture near it. This I can endorse from personal experience. For, only last year, I happened to express to a well-educated, intelligent, small farmer of some forty years of age, my surprise that he had never yet thought well to make the short three hours' journey from his native town to London. He seemed, however, quite contented with his ignorance. "No," he remarked, in answer to my wondering question, "I ain't never bin there, nor yet 'as the missus; and, from all I 'ear, we're best away from sich places."

(p. 447)

The Men in Blue.


"Let others chaunt a country praise,
Fair river walks and meadow ways;
Dearer to me my sounding days
In London town:
To me the tumult of the street
Is no less music, than the sweet
Surge of the wind among the wheat,
By dale or down."—Lionel Johnson.

"I pray you, let us satisfy our eyes
With the memorials, and the things of fame,
That do renown this city."—Shakespeare.

What book has ever been written, nay, has ever attempted to be written, about the general architecture of London? The largest city in the world,—the metropolis of many cities in one city,—the aggregate of a hundred towns, each as big as Oxford, as Cambridge, as Winchester,—why should its stones be thus (p. 448) neglected? And, except for a sprinkling of traditional gibes, an annual dole of scornful references, what attention does the architecture of London receive from its inhabitants? or, indeed, from outsiders? Every one, on the contrary, considers himself at liberty to fling a stone at it. Such titles as "Ugly London," "The Uglification of London," are "stock" leaders for paragraphs in daily papers. It is a well-known fact that nothing new can be raised in the city without drawing upon itself the scathing remarks and innuendoes of a too-critical, and generally ignorant, public. Londoners are proverbially ungrateful; they also think it fine, and superior, to cavil at their works of art. Mr. Gilbert designs a Florentine fountain in Piccadilly Circus; the very 'bus-conductors fling their handful of mud at it as they pass; the new Gothic Law Courts arise in the Strand, to be freely criticised, and vituperated not only by every budding architect, but also by every "man in the street"; the City Powers erect a Temple Bar Memorial Griffin, and nothing less than their heads, it is felt, should with propriety go to adorn the monument of their crass Philistinism. A scheme is proposed for an addition to the cloisters of Westminster, and a public-spirited citizen offers to carry it out at his own expense: he is promptly fallen foul of, as a desecrator of the shade of Edward the Confessor, by the united force of the press. It is hard, indeed, in these critical days to be a philanthropist!

And not only are we thus critical to works of our own day, but also to those of the past. Old London, no less than New London, is gibed at and mocked. "A province in brick," "a squalid village," "a large wen"; such are only a few among the epithets that have from time to time been hurled at it by men and women of letters. And yet, looking at the matter calmly and without prejudice,—are London stones, indeed, so unworthy, so poor, so inglorious?

In respect of its architecture, as in nearly every other respect, London suffers, primarily, from its vast size. "One cannot see the forest for the trees." What chance has Italian cupola, (p. 449) Doric portico, Gothic gable, so crowded and overpowered in the busy mart of men and of things? And how many people, in the whirl and rush of London, even look at the surrounding buildings at all? Ask the ordinary person what the dominating architecture of London is; he or she will very probably be unable to make a suggestion on the matter, for the simple reason that the question never occurred to them in all their lives before. And, indeed, it is in any case a difficult question to answer. In this vast conglomeration of houses, houses built mainly for utility and not for beauty, it is difficult to see at first anything but heterogeneous chaos; all seems "a mighty maze, without a plan"; and the really noteworthy buildings are apt to be missed. The few Norman or Saxon antiquities may well be passed over, and even a "gem of purest ray serene" such as Staple Inn, may be overlooked in the general bustle of busy Holborn. To the large body of shoppers from the country and suburbs, "London" is represented satisfactorily, and finally, by the gay thoroughfares of Regent Street and Oxford Street; "the part where the shops are." And the white gleaming river, crossed by its many bridges, encircling the black causeways,—the long line of the Embankment, the Westminster towers at one end of it, the dome of St. Paul's on the other,—are, possibly, all that remains of London in the mind of the average Londoner; his view of it more or less resembling Byron's:

"A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping,
Dirty and dusky, but as wide as eye
Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping
In sight, then lost among the forestry
Of masts; a wilderness of steeples peeping
On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy;
A huge, dun cupola, like a foolscap crown
On a fool's head—and there is London Town!"

Why should we, the travellers of the world, who so admire other cities, so persistently pour obloquy on our own? It is (p. 450) true that London, on a day of east wind, when the sky is leaden, when suffering is writ large on the faces of poor humanity, and when dirty tracts of paper, notwithstanding the Borough Councils, blow about in all directions, is hardly inspiring; and on a wet day, or a day of fog, when pedestrians peer vainly through that "light which London takes the day to be," and suffering 'bus and dray horses slide and stagger, in the peculiar glutinous composition termed "London mud," through the murky thoroughfares, it can scarcely be said to be at its best. But then, neither are Paris nor Berlin prepossessing under like circumstances.... Paradise itself would be at a discount!

But, on fine days of spring or summer, days when the May sun, with "heavenly alchemy," transforms the dust in the atmosphere to gold,—when the slight haze of a London summer but adds to pictorial charm,—does not the great city seem a very Eldorado? Days such as these surely inspired Mr. Henley's London Voluntaries; soot, fog, grime are all forgotten; the city sparkles like a many-faceted diamond, and

"Trafalgar Square
(The fountains volleying golden glaze)
Shines like an angel-market. High aloft
Over his couchant lions in a haze
Shimmering and bland and soft,
A dust of chrysoprase,
Our Sailor takes the golden gaze
Of the saluting sun...."

Yet it is, on the whole, not so much ourselves, as foreigners and colonials, who are and have been the harshest critics of London stones. The colonists of Melbourne, accustomed to their own straight, wide streets, are shocked at our narrow, tortuous, and inconvenient city thoroughfares; the denizens of New York, fresh from their own system of regular "blocks," their town of parallelograms, are amazed at London's want of "plan." The French, recalling their tall, white palaces of the Place du Louvre and the Rue de Rivoli, are (p. 451) surprised no less at our prevailing soot and grime, than by the lack of continuity in our streets, of conformity in our public buildings. So depressed, indeed, was M. Daudet in our metropolis that he went so far as to call Englishwomen "ugly"; the kindly and accomplished author must really have suffered from "the spleen." So, also, must M. Taine, when he unkindly likened Nelson, on the top of his column, to "a rat impaled on the top of a pole," and added, further, that a swamp like London was "a place of exile for the arts of antiquity." Not one of these critics, be it observed, recognises either the "æsthetic value" of soot, or the charm of irregularity. And see how, even when we do try after conformity and classical regularity, they fall foul of us! For instance, M. Gabriel Mourey, in his charming book on England, Passé le Détroit, while admiring the beauty of Regent's Park, makes somewhat scornful reference to those too-ambitious stucco terraces, designed by Nash in the Prince Regent's time:

"The turf of Regent's Park" (he says) "under that misty sun of the London summer, that gives both a vagueness to the horizon and an indefinite enlargement to the immense city ... the turf of Regent's Park, with its depths of real country, notwithstanding the 'new Greek' lines of the big houses appearing in the distance—Greek lines that harmonise so badly with that northern sun."

Equally severe is M. Taine, the accomplished and broad-minded critic. Hear his condemnation of one of our finest palaces:

"A frightful thing is the huge palace in the Strand, which is called Somerset House. Massive and heavy piece of architecture, of which the hollows are inked, the porticoes blackened with soot, where, in the cavity of the empty court, is a sham fountain without water, pools of water on the pavement, long rows of closed windows—what can they possibly do in these catacombs? It seems as if the livid and sooty fog had even befouled the verdure of the parks. But what most offends the eyes are the colonnades, peristyles, Grecian ornaments, mouldings, and wreaths of the houses, all bathed in soot; poor antique architecture—what is it doing in such a climate?"

(p. 452) We give up the whole defence of the Regent's Park houses; yet, surely, poor Somerset House was hardly deserving of all this satire! Somerset House, though its river frontage is inadequate and lacking in dignity, yet testifies to the ability of its eighteenth-century architect, Sir William Chambers. The older palace of Protector Somerset, that English prison where two poor foreign queens, Henrietta Maria and Catherine of Braganza, languished in desolate grandeur, has given place to an imposing structure, a community of Inland Revenue, a Circumlocution Office on a vast scale. Situated at the Strand end of Waterloo Bridge, its condemned river façade looms, nevertheless, attractively in gleaming whiteness, across the water—a whiteness to which the encroaching soot that the French writers complain of only lends picturesque setting.

M. Taine, however, had evidently no eye for sooty effects. To him, that mystic view from the river bridges, that view that inspired his best sonnet in Wordsworth, a "nocturne" in Mr. Whistler, and immortal art in the boy Turner, has to him merely "the look of a bad drawing in charcoal which some one has rubbed with his sleeve."

While London's natural and primitive instinct is perhaps toward Gothic architecture ("the only style," says M. Taine of Westminster Abbey, "that is at all adapted to her climate,") yet, no doubt, the prevailing note of her architecture is its cosmopolitanism. It is her misfortune, as well as her glory, to show every kind of feverish architectural craze and style in close juxtaposition—Gothic, Renaissance, Norman, Greek, and Early English. Ardent spirits have, at various times, sought to erect in her streets the oriflammes of other nations, quite regardless of suitability or appropriate setting. Italian spires and cupolas that would adorn their native valleys, and shine, gleaming pinnacles of white,—landmarks to the wandering peasant over the intervening black forest of pines,—are here crowded, perhaps, between a fashionable "emporium" and a modern hotel; Doric temples, such as should stand (p. 453) aloof in lonely grandeur each on its tall Acropolis, here are sandwiched, maybe, between a model dairy-shop and a fashionable library; Renaissance palaces that, by the waters of Venice, would reflect their arches and pillars in a sunny, golden glow, here confront blackened statues of square-toed nineteenth-century philanthropists,—or, more prosaic still, a smoke-breathing London terminus!

Yet, while we concede the Gothic style to be more in keeping with London skies and spirits, it is, nevertheless, difficult to say which of her styles is most dominant—for all, truly, have been dominant in their day. For London, in this respect, has been the victim of succeeding fashions; over her resistless and long-suffering mass have, in every new age and decade,

"Bards made new poems,
Thinkers new schools,
Statesmen new systems,
Critics new rules."

Nearly every decade of the past two centuries can be traced by the scholar in London streets and monuments. Nay, from the time of the Great Fire, when Wren, that master spirit in architecture, rose in his strength, and undertook to rebuild sixty destroyed churches,—the progress, or falling off, of London in this art can be generally traced in the metropolis. Wren, best known to posterity as the builder of St. Paul's, was a remarkable figure of his robust time. Like the magician of some old fairy tale, he caused a new and more beautiful London to rise again from its ashes. Macaulay wrote of him:

"In architecture, an art which is half a science ... our country could boast at the time of the Revolution of one truly great man, Sir Christopher Wren; and the fire which laid London in ruins, destroying 13,000 houses and 89 churches, gave him an opportunity unprecedented in history of displaying his powers. The austere beauty of the Athenian portico, the glowing sublimity of the Gothic arcade, he was, like most of his contemporaries, incapable of emulating, and perhaps incapable of appreciating; (p. 454) but no man born on our side of the Alps has imitated with so much success the magnificence of the palace churches of Italy."

Wren's master-work, it may be said, is after all only imitative; St. Paul's in London is but an adaptation of St. Peter's in Rome. But it is a free adaptation, and in the grand style. Nor will any one be disposed to deny the great architect's wealth of imagination, originality and resource, who studies Wren's sixty City churches, none of which, either in spire or church itself, is a duplicate of another. Perhaps, among them all, it is the spire of St. Mary-le-Bow that, for grace and beauty of design, bears away the palm.

For forty years no important building was erected in London in which Wren was not concerned. That his wider plan for the regulating and straightening of the streets themselves was not adopted we have, perhaps, reason to be thankful. While nearly all the city spires recall Wren's master-hand and versatile tastes, the Banqueting House, that well-known palatial fragment in Whitehall, is the principal monument left to us by Inigo Jones, Wren's immediate predecessor. Inigo Jones is principally famous as the designer of that splendid palace of Whitehall that was never built, that "dream-palace" of Palladian splendour that was intended to replace the ancient "York House" of Wolsey, the former "Whitehall" of the Tudors. The river-front of this imagined palace, as designed by Inigo, would, in its noble simplicity, have been a thing of beauty for all time; it is to be regretted that the plan was never carried out. The civil troubles of the impending Revolution, the want of money for so grandiose a scheme, prevented the undertaking. The sole realisation of the dream is now the old Banqueting House that we pass in Whitehall, a building isolated among its neighbours, intended only as the central portion of but one wing of the enormous edifice. Cruel, indeed, is the irony of history, and little did James I., for whose glory this magnificent palace was planned, think "that he was raising a pile from which his son was to step from the throne to a (p. 455) scaffold." For this very Banqueting House served later as Charles's vestibule on his way to execution. With the final banishment of the Stuarts, Whitehall was deserted as a Royal residence; and the old palace, destroyed by successive fires, its picturesque "Gothic" and "Holbein" gateways removed as obstructions, has in its turn made way for imposing Government Offices. Yet the Banqueting House, sole and sad relic of a vanished past, still stands solidly in its place, and is now used as a Museum.

What, one imagines, would modern London have been had Inigo Jones's plan found fruition, and the whole of Whitehall, from Westminster to the Banqueting House, been given up to his palatial splendours? That the present Buckingham Palace is but a poor substitute for such imagined magnificence is certain, and the loss of Inigo's fine Palladian river-frontage is perhaps hardly atoned for by the terrace of our modern Houses of Parliament; yet these, too, are beautiful, and Whitehall has not lost its palatial air; for its wide and still widening streets, its spacious and imposing Government Offices, still serve to keep up the illusion, and, at any rate, the state of royalty. Already one of the handsomest streets in London, its buildings are being yet further improved, and a new War Office of vast proportions is rising slowly on the long-vacant plot of ground where, it was said, three hundred different kinds of wild flowers lately grew, whose yellow and pink blossoms used to wave temptingly before the eyes of travellers on omnibus-tops.... Now, never more will flowers grow there; no longer will the picturesque, green gabled roofs of "Whitehall Court" look across to the fleckered sunlight of the Admiralty and the Horse Guards. Instead, palatial buildings, something after the Palladian manner of Inigo Jones's imagined Whitehall Palace, will form a noble street, in a more or less continuous line of massive splendour; a road of palaces, to be further dignified by the erection of new and spacious Government Offices, near the Abbey, on the line of the destroyed and (p. 456) obstructive King Street. When all the Whitehall improvements are carried out, the dignity and beauty of London will gain immensely, and the view down the long street of palaces,—the Abbey, unobstructed by intervening buildings, shining like a star at its Parliament Street end,—will be among the very finest sights in the metropolis.

The Horse Guards.

If Inigo Jones, steeped in Italian art, was severely Palladian in style, Wren, his successor, "a giant in architecture," was a (p. 457) versatile and original genius. The quantity and the quality of his work may well overpower a later age. "He paved the way," says Fergusson, "and smoothed the path"; none of his successors have surpassed if, indeed, equalled him. During the eighteenth century, the Renaissance still held sway in architecture; James Gibbs, in 1721, built the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, of which the Grecian portico, says Mr. Hare, "is the only perfect example in London"; the brothers Adam, of "Adelphi" fame, flourished, giving, with their doorways, their fireplaces, their curves and arches, a new impulse to the domestic architecture of their day; Sir William Chambers erected Somerset House; and Sir John Soane, who in 1788 designed the present Bank of England, was, with others of his contemporaries, a pioneer of the coming classical revival. With the beginning of the nineteenth century the change came, and architectural design in England completely changed. Now the "new Greek lines" that, say the French, "go so ill with our northern climate," became all the rage; the mild Gothic of Wren, itself a "last dying echo," completely disappeared, and Greek temples, "orders," pediments, columns, grew everywhere like mushrooms. Nash, the architect of the Regency, the "Apostle of Plaster," planned out Regent Street, a new road to extend from the Prince's colonnaded mansion Carlton House, to the new Park named after him: hence arose the Quadrant, and the Regent's Park terraces already alluded to. All was Greek, everything was colonnaded, at that day:

"Once the fashion was introduced it became a mania. Thirty or forty years ago no building was complete without a Doric portico, hexastyle, or octastyle, prostylar, or distyle in antis; and no educated man dared to confess ignorance of a great many very hard words which then became fashionable. Churches were most afflicted in this way: next to these came gaols and county halls, but even railway stations and panoramas found their best advertisements in these sacred adjuncts; and terraces and shop-fronts thought they had attained the acme of elegance when either a wooden or plaster caricature of a Grecian order suggested the classical taste of the builder."

(p. 458) Nash was the chief introducer of "stucco" (the covering of brick with cement to imitate stone), which has since become so vulgarised everywhere, and especially in the fashionable West End squares and streets. Nash's tastes in this respect gave rise to the following epigram:

"Augustus at Rome was for building renowned,
And of marble he left what of brick he had found;
But is not our Nash, too, a very great master?
He finds us all brick, and he leaves us all plaster."

All the great public buildings of the time shared in the classic revival. The British Museum, built by the Smirkes in the first half of the last century, at enormous expense, is the most successful imitation of Ionic architecture in England. The style of the pediment is after that of the Athenian Acropolis. Though critics object to it that it has no suitable base, it is, nevertheless, an imposing structure. The Greek portico of the London University Buildings, in Gower Street, erected by Wilkins in 1827, is, says Fergusson, "the most pleasing specimen of its class ever erected in this country." But it is so secluded and recessed from the street, as to be hardly seen. Its architect, Wilkins, had the misfortune to be chosen to erect our much-abused National Gallery building, with its condemned "pepper-boxes" of cupolas; the designer, however, was so hampered by conditions and restrictions, as to be almost helpless in the matter. The National Gallery, nevertheless, still stands on the finest site in London, an object of scorn to visitors and foreigners.

But the ultra-classic craze, in London, burnt itself out at last in one final flare. Of the innumerable buildings that still tell of the extent of the mania, perhaps the most exaggerated is the church of New St. Pancras, built after not one but several Athenian temples. It is a strange medley of forms, a real nightmare of Greek art. Its tower is a double reproduction of the "Temple of the Winds," one temple on the (p. 459) top of the other: while its interior and its caryatids are modelled on the Erechtheion. Poor caryatids, designed for the bright sunlight of the Acropolis, and imprisoned, blackened and ogre-like, in the dreary and muddy Euston Road! "Calm" you may be, in your pre-surroundings, but hardly "far-looking"; for your view is restricted (even if fog does not restrict it yet further) to the uninspiring buildings of Euston Station opposite! Truly, they who placed you here must have been somewhat lacking in sense of humour! The double Tower of the Winds is not so unhappy as the poor caryatids; it even looks well, in its height and its silvery greyness, seen over the Tavistock Square trees, which hide its inadequate portico. The failure of this incongruous church, added to its vast expense, brought the final reaction from the classical fever; yet, from one extreme, men directly rushed to the other.

The Gothic revival, as might be expected, set in severely; the classic sculptors changed their style and became Gothic; new Gothic sculptors, Pugin, Britton, and others, arose on the artistic firmament. Then, in 1840-59, Sir Charles Barry built the chief modern architectural feature of London, the New Palace of Westminster, in the mediæval and Tudor style. The small chapel of Henry VII. gave the idea for this vast edifice. The enormous structure, so often criticised, is yet, to judge by the many photographs and views annually sold of it, the most popular building in London.

Even M. Taine, who consistently falls foul of all London architecture that is not Gothic, speaks thus of it:

"The architecture ... has the merit of being neither Grecian nor Southern; it is Gothic, accommodated to the climate, to the requirements of the eye. The palace magnificently mirrors itself in the shining river; in the distance, its clock-tower, its legions of turrets and of carvings are vaguely outlined in the mist. Leaping and twisted lines, complicated mouldings, trefoils and rose windows diversify the enormous mass which covers four acres, and produces on the mind the idea of a tangled forest."

The great Exhibition of 1851 gave, naturally, much impetus (p. 460) to the enlargement, as well as the architecture, of London. And though the English school of architects became somewhat more catholic in taste, yet the Gothic style still held the public favour. Butterfield's severe church of All Saints, Margaret Street, delighted the public taste, and initiated the fashion for "Butterfield" spires; Scott's church of St. Mary Abbott's, Kensington, was also popular. Would not either of these be noticed, if "planted out" in an Italian valley? And Street's well-known New Law Courts, in the Strand, built 1879-83, are the latest expression of modern Gothic. Opinion is divided on the subject of their merits, but undoubtedly they form, viewed from the Strand, a fine pile of buildings.

What is called the "Queen Anne" building craze has set in strongly of late years, its chief pioneers being the two architects,—Norman Shaw, who built the picturesque mansion of Lowther Lodge, solidly fine in its darkened red-brick, close to the Albert Hall,—and Bodley, who designed the fine offices of the London School Board on the Thames Embankment. Lowther Lodge is said to "exhibit very well the merits of the best order of "Queen Anne" design of the domestic class"; its successors are much more efflorescent. Everywhere now spring up so-called "Queen Anne" mansions, streets, houses, public offices; and red-brick, terra-cotta, nooks, ingles, casement windows are multiplying ad libitum all over the metropolis. Different styles prevail at different times, and the "Queen Anne" wave just now threatens to overwhelm us. Flats, stores, police-stations, hotels, all are becoming "Queen Anne." Even if walls are still thin, even if the jerry-builder is still to the fore, new streets are, none the less, built in the "Queen Anne" manner; and the last stage of every craze is worse than the first.

What, then, is the prevailing architecture of London? We have perused its history; we have wandered through its streets, and have gazed on all and every style of building. Decision ought to be easy. Yet it is not so easy as it looks. In the Forum at Rome, you have to dig to find out all the different (p. 461) strata of buildings—republican, monarchical, imperial. In London, it is even more puzzling, for here you see them all together, above ground, in close juxtaposition—Tudor, Stuart, Hanoverian—it needs more than a magician's wand to relegate each to its proper period in history. Wren's St. Paul's, the enormous Hotel Cecil, the Whitehall Government Offices, the old timbered mansions in Bishopsgate Street, Pennethorne's new Tudor Record office, the Railway Architecture of Charing Cross and of Liverpool Street, the Aquarium hung gaily with posters, the Savoy Hotel in white and gold—you have them all, side by side. You pass through the prevailing stucco and heavy porticoes of Belgrave Square,—the new red-brick and terra-cotta of the Cadogan and Grosvenor Estates,—the stone dignity of Broad Sanctuary,—the dull brick uniformity of Bloomsbury;—which style, think you, suits your ideal London best?

But, while it may reasonably be matter for conjecture as to what architectural style really suits London best,—or if, indeed, a wholesome mixture of all styles be not a desideratum,—it seems, perhaps, safe to say that it is the "dark house," in the "long, unlovely street" of Tennyson's condemnation, of Madame de Staël's vituperation,—that, in its dull uniformity, really occupies most of the area of London. There are, of course, minor differences. In West London, the "unlovely street" may flower into questionable stucco; in East London, it may become lower, dingier, and meaner: but in original intent all are the same. So monotonous, indeed, are they, that, in secluded squares or corners, one welcomes joyfully an original door-knocker, even such a door-canopy as that described in Little Dorrit, "a projecting canopy in carved work, of festooned jack-towels, and children's heads with water-on-the-brain, designed after a once-popular monumental pattern." In interiors, these same monotonous houses may all differ widely, though even here no universal rule of taste can be laid down; and the little School Board boy who said, naïvely, (p. 462) "Rich people's houses ain't nice inside; there is books all round, and no washin'" unconsciously testified to the wide differences entailed by "the point of view." In Mayfair, Westminster, or Belgravia,—yes, even in Bloomsbury, one dull brick or stucco house-front may present the same external gloom as another, and yet, internally, may differ much from that other in glory. And this fact is typical of poor as well as of rich London. An Englishman's house is his castle, and Englishmen's tastes, as we know, are seldom much in evidence. "Adam" ceilings, "Morris" tapestries, Pompeian courts, leafy vistas, mediæval halls, "Queen Anne", "ingleneuks," all these may surprise the visitor, when once the "Open sesame" has revealed to him all that lies behind that magic front door that guards the Briton's household gods from the vulgar glare of the street.

Even some of the treasure-houses of England's magnates, merchant-princes, and collectors are curiously unsuggestive externally. In this connection I may quote Mr. Moncure Conway's description of the late Mr. Alfred Morrison's house in Carlton House Terrace, adorned by the genius of Mr. Owen Jones:

"The house" (he says) "is one of those large, square, lead-coloured buildings, of which so many thousands exist in London, that any one passing by would pronounce characteristically characterless. It repeats the apparent determination of ages that there shall be no external architectural beauty in London. Height, breadth, massiveness of portal, all declare that he who resides here has not dispensed with architecture because he could not command it. In other climes this gentleman is dwelling behind carved porticoes of marble and pillars of porphyry; but here the cloud and sky have commanded him to build a blank fortress and find his marble and porphyry inside of it. Pass through this heavy doorway, and in an instant every fair clime surrounds you, every region lavishes its sentiment; you are the heir of all the ages."

The street that Tennyson really designed in In Memoriam was Wimpole Street, surely not as ugly or as pretentious a street as many others of the West End. Gower Street, too, (p. 463) was called unkindly by Mr. Ruskin "the nec plus ultra of ugliness in British architecture"; yet, indeed, Bloomsbury houses, unfashionable as they are, seem by their very plainness and want of adornment to maintain a certain dignity that is unknown to those long rows of stucco catafalques of Kensington and Belgravia, where, standing beneath the endless vista of projecting porches, one's mind naturally turns to tombs and whited sepulchres.

The Bloomsbury houses are, at any rate, simple and inoffensive. Mr. Moncure Conway, in a further passage, pleads the cause of London's ugly residential streets:

"Much is said from time to time about the ugliness of London street architecture ... the miles and miles of yellow-gray and sooty brick houses, each as much like the other as if so many miles of hollow block were chopped at regular intervals. And yet there is something so pleasant to think of in these interminable rows of brick blocks, that they are not altogether unpleasant to the eye. For they are houses of good size, comfortable houses; and their sameness, only noticeable through their vast number, means that the average of well-to-do-people in London is also vast. It implies a distribution of wealth, an equality of conditions, which make the best feature of a solid civilisation. There is much beauty inside these orange-tawny walls. Before any house in that league of sooty brick you may pause and say with fair security: In that house are industrious, educated people ... they have made there, within their mass of burnt clay, a true cosmos, where love and thought dwell with them: and between all that and a fine outside they have chosen the better part."

But, according to Edward Gibbon, the historian, the excuse for London's ugly "exteriors" is not so much because the inhabitants have "chosen the better part," as because the average Englishman mostly keeps his show and his magnificence for his country seat. Comparing London and Paris, Gibbon said (in 1763):

"I devoted many hours of the morning to the circuit of Paris and the neighbourhood, to the visit of churches and palaces conspicuous by their architecture.... An Englishman may hear without reluctance that in these.... Paris is superior to London, since the opulence of the French capital arises from the defects of its government and religion. In the (p. 464) absence of Louis XIV. and his successors the Louvre has been left unfinished; but the millions which have been lavished on the sands of Versailles and the morass of Marli could not be supplied by the legal allowance of a British king. The splendour of the French nobles is confined to their town residence; that of the English is more usefully distributed in their country seats; and we should be astonished at our own riches if the labours of architecture, the spoils of Italy and Greece, which are now scattered from Inverary to Wilton, were accumulated in a few streets between Marylebone and Westminster."

In some parts of Bloomsbury,—Great Ormond Street, for instance, or Queen Square,—some of the old houses are charming in their darkened red-brick and plain casements neatly outlined with white paint. But then most of these are, like old Kensington Palace, really of Queen's Anne's time, and the original is ever better than the imitation. No doubt, to the inhabitant, there are accompanying drawbacks to some of these; beetles of long standing may infest their grimy kitchens, and their ancient oak panelling may be prolific in those large rats which are so unpleasantly suggestive, to the nervous, of ghosts.

Queen Square is the oldest of all the Bloomsbury Squares; for in 1746 London hardly extended further than the northern end of Southampton Row, all beyond being more or less open country. Queen Square is so named in honour of Queen Anne, and her statue, as its presiding genius, adorns its further end, which was left open, as already mentioned, on account of the beautiful view it afforded of the heights of Highgate and Hampstead. Of the same solidity and almost mediæval suggestion as Queen Square are the picturesque Charterhouse Square (now mainly hotels and business precincts), Trinity Square, near the Tower (with the same tendency), and other unsuspected haunts of old time. And in the charming "old Court suburb" of Kensington, several such squares, delightful in greenery and mellowed red-brick, are to be found. How refreshing, for instance, is Kensington Square, a square that still keeps its old-world look, and suggests Miss Thackeray's pleasant touches, despite the sad encroachments of modernity (p. 465) at one end, in the shape of tall and very prosaic blocks of "model dwellings." There is, as stand, a great modern craze for red-brick, and the many new and often quaintly designed houses, when darkened by years, will no doubt improve residential London vastly. And despite the enormous recent growth of London, and the incessant crowding of bricks and mortar, there yet remains an almost suburban charm about Kensington, Chelsea, and Fulham—in Kensington especially—where a few old-world corners are still untouched, where Kensington Palace still, in its Dutch solidity, "maintains all the best traditions of Queen Anne's time," and where the pretty modern dwelling-houses abound, described so sympathetically by M. Gabriel Mourey in Passé le Détroit:

"In front of the pretty little façades of the little red-brick houses, the style which Philip Webb, the architect, invented, and which is so happily appropriate alike to the requirements of English life and to the colour and movements of the atmosphere, it is pleasant to dream of an existence in which all is calm, intimate, and gravely happy. The windows are guillotine-like, half hidden by balconies with trailing plants, and through them one catches sight of neat, bright furniture, designed at once for utility and decoration. A woman is seated at the window, working or reading, of quiet and placid beauty. The children come in from playing in some neighbouring park. They are supple and vigorous, like young animals, frank and direct of aspect, not spoilt by any unhealthy precocity. The husband comes in from the City, his bag in hand, after his hours on feverish business, the joy of the same horizon found every evening, the sweetness of home; happiness composed of simple, various elements, a sensation of prosperity in all the little houses, all alike the same comfortable contentment. And as before a camera or in reading a book one likes to imagine or evoke the soul of the artist, so here the personality of this Philip Webb claims me, the soul of the architect who, like Solness, the master builder, has passed his life in building not palaces or churches, but simple houses."

Such modern houses are, at any rate, a great relief from the monotonous and too-predominating fever of Georgian and Early Victorian stucco. A new city of red brick has arisen on the Cadogan Estate, and in the remodelled purlieus of Sloane (p. 466) Street big mansions of red flats tower skywards, and blossom into oriels, gables, dormer-windows, and such like excrescences. Originality is a new thing in London domestic architecture, and the Cadogan Estate is, on the whole, vastly improved. The Bedford Estate of Bloomsbury might, no doubt, be rebuilt to equal advantage but for two potent reasons, the one being that its house walls, built strongly in last century's beginning, show no signs of decay; the other, that the fitful tide of fashion has so deserted the locality as to make the expense hardly worth incurring. Therefore, Bloomsbury houses are merely "tinkered" up in places, and adorned here and there with facings and mouldings of terra-cotta; a half-hearted proceeding at best, and no more successful than such half-measures usually are.

But, while the plain, nondescript brick houses of Gower Street and Baker Street still remain the prevailing type of London architecture, there is everywhere noticeable a tendency to improve and embellish the streets of the metropolis, to rebuild in a better or, at any rate, a more ambitious way. Travelling along the highway of Oxford Street, from ancient Tyburn to Tottenham Court Road, how many tall, new, and ornate house-fronts rise along the line on each side of us! There is a warehouse in Oxford Street by Collcutt, which, say architectural authorities, "has probably the most showy façade in England for the money." The lease of a small, mean house expires; it is promptly destroyed—to rise again in dazzling red-brick, terra-cotta, and wide casements. Everywhere else it is the same; everywhere is red-brick, and red or buff terra-cotta, adorning alike shop-front, warehouse, "Tube" station, and palatial mansion, till, indeed, you hardly know which is which. Very good indeed is the effect of some of this new street-architecture. Sometimes the new houses are even rebuilt in "old English" style, or on old models, with all the latest improvements; as, for instance, "Short's" famous wine-tavern in the Strand, lately re-erected as a semi-mediæval building, with white and green adornments, sloping roof, (p. 467) and the projecting "sign" of old times. Could we "dip into the future far as human eye can see"; were it given to us, but for one moment, to behold the architectural glories and wonders of the London of, say, the year A.D. 2000; well, we should, at any rate, comprehend better whither our present efforts tend. Then will the public buildings of the Victorian Age, as of the Elizabethan Age, be pointed out proudly to the wondering sightseer; the golden glitter of the "Anno Victoriæ" on the Royal Exchange Pediment will prove no less inspiring than the "Anno Elizabethæ"; and while such ancient monuments as St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey must ever command the primal reverence of every Englishman worthy the name, no less will such landmarks as the Albert Hall, the Albert Memorial, the Natural History Museum, or the Imperial Institute, speak to the ages of the famous "sixty years of ever widening Empire." For, surely, the greatest power of architecture is that it leaves the memorial, in turn, of every age. Therefore, all the more, should

"You, the Patriot Architect,
You that shape for Eternity,
Raise a stately memorial,
Make it regally gorgeous, ...
Rich in symbol, in ornament,
Which may speak to the centuries,
All the centuries after us...."

Architecture, like literature, needs time to orb it "into the perfect star," to give it its right place and setting in history. And yet, it should be of every age. "We could name," said the late Mr. Walter Pater, "certain modern churches in London ... to which posterity may well look back puzzled. Could these exquisitely pondered buildings have been, indeed, works of the nineteenth century? Were they not the subtlest creations of the age in which Gothic art was spontaneous? In truth, we have had instances of workmen, who, through long, large devoted study of the handiwork of the past, have done the (p. 468) thing better, with a more fully enlightened consciousness, with full intelligence of what those early workmen only guessed at."

The Albert Hall, so much abused for its acoustic defects, is, from its impressive size at least, a well-known London landmark. "That monstrous caricature of the Colosseum," some one has called it; but critics of London's modern buildings generally err on the side of severity, and the vast elliptical mass is certainly imposing. In the Albert Hall, the new style of terra-cotta decorations, already referred to, is largely prominent; the Pantheon-like dome has a pleasing solidity, and the glow of smoke-darkened red, in spring, is delightfully contrasted with the green trees of the neighbouring Park. Enormous "mansions," also red-brick, but hardly attractive, have arisen, in Babel-like height, beside the Albert Hall, painfully dwarfing and overshadowing the charming building of "Lowther Lodge" adjacent. These "mansions" and "flats" have increased of late years enormously in London, are, indeed, still increasing. From "model lodging-houses" to elaborate and expensive palaces, every kind of income and taste is, in this respect, catered for; and these enormous dwelling-houses,—cities, or at least villages, in themselves,—attain terrific proportions of height and size. In them live "all sorts and conditions of men." Thus, in the "blocks" of model dwellings, ladies in eternal "Hinde's curlers" quarrel vociferously, with arms akimbo, from across their railed-in outer landing-places; while, in more elaborate dwellings, tubs of "yuccas" and other evergreen trees greet the visitor cheerfully from the glazed-in Nuremberg-like courtyards, and elaborate flower-boxes adorn the balconies. Indeed, the modern "flats" already form no inconsiderable factor in London's street architecture; and sometimes, as in Bedford Court Mansions, Bedford Square, they are of considerable artistic merit. The new hotels, also, are another leading feature of modern London. Fifty years ago London had but few hotels, and those that did exist, often left much to be desired in the way of comfort, cleanliness, (p. 469) and reliability. Now enormous palaces have arisen everywhere, not only in the West End, but in Bayswater, Bloomsbury, and other less modish quarters; sumptuous mansions, still of ornate red brick and terra-cotta, springing up with the promptitude of an Aladdin's palace, and dominating, as it may be, their respective street or square. It was not long since that I chanced to meet two queens in a cart filled with straw—unregal state for a queen! going along, smiling placidly, to their final resting place. The queens were of terra-cotta, and their last, sad journey was presumably only from Doulton's factories in Lambeth to their destined abode on the Russell Hotel façade; nevertheless, I sympathised with the poor things in their patient submission, led thus, in an open cart, to execution, roped and hung amid the jeers of the populace.

In the "Venetian Gothic" style is the modern Crown Insurance Office, in New Bridge Street, built by Woodward. Of this edifice, D. G. Rossetti, who lived at one time close by it, says: "It seems to me the most perfect piece of civil architecture of the new school that I have seen in London. I never cease to look at it with delight." Of what is called the "Secular Gothic" order, is the large terra-cotta "Natural History Museum," at South Kensington, an ambitious building by Waterhouse, about which much difference of opinion rages. While Mr. Hare has no doubt at all but that it is "an embodiment of pretentious ugliness, a huge pile of mongrel Lombardic architecture," other authorities have seen in its originality "many evidences of anxious and skilful pains." Its general effect is, it must be confessed, at present somewhat bizarre and striped. The "Prudential Assurance Offices," also by Waterhouse, built close to the site of old Furnival's Inn, in Holborn, is a more generally popular edifice, sober and solid in its unrelieved, dark-red terra-cotta.

Many other notable buildings might, of course, be mentioned, but space is limited. Enough, however, has been said to show that Londoners are still slaves to architectural fashion, and (p. 470) that the now prevailing mode is for red-brick and terra-cotta. Indeed, the London of the close of the nineteenth and the opening of the twentieth century, will surely be "picked out" by future antiquaries by lines and "holdings" of red, just as the limits of the Georgian and early-Victorian classical fever are now shown by white Doric and Ionic pediments and columns, gleaming from beneath their invading mantle of soot. Some people say, by the way, that the present love of terra-cotta as building material, partly arises from the fact that it can be washed. If this be true, then it only shows that the Londoner of to-day is wanting in appreciation of the before-mentioned "artistic value" of soot. It may be, that, like the tailless fox of the fable, we admire what we must perforce put up with, or what we are accustomed to. Yet, it has always seemed to me that London's chief beauty lies in this all-pervading grime, mellowing, softening, harmonizing. M. Taine, we know, did not hold this view; is it, indeed, to be expected from any one but a true, a born Londoner? St. Paul's blackened festoons of sculptured roses; the grimy cupids, nestling on the pedestals of the Russell family's statues in the Bloomsbury squares; the mournful Greek frieze on the Athenæeum Club, in Pall Mall;—yes, even the sooty resignation of the St. Pancras caryatids; does not the pall of soot, which so afflicts the Southerner, seem to convey something of London's spirit, humanity, Ego, in fact? Who, for instance, will maintain that the blackness of St. Paul's itself does not immeasurably add to the grandeur of its effect? As G. A. Sala said:

"It is really the better for all the incense which all the chimneys since the time of Wren have offered at its shrine; and are still flinging up every day from their foul and grimy censers."

Who, also, will not own that the new Tate Gallery, erected at such expense by Sir Henry Tate's munificence on the old site of Millbank Prison, is not improving, year by year, by the combined action of London's river, fogs, and soot? It already looks less (p. 471) incongruously white amid its murky surrounding wharves; less like a frosted wedding-cake, less aggressively Greek near the grey Gothic pile of neighbouring Westminster. And what of that picturesque railway station of St. Pancras, picturesque with the combined glamour of blue London mist and distance, towering like some shadowy mediæval fortress over the murky modernity of the Euston Road! (Even the Euston Road, saddest and least inspiring of thoroughfares, can, on occasion, be glorified.) In one of London's lurid autumn sunsets, the large red sun, obscured through fog and mist, sinks slowly behind the embattled towers of St. Pancras, lending it such an appearance of romance that even a French writer (not, however, M. Taine!) has called it:

"A monumental railway-station, like a cathedral with its arched windows, its turrets, and enormous belfry, all of red-brick, which the weather darkens so prettily."

And has not the misty glory of soot and river fog appealed to Turner, the artist; appealed, in turn, to all the painters who have at all penetrated to the spirit of the beauty and the mystery of London? Even M. Taine, so severe otherwise upon London's sooty palaces, is compelled to admit, reluctantly, some charm, after all, in this "huge conglomeration of human creation," and to confess that "the shimmering of river-waves, the scattering of the light imprisoned in vapour, the soft whitish or pink tints which cover these vastnesses, diffuse a sort of grace over the prodigious city, having the effect of a smile upon the face of a shaggy and blackened Cyclops."

The "Cyclops" is maligned and traduced by tradition, and the smile on his blackened face is often beautiful. We call London ugly, mostly from mere custom, but very few among us trouble to look and judge for ourselves. "I wonder," once said Archbishop Benson, "who out of the many thousands who daily pass St. Paul's, ever look up at it." And it is so with all London's great and historic buildings. Church spires and (p. 472) towers were supposed, in the simple days of old, to carry the eye and the mind up to Heaven; but what chance have they, poor things, when, even on one of London's delightful grey-blue skies of summer, no one heeds them, or their message? Like Bunyan's "Man with the Muckrake," we fix our eyes ever steadily on the ground; the only London stones that attract our notice being its jutting kerb-stones, its sounding asphalt and macadamized pavements ... we fix our attention on the dull, dead levels; we lose "the fair illuminated letters, and have no eye for the gilding." Yet we still scoff at our own historic city, not because we ever look at it on our own account, but because we have always been taught that it is the right thing to do so.

It is a curious fact that the fine passages which everybody knows and quotes about the Stones of London, all refer to them in ruins. Macaulay placed his New Zealander on a broken arch of London Bridge, to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's. Shelley pictured London as "an habitation of bitterns," and the piers of Waterloo Bridge as "the nuclei of islets of reeds and osiers." Rossetti overthrew the British Museum in order to leave the archæologists of some future race in confusion as to the ruins of London and Nineveh. Ruskin, who had so much that is bright and beautiful to say of the Stones of Venice, dismissed London with a warning of prophetic doom; saw her stones crumbling "through prouder eminence to less pitied destruction." It is surely time that some new and ardent spirit—some twentieth-century Ruskin—with eyes no longer set upon the dear dead past, should fix his gaze on what is grand and significant in the Stones of London, while still they stand the one upon the other; and, seeing, should reveal to the world something of the sombre glory of its greatest city.

(p. 473) INDEX


"Adam" decorations, 246, 462
Addison, 80, 179, 383
Adelaide Gallery, the, 290
Advertisement, art of, in London, 320
Aggas's Map, 5, 187
Ainger, Canon, 146
Albany, the, 380
Albert Bridge, 26, 224
Albert Embankment, the, 32
Albert Hall, 213, 468
Albert Memorial, 397
All Hallows Staining, tower of, 55, 81
"Almack's," 181
Amen Court, 97
American Tourists in London, 299
Ancient Tomb-portraits, 348
Anne Askew, burning of, 65
Antiquarian zeal, 55
Appian Way, our, 193
Apsley House, 378
Arnold, Sir Edwin, on a mummy-case, 336
Arnold, Matthew, on Kensington Gardens, 395;
on the legend of Westminster Abbey, 188;
lecture at Toynbee Hall, 174
Artists in Kensington, 217
Ashbee, C. R., 176
"Asia Minor," 295
Asiatics in the East End, 295
Astor Estate Office, 42
"Augusta," 2, 21


Baby-farms, 431
Bacon, Francis, 139, 160
Bank Holiday, 434
Bankside theatres, 128
Barclay and Perkins's brewery, 129
Barnard's Inn, 159
Barnett, Canon, 173
Barry, Sir Charles, 205
Bartholomew Fair, 64
Battersea Park, 27, 224, 400
Beauchamp Tower, 106
Beaumont, Sir George, 354
Bedford Court, 246
Bedford House, 242
Ben Jonson, 153
Benson, Archbishop, 471
Berkeley Square, 379
Berners Street hoax, 370
Besant, Sir Walter, 8, 13, 24
Bevis Marks, 80
Billingsgate, 43, 316
Birds in London, 400, 410
Birkbeck Bank, 156
Bishopsgate Street, 76
Blackfriars, 13, 42
Blake, William, 26, 251, 349, 380, 384
"Bleak House," 144, 148, 154, 159, 261
"Blenheim Raphael," 344
Bloody Tower, 104
Bloomsbury, 238, 247
Bloomsbury Square, 243, 245
Blue mist, 23, 27, 388, 471
Boarding-houses, 263, 427
Bolt Court, 364
Bond Street, 176
Book-shops, 305
Booth, Charles, 446
Borough High Street, 126
Botanical Gardens, 406
Botticelli, 351
Bridge of Sighs, English, 40
British Museum, 333
Broad Sanctuary, 204
"Brompton Boilers," the, 341
Brompton Oratory, 215
Brontës, the, 97
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 380
Browning, Robert, on view from the dome of St. Paul's, 51
Buckland, Frank, 230
Burglars in London, 442
Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 252, 369
Butler, Samuel, 42
Byron's view of London, 449


Cabs in London, 423
Cabmen, wages of, 425
Calverley's "Savoyard," 289
Campden Hill, 217
Canova, 40
Canterbury Pilgrims, the, 126
Carlton House, 181
Carlton House Terrace, 181
Carlton Restaurant, 322
Carlyle, on the Press, 14;
on Westminster Abbey, 193;
on Cheyne Row, 225;
on the Leigh Hunts, 226;
his London homes, 261;
on the British Museum reading-room, 268;
and the omnibus conductor, 422
Carlyle House, the, 224
Carlyle, statue of, 226
Carlyle, Mrs., 225, 260, 392, 442
Carpaccio, 352
Caryatids on St. Pancras Church, 409, 459
Casual wards, 441
Catherine of Braganza, 36, 228
Cats in London, 409
Chained books at Chelsea Old Church, 234
Chancery Lane, 148
Chapter Coffee House, 97, 183
Charles I., 205
Charles II., 201, 400
Charterhouse, 9, 68
Charterhouse Square, 67, 464
Chatham, Lord, 192
Chatterton, 183, 427
Chaucer's Inns, 126
Cheapside, 81
Chelsea, 26, 222, 235
Chelsea Bun-house, 222, 236
Chelsea Embankment, 235
Chelsea Ferry, 235
Chelsea Hospital, 236
Chelsea Old Church, 231, 233
"Cheshire Cheese," the, 366
Chesterfield House, 378
Cheyne Row, 224
Cheyne Walk, 26, 227
Chichester Rents, 148
Christina of Denmark, 351
Christ's Hospital, 9
All Hallows, Barking, 115
Great St. Helen's, 77
Holy Trinity, Minories, 114
St. Alphage, London Wall, 82
St. Bartholomew-the-Great, Smithfield, 56
St. Botolph, 114
St. Dunstan-in-the-West, 151
St. Edmund the King and Martyr, 80
St. Ethelburga, 79
St. Giles, Cripplegate, 12, 81
St. John's Chapel (in the White Tower), 108
St. John's, Clerkenwell, 73
St. Magnus, 27, 44
St. Margaret's, Westminster, 202
St. Mary, Aldermanbury, 81
St. Mary, Lambeth, 31
St. Mary Overy, 122
St. Michael's, Cornhill, 75
St. Olave's, Hart Street, 117
St. Pancras, 265, 458
St. Paul, Covent Garden, 318
St. Peter-ad-Vincula, 105
St. Peter-upon-Cornhill, 75
St. Saviour's, Southwark, 122
St. Swithin's, 82
Church House, Kensington, 220
Church House, Westminster, 204
"Church of Humanity," 260
"Church Parade," 390, 401
City Companies, the, 14
Classical Fever in London, 457
Clement's Inn, 148
"Cleopatra's Needle," 36
Clifford's Inn, 150
"Clink," the, 129
Clive, Lord, 379
Cloth Fair, 58, 64
Clothworkers' Hall, 55
Coal Exchange, the, 316
Cobbett, 23
Cock Lane Ghost, the, 73
"Cockney," derivation of, 436
Cole, Vicat, 49
Coleridge, 158
Collins, Wilkie, 261
Comedy Restaurant, Panton Street, 322
Common lodging-houses, 441
Constable, 347, 355
Conway, Moncure D., 462, 463
Coronation Chairs, 200
Costermongers, 437
County Council, the, 400
Court of Pie Powdre, 64
Covent Garden Market, 317
Covent Garden, old taverns of, 318
Cromwell, 153, 199
Crosby Hall, 55, 77
Curzon Street, 373, 380


Darwin, Charles, 258
Davidson, John, on "The Loafer," 186
Dean's Yard, 202
Defoe, on Pall Mall, 183
Detectives in shops, 309
Dickens, on waterside scenes, 50;
the Marshalsea, 130, 134;
City churches, 115;
as the chronicler of London, 136;
on the Borough, 128;
Fountain Court, 143;
Staple Inn, 155;
Barnard's Inn, 159;
his social satires, 177;
his grave, 193;
on decaying houses, 240;
Bloomsbury types, 262;
his private theatricals, 261;
Cockney types, 312;
on London houses, 362
Dining, the art of, 322
Disappearing landmarks, 361
Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield), on Regent's Park, 17;
on class differences in London, 162;
his death in Curzon Street, 373;
on Kensington Gardens, 395
D'Israeli, Isaac, 243
Docks, the, 47
"Doggett" badge, 235
"Domesday Book," 151
Downing Street, 374
Drama, popular tastes with regard to, 282
Dress of the poor, conventionalities in, 312


Earl's Court, 220
Earl's Terrace, 218
Eastcheap, 81, 118
East End, the, 168
Edward the Confessor, 189
Edwardes Square, 217
"Edwin Drood," 155, 295
Eighteenth Century, London in, 179
Elgin Marbles, the, 340
Eliot, George, 227
"Esmond," 220, 228, 392
Evelyn's Diary, 242
Eyre Street Hill, 292


Factory-girls, 437
Farm Street Roman Catholic Church, 177
Fetter Lane, 159
Fiction stronger than reality, 10, 363, 381
"First nights," 280
Fleet Street, 364
Fleur-de-Lis Court, 156
Flowers, London children's love for, 321, 402
Flowers, in Regent's Park, 402
Flower-girls, 318, 437
Folly Ditch, 51
Fore Street, 81
Foreign waiters, 288
Foundling hospital, 263
"Fountain Court," 143
"Four-in-hand Club," 390
"Fremdenindustrie" in London, 290
French furniture at Hertford House, 331
French School of Painting at Hertford House, 331
Frith's reminiscences, 258
Frost Fairs, 44
Froude, J. A., on ancient tombs, 196;
the dissolution of the Carthusian monastery, 68;
Anne Boleyn, 105
Furnival's Inn, 159


Gainsborough, 353
"Gallery of Instruction," 338
"Gandish's," 252, 258
Gardens, making of, in London, 408
Gardens, private, in London houses, 406
"Gatti's," 290
"Gaunt House" of "Vanity Fair," 378
Gibbon, 463
Gladstone, W. E., on Bloomsbury, 247;
his London residences, 373;
on the way to see London, 414
Godfrey, Sir Edmondsbury, 36
Goldsmith, Oliver, 147, 367
Gordon Riots, 243
Gordon Square, 260
Gothic style in London, 452-459
Gough House, Chelsea, 236
Gough Square (Dr. Johnson's house), 364
Gower Street, 258
Gower's tomb, 123
Grant Allen, 23, 337
Gray's Inn, 139, 159
"Grange," the, North End, 368
Great Coram Street, 263
"Great Expectations," 159
Great Fire, the, 7, 86
Great Ormond Street, 254, 464
Great Tower Hill, 113
Greenwich, 51
Greuze's Pictures, 332
Grosvenor Road, 28
"Grub Street," 64
"Guild and School of Handicraft," 176
Guy's Hospital, 133
Gwynne, Nell, 232, 236


Hair-Dressing, Ethics of, 286
"Hand of Ethelberta, The," 12
Hare, A. J. C., on St. Thomas's Hospital, 29;
Chelsea Embankment, 32;
Gray's Inn Garden, 139;
Thames Street, 316;
Holland House, 382
Hatton Garden, 292, 439
Haunted Houses, 379
Haydon, 395
Haweis, Rev. H. R., 229
Hawthorne, 90, 155, 160
Herschel, 257
Hertford House, 327
"Hiring-Fair," Jewish, 297
Hogarth, 63, 265, 368
Holbein, 351
Holborn Restaurant, 322
Holland House, 382
Holly Lodge, 383
Holman Hunt, W., 252
Holywell Street, 147
"Homes for the People," 465
Hood, Thomas, 40
Hook, Theodore, 370
Hotel Cecil, 33
Hotels, palatial, 32
Houndsditch, 79
Houses, historic, 358
Houses, humanity of, 245
Houses of Parliament, 29, 205
"Humphry Clinker" (and Covent Garden), 319
Humphry Ward, Mrs., 257
Hunter Street, Bloomsbury, 262
Hyde Park, 386


Ice-Cream Trade, 292
Inchbald, Elizabeth, 218
Inigo Jones, 454
Inland Revenue Office, 36
Inns of Court, the, 137
Iron-work, old, on houses, 379
Irving, Edward, 260
Irvingite Church, 260
Italian Colony in London, the, 292


Jack Cade, 44
"Jacob's Island," 51
Jersey, Lady, 181, 380
Jerusalem Chamber, 203
Johnson, Dr., 73, 91, 138, 147, 363


Katherine Howard, 105, 129
Kensington, 210
Kensington Gardens, 394
"Kensington House," 219
Kensington Palace, 382, 394, 465
Kensington Square, 220, 464
King's Bench Walk, Temple, 147
Kingsley, Charles, 47
Kingsley, Henry, 233
King's Road, Chelsea, 232
Knightsbridge Road, 212


Lady Jane Grey, 107
Lady lecturers, 330, 333, 342
Lamb, Charles, 139, 147, 160
Lamb's Conduit Street, 260, 265
Lambeth Palace, 29
Lang, Andrew, 37, 320
Lant Street, 130
Laud, Archbishop, 31
Law Courts, 460
Lawrence, Sir Thomas, 245
Lawson, Cecil, 227
Leadenhall Market, 3
Lear, Edward, 259
Leech, John, 263, 439
Leicester Square, 285
Leigh Hunt, 217, 226
Leighton House, the, 377
Lennox, Sarah, 382
Levy, Miss Amy, on plane trees in London, 408;
on London isolation, 426
Liddon, Canon, 97
Life of London, the, 285
Lincoln's Inn, 152
Lincoln's Inn Fields, 154
Little Britain, 64
"Little Dorrit," 132, 177, 264
"Little Midshipman, the," 115
Lollard's Tower, the, 30
Lombard Street, 80
London: atmospheric effects, 388, 412, 450;
approach to, 23;
architecture, 460;
the cult of, 20;
charm of, in early summer, 385, 400;
cosmopolitanism of, 285;
crowds, 282;
classes in, 162;
contrasts in, 19, 54, 151, 167, 175;
crazes, 445;
colouring of, 388, 412;
feeding of, 48;
houses, characteristics of, 359, 462;
isolation in, 426;
liberty in, 429;
opportunities in, 327;
phœnix-like, 24, 95, 181;
picturesqueness of, 49, 388, 411;
primarily a seaport, 24;
resources in, 17;
rebuilding of, 466;
suffering in, 427, 429;
as a tourist haunt, 33;
unexpectedness of, 10, 18, 54;
wealth of, 47
London Bridge, 43, 121
Londoners, ways of, 414, 416, 462
London Stone, 82
London Wall, 81, 82
Lost children, 442
Lowther Lodge, 213, 460
Ludgate Hill, 93
Lyon's Inn, 159


Macaulay, on the tombs of Chatham and Pitt, 192;
Westminster Hall, 205;
his residence at Holly Lodge, 217, 383;
in Powis Place, 255;
on Holland House, 383;
the New Zealander, 472
Maclise, Daniel, 227
Mall, the, 397
Manning, Cardinal, 177
Mansfield, Lord, 243
Mansions and Flats, 468
Marchmont Street, Bloomsbury, 262
Marco Marziale, 349
Marshall, Herbert, 388
Marshalsea, the, 130
Marshalsea Court, 150
"Martin Chuzzlewit," 118, 143
Matinée Hat, 282
Maurice, F. D., 245, 256
Mausolus, car of (in British Museum), 270, 338
"May-Day Sweeps," 259
Mecklenburgh Square, 265
Mercers' School, 159
Meredith, George, 228
Michael Angelo, 354
Middle Temple Hall, 143
Middle Temple Lane, 144
Millais, Sir John, 259
Millbank Penitentiary, Old, 28
Millionaires, Uses of, 327
Milton, 63, 371
Mincing Lane, 81
Minories, the, 113
Mitford, Mary Russell, 245
Model lodging-houses, 468
Monasteries, the fall of, 13
Montague House, 269, 333, 379
Monument, the, 43, 118
Monumental Brasses, 115
Monumental Sculpture, 91, 193
More, Sir Thomas, 110, 233
Morley, Charles, quoted, 131
Morris, William, 252
Mother Shipton, 387
Mourey, Gabriel, on the view from Charing Cross Bridge, 38;
the Tower Bridge, 45;
the Pool of London, 46;
character in hair-dressing, 286;
street markets, 312;
Sunday in London, 440;
London fog, 445;
Regent's Park terraces, 451;
Philip Webb's houses, 465
Mudie's Library, 305
Mudlarks, 28
Mummy-room at the British Museum, 335
"Murdstone and Grinby's," 50, 134
Museum Habitués, 268
"Museum Headache," 337


Nando's Coffee House, 145
Nash, 457
National Gallery, 344;
romance of, 346, 354
Natural History Museum, 342, 469
"Newcomes," The, 69
New Inn, 148
Newsboys, 443
Newton Hall, 158
Newton, Sir Isaac, 158
New War Office, 455
Nithsdale, Lord (escape from the Tower), 111
Norman London, 4


Old Clothes Markets, 315
"Old Curiosity Shop," 50, 80, 135
Old Palace Yard, 207
Old St. Paul's, 88
Old Swan Tavern, 235
"Oliver Twist," 51
Omnibuses, character in, 420
Omnibus Conductors, 418
Omnibus travelling, 417
Open air services, 98
Opium Dens, 296
O'Rell, Max, on the Parks, 390;
London omnibuses, 417;
London fog, 444
Organ-grinders, 263, 439
Ornithological Society, 399
"Our Mutual Friend," 50
Oxford Street, 18


Pall Mall, 183
Panizzi, 247
"Pan-opticon" of Leicester Square, 326
Pantomimes, 277
Panyer Alley, 97
Paradise Row, 232
"Paris Garden," 128
Park Orators, 392, 403
Parmigiano, 350
Passmore Edwards Settlement, 256
Patent Office, 156
Paternoster Row, 95
Pater, Walter, 218, 467
Paul's Cross, 98
Paul Pindar's House, 55, 342
"Paul's Walkers," 88
Pavement Artists, 248
Penny Steamers, 25
Pepys, Samuel, 116, 139
Philanthropists, treatment of, in London, 448
Physick Garden, the, 234
Picture-galleries, 330, 343
Picture Stories, 346
Pitman's Shorthand Institute, 246
Pictures, vicissitudes of, 346, 351, 353
Picturesqueness of Railways, 23, 95
Pigeon-fanciers, 315
Plane-trees in London, 408
Plantagenets, cuts of, 198
Poet's Corner, 202
Point of View, the, 164, 169, 172
Policemen, 425, 442
Pool of London, the, 44, 46
Popular "lines" in shops, 301
"Portland Vase," 336
Positivist Society, 138
Press, the, 369
Primrose Hill, view from, 413
Prince of Wales's Theatre, old, 284
Printing-House Square, 14
Prior Bolton, 62
Prior Houghton, 68
Protector Somerset, 35, 73
Prudential Assurance Company's Offices, 154, 159, 469
Pyx, Chapel of, 190, 203


Quality Court, 156
Queen Anne, 201
Queen Anne Craze, the, 460
Queen Anne's Gate, 397
Queen Anne's Statue, Ludgate Hill, 95;
Queen Square, 241
Queen Caroline (wife of George II.), 394, 399
Queen Caroline (of Brunswick), 202, 370
Queen Charlotte, 36
Queen Elizabeth, 25, 51, 201
Queen Mary (of Modena), 31
Queen Mary II., 201
Queen Victoria, visit to St. Paul's, 93;
at Kensington Palace, 395
Queen's House, Chelsea, 227
Queen Square, 241, 254, 264


Ragged Children, erudition of, 234, 433
Ragged Schools, 432
Rahere, 58
Raleigh, 107
"Ranelagh," 222
Reading-room, British Museum, 266
"Reconciliation," Temple of, 192-199
Record Office, 151
Red Lion Square, 253, 254
Reformation, the, 8, 62
"Reformer's Tree," the, 392
Regalia, 109
Regent's Park, 401
Restaurants, cheap, 287, 322
"Restorers," sins of, 125
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 354
Richardson, Samuel, 367
Richmond's Mosaics in St. Paul's, 93
"Ring, The," 391
Rocques', Map of, 1746, 241
Rogers, Samuel, 181
Rolls Chapel, 151
Roman City Wall, 81
Roman London, 24
Roman Remains, 3, 82, 97, 103
"Rosamond's Pond," 399
Rosebery, Lord, on St. James's Square, 184
"Rosetta Stone," the, 339
Rossetti, Christina, 251
Rossetti, D. G., at Queen's House, Chelsea, 227;
at Red Lion Square, 252;
at the Working Men's College, 256;
on the British Museum, 270;
on Venetian Gothic in London, 469
Rotten Row, 390
Royal Exchange, 74, 75
Royal Mint, 113
Royal Society, 158
Rubens, 351
Ruskin, on the Houses of Parliament, 32;
Victoria Embankment, 41;
the Pool of London, 49;
Social Contrasts, 185;
South Kensington Museum, 341;
born in Hunter Street, 262;
at the Working Men's College, 256;
at Denmark Hill, 371
Russell, Lady Rachel, 242
Russell, Lord William, 154, 242
Russell Hotel, 247
Russell Square, 244
Rye House Plot, 242


"Sailors' Town," the, 49
St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 66
St. James's Park, 397
St. James's Place, 179
St. James's Square, 184
St. James's Street, 178
St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, 72
St. Pancras Station, 27, 265, 471
St. Paul's Cathedral, 42, 51, 84
St. Paul's Churchyard, 95
St. Paul's School, 98
St. Thomas's Hospital, 29
Sala, G. A., 265
Sale-Days, 311
Saleswomen, trials of, 302
Sandford Manor House, 232
Sass's School, 258
Savoy Hotel, 33
Saxon London, 4
Scents, in London districts, 420
Scotland Yard, 33
Scott, W. B., 256
Sea-gulls in London, 35, 121
Seamy Side, the, 185, 248, 441
Sebert, King of the East Saxons, 188
Second-hand Book-shops, 266, 305
"Secular Gothic," 469
Seething Lane, 116
Serjeants' Inn, 149
Shaw, Norman, 33, 235, 460
Shelley, in Marchmont Street, 262;
in Half Moon Street, 361;
in Poland Street, 381;
on Hell and London, 297;
in the Highgate omnibus, 417
Shelley, Harriet, 394
Shelley, Mary, 262
Ships' figure-heads, 29
Shops of London, 299
Shoppers, ways of, 301
Shop-lifters, 309
Siddons, Mrs., 371
"Sixpenny Days," drawbacks of, 195
"Sketches by Boz," 240, 259, 262
Sloane, Sir Hans, 228, 234, 243, 333
Slum children, 430
Smart Society in London, 179, 390
Smetham, James, 355
Smithfield Martyrs, 64
Soane Museum, 375
Soane, Sir John, 376, 457
Somerset House, 35, 451-452
Soot as a beautifier, 23, 27, 90, 388, 452, 470
South Kensington, 222
South Kensington Museum, 341
South Sea Bubble, 76, 133
Southwark, 121
Sparrows in London, 410
Spinello Aretino, 348
Spitalfields, 314
"Spleen," the, 444
Squares of Queen Anne's Time, 464
Squares, Old London, charm of, 244
Staël, Madame de, 23
Stage Door, the, 284
Stage Neophytes, 275
Stage rehearsals, 279
Stanley, Dean, 187, 233
Staple Inn, 55, 154
Steele, Sir Richard, 243
"Steyne, Lord," 327
Stones of London, the, 447-472
Street Arabs, 434
Street games, 432
Street markets, 311
Stuart, Arabella, 111, 197
Stuart, La Belle, 201
Submerged, the, 170, 185
Sunday in London, 440
Sunday markets, 314
"Sunday opening," 326-335
Sunsets in London, 250
Sutherland House, 378
Sutton, Thomas, 69
"Sweating" dens, 297, 302
Swift, Dean, 177
Swinburne, A. C., 228, 369
Swindles in London, 443
Swiss Waiters, 287


Taine, Henri, on Greek Architecture in London, 32;
the docks, 48;
the ways of "good society," 279;
Englishwomen, 286;
the London Sunday, 326;
British seriousness, 392;
Somerset House, 451;
the Houses of Parliament, 459
Tanagra figurines (in British Museum), 339
Tanfield Court, Temple, 147
Tate Gallery, the, 27, 343
Tate, Sir Henry, 28, 343
Tavistock House, 258, 261
Temple, the, 149;
Gardens, 141;
Church, 145
Tennant, Miss Dorothy (Lady Stanley), 431
Tennyson, Alfred Lord, on Cleopatra's Needle, 39;
"London's central roar," 95
Terburg's "Peace of Münster," 332, 350
Terra-cotta, in building, 470
Terriss, William, 284
Thackeray, in Cornhill, 76;
in Great Coram Street, 263;
in Kensington, 216, 220, 382;
on old Carlton House, 181;
Russell Square, 246;
Denmark Hill, 371;
the "Zoo," 405
Thackeray, Miss ("Old Kensington"), 213
Thames, influence on history of London, 2, 24
Thames, Enchantment of, 49
Thames Street, 43, 316
Thavies' Inn, 159
Theatrical Profession, the, 274
Thompson, Henry Yates, 344
"Thorney Island," 188
"Time Machine," the, 20
Tite Street, 236
"Tom-All-Alone's," 58
Tomb of Gordon, 92;
Lord Leighton, 92;
Duke of Wellington, 92
Tooley Street, 43, 126
Torch Extinguishers, 379
"Totencourt," Manor of, 18, 242, 387
Tottenham Court Road, 18
Tourists in London, 247, 424
Tower, the, 46, 100
Tower Bridge, 44
Tower Green, 105
Tower Lions, the, 112
Tower Victims, 105
Toynbee, Arnold, 173
Toynbee Hall, 173
Trades, special districts for, 308
"Traitor's Gate," 104, 110
Treasure-houses of London, 326
Trinity Square, 113, 464
Turner, J. M. W., R.A., 26, 49, 347, 355, 357, 380
Tyburn, 113


Unrevealing Exteriors, 359


Valhalla, national, 191
Vandyck, 351-354
Van Eyck, 353
Vanishing London, 360
"Vanity Fair," 246
"Vauxhall," 222
"Venetian Gothic," 469
Vergers, ways of, 105
Veronese, Paolo, 353, 355
Victoria Embankment, 32, 41
Views in London, 29, 35, 38, 42, 46, 49, 51, 265, 389, 394, 411-412
"Virginians," the, 381
Visitors to London, 424


Waifs and Strays, 429, 440
Wallace, Sir Richard, 65, 328, 332
Wallace Collection, 327
Wallace, Lady, 329
Walworth, Sir William, 65
"Wanderlust," the, 289
Warwick Square, 97
Watling Street, 3
Waterloo Bridge, 40
Wat Tyler, 65
Webb, Aston, 60
Webb, Philip, 465
Weller, Sam, 128
Wellington, Duke of, 378
Westminster Abbey, 187;
chapel of Henry VII., 190, 197;
chantry of Henry V., 194;
cloisters, 203;
wax effigies, 200
Westminster Bridge, 207
Westminster Hall, 205
Where to shop, 303
Whistler, J. McN., 23, 236
Whitechapel Road, 18, 172
Whitefield's Tabernacle, 242, 261
Whitefriars, 13
Whitehall, 455
Whitehall Court, 33
"White Tower," 108
Whittington, 9
Wimpole Street, 380
Winchester House (old), 129
"Window gardens," 407
"Wittenagemot" Club, 97
Wood Street plane tree, 10, 81
"Working Men's College, The," 255
Working Classes, 168
Wren, Sir Christopher, 7, 86
Wych Street, 148


Yiddish colony in London, the, 295
York House, old, 35
York Stairs, 35


Zoological Gardens, 405




1: Imperium et Libertas, by Bernard Holland.

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